National Almond Day + nutty ideas

A salute to National Almond Day.
Almonds are a natural source of protein.
The California Almond Board reminds that a 1 ounce serving has 13g of good unsaturated fats, and is always cholesterol free. Almonds are the tree nut highest in protein, fiber, calcium, and other essential vitamins and minerals.  Learn more about almond nutrients:
Don’t forget about Menu Shoppe tips…whether for brunch, lunch, small plates, or dessert menus.  Your menus enhanced by our handsome product portfolio.
for starters…
Chilled Almond Soup
¾ cup almonds, blanched preferred
1 shallot
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
2 cups cold vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Sliced almonds or green grapes for garnish
Toast the almonds in a skillet for a few minutes, remove from heat and let cool. In a food processor, purée shallot, then add toasted almonds. Blitz until finely ground. Add olive oil and bread crumbs and process until combined. With the motor running, slowly pour in vegetable broth through the feed tube. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Finish with sherry vinegar.
Strain and serve in rimmed soup plates or demitasse cups. Classically trim with a few grapes. Perhaps sugared grapes for extra panache.
Almond Bleu Cheese Fritter
Courtesy of the Almond Board of California
3 ounces blue cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup flour for rolling dough
1 (15 ounce) package ready-made pie crust containing 2 pie crusts 
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
oil for frying
Blend blue cheese, cream, 1/4 cup slivered almonds and red bell pepper in a food processor.  Sprinkle countertop with flour and unroll the two pie crusts. Cut 8 (2×3-inch) rectangles out of each crust. Place 1 tablespoon filling each on 8 rectangles. Cover them with the remaining 8 rectangles. Pinch small points in the corners, middle and ends to seal the edges. The packet will have 8 small points. Press the remaining 2 tablespoons almonds onto the top of the fritters. Heat oil to 350 degrees F and fry the fritters one at a time for about 1 minute or until they are golden. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
Cinnamon-Almond Rice Pudding
3/4 cup leftover cooked rice, preferably basmati or jasmine
3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sliced almonds, roasted
1 teaspoon honey
Stove-top Directions – Combine rice, almond milk and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Turn heat to medium and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 4 to 5 minutes, until milk is thicker and rice is a bit creamy. To serve, place in a bowl, top with almonds and drizzle with honey.
Microwave Directions – Combine rice, milk and cinnamon in a microwave-safe serving bowl. Cook on full power for 1 minute, then stir and cook 1-2 more minutes, until milk is thicker and rice is a bit creamy. Top with almonds and drizzle with honey.
A perfect foil for compotes or coffee bars.
Almond Macaroons
1 cup whole almonds (preferably blanched)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg white
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
about 16 whole almonds
Preheat oven to 350°F. and lightly butter a baking sheet.  In a food processor pulse 1 cup almonds with granulated sugar until ground fine. Add egg white, almond extract, and a pinch salt and pulse until combined. Roll mixture into 16 balls, about 1 inch in diameter, and arrange about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Slightly flatten balls and dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar. Gently press 1 almond into each cookie.  Bake macaroons in middle of oven 10 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer macaroons to a rack and cool completely. Macaroons keep 4 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
If it’s on the menu…the Menu Shoppe has it covered.
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