THE WONDERS OF HAZELNUTS
Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on February 5, 2009
Because I know how beneficial hazelnuts are to our health, I wanted to incorporate them into a recipe that also has other nutritious ingredients that are low in fat. So here’s a tasty recipe that allows the hazelnuts’ healthful monounsaturated fats to help bring down high cholesterol.
In an 8-week cholesterol-lowering study published in the September 13, 2006 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the participants began with a 4-week control diet. Then they were placed on a diet enriched with 1 1/2 ounces of hazelnuts a day and were successful in decreasing their total cholesterol by 5.2 % in the remaining four weeks of the study.
Hazelnuts are high in copper, the mineral that plays an important role in forming collagen crucial for bone formation. Collagen is also the connective tissue of our skin and helps to maintain our appearance. Copper also helps sustain elasticity of the blood vessels that, in turn, aids in stabilizing our blood pressure.
Deliciously caramelized onions possess an alluring natural sweetness that’s hard to resist. This unique recipe makes a richly flavored spread to enjoy on toast or bagels for breakfast, or an appetizer spread for toasted pita wedges or crackers. Nice thing is you don’t have to spend oodles of time in the kitchen to make this tasty spread. It’s one of those simple preps you easily can start, stop, and assemble when it’s convenient.
ROASTED ONION AND HAZELNUT BUTTER
Yield: about 1 1/2 cups
2 medium onions, sliced 3/8-inch thick
1 medium carrot, sliced thin
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons raw hazelnuts
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne (optional)
1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs like parsley, chives, or mint
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and have ready a lightly oiled baking sheet.
2. Place the onion and carrot slices on the baking sheet and roast them for 20 minutes.
3. While the onions are roasting, grind the hazelnuts to a fine powdery meal in batches in the food processor, a small electric coffee grinder, or mini chopper and set them aside.
4. Remove the onions from the oven and sprinkle the balsamic vinegar over them. Toss them well with a spatula and roast them for 10 minutes longer.
5. Transfer the roasted onions to the food processor and add the hazelnuts, chives, salt, and cayenne, if using, and process until the mixture is almost pureed. Tiny visible bits of carrots and chives give the spread an appealing appearance.
6. Spoon into an attractive serving bowl and sprinkle with paprika and a pinch of fresh herbs.
Suggestion: Another way to enjoy this extraordinary buttery spread is to turn it into an open-faced cheese melt. Spread a generous portion of the “butter” on slices of whole-grain bread. Top with sliced tomatoes and arrange slices of vegan cheese over the top.
Place the open-faced sandwiches on a baking sheet and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Cut into quarters and serve as finger food, or serve with a knife and fork and enjoy for breakfast or lunch.