from scratch

Most of the time I am a minimalist in the kitchen. I like recipes with a few good ingredients that really highlight each ingredient's flavour. I like vegetables straight from the garden and fruit straight from the tree. I like olive oil that tastes good enough to drink. This preference could explain why right now I am on a basics kick. My favourite recipes of the moment aren't really recipes; they are merely one or two lines of instructions that explain how to make things that we are in a habit of buying, things like flour, nut butter, dairy products (such as ricotta, creme fraiche and yogurt) and condiments. There is something immensely satisfying about making something from scratch. This is partly because you a) get to eat what you made, b) it tastes better and is healthier because of less ingredients, and c) you learn how truly simple most things are to make. That said, you could only imagine my excitement when the New York Times put up a D.I.Y. Cooking Handbook on their website. Needless to say, practically everything on the site is on my list of things to make (with kimchi and cultured butter at the top).

Nut butters are unbelievably simple to make. Talk about one or two lines of instructions: roast nuts and then blend in a blender, add oil if needed. Yes, that is it. Now go and make some almond butter. Eat it on toast, put it in smoothies, and whisk it into dipping sauces. This recipe also works for any kind of nut.

Almond Butter


1-2 cups almonds (or however much you wish to make)
1-2 tbsp neutral oil (unrefined vegetable, sunflower or safflower)
sea salt, if you wish

Preheat oven to 300F/150C. Evenly spread the almonds out on a baking sheet or baking pan. Roast for about 20 - 25 minutes, or until the skins crack. Remove from the oven and let cool. If you like chunky nut butter, grab a small handful of almonds, roughly chop and put to the side. Once almonds have cooled, throw them in a blender and blend until finely ground. Add oil and continue to blend until the almond butter is creamy. Mix in the chopped almonds, transfer to a jar and refrigerate.


Anonymous –   – (April 27, 2011 at 10:28 PM)  

... and so delicious! Your almond butter on home-made bagels is just hhmmmm ...

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