Tag Archives: walnuts

Festive Turkey Salad (With sweetness AND crunch!)

25 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving all! Regular readers will recognize this post from LAST Thanksgiving!!! See you soon; I am off to make broth…

My favorite quick dress-up for food that takes me from workaday-dull to bright and shiny: dried cranberries and walnuts.

My take-to-work breakfast? Plain nonfat yogurt, swirled up with some honey, a handful of cranberries and another handful of walnuts (bought in big bags at Costco – they last and last). Crunchy, creamy and sweet – oh yeah.

At home, I add them to spike up instant oatmeal. I also substitute half the raisins in oatmeal raisin cookies with cranberries for a brighter flavor and add walnuts for crunch and depth.

Boring salad? Add handfuls of cranberries and walnuts and make it fancy-schmancy (especially good with orange/clementine segments, red onion and feta – separately or in combination).

Today I incorporated them into my leftover turkey salad. Zippy!

Leftover Turkey Salad

leftover turkey, removed from bone, gristly bits removed, and chopped into small squares (2-3 cups)

handful dried cranberries

handful chopped walnuts

one celery stalk, chopped fine (mostly because I don’t really like celery)

half a red onion, finely chopped

4 -5 Tbs mayo and nonfat plain yogurt in whatever ratio you prefer

1 Tbs brown or yellow mustard

Mix all together in a bowl and serve in sandwiches or over salad.

Notes: Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon), blueberries and Concord grapes, are the only commercially-grown native North American fruits! They are loaded with vitamin C and dietary fiber and manganese and other good things and may very well help prevent some urinary tract infections in women, but the jury is still out on that.

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Oatmeal, Cranberry, Raisin, Walnut COOKIES

17 Feb

Feeling my oats

The phrase “do it right the first time” is especially relevant for dealing with food cravings.

If you want a cookie, don’t pretend, don’t justify, don’t explain, don’t wait. Eat the damn cookie. And don’t eat anything that just pretends to be a cookie or pretends that it is a virtuous cookie; you will have to eat twice as many to get any real satisfaction, then you’ll eat the cookie you wanted anyway.

Let’s face it; most cereal bars are cookies masquerading as health food. So many of them contain an incredible variety and amount of sugars (high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, etc, etc, ad nauseum) and weird processed ingredients and preservatives packed into in incredibly small and — to me — unsatisfying, serving sizes — bars the size of a couple of my fingers —  and they still get to say things like: “heart-healthy” or “0% saturated fats” on their tidy foil wrappers. Really. 

So, rather than futile attempts to make homemade cereal bars that would somehow be more virtuous, me and Leandro just make sugar-laden cookies that don’t pretend to be anything else.

Don’t let the oatmeal, nuts and fruit fool you: this is a sweet treat with plenty of sugar and butter, with tartness, chewiness and crunch to keep it interesting. Eat too many and you will get a tummyache. Eat them frequently and you will get fat. But make them every so often, pass on a few to neighbors, colleagues or the other people who make your life liveable, save a few for yourself to dunk in milk or tea or coffee and everything will be alright.

The recipe is an adaptation of the classic “Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.” I dedicate it to Canadian comedienne Andrea Martin, (very) late of SCTV and recent of kid’s program, Dino Dan, where she looks weirdly young and smooth-skinned, with what appears to be a surgically modified schnozz, but who is as kooky and loveable as ever as the bizarrely attired art teacher who gets tends to get lost in her “creative zone.” Here is why she gets the dedication: My son — who loves Dino Dan and everyone in it — turned to me the other day and said, “When we bake you and me are in the same creative zone, right Mommy?” and everything felt right with the world.

Oatmeal, Raisin, Cranberry, Walnut Cookies

½ Cup plus 6 Tbs butter, softened

¾ firmly packed brown sugar (I like to mix dark and light brown, but use whatever is on hand)

½ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 ½ Cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

3 Cups quick or old-fashioned oats

½ Cup raisins

½ Cup dried cranberries

¾ Cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until blended and kind of creamy (I don’t have an electric mixer – yet—so I just use a big fork). Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Then add the oats and the fruit and nuts and mix well until all the oats are damp.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes or until light brown. After a minute cooling on the baking sheets, move the cookies to wire cooling racks and cool completely. Store in tightly covered containers.

Feta-ccompli: Feta-Walnut Spread

13 Feb

The whole Super Bowl thing has got me thinking about creative solutions for portable party food that doesn’t bore, travels well without dripping onto your car seat or collapsing en route and isn’t unwieldy if you take public transport. It should look nice – presentation counts for a lot. If you are not sure whether the crowd is primarily vegetarian, a meatless dish can be a very thoughtful additon to a party buffet. And of course, you want it to be simple and easy.

Enter Feta Walnut Spread. I made it in a few minutes with the help of my food processor, ably pulsed by my three year old (DISCLAIMER: My son is a good eater, but please don’t think he’ll eat everything I make or that you see on this blog. He refused to try this spread, even though he participated in the making and really likes feta cheese in other dishes. Can’t win ’em all ).

We took it to a Valentine’s playdate-party for my Single Moms By Choice group this weekend. I can’t say it won everyone over, but I liked it a whole lot with the vegetable sticks I cut up. I think next time I will pair it with toasted pita chips (they won’t compete as much with the flavor of the spread) and I think that the leftovers will make an excellent alternative to mayo on chicken or vegetable sandwiches.

The original inspiration comes from Molly Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook, which I had to buy again after my well-worn original fell prey to a hurricane-related flood in Puerto Rico years ago, and which I was delighted to find still had all the recipes written by hand.

Feta-Walnut Spread

1 Cup chopped walnuts

½ packed Cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

½ cup water

Three cloves garlic, peeled and chunked (less or none if you are not a garlic fan)

1 tsp lemon juice

(garnish – hot red pepper flakes, dried oregano, olive oil)

Pulse the walnuts and parsley in a food processor until blended. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the garnish) and puree until smooth. Transfer to serving bowl and cover tightly. Place in fridge to chill. Before serving, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano and red pepper flakes. Serve with toasted pita chips or as a dip for crudité.

Festive in a Flash – Fab Accessories for Workhorse Recipes

28 Nov

My favorite quick dress-up for food that takes me from workaday-dull to bright and shiny: dried cranberries and walnuts.

My take-to-work breakfast? Plain nonfat yogurt, swirled up with some honey, a handful of cranberries and another handful of walnuts (bought in big bags at Costco – they last and last). Crunchy, creamy and sweet – oh yeah.

At home, I add them to spike up instant oatmeal. I also substitute half the raisins in oatmeal raisin cookies with cranberries for a brighter flavor and add walnuts for crunch and depth.

Boring salad? Add handfuls of cranberries and walnuts and make it fancy-schmancy (especially good with orange/clementine segments, red onion and feta – separately or in combination).

Today I incorporated them into my leftover turkey salad. Zippy!

Leftover Turkey Salad

leftover turkey, removed from bone, gristly bits removed, and chopped into small squares (2-3 cups)

handful dried cranberries

handful chopped walnuts

one celery stalk, chopped fine (mostly because I don’t really like celery)

half a red onion, finely chopped

4 -5 Tbs mayo and nonfat plain yogurt in whatever ratio you prefer

1 Tbs brown or yellow mustard

Mix all together in a bowl and serve in sandwiches or over salad.

Notes: Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon), blueberries and Concord grapes, are the only commercially-grown native North American fruits! They are loaded with vitamin C and dietary fiber and manganese and other good things and may very well help prevent some urinary tract infections in women, but the jury is still out on that.

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