Am I the only one that darts straight to the bulk aisle when given the luxury of strolling through a health foods store? Without fail, nuts invariably sneak their way into my cart. Buying nuts can be tricky. Looking for raw and organic is especially important for this recipe as store bought roasted, candied, and conventional nuts typically undergo high-heat mechanical processes that leave the nuts devoid of nutrients. Rancid oils coat these nuts, which create dangerous free radicals and destroy helpful and neutralizing antioxidants that would otherwise prevent the damage (Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. 112, 512). Baking nuts in your home gives you control over ingredients and technique. Below I’ve shared a sweet, buttery recipe with a method that supports digestibility.
Roasted Rosemary Butter Pecans
4 cups pecans, soaked*
¼ cup butter
¼ cup maple syrup
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced (1 ¼ teaspoon if using dried rosemary)
Pinch of cayenne
1. Set oven to 300 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Add the soaked pecans to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
3. In a small pot, melt the butter. Add the maple syrup and cinnamon, and stir to combine. Remove pot from heat and add the vanilla extract. Pour liquid mixture over nuts and coat evenly. Add salt, rosemary, cayenne and mix.
4. Spread nuts on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, flip and rotate nuts every 15 minutes. Turn oven to 275 F and continue slow baking for another 30 minutes, checking and flipping occasionally so that nuts do not burn.
Yields: 4 cups roasted pecans
Time: 40 minutes without soaking, or 6-8 hours with soaking
*Soaking nuts benefits the body as it breaks down the phytic acid found in the nuts that can interfere with proper digestion. To soak pecans for this recipe, place pecans in a large mixing bowl and use about 6 cups of filtered water and two teaspoons of salt. Cover and either let them sit over night, or at least 4-8 hours. Strain with colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. For more on nut health and hacks, check out Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, and any information from the Weston A. Price Foundation.
What prepackaged food items do you tend to buy repeatedly just because it’s easy? For me, crackers are always going to be at the top of the list. But I do so hesitantly as it almost always turns into a process: the modern, minimal marketing on the recycled plastic catches my eye. Before I can read the listed ingredients, I’m easily distracted by the cooing of the box to my left with bold lettering that reads “100% Organic.” Shoot, loads of sugars are baked in these crackers along with a few ingredients I can’t pronounce. Solution? Make your own.
Herbed Quinoa Crackers
Herbed Quinoa Crackers
1 ½ cup quinoa flour, plus more for dusting / rolling (I blend dried quinoa myself and use a grittier texture versus smooth)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
½ cup warm water
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
Maldon Sea Salt to garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, and herbs and whisk to combine.
2. Create a small well in the center of the dried mixture and add the water and melted coconut oil. Mix all the ingredients together, using your hands to knead into a dough to form a ball.
3. Lightly dust a cutting board, rolling pin, and parchment paper with remaining quinoa flour to prevent any sticking. Roll the dough flat until it’s about ¼-inch thick.
4. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut 2x2 inch squares and place on the baking tray. Use a fork to poke the center of each cracker, then sprinkle with Maldon salt and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Check often to prevent burning.
Yields: 20-24 crackers
Time: 35 minutes
In the kitchen, I do my best to practice resourcefulness by utilizing every part of a food; minimizing food waste invites major creativity. More often than not vendors at the farmers market will ask if I want them to cut off the green, feathery tops of carrots. For them to throw away? Carrot tops are a great addition to an already mouthwatering pesto recipe I love. I usually use ½ to ¾ of the bunch after giving them a good wash, the greens that aren’t suitable to eat will be apparent. Use your best judgment in the amount to add to the recipe, and adjust with other ingredients as needed.
Carrot Top Pesto
3 cups arugula
½ cup basil leaves
¼ cup walnuts, lightly toasted (pine nuts and cashews to substitute)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3-5 second count slow, continuous stream of olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor or high-speed blender. Next add the olive oil in slowly. Taste and adjust with seasonings.
Yields: 8-oz jar
Time: 10 minutes
Copyright 2020, A. Chavez, Original recipe.
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon