Monday, July 16, 2012

Dry-roasted almonds (or cashews)


One of my favorite snacks is Wegmans Roasted Mixed Nuts.  It has no peanuts, plenty of cashews, and just the right balance of macadamia nuts, almonds, and walnuts...with a few Brazil nuts and hazelnuts to liven things up, texturally. It's a snack that is low in carbs and high in heart-healthy fats.

The nuts are salted and roasted in (I quote from the package): "peanut, sunflower, soybean and/or sunflower seed oils."  I don't have high blood pressure or eat processed foods, so I don't care about the salt, but I began to wonder: should I care about the vegetable oils?   It always seems like the super-duper health conscious people I know eat raw almonds.   Am I a poser because I eat the generic form of Planters? There is a woman in my yoga class who came back to practicing one week after knee replacement surgery and is popping handstands.  She said she roasted lots of vegetables for the week she was 'out' and couldn't shop.  I think she eats a handful of beans and one hard-boiled egg for dinner and probably doesn't eat nuts at all but I am pretty sure that if she does eat nuts she eats six raw almonds like medicine.

In an effort to become a perfectly healthy specimen, and hoping that if I eat the right combination of foods I will magically run a 7 minute mile and become a brilliant horseback rider, I bought some raw almonds.  And because I am weak, some raw cashews as well.   Cashews are unfashionable, but I love them.


They tasted like stones.

Then I remembered that the 'raw nut' advocates I know are also the people who say things like: "I went on this low-fat, low-protein juice cleanse and I didn't lose any weight and totally broke out and I'm feeling weirdly shaky...yet I can just feel myself getting rid of my TOXINS."


Desperate for something to do with my new rock collection, I consulted Chef Google and found this recipe for roasted almonds from Elana's Pantry.

It was like magic.  Twelve minutes at 350F and inedible pebbles were transformed into crispy, toasty tasty nuts.

Needless to say, I won't be going raw any time soon, but I like the idea of toasting my own nuts and look forward to more 'toasty' experiments in the future.

There are many toasted nut recipes on the Internet, including some made in the microwave. My main criticism of Elana's recipe is that, despite her counseling the reader to salt the almonds afterward, not a single grain of coarse sea salt adhered to the surface of my newly-toasted nuts.  So, for unsalted dry-roasted nuts this technique is fine, but for salted nuts, I wouldn't recommend it.

Dry-Roasted Almonds (or Cashews)

Ingredients

10-12 ounces of  raw almonds, cashews, or other raw nut

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Spread aluminum foil onto a cookie sheet.  Scatter nuts evenly on the foil.

2. Roast for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Cool for approximately one hour.  Store in an air-tight container.


4 comments:

  1. I've never tried roasting nuts. I tried roasting coffee beans one time, but it didn't go well. After hours of being in a slow oven, they came out unchanged in every way.

    I've known people who have reacted the same way to detox diets. I think if a person has a liver and kidneys and isn't eating old paint chips, they're probably reasonably poison-free.

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  2. I've never tried roasting coffee beans, but it's nice to know I am not missing anything! And yes, it is kind of funny that the people who go on the most 'detox' diets are probably, because of their life circumstances, less likely to come into contact with frighteningly real toxins like lead and asbestos. But then again, juicing can do little to protect you against those :(

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  3. Hmmm.. I wonder if I'm weird, I actually quite like raw almonds, and they're typically what I buy when I buy bulk almonds, though I don't think I've ever had a raw cashew.
    However, I am generally of the opinion that most things when roasted, taste better; but I feel similar about things that are fried... so my opinion may or may not be trustworthy :).

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  4. @Adam--no, I'm probably the weird one! Or at least, the one with the less advanced palate. Give a raw cashew a try and tell me what you think--they just weren't very flavorful.

    Deep fried almonds. Hmm... Well, I'm not sure about that one, but you are probably right about deep-fried peanut butter sandwiches...

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