Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

NUT GOURMET LAUNCHES CELEBRATION!!!!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on May 10, 2011

Yea!!! I’m celebrating the 5-year Anniversary of the publication of The Nut Gourmet cookbook and I’m thrilled to announce that it’s still going strong!

I guess you might say nuts are here to stay. They’ve certainly proven their longevity, since they’ve been part of the food chain for centuries. It was actually tree nuts and plant seeds, along with wild berries, wild leafy vegetables, roots, and fruits that sustained early man and allowed our paleo ancestors to thrive.

One reason tree nuts played such an important role in the diet of the hunter-gatherers is that they’re such good keepers–nuts could be stored for months without the benefit of our modern-day refrigerators. When kept in their naturally protective shells, most nuts will retain their flavor, moisture, and nutritional qualities for 6 to 9 months at room temperature, depending on climate conditions and variety of nut.

Because nuts are an everyday food in my house and because I’m such a spontaneous cook, I buy a wide variety of nuts already shelled and keep them in the refrigerator. If I find nuts at an exceptionally tempting price and want to buy them in quantity, I know I can freeze them in heavy-duty plastic bags for as long as a year.

I also have the good fortune to own a second refrigerator, an extra-large commercial type I keep in the garage. That allows me the freedom to create nut recipes whenever a fresh idea pops into my head.

Today, in celebration of The Nut Gourmet anniversary, I want to share a winning recipe from the book that’s easy, delicious, and just plain fun to eat. This scrumptious, one-dish meal features almonds and makes it easy to encourage kids to eat more veggies.

And since a one-dish delight might not fill a tummy gnawing with hunger pangs, serve this with a bountiful tossed salad, whole grain bread, and lightly steamed green beans.

NOODLES AND NUTS

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 (14-to 16-ounce) package of Japanese soba noodles

2 tablespoons organic canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 large broccoli crown, coarsely chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup water
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar or rice vinegar

1 cup whole almonds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 green onion, finely chopped

1. Cook the noodles in boiling water until tender, according to the package directions. While the noodles are cooking, heat the canola oil in a large deep skillet. Add the garlic and ginger and cook over high heat for 1 minute.
2. Add the broccoli, tomatoes, celery, onion, water, bell pepper, sesame oil, and vinegar, and cook and stir for 2 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables are crisp-tender.
3. Grind the almonds into a fine, slightly chunky meal in the food processor. Add to the simmering vegetables and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Drain the noodles and add them to the vegetable mixture, a little at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon to distribute them evenly. Adjust the seasonings, if needed.
5. Heap the noodles and vegetables on a large platter and garnish with the green onion.

Notes:
Soba noodles are a type of Japanese pasta usually made from a combination of buckwheat and wheat.

Processing whole almonds starts out at a nearly deafening clatter. You may want to hold your ears and warn anyone in the room.

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