Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekends, dips and butters

I am woefully behind on Vegan MoFo  posts so hopefully this one in three post will make up for some of that. Every weekend I make dips and spreads that go into lunches  for the week.   It is the perfect relaxation. This week's haul - Spicy Peanut butter, Black bean dip and Pear butter.

Spicy Peanut and Pumpkin seed butter

Yield - about a cup of nut butter

2 cups dry  roasted peanuts
3/4 cups hulled pumpkin seeds (Pepitas)
1/4 cup dry Kashmiri  red chilies
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)

Pulse the nuts and the red chilies together in a food processor. Stop and scrape down sides often.  The nuts will form into a ball. Break down the ball with a spatula and continue pulsing  till you get the desired consistency. Add the olive oil and give it a final pulse.  Alternately you can use a Vitamix like blender .
The resulting nut butter is a luxurious red color with just a mild kick. 

* Kasmiri red chillies can be found in Indian grocery stores. They lend a beautiful red color to food and a subtle heat.
Pear butter (A great way to rescue overripe pears)
Yield - 8 ounces

5 medium  (almost overripe) pears
Juice of half a lime.
1/4 cup of water
2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar
2 pods of cardamom

Squeeze the lime juice into a thick bottomed skillet with straight sides . Peel, core and chop the pears into the skillet. Toss the pears with the lime juice  to prevent browning. Add the water to the skillet and cook on a medium flame.  until the pears break down into mush (about 15 minutes or so). If you are working on other tasks, turn the heat down to low at this point. Stir often and cook until the water has almost evaporated. Add the sugar  and cardamom pods and continue cooking on a low flame. The fruit should t urn to the consistency of a thick jam. This took me close to an hour(with multi-tasking).
Cool slightly and ladle into an 8 ounce jar. Store in the fridge for 3 weeks or in the freezer for  up to 6 months.

Black bean and pepper dip
 1 cup cooked black beans with a few tablespoons of cooking liquid
1 clove of garlic that was cooked with the black beans.
 2 roasted red bell peppers ( or a  TJ jar's worth)
1/2 lime juiced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne.
1 teaspoon of garlic infused oil
1 teaspoon of olive oil.

This is one seriously good spicy dip - the addition of the garlic infused oil gives it an additional layer.

Add all ingredients except the oils  to a food processor and process until chunky. Add the oils and do one final pulse.  Serve at room temperature with toasted pita wedges and cucumbers.

To cook black beans: Soak black beans  in water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain, cover the black beans with water  an inch over the beans. Add 2 bay leaves and a clove of garlic (unpeeled). Cook in a pressure cooker.

Home cooked black beans really make a  difference here. If you are pressed for time and need to use canned beans - drain and rinse the beans and cook  for 15 minutes with the bay leaf and garlic.

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