It's Almond Season in Kern County! You can always tell because the air is filled with dust from the "shaking of the almond trees". They use these machines that grab hold of the trunk of the almond tree and shake it vigorously to knock the almonds to the ground. Here's a video of the process. It's really amazing to watch.
We are surrounded by Almond Orchards and I think they are so beautiful. I'll have to take pictures someday when they first bloom in the spring. These next two pictures were taken by a friend of mine that is a truck driver and he was waiting in the fields for his truck to be loaded and thought he would shoot these two pictures and I thought they were really good and he let me share them with you! Thanks Ruben!
I love this one, almost like the trees are swaying and dancing! Almond tree ballerinas!
Here's a picture of the almonds being loaded into trailers where they will be taken to a packing shed for processing. You can see that the whole process creates a ton of dust and with the drought that we are having the dirt is so fine and powdery and there is nothing to wet it down with so people really suffer with allergies during this time. Luckily not me!
So my co-worker gave me a bag of raw almonds that she got from a friend of her husband. I decided to try to make some type of snack with them. Almonds are one of the worlds healthiest foods and naturally low-carb so I eat a lot of them. Usually the roasted brand you can buy in the store, but I've never worked with raw almonds!
First I made a chocolate snack. I used the almonds raw. I melted in the microwave 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter with 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream for just about 30 seconds then I stirred it and microwaved it another 10 to 15 seconds. I then added 1/4 cup of granulated Splenda and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and stirred and stirred until it was incorporated and glossy.
I had thought I would put the almonds in the chocolate and then spoon it into little paper cups but I got lazy and just pour the whole thing into a small cake pan lined with wax paper and placed it into the fridge to harden. Then I pulled it out after about a half hour and broke it into pieces. It's not very pretty, but it sure is good! I guess I would call this LOW CARB CHOCOLATE ALMOND BARK!
While the Low Carb Chocolate Almond Bark was hardening in the refrigerator I made a savory almond. The recipe I modeled my almonds after asked for Thyme, but I didn't have Thyme or time to go buy Thyme, hahaha, crack myself up.
So I looked to see what I had. I had Basil, Oregano and Italian Seasoning Mix. I figured Italian Seasoning would be great because it should have basil and oregano in it anyway and probably some thyme. Not sure what all is in there but I gave it a shot.
I read that it would be a good idea to blanch the almonds. I'd never blanched almonds but it seemed easy enough. Put raw almonds in a bowl then covered them with boiling water, covered the bowl and let sit for 1 minute, drain hot water and rinse with cold water, drain and place in a kitchen towel to finish draining and then peel each almond with your fingers.
Yeah well...that didn't work for me. As I tried to peel them they would fall apart, so I just left them with the skin on.
I then placed 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a hot pan and dropped in the almonds and sauteed them for about 10 minutes. They smelled wonderful!!! I took them off the heat and stirred in 2 tablespoons of the Italian Seasoning, sprinkled in some Kosher salt and ground some fresh black pepper on them and stirred and stirred until they were completed covered. Poured them out on a foil lined cookie sheet to cool. I stole a couple and they are yummy! I can't wait to eat them tomorrow! I thought these were much prettier though!
Now I'm going to package these up in containers and take them to the office so that Angelica and I can have healthy, yummy low-carbs snacks to nibble on when the mood strikes us. Oh...and I need to name this one, so I'm going to call it SAVORY ITALIAN ROASTED ALMONDS!