Nut Butters – Daring Cooks Challenge

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 recipes are here

I have made some nut butters before, but this challenge prompted me to try some additional butters and to use them in recipes.

The recipe for Chicken with Pecan Cream and Mushrooms appealed to me first, so here it is in the above picture.  The pecan butter was easily made in the food processor, and the remaining recipe was easy to do and quick. The resulting taste test proved that this is an easy and tasty meal.  Although this was very good, I might turn up the spicing a little next time as it was a little bland. It is gluten free as long as you serve it on a non gluten starch (I used mashed potatoes, my favourite, after all I am from PEI.)

Newest designer vegetable (I saw this in a cooking magazine headline!) Look at the greens on the plate, they are not green beans, they are garlic scapes from my garden. These are the flowering stalk of hard shell garlic that Greg plants in the fall.  The scapes are usually ready in late June here, and it is important that they are picked when the stalk does a 360 turn and just before the flower bud gets too large.  They are delicious, the flavour is like asparagus with built in garlic.  They freeze well using green bean instructions (ie, parboil, cool in ice water, and bag.)

The next recipe I tried was the Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew Dressing.  This recipe is a definite keeper!  I happened to have some good cashews in the freezer, so I made the cashew version.  This makes a delicious dressing that is good on hot or cold noodles, or as a dipping sauce.  The only change I made to the recipe was to reduce the sugar from three tablespoons and instead used 2 teaspoons.  I do not like really sweet sauces, and anyway with sugar on the healthwise front less is more.  I put them on boiled and cooled whole wheat salba noodles, but this would be a gluten free meal on rice or quinoa instead, I occasionally have to have a wheat fix and let Greg make do with another starch!

For the understudy salad to make the picture appeal to your eyes first (let’s face it, isn’t that what you look at first  on my blog?) I raided the garden for greens (I found arugula, romaine, leaf lettuce, and spinach), even though they are a little bitter given the recent hot weather.  I also added mint leaves and nasturtium garnishes, and they actually added to the taste very well, especially the mint leaves.

Asian Salad with Cashew Nut Butter and Mint Leaves

Thanks you to the Natasha and Margie, this was a really interesting challenge and I am even going to make the rest of the recipes!  Overall, Nut Butter rocks!!

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