Friday, April 25, 2014
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Lisa Kostopoulos, owner of The Good Table in Cape Elizabeth, uses this technique on both pecans and walnuts.
Boil nuts in a simple syrup, equal parts sugar to water, with some hot peppers or cayenne in the mix, for 20 minutes. Assure the nuts have enough simple syrup to cover them. After 20 minutes, fry them in batches in oil (not olive oil) at 300 degrees until they are browned a bit. Lay them on a cookie rack over a cookie sheet to crisp up. These are spicy and sweet. Just awesome by the handful, on a salad or in your morning oatmeal.
Cashews are high in calories, but they have a lot of fiber and less fat than many other kinds of nuts, including pecans, almonds and walnuts. They contain essential fatty acids that help lower harmful cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. They are also a good source of minerals, particularly magnesium, which is supposed to be good for maintaining bone health.
Jeanette Richelson and Kathleen Flanagan, owners of Roost House of Juice at 11 Free St. in Portland, generously offered to share the recipe for their dairy-free cashew ricotta. If you don't feel like making your own, Richelson says they'll take orders (899-4275) if you call at least a day before you want to pick it up. They sell the spread for $7.50 per cup, not including tax.
ROOST DAIRY-FREE CASHEW RICOTTA
2 cups cashews, soaked and rinsed
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1/4 white or yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
Soak cashews for 5 to 7 hours, and then drain and rinse. Place cashews with all other ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend.
One of the nice things about pistachios, whether you eat them "Gangnam Style" or not, is that you have to work to get at the vitamin B6, fiber, thiamin and other nutrients in the nuts (unless you buy the ones that are already shelled, which is cheating -- and a lot more expensive to boot). One ounce of pistachios is about 49 nuts, and contains 170 calories.
WHITE BEAN DIP WITH PISTACHIOS AND CILANTRO
This is a great alternative to hummus from the International Tree Nut Council. Serve with pita chips or raw vegetables.
1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (about ¼ lemon)
1 teaspoon coriander seed, crushed or ground
1 clove garlic, halved
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios
1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion (white part only)
Puree beans, lemon juice, coriander and garlic in food processor until smooth.
Stir in cilantro, oil, pistachios and scallion.
Season dip to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Transfer to bowl and serve with pita and raw vegetables.
PISTACHIO CRUSTED CHICKEN CUBES
Makes 3 to 4 dozen cubes.
This is a good alternative to chicken wings from the American Pistachio Growers.
1 pound cooked chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
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