Archive for the 'nuts' Category

feelin empty: spiced nuts

Could have been a free form apple and peach tart. but snow was having tea and scones. so i decided to fill the ever expanding void with a version of union square cafe spiced nuts a la nigella lawson. toast nuts in olive oil, sea salt, cumin, hot paprica, maybe a bit of brown sugar and chilli…coat nuts therein thereof until they look like you want one.

Finished product.

Void remains…with occasional stabbing pains in the stomach but mainly thirstiness…All for you ralphie.

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spanish salted almonds

once upon a time on a beach in alicante an old woman asked i could help her in the water. she didnt know how to swim and wanted someone aimless and with a significant amount of time on their hands to hold her hands while she kicked about. an offer i couldnt refuse. her gratitude came in the form of some severely and sublimely salted almonds. the gift economy at work. they tasted like spain, the mediterranean, the sun and well-being (which apparently, for those wondering, tastes very salty.) here is the closest i can get to the little golden, oval shaped nuggets of happiness…flowery rhetoric maybe but they taste like paradise.

ingredients.

500g blanched almonds

olive oil

best sea salt

put almonds on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. its more of a smattering than a sprinkling. cover is probably the best words. toss to combine and put in pre-heated oven at 180 degrees until golden brown. it will probably require a second or third salting when you take it out of the oven and then lay flat on paper towel to remove any excess oil. heaven.

hyperlinks and hypercooking: how to blanch an almond

i didnt know… so i looked, i read, i learnt. here are my findings:

get a pot full of boiling water. pour in almonds and leave them in for a minute. absolutely no more. i think even a minute is pushing it but what do i know..im but a humble food fetishist…so i do as im told. take them out and drain them and immediately rinse with cold water. then lay them out on some paper towel and their skin will be very saggy like that of a person who has lived life longer than they probably should. and then just pop them out – they come out quite easily and some swearing and muttering, the stubborner ones should cave too. once all the skins are removed, lay them out flat to air. (i also read that should they be too soggy you can try rehabilitate them by putting them back in the oven briefly to dry out.)

vanilla almond and apricot bars

muesli bars? really? well yes but its not just filler. its because some dark traumatic months a year or two back apricot and almond bars became my lifeblood. only the other day did i taste one again and amongst the bleakness and deeply repressed sadness they conjured, so too was there was a glimmer of fuck they’re good. and also some questions: how are they bound? isnt melted butter the only one true unbreakable binding force of this society? and yet not a hint of butter in sight. where are the oats, where is the solid which holds this ethereal delight together? so many questions…i became weary and had to sit down. after days of sitting and much thinkings later, i decided the closest i could come was a muesli bar with puffed rice, shredded not dessicated coconut and mostly whole almonds. the end result posted here has nothing or no one to do with this vision. because to make things more difficult i had a request for a non-lumpy snack food thats healthy but can have chocolate, with no oats unless you cant see them but most importantly, one that didnt require chewing. so i decided on an apricot almond bar – with instant oats not rolled (because you cant see them if you dont want to) and one which was entirely overwhelmed with the intoxicating scent of vanilla. an amalgam of needs. and here it is…


ingredients.

300g oats (rolled if you want high visibility oats, instant if you dont because of a reason i still dont understand)

100g coconut (dessicated)

200g melted butter

200g golden syrup (this is your bulk standard wet binding agent – i dont care for it at all so i use 100ml honey and 100ml apple juice which i think is not unclever)

vanilla extract (it would seem redundant to put a quantity here)

150g brown sugar

dried apricots (150g or the whole 600g bag depending on what your position on excess is)

150g almonds (roughly chopped)

get oven to 180 degrees. in a bowl combine the oats, coconut, apricots, almonds et al. in a pan melt the butter with the sugar and syrup and stir.


and finally…wet into dry just like a muffin or any other sweet, baked incarnation of the sublime.


theyre good. chewy but not too much chewing. theyre healthy…except maybe for the butter and sugar but then i think its probably more unhealthy in some ways not to have butter and sugar. theyre no exile bar and they might be a bit oaty but i think they represent a middle ground which we can all tread together.

pine nut pasta

this is my own theme and variations of a walnut pasta which is essentially the same but i have substituted walnuts for pine nuts and parsley for basil. this, snow, is my hook. and this is what i found:

ingredients

1 clove or garlic (ie. 2)

1 tsp salt

200g pine nuts (toasted…but only very lightly because inspite of my own fabricated version of common belief, pine nuts very lightly toasted will give off an unprecedented creaminess – one which you just cant get from your pine nuts toasted to golden colour.)

150g sourdough

100 ml mik

1 bunch basil roughly chopped

100ml olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

200 g tagliatelle

100g parmesan

in a mortar and pestle bash up garlic with a pinch of salt to a paste. add the pine nuts and pound until its a rough paste. you could, i realised after accidently sticking my finger in and putting it in my mouth, leave it at this stage and eat straight from the mortar itself. be reasonable they say. but then as mae west said, too much of a good thing can be wonderful. i guess the bottom line is if i were pounding nuts and garlic into some sort of sickeningly sublime paste for my own personal consumption this wouldnt be much of a blog and you wouldnt be reading it. but then according to my stats, you arent. not that i look at that kind of thing. i digress. then transfer into a bowl depending on the size of your mortar and add the bread which has been soaked, along with the remaining milk. mix again, then add the parmesan and the olive oil and finally a squeeze of lemon. (the lemon takes this from creamy, heavy, stodgy and potentially bland to something entirely different…because thats what lemons do.)

Cook the tagliatelle for 3 or so minutes and drain. return pasta to the pot and keep some cooking water back. then pour in your pine nut sauce (pesto/paste/stuff) and mix until all the pasta is coated. sprinkle with parmesan cheese, some torn up basil and some toasted pine nuts (not too many in spite of what the pine nut enamoured voices in your head might say…its just to echo whats happening in the sauce and adds texture for those who like that kind of thing.