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Elixirs: Nuts

Go nuts! They're even healthier, tastier and more versatile than anyone would have thought.

Politics of Nuts

Like Cuban cigars, Iranian pistachios have been enticing partly because they've been forbidden. But this past spring, in an effort to strengthen relations with Iran, the U.S. government lifted an import ban on Iranian luxury items, including carpets, caviar and pistachios. By all accounts, these nuts, which have a sharper taste than the California variety, are worth the wait. Red tape will probably keep them from reaching most stores until next year, but for now they're available at Kalustyan's in New York City ($8 a pound; 212-685-3451).


The Beauty Of Nuts

Exfoliating apricot seeds and nourishing Jojoba and carrot oils are thrown into the mix in Davies Gate's Garden-Made Walnut Scrub ($15 for 8.5 ounces; 888-398-9887). crushed walnut shells in Aveda's Smoothing Body Polish refine rough skin ($19 for 7.9 ounces; 800-328-0849). Frederic Fekkai's Shea Butter Moisturizing Soap, derived from the West African Shea Tree, replenishes dry skin ($12 for a 5.3-ounce bar; 888-F-FEKKAI).


Chefs' Special

Chefs around the country name their signature nut dishes:

Anne Kearney Sand of Peristyle, New Orleans
(1041 Dumaine St.; 504-593-9535)
Farm-raised quail with veal-and-hazelnut stuffing.

Anita Lo of Annisa, Manhattan
(13 Barrow St.; 212-741-6699)
Roasted cod with steamers and pistachio sauce.

Ken Oringer of Clio, Boston
(370 Commonwealth Ave.; 617-536-7200)
Grilled wild turbot and dandelion greens in almond-and-garlic broth with pistachio oil.

Michael Taus of Zealous, Chicago
(419 W. Superior St.; 312-475-9112)
Black walnut biscuits with Grand Marnier zabaglione and mint julep syrup.

Lance Dean Velasquez of John Frank,
San Francisco

(2100 Market St.; 415-503-0333)
Roasted chicken with pine-nut-crusted fried cream.

--Lily Barberio


Spa Spotting

TRILOGY SPA, HERMOSA BEACH, CA
(310-318-3511)

The special macadamia-nut-and-mint scrub invigorates and conditions tired, lackluster skin.

KIMARA AHNERt, NEW YORK CITY
(800-452-9802)

Freshly crushed almonds, which are rich in skin-nourishing oil, are a key part of the homemade exfoliating oatmeal scrub that accompanies every facial.

FOUR SEASONS RESORT, PALM BEACH, FL
(800-432-2335)

During the loofah body buff, skin is polished with sea salts and almond body shampoo.

GRAND WAILEA RESORT HOTEL AND SPA, MAUI, HI
(800-888-6100)

The restorative lomi lomi pohaku massage starts with a hydrating and aromatic kukui nut and avocado oil rub.


Health Nuts

Cholesterol free, rich in protein and and high in the "good" fats that have been found to decrease the risk of heart disease, nuts--in moderation--are a healthy pleasure.

ALMONDS
High in oleic acid, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol and heart disease, and in fiber, which helps digestion.

CASHEWS
Rich in oleic acid, copper, magnesium and calcium, which protects bones and reduces the risk of heart disease.

HAZELNUTS
Full of oleic acid and vitamin E, which has anti-cancer and anti-cholesterol properties.

WALNUTS
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and ameliorate conditions such as asthma, arthritis, allergies and skin inflammation.

PISTACHIOS
A good source of oleic acid, calcium, magnesium, iron and folic acid, a compound that lessens the risk of heart disease.


Spread It Around

Ternifolia oil, a derivative of macadamia nuts found in Phytomer Accept Soothing Skin Cream, coats and protects sensitive skin ($57.50 for 1.7 ounces; 800-227-8051). Weleda Almond Facial Oil hydrates dry skin and removes eye makeup ($16.50 for 1.7 ounces; 800-241-1030). Rich in horse-chestnut extract, Guerlain Issima Eyesérum has been used in Europe to relieve skin problems ($72 for a half-ounce; 800-882-8820).

Published November 2000
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