Although I have been certain for sometime, I got the confirmation from the doctor that my daughter, Lucy, will be safe eating a few select nuts. We’ve done allergy testing several times now, and she has always come back with minuscule numbers for everything but a few major whammies, peanuts, walnuts, and pecans. So technically, she has been clear for non-tree nuts for a while. We have just kept her from them for an added precaution. She has even had an accidental encounter or so with them and proved perfectly unruffled. Since nothing happened on those few occasions, I thought now that she is nearly four, maybe it was time to let her have a few deliberately. Her doctor validated my decision, and just asked us to watch her closely to see how she did.
So, this morning I ground some almonds for the multi-grain pancakes I made this morning (which I totally recommend, it made them so filling I couldn’t quite finish my normal amount, and I am still full 3 hours later). She ate that almond spiked pancake and nothing happened. Lucy was totally, completely fine. Glory, glory hallelujah.
Those who have seen me when I am not with Lucy know my feelings about nuts. I have a bit of a fetish for them. Penchant, fondness, a borderline obsession. When I am not with Lucy, I am always ordering the risotto showered with toasted walnuts, the pecan-crusted catfish, of the a sack of hot in-shell peanuts at the ballpark. I almost always choose the nut option if available. I love the warm, rich, satisfying flavor as well as knowing I am really eating something good for me. So, this morning was a beginning. I have been substituting seeds for nuts for so long and so frequently now, that I can’t believe we are opening another world of ingredients at home. There are so many good things to come.
Yeah, I will still console my love of walnuts, pecans, and peanuts when I am alone, but there will be more fun, and more flavors at home now. YES! This recipe is a one I made a few days ago, before the glorious go-ahead. And so I swapped sunflower seeds in for the pine nuts in the photo. Still good, really, even with the stand-in. It was a dish is one of my dinners designed to control the vegetable bin population. That place is gets out of had regularly, and the meals often reflect that. So, situated in the middle of super vegetable dinner was this new recipe from Andrea Reusing’s Cooking in the Moment. Justin was happy, really happy (which doesn’t always happen on these veg heavy nights). He adored this dish. It was the smoky heat of the chile oil that made this dish sing. The flavor plays beautifully against the fresh zucchini, toasted nuts (or seeds), so nutty shavings of hard cheese and the bright mint leaves. Really easy, and stellar dish that I will be repeating. But when I make this again, and I will soon, you better believe I am auditioning the pine nuts.
My grill was acting up so I made this one in the broiler and stove top with good success. Do whatever suits you best.
Zucchini with Mint, Chile Oil, and Toasted Pine Nuts
4 medium zucchini or summer squash, sliced into thin planks if grilling, halved and in 1/2 inch moons if using the oven or stove top
3 T. good quality olive oil
Chile Oil (use the recipe below or purchase one you like)
1/4 cup pine nuts or sunflower seeds, toasted
1/3 cup mint leaves, torn or cut into ribbons
handful of shaved hard cheese such as Parmesan or Pecorino or Dry Jack
Heat the grill, broiler or a heavy skillet.
Using your hands, rub the oil over the zucchini and season with salt if using the broiler or grill. Place zucchini on baking sheet if using the broiler, grill when preheated. If using a skillet, heat oil and then add zucchini. Saute, grill or broil until sides have begun to brown, but zucchini is still firm, flipping after a minute or two. Place zucchini on a platter, dress with a chile oil to taste, pine nuts, mint and cheese.
1 cup of neutral vegetable oil
1 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup dried red chile peppers, such as Arbol, chopped
1 large mild dried chile, Ancho or pastilla
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon sea salt
Heat the oils and the chilies in a small, pot over medium heat. Allow chiles to sizzle for 5 minutes over low heat, and then add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes more,, until garlic is lightly golden. Cool. Add salt and puree. Store in the fridge.