October 5, 2012 |
WASCO, Calif. - California's almond harvest, which takes place from August through October, is a dusty, noisy affair, vast in scale and fascinating in its blend of agricultural and industrial processes. Sixty years ago California grew 100,000 acres of almonds, 85% of them in the northern Central Valley, from Madera to Butte counties. Mechanization, increased irrigation in the southern San Joaquin Valley (at least until recent water cutbacks) and booming exports have boosted production, and California now raises some 760,000 acres of almonds, its third largest farm commodity, after dairy and grapes.
September 22, 2012
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes, plus overnight soaking time for the almonds Servings: 6 to 8 Note: Adapted from "Made in Spain" by José Andrés and Richard Wolffe. 1 1/2 pounds blanched almonds 6 cups flat mineral or filtered water 2 cloves garlic 3/4 cup aged sherry vinegar, plus 1 tablespoon 2 1/2 cups Spanish extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons 4 fresh black figs, quartered 1/4 cup roughly chopped Spanish Marcona almonds 1 tablespoon chopped chives 1. The night before, put the blanched almonds into a bowl, cover with the mineral water and soak overnight.
September 15, 2012
Total time: 1 hour Servings: 6 as garnish Note: In the homes of Jews from North Africa, this mixture of browned onions, dried fruit and fried almonds is popular for festive occasions as a garnish for couscous or rice. You can blanch the almonds yourself or buy them from a nut shop. 3/4 cup almonds, preferably blanched (skins removed) 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil such as grapeseed or canola 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 large onions (about 1½ pounds)
August 22, 2012 |
Standing in front of the pastry case at Columbia City Bakery in Seattle, I couldn't decide what I wanted. Croissant? Scone? No, no. And then I saw it: A thick slab of heavenly brioche topped with orange flower syrup, almond paste and toasted almonds. That's it. We bought just one piece and the three of us shared it. That meant only a few bites each. But that tall slice of brioche was so rich and satisfying that I actually could and did walk away without ordering a second round, sipping the last of my latte and savoring that last bite in memory.
July 16, 2012 |
(Editor's note: Writer Mary MacVean tried out trainer Jackie Warner 's diet plan from her new book “10 Pounds in 10 Days.” Here's her experience. Read the previous days , too.) Day 6 I've been really surprised by the fact that I've not been hungry much. I will admit my measuring has been a little heavy-handed - but we're talking about over-measuring broccoli, for goodness' sake. Anyway, I dutifully ate my lunchtime sandwich today. And when I finished it … I was really hungry.
July 11, 2012 |
SACRAMENTO — California is heading for a record almond harvest this fall. A combination of nearly ideal weather and millions of healthy, robust honeybees pollinating almond blossoms is expected to yield 2.1 billion pounds of nuts, the biggest crop in history. The harvest starts in late August in the San Joaquin Valley and continues through October in the Sacramento Valley. The U.S. Department of Agriculture pegs it as 5% above a May forecast and 3% above 2011's record of 2 billion pounds.
June 2, 2012
Apricot almond galette Total time: 1 hour, plus cooling time Servings: 6 to 8 1 1/2 pounds apricots (6 to 8) 2 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, depending on the sweetness of the apricots 1 teaspoon almond extract or 2 tablespoons almond liqueur Prepared galette dough 3 tablespoons sliced almonds 1/3 cup raspberries, if desired 1 egg, beaten 1 tablespoon coarse sugar 1. Cut each apricot into 6 to 8 wedges, discarding the pits.
May 26, 2012
Total time: 1 hour Servings: About 3 dozen cookies 1 pound blanched almonds, either whole or slivered 2 cups sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 egg whites 1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease 3 baking sheets. 2. Grind the almonds, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add the vanilla extract and pulse to mix in. 3. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Add them to the food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times to mix in. The mixture should form a grainy batter.
May 26, 2012 |
Strolling the Santa Monica Saturday farmers market the other day, thinking about dinner. Five pounds of that thumb-thick jumbo asparagus from Zuckerman Farms? Of course! I already had carrots and favas from my garden. I'd ordered a leg of lamb. But what's for dessert? Almond torte maybe? Lemon curd tart? But all that late-season citrus - Oro Blancos, grapefruits, blood oranges, tangerines - I just couldn't resist them. So maybe I'd do a fruit salad with a spiced syrup? Or just tangerine sections sweetened a little with rosemary honey?
March 3, 2012 |
Almond trees are exploding with pink and white blossoms across the vast Central Valley, marking the start of the growing season for California's most valuable farm export. Toiling among the blooms are the migrant workers that will make or break this year's crop: honeybees. The insects carry the pollen and genetic material needed to turn flowers into nuts as they flit from tree to tree. It's a natural process that no machine can replicate. But it can't be left to chance. Bees are too integral to the fortunes of California's nearly $3-billion-a-year almond industry.