Tag Archives: butter

Homemade Creamy Almond Butter. Yes, It Exists.

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Maybe it’s just me that’s finally figuring it out – I’m usually the last one to figure stuff out.  Apparently, I’ve been making almond butter all wrong for the past year.

I wasn’t processing it long enough.

I started making almond butter after reading about it on Mark’s Daily Apple, a site where I first started learning about Primal and Paleo diets.  Maybe I read it wrong.  I don’t know, and I don’t remember.  I’d add some raw almonds, coconut oil, and salt into my food processor, and then whirl it a bit.  It would come out like a chunky nut butter, but it wasn’t very spreadable.  My son and husband would eat it anyway, spooning it onto apples or bananas or chunks of bread.

So the other day, I noticed a jar of peanut butter on the counter.  I was slightly horrified.  My son had bought it because he missed the creamy-ness of it.  Peanut butter is actually very bad, bad, bad for you, and peanuts aren’t actual tree nuts either.  Look it up on Google, or even in the dictionary, if you don’t believe me.

Hey, I love peanut butter, especially on toasted English muffins.  Mmmmm… that’s the best.  But I’m trying to eat healthier, and peanuts are a no-no.

Anyway, I felt bad that I couldn’t make creamy almond butter for my son.  I didn’t think it was possible.  So I went online and searched for recipes.  I found a lot, and they all stated that almond butter can be as creamy as peanut butter.  I love a challenge, and any experiment gets me excited.

I got my food processor out and threw in:

3 cups raw almonds  (I bought a big bag at Costco, but I know you can buy them at Sprouts in the bins.)
3 turns on the grinder Himalayan pink salt  (A large pinch of any salt will do.)

Most of the recipes I read had 10 minutes for the processing time.  Mine took closer to 15 minutes, including stopping it to scrape down the sides.

I promise I’m not lying about the creamy part.  I thought it was a lie.  I was standing there watching the almonds go round and round, thinking for sure it would need some oil to make it even close to creamy.  Every time I opened it to scrape the sides down, I kept thinking to myself, “Creamy?  My ass.  This is never going to get creamy.  Liars!

But I kept going out of curiosity.  Here are the stages I witnessed:

1)  Bolus.  It formed a large, clumpy ball, that just stuck to one side and didn’t move.  Then it just gets pushed around and around the side of the container.

2)  Pottery wheel.  I shit you not.  An indentation formed in the middle of that clump and, moving round and round, looked like it was forming a fancy vase.

3)  Creamy.  The vase was whipped apart and, I’ll be damned, it got creamy!

Mind you, this nut butter isn’t as smooth and creamy as Jif.  I don’t think that’s even possible, using a food processor.

Also, many of the recipes stated that if you add coconut oil or honey to the butter that it will decrease its shelf life.  I didn’t see any explanation of why that is, and I haven’t looked into the science of it either.  It does sound a little suspicious to me, though, because coconut oil and honey can sit practically forever, without refrigeration.  So how it could reduce the almond butter’s shelf life is a mystery to me.

Regardless, great add-ins for small, personal helpings are honey, shredded coconut, cocoa powder and/ or nibs.  Use your imagination and your taste-buds!  You can even roast the nuts, and then process them.

You can, also, substitute this almond butter in place of peanut butter in cookies and other recipes.  I’ve made an experimental flour-less, gluten-free cookie recipe with almond butter and cocoa powder that tasted, and had the consistency of, cake-y brownies.  I’ll have to perfect it first, before posting it.

Dear readers, do you have any good recipes using almond butter or a yummy almond butter recipe of your own?

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Pierogi Made Easy

pierogi

Pierogi are made with unleavened dough for the dumplings.  They are generally semi circular and boiled or fried.  They are most commonly filled with savory foods such as cheese, ground meats and cabbage.  The Russian variety generally uses a yeast bun that is risen and filled prior to baking.  There is a Russian form of pierogi but it’s called pelmeni, or the Ukrainian variety known as varenyky.

The EASY way…I know I’m getting there 🙂 is to BUY a frozen bag of pre-made pierogi.  This may require a trip to a specialty store, but it’s worth it.

Follow the cooking instructions on the package.  This is usually just to fill a large pot with a lot of salted water, like if you were cooking pasta, and boil the peirogi until they float to the top.

In a frying pan, add some butter and garlic and heat to medium, having the pan ready to add the peirogi.

Have a pie pan or flat pan with seasoned bread crumbs ready.  The smaller the bread crumbs the better.  You can make your own or used pre-seasoned packaged bread crumbs.

Next, carefully remove the pierogi from the pot with a slotted spoon and place into the bread crumb mixture.  The water from the pot will be sufficient for the amount of bread crumbs you want on the pierogi.

Lightly cover the pierogi, they don’t need to be coated, just flip them over a few times in the bread crumbs.

Add the breaded pierogi, as many as you can fit with room to flip over, to the frying pan and fry until the bread crumb mixture is brown.  You may need to add more butter, or use whatever cooking oil you prefer.  I like the taste of butter, but cooking oil is easier for this application.

When they are brown remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate covered with a paper towel to drain excess oil.

Now they are ready to serve.  We don’t usually use a sauce, although a mushroom sauce of any kind is very good.

We usually serve these with mashed potatoes and a salad made of cabbage, beets, carrots, vinegar and sugar.  I’ll get the recipe for the salad for next week.

Enjoy!

Em

 

 

 

Shrimp With The HEADS ON!

shrimp

Yep, I said with the heads on.  And the shells, and the legs and the tails. 

My family loves seafood.  They love shrimp, or prawns.  My daughter will eat the tails of the shrimp and crispy fins of fish.  She is otherwise picky which made this seem so odd to us at first.  I, on the other hand, do not enjoy the tails or fins of any creature, although I’ve heard oxtail soup is amazing.  I want to try that someday.

We have a giant Korean supermarket by my house.  My daughter and I went to buy some shrimp one night for dinner.  The least expensive was fresh water prawns.  They were full prawns with the heads and tails..everything.  I bought a couple of pounds of them and they were AMAZING!I  My husband was not excited about this until he peeled and ate one.  He still talks about how these were the best prawns he had ever had!  He got past the heads and legs real quick after the first one.

All of the flavor is in the head and shell of the shrimp.  I have heard this numerous times, but didn’t understand the immense difference until I made this.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and toss the prawns or shrimp in.  Cook until pink and opaque, not long, you don’t want to overcook them.

Drain and serve with melted butter and lemon or garlic butter.

It’s more work to peel them, but I guarantee you will love them.  They are a treat because they aren’t cheap, so why not get the best flavor possible?

I usually have French bread and a vegetable for sides.  The next day they are great on a salad, after you peel them and twist the heads off..yeah, I know, trust me, it’s better than good!  I must say I only had some left over once.  We had steak that night too, so we were full.  Other than that I have never had any left.  Now I only buy the whole shrimp, or prawn. 

Em