We’ve had a tiny taste of Spring here in Chicago…Thursday afternoon, it was as if the entire city awakened from its long winter slumbers, took a deep breath and went outside to drink in the warmer weather. But these first days of spring are no time for slow strolls by the lake…the first breath of Spring is a time for leaping, for sprinting, for getting out into the city parks and as Nike says – Just Do It! I was on my bike for the first time in nearly 4 months, and SO happy to be back on two wheels. I have the best commute in the world the 8 months of the year that I’m on bike.
We also know that winter does not let go so easily in this city, and there may be cold, gray days ahead, perhaps even a bit of snow. So these first days of Spring are to be treasured.
When I was at the market this morning, I discovered that they removed the grind-your-own peanut/almond butter machines. I love fresh nut butters, and was sad to see the machines disappear, because I don’t buy jarred nut butters. Fresh ground nut butters are a world apart from the jarred stuff, and taste of nothing but the nuts. Plus, I like to choose for myself whether I want to add salt or honey to my peanut butter. So, this morning I whipped up some cashew butter in the food processor and it is delicious. It only takes 5 minutes to put together once you’ve toasted the nuts in the oven, and the resulting butter has a far more personality than anything from a jar. This cashew butter is so good, it’s hard to resist grabbing a spoonful anytime I open the fridge. I used some of the butter in a fresh batch of granola bars, and the rest will be used to make a spicy thai stir fry sauce later in the week.
Makes 1 1/2 cups
2 Weight Watchers points per tablespoon
1 1/2 cups raw cashew pieces
5 T walnut oil (may need more, depending on how thick/thin you like your butter)
salt to taste
squeeze of honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place nuts on a sheet pan, and toast for 10-15 minutes, until they start to turn golden. Pour toasted nuts into your food processor, and let it run for a minute or two, until the nuts are finely ground and start to form a ball around the blade. Begin adding the walnut oil one tablespoon at a time while the machine runs, stopping a couple of times to scrape down the bowl with a spatula. When the butter has reached the consistency you like, add a sprinkle of salt and squeeze of honey, and pulse the processor one more time to incorporate. Taste, adjust seasoning, then store the finished butter in the fridge.