Fame by Radio and Everyday Nuts

So much to say, so little time. Firstly, I’d like to thank all the great radio people who’ve asked such fantastic questions about nuts so far. Here’s an interview you can actually listen to whenever you want

Lynne Rosetto Kasper interviewed me for Spendid Table, and that interview will run on the actual air waves on May 28, 2010. Tomorrow, Monday May 10, I’ll be interviewed by Dr. Alvin Augustus Jones The Paradise Radio Network WCBQ-AM 1340 WHNC-AM 890. Both of these promise fun!


I wrote Nuts in the Kitchen primarily to show you how nuts can be easily incorporated into delicious dishes the way they are in so many cultures throughout the world. I did this because I wanted you all, cooks and eaters, to enjoy the incredible flavors and textures nuts add to just about everything. I want you to benefit from the nutritional aspects of nuts, too, so I have set out to seduce you with fantastic flavors, ideas, fun, and stories. Because all of this has been on my mind I’ve documented some of my nutty experiences this week, to share with you.

The other day, I made a chocolate cake that has almonds folded into the batter. This may not come as a stroke of brilliance but it is, when you realize that you can fold nuts into any cake batter and make it a billion percent more tasty, interesting, delicious, exciting.

In my cake the almonds were cut larger than a mince, so you could actually feel them crunch under your teeth. Several friends who ate it thought the almonds were praline, they were so crisp and toasty. What is praline? It’s almonds mixed with caramelized sugar that are then pulverized or chopped and added to things. Praline can be powdered, or it can be chunky. Either way, it is sweet, crisp and marvelous.

I entertain a lot because I love it, and I am always testing recipes. This week, I was fooling around with sunflower seeds. I added them, with pumpkin and flax seeds to a spelt bread dough. The result is so toasty and satisfying that a slice of bread almost counts as an entire meal.  

I ordered pâté at a restaurant and it arrived studded with vivid green pistachios that seemed to wink up at me from the plate. Tender and sweet, they are a traditional addition to pâté, and they add so much. I make pâté sometimes and add toasted hazelnuts. They’re delicious too, though not quite as dressy.  You can always add both, as here.

What met with the most success in this nutty, seedy week were two things which book ended a meal.  As part of the appetizer I roasted peanuts that I’d first tossed with minced garlic, hot paprika, salt and some oil . Everyone loves them.  Dessert  for this meal was a coffee and walnut cake (direct from Nuts in the Kitchen, page 218) which I turned into cupcakes.

The French are just being introduced to cupcakes, which they have a tendency to call “muffins (or moofeens),” and I predict much success for them here. When I served them last night, with their little top-knots of coffee icing and toasted walnuts, you’d have thought that I’d ushered in flaming babas au rhum or crème caramel. The oohs and aaahs were gratifying, the abrupt silence which followed even more so. And the fact that seconds were requested got me to thinking that maybe I should turn myself into a professional cupcake baker.

Without very much effort at all I incorporated nuts into almost every meal this week. You can too, and you’ll be better for it. Why? You’ll be ultra satisfied because of the flavors  and textures.  You’ll be nice and healthy because of all the minerals, proteins, joint-loosening oils and other healthful attributes, and you’ll be happy because you did something a little different.

Bon Appétit!

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In the 14th century, a pound of nutmeg was purportedly worth three sheep and a cow; in the 17th century, the little, fragrant nut was valued higher than gold.

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