Tag Archives | Philly Food Swap

Roasted Cashew and Coconut Butter

food swap goodies - Food in Jars

I went to a food swap on Tuesday night. Because of my nutty travel schedule, it was the first I’ve managed to be at in at least six months (we only have four swaps a year here in Philly, so it’s not as bad as it sounds) and so it was so fun to plot and plan what to bring with me.

I pulled out four half pints of the honey sweetened peach chutney* from last summer, baked up eight round loaves of honey oatmeal bread (I tripled this recipe and then divided the dough into eight portions. It meant I had six to swap, one to sample, and one to keep), and whirred up a bunch of roasted cashew and coconut butter.

roasted cashews - Food in Jars

The cashew butter happened for several reasons. I had a half gallon jar that was 3/4 full of cashews and they needed to be used. I also had some flaked coconut. And, I wanted to finally try making a nut butter in my Vitamix.

You see, I’ve taken something of a hiatus from homemade nut butters recently because my food processor just wasn’t cutting it (I wonder, is it possible to get a Cuisinart blade sharpened?). My machine originally belonged to my Great-Aunt Flora and is at least 35 years old (and it may well be even older). But I’d heard tell that making nut butters in a high speed blender was actually the better way to go and it was time to give it a whirl (literally).

roasted cashew coconut butter - Food in Jars

I roasted enough cashews for multiple batches (400 degrees F for about seven minutes). Once they were cool enough to handle, I combined 1 1/2 cups of the cashews with 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in the Vitamix container and got to work. I discovered that by working on a relatively low speed, using the tamper to help keep things moving, and occasionally stopping entirely to scrape down the sides, the cashew butter was done in all of three minutes.

I also learned that it is a very bad idea to ask a five year old Vitamix to try and process a double batch of nut butter. I overheated the motor and the machine shut itself down for a full hour until it was cool enough to function without doing damage.

cashew butter on bread - Food in Jars

Still, working in small batches and giving the machine a little time to mellow out between blending rounds, this was a far more pleasant nut butter experience than I’ve had in the past (though I do acknowledge that the relatively softness of the cashews and coconut might have something to do with it. They yield more willingly than peanuts or almonds. More testing is necessary!).

Once the machine reset itself, I ended up making enough for the swap in four batches and it was something of a hit. I have a few tablespoons left in my sample jar and I’ve been rationing it until I can get more cashews and make more.

For those of you with food processors and no high speed blender, I think this butter is still within your grasp. Ashley over at Edible Perspective (the undisputed queen of internet-based nut butter recipes) has a cake batter cashew butter made in a food processor. If my instructions aren’t cutting it, head over and read through her recipe for additional guidance.

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Saveur, Food Swaps and Tasty Things

Saveur voting

Hello friends! I hope everyone had a lovely Easter and start to Passover. I have a number of odds and ends to share with you right now, but make sure to check back later today, as I’ll have a fun canning product review and giveaway.

Last week, I was delighted to learn that I’ve been nominated for a Saveur Best Food Blog Award. This is the third year that this site has been in the finals for one of these awards and I’m entirely honored and flattered by the nod. If you’d like to vote for Food in Jars (I’m nominated in the Best Recipe category), you can do so by clicking here.

While you’re over there, may I also suggest that you vote for Punk Domestics in the Best Group Blog category? PD is a gathering place for canners, preservers and other like-minded DIY food folks and I’d love to see them get some love.

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The fourth Philly Food Swap is taking place on Thursday, April 26 from 7-9 p.m. It’s being held at Meadowbrook Farm, which is located a little bit north of Jenkintown. It’s something of a hike from Center City (depending on traffic, it’s a 45-ish minute drive from Philly), but there’s a group setting up ride shares on the Philly Swappers Facebook page. There’s a $4 fee to help cover costs and tickets can be bought here. I’d love to see some of you local suburban folks there!

Passover goodies

On occasion, I get sent food products for tasting and review. Because of this site’s narrow focus, I’m rarely able to write about them without violating my personal sense of canning blogger ethics. However, I got a couple recently that were good enough that I’m granting myself a one-time dispensation in order to include them here.

The first box I received included a few products from¬†Manischewitz. They are famous for their matzo, kosher juices and wine and other products designed to help Jews eat well and adhere to their dietary restrictions. Since we’re in the midst of Passover, it seems like the perfect time to mention them.

My samples included the products you see above, as well as a bag of Kosher potato chips that my husband and I ate so quickly that I didn’t manage a photo (they were light, crunchy, salty and were ideally potato-y). I had a hard time stopping myself from nibbling the Crunchies all day long (the rest have been handed over to a Passover-keeping cousin as an airplane snack) and the coating crumbs are a tasty substitute for panko. Well done,¬†Manischewitz!

graeter's

Finally, it’s time to talk ice cream. For those of you who live in the midwest, Graeter’s ice cream is no big thing. However, for us Philadelphians, the news that Graeter’s is bringing their small batch ice cream to area stores is fantastic, indeed. This ice cream is some of the smoothest, creamiest and most wonderful I’ve had in my lifetime.

It’s quite rich, but the flavor density is such that you only need a few spoonfuls in order to be entirely satisfied by it. I do try to limit ice cream to a “sometimes food” but from now on, I know where I’ll be turning to when I need a hit of something sweet, cold and creamy.

Disclosure: Both Manischewitz and Graeter’s sent me their products at no cost to me. I was not compensated for this post and my thoughts and opinions are all mine.¬†
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