Homemade Toasted Nut Butters

Peanut butter
550 g (1 lb 4 oz/4 cups) peanuts
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt

Almond butter
650 g (1 lb 7 oz/4 cups) almonds
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt

Cashew butter
625 g (1 lb 6 oz/4 cups) cashews
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt

Pistachio & macadamia butter
350 g (12 oz/2½ cups) pistachio nut kernels
230 g (8 oz/1½ cups) macadamia nuts
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt

Preheat the oven to 150ºC (300ºF).

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spread your chosen nuts on the baking tray, sprinkle with the salt and bake for 10–15 minutes, or until golden, shaking the tray occasionally to ensure they don’t burn.

Transfer the toasted nuts to a high-speed food processor and start blending. The blending time will depend on how smooth and creamy you like your nut butter, and how powerful your processor is. It can take up to 10–20 minutes to achieve a smooth nut butter, and you’ll need to stop and scrape down the sides of the processor bowl a few times, and to give the motor a rest. The nut butter is complete when it is smooth and creamy, with no nut pieces — unless you prefer a crunchy nut butter, in which case you can stop processing earlier.

Store your nut butter in a clean jar in the fridge. It will keep for up to 3 weeks.

Garlic Fresh Cheese

Garlic Fresh Cheese

Foraging is integral to the rural Scandinavian way of life and each season offers some delicious ingredient from nature’s bounty. Scandinavians actively seek out wild garlic when it’s in season so if you’re out in the woods in spring, collect a few leaves.  This garlic fresh cheese is delicious with sourdough.

2 lbs. 4oz Greek yogurt *

1 tbsp sea salt

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

small bunch of garlic leaves (preferably wild), finely chopped

½  lemon, zest and juice (optional)

Stir the yogurt in a large bowl with the sea salt. Transfer to a sieve lined with a double layer of muslin and set over a large bowl. Wrap up the ends of the muslin tightly, twisting and securing with an elastic band. Leave in a cool place to drain for 24 hours.

The following day, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small pan and add the wild garlic. Sauté for a minute or so until wilted. Allow to cool.

Unwrap the drained yogurt and place in a bowl, discarding the liquid. Stir in the wild garlic and season with pepper and a little lemon juice and zest, if desired, for a tangier version. Adjust the salt to taste, then drizzle over the remaining oil before serving.

*Real Greek yogurt is best as the original kind from Greece is properly strained and has the right consistency for this recipe. Do not use ‘Greek-style’ yogurt as this description can mean anything, and won’t necessarily have as good a texture or as delicious a flavour.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

2 cups hazelnuts

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup raw cacao powder

pinch of Himalayan salt

½ cup rice malt syrup

1 tablespoon coconut oil

¾ cup non-dairy milk of your choice

Preheat the oven to 315ºF.

Spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake for 5–10 minutes, or until browned. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly, then rub off the skins.

Place the hazelnuts in a high-speed food processor. Blend for 2–3 minutes, or until they turn into a butter. Add all the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.

Easy Cream Cheese

2 Quarts  light cream
1⁄4 teaspoon calcium chloride diluted in 1⁄4 cup cool, nonchlorinated water
1 packet direct-set mesophilic starter culture
Cheese salt

Heat the cream to 86 degrees. Add the calcium chloride solution and stir well to combine. Sprinkle the starter over the surface of the milk, wait 2 minutes for the powder to rehydrate, then stir.

Cover and let set at 86 degrees for 8–12 hours, until a solid curd forms.

Gently ladle the curds into a colander lined with butter muslin. Tie the ­corners of the muslin into a knot and hang the bag to drain at 72–86 degrees for 8–12 hours, or until the cheese reaches your desired consistency.

Place the cheese in a bowl and add the salt and herbs to taste, if using.

Pack the cheese into small molds and place in the refrigerator until firm, usually a few hours. Store in the refrigerator wrapped for up to 2 weeks.

What is Clarified Butter?

Most simply clarified butter is butter with the milk-solid proteins taken out.  These proteins are what cause the butter to burn at low temperatures. If you’re sautéing with high heat or for prolonged periods and don’t want the butter to burn you’ll need to use clarified butter.  It’s truly a simple procedure.

To Clarify Butter:

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom pot and let it sit for 15 minutes.

With a ladle, skim off the froth that has formed on top of the butter and discard.

Lift off the melted clear butterfat, the clarified butter, with a ladle, leaving the water contained in the butter, now useless, in the bottom of the pot.

Or Simpler yet:

Cook unsalted butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat until it froths, and the froth begins to settle.

As the froth settles, you’ll see white specks in the butter.  When they turn to brown and adhere to the bottom and sides of the pan  strain the butter through a paper towel, coffee filter, or fine mesh strainer into a bowl.

Israeli Style Hummus

** Tehina is the Israeli word for the Greek word tahini.  **

1 cup dried chickpeas
1 teaspoons baking soda
1½ cups Tehina Sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Chopped fresh parsley
Olive oil, for drizzling

Tehina Sauce:

¾ cup lemon juice
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 generous cups tehina
½ teaspoon ground cumin

Add the tehina to the lemon juice in the bowl, along with the cumin and 1 teaspoon of the salt.  Whisk the mixture together until smooth adding water slowly to thin it out. Whish until you have a perfectly smooth, creamy, thick sauce.  Add more cumin and salt to taste.

Hummus Directions:

Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water. Soak the chickpeas overnight at room temperature. Drain the chickpeas and rinse.

Place the chickpeas in a large pot with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and add cold water to cover by at least a few inches. Bring the chickpeas to a boil over high heat, skimming off any impurities  that rises to the surface. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pot, and simmer for about 1 hour, until they are a bit overcooked and a little mushy.  Drain.

Combine the chickpeas, tehina sauce, salt, and cumin in a food processor. Puree the hummus for several minutes, until it is smooth and  creamy.

Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil, cumin and fresh parsley to taste.

Schmaltz: Ashkenazic Rendered Chicken Fat

Schmaltz or schmalts in Yiddish (from the Middle High German smalz, “animal fat”) is the generic Yiddish term for animal fat, but more specifically and colloquially, it denotes melted and purified poultry fat. Schmaltz became to Ashkenazic cooking what olive oil was to Mediterranean food, indispensable for frying and cooking, and as a flavoring agent.”

Gil Marks, “The Encyclopedia Of Jewish Food

  • Skin and fat from 8 chicken thighs (or 2 cups reserved chicken skin and fat) *
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 onion, cut into medium dice

Chop chicken fat and skin and add to a small amount of water to begin the rendering at a gentle temperature.  Once the water and the moisture in the fat and skin have cooked off, the fat can rise above 212 degrees and the browning can begin.  When the skin is lightly browned and plenty of fat has been rendered, add the chopped onion.

Be careful not to overcook. It should remain clear and yellow, not brown with an overly roasted flavor.  The browned skin and onion, called gribenes are delicious.  Strain the fat and reserve the gribenes. The schmaltz is ready to use, to refrigerate for up to a week, or to freeze. The gribenes should also be refrigerated or frozen

* Where do I get the chicken fat?

Make roast chicken once a week. Before you roast it, pull off all the fat you see and trim all the skin you won’t need. Store the fat and skin in the freezer, until you have plenty to render for schmaltz

Rhubarb Jam

2 pounds rhubarb
3 cups granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon or of ½ orange and ½ lemon

Wash, trim and dice the rhubarb. You will have about 8 cups.

In a large pot combine the rhubarb, sugar, and citrus juice and toss to mix. Bring the rhubarb mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 1 to 2 hours.

Set a stockpot on the stove and fill with enough water to cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Sterilize the jars in the water bath.

For a jam with some texture, set a colander over a bowl and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to the colander.  Bring the juices to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until thickened.  Add the rhubarb back to the pot, along with any juices that have collected in the bowl under the colander. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, and cook about 5 minutes longer.

For the smoother jam, cook the fruit with the juices over medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.

Bring the water bath back to a boil. Simmer the lids in a saucepan of hot water. Ladle the jam into the jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean and set the lids on the mouths of the jars. Twist on the rings.

Using a jar lifter, gently lower the jars into the pots. When the water returns to a boil, decrease the heat to an active simmer, and process the jars for 10 minutes.

Transfer the jars from the pot and let sit for at least 6 hours, until cool enough to handle. Check to be sure the jars have sealed.  Store the sealed jam for 6 months to 2 years. Once open, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Tomato Jam

3 large ripe tomatoes (about 3 pounds)
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Make an ice bath in a bowl with equal parts ice and water. Submerge the tomatoes in the boiling water for 20 seconds. Remove and submerge them in the ice bath to cool them.  Drain, then peel, halve, seed, and chop the tomatoes.

Combine the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat to dissolve the sugar. Boil until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce and bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture, stirring often, until it is a dark brown color and very thick, around 20 minutes.

Transfer the jam to a blender, add the olive oil, and blend on high until smooth. Season with salt and 1 or 2 gratings of nutmeg.  Pour the jam into a clean pint canning jar, cover, let cool, and refrigerate.

The jam will keep for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Apple Butter

  • 6 pounds of apples
  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Peel apples and quarter.  Coook in apple cider until soft, stir often. Process  through a food mill.  Place pulp in a large pot.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Boil hard stirring constantly.  Continue cooking until thickened so you’re able to spread.  Pour into sterilized Jars and seal.