Tag Archives: walnuts

Pasta and Goodness

This was such a delightful weekend – we had absolutely nothing to do!  After the craziness of the holiday season we look forward to a time when schedules are much more relaxed and the most pressing decision is what’s for supper?  This was another go to the pantry and fridge and see what’s available suppers!  Sometimes those are the best kind!  Penne pasta, walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, croutons, red onion and  red pepper flakes from the pantry; an orange pepper, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese from the fridge.  Ritchey declared this one of my best pasta dishes ever!

  • 3/4 pound penne pasta
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 30 pepperoni
  • 1 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, or more
  • parsley
  • 1/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup croutons, crushed

Bring a large pan of water to boil.  Add a handful of salt and the pasta – cook according to package directions.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle olive oil.  Add onions and saute about five minutes.  Add pepper and garlic and saute for an additional two minutes.  Add the pepperoni, walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes and red pepper flakes and cook an additional two or three minutes.  Mix well.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the pasta and parsley.  Top with mozzarella cheese and croutons.  Put under the broiler for just a few minutes – until cheese melts.  Enjoy!


Winter Panzanella

Winter Panzanella

This panzanella is my favorite salad – strange words coming from a woman who loves her heirloom tomatoes!  But the flavor combinations in this salad, with the slightly warm butternut squash and Brussel sprouts, put this one over the top!  There are three preparational steps for this recipe before adding it all together into one bowl of utter goodness!  We use this as an entree – which makes it perfect for a vegetarian!  This is based on Michael Chiarello’s Winter Panzanella – with a few tweaks!  I love to watch that man cook!

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 pound Brussel sprouts, with ends trimmed, and halved
  • olive oil
  • small handful of sage
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 small loaf sourdough bread, cut into cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Pecorino cheese
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  On a large baking sheet add the butternut squash and Brussel sprouts.  Drizzle with olive oil, sage, sea salt and black pepper.  Using your hands, combine thoroughly.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.  Let cool.

In a measuring cup add the onion and champagne vinegar and soak for 15 minutes.  Just before adding to salad, whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil and a little salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the garlic and thyme and cook for one minute, watch garlic – do not let it burn.  Add bread cubes and stir to coat with the butter mixture.  Transfer to a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with Pecorino cheese.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring one or twice.

In a large bowl add walnuts and cranberries.  Add croutons, vegetables and onions.  Carefully mix.  Serve immediately and enjoy!  Much better when the vegetables are slightly warm, but also good served cold for lunch the next day – if there are leftovers!

Cranberry Ginger Chutney

What good things go into a cranberry chutney!  Not only the cranberries, golden raisins, toasted walnuts, freshly squeezed orange juice, chopped apple and candied ginger pictured above, but also chopped celery for an added bit of crunch.  I’m sure you asking why this wasn’t included in my Thanksgiving dinner?  It just makes too much for the five lovely people that sat at my table.  Tomorrow is our Thanksgiving dinner with my mom and step-father.  This is the time for this chutney to appear – as it has for the last ten years or so!  My sisters wait for Thanksgiving just to have this chutney.  Now, they could easily make it themselves, but I suppose it tastes better because I make it!  That’s okay – they have a few things I eat only when they make them – because they’re that special!

Once the cranberries, orange juice and sugar start to boil they play a symphony of cranberry goodness – pop. pop, pop!  The aroma is delightful – and the fifteen minute simmer time is just enough chopping time for the other ingredients!  Afterwards it’s a simple matter of stirring everything together and chilling in the refrigerator over night!

Now doesn’t that look good?  I found this recipe in a Southern Living magazine many years ago!

Cranberry Ginger Chutney

  • 1 – 12 ounce package fresh cranberries
  • 1 – 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup of golden raisins
  • 1 medium apple, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon minced candied ginger
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

In a large pan bring cranberries, sugar and orange juice to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in celery, raisins, apple, orange zest, ginger and walnuts.  Refrigerate overnight.  Enjoy!

Date and Nut Cake

Would anyone like a little cake with their dates and nuts?  This is the cake my mother made every Christmas!  I don’t believe we had it any other time during the year – perhaps that’s one reason it was so special!  I have added my own twist with the orange zest and orange juice!

My job as executive assistant to the superintendent at the school board has included many different duties!  The first 18 years we had a small Christmas open house for the staff.  My mom would help with making cakes – this one was always the favorite! – along with mountains of country ham and chicken salad on bakery buns, pasta salads, potato salad, veggie trays, fruit trays – and always my hot apple cider!

Mom has Alzheimer’s now and could not follow even the simple instructions of this recipe.  I’ve gone from the role of child to parent – quite an odd experience.  Mom still knows us – the Date and Nut Cake I’m not so sure she’ll remember.  But, since it is a memory from long ago it may strike a chord with her and bring this cake to the forefront.  If not, we’ll just enjoy it as a new experience!

Date and Nut cake

  • 4 cups whole walnuts
  • 1 pound chopped dates
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of two large oranges
  • juice of one orange – about 1/2 cup

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a bundt pan.  Layer nuts and dates in pan.  Beat eggs on medium speed for two minutes.  Add sugar.  Turn mixer to low and add flour, baking powder and salt.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Add vanilla extract and orange zest.  Slowly add orange juice.  Mix well.  Pour over dates and nuts.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Cool for about 15 minutes before carefully taking cake out of pan.  Enjoy!

Coconut-Raisin Muffins

Note by Phyllis Brown:  Tonight about 9:00 – just as we finished supper – our normal time, it seems – I asked Ritchey if he wanted a muffin.  Since neither of us could resist, this is what followed.

Coconut-Raisin Muffins

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 well-beaten egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces

Place flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Stir thoroughly.  Mix the egg, milk and oil together in a large measuring cup.  Add raisins to flour mixture, stir to incorporate; then coconut; then walnuts.  Add the egg, milk and oil mixture.  Stir just till moistened.  Grease muffin pan and fill with batter.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Enjoy!

Aunt Catherine’s Zucchini Bread/Muffins

Note by Phyllis Brown:  Aunt Catherine, my dad’s sister, makes the very best zucchini bread you’ve ever tasted.  She bakes her bread in coffee cans!  I usually don’t have coffee cans so just bake it in regular loaf pans – or make muffins!  Aunt Catherine adds raisins – and big pieces of walnuts!  And cinnamon and nutmeg!  The addition of both brown and white sugar give it a special taste – and give the top just a hint of crunch.  The aroma while baking is out of this world!  The zucchini came from our garden!  It made four cups when shredded and I froze the remaining two cups for another use!

Aunt Catherine’s Zucchini Bread

  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, broken into large pieces
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 cups grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two loaf pans or 2 12-count muffin tins generously with cooking spray.  Beat oil and eggs, add sugar and beat for another minute or two.  Combine dry ingredients and add to mixture.  Stir in zucchini, nuts and raisins.  Mix thoroughly.  Divide batter into loaf pans or muffin tins.  Bake the loaves for about an hour, muffins for about 25-30 minutes.  Watch carefully!  Enjoy!