Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Vegan Almond Strawberry Tapioca Pudding

For the past 3 months I have been cooking up a storm here in Mallorca.  This is the busiest time of year in Mallorca.  Up to 10 million people come here during the month of August alone.  So of course this is when private chefs are in high demand.  Unfortunately, it is not like this year round.  The off season allows time for other things like painting, gardening and writing in this blog.  This is my first entry in about 3 months and all I am going to do is post some pictures and talk to you about almonds.  Why almonds? Because Mallorca produces some of the best almonds in the world.  Because I am eating freshly harvested almonds while I write this and because they are so good for you.  Did you know that almonds are really seeds and related to peaches and apricots?
Why are almonds so healthy?
- Low in saturated fat
- Helps lower cholesterol 
- Contains magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, folic acid and zinc
- Contains vitamin E (antioxidant)
- Contains compounds called phytochemicals which may help fight cancer
- Contains 3 grams of fiber per ounce
- Contains 6 grams of protein per ounce

Due to the healthy fat content of almonds, it’s important to make sure that the almonds you eat have been stored properly and have not been roasted at high temperatures, otherwise the fats can oxidize and produce free radicals.

The best way to ensure that your almonds are fresh is to buy raw, fresh almonds and store them in the refrigerator.  For long-term storage keep them in the freezer.
If you prefer the taste of roasted almonds, plan to roast them at home to ensure that the healthy fat contained in the almond is not damaged, as is often the case with commercial roasting.
Roasting at 160°F for 15 to 20 minutes should be about right.  Just make sure to avoid temperatures above 170°F as this has been shown to damage the somewhat delicate fat contained in the almond.
 Although almonds are a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, specifically oleic acid ( a.k.a. Omega 9 fatty acid), it seems that there is more to the health benefits of almonds than just this healthy fat.  Researchers believe that it’s the combination of healthy fat and antioxidants that is responsible for the numerous health benefits that almonds display.
Consuming 10 raw almonds first thing in the morning on an empty stomach helps to maintain a proper PH level in your body.  
But remember not to eat to many or your consuming to much fat, so about an ounce a day which is about 23 almonds.
So come on people, whachya waiting for?  Dive into them there almonds and enjoy.

Cooking on top of Mallorca

Chilled vegan almond strawberry tapioca pudding
by Jeff Harter
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 10 mins
Keywords: blender dessert low-carb low-sodium soy-free sugar-free vegan vegetarian

Healthy, fun and delicious.
Ingredients (serves 4)
Almond Strawberry Tapioca
  • 2 cups almond milk, split
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • some ice cubes
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries or fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoon almond butter
  • Almonds or strawberries for garnish
  • Combine 1 cup almond milk and tapioca in a small saucepan.
  • Let soak 5 minutes, then turn heat to medium and bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes or until tapioca is translucent.
  • Take off heat and pour into a glass or metal bowl and let cool slightly about 5 minutes, stirring once every minute then stir in vanilla and agave syrup.
  • Cover with plastic wrap on surface then place in fridge and let cool completely.
  • Combine remaining 1 cup of almond milk and remaining ingredients in a blender, blending until smooth.
  • Add cooled tapioca mixture and gently stir together with wooden spoon or spatula until well incorporated. Pour into 4 glasses/bowls and garnish with chopped almonds or strawberries.

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