Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson is genius. Nuts are not only delicious, ranging from mild and sweet to tannic and robust, but they are also amazingly versatile. Robin shows us just how versatile and innovative the humble nut is.
First, Robin walks you through the ins and outs of nuts, from something as basic to making your own nut butters (we all know how super expensive nut butters are versus the whole nut) to making "Cashew Sour Cream," "Cashew Cream Cheese," "Cashew Mayo" and "Nut Cheese Sauce." She utilizes the mildest of the nuts to make staples that we all need in our repertoire - all without the need of commercially prepared products.
Second is Soups. Soups are first in my heart, especially in this cookbook! I've had the "African Peanut Soup" - omg, this is so good! It is unlike any other peanut soup I've had. It is creamy and tangy and has tomatoes and peppers floating in it. Also not to be missed is the "Creamy Mushroom Soup." Lives up to its name, then some. This chapter also has "Carrot-Cashew Soup with Apples" and "Artichoke-Walnut Butter Bisque" to name a few.
The third chapter covers Starters. I've had the "Spinach-Walnut Crostini" - to die for! Creamy, crispy...and good for you! And the "Savory Three-Nut Pate"... another winner! This chapter also includes dishes such as "Wonton Crisps with Thai Peanut Sauce" and "Smoke and Spice Almond Hummus."
Fourth, Salads. This chapter has nine salad recipes, including "Roasted Nicoise Salad with Cashew Dressing" and "Pecan Lover's Potato Salad."
As Side Dishes are not ignored, Robin has ten recipes to tempt your palate. I've had the "Braised Carrots with Macadamia Butter" and the "Spicy Walnut Green Beans." Both outstanding.
Main Dishes are the crowning glory. I've had the "Linguine with Thai Pesto," (ingenious!), "Pasta with Cauliflower-Cashew Alfredo" (equally amazing and creamy). Other offerings in this chapter include "Vegetable-Cashew Korma," "Chestnut and Winter Vegetable Pot Pit," and "Broccoli and Rice Noodles with Hoisin-Cashew Sauce." There are 13 other recipes in this chapter that highlight the best of nuts.
Seven, Sandwiches. Oh, yeah! This is another favorite chapter of mine. From here I have had the pleasure of indulging in "Roasted Eggplant Pita with Garlicky Lemon-Almond Sauce" and "Walnut Butter Waldorf Wrap." Both have become standby sandwiches in our household. Other sandwich recipes here are "Chocolate-Hazelnut Panini Sandwich" (move over Nutella!) and "Nutty Buddy Burgers."
Not done, yet! Chapter eight covers Breakfast and Beyond. We're talking "Mushroom-Cashew Breakfast Burritos," "Apple Almond Butter Pancakes," and my favorite, "Handcrafted Granola Sunflower Bars." We have not had another camping trip without these in our bags; my kids won't let me!
Chapter Nine is stuffed with Desserts. At a whopping 15 recipes, your sweet tooth with be more than satisfied. I've enjoyed Robin's "Double-Dare Peanut Butter Cake," "Three-Nut Butter Cookies," and "Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake."
Finally, after all of the other recipes, Robin continues the parade of innovative dishes with Sweet Treats. Savor "Peanut Butter Cups," "Chocolate Macadamia Truffles with Coconut," and "Too-Easy Chocolate-Peanut Butter Fudge." Really. You won't be disappointed. I haven't been! Decadence!
Overall, this is an innovative, genius cookbook by one of our most beloved cookbook authors. This book, happily, is unlike any other book by Robin. That is part of the allure and appeal. She continues to pioneer new recipes and introduce our taste buds to new flavors. She considers gluten-free and soy-free readers and lets us know which recipes are appropriate and how they can be changed to be so, if applicable.
I love this book. It is one I reach for again and again. Nuts are nutritious and highly delicious. I am thrilled that an author of Robin's caliber has opened my eyes to so many different ways nuts can be used with so many different results. Five stars to this book.