Welcome to another edition of The Recipe Redux! For this month, “Green with Herb Envy” was the name of the challenge. Spring is officially upon us…although for some of you it may be hard to believe as you look out the window and see snow covered grounds. Here in Texas, the temperature has been in the 80s lately. I know…foreshadowing of another brutal summer to come. While I’m not ready for the heat just yet, I am looking forward to all the greens sprouting up like nobody’s business. I mean, I love you sweet potatoes, squash, and all you not so attractive root veggies, but I’m ready to see some fresh greens ;).
The challenge was to use a fresh green herb in a nontraditional way, which means sprinkling it on top of pastas or various dishes won’t work. Eeks! I was in trouble since that’s basically all I do with them. Not to mention the only herbs that I really use are basil, cilantro…ummm basil (sheepishly).
I’ve heard that herbs are super easy to grow and bullet-proof…so then why do they all commit suicide under my care? Is there really no hope for me?
While I like to modify recipes to my liking, this was not the time to do so since I lack the knowledge pertaining to various herb food pairings, applications, flavor profiles, etc. Hence, I searched high and low for a recipe that intrigued me. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally found one…walnuts with rosemary and thyme! I would never have thought of this combination. Check it out!
- 5 tsp olive oil
- 5 tsp pure maple syrup or honey
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
- 3 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 2 cups walnut halves
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350F. In a bowl, whisk together: olive oil, maple syrup, cayenne pepper. Stir in 1 Tbs of rosemary and 2 tsp of thyme. Add walnut halves. Toss well to coat. Spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake until fragrant and crisp, 10-12 min. As soon as it comes out of the oven, sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp thyme and salt. Cool completely.
The only time rosemary and thyme make it into my food is at Thanksgiving. Tim and I are not huge fans of these woody and fragrant herbs; granted we haven’t really given them a chance. I remember being absolutely appalled by cilantro, but now it’s a staple at my house. In any case, the aroma was such a delight..I can see myself sniffing them in times of great stress from now on ;).
Nuts, in general, are nutrient-dense foods. They are great sources of protein, healthy fat, fiber, a wide variety of nutrients (folic acid, niacin, vitamin E…), minerals (calcium, potassium, magnesium…), phenolic compounds, and phytoesterol (which has been shown to interfere with cholesterol absorption and help lower blood cholesterol).
While they are high in calories and fat, evidence from both epidemiological studies and clinical trials, shows that their regular consumption does not contribute to obesity nor increases the risk of developing diabetes.
According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we are encouraged to consume more good fats and plant-based protein sources in our diet. Out of all the nuts, walnuts contain the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acid, specifically the alpha-linolenic acid (which gets converted to EPA and DHA). They also provide 4 grams per ounce of protein and are naturally sodium and cholesterol free. While I can suggest a ton of research articles for you to read if you’d like more information (this one I particularly liked), walnuts.org has some excellent information as well as delicious recipes and helpful tips.
So how many walnuts should you consume in a day? About 1 to 1.5 ounces which is about a handful (14-21 halves). However, don’t forget – everything in moderation! Practice portion control and eat sensibly, keeping in mind that too much of a good thing can also cause harm. I definitely have to be intentional about this. Ask Tim who believes I may have been a squirrel in my past life.
I normally purchase walnuts in bulk from Costco and freeze them for easy snacking. While I usually enjoy them raw, this recipe inspired me to spice it up from time to time.
These walnuts looked and tasted quite fancy and made me feel sophisticated ;). So I’ve learned… rosemary and thyme aren’t just for stuffing and pork. Together with the spiciness from the cayenne pepper, sweetness from the syrup, and the obvious nuttiness from the walnuts, this is one exquisite treat. I actually had to stop Tim from munching on more than his allotted portion. I immediately thought this would be a great complement to wine. Of course, Tim thought beer. I see a wine and beer night in our near future ;).
As always, check out how the other Reduxers did on this challenge!
– What are some unique ways you enjoy herbs?