The Low Carb Luxury Newsletter: 
Volume III / Number 03: February 8, 2002: Page 2
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Lora's Column        Almonds           

In our last issue, Part One of this article explored the nutritional benefits of almonds as well as the in's and out's of almond flour, and almond milk. If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, check it out before you start Part Two here!

Some of the most amazing low-carb foods and snacks are almond based, for high fiber, healthy fats, great taste, and low carbohydrates. Here, we're going to highlight some of them!

Almonds It pretty much goes without saying that the number one almond snack is to just munch them as whole almonds. Either toasted or natural, or even with flavors added. They come in bags, cans, jars, and foil-packs. I've found that some of the specialty candy and nut stores — especially in malls, and especially in big cities — carry spicy and exotically flavored almonds. Just make sure they aren't covered in sugars! If you like the "sweet" kind, you can always make them yourself. We've included a recipe below!

Almond Butter But there's a lot more to almond snacking... they are the key ingredient in some very tasty treats appropriate to low-carbers. One of our favorites is
Almond Butter! It's a great change from the usual peanut butter, has a more "rustic" flavor, and is lower carb than peanut butter. Use it in recipes where peanut butter is called for (add a teaspoon of butter to allow for extra creaminess in most recipes), spread it on your favorite low-carb bread toasted, or lay it across crisp celery hearts for a unique treat.

Almond Cheese Now here's an interesting almond product —
Almond Cheese! Even though as low-carbers we can have (and really enjoy) all the REAL cheeses available, we simply love almond cheese as a totally different food, rather than a substitute. Our favorite is a brand called Lisanatti®. They make an Almond Mozzarella style cheese with bits of brown-skinned almonds worked throughout the cheese. It's almost a cross between almond paste and Mozzarella cheese and we find it to be a delightful treat. Eaten very cold and sliced paper thin, it's delicious. It comes in at about 3 carbs per serving. The Lisanatti products are available at Wholefoods, Wild Oats and other health food stores. They provide a number, 503-652-1988, to find a store near you.

Almond Accents One of the most "fun" products we've found to have on hand in our low carb kitchens are the
Almond Accents from Sunkist®. They come in six tangy flavors, so there's something for everyone: Bacon Cheddar, Garlic Teriyaki, Italian Parmesan, Ranch Style, Nacho Cheese, and Roasted Garlic Caesar. These thin little almond slices are "frosted" with spices and rich flavors and retain a respectful crunch no matter how you use them. They're ideal as a crouton stand-in for your salads, delicious as a topping on stir-frys, and add a whole new dimension crumbled over many dishes! But they're wonderfully crunchy little snacks all by themselves too. And since they come in recloseable foil-paks, they're ideal for on-the-go snacking.

Almond Nut Thins Lastly, we have to mention those tasty little cracker rounds from
Blue Diamond called Almond Nut Thins. They have an exceptionally buttery taste and are VERY crisp. They remind me very much of buttered popcorn. They contain no sugars or white flour, but they are not "free" food, as they do contain rice flour. Before you see the nutrition label and have a heart-attack when you see the carb count, it's because their "serving size" is for 16 crackers! They work out to about 1.2 grams per cracker and I have found that 3 – 5 crackers is just right as an accompaniment — especially when topped with mounds of low-carb goodies.

Proper Storage Tips: With proper handling, natural almonds may be stored up to two years and roasted almonds for a year. Shelf life increases under refrigeration. Optimal temperature for storage is 32 to 41° F, 0 to 5° C. Optimal humidity for storage is 65% relative humidity. Ground Almonds (almond flour) should always be kept under refrigeration, or frozen. In the freezer, almond flour will remain fresh for up to a year.

And now.. Some of Our Favorite Almond-y Recipes!

Broccoli with Almond Butter
Broccoli with Almond Butter
  • 1 head fresh broccoli
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Juice of 1/6 a lemon
To make almond butter: Soften butter in mixer, add lemon juice, zest and almonds. Blend thoroughly.

Cut broccoli head. Blanch broccoli and toss with almond butter. Serve immediately.

Tip: The citric acid in the almond butter will discolour broccoli if allowed to stand longer than 20 minutes

Makes 4 servings — 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving.

Smoky Blues Dressing or Dip

Smoky Blues dressing is a savory dressing for salads, or a smoke flavored dip for low carb veggies. This recipe features Blue Diamond Smokehouse® Almonds. Smoky Blues Dressing
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds
  • 4 ounces blue or Gorgonzola cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place almonds in food processor; cover. Process until coarsely chopped.

Combine heavy cream, mayonnaise, sour cream, almonds, cheese, vinegar and black pepper in medium bowl; cover. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups — 24 carbs in entire recipe.
Makes 14  1/4-cup servings — About 1 1/2 grams of carbohydrate per serving.

NOTE: To use as a dip, reduce cream to 1/2 cup.

Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts
Stuffed with Almonds, Mascarpone and Lemon

  • 4 large boneless chicken breasts, skin on
  • 1/2 cup of Roasted Almonds with Coriander, Chili and Olive Oil (see recipe below)
  • 6 large heaped tablespoons of mascarpone cheese
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Chardonnay
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 bulbs of fennel
  • 1 lb fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper
Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts Blend in a food processor or in a pestle and mortar the roasted almonds until roughly smashed. Then add the tablespoons of mascarpone, lemon zest and juice. Blend and season.

Working from one side of the chicken breast slip your fingers in-between the skin and the flesh, being careful not to completely remove the skin. Push one good spoonful of the almond-mascarpone paste in the gap of each breast then press the skin firmly back, saving any left over paste.

Take a hot non-stick pan, drizzle it with a little olive oil and place the breasts skin side down. After a minute when lightly golden turn to seal the other side. (If you don’t have a pan with a metal handle transfer to a roasting tray at this point.) Place in the pre-heated oven 425ºF for around 10 minutes until cooked.

Meanwhile cut the fennel in half lengthwise, then into thin slices. Throw into a medium hot pan with a little olive oil and seasoning, stir in a couple of tablespoons of water. Cover and leave to cook slowly – about 5 to 10 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked remove to a warm plate and rest for 5 minutes, whilst you move the pan or tray back on the heat and add the glass of wine and stock, allow to cook down to almost nothing, not forgetting to scrape the pan bottom for all its goodness. Finish the sauce by stirring in the rest of the mascarpone and any remaining paste, keep on the heat so it continues to simmer until it coats the back of a spoon. Season to taste.

By this point the fennel should be just cooked season and chuck in the spinach, leave to wilt down . Serve the chicken with the fennel and spinach, drizzle the sauce over and around the chicken.

Serves 4 — 3.2 grams of carbohydrate per serving.

Roasted Almonds with Coriander, Chili and Olive Oil
(Use with recipe above)

Roasted Almonds with Coriander...
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups blanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 to 3 small dried red chili peppers
  • 2 generous pinches of sea salt
Add the olive oil and almonds to a hot saute pan. Saute and kind of toast the almonds until golden brown, shaking the pan regularly to color them evenly and accentuate their nutty flavor. Crumble in the chili and coriander to taste and add the sea salt. Toss over and serve hot on a large plate.

Almond Soup

Almonds used to be a great feature of British cookery, when they were used, toasted, as a garnish and flavoring for green beans, or, pounded, as a thickener for sauces or to lighten cakes and puddings. In this recipe they make a pearly and delicate soup.
  • 3/4 cup Ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs from low-carb bread *
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon oat flour
  • Guar or Xanthan gum
  • 2 pints Chicken stock
  • Salt, cayenne pepper, ground mace
  • 1 cup additional cream (heavy cream - 36- 40% milkfat)
  • Slivered or thinly sliced almonds (handful)
  • 1 Tablespoon additional Butter
Almond Soup Put the ground almonds with 3/4 cup cream and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Add low carb bread crumbs and simmer for 3 minutes more; then liquidize or rub to a purée with a spoon.

In a large pan, melt the 3 Tablespoons butter, add the oat flour and stir it in then stir in the almond purée.

Gradually add the stock and when you have a smooth soup, season with salt, cayenne pepper and ground mace.

Simmer slowly for 10 minutes and then remove from the heat and stir in the 1 cup additional cream. Heat through gently. As you heat, sprinkle a small bit of guar or xanthan gum into soup, stirring constantly until getting the consistency you want. (Use only a small bit and it's best sprinkled from a salt or pepper type shaker.)

Meanwhile fry the slivered almonds to a golden brown in the tablespoon of butter and scatter them on the soup just before serving.

* I make this with crumbs from Irene's Health Bakery Bread that comes in at 4 carbs per slice and is an excellent "white" bread.

Makes 8 servings — 5.5 grams of carbohydrate per serving.

Sweet Almonds

Sweet Almonds
  • 2 1/2 lb. shelled almonds
  • 1/2 cup Splenda plus 1/2 cup Diabetisweet mixed
  • 3 egg whites
Roast almonds at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes.

While almonds are roasting continually beat sweeteners and egg whites. When almonds are roasted, add (while hot) to sweet mixture, coating well. Spread out on wooden board to dry. When dry, separate almonds, breaking off any excess coating.

We hope you've enjoyed our two-part series on almonds and their healthful, delicious, and versatile uses!

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