Jul 14, 2010

{daring cooks: nut butter}

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.

I was really looking forward to this months challenge of making a nut butter and then using it in an entree So was John. He was ready for a daring cooks challenge that was super savory and this one was it. The challengers gave us several recipe options to use our nut butters in. The nut butters could be made of peanuts, cashews, almonds or whatever nut we wanted. I had just made some peanut butter and as peanuts are easy to get locally, I went with that for my nut butter. You can check out my previous post on making peanut butter here. For my entree, I chose to go with the Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing recipe. Let me tell you, I could eat that dressing by the spoonful! It was absolutely one of the best things I've ever tasted and paired with the rest of the ingredients, it was wonderful. I highly recommend making this sauce and just spooning it over everything you eat. The recipe made more dressing than was necessary for the dish but it refrigerates well and can be used in a variety of other dishes.

In order to make this dish entirely local, I switched up some of the ingredients to make my own version. I loved how easy it was to make it from all local and fresh ingredients...it really added to the scrumptiousness of it all. The sauce would not have been easy to make using all local ingredients except that I already had the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and ground ginger on hand.

Since beginning our locavore challenge, we have run out of noodles so, for the first time in my life, I made from scratch pasta!  I was super excited to give this a try and found a simple recipe over at the Food Network website. It required a good bit of kneading with gave my forearms a workout. I'm sad to say they were even sore the following day! I am so happy I'm climbing again now that we've moved one mile from the climbing gym. I will no longer be shamed by making pasta again. Anyway, I have no pasta roller so this stuff had to be rolled out with my awesome long rolling pin. I think it needed to be a little thinner but my arms were done. The pasta on its own was pretty delicious and a lot of fun to make. I did a half recipe of the pasta since that was all the flour I had left. It made plenty to serve us four times.

To get the original recipe and other options we had, check out The Daring Kitchen.

See my version of the recipe after the jump

{asian noodle salad with peanut dressing}

serves: 4

peanut butter


1 cup peanuts (If you start with 1 cup nuts, you’ll get about 1/2 cup nut butter.)
1 teaspoons vegetable oil (or peanut oil)
salt to taste

to make the peanut butter

Grind peanuts in food processor for about 2 minutes until smooth. Add in the oil as needed. If you bought unsalted peanuts you can add salt in to taste. If you have salted peanuts, then no extra salt is needed.

peanut dressing


2 teaspoons ground ginger
8 cloves garlic, more or less to taste, chopped
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water

to make the dressing

Combine ginger, garlic, peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and water in food processor or blender. Process/blend until smooth. Be sure to process long enough to puree the ginger and garlic. The dressing should be pourable, about the same thickness as cream.

Adjust consistency (thinner or thicker) to your liking by adding more water or peanut butter. If the peanut butter was unsalted, you may want to add salt to taste. Makes about 1 1/2 cups dressing. Store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator.

fresh egg pasta

makes 1 pound (I cut the recipe in half when I did it and it made enough to serve 4. Below is the full recipe)
recipe source: Food Network


3 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour plus 1/2 cup
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon olive oil

to make the pasta

Make a mound of the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs, oil and any other flavoring you choose. Using a fork, beat together the eggs, oil and flavorings and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape. Do not worry that this initial phase looks messy. The dough will come together when 1/2 of the flour is incorporated.

Start kneading the dough with both hands, using the palms of your hands primarily. Once you have a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up any left over crusty bits.

Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Note: do not skip the kneading or resting portion of this recipe, they are essential for a light pasta.

Once time is up, roll out the pasta as thinly as you can on a lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes. Fresh pasta only needs about 3 - 4 minutes to cook until its done so it can be made right at the end of this entire dish.

noodle salad


1/2 pound linguine
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 lb sirloin steak, cut into cubes
1 large zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

to make the noodle salad

Heat oil in large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add steak to the pan and sauté with a little of the peanut dressing until done (about 10 minutes depending on thickness).

Add zucchini, squash, basil and scallions to another pan over medium heat with a little olive oil. Cook until veggies are soft.

to assemble

Slice basil into thin ribbons. Combine cooked noodles, veggie mixture and basil in a large bowl. Add about 1/2 cup peanut dressing; toss gently to coat. Scatter beef on top and drizzle a little more peanut dressing as desired. Top with more fresh basil and enjoy this delightful dish.


  1. Kudos on making your own pasta - it's great to be able to say that, isn't it?

    This dressing looks really tasty, will definitely be trying it.

  2. Pasta shame! Haha! I bow to your superior strength. It looks wonderful, by the way. Now I'm wondering if I really should have tried this recipe after all.

  3. I'm still amazed that you made your own pasta for this recipe! I am totally inspired to give it a try sometime!

  4. Congratulations on your locavore challenge. Your whole wheat pasta looks so good! I'm so impressed your made your own, now that's a challenge. I'm so glad you were able to adapt the peanut dressing to local ingredients. Well done!

  5. We think the pasta looks just perfect. Well done! We've made our own a couple of times, but don't think we'd be brave enough to do it without our handy dandy pasta roller. Double well done on the hand rolling!