Category Archives: walnuts

Chocolate Walnut Cookies


Flourless chocolate cookie recipe from top New York pastry chef, François Payard is perfect for Passover baking. I found a link to this recipe from an Israeli food blog, Baroness Tapuzina. I was looking for a beet salad recipe which I found but in the process I found some food blogs from Israel that have great ideas and recipes. These cookies can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Ingredients

2 & 3/4 cups walnut halves, toasted and finely chopped
3 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and put the racks in the center of the oven. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or use Silpats.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the confectioners sugar with the cocoa powder and salt. Whisk in the chopped walnuts. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat until everything comes together. The dough will be stiff. Spoon the batter onto the baking sheets in 12 evenly spaced mounds.
  3. Bake the cookies for 20 minutes, until the tops of the cookies are glossy and lightly cracked. Cool on wire racks before removing.


Yields 48 medium size cookies.

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Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets, Toasted Walnuts and Mint

I’ve been making a lot of soup, that is when I’m home, which lately has been almost never but that is all going to change because a new grand baby is on the way. So, that is why my first post of the new year is going to be something different, not soup, but a fresh and lively salad, a delicious dish that I just made up because I can. Tonight I’m going to a women’s golf league meeting with a spinach salad in hand. So here is my recipe which is so easy and attractive you will want to show it off or just have it at home with a bowl of soup. The soup recipes will follow soon!

16 ounces organic pre washed baby spinach

2 bunches fresh beets, about 6-8 medium size, washed and trimmed

1 & 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and slightly chopped

1 bunches scallions, white and light green parts minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/2 cup walnut oil

2 & 1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

Feta cheese crumbles, optional

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Place beets in an oven proof pan, seal with aluminum foil and roast until tender, about 45-60 minutes. Cool, peel and cut in wedges.

2. In a medium bowl whisk together walnut oil, champagne vinegar, sea salt and pepper to taste. Add beet wedges and scallions and toss to coat.

3. Arrange spinach on a large platter and arrange beet mixture on top. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and fresh mint. Spoon additional dressing on the spinach. If using, sprinkle feta cheese crumbles on top. This salad can also be prepared on dinner plates for individual servings.


Serves 12 for potluck or 8 generous individual servings.

Butternut Squash Soup with Gorgonzola and Walnut Toasts

 
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I make a version of this soup for Thanksgiving every year, sometimes I add a few chopped apples to the butternut squash. This year I put apples, apple chicken sausage and Calvados in my turkey dressing so I left the apples out of my soup. I made the Gorgonzola walnut toasts as a nice side to the soup which I like to serve as an appetizer. The soup recipe is my own and the recipe for the toasts is from Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Soups.

For the soup

2 pounds butternut squash cut in cubes
1 yellow onion, chopped in small pieces
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 & 1/2 quarts of chicken stock
2 thyme sprigs or 1/2 teaspoon dried
Sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat the butter and oil in a large soup pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery and the thyme sprigs or dried thyme. Cook and stir about 5-8 minutes, until vegetables soften. Add the butternut squash cubes, salt, pepper and enough chicken stock to barely cover the squash. Simmer, adding more stock to pot as needed until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove thyme stems from soup pot. Pass the soup through a food mill or purée it, then return it to the pot, check seasoning and thin with chicken stock to achieve desired consistency. Serve with chopped parsley on top. Makes 12 small servings.

For the toasts

1 baguette, thinly sliced
1/2 pound crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
6 tablespoon butter at room temperature
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped

1. Toast the baguette slices under the broiler until browned on one side, then turn and brown a little bit on the other side. Mash the cheese and butter together then stir in the walnuts. Spread the cheese mixture on the lighter side of the toasts and broil until the cheese is bubbling. Remove and serve with the soup.

Ginger Spice Cranberry Apple Streusel Pie

 
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The pie crust recipe is from Simply Recipes and the recipe for the pie from Fine Cooking magazine. I made a few minor changes to the recipes. I usually make pumpkin and apple pies at Thanksgiving. I like to try new pie recipes and I think this one is excellent. The tartness of the cranberries is a delicious contrast with the sweet, nutty streusel topping. I also like the addition of crystallized ginger, apple pie spices and cardamom to the apples.

For the pie crust (yields 2 9″ pie crusts, freeze one for later)

2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small pieces and place in freezer for 15 minutes.
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4-8 tablespoon ice water

1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the cold butter pieces and pulse, about 8-10 times, until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture begins to clump together. Dough should hold together but still be a bit crumbly.

2. Remove the dough, divide and knead into 2 disks. Sprinkle with flour, wrap the dough and let rest in fridge for 1 hour. Freeze one for later.

3. Remove dough from the fridge and let it rest for 10-15 minutes to soften before rolling out.

4. Lightly flour the counter before rolling out the pie crust. Position the rolling pin on the middle of the dough and roll away from yourself. Ease up on the pressure as you get near the edge to keep it from getting too thin. Lift up the dough and make 3/4 quarter turns as you continue to roll out the dough to about 13-14″ diameter for a 9″ pie pan. Try rubbing flour on the rolling pin to help with the dough if it becomes sticky.

5. Transfer the pie dough to the plate by gently folding it in half and unfolding it on the plate. Trim the overhanging dough to about 1″ and fold it under itself. Crimp the edge and prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

6. Blind bake the crust in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 375 and bake for 15 minutes longer. Line the pie crust with foil and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until the bottom looks dry but is not quite done and the edges are light golden. Let cool on rack while you prepare the streusel and filling.

For the streusel

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped lightly toasted pecans and walnuts
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling

4 Granny Smith apples
6 ounces fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar plus 6 tablespoons
3 & 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon apple pie spice(Penzey’s)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger chips(The Ginger People)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Position a rack in the center of the oven.

1. Make the streusel. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, walnuts and salt. Using your fingers blend the butter into the flour mixture and set aside.

2. Make the filling. Peel, core and quarter each apple. Cut each quarter lengthwise into 1/4″ slices and then cut each slice crosswise into 4 pieces.
In a food processor pulse the cranberries with 3/4 cup of the sugar until coarsely chopped. In a large bowl combine the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar with the flour, ginger, apple pie spice and cardamom, breaking up the clumps with with your fingers. Toss in the cranberry mixture and apples.

3. Mound the filling into the pie crust. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apple mixture. You can press the streusel between your fingers to make small lumps as you sprinkle.

4. Put the pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until the streusel is deeply browned and the filling is bubbling at the edges of the pie, 65 to 75 minutes. Check the pie every 20 minutes, if it is browning too quickly cover with piece of aluminum foil.

5. Transfer to a rack and cool before serving. This pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Fresh Apple Cake

This is an old fashioned cake baked in a 9×13 pan and perfect for tailgate picnics. I made this cake so I can show off my 49er pan cozy, actually it’s a carrier but it’s kind of a cozy pan carrier. This recipe is from ‘Southern Cakes’, a cookbook in my collection filled with decadent recipes. This cake is moist, rich, delicious and loaded with fresh apples and walnuts.

Fresh Apple Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 eggs
1& 1/2 cups spectrum canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups finely chopped apples, pink lady or granny smith
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Brown Sugar Glaze

1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13 pan.

1. In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. I like to use a whisk to mix the ingredients together.

2. In a large bowl beat the eggs with a whisk until pale yellow and foamy. Add the oil and vanilla and beat well. Stir in the flour mixture, mix just until the flour disappears, don’t over mix. The batter will be stiff. Stir in the apples and the nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 4o-45 minutes or until cake is golden brown and springs back when touched lightly in the middle. Cool the cake on a rack.

3. Make the glaze while the cake is still hot. Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil, and cook for 3-5 minutes.

4. Spoon the glaze over the hot from the oven cake. Let the cake cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.

Chicken Paillard with Escarole Salad

My son Taylor asked me for this recipe for chicken, it originally came from a cooking magazine. This is an easy way to prepare chicken with a small salad. My husband, Scott also likes the chicken and the salad dressing because he ate all his salad.

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, placed in a bag and pounded until flat
1 & 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 & 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 large head of escarole, washed, dried and torn into small pieces
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1 tablespoon creme fraiche
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup whole walnuts
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the chicken in a pyrex dish and coat with olive oil and mustard. Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

2. In a small bowl whisk together shallots, walnut oil, creme fraiche, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside while cooking the chicken.

3. On a large plate mix together bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Dredge chicken in the bread crumb mixture and set aside on a new plate.

4. Preheat a large nonstick grill pan and generously coat it with olive oil. Transfer chicken to the hot grill pan and cook 4 minutes on each side until cooked through. Cover cooked chicken loosely with foil to keep warm while cooking remaining chicken.

5. In a large bowl toss together the escarole with the dressing and serve with the chicken.

Serves 4 generously.

Banana Blueberry Bread


This recipe is from the Williams-Sonoma Bread cookbook. This is a delicious recipe that I’ve made many times for my son-in-law, Shane. I’ve always made banana bread with my ripe bananas. I like the addition of blueberries and sour cream in the bread.

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed with a fork, about one cup, set aside in a small bowl
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 heaping cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Grease a 9X5″ loaf pan

1, In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nuts.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, vanilla, butter and the mashed bananas.

3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the banana mixture. Stir together the wet and dry ingredients just until combined. The batter should be slightly lumpy. Gently fold in the blueberries, taking care not to break them. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top of the bread is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Let cool in the pan 30 minutes. Turn the loaf out onto the rack and let cool completely.