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Daring cook’s challenge – July 2010

Posted by Jeanne on July 14, 2010

This is my first month participating in a Daring Kitchen challenge.  I’ve seen the posts on the foodie porn sites about their challenges for months and finally joined recently.  This month’s challenge was to make a fresh nut butter and use it in a savory dish – the challenge gave four recipes and I tried two.

Making nut butter was something I’ve never done, and probably wouldn’t have.  No idea why, because they were pretty easy to make.  They are also incredibly versatile.  I forsee many experiments.

Walnut White Bean Dip with Rosemary & Sage, adapted from this recipe (Cooking Light, August 2007)


0.5 cup walnuts

1 (15.8 oz/448g) can Great Northern, Cannellini, or other white beans, drained and rinsed (I actually used 447g  of cooked cannelini beans from Rancho Gordo.)

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 TB fresh lemon juice

2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

2 tsp fresh sage, chopped

zest of 1 lemon

0.25 teaspoon black pepper

salt to taste


  1. Make walnut butter by grinding 0.5 cup walnuts in food processor for about a minute until it forms a nut butter or paste.
  2. Add beans, garlic, lemon juice, rosemary, sage, lemon zest, and black pepper to the walnut butter in the food processor. Process the mixture to a smooth consistency. Taste and add salt as desired.
  3. Garnish dip with chopped walnuts and/or chopped fresh rosemary or sage, if desired. Serve dip with pita wedges, crostini, or assorted vegetables.

This is super-tasty and came together really, really quickly.  I also added some olive oil (probably about 2 TB?), because I vacated my brain and didn’t think about the fact that a 448g can of cannelini beans doesn’t actually contain 448g of beans – there is liquid too.  D’oh.

In conclusion – good dip, I am a bit of an idiot.

Sage Leaf on FoodistaSage Leaf

Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce, adapted from this recipe found on the Food Network website.
Yield: 4 servings


1 TB olive oil
4 (6 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cubed
Salt to taste

Spice Blend:
1.5 TB garam masala
1 tsp ground ginger
0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp black pepper

4 TB butter
1 large onion, sliced vertically
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
0.33 C almond butter (made from 0.66 C whole almonds)
0.5 C chicken broth (more as needed)
1 C frozen peas

Hot basmati rice for serving


  1. Prepare spice blend. Stir garam masala, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for several minutes to infuse the butter with onion flavor. Keep the heat low to avoid burning the butter; a little color is fine.
  3. Add chicken to onions and cook until about halfway cooked – the chicken will still be pink on the inside at this point.
  4. Add the spice blend and garlic and cook for 1 minute or till fragrant, stirring constantly. Add the tomato sauce, stir well, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add almond butter until thoroughly combined with tomato sauce.
  5. Return to simmer. Add broth (or water) to sauce to reach desired consistency; return to simmer.

6.  Stir frozen peas into sauce. Simmer gently for a few minutes until peas are heated through.  Serve over rice.

I also made a channa saag with beet greens ad chard from the garden.  I was sort of worried about the utter lack of vegetables in the chicken dish, and we have LOADS of greens in the garden.

Channa saag (early stages).

Final plating – it is a bitch to make things that are lumpy and brown look pretty on camera.  Thanks to Curt for trying and for making things look really nice.

The chicken dish was DELICIOUS.  The original recipe called to cook the chicken separately, make the sauce, remove the onions, and then add the chicken and heat it through.  I obviously didn’t do this – I think the dish was still a success.  At least as far as Saturday night dinner was concerned!

Lessons learned – brain is still an important kitchen tool even when you have a recipe and are following it closely.

And don’t be afraid to make something you’ve never made before.  Thanks Daring Kitchen!  Can’t wait for next month.

4 Responses to “Daring cook’s challenge – July 2010”

  1. Jenni said

    Your dip looks great, not too wet at all. I bet it tasted great! I plan on making that one myself some day, just didn’t have time for two recipes this month. The curry dish looks great as well! Welcome to the Daring Kitchen! 🙂

  2. Hello and welcome to the Daring Cooks’ and congratulations on your 1st challenge and I hope you have many happy experiences with us ❤

    Both of dishes look stunning but the chicken dish caught my attention (and yes brown food is very hard to photograph) it sounds divine and the photo is great. Well done on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. smoochkins said

    Thanks for sharing, I like the chicken dish.. actually, I’m snatching this recipe for tonight’s dinner! haha, hope i can pull it off. the dip looks great too, just i dont have sage at the moment. Thanks for this, i wanna share this to my friends in Foodista too. If you don’t mind adding the foodista widget for sage, then that should do it. The widget will direct readers to this recipe post when they go looking for sage recipes. 🙂 thanks and keep on posting

    Amy from Adelaide Australia

  4. All your dishes look wonderful, even the brown ones…

    Well done!

    Stay JOLLY!

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