Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Archive for May, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Look-Alikes

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on May 31, 2009

I love teaching plant-based cooking classes. What gives me so much pleasure is seeing the surprised looks and hearing the delightful expressions that come from students who are amazed that plant-based foods that spotlight nuts actually taste pretty darned good and are crammed full nutritious natural ingredients. The menu for a recent cooking class featured these very nutty bean patties made from black beans, pine nuts, and walnuts. The students loved them so much, they made both platters of patties disappear.
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While walnuts and pine nuts are quite different in nature, they do have some beneficial health attributes in common. Both contain significant levels of arginine to encourage good blood flow, phytosterols to regulate the absorption of cholesterol, and antioxidants that protect our cells from oxidation. They excel in healthful mono and polyunsaturated fats. Both nuts contain plenty of protein, fiber, B vitamins, especially folate, and vitamin E.
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Focusing on their uniqueness, walnuts score very high in the all-important omega-3 fatty acids with 9.08g for 3.5 ounces that help to reduce inflammation in the arteries. Pine nuts contain no omega-3 fatty acids, but they do have a whopping 1324 mg of copper for 3.5 ounces to help protect the bones. Walnuts contain 2.94 mg of Vitamin E, but pine nuts stand out with their 9.33 mg of Vitamin E for 3.5 ounces. Walnuts deliver 104 mg of calcium, while pine nuts contain only 16 mg. Clearly, each nut, has individual strengths in particular nutrients, driving the point that no single nut stands out as superior. Variety works best.

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While these nutty bean patties deliver a rich savory flavor, they look surprisingly like chocolate cookies dotted with chocolate chips. Enjoy these with fresh salsa on top or tuck them into a whole-wheat pita with lots of trimmings like chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and shredded lettuce. You can also enhance them with your favorite barbecue sauce.

This is one of the delicious recipes from my cookbook, The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion.

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ZESTY BLACK BEAN PATTIES

Yield: 9 to 10 patties (3-inch diameter)

1/4 cup raw pine nuts
1/4 cup raw coarsely chopped walnuts

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained*

1/2 cup oat bran or wheat germ
2 to 3 tablespoons water, as needed
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil a large baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
2. Combine the pine nuts and walnuts in the food processor and process until they are finely ground. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
3. Put the onion into the food processor and chop until it is minced. Transfer to the bowl with the nut meal.
4. Measure 1/2 cup of the black beans and add them to the bowl with the nut meal. Put the remainder of the beans into the processor. Add the oat bran, water, salt, cumin, coriander, chili powder, garlic powder, and pepper and process until well blended. Spoon the mixture into the nut meal and mix well.
5. Drop the mixture from a large spoon onto the prepared baking sheet to form nine or ten 3-inch patties. Flatten the patties slightly so they will bake evenly. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Turn the patties over with a metal spatula and bake 10 to 12 minutes longer.

Note: If you prefer to use canned beans rather than cooking beans from scratch, 1 1/2 (15-ounce) cans will give you the 2 cups of beans needed for this recipe. Rinse and drain the beans before using.

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Posted in Antioxidants in Nuts, Bean Recipes, Minerals in Nuts, Nut Nutrition, Nut Recipes, Nuts and Health, pine nuts, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

FAMOUS POETS GO NUTS ABOUT . . .

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on May 18, 2009

What is it about nuts that inspires literary figures to describe them as idiosyncratic as humans—or to at least hold them up to our human mirror and make us think twice about some of the things we say or do.

Here are a few delightful nut quotations and poems from well-known poets to make you smile or, perhaps, ponder the mighty nut tree:

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:The Village Smithy

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Under the spreading chestnut tree
I sold you and you sold me:
There lie they, and here lie we
Under the spreading chestnut tree.
–George Orwell (1903–1950), British author. popular song, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, pt. 1, ch. 7, and passim (1949).

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Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), U.S. poet, essayist. The Mountain and the Squirrel (l. 17–19).

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In a good play every speech should be as fully flavoured as a nut or apple.
–J.M. (John Millington) Synge (1871–1909), Irish poet, dramatist. The Playboy of the Western World, introduction (1907).

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I had a little nut-tree, nothing would it bear
But a golden nutmeg and a silver pear;
–Mother Goose

Posted in chestnuts, Nut Poetry, Nut Quotes and Toasts | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

WILL THE REAL NUT PLEASE STAND UP?

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on May 11, 2009

I’ve often wondered how so many slang expressions connecting nuts to craziness came into being and decided to do a little digging. Here are some expressions we often encounter and sometimes even use when dealing with perfectly normal people who seem to sometimes act unreasonably.

He’s a total nut.
You’re nuts!
That’s a nutty idea!
She’s a bonafide nutcase.
That’s the nuttiest thing I ever heard!
Check out that nutter.
They’re completely nuts.
You’re off your nut!
They’re nutty as a fruitcake.
You belong in the nuthouse!
I’m nuts about him.
Nuts to you!
That’s pure nuttiness!
One is nuttier than the other!
Have you gone nutso!
Who let you out of the nuthatch?

The dictionary was a great start. My Webster’s New World Dictionary explains the adjective “nuts” in the following way: [Slang] crazy; foolish –interj. [Slang] an exclamation of disgust, scorn, disappointment, refusal, etc; often in the phrase “nuts to someone or something”—be nuts about [Slang] . 1. To be greatly in love with 2. To be very enthusiastic about.

The word “nutty” is explained as
1. Containing or producing many nuts
2. having a nutlike flavor
3. [Slang] a) enthusiastic, often to excess. b) queer, foolish, crazy, etc.

The slang for “nut” opens another line of thought. According to my trusty dictionary, [Slang] a) the head b) the testicles; a vulgar usage . [Slang] a) a foolish, crazy, or eccentric person b) a devotee; fan
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The AnswerBag contained a post explaining that the word “nutty,” referring to insane, was first recorded in England in 1821. Nutter is an English expression attributed to a person who is “mad,” yet another expression for crazy.

In his April 10, 2006 article “What Makes Nuts So Crazy?” posted on Slate, Daniel Engber mentions nuts in a few striking quotes. On the subject of Iran and the U.S. possibility of a nuclear strike, reporter Seymour Hersh quotes a former intelligence officer as saying that the Iranians “are nuts, and there’s no reason to back off.” Another comment came from a diplomat who told Hersh that there are weapons inspectors who believe the Iranians are “nutcases—one hundred per cent totally certified nuts.” The British see the issue quite differently with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw considering a nuclear strike “completely nuts.” Engber poses the question, “How did ‘nuts’ get to mean ‘crazy’?”

Engber tells us that the British of the late 19th century used the expression “nuts” in cases where they found something was enjoyable. They used expressions like being “nuts on something” and “crazy on something.” In the 20th century Americans eliminated the word “on” after the word “nuts” and “nuts” became a synonym for crazy. Obviously, Jack Straw’s use of the word “nuts” did not mean that he felt bombing Iran was enjoyable. He was echoing the American usage of equating “nuts” with crazy.

The word “nut” became a mid-1800s slang term referring to the head. Engber says that if you were told you were “off your nut,” it was pretty clear you were crazy.

My Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the term “screwy” as a slang expression for mentally unbalanced; crazy. Engber’s article explains that psychologist Timothy Anderson discovered that the word “nut” at one time referred to the head of the penis and later became connected to a man’s head, and following that, the testicle. It begins to make sense that the term “screw” referred to sexual intercourse during the time “screwy” was a common term. Expressions like “so and so went bananas” and “so and so is nutty as a fruitcake” were terms that appeared some time after the word “fruit” became associated with homosexuality.
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Regarding the connection between nut and testicle, the December 23, 1950 issue of New Yorker contains the quote, “On the N.B.C. network, it is forbidden to call any character a nut; you have to call him a screwball.”

Nuts and crazy have become so commonly intertwined that we see everyday examples in the news, internet blogs, and even book titles. A perfect example is the book by Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Freiberg titled Nuts!: Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success. The book tells the success story of Herb Kelleher who reinvented air travel with a bit of creativity and savvy marketing.

On HubPages prominently placed at the top is the headline “Rush Limbaugh is REALLY Crazy (“nuts” would be a better word)”

Even GameGecko.com, an internet game website, latched onto a catchy name for its featured game “Crazy Nut.”

A post by Henry Fernandez on the May 11, 2009 AlterNet mentioned a recent post by ThinkProgress discussing a far-right conservative contingency that expressed concern about President Obama’s choice of Harold Koh for Legal Adviser to the Department of State. Fernandez says, “Their nutty views have been trumped up by Fox News and the New York Post with extremist Glenn Beck leading the charge.“ Beck was quoted from his appearance on Fox News after expressing strong opposition to Harold Koh, “There is a big debate on the internet, in the New York Times and everybody else, saying that I’m a crazy nut-job because of Harold Koh.”

The connection between nuts and crazy has been well established in the media and continues to appear in movie themes, popular songs, food products, advertising messages, and everyday conversation. So, I’ll close this crazy blog post with this nutty thought:

I sincerely hope your crazy day is filled with pure and delightful nuttiness!

Posted in Nut Folklore, Nut History, Nut Oddities, Nut Quotes and Toasts | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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