Archive for the 'Make Ahead' Category

Homemade Almond Butter

Monday, February 18th, 2008


Homemade Almond Butter


When a friend of mine, who is the mother of the 1.5 year old twins, told me she is still not giving them the peanut butter to make sure they do not have allergies against it, she mentioned the almond butter, asked if I ever had it before. Yes, I have seen it in many forms in Trader Joe’s but never bought or tried. Since it was already getting late to go out to buy a jar that night and I had a ton of almonds at home, I decided to give it a try. Short internet search revealed the easy recipe; roast and drop in food processor until creamy. How hard could that be? Not at all!

I must say the result is really satisfactory but really different from what you get from the store (later she brought some that she bought from there and as you see from the pics, theirs is way too creamy compared to my humble almond butter.) I still like the homemade one better – crunchy; you feel the almond pieces in your mouth.

I like using it on a toasted bread, sometimes topping with jam. Sandwiching a banana always a good option, too.

Homemade Almond Butter


Author: Fethiye Miller


  • 2 cups of raw almond

  • 2 Tbs olive oil (more if you want creamy consistency)


  1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C), lay the almonds on a cookie sheet and put in the oven. Roast for 20 – 25 mins, turning every 7 – 8 mins.

  2. When cooled, turn into a big kictchen towel, try to break the skins, if you can

  3. Drop them all in a food processor along with the olive oil, start chopping until desired consistency is achieved

  4. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.

Store bought almond butter



The Simplist Dessert made w/Dried Figs

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

Dry Fig Dessert

Recently I have been seeing a lot of nuts/dried fruits imported from Turkey sold in Trader Joe’s; started with the dried apricots, later we were also buying the hazelnuts and pistachios grown in Turkey. Call me a nationalist, but whenever I see something made/grown in Turkey, I tend to favor those over the others, even the local grown ones. This time, it was the dried organic Smyrna figs. Sure enough a box went into my basket even though I had a box of dried Calimyrna figs at home. Similarities in the names of these figs have been in my mind, something to research on but I kept forgetting. I know Smyrna is the name of an ancient city where today’s Izmir (3rd largest city in Turkey) is located but where did Calimyrna come from?

Thanks to internet, this is what I found out: Figs are brought to America by the Spanish missionaries in 1575 and later, when they started growing those trees in San Diego, the name “mission figs” stuck with them. Later, they wanted to grow the best fig variety known in California. Those are the figs known as “sari lop” or “sari incir” (yellow fig) native to western Anatolia (Asia Minor.) They had a hard time pollinating them until a botanist realized the trick; they started to produce them in California naming this one as California + Smyrna = Calimyrna. Not sure what the complication that kept them from producing earlier, but the fig trees have gender. So, you need to have a male and a female fig tree for production. Kiwis are like that as well, but they are vines, not trees.

Organic Smyrna Fig   Calimyrna Figs

Now that I had those wonderful dried figs, I set out to make the easiest fig dessert ever. It is basically an instant jam; make a simple syrup, cook the figs in it. Never had it with mission black figs, not sure how they’d turn out but I assure you they did a good job with those Calimyrna figs; the taste is similar to the original.

  • 2kg (about 4 lbs) dried Smryna figs

  • 750 gr sugar

  • 750 ml water

Cut the figs into small pieces (at least 6 – 8 pieces each.) In a heavy bottom stainless steel pot, heat mix water and sugar. When the simple syrup starts to boil, run the figs through cold water and immediately add them to the pot. Turn the heat down, cook the figs constantly stirring and also mashing them using wooden spoon. When all the water evaporated, transfer into a plastic container (not sure why, but my aunt always used plastic for this dessert. Might be because it is easier to spoon out of it.) Keep in the fridge.

This can be used as a filling in cookies (especially in the mamool cookies), spread on a toast or just as is.


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