Almonds any day



Toss up a crunchy salad with apples and almonds

Sweet almonds are oval in shape, usually malleable in texture and wonderfully buttery to taste. Bitter almonds are used to make almond oil that is used as a flavouring agent for foods and liqueurs.

They are otherwise inedible as they naturally contain toxic substances such as hydrocyanic acid.

Tips for preparing almonds

Whole shelled almonds can be chopped by hand or put through a food processor. If using a food processor, it is best to pulse on and off a few times, instead of running the blade constantly, as this will help ensure you end up with chopped almonds rather than almond butter.

If you want to remove the skin, blanch the almonds for a few of minutes till you notice the skin beginning to swell.

Drain them and rinse them under cold water.

Pinch the cooled almonds between your thumb and index finger, and the skin should slide right off the meat.

Quick serving ideas

Pep up plain yoghurt by mixing in some chopped almonds and dried fruit; enhance a sauté of curried vegetables with sliced almonds; add some almond butter to a breakfast shake to boost its taste and protein content; almonds and apple slices make a wonderfully simple, on-the-go power snack; make a delightful cold rice salad with almonds, fresh garden peas and currants; add sliced almonds to chicken salad.

Now, for a recipe.

Apple-Almond Salad Ingredients

Salad oil: Quarter cup

White sugar: 2 tbsp

Malt vinegar: 2 tbsp

Salt: quarter tsp

Almond extract: one-eighth tsp

Mixed greens lettuce: 6 cups

Medium-sized apples, cut into wedges: 3

Thinly sliced celery: 1 cup

Sliced scallions (onion): 2 tbsp

Slivered almonds, toasted: one-third cup

Method: In a screw-top jar, combine the oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and almond extract. Cover the jar and shake well until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

Chill in a refrigerator for several hours.

Just before serving, combine the greens, apple wedges, celery, and scallions in a salad bowl. Sprinkle with the almonds.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.

Serve immediately.


Taj Connemara

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