Cashews have impressed me so many times with their transformative flavour personalities. The vegan movement has spurred on some pretty ingenious ideas (as well as some truly awful ones) and cashews have been a champion in this process. Anyone who has had cream of broccoli soup with creamed cashews to replace dairy cream will know just how wonderful and surprising they can be. Not only did I not notice that it wasn't dairy when I tried it, but I remarked on how complex and nuanced the soup was. Cashews are light, delicate and creamy and they combine very well with many flavours.
I futzed around with different ingredients (including a nauseating licorice and smoked salt combo) for a while until I found the winning team. Dried cranberries, Indian curry powder and garden fresh pineapple mint also happened to be on my ingredients table. The results were superbly balanced and sophisticated. No one flavour overpowered the other. The cashews saw to it that every player got along with the rest and played fairly. The sweetness of the dried cranberries, the earthy and spicy qualities of the curry powder and the vigor of the mint blended with the cashews in a glorious way. Imagine that.
Step 1: Ingredients and Directions
Cranberry Curry and Mint Cashew Butter
1/3 cup cashews
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1 tbsp fresh chopped mint (I used pineapple mint but spearmint or apple mint will do. I do not recommend peppermint.)
1 tsp Indian curry powder
1-2 tbsp olive oil
a pinch of salt
Blend all ingredients until creamy. Add more olive oil for a smoother consistency. Try the spread on a piece of toast with some fresh pesto. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.