Wednesday, February 16, 2011

National Almond Day - Almond Milk Shake - Almond Chicken - French Macaroon Recipes





The Almond Tree species originated in the Middle East and South East Asia. Interestingly enough, the fruit of the almond tree is not considered a tree nut; Instead it is called a drupe. A drupe is a fruit that has a layer of skin and flesh surrounding the seed.  

Almonds have a lot of health benefits too. They help prevent colon cancer by moving food through your digestive tract. Because of the amount of potassium they possess they aid in regulating blood pressure. And if you have a big meeting eat a few almonds before because it induces high intellectual levels.

Personally, I love almonds. I eat them as a snack. I use them to make nice, crunchy crusts for chicken or fish and I love to use the almond flour to make delicate French Macaroons. Below are recipes for some of my favorite dishes that use almonds as the star. Some recipes are a little more complicated than others (i.e. French Macaroons) but you can still celebrate National Almond Day because in 10 minutes you can make a simple and refreshing Almond milk shake.


When I was in Tripoli Almond milk shakes were a very popular drink and I fell in love with them. I you want you can add cinnamon or substitute ice cream for the milk. 

North African Almond Milk Shake
Makes 2 servings.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:
·         1/2 cup almonds, blanched and peeled
·         1 1/2 cups cold milk
·         2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
·         1 tablespoon of Honey
·         splash of orange flower water
·         4 or 5 ice cubes, optional
Preparation: Place the blanched almonds in a blender, and process until the almonds are a fine powder. Add the milk, sugar, honey and orange flower water, and blend on high speed to mix well. If desired, add ice cubes while the blender is running to chill the drink even more. Pour into glasses, and serve immediately.

Almond Orange Chicken

  • {Recipe Courtesy of All Recipes.com}

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 6 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the almonds, and cook until light brown and toasted, about 4 minutes.
  2. Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper; flatten using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium meat; add the chicken breasts, and cook 1 minute on each side. Combine 1/2 cup almonds, cream, Dijon mustard, marmalade, and red pepper flakes with chicken, stirring to blend. Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Serve chicken topped with sauce and remaining almonds.



Martha Stewart's French Macaroons
Ingredients
Makes 35 macaroons
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam, for filling
  • MACAROON VARIATIONS
  • Chocolate: Substitute 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder for 1/4 cup of the almond flour.
  • Coconut: Substitute 2 tablespoons desiccated unsweetened coconut for 2 tablespoons of the almond flour, and add 1/2 teaspoon rum; sprinkle with additional coconut before baking.
  • Peanut: Substitute an equal amount finely ground unsalted peanuts (peanut flour) for the almond flour.
  • Pistachio: Substitute 1/2 cup finely ground unsalted pistachios (pistachio flour) for 1/2 cup of the almond flour, and add 2 to 3 drops forest-green gel-paste food coloring.
  • Raspberry: Add 1 tablespoon fresh raspberry puree, strained, plus 3 to 4 drops dusty- rose gel-paste food coloring.
  • Vanilla Bean: Add 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved for another use.

**Suggested Fillings-- 
    * Raspberry: 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
    * Pineapple Buttercream




  • FOR THE PINEAPPLE BUTTERCREAM



  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar


  • 1/2 cup corn syrup

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 6 large egg yolks

  • 12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened


  • Directions
    Make the pineapple buttercream: Bring sugar, corn syrup, and water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Boil, undisturbed, until mixture registers 245 degrees on a candy thermometer.

    Meanwhile, whisk yolks with a mixer on high speed until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low, then pour hot syrup in a slow, steady stream down side of bowl. Increase speed to high, and whisk until mixture is pale, thick, and warm, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition. Increase speed to high, and whisk until smooth.

    Directions



  • Pulse confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times.



  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add superfine sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.


  • Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macaroons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.


  • Let macaroons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macaroons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macaroons.)


  • Sandwich 2 same-size macaroons with 1 teaspoon jam. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.

  • Read more at Marthastewart.com: French Macaroons - Martha Stewart Recipes 

    3 comments:

    Kim said...

    I made the almond milkshake. It was pretty good! Although I had to use orange bitters instead of orange flower water.....

    As you enter the Foodista site prepare to take your senses on a vacation. said...

    @Kim - let's reflect for a moment on your awesomeness :) Thanks for posting a comment and for reading!! I really appreciate it! Do you have a pic of the milkshake cause I'll post it up!! Were the orange bitters good?

    Gift Baskets Montreal said...

    Frankly speaking I have never tried any almond recipe but your recipe on almost looks juicy and tasty :) . It almost created demand at home. And my kids wants to try your recipe. So I'll give a try. Hope it's gonna perfect.

    Thanks
    Jas

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