Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Oh Nutty Me
Lately I've been playing with nuts. It all started at the farmer's market. A lady had a stall there and she was selling gourmet nut butters. The idea of going beyond plain old peanut butter intrigued my daughter and she started making her own nut butters. Then she showed me how to do it and the simplicity of it made me a fan, too. Now I'm going nuts with nuts.
Over on Simple Bites I've got an article about how to make nut butters in your food processor. Here I'm going to tell you about how to make them in a VitaMix blender (or something equally heavy duty). Either method will work, but the Vitamix gives you a smoother product.
The first step is selecting the nut or nut blend you want to work with. Each nut has it's own flavor, texture, and nutrition profile. The fun part is blending them together, adding complementary spices, if desired, to create your own tasty masterpiece.
My current favorite is a dreamy, creamy blend of macadamia nuts, cashews, and Brazil nuts. It's so amazing that sometimes it never makes it onto a piece of bread. We will eat it by the spoonful straight from the jar. Every time I savor a smooth, creamy mouthful, I dream of swirling it into brownies, ladling it over ice cream, or using it as a layer cake filling.
Amazingly, something that tastes this fabulous is also good for you.
~ Cashews contain 5 grams of protein per ounce and have high levels of the essential minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and manganese.
~ Macadamia nuts are a good source of protein, calcium, potassium and dietary fibre and are very low in sodium. The natural oils in macadamias contain 78 per cent monounsaturated fats, the highest of any oil including olive oil.
~ Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which is important for prostate health, as well as Vitamin E and lycopene, important anti-oxidants.
Heavenly Macashew Brazil Butter
1 cup shelled Brazil nuts
1 cup raw or roasted cashews
1 cup plain macadamia nuts
pinch of salt
1- Toss all of the ingredients into the containter of a Vitamix (or other powerful blender).
2- Select Variable 1
3- Turn the machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.
4- In 1 minute you will hear a high-pitched chugging sound. Once the butter begins to flow freely through the blades, the motor sound will change and become low and laboring. Stop the machine. Taste the nut butter and adjust the seasonings, adding a bit more salt, if needed, or sprinkling in a little Stevia, if you'd like it a bit sweeter.
5- Using a rubber spatula, scrape the nut butter into an airtight container (I like to recycle glass jars for this) and store in the refrigerator.