curried coconut roasted almonds

Curried Coconut Roasted Almonds

I’ve never been much of a nuts girl, and that still hold true. I loved shelling peanuts growing up, and I loved peanut butter as much as the next kid…well, as much as the next kid that wasn’t allergic to them, at least. Heh. However, cashews, walnuts, almonds, and the like were not even close to landing on my list of favorite foods. Over the past few years, especially since living in NYC, my love of nuts has grown. Actually, I should say my tolerance for nuts has grown. It ain’t quite love yet. Ha! That being said, almonds and I have become more friendly in the past year or two. Honestly, I love them straight up, unsalted, and unroasted. Every now and then, however, a shot of flavor is appreciated.

curried coconut roasted almonds

I’ve never roasted almonds before, but decided that roasting them in some coconut oil would give them a great flavor. I wanted to add something else that wasn’t necessarily straight up sugar; I was originally going to go the sweet route, as I do love cocoa-dusted almonds on occasion. Sorting through my horrendously unorganized shelf of spices, i came across my trusty beloved Jamaican Curry, and visions of hot bowls of vegetable coconut curry popped into my head.

curried coconut roasted almonds

I had to give it a shot!

curried coconut roasted almonds

It took some trial and error, but I think…I think…I think this might be it!

Curried Coconut Roasted Almonds
(Makes 2 cups)

Ingredients:
– 2 cups whole almonds, unroasted
– 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
– 1 teaspoon Jamaican curry powder
– 1 tablespoon sweetener of choice (see note in Before We Get Started)
– Dash of salt

Before We Get Started…

– As I mentioned in the prologue, there was a lot of trial and error when making these almonds. I can say two things assuredly:

– Do not use roasted almonds! After cooking, they will taste distractingly smoky, even a little burnt.

– Do not use Sugar in the Raw or any other type of course sugar. I made my first batch using Sugar in the Raw, and the sugar’s coarseness causes it not to stick to the almonds well. I ended up scrapping a lot of burnt sugar off of the bottom of my baking sheet. A refined sugar (if you don’t mind using it!) or a liquid sweetener (agave, et al) is definitely your better bet.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F.

2.) In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss until coated.

3.) Place on lightly greased baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes, checking almonds and shaking at the 15 minute mark to make sure they aren’t over-roasting.

4.) Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before eating; extra almonds can be stored in an airtight container.

NOTE: Please forgive the quality of these photos. My camera’s card went kablooey for a few days, so I was taking the best iPhone photos that I could in the interim. Ha! A reshoot of these photos is due in the future…

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Zucchini & Asparagus Quinoa [Vegan]

We are all guilty of that one night when the thought of making dinner makes us listlessly roll around on the couch and think, “…noooooooo…” in an internal voice reminiscent to that of an overly-tired toddler. That night happened to me more recently than not. New York City has been hit with some tapered bouts of hot and humid weather this May, in sharp contrast to the bitterly cold winter we all thought would never end. Granted, I live two blocks away from a 24-hour Fine Fare, but the thought of walking down and up four flights of stairs to make that trip, covered in a thin film of city grime, did not appeal to me. Sure, I could have ordered delivery, but my apartment has a buzzer that only buzzes; a glitch does not allow us to buzz people in. So…it would still be a trip up and down the stairs, regardless, to pick up my delivery order at my building’s front door.

Whine, whine, whine.

The plight of the Average New York City Millennial continues.

Chopped vegetables

Through my pantry and fridge I searched, hoping to find something, anything, that could create some semblance of a normal meal. One large zucchini on the top self of the fridge, wedged under a roommate’s friend’s box of pizza, was on the edge of death, but salvageable. I had some unused asparagus from the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus I made a few nights prior. I found an unopened bag of quinoa in the cupboard by the stove. Okay…making some progress…

Quinoa vegetables

Zucchini & Asparagus Quinoa
(Adapted from Avocado Pesto’s Quinoa with Zucchini and Asparagus recipe)
(Serves Four)

Ingredients:

Quinoa Dish:

– 1 cup uncooked quinoa
– 1 cup vegetable broth
– 1/2 cup water
– 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided (vegetable oil can be used here)
– 1 large zucchini, unpeeled and diced
– 5 – 6 asparagus stalks, halved and cut into 1″ pieces (discard woody ends)
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Sauce:

– 1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
– 1 teaspoon mustard powder
– 2 tablespoons lemon juice
– Salt, to taste

Before We Get Started…

There is always the debate on whether to rinse the quinoa prior to cooking it. Personally, I rarely do it. The fine folks at The Kitchn even say it’s a matter of personal preference. That being said, this recipe involves toasting the quinoa prior to simmering it; needless to say, it ain’t easy to toast a wet grain! My suggestion is to just add it to the pan, as is, and toast away. Should you prefer to rinse it before toasting it, you’ll need some advanced prep time: rinse the quinoa, allow to fully dry, then toast.

Directions:

1.) In large saucepan, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium heat; add quiona and stir until toasted, approximately 3 – 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth and water to quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce quiona to simmer, cover pot, and cook for 20 minutes or until quinoa is fluffy and all liquid is absorbed.

2.) While quiona is cooking, heat one tablespoon of oil in an large frying pan over medium-high. Add zucchini and sauté for 3 – 5 minutes, or until zucchini is soft and slightly browned. Add asparagus to pan, lower heat to medium, and cook for an additional 3 – 5 minuets, or until asparagus is tender and a brighter green. Add garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute. Remove from heat.

3.) Add sautéed vegetables and walnuts to quiona and mix.

4.) Combine vinegar, mustard powder, lemon juice, and salt in small bowl and mix. Drizzle onto quiona mixture and toss.

 5.) Serve warm; roughly chop additional walnuts for garnish.

Quinoa vegetables