Tag Archives: Soaked Walnuts

Salad Dressing

Happy little veggies


The Summer after High School I took a job at a local fast food joint. Actually, I pride myself to this day in saying, it was Casual Dining, a significant cut above the fast food served at our competition. But semantics aside, it functioned much the way all pre-fab food entities must. One small item that I had the task of stocking onto the shelves every week was Salad Dressing. A very small part of our inventory, these cute little bundles have the capability of transforming mere rabbit food into a delicious snack, worthy of satisfying the highest calorie requirements. How could they accomplish this in 3.5 onces or less? Easy! The dressing was 50% fat (By weight). And boy was it tasty. That stuff revolutionized my idea of what a salad could be. Now, before you navigate away in disgust, I have mended my ways a little since then. I mean, I’m not a total cretin. But I still like my salad to taste good. Don’t hand me a pile of dry chopped leaves and expect me to get excited.
Then I met Salad Dressing Simplicity. Well, that’s my title for it. This revelation can be found starting on page 127 of Nourishing Traditions and flowing all the way to page 135. Within those few pages there are 19 different recipes (some are variations on a theme, but trust me, they are quite different). I haven’t made a dressing from this section that I didn’t like. The one I use the most is ‘Basic Dressing’, on page 129. But since this recipe contains fewer than my minimum requirement of words, I add the subtitle ‘Salad Dressing Simplicity’ just to fluff it a little.

The biggest tip to this section I have found is good Olive Oil. Since the oil is a huge contribution by bulk, any flavor that comes off as strong in the oil will show up in the final product. With a little care, the tones from the oil can be matched with other ingredients, or a very mild oil can be found (probably by trial and error).

Ok, before you make me hand in my man card, I will reassure you that real men can eat salad and survive. (Um, no, I didn’t say eat only salad, that is the dumbest diet I have ever heard of). So here’s how: camouflage. Simply disguise your salad as a meal. A variation of what I suggest is found on page 240 in the form of ‘Raw Salmon Salad’. I don’t eat raw fish (the classic yuk factor, I’m just stuborn that way), but this recipe is up the right alley. Cook the fish, or leave it raw if you like, but either use the liquids described in the recipe, or replace them with one of the dresings in the section disscussed above. Use mixed greens instead of Boston lettuce if you like (I do), and ADD SOAKED AND DRIED NUTS!!

This is the absolutly best thing to compliment your enormous stockpile of freshly prepared nuts.

So go out to your daughter’s pet rabbit cage tonight, and share a salad! Happy (green food) eating!

(Um, quick Biology/editor note: you probably shouldn’t give a rabbit either meat or dressing, rather different digestive tract there. Oh, and you should never eat food that has come in contact with animals. Cross contamination is all fun and games until someones looses their dinner. So eat a salad together, but not the same salad).


Walnuts

For those of you who grew up in the South, the mental picture of a walnut is not what is found in the aisle of the grocery store. No, in their natural form, walnuts do not look like tiny brains. In fact, to a 10 year old boy, they look like hand grenades. Ok, a small, puny, hand grenade. (An M67, internal-serrated-coil, fragmentation grenade, in case nomenclature is important to you).


Not only are these hard, green, balls a useful substitute for explosives in (pretend) war, they actually contain food. I have never attempted to obtain the food part of a wild walnut, but friends have told me it is quite a chore. And it turns your hands completely black. The complete walnut is about 2-3 inches in diameter, with a green outer rind. Inside the rind, is the pear-shaped nut, and inside that shell is the meat.

Once the meat is extracted, it is usually dried before eating. According to our trusting cooking guide, the nuts must also be soaked, and then dried. The reason is obvious to any person who has attempted to replace all the protein in their diet with nut protein from un-soaked nuts. (Page 513, sidebar). What? You haven’t tried that yet? Well, let me give it to you in a nutshell:

The story boils down to Enzymes. A really snazzy word conjured up by biologist with too much time on their hands, Enzymes refer to confused proteins. These proteins actually think they are catalysts. Fortunately, your body uses them the same as catalysts, so all is well. Enzymes are responsible for most of the really tough digestion. Water, alcohol, and a handful of other small substances pass through the stomach lining, but other, more complex items must wait until the small intestine to be handed over to the blood stream. This hand off must follow proper procedure, with correct labelling of products, and due inspection from the Intestine Wall Duty Officer. Anything else just passes along until it reaches a good end. In the case of Walnuts, or any other nuts for that matter, the enzymes break off appropriate chunks of nutritional goodness, and package them properly to get past the Duty Officer. And here is where you and I get stuck. Our enzymes are idiots. They always fill out the forms wrong, or try to carry more than $10,000 worth of nutrition through, that sort of thing. So, that’s why I hire mercenary enzymes. These guys are actually sitting around in the nuts, just waiting for a job. Plus, they’re cheap: a little salt, some water, and they’ll put my nutrients in good order.

The process.

Hiring you’re own mercenary enzymes is outlined (in somewhat different words) on page 512 and 513.

Ingredients: Your nuts, some salt, filtered water. (The book claims 4 c. nuts, 2 tsp. salt).

Mix nuts with water and salt, leave in warm place for at least 7 hours or overnight. Drain. Spread on baking pan and place in warm oven for 12-24 hours until crisp.

The friendly little enzymes unlocked by the soaking have now made every bite of delicious Walnut digestible, even to the strictest Intestine Wall Duty Officer.

And now you have soaked your nuts!


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