During my childhood, almonds were one of my favourite nuts right alongside with cashews and pistachios. But it was kind of hard-to-get and expensive delicacy back home, when compared to cashews. So whenever we would get some almonds, it was treasured and devoured with reverence. After coming to the US, I have used almonds a lot in my cooking. The availability of skinned almonds and even slivered ones make the work much easier and make for them to be a choice nut.
For the event, I was really torn between choosing Cashews and Almonds because Kerala (my homeland) is one of the main producers of Cashews in India, and they were used very often in our kitchen as garnish or in curries or even as a snack. But finally, I chose almonds because for the event the nut had to be actually used in cooking, not just as a garnish, except for if the recipe is a salad, I thought probably it will be easier for all of you to cook with almonds. So there it is, the theme for March is Almonds!!
The science behind the nut : (Wiki)
Almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of the tree, also known as Almond. Although popularly referred to as a nut, the almond seed or fruit is botanically not a true nut, but a drupe.
The almond is a native to an area stretching from the northern Indian subcontinent westwards to Syria, Israel, and Turkey. It was spread by humans in ancient times along the shores of the Mediterranean into northern Africa and southern Europe and more recently transported to other parts of the world, notably California.
There are two forms of the plant, one (often with white flowers) producing sweet almonds, and the other (often with pink flowers) producing bitter almonds.
While the almond is often eaten on its own, raw or toasted, it is also a component of various dishes. It, along with other nuts, is often sprinkled over desserts, particularly sundaes and other ice cream based dishes. Sweet almonds are used in marzipan, nougat, French macaroons, Financiers, baklava and other sweets and desserts. They are also used to make almond butter, a spread similar to peanut butter, popular with peanut allergy sufferers and for its less salty taste.
The sweet almond itself contains practically no carbohydrates and may therefore be made into flour for cakes and cookies (biscuits) for low-carbohydrate diets or for patients suffering from diabetes mellitus or any other form of glycosuria. Almonds are a rich source of Vitamin E. They are also rich in monounsaturated fat, one of the two "good" fats responsible for lowering LDL cholesterol.
In Ayurveda, an ancient system of health care that is native to the Indian subcontinent, almond is considered a nutritive for brain and nervous system. It is said to induce high intellectual level and longevity.
So dont delay, post your favourite dishes with almonds and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Lets go nuts - Almonds" as the subject. You can send as many entries as you would like. If you wish to send older entries, you are welcome, please make a new post with a link back to the announcement. Please try to include either one of the logos in your post. Non-bloggers can send me an email with the picture of the dish and their name.
Do send in these following details in your mail:
Blog name & Url
Picture of your dish
The deadline for the entries would be March 31, 2009. The round-up will be posted during the first week of April.
I cant wait to see all the yummy dishes that you are going to whip up with almonds - I hope I will receive your enthusiastic participation! The almonds should be actually used in the cooking/baking and not just a garnish. I thank Aquadaze, for letting me host her novel and exciting event.
Some sources for cooking with almonds :
Samples from my kitchen :Dessert Pizza with Almonds
Chicken tikka masala
Nutty Lace Wafers
Frosty Coffee - Almond Pie
So have fun and go nuts!!