Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hazy For Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts make me happy. The way they look, smell and taste are close to perfect. In fact, I do not think I have ever eaten anything with hazelnut in it that I have not liked. When I think about hazelnuts, I picture my mother and I leaving her yoga class on Sunday morning. We always stop for two small hazelnut coffee's...cream, no sugar. Filberts are larger hazelnuts, and they have been consumed by the Chinese for 5,000 years! As we go through history, these acorn sized nuts seem to land all over. They have been harvested by the ancient Romans and cultivated in Turkey for over 2,500 years. Even more, hazelnuts were considered majestic during the Middle Ages, thought to have supernatural power. They were also considered a symbol of fertility, and would be abundant during marriage feasts. So much history for such a small nut, but their presence and nutritional impact really pack a punch. They are a great source for vitamins E, B1, B3, B6, B2, copper, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium. Why do I really love them so much? They have an extraordinary way of lending themselves to both sweet, and savory foods. One can flavor cookies, creams and coffee, or place them on salads, seafood's and pastas. Hazelnuts are a gift to the Earth. One that has enriched memories and delighted taste-buds for more than 5,000 years.

Hazelnut Cafe Au Lait

-Heat 2 cups of milk
-Add 2 cups chocolat hazelnut spread (such as nutella)
-Stir frequently until hot and steaming, being careful not to bring to a boil
-Blend in 2 cups of freshly made coffee
-Divide between 2 to 3 serving cups. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and serve!

Recipe and facts found in: The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, 2005.

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