Kim Cheese

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The hot weather is coming back, and it’s time for another cool vegan protein recipe.

Kim cheese was inspired by a spread I tasted at the Maui Four Seasons Hotel’s restaurant about 20 years ago. Theirs was a spread served with thin slices of a dense, dark bread with walnuts in it, and it was made from cream cheese, mayonnaise and kim chee, Korea’s fiery pickled Napa cabbage. Pacific fusion cuisine, I guess. I liked it.

I already knew I could make a vegan sour cream or cottage cheese by blending tofu, Vegenaise and ume vinegar in the food processor. So I added kim chee to this, and liked the result.

I realized, though, with the sour and salty ume vinegar and the pungent kim chee, I didn’t need the extra flavor of the Vegenaise, so I substituted olive oil, and liked it even better.

I use this spread on baked potatoes, steamed cauliflower, puffed brown rice cakes, cucumber slices, or whole grain pasta.

I vary the consistency from dense to runny by the type of tofu I use. Extra firm tofu makes a thick spread, better for crackers or crudites. Silken tofu makes a runny sauce to pour over pasta or vegetables.

Here are the ingredients:

One 8 ounce block of tofu (from organic, non-GMO soybeans. SprouTofu’s my fave.)
One 8 ounce jar of spicy kim chee (preferably home made and organic, certainly without MSG)
2 tablespoons of organic extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons of ume vinegar (Japanese plum vinegar, made from the pickling of unripe plums. It is salty. You can skip it if you are avoiding salt. You can certainly add more if you prefer a saltier taste to your kim cheese.)

Place them all in a food processor and blend until smooth. Chill until serving.