January 30, 2013

Soup to Nuts: Go nuts!

The overexposure of Psy (sigh) continues with his upcoming Super Bowl commercial, but when it comes to Super Sunday snacking options, he has a point.

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 4)

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

If there are football fans at your Super Bowl party who aren't into beer, try serving this almond-based hot toddy instead.

ALMOND HOT TODDY

Make 2 servings.

2 cups vanilla-flavored almond milk

2 ounces spiced rum

1 ounce brandy

1/3 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 teaspoon nutmeg, plus more for garnish

Light whipped cream to garnish

Slivered almonds to garnish

Over low heat, combine almond milk, rum, brandy, almond extract, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly with a whisk until very warm. Pour into large mugs, leaving an inch of room at the top. Top with whipped cream, almonds and a sprinkle of nutmeg.


MACADAMIA NUTS

Macadamia nuts have a lot of fat and calories, it's true, but they also contain higher amounts of monounsaturated fats (the kind found in olive oil) per serving than other tree nuts. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who added macadamia nuts to their diets lowered their total cholesterol levels, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol by nearly 10 percent.

I have made this baked brie with macadamia nuts for parties, and it was a hit. The recipe originated from the "Island Flavors" cookbook by celebrity chef Sam Choy. This is easy to make, but want to make it even easier? Trader Joe's carries macadamia nuts that are already finely chopped, saving you some time.

BAKED BRIE WITH MACADAMIA NUTS

2 4.5-ounce rounds brie cheese

1 tablespoon flour

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped

1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumb (Panko)

Spicy mango chutney

Thin crisp bread, such as lavash or toasted pita bread

Thinly sliced apple

In a shallow dish, combine bread crumbs and nuts.

Cut each Brie into quarters and coat with flour, then dip in egg.

Coat Brie well on all sides in the nut mixture, patting to help coating adhere.

Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Arrange cheese in an ovenproof dish and bake 10 minutes or until golden.

Serve with chutney, lavash and apple.


WALNUTS

Walnuts are believed to protect your heart and cognitive function, help prevent disease such as cancer and diabetes and aid in weight management. They contain more of the ALA/omega-3 essential fatty acids than any other nut. No wonder they're so often called a "superfood."

Here are a couple of easy snack recipes from California Walnuts.

CHUNKY MAPLE WALNUT SPREAD

1 package (8 ounces) low-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature for an hour

2/3 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins 

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Put cream cheese in a medium bowl. Add walnuts, raisins, syrup and cinnamon. Stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until ingredients are mixed together.

Spread on bagels, toast or apple slices.

TIP: To make as a softer dip for apple slices or strawberries, use twice as much maple syrup. To reduce fat and calorie content, use whipped low-fat cream cheese instead of a brick of low-fat cream cheese.

BRANDIED CANDIED WALNUTS

If you have some of these left over after the Super Bowl, you can use them on desserts or salads.

2 cups granulated sugar

1 pound walnut halves

1/4 cup brandy

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 fluid ounces orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, toss 1 cup of sugar with remaining ingredients and mix well.

Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet, spread evenly and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining 1 cup of sugar over the top and mix. Allow walnuts to cool before serving.

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