Blanching Almonds


 As you can tell, we have been a bit enthusiastic lately with our new favorite snacky snack – roasted almonds. Last week, I decided to follow mom’s advice and try Alice’s recipe, and use blanched almonds to switch things up. I don’t know about where you buy your almonds, but here in Germany the blanched almonds are more expensive than almonds with skins on. And also considering the fact that I had three more bags of regular almonds in the pantry, I decided to blanch them myself. It was actually really easy, although it did take about 20 minutes to peel a cup of almonds. But it was sort of zen-like and relaxing. Seriously.

I put my almonds in a bowl, poured boiling water over them, and let them sit for 2 minutes exactly. Then I drained and rinsed them with cold water and spread them on a tea towel to cool.

Then I proceeded to peel them. You squeeze them from one end, and they just sort of slip out of the skins. They were slippery little suckers, and at least three escaped and flew across the kitchen.

Then, per Alice and Mom, I tossed em with a couple teaspoons of salt water and sprinkled a good tablespoon of chopped rosemary on top. Instead of my usual cookie sheet, I tried roasting them in the ceramic dish. And I was paranoid about “over-toasting” aka burning them, so I think in fact I took them out a few minutes too soon. Once out of the oven, I sprinked on some fleur de sel and 2 tsp olive oil. These were awesome! Not totally crunchy but so yummy! Blanched almonds seem to have a more delicate flavor than regular almonds. Let the experimenting continue!

Roasted almonds- take two

I told you last week about my very toasty attempt at roasted almonds. Well I tried it again tonight, and they turned out much better. I made both rosemary-sea salt and mixed-spiced varieties. 

Rosemary- sea salt almonds

For the rosemary almonds, I used a mortar and pestle to crush up 1 Tbs rosemary, 1 tsp  sea salt, and a tabelspoon of olive oil. I think that helped the rosemary infuse into the oil. I stirred that into a cup of almonds, and roasted for only 10 minutes this time. Crunchy and very rosemary and delicious.

Spice roasted almonds

For the spiced almonds (which quite frankly are not spicy) I bashed up 1/4 tsp each: coriander, cumin, sea salt, along with 1.5 tsp paprika and 1/2 tsp chili flakes, and 1 Tbs olive oil. I coated 1 cup of almonds and baked also for 10 minutes, however because the oven was quite warm for the second batch, they turned out a bit toastier. These are good, but I think not as special as the rosemary almonds. I will keep experimenting and let you know if I find any awesome recipes here.

PS: Almonds are healthy!

A few new things

This week we tried a few new things.

Friday night was Gambas al Ajillo (which isn’t really new, but was courtesy of our new freezer!) and rucola salad. To drink was Care Tinto Roble, Syrah/Tempranillo 2010. Really quite good for a seven buck wine, but I liked it best right after we opened the bottle, before it “opened up”.

On Saturday, Milo made Chicken Yakatori from our Japanese cookbook Everyday Harumi. They turned out awesome! Much much better than our attempt at Karaage (Japanese fried chicken).

Over the weekend I made chai concentrate, to make my own Chai Lattes. This recipe is a winner. Its a brew of black tea, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, clove, star anise, nutmeg, and ground black pepper. Steep for 20 minutes, strain out the spices, add some sweetener and it’s done! I used half the sugar because I don’t like my chai too sweet. Instead of honey I used agave nectar, because the honey we have on hand is rather chunky, and I thought the agave would dissolve into the liquid better. Plus, agave nectar is a NEW ingredient. Instead of loose black tea I just used the standard tea bags (the kind I use for iced tea) and it was fine. The recipe made enough concentrate for five lattes, so I froze the leftovers in dixie cups and have been enjoying chai lattes all week! Just pop in a pot with an equal amount of milk and heat up and voila! You can find the recipe on the tasty kitchen website.

I also roasted almonds with rosemary and sea salt. No picture here because we ate them before I remembered to snap one. I know probably everyone has made these before, but they were a first for me. One cup almonds, 1 Tbs olive oil, 1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary, sea salt, roast at 325 F for about 15 minutes. But I actually think they were done after 12 minutes or so. They were on the darker side of toasty and if I let them go much longer I think they would have burned. How long do you roast your almonds for and at what temperature?

So that’s what was new this week in our kitchen. Anybody else make something new?