November 11, 2007

BECAUSE THERE'S NEVER ENOUGH STUFFING:

Full of fall, super nuts boost body and flavor (Jolene Thym, 10/31/2007, Contra Costa Times)

Research shows that walnuts are a true superfood, capable of helping people manage weight, hold off aging, improve digestion, promote good sleep patterns and even fight cholesterol. "Add walnuts to your diet. It's a simple way to change your diet and to add years to your life," says Michael Roizen, a medical doctor who is also an author and regular guest on Oprah. "If you will eat six walnut halves 25 to 30 minutes before lunch, you will eat less and feel better. It's really not that hard to eat better."

Roizen, who insists that people should "know as much about their bodies as they do about their cell phone plans," maintains that anyone who is willing to start a healthful habit such as eating walnuts every day can turn his or her entire health profile around in three years. "Within three years of starting a healthy habit, it's as if you had the healthy habit all your life."

Cynthia Sass, the nutrition director for Prevention magazine who is also a registered dietitian, is a bit skeptical about some of Roizen's claims, but she confirms that eating walnuts daily is a great idea for various reasons. "In a nutshell, walnuts are one of the most delicious superfoods on the planet," Sass says. "They're rich in a number of key nutrients, including heart-healthy unsaturated fats which help raise HDL (the good cholesterol) while lowering the bad LDL."

They are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, "which are known to reduce inflammation, a trigger for disease and aging. Eating walnuts with whole grains or fruit will also help control blood sugar and insulin levels because their protein, fat and fiber slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates." Sass adds that walnuts are also rich in anti-aging, disease-fighting antioxidants -- second only to blueberries. Eating walnuts every day, she adds, is as simple as sprinkling them on your oatmeal, granola or yogurt at breakfast, or using them instead of bread crumbs to crust fish or chicken at dinner. "I personally love them on top of green beans." [...]

Walnut and Prosciutto Stuffing

Serves 2-4

Chef Mark Berkner of Taste in Plymouth serves this stuffing with roasted duck breast.

11/2 cups diced savory rustic bread

3/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

3 teaspoons soft butter (divided use)

1 ounce (about 2 thin slices) prosciutto, cut in strips

1 stalk celery, diced small

1 yellow onion, diced small

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly toast diced bread cubes for about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool. In same oven, lightly toast walnuts on a sheet pan for 5-6 minutes, turning once. Set aside to cool. Leave oven on.

2. In large saute pan over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon butter. When it begins to melt, add prosciutto, stir and saute until crispy. Add celery and onion and saute for 6 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add stock, stir and reduce by half.

3. Pour stock mixture into a large bowl and add toasted bread, gently folding to slightly soften (the bread should not be soggy). Add remaining butter and herbs, cooled walnuts, and salt and pepper. Transfer stuffing to an ovenproof baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until top layer begins to brown. Serve warm with roasted meats.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 11, 2007 6:25 AM
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