Friday, December 14

Recipe File: Almond Brittle, Raw and Fabulous

New Year's Resolution: Find a way to photograph food so it looks better -- not worse -- than real life. (Using a camera other than my cell phone might be a good start.)

What we have here is almond brittle -- crunchy, almondy, sweet, raw candy. What it looks like in this photo is a plate of gorp.

Not even the  gorgeous gold tray it's plated on looks good. Sigh.

But if you squint a bit, you can see the lovely almonds in the brittle candy. Keep squinting. There. See it?

Fine. Cover the photo with your right hand and try to imagine something yummy and purdy. Now we're all happy.

Spice (coffee) grinder
Food processor or blender
Dehydrator with teflex sheets

  • 1 C whole raw almonds
  • 4-5 dates, pitted
  • 1/2 C flax seed
  • 1/2 C shredded (desiccated) coconut, unsweetened
  • water to cover
  • 5 ripe bananas
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  1. Cover almonds with water, and allow to soak eight hours (overnight). Drain and rinse. Set aside. Refrigerate if storing more than one hour.
  2. Cover dates with water and allow to soak about one hour, until softened.
  3. While dates are soaking, use spice ginder to grind flax seed to meal. Stir ground flax and coconut together in a separate dish, cover with water, and soak for about 20 minutes, until water is absorbed. Add in soak water from dates if too dry.
  4. Peel bananas and blend about 10 seconds. Add almond extract, dates, and flax/coconut mixture. Blend until smooth. After blending, add almonds and blend momentarily until almonds are barely rough chopped. If some or even most almonds are still whole, the resulting candy will look (and taste) better.
  5. Spread mixture onto teflex dehydrator sheets and warm at highest setting for about one hour, then at 116 degrees or less until candy peels from sheets (about 16 hours, or longer if mixture is especially thick or watery.) When it peels without tearing, remove teflex and continue drying until still flexible, but no moisure remains (about 8 hours).
  6. When mixture cools, it will be brittle. Break into large pieces and store in airtight glass jar.
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Today's musical interlude: If (I had a better camera), by Bread. (Are we sensing a theme here?)

Saturday, December 1

That's Nacho Cheese! Chips

Hubby has a new addiction: Kale chips. It's true. My macho green-food-hating spaghetti-loving Italian husband likes kale chips. I swear. He asks for a carton every day to take with his lunch.
Don't believe the photo. In real life, nacho cheese kale chips are crisp, crunchy, dry and addictive. This picture makes them look deceptively green, cold, and salad like.
The best part: It's not just kale. I've now expanded my repetoire to cabbage chips, too. And he likes them! He really likes them!
Here's the recipe, with a little South-of-the-Border twist. Warning: Raw chips work best with a dehydrator. If you don't have one, try drying them in your oven at the lowest possible setting with the door cracked open.
Calories? Not far removed from nothin', because there's no oil, no fat, no frying, no starch, no cheese. And they still have all the addictive properties of Pringles.
  • 1 bag or large bunch of kale
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro
  • 1/3 C nutritional yeast*
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 roma tomatos
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper (less if you don't like spicy)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (less if you don't like spicy)
  • 1 tsp chipotle seasoning
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • water, if required to make ingredients more blendable
Optional ingredients that add flavor, but also calories
  • 1 C sweet corn
  • 1 C black olives
  • 1/2 med. avocado
  • 1/3 C raw pumpkin seeds, soaked for at least 1 hour

  1. Wash and de-stem kale. Tear into medium pieces. Set aside.
  2. After destemming cilantro, add all remaining ingredients to blender. Rough chop using pulse function.
  3. Pour blended ingredients over kale, and lightly massage until kale is covered with sauce.
  4. Transfer to dehydrator sheets, in single layers.
  5. Dry at highest temperature for one hour, then turn temperature down to 108 degrees and continue drying until chips are crunchy and crisp, about eight hours.
  6. Transfer to air-tight containers.
*Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy, nutty flavor without the calories. Very high in protein and vitamin B12, too. I buy it in the bulk food aisle of my local grocery store. Nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast and baking yeast are not interchangeable. Despite the shared name, they are unrelated substances. Here's an article about the differences and benefits.

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The cutest Italian couple ever, talking about 50 years of marriage. That's amore!