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Flavored Nuts

Description

This is your chance to create your own nut delight, whether sweet, salty, bitter, sour or umami.  These nuts can be used just to nibble on their own, or as added flavor in a dish.  For example, pepper dusted cashews over a salad in place of pepper, honey cinnamon macadamias over cereal rather than sugar, or soy almonds in stir fry. There are many methods for flavoring nuts – here are a few ideas.

Roasted Nuts

There are a few different ways to add seasoning to nuts in the oven:

  1. Toss 1 cup of nuts in a teaspoon of oil, then dust with spices of choice – chili, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, nutmeg, all spice, Chinese 5 Spice, mustard powder or any other powdered herb.  Lay on a lined baking tray and roast for 15-20 minutes at 350°F until golden brown.
  2. Place nuts in a casserole dish, drizzle with olive (or preferred nut oil), and scatter fresh sprigs of herbs over top – rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, bay leaves.  Even a few thin slices of lemon or orange zest work well.  Toss to combine.  Place in 350°F oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking, until nuts are golden brown and aromatic. Cool and place in sealed jars with the seasonings and zest so flavors can develop.

Sauteed Nuts

This method provides more of a rich coating for nuts and is best used straight away or within a week. These are great on cheese platters and in rice, pasta and stir fries.

  1. Melt a mixture of 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan. 
  2. When melted, add a teaspoon of powdered seasoning such as in the roasted nuts, and stir until well blended.
  3. Add a cup of nuts of choice and stir to coat.  Cook over medium low heat, tossing pan constantly, until nuts are golden brown.  Pour into a strainer and allow to cool. 

Caramelized Nuts

Stove Top Version

  1. Place 1 cup of nuts, ¼ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat, and cook, stirring for 5 minutes (seasonings such as cinnamon and nutmeg can be added while stirring).
  2. Pour onto parchment paper and allow to cool, then break apart with hands. Store in a sealed container at room temperature.

Oven then Stovetop Version

  1. Toast the nuts in the oven first. Next, make a traditional caramel in a saucepan with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon butter and toss in the nuts when ready.  Try using a bit of Grand Marnier or other liqueur in the caramel and then pour onto parchment paper to cool.

Sweet Dusted Nuts

Whether it’s cocoa, mint powder, cinnamon or vanilla, making sweetened nuts is simple, and a great alternative to chocolate and candy. Sweet dusted nuts are great chopped and sprinkled on oatmeal, yogurt or ice cream.

  1. Toss nuts in whisked egg white, just enough to coat, then add powdered spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice or ginger and a sprinkle of sugar. 
  2. Toss well then transfer to a lined baking sheet and bake on a low heat, 250°F, for 30-40 minutes or until golden and the mixture is caramelized on the nuts.

For cocoa or mint dusted:

  1. Soften ¼ cup honey until runny. Add a few drops of vanilla if desired then add 1 cup roasted nuts and toss to coat well. Strain off excess liquid. 
  2. Place cocoa in bowl, add nuts and toss to coat all nuts. The best way to do this is to lift and shake the bowl. Spread on a lined tray to dry. 
  3. For mint dusted, combine ¼ cup each: powdered sugar and corn starch. Add a few drops of peppermint essence.
  4. Add nuts to coat and proceed as above.

Quinoa, Fennel and Orange Salad with Cranberry Nut Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa – try the multi-colored for a treat
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 ¾ cup vegetable stock
  • 1 bulb fennel, white part shaved
  • 2 green onion, finely sliced
  • ½ cup grated carrot
  • 8-10 basil leaves
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Cranberry Nut Salsa

  • 2 ounces nuts (great choices are sliced almonds, chopped hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • 2 ounces cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the quinoa and fennel seed and cook, shaking pan until fennel is aromatic, 1-2 minutes. 
  2. Add stock and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat and cook for 10-12 minutes or until tender but still with a “bite.”  If any liquid is remaining, strain then fluff quinoa with a fork and set aside.
  3. Prepare the cranberry nut salsa: roast nuts in a 350°F oven for 5-6 minutes until just golden. Place cranberries, vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and gently warm.  Add roasted nuts and remove from heat.
  4. Toss quinoa with fennel, green onion, carrot, orange zest and herbs. Whisk orange juice and olive oil and toss with quinoa.
  5. To serve, place into bowls and spoon over the cranberry nut salsa.

Breakfast Grain Bowl with Mixed Nuts

Description

This breakfast has lots of variations.  The grains you use are totally up to your taste preference, and the more you use, the greater the nutrient content, flavor and texture.  You can cook a week’s worth ahead of time, and store sealed in the refrigerator, so all you have to do is add the accompaniments.  If you want gluten free, go for quinoa, millet, whole oats or even grits for a Southern twist!  Other great grains are farro, barley, and rye.  All have different cooking times, so be sure to read the package before cooking. 

Ingredients

Sweet Version

  • 1 cup cooked grains of choice
  • ¼ cup apple or orange juice
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup fruit of choice – berries, peaches, apple, pear
  • ½ cup chopped mixed nuts (almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, walnuts)

Instructions

  1. Toss the grains with the juice in a bowl.  Spoon over yogurt and berries and scatter with nuts.

Savory Version

  • 1 cup cooked grains of choice
  • Topping suggestions: Sautéed spinach, mushrooms, roast tomatoes, avocado, bacon, poached egg, fresh herbs
  • Toasted nuts

Nut Butter

Description

You won’t go back to store bought nut butter after making your own. It’s easy to do, tastes so much fresher, you can use any nut or even a blend, and, most importantly, you know exactly what’s going in it.  All you need is a food processor or high-speed blender. Each nut behaves differently because of texture and oil content, and different processors will take different times, so it’s really a matter of experimentation. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of tree nuts (choose your favorite)

Instructions

  1. Roast 1 cup of nuts (you can use raw nuts, but the flavors and ability to make butter are greatly enhanced after roasting) in a 350°F oven for 8-12 minutes. The denser nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts and macadamias, take a bit longer than walnuts, pecans and pistachios.  Check after 8 minutes – they should be just browning and aromatic.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  Hazelnuts can be bitter if you keep on the skin, so place the nuts in a dish towel and rub off most of the skin before processing.
  2. Processing the nuts – add nuts to food processor and pulse on and off – first to crumbs, then continue to process until a paste starts to form. Scrape down sides, then continue to process until desired consistency–this may take 10-12 minutes, sometimes up to 20 minutes in less powerful processors.  If it’s not looking like a paste is forming, add a few drops of a nut or olive oil to help the process. 
  3. Flavor (or not) – you may just like to eat your nut butter pure and natural, or make your own designer butter adding ingredients such as honey, maple syrup, soy, chili, nutmeg, chocolate (think Nutella), truffle oil, or stir in jam or jelly to make a swirl.

Tips

Storage – It’s best to store the nut butter in a sealed jar in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to a month.

Variations

  • Almond butter – Spread on warm bruschetta and top with sautéed mushrooms and sage.  Finish with a squeeze of lemon and pepper – wonderful with chanterelles if they’re in season.
  • Walnut butter – Spread on crackers then top with brie cheese and a fruit paste such as quince or fig.
  • Hazelnut butter – Add to a toasted tomato and cheese sandwich with some fresh basil leaves or arugula, and a drizzle of good olive oil to complete the experience.
  • Pecan butter – Delicious when spread on grain toast with honey and a sliced banana.
  • Pistachio butter – Spread on pizza crust before topping with vegetables or mortadella and mozzarella.
  • Cashew butter – Perfect for Asian inspired dishes, whisk with soy sauce and lime juice and toss though noodles just before serving.
  • Brazil nut butter – Avocado Toast spread with brazil nut butter adds a unique depth, and is especially great with a garnish of cherry tomatoes, mint and ricotta.
  • Macadamia Butter – Just like real butter, this makes the base to a wonderful healthy shortbread. Or, spread on hot scones with jam for a decadent treat.

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Walnut Bark

Description

Whether topped with sweet and salty ingredients or marbled with sweet dark and white chocolate, Chocolate Walnut Bark is a delightful treat any time of year.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups California walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Pomegranate arils (seeds), fresh
  • 1/2 teaspoon course or flaked sea salt
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips or 12-ounce chocolate bar, broken loosely into pieces
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag white chocolate chips or 12-ounce white chocolate bar, broken loosely into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided

Instructions

  1. Coarsely break or rough chop walnuts and place in a small bowl, leaving aside any skins that have broken off.
  2. Set pomegranate arils out beside the walnuts.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Melt chocolate. Microwave technique: Place about 2/3 of the dark or milk chocolate chips in a medium glass bowl with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil.  Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat until the chips are mostly melted. Add the remaining chips into the bowl and stir vigorously. You will have a thick, melted bowl of chocolate. Repeat the melting steps with the white chocolate and remaining vegetable oil. Stovetop technique: Using a double boiler on medium heat with 1-2 inches of water to the bottom pan, careful to make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the upper pan (or other heat-safe mixing bowl).  Add the chocolate and stir frequently as you see the chocolate begin to melt. Once melted, remove from heat and add the remaining chocolate chips into the bowl and stir vigorously. Repeat for the white chocolate and remaining vegetable oil.
  5. Using a spatula, spoon out the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper to make a 1/4-inch layer. You can create an optional marbled look by reserving and dropping spoonfuls of the dark chocolate onto the white layer and white chocolate onto the dark layer and using a knife to create an unstructured pattern.
  6. Sprinkle with walnuts and pomegranate arils and lightly press them into the surface of the chocolate. Sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt across the bark.
  7. Refrigerate on the baking sheet until firm, then remove from the refrigerator and carefully break it into pieces.
  8. Store in the refrigerator on layers of parchment paper in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Tips

  1. Make sure to melt the chocolate slowly at a lower power, stirring frequently. Melting too fast can cause the chocolate to become discolored.
  2. Melting about 2/3 of the chocolate and then adding the rest to the hot, melted chocolate will yield the best bark texture. Stirring the chocolate well as it starts to cool will also help give the bark the best texture.
  3. If you are marbling the chocolate, don’t overmix. Swirl back and forth in a zigzag or in circles until you get your desired look.
  4. Don’t spread too thin or the toppings won’t hold.
  5. Store in the refrigerator until close to serving, especially in warmer climates or in a warm house, or the bark may become soft.

Variations

1 cup coarsely chopped pretzels
3/4 cup coarsely crushed candy canes
3/4 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup coconut chips or large flakes unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup mini marshmallows and 1/2 cup coarsely crumbled graham cracker crust
A light sprinkle of flaked smoked sea salt

Overnight Walnut French Toast With Cranberry Walnut Ginger Compote

Description

As seen on the Hallmark Home & Family Channel. Featuring nutrient-rich cranberries, walnuts and orange juice, this tart-sweet combination is perfect for your holiday breakfast or brunch. Make ahead the night before and pop in the oven in the morning!

* Nutrition information is for French Toast only

Ingredients

Overnight Walnut French Toast

  • 8 slices Texas Toast or 1-inch thick slices French bread
  • 2 1/2 cups milk or walnut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (plus extra for baking dish)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 eggs

Cranberry Walnut Ginger Compote

  • 1/2 cup toasted California Walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (juice from 2 oranges)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Zest from 1 orange

Instructions

Overnight Walnut French Toast

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place bread on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes or until it’s lightly toasted on the outside, but still very soft on the inside. Butter a 13 X 9– inch baking dish.
  3. Whisk together milk, sugar, butter, extract, cinnamon and eggs in a large bowl. Dip each bread slice into mixture and let soak for about 15 seconds on each side. Place in prepared baking dish, overlapping slices slightly if necessary.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until it’s golden brown and somewhat firm to the touch. Serve immediately.

Cranberry Walnut Ginger Compote

  1. To toast walnuts: Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350°F. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and chop coarsely.
  2. On medium heat, bring to a boil and stir frequently for 12-15 minutes until the cranberries pop and the liquid starts to reduce.
  3. Serve warm or transfer to container and refrigerate once cooled.

Harissa-Spiced Lamb with Glazed Eggplant and Pistachio Raita

Ingredients

Harissa-Spiced Lamb Chops

  • 8 lamb chops
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons Harissa spice mix 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1⁄2 cup Grapeseed oil, as needed
  • 1 cup pistachios, crushed

Pistachio Romesco

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 red onion, sliced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 Piquillo peppers (canned)
  • 1⁄4 cup sourdough croutons
  • 1⁄2 cup pistachios, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Glazed Eggplant

  • 2 Japanese eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar 2 tablespoons honey
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt and pepper

Pistachio Raita

  • 1 cup thick Greek yogurt
  • 1⁄2 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, germ removed and finely grated 1⁄2 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons mint, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pistachios, crushed
  • Salt and pepper, as needed

Instructions

Prep Ahead

  1. Combine the Harissa spice mix and herbs with the grapeseed oil and blend using a hand blender until it forms a paste. Pour over the lamb and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight.
  2. Slice the eggplant into 1-inch slices.
  3. Crush the pistachios using a pot until they are finely chopped. Reserve.
  4. Over an open flame, blacken the skin of the red bell pepper. Transfer the pepper to a bowl and cover it with plastic, steam at room temperature for 10 minutes. Peel the black skin from the red pepper and trim away the seeds.
  5. Thinly slice the red onion, Piquillo peppers, 2 cloves of garlic and combine in a bowl. Roughly dice the tomatoes and combine in the same bowl. Reserve.
  6. Peel, seed and grate the cucumber. Toss it with 1 teaspoon of salt and rest at room temperature for 10 minutes to extract the liquid. Squeeze dry the grated cucumber and transfer to a small bowl.
  7. Mix the Pistachio Raita, then combine all ingredients in the bowl with the grated cucumber, season with salt, lemon zest and pepper to taste. Mix in the crushed pistachios and chopped mint.

Instructions

  1. For the Pistachio Romesco: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the onion, tomatoes, garlic, and Piquillo peppers. Sauté until the onions are tender and the liquid has evaporated; about 4 minutes. Transfer peppers and cooked vegetables to a blender with the croutons, pistachios, and vinegar. Blend until smooth and while running, pour in the remaining olive oil until emulsified. Season, to taste, with paprika, salt and pepper.
  2. For the Glazed Eggplant: Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add eggplant in a single layer (you may need to do this in batches) and sear until golden brown on both sides. Reduce heat to medium and deglaze using the sherry vinegar and honey. Bring to a simmer until reduced to a glaze.
  3. For the Lamb Chops: When ready to serve, preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Season the marinated lamb with salt and pepper and then grill the lamb until it is cooked to your desired temperature (about 5 minutes for medium rare). Remove from the grill and let rest for a few minutes. Brush some Romesco Sauce on each side of each chop and dip them in the reserved crushed pistachios to coat them.

Assembly

  1. Spoon some Romesco sauce onto each plate and drag a spoon across it to make a well.
  2. Place 4 slices of glazed eggplant over the sauce and sprinkle some toasted pistachios on top.
  3. Divide the lamb chops between the plates and serve the Raita on the side.

Almond Horchata with Honey & Spice

Description

Created by Chef Christine Farkas of IHeart Food Consulting on behalf of the Almond Board of California.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cups unsweetened rice milk
  • 8 tablespoons almond protein powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ vanilla bean, scraped (optional)
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, as garnish
  • ice, as needed

Directions

  1. Place both milks, protein powder, honey, vanilla, ground cinnamon and sea salt in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Pour over ice, garish with cinnamon stick, and enjoy immediately, or portion into bottles, refrigerate and enjoy for snacking on the go.

Hazelnut Grits

Description

Taste the flavor of Oregon’s state nut in chef Kei Ohdera’s Hazelnut Grits.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 pint whole raw Oregon hazelnuts
  • 2 small onions, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed in 1/4 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and White pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to just a boil then reduce heat to medium-low until water is simmering. Add baking soda first, then hazelnuts. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the skins have softened. Drain hazelnuts and remove skins*. Pulse the hazelnuts several times in a food processor until finely chopped (approximately the size of a grain of rice). Set aside.
  2. Finely mince one onion and set aside.
  3. Take the second onion and slice evenly. Heat 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions to a saucepan and reduce heat to low. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, but not browned.
  4. Add water and bring to a simmer. Whisk in cornstarch slurry and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Using an immersion blender, slowly pour in 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil and blend until smooth. Pour mixture through sieve to remove any chunks and set aside.
  6. Add remaining 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil to a separate pan and cook over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add minced onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add finely chopped hazelnuts and onion-cornstarch mixture. Stirring continuously and cook until thickened and the mixture resembles the consistency of grits.
  7. This recipe is easily customized by adding toppings such as fried shallots and herbs such as cilantro and parsley.

*To remove skins, rub hazelnuts vigorously with a clean dish towel.

Almond Mode Oats

Description

Guaranteed to be your new favorite comfort food! Power up and conquer the day ahead with a steaming bowl of oats to keep you full and fueled for hours.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • Liquid stevia or preferred sugar substitute, to taste
  • 10 unroasted whole almonds
  • Optional: fresh fruit slices or berries

Instructions

  1. Using a food processor or blender, grind rolled oats into an almost flour-like consistency.
  2. Pour ground oats, almond milk, chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt into a medium size pot and stir.
  3. Place on stove and set heat to medium. Bring to a boil.
  4. Once the mixture is boiling, lower temperature to a simmer.
  5. Stir slowly and cook until the oats reach a medium-thick consistency (Tip: Add more water if the consistency of the mixture is too thick).
  6. Remove pot from heat and let cool.
  7. Stir in the almond butter and sugar substitute.
  8. Divide into two bowls and top with whole almonds for a crunchy finish! You can also add fresh fruit, if desired.