|Our cashew butter begins with 10 ounces, that's approximately 2 cups, of toasted or roasted cashews. Now, since I am using unsalted nuts here, I am going to add a heavy pinch, maybe even two, of salt. Now, clamp on the lid, and take this for a spin. Meanwhile ...||10 oz. Roasted Cashews
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
|[voice over] ... pour 2 tablespoons of honey in a microwave-safe container and microwave on high for about 15 seconds, just to loosen it up and make it easier to work with. Then add one third of a cup of walnut oil.||2 Tbs. Honey
1/3 Cup Walnut Oil
Pour in your honey and walnut oil mixture, nice and slow, until a smooth
emulsion forms. Just let it run a minute.
[tastes] Mmm. Once you try this, you'll never go back to peanut butter again. And not only is it a really great nut butter, this is a sauce waiting to happen.
All you have to do is take half a cup of our luscious cashew butter, and put it in a small saucepan or saucier, along with three quarters of a cup of canned coconut milk and one quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Put this to medium heat. There we go. And whisk.
1/2 Cup Cashew butter
Now, as soon as this is combined and heated through, you may use it. What should you put it on? Well, heck, I happen to like it on grilled chicken with rice. [sniffs] Mmm. It's like a trip to Thailand without having to get a passport or take any shots.
I believe it was Andy Warhol who said, "In the future, every nut will be famous
for fifteen minutes." Well, I don't know if he actually said that, but I'm
guessing that if Andy ever painted nuts, they were definitely pistachios. I
mean, look at them. If there's a pop art nut, it's got to be this cousin of the
cashew. Now the nutmeat is deep green, thanks to the presence of chlorophyll,
and in the nut industry, the deeper the green, the more highly valued the nut.
Of course, most of us buy our pistachios in the shell. With any other nut, that would mean a lot of work. But not so here, because the pistachio splits, or 'smiles,' when ripe. And if you've ever seen pistachios with those vibrant red shells, that's just not natural! Well, it's a little bit natural. As you can see, right before they smile, the shells turn pink around the edges. Processors just dye them the rest of the way, so that us consumers will go "Ooh, aah!" I think such punk pistachios should be avoided. Now although these are great for out-of-hand eating, believe it or not, pistachios make a great pesto.
I know. Most people think that pesto is all about the herbs and the cheese. But in reality, it's nuts that pull it together and give it its unique texture. Now traditionally speaking, pesto usually contains pine nuts, which I think is the problem with most pestos. You see, pine nuts grow on trees that have to be ... [goes to indicate a pinecone but notes it missing] ... 75 years old before they're commercially viable.
AB: [to nobody in particular]
Has anybody seen my stone pine pinecone?
S: [above oven, squirrel munches on pinecone]
See, they form these little pinecones and they're really hard to get
and [AB looks behind him, but squirrel has darted out of sight] Oh, bother.
Well, here's the thing. They have to be 75 years old, and they can't be cultivated. So pine nuts are very expensive, and sometimes you can't find them at all. And they're so loaded with protein that they burn very easily when you cook with them.
Now pistachios, on the other hand, are readily available, they're cheap, they're easy to work with, and they're already green. Convenient, no?
The Queen of Sheba so loved
pistachios that she
hoarded all that were grown in her country for herself.
GUEST: Carolyn O'Neil, Registered Dietitian
|[voice over] Your pistachio pesto begins with your blender on high. Drop in one half to one clove of garlic while the machine is running.||1/2 - 1 Clove Garlic|
|Then add 2 tablespoons each fresh thyme and tarragon leaves, and one tablespoon each fresh sage and oregano leaves.||2 Tbs. Fresh Lemon Thyme
2 Tbs. Fresh Tarragon
1 Tbs. Fresh Sage
1 Tbs. Fresh Oregano
|Last but not least, 2 packed cups of flat leaf parsley and half a cup of parmesan cheese. Oh, and I almost forgot. Three quarters of a cup of roasted pistachios. Clamp on the lid and take that for a spin.||2 Cups Packed Fresh Flat
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
3/4 cup Toasted Pistachios
|When the ingredients are finely chopped and well-combined—like that—time to add the oil. With the machine running, pour in two thirds of a cup of olive oil. I wouldn't waste my expensive, extra-virgin stuff on this, by the way.||2/3 Cup Olive Oil|
[spreads some on toast] Mmm. Now that's good toast. Of course, that's another show. You know, if you weren't already familiar with pesto, you might not even notice that there are nuts in here. And that can be a problem, because nuts are one of the foods that some people have extreme allergies to. So much so, in fact, that some folks can't even eat food that was prepared in the same room with nuts. So if you're going to cook with nuts, always check your guest list for allergies first. Now, as for those of us who can eat nuts, well we're ...
O'NEIL: Protein, get your fresh, hot protein! Fiber, anti-oxidants, omega-3's!
AB: Excuse me, Miss. Did I hear you say "Omega-3's?"
CO: Yes, omega-3's. The very same fatty acids found in fish oil are also found in nuts.
CO: Yes. And did you also know that nuts can lower your risk of heart attack and type-two diabetes?
AB: This I didn't know. But what about all that fat?
CO: Well, nuts do contain fat, but it's good fat. Mostly the unsaturated kind ...
[pointing to the camera] Told ya.
CO: ... which can lower cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins, or LDLs, which are
responsible for carrying cholesterol into the arteries.
AB: I'm feeling better already!
CO: And don't forget, nuts are a great source of vitamin E, and potassium, magnesium, calcium, folic acid and zinc.
AB: Okay, I won't forget. Bye!
S: [steals pistachios in background]
CO: Hey, you want to buy some nuts?
AB: Oh, no. We've got plenty of our own around here. See ya!
Did I ever mention that pistachios ... [notices missing pistachios] ... uh, that pistachios often play the leading role in Middle Eastern desserts? Well, they do. I just, I guess I need to get a few more.
|Start by taking 1 cup of pistachios for a spin in your food processor. Just grind them until they're fine.||1 Cup Roasted Pistachios|
|In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, combine one half cup dates, one half cup dried apricots, one half cup raisins, golden raisins would be nice, and 1 cup of dried cherries. Now, set up your meat grinder, either electric or an attachment on your mixer, or, like mine, manual. You want a medium die in that, and grind your fruit. Very nice.||
1/2 Cup Pitted Dates
Now take off all your jewelry, make sure your hands are clean, and then lube up with a little vegetable oil. This is going to make the work a lot easier.
|Flatten out your fruit paste, add one half of the ground pistachios, along with a tablespoon of orange juice and 2 tablespoons of Crème de Cassis. Work that together very well, kind of squishing it between your fingers, and then round it into small balls.||
1 Tbs. Orange Juice
|Roll each one of those in the remaining half-cup of pistachios, place in an airtight container, glass or plastic be best, and keep refrigerated for up to a week.||Remaining 1/2 Cup Roasted
Pistachios, Chopped Fine
The macadamia nut is indigenous to Australia, but centuries of island-hopping through Polynesia brought it to its adopted home of Hawaii, where it's paired with everything from mangos to marshmallows to mahi-mahi. [finishes pounding saucepan onto nuts wrapped in kitchen towel]
|To make a yummy crust for mahi-mahi, [unfolds towel to reveal pounded macadamias] coarsely crush 5 ounces of macadamia nuts. Yeah, you could use your food processor, but this is easier.||5 oz. Coarsely Ground,
Roasted Macadamia Nuts
|Put these in a mixing bowl and combine with 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and half a cup of Japanese, or panko, breadcrumbs. Yeah, you can find them in like the ethnic aisle of most mega-marts.||2 Tbs. AP Flour
1/2 cup Japanese
|You're also going to need half a stick of butter, melted. Stir to combine very thoroughly. It's going to look a little bit on the dry side. There. And then turn your attention to the fish.||1/2 Stick Butter, Melted|
Mahi-Mahi is the Hawaiian name for dolphin the fish, not the marine mammal.
[voice over] Here we have four 6 to 8 ounce mahi-mahi fillets. But first, a large piece of foil goes onto a sheet pan and is liberally lubricated with vegetable oil. No sense having your fish stick. Just lay out the fillets with a healthy amount of open space between them. Remove the glove, and season with coarse salt. I'm using kosher here, of course. And several grindings of black pepper.
|4 6-8 oz. Mahi-Mahi Filets
idea is to give the fish kind of a jump-start in the oven. We're going to
par-cook this before adding the crust. So, straight in, middle rack, 425 degrees
for 5 minutes.
Now, remove the fish, carefully, to a heat-proof surface. I like doing this kind of thing on my cook top.
Now, we're going to brush this down with some coconut milk. It's going to take about 2 tablespoons.
|2 Tbs. Coconut Milk|
Why coconut milk? Well, for one thing, it's the only milk I know of made from a
nut, and we are cooking nuts, here. And besides, I like the way it tastes. But,
if you don't have any at home, you could just as easily use sweetened condensed
Now, distribute the nut mixture between the four pieces. And use the sides of the foil to kind of hold the mixture up onto the fish. I like to pat it down a little bit, but don't pack it too tightly or it won't brown evenly. Now this is going to go back into the 425 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the crust is golden-brown and delicious.
[smells the fish] Ahh! [inhales deeply] Mmm-mm! Just smell that! It's like ... Oh, you can't. I'm sorry. Well, it smells good. Let this sit for about 10 minutes, so the crust can solidify a little bit. Your patience will be rewarded.
Mmm! Trust me, this tastes as good as it looks. The macadamias make an ideal crust. A little sweet, a little nutty, just the right amount of crunch. In fact, I think this would make a wonderful crust for a pie or a cheesecake. Just follow the recipe, but leave out the part about the fish, and press the mixture down into the bottom of a 9 or 10-inch cake, pie or springform pan, and follow your recipe as you normally would. If you want a blind-baked crust, just pop it in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and delicious. Either way, this is good stuff.
Well, I hope that we have opened up your eyes to the potent potential of the
nut. They are flavorful, flexible, versatile, and all-around good ... [sees
squirrel, holding pull-cord dangling from above]
S: That's right! It's me!
AB: You nut-thieving tree rat! Gimme my nuts back! What's the rope for?
S: Here they are! [pulls cord]
AB: [nuts rain down on him]
S: [bows to camera] Thank you.
Transcribed by Elctowolfe
Last Edited on 08/27/2010