Walnut Butter

Since walnuts are one of the few plant based sources of omega 3s, we try to eat them a lot. And since The Powers That Be say that children below the age of three shouldn’t eat nuts, we eat a lot of walnut butter.

I couldn’t find a store-bought walnut butter that wasn’t suspiciously cut with other less expensive nut butters, so I just started making my own. It’s ridiculously easy and cheaper! Seriously.

Try to use the small bowl of your food processor because the bigger the bowl, the harder it will be, and you don’t want to make a ton of this stuff at once because it’s a delicate fat that can go rancid fast. I’ve even done small batches in a spice grinder.

Process the walnuts a lot, until it forms a sand-like texture, scraping down the bowl as needed. If it won’t move past the sand stage you might need to add a few drops of water (the bigger the batch the more likely you’ll need to do this). Eventually it will form a thick paste and then a dough-like ball. Add fine salt to taste. Even if you’re on a low salt diet, add some salt. High fat substances need a LITTLE bit of salt to go from wall paper paste to awesome!

Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. I don’t know how long this keeps because we run out of it so fast.

It’s wonderful in sweet and savory applications. I eat it every morning on toast with fig preserves. It’s also a key ingredient in my Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing with Walnuts as well as my Miraculous Roasted Chicken Mashed Potatoes.

Nothing can replace the taste of real butter, but it’s the closest I’ve found.

Caramelized Onions

I use a lot of caramelized onions in my recipes. They pack an unparalled flavor punch that’s hard to get outside of the animal kingdom. Some people might be confused as to how you caramelize onions without using oil or butter, but it’s pretty much the same. Low and slow is the key, you just have to be a bit more careful about burning.

This is how I do it.

Slice an onion into very thin quarter ring slices. Put in a non stick pan on low to medium low heat. In stead of adding water right away, I like to leave on the lid to utilize their own water first. Try to use a glass lid if you can, that way you can keep a better eye on them.

Stir occasionally, using your ears, nose, and culinary sixth sense to make sure they don’t burn. Add water as needed. They’re done when they’ve reduced a lot, are totally limp, and are a caramel color. Depending on how many you’re doing this can take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour. I’d say it’s about 20 to 30 minutes per onion depending on how high your heat is and how closely you watch it.

I’ve heard that you can caramelize onions in a slow cooker too. We might try this since we do such large batches.