Vegan Macadamia Cheese with Dill

Macadamia Nut Vegan Cheese | TheSpicyBee

The holidays are upon us, and it’s more important than ever to ensure that you’re holiday spread is going to please everyone at the party. That makes for a lot of pressure and deep meditational thought if you’re a planner like me. A lover of from scratch hummus and cheeses, I set out recently to create a cheese-like spread option that would make vegans in my life happy and still be enjoyed by my gluten-free, dairy-free, and flexitarian friends too.

Case in point–one of my recent favorite New Yorker cartoons, a throwback from 2010:



A cartoon by Roz Chast, from 2010. #TNYcartoons

A post shared by The New Yorker Cartoons (@newyorkercartoons) on


I must also take a moment to gush over the platter I used in this shoot–it’s handmade by potter Monika Dalkin and was acquired on a recent trip up to Seattle. Her studio is Fifty One and a Half, and this platter I purchased from her is magical–with its soft curves, bright white color, it makes me giddy to use! It’s the little things, right?

Macadamia Cheese with Dill (Vegan, DF, GF)

Macadamia Nut Vegan Cheese | TheSpicyBee


  • 165 grams (approximately 1 1/4 cups) Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts (grab ’em here)
  • 2 1/2 T Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/3 C reserved macadamia nut water
  • 2 T lemon juice + zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • 1/4 t Cumin
  • 1/2 t Garlic powder
  • Fresh cracked Pepper
  • 2 T Fresh dill, chopped (or more to taste)
  • 140 grams (approximately 1 cup) chopped Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts(optional, for rolling on cheese, see Option 2)


Begin by soaking the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts in hot water (~200°F) for up to an hour. If you’re using chopped macadamia nuts, you may shorten the soak time to 30 minutes. Strain, and reserve the water to the side. Combine all other ingredients in a food processer and blend until smooth, adding in the water midway through the blend. Once smooth, taste and add pepper and salt to taste. At this point it becomes a bit more of a “Choose Your Adventure” so read ahead and select one of the following options for serving.

Option 1: Transfer spread to lidded container and chill for 1+ hours prior to serving. This will allow you to serve as a spread (think, hummus-y), topped with additional fresh dill, pepper, and chopped hazelnuts.

Option 2: Transfer spread to a cheesecloth suspended over a bowl (I typically will use a rubberband to keep things in order), and refrigerate for 2 hours. This will strain out any additional liquid and make the cheese more malleable. Serve as a block or should your cheese sit longer than 2 hours, you will be able to roll the cheese in chopped roasted macadamia nuts and serve as a festive cheese ball!

Use any leftover dill sprigs you might have to line the bottom of your serving plate with some color–I like serving my cheese with a few different options–in the image you’ll see Belgian endive, radishes, baby carrots, and crackers.

This recipe serves 4.

Macadamia Nut Vegan Cheese | TheSpicyBee

Feast Portland 2017: A Growing City’s Biggest Celebration of Food & Drink | Image Series

Grand Bounty Feast Portland 2017 | @TheSpicyBee

In a city that feels many times to me like a small town, I always get a grin across my face when I find someone who hasn’t heard of Feast Portland yet.

 “Feast, really?” I gently chide, “Feast is a citywide celebration of food and drink–it takes over the city of Portland for four days full of hands on classes, themed collaborative meals, drink panels, and pop up festivals all in the name of a great cause–ending child hunger in the US.” This past year (Feast’s sixth by the way), the organization raised more than $72,000; not to mention welcoming a record 17,948 attendees throughout the weekend. This year, the four-day festival featured 45 unique events, with 134 chefs, 56 wineries, 17 breweries, 11 artisans, and 13 distilleries. Since its inception in 2012, Feast has raised over $370,000–no easy feat.

This year I wanted to focus a little more on sharing some of the amazing personalities that participate in Feast–so for the first time, I tried to get more shots of people, in addition to many drool-worthy food shots. This post is all about the Grand Tasting and Drink Tanks 😀

The Grand Tasting is a collection of food and drink for the sampling. Highlights for me this year included Wild Hawaiian Antelope from Nicky USA and Doug Adams, cheese from the Oregon Cheese Guild, and wine–all the wine, really, was marvelous.

Seared Pork Coppa, Seasonal Fruit and Papaya Salad | Feast Portland 2017 @TheSpicyBee

Seared Pork Coppa, Seasonal Fruit and Papaya Salad from Chef Earl Ninsom – Portland’s Hat Yai, Langbaan, and Paadee

Grand Bounty - Feast Portland 2017 | @TheSpicyBee

Grand Bounty was full of chefs! I caught GG (Chef Gregory Gourdet) of Departure plating up with Chef Ray Garcia of Broken Spanish and BS Taqueria.

Grand Bounty - Wailua Shave Ice - Feast Portland 2017 | @TheSpicyBee

Wailua Ice Triple Coconut

Cheese, Cheese, and More Cheese - Grand Tasting - Feast Portland 2017 | @TheSpicyBee

Cheese, Cheese, and More Cheese – Grand Tasting

Grand Tasting - Feast Portland 2017 | @TheSpicyBee

Ran into Jane of @InThePinkandGreen


Drink Tanks consist of in depth discussion and guided tastings through a specific beverage style. I made it to an educational pilsner talk with a four person industry panel and tasted 6 different examples of pilsners. This class was complete with a very Portland disruption by the Unipiper. If you’ve not heard of the Unipiper, you can learn more about him here.

Drink Tank on Pilsners | Feast Portland 2017

Drink Tank - Pilsners - Feast Portland 2017 | @TheSpicyBee

Drink Tank Panels – Pilsners – Feast Portland 2017 (From Left): Ben Edmunds (Breakside), Lisa Allen (Heater Allen), & Alan Taylor (Zoiglhaus)

(sorry, verticle video warning)


Next up: Smoked.


Cranberry Orange Cookies & Darigold’s Heat N’ Serve Hot Cocoa

Cranberry Orange Cookies and Darigold Heat N' Serve Hot Cocoa | TheSpicyBee

This post is sponsored by Darigold. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

As the temperatures dip, and the days shorten, my choice of beverages tend toward the warmer options. Let’s be honest, once October ends, apple cider goes bye-bye and it’s hello, cocoa. I recently teamed up with Darigold to help spread the word on their new Heat N’ Serve Hot Cocoa. It’s a rich and thick cocoa, good on its own or topped with marshmallows or whipped cream. I wanted to try a different approach to sweets with cocoa and that’s how the idea for this post came about. At first, chocolate and mint pairings came to mind, however, with more time I decided that winter citrus seems to compliment this cocoa beyond any expectation. 

Darigold Heat N' Serve Hot Cocoa

This recipe for cranberry orange cookies is one I can see making for Thanksgiving, your work cookie swap, or if you’re expecting any particular bearded, red-suited man this December; yes, perhaps some for him as well. This cookie keeps moist even a few days in, and the frosting sets beautifully for handling later. I think the recipe could be adjusted to taste for the level of citrus and cranberry tartness, so have some fund with the ratios of zest. I include zest from the orange and fresh cranberries in both the cookie and the frosting–but it would be easy to keep all the zest in the cookie and top with cranberry jam or orange marmalade. A build-your-own-cookie bar could also be fun–festive toppings beyond the previously mentioned include: crushed roasted almonds, candied orange rinds, freeze-dried mandarins, chocolate shavings, and more!

Be sure to store this cookie in an air-tight container and avoid stacking cookies if possible, as even at set, the frosting is thick and could cause cookies to stick to one another. This cookie could be decorated as well. I could see some fun disco dust, homemade sprinkles, or dried cranberries. At the end of the day, the easiness of baking this cookie will have you gobbling up no less than 3 per sitting–you’ve been warned 😉

Cranberry Orange Cookies

 Cranberry Orange Cookies Paired with Darigold's Hot Cocoa



  • 6 T Butter, softened
  • 2/3 Cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 C orange juice
  • Zest of 6-8 cranberries, grated
  • Zest of 1 orange, grated
  • 1 1/3 C all purpose flour
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 3/4 t baking powder


  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • 1/4 C orange juice
  • Zest from 1 orange, grated

Cranberry Orange Cookies with Darigold's Heat 'N Serve Cocoa | The Spicy Bee


Preheat oven to 350° F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet. Cream the butter, zests (both orange and cranberry), and sugar until light in fluffy. Incorporate in the egg until thoroughly combined. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Once mixed together, slowly incorporate the dry to the wet ingredients, switching between the dry ingredients and the orange juice until both are thoroughly combined within the batter. Drop onto your prepared cookie sheets 2 inches from each cookie and flatten using the back of a warm spoon.

Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies just start to hint at a golden edge. Avoid overcooking. Remove immediately to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly before icing.

For the icing itself, mix all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Let sit for 10 minutes to thicken slightly. Spread on cooled cookies. Serve alongside some Darigold Heat N’ Serve Hot Cocoa.
Makes 2 dozen

Cranberry Orange Cookies with Darigold's Heat 'N Serve Cocoa | The Spicy Bee