Colleen Houck


“Chapped rats and bats' wings, brandied worms and adders' stings, Goat's wool and owl's hoot, fish's tongue and dog's foot. Into the potion, all you go, add clockwork hearts, positioned so…" The Lantern's Ember

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  • RECIPE: Cashew Curry Cheddar Spread

    July 28, 2015


    RECIPE: Cashew Curry Cheddar Spread

    2015-05-08 14.20.30

     

    I was first introduced to Cashew Curry Cheddar Spread by a friend about 25 years ago. At that time I did NOT like curry powder, so I didn’t pay much attention to the specifics.  Somewhere along the way my tastes changed, I began to see the merits of curry powder, and eventually decided to try and recreate this recipe. I’ve made it with several variations in my efforts to perfect it and it always turns out delicious.  I like to make the whole thing in the food processor from start to finish since Colleen & I have decided we like the finer texture of the spread when made that way. We’re pretty much addicted to this stuff, so I’ve made 3 or 4 batches in the last couple of months. I’ve tried crushing the cashews with a rolling pin…even once with a hammer!…but I didn’t have the patience to keep pounding away until I got coarse crumbs. Thus, the food processor wins so far. I suppose a blender might work also. The recipe is easy to make, highly addictive, and is one of my most often requested potluck recipes.  This spread goes well with crackers, chips, veggies, bread, you name it. It’s even great on a baked sweet potato!

     

    2015-05-08 13.52.23

     

    RECIPE: Cashew Curry Cheddar Spread

    10.5 ounces cashews, roasted
    (about 2 cups ground)
    8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
    16 ounces cream cheese, softened
    2t-2T curry powder or to taste
    pinch of sugar, optional
    salt, optional or to taste

    Some notes before we get started:

    CASHEWS: I use unsalted cashews so that I can control the amount of salt. If salted cashews are your only option, they work fine as well, but you probably won’t need to add any additional salt. If you have raw cashews, just roast them first. Having not personally roasted cashews before, I can’t really give you any tips on that. I would use google for advice.
    CHEESE: You want cheddar cheese here. From there it’s pretty much up to you. I’ve used mild, medium, sharp, 3 cheddar blend, etc… I hate cleaning the cheese grater so I always buy pre-shredded cheese. Some people swear grating it yourself is better. You do what you prefer. You could try low fat or vegan cheese. I’ve not tried either of those options, so I don’t know what the results would be.
    CREAM CHEESE: This is going to be your binder…the thing that makes this recipe a “spread” and not “a crumbly mess”. I use full fat cream cheese with as few ingredients as possible. You could use low fat or whipped cream cheese. I have also used mayonnaise, sour cream, & coconut milk, either solo or in various combinations. Eventually I’ll try it with plain Greek yogurt.  Colleen prefers it with cream cheese. I prefer it with half cream cheese and half coconut milk. 
    CURRY POWDER: I use a very mild yellow curry powder that is one of the cheaper brands in my area. I like this one specifically because it is very mild. While it lists red pepper in the ingredients, it has no heat to it whatsoever. Which is good, because I don’t do chilies. Use whatever kind you, or the people you’ll be sharing it with, like. The measurements I have listed for the curry are just to give you some idea. I honestly never measure it. I just keep adding it until I’m happy with the resulting flavor of the spread. I usually start with about 1.5T, taste, and add more if I think the spread needs it.
    SUGAR: I have gotten into the habit of adding at least a pinch of sugar to any dish I make with yellow curry powder. I just like the curry flavor better when it’s mellowed with that bit of sweet. Use whatever kind of sweetener you prefer, but use it sparingly, and taste before adding more. This is a savory dish and you don’t want to go to some weird curry dessert place. Ew. You could also skip the sweetener altogether if you prefer.
    SALT: Sometimes I don’t add any salt, especially if I’ve used salted cashews. This is another one of those “to taste” kind of things. Add a pinch if you think it needs it. Skip it if you want. Usually whatever crispy dipper I’m using has salt (tortilla, potato, pretzel or pita chips) so it doesn’t seem lacking. If I was using something like celery sticks and apple slices with the spread I might want to salt the spread itself more thoroughly.

    Okay, now on to the instructions:

    -Add the cashews to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse to grind the cashews into fairly uniformly small bits. Stop processing before it turns into cashew butter!
    -Add the shredded cheese and pulse a few times until the cheese is about the same size as the cashews.
    -Add cream cheese, curry powder, and sugar & salt if using. Process until well blended. Taste. Adjust seasonings as desired.

    May be served immediately or refrigerated until ready to serve. This spread tends to harden in the refrigerator regardless of what type of binder (cream cheese, coconut milk, sour cream, etc.) is used. A few seconds at a time in the microwave will loosen it up again without melting the ingredients. Alternately, just remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes or so before you want to serve it.
    I have not tried freezing it yet as there is never any left! I would recommend using full fat dairy as the binder if you do plan to freeze it. Low fat dairy products tend to separate after freezing, as does mayonnaise.

    I’ve been thinking this spread might be great in a Texas Toast type of preparation or as the filling in a grilled cheese sandwich. And I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of trying it with smoked almonds and smoked cheddar cheese. I wonder what would happen if you added some chopped golden raisins, dried apricots or craisins?? We’ll see how it goes!

    .

     

    This entry was posted in Mr. Kadam's Spice Kitchen, Recipes.

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    Cindy Moore
    Cindy Moore

    Hi, Cindy Moore here. Colleen and I have been friends since we worked together while she was writing Tiger’s Curse. I'm a very creative person and a great problem solver. I love to cook, read, craft, and research random things. I love logic and information and hate not knowing the answer to any given question. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, which is sometimes good, sometimes bad. I love DIY and re-purposing things from their intended use.

    How much do I love information and answers? To the extent that I make lists on my phone of things to Google when I have a few minutes with nothing better to do. (Or, more likely, when I'm procrastinating about something I should be doing instead.) Every new thing I learn leads me to about a gazillion more cool new things. SQUIRREL!!! I love sharing new information and ideas with people. You can imagine what a dangerous place the internet is to me in my efforts to be more productive.

    I’ve been cooking since I was a kid and am a Foodie with no formal training but a large cookbook collection and internet access. I am a very picky eater due to some food sensitivities, but I love trying new foods and recipes, so I put my creativity and problem solving skills to good use while adapting recipes to my own personal tastes. I love shopping for exotic ingredients in specialty markets and online and probably have at least 12 different kinds of salt in my kitchen right now…none of which is plain iodized table salt. Given a choice I would always chose an ethnic dish over something like burgers or pizza. Asian cuisines, especially Thai and Vietnamese, are my favorites. I am totally addicted to Thai salad rolls and pork lettuce wraps.

    I’ve made a commitment to myself to reduce the chemicals and unnecessary or harmful ingredients that are in my food, bath and body products, or household cleaning products. I also I tend to think “why buy it if I can make it myself”.

    I love making jewelry, especially with natural materials like stones and fresh water pearls. Dangly earrings are my favorite jewelry item to make.

    I’m not really clear on the concept of “moderation”, nor apparently is Colleen. Nowhere is this more evident than when Colleen and I get together for our marathon holiday bakeathons. We tend to overdo things…slightly.

    All of these interests…”character flaws”?...will influence the kinds of blog posts you see from me.