So-Called Marcona Almonds


No doubt Marcona almonds have their own appellation, and no doubt they’re special in some wonderfully subtle way. But what makes these babies notoriously delicious – irresistible even – is not that they’re from some unique place but that they’re usually FRIED and then liberally salted. Maybe you didn’t know that. Maybe you didn’t realize you could make them yourself. I didn’t, until I thought about it. And then I found myself, after some baking project or other, with a bunch of skinned (that is, blanched) almonds, and in need of a snack for company, and everything fell into place. I used peanut oil, a couple of inches, and heated it to around 350DF. (You don’t need a thermometer for this. Drop an almond into the oil: when it sinks a bit, then floats right back to the top and starts sizzling, it’s hot enough.) Add a few at a time (I did a couple of batches of about a cup each), and cook just until they color a bit, three minutes or a little longer. Drain on paper towels, salt, cool, serve.

Re-use the oil in stir-fries, or spoon a little over cooked vegetables, or the like. It tastes pretty good. As do the almonds.

Posted in Recipes

Roasted Nuts (So Easy, So Good)


Makes: 4 to 6 servings

Time: 15 minutes

These are a revelation, so far from canned mixed nuts that you may have trouble believing it; and they’re almost no work at all. I suggest relying heavily on pecans or walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and cashews, with a sprinkling of anything else handy.  Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

2 cups (about 1 pound) mixed unsalted shelled nuts

2 tablespoons peanut oil or melted butter

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 450°F. Toss the nuts in a bowl with the oil or butter and some salt and pepper. Put on a baking sheet and roast, shaking occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool before serving; they will crisp as they cool.

Spiced Buttered Nuts. Real bar food: Add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of any spice mixture, like chili or curry powder, to the mix. If roasting, toss the nuts with the spice at the beginning. If sautéing, add it to the butter or oil as it heats.


Posted in Baking, Recipes

Spicy-Sweet Green Beans


By Freya Bellin

Asian-style green beans are pretty classic—usually stir-fried with soy sauce and something spicy. These green beans build on that concept, by adding an almond-based paste and employing a less-fried (less-greasy) cooking method. The result is a super crisp and bright green bean, coated with a nutty, sweet, spicy, irresistible sauce.

The almond-chile paste is the real highlight of this recipe. I used the full 2 tablespoons of oil (if not more) when processing the mix, and I still ended up with a pretty chunky mixture, so don’t expect it to get super smooth. And it doesn’t need to be—the texture and crunch was actually really nice.  The heat from the chiles will also calm down a bit once you add soy sauce and honey, so it’s ok if at first the paste tastes a little spicier than you might want it. I had some sauce leftover in the pan, which I started spreading on veggie burgers and sandwiches. In fact, you may want to make a little extra on purpose. It’s pretty addictive stuff.  Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook

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Posted in Produce