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


click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

So, now that the New England Patriots aren't going to be in the Super Bowl, what will be the buzz on Sunday?

Super Bowl commercials, of course.

Psy, the South Korean rapper responsible for the "Gangnam Style" phenomenon, made a commercial this year for the nut company Wonderful Pistachios. The ad is scheduled to run during the third quarter of the game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.

Sure, a lot of us thought the whole "Gangnam Style" thing was just about over -- can't someone please just put it out of its misery? -- but now we will be subjected all over again to lame jokes about how even the Super Bowl is going Gangnam Style. Wonderful Pistachios' slogan "get crackin' " will take on a whole new meaning.

On the up side, all the talk about pistachios brought up thoughts of Super Bowl snacks and what would be good to serve this year. Nuts are one of the most common game day snacks because they are so easy -- just throw some in a bowl, and you're good to go.

They are also a lot better for you than chips coated in high-calorie dips.

"I think nuts are a great snack," said Susan Quimby, a registered dietician at Nutrition Works in Portland.

First of all, Quimby said, nuts contain the healthy mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats that are good for your heart. Depending on the variety, nuts can have B vitamins, fiber, cholesterol-lowering plant sterols, omega-3 fatty acids and flavonoids, the antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables that help fight disease.

"They've done some really interesting research looking at heart health, diabetes, weight loss, and they find that having some nuts can actually be beneficial for your heart," Quimby said. "Some nuts will even help lower your cholesterol, like walnuts."

One study, Quimby said, found that adding an ounce of nuts a day -- say, 23 almonds or 49 pistachios -- to your diet does not lead to weight gain. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, she said, found that individuals who eat nuts five times a week decreased their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 27 percent.

OK, so they're good for you. They taste good, too, and they are more versatile than you think, so no need to just throw them in a bowl.

I've gathered a number of recipes, several of them from local chefs, that will dress up the nuts you serve during the big game. I've tried to keep the choices simple and easy to make, and in most cases the nuts are the star of the recipe.

Chef David Ross of 50 Local in Kennebunk shared his masala and chili spiced peanuts, and Lisa Kostopoulos from the Good Table in Cape Elizabeth shared a recipe that works with either walnuts or pecans.

For an alternative to hummus, try the dairy-free cashew ricotta from Roost House of Juice in Portland.

And there's more. Happy snacking, and may your favorite team win.

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

mgoad@pressherald.com

Twitter: MeredithGoad

HERE'S HOW TO PUT THEM ALL TOGETHER:

 


PEANUTS

Peanuts aren't really a nut. They're a legume, and they grow underground, not on trees. But they are still an all-time favorite with people who like nuts, and they are full of good, heart-healthy things like niacin, manganese, vitamin E and other antioxidants, and healthy fats.

(Continued on page 2)

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