September is National Fruit and Vegetable Month, and a time to celebrate the end of summer’s produce and add more color to our plates. It’s an opportunity to roast, pickle, freeze, puree and find endless ways to keep the flavors of summer alive in our kitchens. And tree nuts are a tasty way to add some texture and protein to all kinds of late summer dishes.
Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices going:
Tomatoes are ripe, tender, juicy and ready to be cooked and preserved. But they’re still great for Caprese with mozzarella, basil and pesto. Remember, pesto can include more than pine nuts – any nut can be pureed with basil, or arugula, olive oil and parmesan to make a lovely base for this classic dish. Or make a mixed heirloom tomato salad, scattered with roasted nuts, fresh herbs and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic to serve with cheesy toast. Home-made tomato soup using soft tomatoes is divine, just puree with some extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with balsamic syrup and scattered with roasted nuts.
Green Beans and almonds are made in heaven. Simply blanch the beans and toss with a little butter, honey and toasted sliced almonds, or try the same with carrots and walnuts, or zucchini and hazelnuts. Radishes are wonderful sautéed with pistachios and tarragon.
Vegetable soups with a side of nuts – whether it’s a classic Potato and Leek soup scattered with roasted nuts, a Mediterranean Carrot soup with Raisin Nut Agridolce, or a chilled White Gazpacho made with grapes, cucumber, almonds and yogurt, nuts add texture, depth and sustenance to any soup!
Peaches and Nectarines, depending on where you’re located, are coming to the end of there season. But these late-harvest stone fruits have a multitude of uses. Try them sliced and arranged in a nut pastry made with macadamias, or in a classic almond frangipane as a base. They’re delicious tossed with chopped nuts, a little brown sugar, cinnamon and rum, and wrapped in buttered filo pastry sheets. You can even puree them with your favorite nuts and freeze in ice cube trays to put into winter smoothies. The nutrients in the peaches, combined with the proteins and healthy oils in the nuts make a powerful morning start!
Berries can be tossed with nuts over oatmeal or in a Breakfast grain bowl. Turn your Tiramisu into trifle, layering berries amongst layers of soaked ladyfingers and mascarpone cream and scattering with the crunch of roasted chopped nuts.
No matter where you live in the country, something is growing that you can turn into a delicious dish for you and your family…just add nuts for an extra special touch.
Bon Appetit from the Nutty Chef!