Daring Cooks July Challenge: Nut butters

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.
This month I missed the Cooks challege because I was hiking in the Norwegian woods. We came back at the 14th, I had to go to work the next day and do a 24h duty, so there was no time left for cooking and presenting. A few deays later I catched up on the challenge. I don't wanted to miss the great idea of a dich with a creamy sauce just made out of nuts. I had some cashews, 'asian-style' vegetables in the freezer and some Mie noodles left, so I made a tasty leftovers dish. I guess I am going to make an ice cream with the rest of my butter, so thanks to Margie and Natashya for this challenge!
Turkey with Mie noodles in cashew (nut butter) sauce (recipe below)

Making Nut Butters
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 are depending on the type of nut used.
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. 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. To use nut butters in sauces as a substitute for heavy cream, first make a nut cream. Whisk the nut butter with about twice the volume of water, adding more water until you reach your desired consistency. For example, start with ¼ cup (60 ml) nut butter with ½ cup (120 ml) water; add more water as needed.

Cashew Nut Butter
  • 200 g cashew nuts
  • about 4 tablespoons of sesame oil
Process the ingredients as described above.

Turkey with Mie noodles in cashew (nut butter) sauce
  • 400 g turkey filet
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • one teaspoon brown sugar
  • one teaspoon water
  • one teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 150 g mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, sprouts - or ready mixed 'asian style' from the freezer)
  • 200 g Mie noodles
  • 40 g Cashew nut butter
  • 100 ml chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon red curry paste
  • salt and pepper
Mix sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, water and vinegar together. Marinate turkey filet in mixture at least for an hour at room temperature. Cook Mie noodles according to instructions on package. In a pan, heat oil and fry the curry paste until it starts smelling. Raise heat and add noodles and vegetables and stir until evenly covererd with paste and light brown. Add the nut butter and gradually the chicken stock until you have a sauce with a consistency you like. Season with salt and pepper. In a second pan, fry the filets from both sides until done and cut in stripes. Serve on top of the noodles.

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