janet @ the taste space

Balsamic Marinated Cherries, Rosemary Cashew Cheese, and Arugula Sandwich

In Garden, Mains (Vegetarian) on July 30, 2012 at 6:19 AM

Rob warned me.

I was away last week and Rob was in charge of watering the garden. I knew one of our squash plants was not doing so well after the scorching heat wave. I was already mentally prepared for the loss of a squash plant. Four plants in a small planter was probably not the best idea anyways. Even if 1 of the plants die, at least I will have 3 squashes.

However, it turns out that we have probably lost 3 out of our 4 plants.

AND…. to make matters worse, of the 3 squashes, one was ripped off the plant and eaten. Another had a large nibble removed. Only one survives. Rob swears it wasn’t him. We blame the raccoons!

One of the reasons we didn’t plant tomatoes was because we had an abysmal crop last year and oftentimes the animals would munch on the tomatoes first, leaving us with a handful of cherry tomatoes at the end of the season. Stealing tomatoes, I understand…

But please, raccoons.. do you really need to munch on an unripe kabocha squash? Gah! I kept telling myself well if nothing else, we will have a huge kabocha squash by the end of the summer. Sadly, I don’t even see any more blossoms to do more self-pollination.

It really makes you appreciate farmers and their struggles.

Thankfully my kale, collards and herbs are growing strong. The backyard planter has had great plants, although our front yard still has smaller kales. I have a handful of arugula growing, too, which I used for this sandwich.  Holey in all its organically-grown-in-my-backyard glory. Looking at the photos, you’d think it was a green jungle out there!

Inspired by Gena’s raw pizza, I cobbled this sandwich together after my trip.

First, I marinaded cherries in maple-sweetened balsamic vinegar. Then I made a rosemary-infused cashew spread. A handful of my backyard arugula tops a maple pumpernickle (sourdough rye) bread that I picked up in Calgary. The contrast in flavours worked really well together, although I had a hankering for a more sour cashew spread. I think I need to find some probiotic capsules to help me with that… Next time!

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to this week’s Weekend Wellness.

Balsamic Marinated Cherry, Rosemary Cashew Cheese, and Arugula Sandwich
Adapted from Choosing Raw

1/2 cup cherries, pitted and halved
2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (whatever you need to submerge the cherries)
1 tsp maple syrup, or to taste
pinch of salt

1 cup cashews, soaked at least 4 hours, then rinsed and drained
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp fresh thyme
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
few grinds of black pepper

1 cup arugula (or spinach)

1. Mix together the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and salt. Add to the pitted cherries. Add more vinegar if needed to submerge the cherries. Allow to marinate at least a few hours, preferably overnight, in the refrigerator.

2. In a food processor fitted with its S-blade, blend the cashews, rosemary, thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper until smooth and creamy. Add water to obtain desired consistency. I went for a spreadable  consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste.

3. For your sandwich, smear with the cashew spread, top with arugula and balsamic cherries. Drizzle with remaining balsamic marinade, if desired.

Serves 3-4.

  1. Sorry about your squash. 😦

    What a cool idea to put cherries on a sandwich! Maybe I could marinate them with tofu so I can get the protein in too? Yum!

  2. I have TONS of fresh rosemary and cherries around right now so I can’t wait to try this!

    • I bet marinading the cherries with the rosemary would be great, too!! 🙂 I wish I had oodles of rosemary.. I have 3 plants but I keep using it all up so they look like naked plants! 🙂

  3. What an interesting and original recipe. Great flavor combinations. I am lucky enough to have a rosemary hedge, so playing with rosemary in recipes is a favorite pastime; however, finding good cherries is another matter altogether.

  4. I just made my first ever cashew “cheese” (in the form of cheesecake, on my blog today!) and it was delish! Bet this is just awesome with this cherries… yum.

    • Cashew cakes (or dreamcakes as I like to call them!) are very good… I have yet to meet cashews that actually taste like cheese so I should probably start calling them cashew spreads. I remember making a cashew spread last year with orange juice that was wicked good. I should go find that one again!

  5. Oh no–poor squash! That sounds really frustrating. Glad you could at least eat some of the greens! Cashew cheese and cherries sounds like a really interesting sweet-savory concoction.

    Rosemary hedges are definitely a thing in California–they’re even used as landscaping on the road islands. It’s EVERYWHERE.

  6. We’ve had some garden thieves, but overall your garden looks great! Much more lush than mine. And love your cashew spread–I’ll be making that the next time a cheese plate comes out that I can’t eat! 🙂

  7. I was drooling over this at Choosing Raw and bookmarked the cashew cheese to try. Your version looks delicious of course!

    I can’t believe a raccoon tried to eat your kabocha squash! Sad day 😦 Oh well, you can’t say you didn’t try tight?

  8. That poor little kabocha! Gone before its time. So sad. At least you’ll have some seriously lovely greens!

    • I still plan on eating it, though! It had a second nibble yesterday afternoon, so I plucked and now it is drying out on the windowsill. 😉 And yes, lots of greens! That makes me super happy! 🙂

  9. I loved the idea when I saw in on Gena’s site, and your version has sold me for sure: need to make this soon!

  10. I love your rendition, Janet! Thanks for making the recipe 🙂

  11. In Australia we have possums that wreak the same havoc in the garden – I wish I could say I had the same verdant garden and delicious sandwich but alas not – though now I know what I want for lunch tomorrow

  12. This looks absolutely delicious!!!

  13. Poor kabochas! ;-( That’s just sad. I love the pairing of ingredients here and I have become a big cashew cheese fan of late. Thanks for sharing your sandwich with Souper Sundays this week.

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