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The Daring Kitchen Challenges

July 14, 2010 – Challenge 1: 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 was my first month as a Daring Cook so I was very excited to complete July’s Nut Butter challenge. The challenge was to make a fresh nut butter from scratch then use it in a savory dish.  I have never attempted to make a nut butter before, so it was definitely a new experience. Since it was my first challenge, I decided to use one of the four provided recipes: the Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew Dressing.

The only ingredient needed for the cashew butter was cashews. I wanted to use unsalted cashews but I couldn’t find them so I purchased the salted cashews offered in bulk at my local grocery store. I also bought a fresh ginger root, cucumber, green onions, and garlic. The rest I had in my pantry. The basil I grow in my garden and was very excited to find a recipe that calls for fresh basil. I had to omit the red bell pepper, as I am allergic; however, followed the recipe exactly as instructed. I used frozen shrimp that I purchased that was already peeled and deveined.

Nut Butter

The directions for the cashew butter was really simple. Just grind the cashews in a food processor until smooth. The cashew butter I thought was rather dry so I added a teaspoon of sesame oil and it was much smoother (see photo on left).

Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew Dressing

The  instructions said to use the nut butter to make the cashew dressing. Making the dressing was simple by combining everything in the food processor. I did not add any additional salt, since the cashews were salted. Also, I also did not use the full 8 cloves of garlic that the recipe called for. I only used 4. I could have added at least one or two more cloves; the final product wasn’t heavy on garlic tasting in the end, at all. Once it was finished, I chilled in the refrigerator.

For the noodles, I also used genuine rice noodles that I had in my pantry left over from when I make Pad Thai.I sauteed the shrimp in my nonstick wok.

Overall, I thought that the dish was very simple; however, there were many steps, but thought for my first challenge it was pretty easy. See the final product below.

My husband, Ben really liked it but would like me to find a “substitute” for bell pepper since I am allergic. Any ideas anyone?


8 Responses

  1. Congrats on your first challenge! the final dish looks great. I would have added fresh cherry tomatoes in lieu of red peppers.

    • Hi Olga, Thank you! You were my inspiration to join the Daring Kitchen, after all. 🙂
      I would add cherry tomatoes in lieu of red peppers, but my husband hates tomatoes! Any OTHER suggestions? Thanks 🙂 xo

  2. Welcome to the Daring Cooks! What a fantastic job on your first challenge – your noodle salad looks absolutely delicious. I didn’t make this one (though I did make a version of the dressing – YUM!), but the recipe looks so versatile, I think you could totally play with any combination of veggies that you like to make it suit you! Great work on your first challenge.

  3. Welcome and hello to the daring Cooks’ and congratulations on your 1st challenge.

    Stunning work on this challenge. Love your plating.

    Brocolli stalks (save the florettes for something else) cut the same way would add green crispness to your dishes.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australlia.

  4. Welcome to the Daring Cooks. Your cashew butter looks so creamy & delicious. And great presentation on your noodle salad! I think snap peas or carrots would add some nice crunch.

    • Thanks Shelley, Audax, and Margie. I think once I get the swing of things and I’ve done a few challenges, I will be more “daring” in adding in some of my own touches. I love the snap peas and julienned carrots idea. I appreciate your comments. Thank you.

  5. Your dish looks great! I am fairly new to DC as well (This is my second challenge) and I am having a lot of fun with it.

    I added mango, carrot and blanched green beans to my salad.

  6. Don’t you just love one ingredient recipes…

    Even without the peppers it looks like a great success. Well done!

    Stay JOLLY!

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