Friday, 16 July 2010

I'm late. I'm late !!! - Daring cooks do Nut Butters

Opps missed the reveal date for Daring Cooks this month. Sorry!!

Better late than never I hope.

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.

Margie and Natashya challenged us to make some more un-usual nut butters and use them to cook. I loved the idea and planned to do more than  did but then ended up clearing out the freezer which limited what I was cooking rather. I will however be making more of my own nut butters from now on as it's is very easy and one of my boys quite likes the flavour of nuts but hates the texture so this is a great way to get more into his diet! With school holidays coming up I can see lots of nut flavoured cakes and things on the horizon. I have also just got a grain mill so am hoping to do a whole bunch of flours to try as well !

Anyway to the challenge recipe I tried one of the our hosts they gave us which was Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew (or Peanut) Dressing the recipe for which at the end of the post. I managed to fail slightly in that I had no ginger when I came to make the sauce.. something I always have in the fridge ! But even without the ginger it was still really nice.

I really liked how simple it was to make and it reminded me to do more dishes with uncooked vegetables which is a good thing. I didn't have any shrimp so I cooked some bacon till crispy and used that. The vegs we had were carrot, cucumber, tomato and mushroom along with some cress for garnish which worked very well with the sauce.

The Cashews made a great change from peanut which is the only nut I'd normally think to use in such things and I will definetly do using more different nuts in future.

Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew (or Peanut) Dressing
Yield: 4 servings
Recipe notes: Customize the salad by adding or substituting your favorite vegetables. Shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, and slivered carrots would make nice additions. Obviously, you can omit the shrimp, or substitute chicken or tofu or the protein of your choice. The dressing is equally as good with peanut butter rather than cashew butter. We tested the dressing with nut butters made from salted cashews & peanuts with good results.
Cashew Butter:
1 cup (240 ml) cashews*
Cashew Dressing:
½ inch (1 cm) slice of fresh ginger, chopped
8 cloves garlic, more or less to taste, chopped
½ cup (120 ml) cashew butter
¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) sugar
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) vinegar
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) toasted sesame oil
¼ cup plus 1 Tablespoon (75 ml) water
Hot sauce to taste (optional)
Noodle Salad:
1/2 pound (225 g) linguine or thin rice noodles
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1/2 pound (225 g) small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 large red bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into thin strips
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, sliced
1/4 cup (60 ml) sliced green onions
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped cashews (optional garnish)
Lime wedges (optional)
  1. Make cashew butter: Grind cashews in food processor for about 2 minutes until smooth. (*Or start with ½ cup (120 ml) prepared cashew butter.)
  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 favorite hot sauce if desired. (If the cashew butter was unsalted, you may want to add salt to taste.) Makes about 1 ½ cups (360 ml) dressing. Store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator.
  3. Prepare noodles according to 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 sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes or until opaque throughout. Alternately, 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 ½ 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.