27 Jul 2006

Walnuts, Food for your Brain

Walnut trees have been around for thousands of years and have remained popular not only for their wonderful flavor but for also being healthy and nutritious.

They not only look like minature brains but walnutss with their high concentration of omega_3 fats they help your brain to function properly. Omega_3 fats help to keep the brain fluid and flexible and also reduce the risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Walnuts and flax seeds are the best plant source of omega_3 for those on a vegan diet. They are also an excellent anti-inflamatory.

Walnuts also a good source of manganese, copper, tryptophan, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. A recent study also shows they triple blood levels of melatonin so are wonderful for getting a good night's sleep.

Due to their high polyunsaturated fat content, walnuts are extremely perishable and care should be taken in their storage. Shelled walnuts should be stored in an airtight container and placed in the refrigerator, where they will keep for six months, or the freezer, where they will last for one year. Unshelled walnuts should preferably be stored in the refrigerator, although as
long as you keep them in a cool, dry, dark place they will stay fresh for up to six months.

They are wonderful to munch as they are, put in salads, stir frys, dips and smoothies so you will have no problem keep your brain in top rate condition.


Great recipe ideas from California Walnuts

1)You can make taco filling in 5 minutes or less by sautéing chopped walnuts with taco seasoning mix.
2)Pack a baggie filled with walnuts and your favorite dried fruit and dry cereal.
3)Top your favorite fast food salad or canned soup with a handful of walnuts.
4)Combine vanilla vegan yogurt, a splash of soy milk, a small banana, and a handful of walnuts in a blender for a super smoothie.

Marion Cunningham's Parsley Walnut Salad

Prep Time - 15 min
Under 300 Calories

Parsley Salad
2 bunches curly leaf parsley (about 2 cups)
1/3 cup freshly grated vegan Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped California walnuts

2 cloves garlic
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the Parsley
1. Rinse the parsley under cold water and shake vigorously to get rid of excess water, or spin dry in a salad spinner.
2. Pinch or cut off the stems and discard. Separate the little clusters of parsley leaves into tiny sprigs. The curly leaves make a fluffy of green.

Prepare the Dressing
1. Remove the papery skin from the garlic cloves.
2. If you are using a food processor or blender, blend the oil and peeled garlic cloves until the garlic is smoothly incorporated into the oil. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper, and blend.
3. If you're not using a food processor, crush the garlic cloves by setting them on a cutting board and smashing them under the broadest flat surface of a large chef's knife. Sprinkle the salt over the smashed garlic and use the same knife to chop the cloves finely. The garlic juices melt the salt and help spread the garlic flavor throughout the salad. Using the flat side of your knife, scrape up the garlic-and-salt mash and put it into a small jar (or plastic container) with a lid. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and pepper, screw the lid on the jar, and shake well.

Dress the Salad
1. Put the parsley in a bowl, pour the dressing over it, and sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese and walnuts.
2. Using your hands or a large spoon, mix well so teh dressing and cheese coat the parsley evenly.

Marion Cunningham's Garlic Crumb Walnut Stuffed Artichokes

Servings - 4
Prep Time - 30 min
Cook Time - 45 min

4 artichokes
4 slices bread
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped California walnuts

TIPS: Each slice of bread makes approximately 1/4 cup when crumbled. Each artichoke takes about 1/4 cup of crumbs to stuff.

Leave the stems from the artichoke attached until ready to serve.
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then prepare your artichokes..
2. Use a small paring knife to peel the coarse fibers from the artichoke stems and to remove the tough bottom leaves. Use a chef's knife to slice 1-inch off the top of each artichoke. With kitchen scissors, snip off the prickly tops of the remaining side leaves.
3. Drop the artichokes into the boiling water, and boil gently unitl the bottoms of the chokes are tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes, or alternately steam the artichokes on a rack above boiling water until tender, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on size.
4. Remove the artichokes from the water and turn them upside down on a large plate to drain.
5. While the artichokes are cooking, prepare the bread crumbs. Tear each slice of bread into 5 or 6 pieces.
6. Blend a few seconds in a blender or food processor until you have crumbs.
7. Spread the crumbs on a baking sheet and dry them in a 250 degree Fahrenheit oven until lightly golden, about 15 minutes.
8. While the artichokes are draining, prepare the stuffing. In a medium size bowl, toss together the crumbs, garlic, salt, olive oil and walnuts, and mix well with a spoon or fork.
9. Using your fingers, separate the artichoke leaves so they open up a little. Spoon a small amount (about 1 teaspoon) of stuffing between the leaves until all the stuffing is used. Serve warm or chilled.

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KleoPatra said...

NUTS!! I need to eat these guys, obviously. I am still learning to love these mini "brains"...

tracifish said...

It sounds delicious! I just blog-marked you. :)