This is my fourth VeganMoFo post for 2014. For more information on this month’s theme, see my Cook from Books description here.
When I first started this blog in 2011, I was working full time at a law firm, doing legal marketing. During my 45-minute commute on the Orange Line from Boston’s North Shore into the Downtown’s Financial District, I would pull out my latest copy of VegNews or Bon Appétit, or a new cookbook I had just bought and just kind of get lost in what I saw within the pages before I started my workday. During one of my commutes in, I distinctly remember coming across a recipe from Chef Chad Sarno for Cashew Cheese. Cashews = cheese? Probiotics = flavor? what.
After not quite understanding it, but still curious, I replicated it—then became a huge fan of Chef Sarno’s work. But what he creates goes beyond nut-based cheese and expands into culinary artistry, as everything he makes is incredibly fresh, mind-blowingly creative and visually stunning.
When I saw that Chef Sarno had partnered with Kris Carr and 10 other guest chefs to create Crazy Sexy Kitchen, I knew I had to have a copy. Packed with more than 150 plant-based recipes, CSK is a visual feast that celebrates whole foods, collaborative cooking, vibrant color and the simple pleasure of cooking fresh food in your own kitchen.
CSK will tell you how to make Truffled Parmesan, Walnut Falafel, Zucchini Carpaccio, Cauliflower Risotto—and this lovely recipe for Beetroot Ravioli with Cashew Cream Cheese. Simply raw and deeply crimson, this dish instantly conveys fresh and is a perfect balance of light and rich once assembled with the tangy and herb-kissed cashew cheese sauce.
While prepping this dish, I loved dragging the beets across the mandoline slicer and seeing the gorgeous swirl pattern it revealed in each slice. The cashew cream came together with a quick puree in the blender before it was spooned and sandwiched between two paper-thin slices of beets, topped with fresh asparagus and drizzled with a touch a balsamic and coarse sea salt. This gorgeous appetizer is as delicious as it looks and will leave you feeling just as vibrant and fresh as the ingredients it so masterfully utilizes.