05 Apr2011

I am definitely getting a bit more ornery as I get older. Take for example a simple breakfast at a fabulous five star hotel on a fabulous beach somewhere in the Philippine archipelago — the toast arrives accompanied by by some butter — and more often than not, seriously crappy bottled jam. I won’t even get into grocery brand names, which they often are, and the fact that they feature ingredients that aren’t even typically grown here. Over the years, this has been a recurring theme while having breakfast at several good to excellent hotels around the Philippines. Why are we so ashamed of our own produce? Why can’t we serve something local? And since you eat so little jam or butter with your toast, does it really matter that local, artisanally produced preserves are more expensive than commercial brands? It riles me even more when on trips to places like Cambodia or Bali, local hotels offer up an often stunning array of local preserves alongside more typical marmalade and jellies. One such hotel served us chico jam a couple of years ago, a wonderful revelation.

So enough with the minor rant. Here is something that should blow your socks off on many fronts. A wonderful use of a locally available ingredient. Superb quality. Simple preparation. Far more healthy than processed alternatives. Absolutely delicious. A cashew butter made with homemade guava jelly (instead of sugar or honey). In the photos here, it is topped with a teaspoon of amber guava jelly, a feast for the eyes and stomach.

Start off with a cup of plain, freshly roasted cashew nuts. I used part of the stash that we made here, harvested by hand in Northern Palawan, roasted in our home oven and stored in glass jars until the eureka butter moment occurred. Put the cashews in a heavy duty blender, I use a Waring Pro blender — my favorite, or alternatively in a food processer and blitz it until a fine crumb. Add a pinch of salt (not too much, you can add more later), and carefully drizzle in approximately 2-2.5 tablespoons of neutral oil such as canola oil. Add a teaspoon or two of guava jelly (or honey) and blitz until mixed well and you have a grainy, creamy cashew butter. Taste it and adjust salt or sweetness to your liking. Add a bit more oil if you want it to have a “looser” consistency, but I like it thick and just barely spreadable…

Place in a clean jar and store in your refrigerator. It should last several months, but I doubt it if you have good bread or crackers around often… This is a slightly more subtle nut butter than say peanut or hazelnut or pecan butters, but it is absolutely delicious. I stretched diet rules and had two WASA crackers spread with kasoy butter and some homemade guava jelly on top with a large cup of tea. Yum.

This recipe will yield slightly less than a half cup of cashew butter. You can double or triple the recipe easily as long as you have a good blender or food processor. It’s a bit expensive compared with say, peanut butter, but on a per serving basis, a luxury most people can certainly justify. It is so satisfying to create simple, delicious and local ingredients such as this one. And yes, it ticks me off that more people don’t do it more often. :)

The kasoy butter was also terrific on hot pan de salt with more guava jelly. It would probably work in a puff pastry as well. The possibilities are intriguing…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. horti_guy says:

    Re: Local produce. Maybe the concept is not as mainstream yet? Maybe most people still think imported is better? Or kulang lang sa farm and chef/hotel partnerships (I wonder if there are such programs in the Philippines…baka di pa widespread siguro..)? I know we have lots of unique and great local/regional produce to offer…

    Apr 5, 2011 | 5:58 am

     
  2. kuting says:

    Cashew butter (in a little bit thin consistency) is also good with fruit, say apple or pear (as a fruit dip). Yummy and healthy.

    Apr 5, 2011 | 5:59 am

     
  3. Matilda says:

    Wow! Your cashew butter spread resembles the pili spread I once tasted. Heaven.

    Apr 5, 2011 | 6:42 am

     
  4. millet says:

    MM, this is torture! Those are my two favorite things! now I won’t be able to think of anything else the whole day but cashew butter and guava jelly!

    Apr 5, 2011 | 7:51 am

     
  5. junb says:

    It’s the same issue with the commercial processed meat producers in the philippines that the product they have now does not have any resemblance in taste and appearance to the product that we used to have 30-40 years ago. Some examples are Longganisa, Tocino and corned beef from a large local company which basically use cheap imported meat and full of preservatives and coloring, but it’s selling because of their branding and cheap price.

    We should really have more artisinal producers so that the new generation will understand the true meaning of local food and pressure this major commercial companies to produce the real local food.

    Apr 5, 2011 | 7:52 am

     
  6. Peach says:

    The nut butter and jelly must have been a heavenly combination! The jelly looks like golden honey. Sigh, this post makes me want to create something from scratch!

    Apr 5, 2011 | 8:20 am

     
  7. Clarissa says:

    No relation to this whatsoever, but we have started sourcing local items in Bacolod. Their company is Frest Start Organics with (supposedly) local organic items. There are calamansi, squash, camote, bugnay and banana jams. :) They also have pickled cucumber, squash, okra, papaya and yakon :) I haven’t tasted this yet, but it seems totally cool. Yes, a bit pricey too. :)

    Apr 5, 2011 | 8:36 am

     
  8. Marketman says:

    Clarissa, yes, I wrote about Fresh Start Organics a year and half ago, post here. :)

    Apr 5, 2011 | 8:41 am

     
  9. lee says:

    The amber guava jelly sits like a blob of molten jewel on top of the nutty butter.

    This will not store well. This has to be consumed immediately :)

    Apr 5, 2011 | 9:14 am

     
  10. Rebecca says:

    Wow the guava jelly looks very different from the guava jelly that Goya makes. It is much lighter and looser. My husband’s family (from Puerto Rico) eats the Goya kind with queso blanco on crackers. They’ve got me hooked on that combination.

    Apr 5, 2011 | 9:32 am

     
  11. Marketman says:

    Rebecca, yes, the jelly is like jelly. :) I also make jam, which includes the guava pulp, here. And if you cook the jelly for too long, it turns out more like guava “honey”, here.

    Apr 5, 2011 | 9:53 am

     
  12. Marianne says:

    Assumption Tart is basically guava jelly on a shortbread wafer — isn’t it?

    It’s famous, always gets served on Assumption Day. Or at least, it used to be.

    I just brought back with me to California a jar of Full of Grace Mountain Guava Jelly, which I bought from Salcedo Market. Been eating it with Carr’s Water Crackers. I know this is not Assumption Tart. A pale imitation, only. But still, YUM YUM

    Apr 5, 2011 | 9:54 am

     
  13. Marketman says:

    Marianne, if I am not mistaken, Assumption guava jellly is made with brown sugar, hence the darker color despite its still relative flowing consistency. Assumption tarts, with guava jelly, in this earlier post, here.

    Apr 5, 2011 | 9:55 am

     
  14. Paul Dough says:

    Your blog has inspired me to make my favorite nut spread. It is getting harder and harder to find it and when I do they’re about $10-15 for a small jar. Fresh roasted Macadamia nuts are going into my blender really soon.

    Apr 5, 2011 | 10:15 am

     
  15. solraya says:

    So inviting :) Thank you for the inspirations.

    Apr 5, 2011 | 11:14 am

     
  16. Mama Mia says:

    Thank you for this!

    Do keep the Proudly Pinoy posts coming! Sometimes Pinoys — me
    included — need help in getting “unstuck” when it comes to Filipino
    food. I have hopes that Filipino food will one day become mainstream :)

    Apr 5, 2011 | 11:20 am

     
  17. Pam says:

    Ooooh. This is yummy! Thanks for this, MM! Maybe you can use the cashew butter in baking some cashew butter cookies? My favorite local jam brand is Kablon Farms. Currently in love with their Papaya Pineapple Calamansi Jam — Sweetness from the fruit, just a zing of tart from the fruit, chunky from the fruit., with no “umay” from the sugar. SO GOOD!

    Apr 5, 2011 | 2:29 pm

     
  18. Risa says:

    Do you know the Philippine fruit that is badly in need of a makeover/reinvention? Tiesa.

    Apr 5, 2011 | 4:44 pm

     
  19. Marketman says:

    Risa, sorry, I haven’t found many redeeming properties of Tiessa either. :)

    Apr 5, 2011 | 5:58 pm

     
  20. Mary Lee says:

    Yummmmm. Bet that would be good spread on croissant dough and rolled up and baked. Philippine version of almond croissants…

    Apr 5, 2011 | 11:09 pm

     
  21. Footloose says:

    I remember it well (do I sound like Maurice Chevalier in Gigi?) The only fruit that elicited almost universal hatred in this blog specially when you disqualify the original fish pan commenter. http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/tiessa-canistel
    You were right though in comparing its texture to cooked camote although more apt to induce vomiting than flatulence. All the more reason why we should search for some use for it. Maybe as a poultice for boil?

    Apr 5, 2011 | 11:24 pm

     
  22. Risa says:

    I clicked at the link, and what a hate post and hate comments! Hahaha.

    Tongue in cheek, “Mostly grown in backyards rather than large Tiessa plantations…” >> Plantations of tiessa would be the perfect setting for a horror movie. Setting pa lang, horrific na.

    Have you tasted aratiles, MM (3 years na since that post)?

    The post may have a redeeming factor. So, is “astringent” the proper translation for “mapakla”– that tacky feeling you get on the roof of your mouth when you eat an unripe banana or, yes, that oppressed Tiessa?

    Apr 6, 2011 | 12:24 am

     
  23. lee says:

    Oh that Tiesa post! I’m having fun re-reading the comments of that post.

    Apr 6, 2011 | 1:25 am

     
  24. tonceq says:

    Never learned to love tiesa as well… but Peanut butter combined with jelly? Now that’s pure genius! PBJ with every spoon! :)

    Apr 6, 2011 | 4:07 am

     
  25. Marketman says:

    Footloose, only you would recall the original post, and the comments that came with it. I must be loosing grey matter. Risa, no, I haven’t managed to taste aratiles the fruit, though a kind reader once brought me a branch of leaves so I would recognize it… :) Mary lee, headed to the kitchen now to try a version of that with puff pastry… but not quite a croissant.

    Apr 6, 2011 | 6:28 am

     
  26. James says:

    I sympathize with you, MM. I was recently at a convention at a Cebu “5-star” with a color in its name. I ordered a cup of tea for P120. Granted, the tea was a decent English tea. But, the cookie that came with it was worse than a Chips Ahoy!

    With a hotel of that size and the quality of chefs they must have on staff, would it be that hard to bake fresh cookies daily? Or, just NOT put on the “free” cookie?

    For me, this is what differentiates a real 5-star from many of the wannabes that we have. It’s the details. A real 5-star gets every little thing right. Even the jam with your toast. Even the cookie with your tea.

    Apr 6, 2011 | 1:37 pm

     
  27. Marketman says:

    James, I know what you mean. And you probably had a Twinning’s Earl Grey or English Breakfast. And the color of the hotel wasn’t purple but close. :)

    Apr 6, 2011 | 2:24 pm

     
  28. Risa says:

    “The 5-star is in the details.” Superlike.

    For me, it’s hotel soap, shampoo and lotion you can actually use. Complimentary fruit. A shoe brush. A city map. Cable TV (in English).

    This is pushing it, pero kahit walang newspaper ok lang basta may chocolate mints. Teehee.

    Apr 6, 2011 | 7:02 pm

     
  29. Risa says:

    Sorry, pahabol pet peeve.

    Places that serve brewed coffee and provide powdered creamer. I mean, you go through the trouble of brewing your coffee, what’s a little milk? Three in one na lang!

    Haha

    Apr 6, 2011 | 7:10 pm

     
  30. Kasseopeia says:

    Wow, than you for this post. I am on day 2 (98 to go) on my 100 Days of Real Food challenge – no processed food, no stuff with more than 5 ingredients on the list. I was aghast to find my trusty peanut butter brand contained six ingredients too many – a couple of which sounded like they belonged in Chem Lab class.

    I, too, share your quibble with higher-end hotels not serving or showcasing local products. A guava Danish would be sublime with a glass of champagne at seven in the morning, hehehe…

    Apr 6, 2011 | 7:38 pm

     
  31. Joy says:

    I have only made cashew butter only once. It looks wonderful.

    Apr 7, 2011 | 10:17 am

     
  32. Marianne says:

    RE: Assumption Tart Link to a Previous Post

    THANK YOU for referring me to that earlier post. I swear, your Assumption Tart photos look more YUMMY than the real thing, ha ha ha!

    I can’t believe you even included a photo of the tin. I have one of those with me here in Redwood City, CA. I use it to keep buttons and other odds and ends.

    I also have a (Ta-ra!) Assumption Doll. It came with an abanico paypay, naturally.

    Apr 8, 2011 | 9:56 am

     
  33. millet says:

    tiesa’s only redeeming factor is the tree – the tree looks very nices, ezpecially when it is heavy with the ugh fruit!

    Apr 8, 2011 | 3:12 pm

     
  34. Footloose says:

    Millet, have you been taking swigs from the mickey again? Your capitalization, then your adjectives and finally your orthography are the first ones to suffer. Or may be this is a different Millet.

    Apr 8, 2011 | 7:50 pm

     
 

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