cold salad of buckwheat soba, spinach, sugar snap peas, and strips of nori with cashew butter sauce
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.
Sorry for my seemingly never ending post but I went nuts with this challenge. I made 5 savory dishes and an easy sweet one using homemade nut butters. Nut butters are easy to make in a food processor, they are delicious and very healthy too.
First is one of the recipes given for this challenge, a noodle salad with cashew butter sauce. I omitted just one ingredient from the sauce (ginger), adjusted the seasonings to suit my taste, and added a few drops of sriracha sauce. The salad has cold Japanese buckwheat noodles, spinach, sugar snap peas, and strips of nori for a completely vegan dish. The mildly spicy cashew butter sauce is absolutely delicious with the cold noodle salad specially on a hot summer day.
Cold Buckwheat Noodle Salad
½ pound buckwheat soba, cooked and chilled on ice
blanched baby spinach, room temperature
precooked sugar snap peas, room temperature
cashew butter sauce
nori, cut into thin strips
cashew butter sauce
1 cup roasted unsalted cashews
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup cashew butter
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
sriracha hot sauce, to taste
- Make cashew butter: Grind cashews in food processor for about 2 minutes until smooth.
- Prepare cashew dressing: Combine garlic, cashew butter, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and water in food processor. Process until smooth and garlic is completely pureed.
- The dressing should be pourable, about the same thickness as cream. Adjust consistency to your liking by adding more water or cashew butter.
- Add a few drops of sriracha hot sauce if desired. Taste and add salt if needed.
2 cups rice flour
7 cups coconut milk
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste
¼ cup annatto seeds soaked in ¼ cup warm water
½ cup lightly toasted peanut butter
slices of hard boiled egg
cooked pork belly, sliced
cooked chicken breast, shredded
squares of banana leaves
- Toast the rice flour in a large non-stick wok or Dutch oven until light brown.
- Add the coconut milk, salt, sugar, and pepper and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Add the peanut butter and stir cook for 10 minutes.
- Divide this paste mixture into two parts leaving one part in the wok.
- Strain the annatto, discard the seeds and add the colored water to the remaining mixture in the wok and continue cooking for 2 minutes longer.
- Wrap the tamales: On three layers of banana leaves, put 3 tablespoons of the red mixture, then an equal amount of the white mixture, pat lightly to flatten, then arrange slices of pork or the shredded chicken, boiled peanut halves, and hard cooked eggs on top of mixture. Wrap each tamale and tie securely. Place the tamales in a steamer and steam for 2 hours.
I love Spanish tapas and one of the easiest to make is Albondigas, meat balls. After frying the meat balls they are usually simmered either in almond or tomato sauce.
Albondigas (Spanish Meatballs in Almond Sauce)
1 pound minced pork or beef
1 small onion, finely minced
1 clove finely minced garlic
2 slices bread, crusts removed and soaked in milk
1 egg beaten
1 tablespoon finely minced parsley
dash of nutmeg
olive oil for frying
flour for dusting
¼ cup olive oil
1 slice bread
½ cup almond butter
½ cup white wine
1 clove minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground clove
a pinch of saffron
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
chopped parsley and toasted slivered almond for garnish
- In a bowl combine all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix until well blended, then divide and shape into small walnut sized balls. Roll in flour and fry gently in hot oil until brown all over. Set aside and keep warm.
- Prepare the sauce: Fry the bread and garlic in the oil until golden, then put into a food processor along with the almond butter, black pepper, saffron, clove, and white wine. Process to a smooth paste. Pour this into the same pan and add the stock, mix well and bring to the boil. Add the meatballs to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Just before serving add a squeeze of lemon, a little chopped parsley and a few slivers of toasted almonds.
The last dish is also Filipino called Kare Kare, a meat stew colored with annatto seed oil. It has lots of peanut butter and an assortment of precooked vegetables and served with salty fermented shrimp fries called bagoong (bah-goh-ong). The usual vegetables are yardlong beans, banana blossoms, baby bokchoy, and Asian eggplant. I had some pig tails already boiled and stored in the freezer with the broth and made the peanut butter with medium dark roasted peanuts. My favorite Kare Kare is made with ox tail, recipe and photos here.
pig tail kare kare
And I couldn't resist making something sweet out of peanut butter and chocolate chips. I mixed equal amounts of peanut butter and chocolate chips then added powdered sugar until crumbly but holds its shape. These are similar to candies in the Philippines called Choc*Nut.
Thank you Margie and Natashya for coming up with this surprisingly delicious and delightful challenge.:p