Nuts for Health


I just read a GREAT New York Times article sharing some great scientific evidence on the benefits of Nuts for Health.

Examples Include:

1. "Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that can lower triglycerides and blood pressure, slow the buildup of arterial plaque and prevent abnormal heart rhythms. Walnuts are especially rich sources of alpha-linolenic acid, some of which is converted to heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids."

2. "Most nuts, and especially almonds, are good sources of vitamin E, an antioxidant. Joan Sabaté, a nutritionist at Loma Linda University who has studied the health effects of nuts among Seventh-day Adventists, lists folic acid, selenium, magnesium and several phytochemicals among the compounds in nuts that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory or anticancer properties."

3. "The nurses’ study has linked tree nuts to a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer. A Taiwanese study of about 24,000 people found a 58 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer among women who ate peanuts, although a similar effect was not found among men."

4. "In both the nurses’ and health professionals’ studies, eating nuts more than five times a week was associated with a 25 percent to 30 percent lower risk of needing gallbladder surgery."

5. "Nuts also contain dietary fiber, about a quarter of which is the type that reduces cholesterol and improves blood sugar and weight control. The nurses’ study and a study of about 64,000 women in Shanghai found strong evidence that frequent consumption of tree nuts, peanuts and peanut butter reduced the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes."

6. "Peanuts and especially pistachios are rich in resveratrol, which is being investigated for possible anti-aging effects. Pistachios are also rich in arginine, which gives rise to nitric oxide, a substance that improves blood flow and can help counter erectile dysfunction."

Dark Chocolate-Covered Nuts sound pretty tasty right now! :)

Hailed as the first place winner for the “Best Health and Nutrition” cookbook at the 2012 annual Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, “Gluten Free Mediterranean Gourmet Cuisine", written by Aslihan Koruyan Sabanci, is the first book to offer gluten-free recipes based not only on delicious Turkish Cuisine but also on factual nutritional analysis. She also discusses How to have a Healthy Immune System. You can also find several vegetarian recipes and make many of these vegetarian or vegan if needed.

Following two years of extensive research, each recipe chosen for Sabanci’s book includes nutrition charts as well as vitamin and mineral values determined by medical specialists and nutritional scientists which include carbohydrates, fat, protein, fiber, folic acid, calcium, vitamins D, E, A, B1, B2, niacin, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. The finished product is a beautiful 320-page book enhanced with full color photographs of over 150 tried and tested, easy and tasty Mediterranean Cuisine recipes all made from accessible ingredients.

“While compiling my recipes into a book, I wanted to include useful information for food-sensitive people like myself,” says Sabanci.  “I hope my book will be beneficial not only to people who are gluten-sensitive, Celiac Disease patients and their families, pediatricians and gastroenterologists, but to a global readership that is fond of Mediterranean and Aegean cuisines and want to eat healthfully and deliciously.”

Her nutrition tips to create a Healthy Immune System include:
- Eat regularly

- Eat a variety of foods
- Decrease the consumption of fat
- Consume Omega 3 fatty acids (I recommend flaxseed and walnuts)
- Consume less sugar and sweetened foods
- Avoid too much sodium
- Consume more liquids
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Consume more antioxidants
- Avoid processed foods
- Consume organically grown foods in their season
- Get Sun for Vitamin D
- Consume fermented products

Try this Recipe: Kabak Tatlisi (Pumpkin Dessert with Cream, Walnuts, and Strawberries)

Celery Salad
Here are Two Great Recipes from the Walnut Harvest Tour Dinner at Trefethen Winery catered by Chef Todd Humphries.
Note if you want non-dairy options, here are some substitutions:
- instead of eggs, you can use ground flaxseed and water

- instead of milk and cream, you can use Almond or Soy Milk 
- instead of cheese, you can use a variety of vegan cheeses

Celery Salad with Gorgonzola Dolce, Dates, Creamy White Balsamic Vinaigrette and Walnut Shavings
For the celery salad:
1 head of celery, separated into stalks and washed (about 12 stalks)
Salt and pepper
5 - 6 ounces Gorgonzola Dolce cheese, cut into about 24 small pieces or cubes
12 – 14 Medjool dates, pitted and cut in bite sized pieces
Reserved celery leaves
1/2 cup walnut shavings, or finely chopped California walnuts*

For the creamy white balsamic vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon orange marmalade
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

*Note: A micro plane grater is useful for producing walnut shavings, as is a rotary grater with a slicing blade. Otherwise, use finely chopped walnuts.

Remove and set aside about 1/2 cup, more or less, of celery leaves from the tops of the stalks.
To prepare the celery salad, use a vegetable peeler to peel the rounded side of the larger, outside stalks to remove any stringy fibers. Slice the celery very thinly and put it in a large bowl (you will have 5 – 6 cups of sliced celery). Season with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and toss to combine. Refrigerate the celery until you are not assembling the salad right away.
In the meantime, prepare the Vinaigrette.

To prepare the vinaigrette, place the marmalade and mustard in a bowl and mash them together with the back of a spoon. Whisk in the vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to form a smooth emulsion. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it stands in soft peaks. Add the vinegar mixture to the cream and fold together until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To assemble the salad, drain and discard any accumulated juices from the celery. Add the dressing and stir to coat the celery evenly. Divide among six salad plates. Garnish each plate with about four pieces of cheese, several pieces of date and a few celery leaves. Sprinkle shaved or finely chopped walnuts over each salad.

Serves 6
Nutrition information per serving: 396 calories, 8g protein, 42g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 23g total fat, 9g saturated fat, 6g monounsaturated fat, 6g polyunsaturated fat, 44mg cholesterol, 323mg sodium
Recipe Courtesy of Chef Todd Humphries

Walnut Bread Pudding
Walnut Bread Pudding with Anglaise Sauce
2/3 cup California walnuts
3 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 cup chopped dried candy cap mushrooms*
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 ounces (about two-thirds of a 1-pound loaf) brioche, crusts removed
2 tablespoons dried currants
2 tablespoons golden raisins

Maple Walnut Anglaise Sauce
1/4 cup California walnuts
1 1/4 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon finely chopped dried candy cap mushrooms
6 tablespoons maple sugar*
4 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

*If maple sugar is hard to find, brown sugar may be substituted, though it will not have the subtle maple flavor.

Walnut Bread Pudding
*Note: Candy cap mushrooms are available in some specialty markets and farmer’s markets. Though they can be omitted if you can’t find them, with their intense maple flavor and aroma, they are worth seeking out, and they impart a unique quality to this pudding.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them, stirring once or twice, until they are well browned but not burned, about 8-10 minutes.

Combine the cream, mushrooms and toasted walnuts in a saucepan. Bring the cream to a simmer, but do not boil, then set aside, off heat for 1 hour to infuse the cream with the mushroom and walnut flavors.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, brown sugar, granulated sugar and salt. Whisk in the cream mixture, then add the vanilla. Pour the mixture through a strainer--to remove the walnuts and mushrooms--into a clean bowl.

Before assembling the bread pudding, have the oven preheated to 350°F, and butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Have ready a larger pan that will hold the 8-inch pan comfortably, and a pot of simmering water.

Cut the brioche into bite-size cubes. Spread half the cubes in the buttered baking pan. Sprinkle with half the currants and raisins. Top with the remaining brioche and sprinkle with the remaining currants and raisins. Pour the strained custard over, then press down gently on the brioche, so it absorbs the custard. Cover the baking pan with foil and set it in the larger pan. Pour enough simmering water in the larger pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan.

Place in the oven and bake about 25 minutes. Rotate the pan, turning it front-to-back, and bake about 20 minutes more. Remove the foil and bake about 10 minutes longer, until the custard is set and the top is very lightly browned. Cool before serving. Cover and refrigerate the pudding for storage. If you wish, it may be reheated in the oven before serving.
Makes one 8-inch square pan, serves 12

Maple Walnut Anglaise Sauce
Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in a preheated 350°F oven, stirring once or twice, until well browned but not burned, 8 – 10 minutes.

Combine the cream, milk, mushrooms and toasted walnuts in a saucepan. Heat until the milk is very hot but not boiling, then set aside off heat for 1 hour, to infuse the cream with the mushroom and walnut flavors.

In a large bowl, combine the maple sugar, egg yolks and salt. Whisk vigorously for a minute or two, until quite thick and pale. Bring the cream infusion back to a simmer. Very slowly stir or whisk it into the egg yolks, adding it by dribbles at first to warm the yolks gently. Return everything to the saucepan.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, to just below the boiling point. The mixture will become foamy, as it thickens slightly and you begin to see wisps of steam. Do not boil, or the egg yolks will “scramble.”

Remove from heat and immediately pour through a strainer—to remove the walnuts and mushrooms--into a clean bowl. Continue to stir the sauce for a minute, then add the vanilla. Cool completely before serving. Cover and refrigerate the sauce for storage.

Makes about 2 cups, serves 12 (about 2 tbsp each)
Nutrition information per serving: 521 calories, 10g protein, 34g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 38g total fat, 21g saturated fat, 11g monounsaturated fat, 5g polyunsaturated fat, 207mg cholesterol, 200mg sodium
Recipe Courtesy of Chef Todd Humphries