Almond Butter

On this harvest spoon… Almond butter!

When I am craving something dessert-like, filling, and indulgent, nothing satisfies like almond butter.  I love the creamy, slightly gritty texture. With that said, almond butter can be expensive, so making it yourself is great.

It is quite easy to make almond butter.  The most important thing in my opinion is to start by roasting the raw almonds because this will get the oils flowing in the almonds and get some heat conducting so that when the almonds are blended, they will have a head start in transforming into a glorious butter.

Personally, I do not like adding oil to my almond butter.  Adding oil will definitely speed up the process but I feel like it weighs down the almond butter and adds an odd flavor since you have the natural almond oil mixing with whatever oil is added. I also am not a fan of adding sweetener to my almond butter strictly for taste purposes.  If you want to add sweetener, feel free.  As with the oil, hold off.  It is not necessary as your almonds will release their own oils.

My almond butter contains 2 ingredients: raw almonds and salt to balance things out.

STEP ONE: Roasting

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Before you can start blending your almonds, I suggest you dry roast your almonds in a skillet.  I dry roast until the almonds start getting brown and taste extra nutty.

STEP TWO: Almond Butter Making

For almond butter, I think a food processor or high speed blender works perfectly.  The food processor allows you to scrape down the bowl easier, but the high speed blender provides more power.  It is up to you which equipment you want to use. I went with a high speed blender.

Making almond butter takes a bit of time, but the rest of the work happens in your blender.  Put the almonds in the blender with a couple pinches of salt and turn it on!

The almonds will first break down into small pieces, but shortly you will notice your blade has no almonds left to blend as they are all over the side of the blender bowl.  Just scrape the almonds down and turn the blender back on.  You will have to do this multiple times.  *This is the time when many people will add oil because it will make the process easier, but just give it time! Keep scraping the bowl and pushing the almonds down.  You will eventually notices your almonds look like several stages of wet sand.

Eventually your almonds will reach a creamy stage and start looking like almond butter.20180929_134047.jpg

Give it a taste for textural purposes. I continue to blend and periodically taste for texture. After a few minutes, you will end up with creamy, smooth, WARM, almond butter!

Put it in a mason jar or storage container and keep it in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Eggy Mac

On this harvest spoon… Eggy Mac!

With a craving for carbonara, but the laziness preventing me from getting bacon, I was left with eggy mac and cheese. This is definitely not carbonara, but it is made creamy in the same way as carbonara, with eggs.

This dish is a quick and easy mac and cheese since a bechamel does not need to be made.  This eggy mac only requires 6 ingredients: pasta, eggs, parm or pecorino, lemon, salt, and pepper.  Traditional mac requires many more.  I also thought this was lighter than mac since because you aren’t making a bechamel, you don’t have to flavor your bechamel with tons of cheese.

This mac has a creamy sauce from the eggs and it is so easy and delicious.

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Give it a try!

Recipe

  • 16 oz pasta
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup parmesan or pecorino
  • lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Mix your eggs, cheese, and enough salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  2.  Cook your pasta very al dente.You want them tough so that they can continue to cook in the sauce.  Make sure your water is salted; this is necessary because your pasta water will be used in your sauce and you don’t want your sauce to be lacking sauce.  Also, make sure you reserve 2 cups of pasta water. Drain pasta and put back into your pot
  3. Add most of your pasta water to your egg mixture and mix it quickly to temper the eggs so that they don’t scramble.  Add the egg mixture to the pasta and mix quickly.  At first, the dish may look watery, but once the egg cooks, it will thicken the sauce. Turn the heat on low to get the temp up a little and so that you can get the sauce thickening.
  4. TIPS if your sauce goes wrong.
    1. If your sauce is too thick- thin it out with a little pasta water.
    2. If your sauce is too thin or too salty- Crack an egg in a bowl and mix it with some of your pasta water.  Add this to your pasta and mix quickly until it thickens.

20180922_161016Enjoy!

Grilled Pizza!

On this harvest spoon… grilled pizza!

The biggest cooking struggle that I face is making pizza dough.  I have attempted making homemade pizza dough many times and never manage to make it taste good.  It is either too bland, too dense, or it totally falls apart.  Being someone who loves pizza, I continually try to make good pizza dough, but I am a far ways away!  Until I successfully make pizza dough, I buy store bought dough for my pizza, either from the grocery store or from a local pizza shop.

I make up for my non-homemade pizza dough by making my own pizza sauce.  Since it is the summer, I love to peel homegrown san marzano tomatoes, cook them down for a bit with good olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, and pecorino or parmigiano cheese.  Canned san marzano tomatoes work perfectly as well. Be sure to cool your pizza sauce before you assemble your pizza.  Hot pizza sauce makes for doughy pizza.

For the longest time, I was using fresh mozzarella on my pizza when I wanted to go all out and I was always left with an okay, soggy pizza.  When I would try to keep it cheap and easy, I would get the shredded mozzarella and the pizza would turn out amazing.  I quickly began to realize that fresh mozzarella is not the way to go with pizza because there is way too much moisture.  I now buy non-fresh mozzarella blocks and grate them or chop them up.  This has been yielding the best pizza for me.

I love to grill pizza because I am left with the crispiest crust.  For grilling pizza, I recommend to put olive oil on the dough, put it on the grill, rub the other side with oil, flip the dough, add the toppings, and then close the grill!  The last time I grilled pizza, I put the dough on, and added the toppings right away.  This left me with delicious pizza, but I think it could’ve been better (and prettier) if both sides were grilled.

For toppings,  I love to top my pizza with roasted green peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, arugula, or sausage. For this grilled pizza, I kept it simple with tomato sauce, mozzarella, fresh basil, and parmigiano.  10 or so minutes on the grill and you have a wonderful dinner!

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Enjoy!