Appetizers/ Vegan/ Vegetarian

Vegan Crostini with Mushrooms & Truffle Cashew Cream

This is a recipe I developed at the start of our catering days. They were such a hit (even with meat-lovers!) at our first several events, that we continued to include them on every menu. This cashew cream has also been the base for many other dishes we’ve created. I came up with the “recipe” many years ago, when Theo and I got together to brainstorm ideas for food projects. Theo made root vegetable chips, I got my first culinary wound slicing a beet too close to a mandoline blade, and I created what we now refer to as “crack truffle cashew cream” by throwing things into a blender.

This, I should mention, is my usual style of cooking. Theo’s much better at following, writing, and adapting recipes. I’m more of a toss stuff together until you hit that sweet spot kind of cook. I try to jot down what I’m adding as I go, but I’m frankly really bad about remembering to do so. That said, I’ve decided to include some “recipes” on here that have measurements that I’m estimating. This is one of them. I like to think I’ve made it enough times to give you a pretty good idea of how to bring it all together, but if you have trouble with it, tell me in the comments! Maybe it will motivate me to be better about writing everything down.

Ingredients:

  • Truffle Cashew Cream:
    1 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours or overnight (strain and discard water)
    1 clove of garlic
    Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon
    1 tablespoon truffle oil
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    A few dashes of brown rice vinegar or any unseasoned rice vinegar
    About a teaspoon of umeboshi paste or vinegar  – this is made from fermented Japanese plums and it’s very salty. If you don’t want to invest in purchasing this, you can totally just use a little extra salt. I like adding it for extra health-factor and umami.
    Salt to taste
    Water to thin (start with 1/2 a cup and add as needed)
  • Mushrooms:
    1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
    16 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
    A few sprigs of fresh thyme, remove from stems and chop finely
    A few dashes of sherry vinegar
    Salt to taste
  • Crostini:
    Baguette of your choice, sliced into 1/2 inch thick pieces brushed with olive oil, and toasted for about 15 minutes at 350 or until crispy
  • Arugula or arugula microgreens for garnish

Recipe Steps:

  • Make crostini and set aside to cool.
  • Make cashew cream: Add soaked cashews, garlic, lemon (start with 1/2), truffle and olive oil, vinegar, umeboshi (or a few pinches of salt), and 1/2 a cup of water. Blend in NutriBullet (or other powerful blender) until mostly smooth, and taste. Add more water and blend until very smooth. If needed, add more lemon, vinegar, and salt to taste—you want it to have a nice truffle, garlic, and tangy flavor.
  • Make mushrooms: Add olive oil to pan over medium-high heat and then add mushrooms and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. Sauté until mushrooms soften and caramelize, about 15-20 minutes. Add thyme and vinegar and more salt to taste.
  • Build crostini: Spread cashew cream on each crostini, top with mushrooms, and finish with arugula or arugula microgreens.

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