David Wallinga is a physician with more than 20 years of experience in writing, policy, and advocacy at the intersection of food, nutrition, sustainability, and public health. His current work focuses on the enormous overuse of antibiotics of human importance in U.S. livestock production—a practice that continues to worsen the global crisis of antibiotic-resistant infections, like MRSA. Prior to rejoining NRDC in April 2015, he cofounded Healthy Food Action; Keep Antibiotics Working: The Campaign to End Antibiotic Overuse; and created and directed the health program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in Minneapolis.

Before that, Wallinga worked at NRDC on pesticides policy and on implementation of the then-new Food Quality Protection Act. He completed his medical school education at the University of Minnesota; he also holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University. He is based in San Francisco.

 

Cashew Chèvre Cheese

3 Varieties; Garlic Dill, Herb Encrusted, and Spicy Sundried Tomato  

 

To Make Rejuvelac (fermented probiotic culture, needed to make Vegan cheese):

Ingredients: 

 

  • 1 cup Organic Brown Rice (can use millet, quinoa or other whole grain)
  • 6 cups filtered water

 

Directions:

  1. Put the grains in a large glass jar and add water. 
  2. Cover with sprouting lid or cheesecloth, secured with rubber band. 
  3. Let soak for 12 hours. Drain and rinse. Cover with cloth and place upside down at an angle, in warm spot, allowing the grains to continue draining.
  4. Rinse the grains twice a day with water, draining each time until the grains have begun to sprout. This will take about three days for brown rice. Time will vary depending on which grain and temperature of the environment. Once you see a tail on the grains, it is time to culture them.
  5. Culture the rejuvelac by dividing the sprouted grains equally between two glass jars. Cover the grains in each jar with three cups of filtered water. Place a piece of fresh cheese cloth, secured with a rubber band, over each jar and let it sit for three days in a warm spot until the water turns cloudy and white, and has a tart, lemony flavor. 
  6. Pour the liquid through a strainer into clean glass jars. Compost the grains and use the liquid to make the cheese. The rejuvelac can be saved in the fridge for up to four weeks or in the freezer. I like to freeze the rejuvelac in ice cube trays. Each ice cube is ¼ cup, so I take out one cube at a time.

 

To Make the Basic Cashew Cheese: (I like to double the recipe and make a large batch!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 5-8 hours. The longer they soak, the less rejuveac you will need
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ - ½ cup of Rejuvelac

Directions:

  1. Process the cashews with salt and ¼ cup rejuvelac in blender on high, until smooth. 
  2. Add up to ¼ cup more rejuvelac if needed to process cashews. 
  3. Transfer to a clean glass bowl and cover. Let rest at room temperature for 8-36 hours (the longer the cashew cheese sits, the sharper the flavor will be). The cheese will thicken as it cultures.

 

To Make the Cashew Chèvre Cheese (3 varieties; Garlic Dill, Herb Encrusted and Spicy Sundried Tomatoes):   

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBS Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup, chopped and packed fresh herbs 
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 Tbs chopped dill
  • 6 sundried tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon either Harissa, Sriracha or Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, to taste

Directions:

  1. Add the Nutritional Yeast and salt to the Basic Cashew Cheese. Divide the cheese into 3 parts. Season each as below:
  2. For the herb variety; chop a variety of fresh herbs (I used parsley, sage, thyme, dill and oregano). Depending on the size of the Chèvre log you want to make, will vary the size of the cheese cloth. I used a piece of cheese cloth that was 8” x 5” and covered the center section with the herbs leaving an inch on all sides. 
  3. Spoon the cashew cheese (now Chèvre) in a line down the center of the herbs. Using the cheese cloth, wrap the herbs around the Chèvre cheese creating a log shape. Tie both ends with twine and refrigerate for 6-8 hours until firm. 
  4. For the Spicy Sundried Tomato variety; line a small bowl with cheese cloth. Puree six sundried tomatoes and 1 tsp. garlic until smooth. Add 1 tsp spicy sauce of your choice, and combine with 1/3 of the cashew Chèvre cheese. Put the Chèvre cheese mixture in bowl with cheese cloth. Smooth out the top and cover with the sides of excess cheese cloth. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours. Use the cheese cloth to help unmold the cheese from the bowl. 
  5. For the Garlic Dill variety
  6. Line a small bowl with cheese cloth. Add 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, and 2 Tbs chopped dill, and pinch of salt to last third of cheese. Put the Chèvre cheese mixture in bowl with cheese cloth. Smooth out the top and cover with the sides of excess cheese cloth. 
  7. Wrap all three varieties with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 6-8 hours until firm. 

Place on cheese board and garnish with fruit and crackers!