Super Food – Almonds

Almonds are a perfect way to stave of those hunger pangs. This super food is convenient, easy to carry, cholesterol free, gluten free and packed with good nutrients. The standard serving of twenty three almonds provides 3.5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of energy packed protein and healthy monounsaturated fats for a measly 160 calories. These factors have proven to significantly reduce coronary heart disease risk factors. That’s good news for everyone since cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.

These little antioxidant powerhouses contain vitamin-E that helps the body neutralize free radicals by immediately donating the needed electron. The standard serving provides 7.4 milligrams or 35% of the Daily Value of vitamin-E. It also contains a similar amount of polyphenols as a cup of green tea or a cup of steamed broccoli.

Since at least 1400 B.C. almonds have been prized for their flavor, crunch and portability. They are a great snack food, easily carried over long distances. They are great in trail mix and granola but can easily be added to many dishes like a tossed salad, cereal, sprinkled over entrees or as appetizers at parties.

You don’t have to count out twenty three almonds to make sure you are getting the ideal standard serving, about one ounce. Just take a handful, that’s about right. You can also use an ice cream scoop, a shot glass or a quarter cup measure. Production in the U.S. has quadrupled in resent years, so Almonds are plentiful and not too expensive.

Gluten-Free Chesapeake Crab Cakes

Created by: Chef John Csukor
Yield: 8 servings

1/2  cup almond aioli
1/2  cup almond meal
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 egg
1 teaspoon flaxseed, ground fine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons parsley, rough chop
1/4 cup almonds, natural sliced
1 pound jumbo lump crab
32 lemon wedges
Canola oil, as needed
Parsley, finely minced, to garnish

In medium bowl, combine aioli, almond meal, Old Bay Seasoning, egg, flaxseed and mustard. Mix until well blended.

Gently fold in sliced almonds and crab. Form mixture into 16, 1 1/2-ounce cakes. Sear in an oiled sauté pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, 1 1/2 minutes per side.

Finish in 375°F oven for 2 minutes.

To serve, stack two cakes on a plate and garnish with 2 lemon wedges and a sprinkling of parsley.

Seared Scallops with Pomegranate Almond Glaze

Created by Celebrity Chef and Bestselling Cookbook Author Robin Miller

Tender scallops nestled in a sauce of sweet and tart pomegranate juice, floral rosemary, and golden brown, wonderfully nutty almonds. Serve the scallops and sauce with rice or couscous on the side and don’t miss a drop of the delectable glaze!
servings 4

3/4 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup slivered almonds, plus 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Steamed green beans (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk together pomegranate juice, sugar, lime juice, cornstarch, and rosemary. Set aside. Place almonds in a medium, dry saucepan and set pan over medium heat. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, until almonds are golden brown, shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the almonds for garnish. Add the pomegranate mixture to the remaining almonds and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer 8 to 12 minutes, until sauce thickens and reduces to 1/3-1/2 cup. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season both sides of scallops with salt and black pepper and add to hot pan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden brown on the outside and opaque/cooked through on the inside. Spoon the sauce on a plate and arrange the scallops on top. Garnish with reserved almonds and serve with steamed green beans, if desired

All materials courtesy of The Almond Board of California