Wednesday, April 25, 2012

this is nuts

We are definitely edging from sauce to condiment here, and even into straight-out snack territory.  Someone gave this recipe to my sister about twelve years ago, and it says "relish" in the title, and even though that is not strictly true, at least not in terms of my understanding of the term 'relish,' I am giving it to you during Condimentia Week anyway.  It is just the very thing if you find yourself in any of these situations:
  • Bored silly by everything you make and how it all tastes the same.
  • Confounded by a few too many tricky recipes and longing for something simple that will make you feel like you should have your own show on the Food Network.
  • Heading for a potluck and wanting a boost for your self-esteem.
  • Listening to your voicemail and hearing "we would LOVE to come!  My husband's sister is in town to get an award from the Culinary Society and she'll be with us--by the way, she's vegan and on a raw food diet.  Hope that's cool with you!  See you at 7!"

There are no tricky skills to employ here, and if you do in fact have plans to entertain someone on a raw diet, or if it is just too hot to turn on even the toaster oven to toast the nuts and coconut, rest assured you can make this without getting involved with any appliance but your food processor. It's plenty tasty made with raw nuts and coconut.  A friend once made a batch each way because she was entertaining one raw foodist and a bunch of cookedetarians, and having the two versions side by side allowed us to scientifically establish that they were equally tasty in different ways.  I do recommend starting with the toasted iteration.

The only other note is on heat.  Even having heat from four sources (ginger, garlic, chile paste and jalapeño), things balance out nicely here.  If you are shy of heat, reduce each but maybe don't eliminate any.

This stuff is tasty on a cracker, a slice of vegetable, a sandwich, or, as usual, a spoon.  If you figure out (a) how to use it as a relish or (b) why it is called one, please send a cable immediately.

thai nut relish
makes about two cups

1 heaping cup cashews
1 cup unsweetened coconut

2T finely chopped fresh ginger, or one heaping T of grated ginger
up to one minced, seeded and deveined fresh jalapeño pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2T soy sauce or tamari
1 to 2t sriracha chile paste (thai red chili paste--most groceries have it in Asian section)

1 cup chopped scallions (about one bunch)
1 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
2T neutral oil

Toast the cashews and coconut separately in 350 degree oven till lightly browned.  Watch closely.  It's no fun to throw away burned things.

Chop the scallions and cilantro (you can do this by hand or in the food processor.)

Put all the ingredients except scallions and cilantro in food processor and pulse to blend until chunky.

Add scallions and cilantro and pulse just a few times, until mixed. 

Add lime juice and oil and pulse to combine; then taste and adjust for salt, sour and spice.

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