“One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion.”
Ambrose Bierce, on mayonnaise in his “Devils’ Dictionary”
I detested mayonnaise as a child or young adult. I would not eat sandwiches or salads that contained mayonnaise, and my mother’s attempts to scrape it off the toast never erradicated the taste enough for me to eat it if a restaurant kitchen forgot to leave it off. So early on in my foray into raw foods, when my husband sent me a recipe for raw mayonnaise, I could not muster much excitement. I assembled the ingredients, having decided to make it as a dip for our own family superbowl party and to use the leftovers to make sandwiches for him to take to work.
I did not have a Vita-Mix at the time, so I made it in my food processor. Finished making the mayo, I removed the lid of the Cuisinart and got a whiff of YUM! I scraped this concoction out into a jar since I was making it a day or so ahead, and, intrigued, I tasted a little. Holy Moly! This stuff is delicious! I immediately went to the fridge and got out some broccoli and carrots which I hurriedly washed and chopped. And dipped. And dipped and dipped and DIPPED.
Used as a creamy, thick dip, diluted with a little more water to make a dressing, or spread in a sandwich, it adds a richness that is noticeably absent when you don’t have some on hand. I’m revisiting this recipe after a long respite (sparked, no doubt, by constant overindulgence) and am looking forward to enjoying it often in the near future. The Vita-Mix makes this recipe even smoother and creamier than I ever could before, but don’t let that discourage you if you don’t have one. It’s all good.
Not knowing much about cashews, I decided to look into them a bit before posting. Cashews grow on a small evergreen tree native to northern Brazil, swelling at the base of a false fruit often called the cashew apple (or in Central America, the marañón), which is edible and has a strong sweet smell and sweet taste (so wikipedia reports. I’ll probably never know, as the skin is fragile and therefor unsuitable for transport.) The single seed hangs beneath this sweet juicy treat, surrounded by a double shell containing a resin, a potent skin irritant chemically related to the more well known allergenic oil urushiol which I know very well as the toxin found in poison ivy. Happily, despite my horrible reactions to poison ivy, I can thoroughly enjoy cashews with nary an adverse reaction. Unless I eat too many. Did I mention that I like to do that?
Cashews contain less fat per serving than many other popular nuts, including almonds, walnuts, peanuts and pecans. Cashews keep your heart and blood vessels healthy by providing monounsaturated fatty acids (healthy fats like those found in olive oil). High in copper, moderate consumption of cashews keeps your joints, bones, and blood vessels flexible. Cashews also help prevent premature aging and disease by supporting the antioxidant activity of a powerful enzyme called superoxide dismutase. And cashews are rich in magnesium which has many health benefits:
- Decrease muscle cramps and soreness through relaxation.
- Promotes healthy blood pressure by keeping blood vessels relaxed.
- Keeps your nerves relaxed by acting as a natural calcium channel blocker.
- Promotes deep, restful sleep by relaxing the nervous system and muscles.
- Builds and maintains strong bones and teeth.
So you can see that, as long as you don’t have any issues with allergies, there are plenty of good reasons to include a handful of cashews in your diet on a regular basis. And now you know one lovely way to do so!
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2-3 soft dates, pitted
- 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- dash white pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Soak cashews for 1-2 hours, drain and rinse well til water runs clear. This helps soften the cashews, as well as making them more digestible.
- Puree all ingredients, except oil, in food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
- While continuing to blend, add oil in a steady stream, until emulsified.
- Store in a tightly sealed container the fridge for up to 2 weeks. This recipe made enough to nearly fill a small 16 fl oz jar. It firms up nicely in the fridge.
I don’t often add the pepper, I used a mix of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, and since I didn’t have onion powder on hand I used a small chunk of onion to taste, but otherwise, I actually follow this recipe to the letter. Although I do double it, since it seems to disappear so quickly around here.
One note — this recipe contains relatively little water, and both food processor and blender warm up the dip considerably during processing. You will need to make this ahead of time and chill it unless you plan on serving it warm. It does thicken considerably in the fridge, but will loosen slightly if set out at room temperature for a bit. And now that I think about it, it would be delicious served warm on top of kelp or zucchini noodles…