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Nuts over almonds.

NUTS OVER ALMONDS

The almond may be America's favorite nut. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports yearly consumption at half a pound per person, and the trend is upward. Nutritionally, that's good news, because almonds are high in protein, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin E; locked inside that crunchy kernel are minerals, too: phosphorus, copper, magnesium, iron and calcium.

Although plain almonds are just plain good for munching, they are also the nuts most widely used for cooking. Over the centuries, the Chinese have articulated the mild, nutty flavor and the crispness of almonds in an array of tasty stir-fry dishes, and many American chefs recommend them highly for use with fish and vegetables. Almonds are also a favorite palate cleanser among wine testers, who wisely spit out the wine after tasting it but swallow the almonds with gusto.

Almonds can enhance the flavor, the appearance and the texture of a variety of dishes. They can even transform a side dish into a main dish. The following classic--Italian Risi-Bisi (rice and peas) Casserole--is just one example. Generally served on the side, it has become a protein-packed, easy-to-prepare central dish with the addition of almonds and cheese.

Almonds can dress up chicken, too. Simmered in a sauce of rosemary, lemon, apricots and wine and sprinkled with crisp, toasted almonds, Lemon-Apricot Chicken is a delicious and unusual party pleaser; and in Japanese Chicken Salad, almonds and cabbage combine to create a new salad sensation that's healthful, crisp and colorful.

And don't miss our almond enchiladas and our crunchy, tangy Zucchini-Pesto Soup.

For optimum flavor, toast almonds by spreading them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place them in an oven, turn to 375| F. and bake six minutes until they are lightly browned. Remove and cool. The almonds will continue to toast slightly during cooling.

Almond/Sour-Cream Enchiladas (Serves 6)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup bell pepper, finely chopped

2 tablespoons salad oil

1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce

1/4 cup green chilies, chopped

1 1/2 cups dairy sour cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

Few dashes Tabasco

12 tortillas

6-8 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded

Toast almonds. Saute onion and bell pepper in saucepan in 2 tablespoons oil until tender. Stir in tomato sauce and 3 tablespoons chilies; set aside. Mix all but 2 tablespoons almonds with sour cream, salt, Tabasco and remaining chilies. Saute tortillas lightly in oil. Spoon about 1 tablespoon each tomato mixture and sourcream mixture into center of each tortilla; top with some shredded cheese. Roll up. Place rolled tortillas in shallow baking dish. Pour remaining tomato mixture over. Spoon remaining sour-cream mixture in row on top of tomato. Sprinkle with remaining almonds and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 375| F. about 20 minutes or until enchiladas are hot.

Roman Ground Almond Soup/Stew (Serves 6)

2 1/2 pounds chicken parts

4 cups water

1 branch celery, halved

1 carrot, sliced

3 parsley sprigs

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons seasoned salt

1 can (16 oz.) stewed tomatoes

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 can (4 1/2 oz.) cooked shrimp

1/2 cup ground almonds, lightly toasted (see 2nd column)

1 eggplant (about 1 lb.), sliced 1/2 thick

1 medium green pepper, seeded and cut into strips

1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

Hot steamed rice

Almonds, toasted and sliced, for garnish

Zucchini-Pesto Soup (Serves 4)

1 container (4 oz.) frozen pesto, thawed

1/2 cup roasted almonds, diced

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/4 cup margarine

6 cups zucchini, sliced

2 cans condensed chicken broth

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

2 cups heavy cream

Combine pesto with almonds, cheese, oil, parsley and lemon juice; set aside. Saute onion in margarine until wilted. Add zucchini and saute 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, salt, thyme and white pepper; heat through. Puree zucchini mixture in blender or food processor. Return to saucepan and blend in heavy cream. Heat gently. To serve, spoon soup into bowls and top with pesto-almond mixture. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts of soup.

Summer's Bounty Salad (Serves 4)

1 cup bananas, sliced

2 cups orange segments

1 cup strawberries, sliced

1 cup honeydew melon pieces

2 cups bite-size watermelon wedges

1 cup nectarine slices

1 cup seedless green grapes

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Wedges of Brie, Camembert, Dill Havarti and Cheddar cheese

Dill-Parsley, Lemon-Mint and Chutney--Yogurt dressings

Chill prepared fruit. Just before serving, toss or arrange on plate with almonds and wedges of cheese. Drizzle with choice of dressings.

Dill-Parsley Dressing

Combine 1 cup plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon dill weed, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon chopped parsley. Mix well.

Lemon-Mint Dressing

Combine 1 cup plain yogurt, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon chopped parsley and 2 teaspoons mint flakes. Mix well.

Chutney-Yogurt Dressing

Combine 1 cup plain yogurt, 4 tablespoons chutney (watermelon based) and 4 tablespoons honey. Mix well.

Almond-Chicken Valenciana (Serves 6 to 8)

2-4 tablespoons salad oil

3-4 tablespoons slivered almonds

3-4 whole chicken breasts or large halves

6-8 chicken thighs or drumsticks

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1 package (7 1/2 oz.) Spanish-rice mix 2-3 tablespoons pimiento, chopped or slivered

1-1 1/2 cups frozen peas

1 cup cooked ham, slivered

8 raw shrimp, cleaned (optional)

Cilantro, parsley or watercress for garnish

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy frying pan over medium heat; add almonds. Roast and stir until golden brown. Lift out and drain on paper towels. Meanwhile, split chicken breasts or cut each large half into two pieces. Wipe all chicken pieces with a damp paper towel and pat dry; brown them in hot oil in frying pan and add more oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. When chicken is well browned, cover and cook for about 10 minutes; then lift pieces out and set aside. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons oil. Add onion and cook until lightly browned. Stir in rice from Spanishrice mix; combine envelope of seasonings with liquid as directed on package but omit any additional butter or oil. Pour over rice and onion; bring to a boil and stir. Lower heat; cover and cook about 10 minutes. Stir in pimiento, peas, ham and all but 1 tablespoon of the roasted almonds. Arrange pieces of chicken and shrimp on top, cover and continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is tender. When time to serve, stir lightly and spoon onto a large serving platter; arrange the pieces of chicken on top. Sprinkle with remaining almonds. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro, parsley or watercress.

Japanese Chicken Salad (Serves 4 to 6)

Dressing

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons Oriental sesame oil

3 tablespoons vinegar

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon ginger, grated

Salad

1 package (3 oz.) Ramen soup noodles, uncooked

7 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced

2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons green onion, thinly sliced

2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded

1 1/2 cups slivered almonds, toasted

2 cups pea pods, blanched

Combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Reserve seasoning package for future use. Marinate noodles in dressing until tender (about 1 hour). Combine remaining salad ingredients, except pea pods, in large bowl. After noodles are tender, pour noodles and dressing over salad; toss to combine. To serve, arrange pea pods on large serving plate and spoon salad into center.

Risi-Bisi Casserole (Serves 4)

1/2 teaspoon salt or salt substitute

1/2 cup rice

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/4 cup margarine

1 packagew (10 oz.) frozen peas

1 teaspoon basil, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon thyme, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon rosemary, crumbled

1 1/3 cups slivered almonds, toasted

2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated

In large saucepan, bring 1 cup water to boil. Add salt, rice and onion. Cover and cook over very low heat for 20 minutes or until rice is "barley tender.' Stir in margarine, peas, basil, thyme, rosemary, 1 cup of cheese and one cup of almonds. Heat thoroughly. Turn into 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese and almonds. Bake at 375| F. 25 minutes or until hot in center.

Photo: Almonds came to the United States from Mexico, and they are right at home sprinkled with cheese over delicious Almond/Sour-Cream Enchiladas. In large pot, combine chicken, water, celery, carrot, parsley, bay leaf and salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Strain stock; cool and chill. Discard celery, carrot, parsley and bay leaf. Cool chicken; remove skin and bones. Slice chicken into bite-size pieces. Skim fat from stock. Return stock to pot with chicken, tomatoes and onion; heat to simmering. Drain and rinse shrimp; add to soup with almonds, eggplant, green pepper and ground pepper. Simmer 40 minutes or until eggplant is tender. Serve over rice in soup bowls. Garnish with almonds.

Photo: An unusual combination of red and green cabbage, pea pods and Chinese noodles, Japanese Chicken Almond Salad will make a colorful addition to a spring buffet.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Simon, Allen
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:May 1, 1985
Words:1548
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