Wednesday, July 14, 2010

nut butters - daring cooks challenge for july

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

The nut butters were fairly easy to make but it meant using a food processor.  My food processor of twenty years recently packed it in.  I had to borrow my mother's food processor for the pate challenge and my girlfriend offered to lend me hers for the nut butter challenge.  I finally ordered another food processor but only after GWH researched it inside and out because that's what he does.  Just sayin'. 

Anyways, last night as I am making my last recipe for this challenge, look what showed up.  Listen, can you hear that?  It's me making  Tim "The Toolman" Taylor sounds.

It is a beautiful thing and I can't wait to use it but timing is everything!
Where were you when I needed you?!

There were four recipes provided to us and we had the option of choosing from these and/or choosing one of our own using a nut butter in a savory dish.  I made three out of the four recipes as well as a few of my own creations. 

These were the recipes that were provided:


This recipe was quite good.  Curry, need I say more?

This recipe was okay but if I made it again I would add something to kick it up a notch.

This is one that I didn't make but it looked interesting.


Of all the recipes provided, the Asian Noodle Salad was by far the most memorable.  This sauce was like music on your tongue and when the song was over the notes lingered deliciously.  This is a tune that I will play over and over again.  Mmmm happy place.


Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew Dressing

Ingredients:
Cashew Butter
1 cup cashews

 Cashew Dressing
1/2 inch (1 cm) slice of fresh ginger, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup (120 ml) cashew butter
1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce
3 tbsp (45 ml) sugar
 I used only 1 tbsp of sugar
3 tbsp (45 ml) vinegar
3 tbsp (45 ml) sesame oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp (75 ml) water
Hot sauce to taste (optional)
I used about a tablespoon of Hot Chili Sauce (Rooster Sauce)


Noodle Salad
1/2 lb (225 g) linguine or rice noodles
I used rice noodles
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1/2 lb (225 g) small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
I used leftover pork tenderloin cut into small strips
1 large red bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into thin strips
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, sliced
1/4 cup (60 ml) slice green onions
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh basil
I used 1/2 cup (120 ml) cilantro
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped cashews (optional garnish)
Lime wedges (optional)
I also added mango, carrots and blanched green beans and I julienned all the vegetables. 


Directions
  1. Make cashew butter: Grind cashews in food processor for about 2 minutes until smooth.
  2. Prepare cashew dressing:  Combine ginger garlic, cashew butter, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and water in food processor or blender.  Process blend until smooth.  Be sure to process long enough to puree the ginger and garlic.  The dressing should be pourable, about the same thickness as cream.  Adjust consistency - thinner or thicker - to your liking by adding more water or cashew butter.  Taste and add your favourite hot sauce if desired.  (If the cashew butter was unsalted you may want to add salt to taste) Makes about 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) dressing.  Store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator.
  3. Prepare noodles according the package instructions in salted water.  Rinse and drain noodles.  Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in large non-stick pan over medium heat.  Add shrimp to the pan and saute for about 3 to 4 minutes or until opaque throughout.  Alternatively, cook shrimp in boiling water for about 2 to 3 minutes or until done.
  5. Slice basil into thin ribbons.  Combine noodles, bell pepper, cucumber, onions, and basil in a large bowl.  Add about 1/2 cup (120 ml) cashew dressing, toss gently to coat.  Add more cashew dressing as desired, using as much or as little as you'd like.  Scatter shrimp on top.  Squeeze fresh lime juice over salad or serve with lime wedges.  Sprinkle with chopped cashews, if desired.

Throughout the month, I had leftover nut butters hanging out in the fridge so anything that I was making was fair game to be nuttered.  I would be like, "Hmm I wonder what this would taste like if I just added some Almond Butter".  The following are the dishes that I chose to enhance with Nut Butters and I think they turned out quite well.

 Lettuce Wraps 

with Peanut Sauce

Cedar-Planked Sockeye Salmon
glazed with Teriyaki Almond Butter and...


...served with Fruit Salsa


I recently had this wonderful, decadent Cashew Soup at a Dinner Club and it was the inspiration for this recipe. I had leftover Maple Salmon that was destined to become chowder so I decided to make the Salmon Chowder and add Cashew Butter.  Good call.  It was quite delicious.  I would suggest serving it in small portions, though; perhaps as a starter to a meal, as it is very rich. 



Salmon Chowder with Cashew Butter


Ingredients:
1 medium onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, pressed
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
2 carrots, chopped
2 cups baby potatoes, halved or quartered
3/4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 1/2 cups homo milk
2 cups salmon, cooked and broken into chunks
3/4 cup cashew butter

Directions:
Saute onions, garlic and celery in a little oil or butter until tender.  Add carrots, potatoes, white wine and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.  Simmer until vegetables are tender.  Add milk, salmon and cashew butter.  Heat through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If the chowder is too thick, add some more milk until you get the desired consistency.


I thoroughly enjoyed this nutty challege.  It was fun to create these dishes and fun to eat them, of course, but it was also great to see what the other Daring Cooks came up with.  There is amazing skill and creativity out there.  Check out some of the others here.

16 comments:

  1. You made so many stunning meals, the cedar plank salmon looks so good restaurant quality. And I agree with you the Asian noddle sauce is a symphony that is playing at crescendo a flavour profile that explodes in the mouth so so good. I really like the chowder a great way to use up the salmon it must of been so delicious. And yes the new processor is wonderful I got one also for my birthday.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

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  2. Wow I love the salmon chowder, looks very thick and rich, delicious! Good job!

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  3. Wow, that salmon has me drooling!

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  4. I have to agree with all above, the cedar planked salmon i'll be dreaming about!

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  5. Wow - I am so impressed with the variety of things that you tried, both specifically for the challenge, then just to use up the leftovers! So creative, and everything looks SO delicious. That new food processor looks awesome too - just think of all the different nut butters you can make now, and all the new recipes you can try?? :)

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  6. Everything looks so, so good and I am impressed that you came up with a variety of recipes. Great job!

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  7. That food processor looks so shiny & new, but it clearly will get a lot of use in your kitchen. Wow... I love all your creative uses of nut butters. Your salmon cashew chowder looks amazing, thanks for sharing the recipe. And the teriyaki almond salmon looks like a winner. Love the idea of peanut sauce with lettuce wraps.

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  8. The picture of your food processor brings tears of joy to my eyes. :) You gave me an idea to make lettuce wraps on days that its too hot to eat noodles. OOh and salmon chowder with cashew butter...I am hungry now. :)

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  9. I have been seeing nut butters everywhere....I really had no idea they were that easy to make!! wow....love all those great recipes, especially the cashew dressing!

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  10. As the one who actually gets try all of these delicious treats... I must say it is an honor to be your Guinea Pig. Please do keep up the great work because it truly shines through as your passion. The cedar planked Salmon was my favorite followed by the Asian salad. I would highly recommend these recipes to everyone.
    BTW: I did not research the food processor as much as you think I did. ;-)

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  11. I can't wait to try every single recipe. Way to inspire me, and do all the work for me. Now I have no excuse about what to cook for dinner. I am eagerly awaiting your next challenge.
    Sandra

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  12. Mmmmm... the salmon chowder looks like something I must try! Wonderfully done!

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  13. Your reference to the Asian dressing as music is inspired as was your creativity with using all the nut butters. Glazing fish with it never would have occurred to me; I felt adventurous when I "breaded" fish with almond meal. Enjoy the new toy!!

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  14. I want music on my tongue!!!!

    :D

    Wow, what a great line up this month! I've got the green monster poking me telling me I need to try these things. Well done!

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  15. Although different colors, you appear to now own the same food processor as us. We can say that we've had great successes with it.

    You've come up with some great uses for the Nut Butters and that Salmon looks awesome. Well done!

    We strongly recommend you have a go at the dip. We loved ours (just followed the recipe as listed) and have it signed up as a participant for our Thanksgiving Party.

    Stay JOLLY!
    D&S

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  16. I'm so impressed you made so many nut butter recipes. I really love the way you wrote about the Asian Noodle Salad. It summed up my feelings exactly.

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