I'm today's stop on the blog tour for Robin Robertson's Nut Butter Universe. When I was offered the chance to review this book, I knew I'd love it before it even made it to my mailbox. Why? Because I LOVE NUT BUTTER! Like more than pretty much anything else, except for ramen noodles and vegan cheese pizza, of course.
Anyway, every single recipe in this book calls for nut butter. But before you go thinkin' that it's expensive to cook these dishes (cause honey, cashew butter and walnut butter ain't cheap), you should know that Robin includes instructions for making your own low-cost nut butters at home. All you need are nuts (any kind), a little oil (optional), and a trusty food processor. Of course, if you're a millionaire and don't have time to make your own, the storebought kind will work in these recipes too.
Before this book came along, I typically enjoyed my nut butter on toast or atop my oatmeal. But Nut Butter Universe opens up a world of possibilities for using nut butter in all kinds of ways. Use almond butter in Sweet Potato and Red Bean Stew, or use Brazil nut butter in Stuffed Squash with Brazil Nuts and Pistachios.
A walnut butter dressing is the perfect topping for Waldorf Salad, and what would Indonesian Gado-Gado be without peanut butter. Put a spin on the traditional PB&J by making the Peach-Almond Butter Quesadilla (almond butter, tortillas, and peach jam).
For dessert, macadamia nut butter is stuffed inside wonton wrappers for Coconut-Macadamia Wonton Cups with Fresh Mango. For something simple and traditional, try the Too-Easy Chocolate-Peanut Butter Fudge. Robin even shares fellow vegan cookbook goddess Bryanna Clark Grogan's recipe for Chocolate Double-Nut Clusters (made with a nut butter of your choice).
So what did I try? Well, the company that offered me the book to review gave me a choice of six or so recipes to choose from that I would be allowed to share the recipes for. Out of those, I couldn't resist trying this Artichoke Walnut-Butter Bisque:
Homemade walnut butter is cooked and blended with blanched baby artichokes (from the freezer section). Then it's topped with chopped marinated artichokes and roasted walnuts. I'd have never thought to combine artichokes and walnuts, but somehow it works very well. This warm and creamy soup really hit the spot on this cold, cold February day.
Artichoke-Walnut Butter Bisque
Walnut butter adds buttery rich counterpoint to the artichokes in this elegant soup. Frozen artichoke hearts are used because they are superior in flavor to canned, and they don’t have the expense or labor of fresh ones.
1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water
1 large or 2 small shallots, chopped
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
3 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup walnut butter
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichokes, drained and chopped or thinly sliced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives, or garnish
2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts, for garnish
In a large pot, heat the oil or water over medium heat. Add the shallots, cover, and cook until softened. Uncover and stir in the artichoke hearts, broth, and salt, to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, until the artichokes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir in the walnut butter, lemon juice, and cayenne. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot, or transfer the soup to a high-speed blender or food processor, in batches if necessary, and puree. Return the soup to the pot. Stir in the almond milk, then taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary, adding more salt if needed. Simmer the soup over medium heat until hot, about 5 minutes.
Ladle into 4 bowls, top with the marinated artichokes, then sprinkle with the chives and walnuts, and serve hot.
From Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson. ©2013 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.