sábado, 17 de julho de 2010

Daring Cooks' Challenge - July 2010 - Nut Butters

Blog-checking lines: 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.

We could choose any nut of our preference. Nuts, cashews, macadamia, pecan, etc. And use this butter, made at home by ourselves, in a savory recipe. I loved the idea!

Although peanut butter is by far the most used one, my idea was to experiment with other nuts, test their flavors and combinations. Moreover, its use in savory recipes, make me very excited. Such mixing is common in Thai food, one of my favorites. Preferred both for the mix of flavors, colors and textures, as well as preferred for cooking. Always involves many ingredients, so many interesting things, like Thai curry paste, chili pepper, coconut milk, peanuts, soy sauce. The great secret of this cuisine is the balance between salty and sweet, sour and spicy.
Anyway, this is NOT the actual challenge.Another time I return to the theme of Thai cuisine.
The challenge. I decided to make four butters (daring or not?). Walnuts, macadamia nuts, cashew nuts and Pará nuts (you may know it by Brazil nuts). According to the site The Daring Kitchen, the best way to do any of these butters is with a food processor. Well, get to work.

In my first attempt, with macadamia, the food processor collapsed. I think it "thought" that after 22 years of faithful work, it deserved a vacation. Nothing else to do except appealing to blender. Hah, ya do not know how complicated it could be! No matter how strong my blender is, it does not work the same way as a processor. Who says it's all the same, does not know either.
The cashew nuts was by far the easiest to work with. Fell into the cup of the apparatus, and turned to dust and in less than two minutes had been "buttered". The Brazil nuts  behaved well, but I had to pour it bit by bit in the blender. Now, walnuts and macadamia ... What a hell.
Finally, among the dead and wounded were all rescued and the whole thing was even fun. Finished with four pots of butter in my hands, still half not knowing what to do with them. I chose a few recipes I've found here and there, all  were originally for peanut butter. I made some adjustments. See the end results of all this:

Nut Butters - as in DK site

The process for making various types of nut butters is essentially the same. Pour nuts into bowl of food processor. Grind the nuts in the processor until they form a paste or butter. The nuts first turn into powdery or grainy bits, then start to clump and pull away from the side of the bowl, and finally form a paste or butter. The total time required depends on the fat and moisture content of the nuts; grinding time will vary from roughly 1 to 4 minutes (assuming a starting volume of 1 to 2 cups [240 to 480 ml] nuts). Processing times for a variety of nuts are described below.

•You may add oil as desired during grinding to make the nut butter smoother and creamier or to facilitate grinding. Add oil in small increments, by the teaspoon for oily nuts like cashews or by the tablespoon for dryer/harder nuts like almonds. You may use the corresponding nut oil or a neutral vegetable oil like canola.

•The inclusion of salt in the nut butters is optional and to taste. If you make nut butters from salted nuts, peanuts or cashews for example, you will not need additional salt. We recommend making unsalted nut butters for use in the challenge recipes (and other savory recipes) since the recipes call for salt or salty ingredients. You can then adjust the salt to taste. If you are making nut butter for use as a spread, you should add salt according to your preference.

•Roasting the nuts before making nut butters is optional according to your preference. To roast nuts in the oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4). Spread nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until nuts are fragrant and a shade darker in color. Allow nuts to cool before grinding. Roasted nuts will make butter with darker color than raw nuts.

•It’s helpful to keep in mind that the yield of nut butter is about half the original volume of nuts. If you start with 1 cup nuts, you’ll get about ½ cup nut butter.

•The consistency of nut butters varies from thin & soft (almost pourable) to very thick and hard depending on the fat content of the nut. (See links below for nutrition info on variety of nuts.) Homemade nut butters will probably not be as smooth as commercial products.

•Homemade nut butters are more perishable than commercial products and should be stored in the refrigerator. The nut butters harden & thicken somewhat upon chilling.
Grilled Chicken with Thai Sauce
1kg chicken breast boneless

4  garlic cloves, minced
Juice of half a lemon

Thai Sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp pepper sauce
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
100ml coconut milk
Half cup of  cashew butter
Chicken stock
Chopped cilantro
Season the chicken breasts with salt, lemon and garlic. Let marinate for several hours. Grill the chicken in a skillet with minimal oil. Reserve.
Take another pan to heat and gradually add all the dressing ingredients, one by one. Do not believe much in the quantities described in the recipe. As I wrote there in the beginning of this post, the secret of Thai cuisine is the balance of flavors. Taste it, always and continually. None of the ingredients must stands out. As for the chicken stock, add little by little. The final consistency should be smooth, but thick and creamy. When it starts to boil, remove from the heat and then serve over the chicken.
This sauce also goes well with meat. I prepared the chicken for lunch. At dinner, homemade fried burger and served with plenty of sauce. Nobody complained ...

Brazil Nut Pancakes
The picture you see above is the sweet version of it. I made these pancakes with a little sugar and a pinch of salt. They were "neutral" and  I served with tangerine jelly or maple syrup, as well as with butter, cheese and ham. They were very good in both ways.
The original recipe was with peanut butter and I adapted it from here.

1 1 / 4 xic. wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1 / 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 / 2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 egg
1 / 4 cup Brazil nutsbutter
Melted butter, for greasing the pan
Mix all ingredients in a blender and blend for several minutes. Take a frying pan greased with melted butter over medium heat and pour into it 1 / 4 cup of batter each time. Fry until golden. Turn the pancake upside down and repeat the process.

Walnut Butter No Baking Cookies

Well, this No Baking thing didn't work for me. I'll explain later.
1cup brown sugar
1 / 4 cup margarine
3tablespoons powdered milk
4 tablespoons water
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup walnut butter
Chopped walnuts
1 / 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 / 4 cup chocolate chips
Mix sugar, margarine, powdered milk and water in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Lower heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring to avoid scorching. Remove from heat and stir in the oatmeal,walnut butter, chopped walnuts, vanilla and chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto a flat surface as pan lids. Let sit for about 10 minutes to set. 
According to the original recipe (here), it was enough. Cookies would dry and cool naturally. There was a warning: in very hot days they might not set as well. Well, the day was anything but warm. Brazilian standards, it was even chilly. But they don't set all. I then decided to bake (180°C) for several minutes, until golden. It worked. I liked it.

Macadamia Butter Ice Cream

This is old! Very old. Long ago, my mother, who is not much a fan of peanut butter, gave me a promotional booklet of a comercial brand of peanut butter with several recipes. It must have been published some 40 years.

2 egg yolks
300g heavy cream
1 / 2 cup sugar
1 / 2 cup  macadamia butter
Beat the egg yolks with a mixer. Add remaining ingredients and keep beating. Place the bowl in the freezer. When the edges begin to freeze, quickly beat it with the mixer again and return to freezer. Repeat the procedure until all the ice cream is firm but not hard. Cover the bowl well and keep in the freezer.
I served ice cream with walnut cookies. Wow!

Thanks to Margie and Natashya. I've enjoyed this challenge a lot. This was one of the best ones.

Também no Laboratório Gastronômico 

5 comentários:

FamilySpice disse...

Great job and great pictures! RIP Food Processor! I'm sure it was worth it!

Colleen Gonzalez disse...

What a pretty and yummy site you have. I'd like to try those walnut butter cookies but I have warm summers too so I think I'd have the same problem.

Maria Beatrix disse...

Thank you, Colleen. I doubt very much if those cookies would set even in a cold day. But I can tell you that few minutes in the oven did a great job.
I can picture myself with a big hot chocolate mug in one hand, those cookies in another hand, watching one of those good films you recommended...

David and Stacy disse...

Looks like everything worked out wonderfully in the end. So sorry to hear about the death of a dear friend. We like our Food Processor, but really don't expect to be getting anything like 22 years out of it...

Well done for all your efforts and dishes!


Maria Beatrix disse...

Thanks D&S.Glad you Liked it. And yes, i doubt very much if my next food processor will live that much...