Category Archives: Nuts

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My Green Kitchen

my-green-kitchen-1My Green Kitchen by  Neena Truscott and Belinda Macdonald

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My-Green-Kitchen by Neena-Truscott-Belinda-Macdonald – NZ$39

My lovely friends have just released a wonderful book that is full of inspirational recipes integrating the healing power of foods in easy-to-make family recipes. These recipes have a focus on restoring gut health, utilising leftovers and seasonal abundance and foraging for superfoods.

Also included are herbal recipes for stimulating vibrant health and innovative ideas for meals which feature ancient grains, and how to indulge in sweet treats without the ‘nasties’. The book features an article on ‘ancestral eating’ from Ben Warren of BePure, one of NZ’s leading nutrition and holistic health experts.

Written by the winners of the first My Kitchen Rules NZ, Neena Truscott and Belinda Macdonalnd I love their work. This book reflects their love and comitment to good, healthy foods and take you on a journey in your own kitchen.

 Two Thumbs Up, well worth getting.

Fresh Basil Parsley Garlic Pesto

PestoIngredients 

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, packed

1 cup tightly packed fresh parsley

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts

3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

Method 

Combine the basil and parsley in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic and cheese and pulse a few times more. 

Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Alison’s Pantry – Raw Power – New Product Release New Zealand

Raw-Power-1Alison’s Pantry – Raw Power – New Product Release New Zealand 

www.alisonspantry.co.nz 

Gluten-free and Paleo Friendly 

When I saw the new release from Alison’s Pantry, “Raw Power” I got very excited. The first thing that came to mind is that I don’t have to make my own mix that I eat as this has all the ingredients that I would usually use to make my own. 

This mix is great for breakfast with some Greek yoghurt, or Almond milk and is perfect to have on hand mid-morning and afternoon as a healthy snack that will help stabilize blood sugar levels reducing the chance of those afternoon blues when blood sugar drops. 

Having nuts, seeds and dried fruits as a part of our daily diet offers many benefits and one of the most important for me is the way that they help stabilize blood sugar levels and control those sugar lows in our busy lives. They also provide nutrients and minerals important to our daily diet. 

Nuts are packed full of good fats, oils and fibre and natural dried fruits have sugar, nutrients and minerals. We need sugars in out diet and the natural sugars that are found in dried fruits match well with the fats and oils from the nuts to create a stable breakfast and snack meal. 

Raw-Power-webRaw Power mix is a nutrient dense blend of goji berries, raisins, sultanas, coconut chips, Brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hulled buckwheat along with diced dates and apricot pieces. 

You can find Raw Power from Alison’s Pantry in the self-selection departments at New World’s and Pak’N Save stores through-out New Zealand which is great as you can select as much or as little as you want. 

For more about the health benefits of nuts, seeds and dried fruits visit this post.

http://www.tasteofhome.co.nz/benefits-of-nuts-and-dried-fruits-as-part-of-our-diet/ 

Please note: This post is not a paid post. It is my view and thoughts on the new product Raw Power from Alison’s Pantry

Benefits of Nuts and dried fruits as part of our diet

Raw-Power-webBy Chef Jimmy Boswell 

Having nuts and dried fruits as a part of our daily diet offers many benefits and one of the most important is the way that they help stabilize our blood sugar levels and control those sugar lows in our busy lives. They also provide nutrients and minerals important to our daily diet. 

They are very convenient to pack into snack bags that can be “eaten on the run” as they offer in my view an easy and healthy snack that can be eaten anywhere. 

Nuts are packed full of good fats, oils and fiber and natural dried fruits have sugar, nutrients and minerals. We need sugars in out diet and the natural sugars that are found in dried fruits match well with the fats and oils from the nuts to create a stable breakfast and snack meal. 

The study “Nuts as a replacement for carbohydrates in the diabetic diet” (Diabetes Care, August 2011)* suggests that eating about 55 grams, (2 oz) of nuts every day can improve glycemic control and serum lipids in people with type 2 diabetes. 

Fats and oils are an important part of out diet and they help stabilize blood sugar (glucose) control in out bodies. (1) 

What this means is that fats and oils are “slow burning fuels” that help to stabilize blood sugar and allow you to go between meals without feeling so hungry. Fats also send a signal to your brain to tell you when you’re satisfied, so you know when to stop eating. This suggests why people on low-fat diets are so hungry all the time. 

Other recent medical studies indicate that nuts may play an important role in reducing the risk of heart disease. In one study, researchers found that although the benefits were greatest for frequent nut eaters, people who ate nuts even once a week had 25% less heart disease than those who avoided nuts completely. 

Tree nuts are cholesterol-free and chock-full of important nutrients, including protein and fiber. They are also a great source of vitamins such as folic acid, niacin and vitamins E and B6, and minerals like magnesium, copper, zinc, selenium, phosphorus and potassium. 

“What goes up quickly, comes down quickly” 

I am sure that everyone reading this has had that mid-morning or afternoon crash. Studies have shown that people that are on the move all day and rely on marketed  “pick-me-up”  foods, caffeine and sugar to get then through regularly experience these crashes. 

“Convenient snack foods are high in refined carbohydrates, such as white flour and white sugar, which rob the body of enzymes, minerals and vitamins, especially B vitamins. B vitamins are essential for proper brain and nervous system function”. (1) 

References 

*“Nuts as a replacement for carbohydrates in the diabetic diet” (Diabetes Care, August 2011) http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/34/8/1706.full 

(1) Source: Weston A. Price Foundation 
Replacing Refined Sugars with Natural Sugars One Step At a Time

Chicken Thigh and Avocado Salad

Chicken-Avo-Salad-webI love cooking with chicken thighs as they are great to cook with rather than breast as they don’t dry out like breast can and they carry loads of flavour.  

This salad recipe is a wonderful one to make when you have friends or someone coming for lunch that you want to impress. Its very fresh and plates easily looking like you have a chef in the house. 

Serves 4 

Ingredients 

4 chicken thighs, bone out

2 tsp garlic, minced

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Olive or coconut oil

1 tbsp butter

1 pkt mixed salad greens

250g (10 oz) cherry tomatoes

100g (4oz) fresh bean shoots
1 green or red capsicum
150g (6oz) button mushrooms, halved

1 tsp fresh diced thyme

100g (4oz) almond flakes, lightly toasted

2 avocados, chopped into even cubes

2 tbsp Italian salad dressing

2 tbsp aioli (garlic mayonnaise)

1 tsp curry powder

Method 

In a bowl combine the chicken thighs with the garlic, salt and pepper to taste and turn and rub the garlic so all of the thighs are seasoned. 

In a frying pan over a medium heat warm up the oil. Cook chicken thighs in the pan for approx 5 – 7 minutes on each side. Set aside in a bowl and let them cool before slicing chicken. 

While the chicken is cooling add butter, mushrooms and thyme to the pan over the medium heat. Sauté for 4-5 minutes turning often to lightly brown off the mushrooms. Do not over cook them as they should have a bit firmness to them. 

Top the cooling chicken with the mushrooms in the bowl with any juices. Cover and let the chicken and mushrooms cool to room temp. 

In a salad bowl, mix salad greens, tomatoes, bean shoots, capsicum, mushrooms and Italian dressing. 

In another bowl mix curry the powder with aioli, gently mix with chopped avocado. Take care when mixing as you want to retain the cube shapes 

Slice each chicken thighs into 10mm (1/2 inch) slices. 

To serve, make a beds of the salad greens mixture in wide dessert bowls, top with the avocado mixture followed by slices of chicken and garnish with fresh coriander leaves or flat leaf parsley  and toasted almonds.

For some additional flavour you can sprinkle some cooked and crumbed bacon as a garnish.

Matching Nuts With Cheeses

Cheese-and-NutsNuts With Cheese 

The crunch of nuts is a tasty contrast to the creaminess of cheese. There are a few nuts that pair especially well with cheese. If using nuts on a cheese plate remember that nuts have a slight bitterness to them that is enhanced when served raw. The best way to use them is either when they’ve been toasted or candied/caramelized. Pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds or pine nuts are usually best for cheese plates. 

Serve them next to a cheese plate or sprinkle the nuts around a platter of cheese. Nuts are also the perfect garnish for salad recipes that include cheese. 

Not all cheeses are a good match with nuts. Detailed below are my suggested matches. 

Soft Ripened Cheeses – Brie and Camembert 

Match with WARM PISTACHIOS—Warming the nuts brings out the lushness of the cheese while the salt and crunch offer a delightful contrast. 

Recipe: Roasted pistachios, shelled and lightly salted 

Preheat oven to 100 C. (200 F). Spread pistachios on an un-greased cookie sheet.

Toast nuts for 10 to 15 min. Serve warm with cheese. 

Semi-Soft Cheeses 

Match with toasted walnuts or toasted almonds 

This match heightens the texture contrast with cheese while enhancing their complementary buttery flavor and aroma. By adding a sparkling sugar coating to the nuts, the pairing becomes more complex, engaging every sensor in the palate. 

To toast, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in a preheated 175 C. (350 F) oven until very lightly browned. Watch them closely. Depending on the variety, this should take from 3 to 10 minutes. Use them immediately or store them in a covered container in the refrigerator. 

Blue cheeses 

Caramelized walnuts or hazelnuts and toasted almonds. 

Cheddars 

Caramelized walnuts or hazelnuts and toasted almonds. I also like Roasted pistachios. 

Smoked cheeses 

Toasted hazelnuts, walnuts, pine nuts.

Paring Nuts With Foods

Nuts-PictureParing Nuts With Foods 

Rich in energy, protein, packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and the much talked about omega-3 fatty acids. Crunchy yet buttery, nuts are a delicious and healthy addition to our daily diet. 

  • Nuts are rich in energy and nutrients. Nuts are an excellent source of monounsaturated-fatty (MUF) acids which help to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol.” Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet that is rich in MUF to prevent coronary artery disease, strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile. 

One way I use nuts in my daily diet is to mix them with some dried fruits and have them as an afternoon snack. This helps off-set the 3pm blues (usually caused by a low blood sugar). 

Whether they’re whole, chopped, or ground, nuts add nutrition and flavor to meals and dishes and are also a great source of protein. 

Nut varieties include almond, brazil, cashew, chestnut, coconut, hazelnut, macadamia, peanut, pecan, pine, pistachio, and walnut. Most varieties can be bought whole, chopped, or ground; salted or unsalted; roasted or spiced. Generally, whole, unshelled nuts are the least expensive. 

Most unshelled nuts will keep at room temperature for up to six months, but shelled nuts should be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator or freezer to keep them from becoming rancid. Throw out any that have mold. 

To remove thin skins, place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake them in a preheated 175 C. (350 F) oven until the skins begin to flake off. This will vary with the variety. Nuts can easily burn, so watch them closely. Remove them from the oven, wrap them in a heavy towel, and rub them against the towel to remove as much of the skins as possible. 

To grind nuts, use a nut grater or grinder and grind only a few nuts at a time to prevent them from becoming oily. 

To Toast Nuts 

Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in a preheated 175 C. (350 F) oven until very lightly browned. Watch them closely. Depending on the variety, this should take from 3 to 10 minutes. Use them immediately or store them in a covered container in the refrigerator. 

Nuts and Matches 

Macadamia 

Benefits They’re low in carbs but high in monounsaturated fats, which protect the heart.

Flavour match Plums, ginger, lemon, chocolate. 

Pistachio 

Benefits High in potassium, protein and iron.

Flavour match Trout, lamb, apricots, figs, citrus fruit, honey and mint. 

Brazilian 

Benefits One of the richest sources of selenium, which protects against prostate cancer. 
Flavour match Chocolate, bananas, dried fruit. 

Peanuts 

Benefits Full of mono-unsaturated fats, which reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. 

Flavour match Chicken, pork, bananas, honey. 

Hazelnuts 

Benefits Rich in vitamin E, potassium and manganese. Lower in fat than many other nuts.

Flavour match Apples, mushrooms, raspberries. 

Chestnut 

Benefits Almost no fat, plenty of energy-boosting B vitamins and vitamin C. 

Flavour match Roast meat, red wine sauces. 

Walnuts 

Benefits Polyunsaturated fat, preventing high blood pressure and cholesterol. 

Flavour match Figs, Roquefort cheese, goats’ cheese, coffee. 

Almonds 

Benefits Most calcium of all nuts and more protein, gram for gram, than eggs. 

Flavour match Apples, pears, apricots, ice cream, trout. 

Pecan 

Benefits High in zinc and in cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fats.

Flavour match Pears, maple syrup, apples, chocolate, figs, ginger. 

Pine Nuts 

Benefits Rich in protein and manganese, which helps break down fat.

Flavour match Spinach, Mediterranean veg, basil, feta cheese, lamb, pork.

Making Nut Butters

Nut_Butter-1000Nut Butters

As with peanut butter, other nut butters are also a rich source of high-quality protein and mono-unsaturated fat. I use the same method for making the following;

Almond butter, cashew butter, raw pecan butter, hazelnut butter and peanut butter.

Many kinds of nuts are also used to make nutritious butter. I buy raw nuts and toast them. Make sure you do not over toast them as this can make the butter taste slightly.

Making nut butter.

The first thing is to toast 2 cups of the selected nuts.

To toast, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in a preheated 175 C. (350 F) oven until very lightly browned. Watch them closely. Depending on the variety, this should take from 3 to 10 minutes. Once toasted, let them cool.

nuts-blender-1000Place them in a food processor and blend. If particles build up on the sides of the container, stop and scrape them down with a rubber spatula.

Continue processing until it begins to create a ball. You may have to break up the ball, but it is very important to be patient. Sometimes the ball will bang around a bit before it begins to break down and look creamy. This can take several minutes.

When it is balled up that I add a little olive oil. Add a teaspoon of oil and blend again. If the butter is creamy enough without it there is no need to add the oil.

Store in a sealed container in the fridge and use within 1 month.

Eating Savoury by Jimmy Boswell

Cover-special-5-00“Eating Savoury by Jimmy Boswell”

Super SPECIAL  Only $5.00 NZ$ – Save 60% ($4.00 US$)

All recipes are in imperial and metric so no conversion needed. 85 recipes, 135 pages with loads of pictures. 

Also includes charts on how to use and match herbs to meats and vegetables. Herb blends and loads of yummy savoury recipes.

Click this link to get your copy today. http://www.jimmyboswell.com/savoury_ebook.html

Mushrooms Stuffed with Crab

This is a refreshing seafood recipe that can be served with a cold salad. Mushrooms in general have about 30% raw protein. 

500 g (1.1 lb) king crabmeat or flaked salmon

4 spring onions, finely chopped

1 small red capsicum, finely chopped

½  cup gluten-free mayonnaise

¼ cup coconut flour

2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley

½ tsp red chilli flakes

½ tsp salt

4–6 large Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stem removed

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp melted organic butter

juice of 1 lemon 

Preheat oven to 180 °C. (390 °F) 

In a medium-sized bowl, combine crabmeat, chopped stems, spring onions, capsicum, mayonnaise, flour, parsley, chilli flakes and salt. 

Place mushrooms on a baking tray and stuff with the crab mixture. Drizzle the top with the olive oil and butter. 

Bake for around 20 minutes. Place under the oven grill for another 3 minutes until tops are lightly toasted. Be careful not to burn. 

Squeeze some lemon juice on top and you are ready to serve.

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