Showing posts with label walnuts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label walnuts. Show all posts

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Roasted Squash, Spinach, Walnut, and Cranberry #salad #recipe @lucyburdette #cleansweepweek

LUCY BURDETTE: are you a fan of Pinterest? I confess that I find leafing through food boards very relaxing – almost like the effect that coloring books seem to have on other people. Of course I have boards for my Key West books, and mystery lovers kitchen, and the writers life, but I also have a catchall board called "Food, glorious food." And here is where I pin photos of dishes that looks delicious. Most of them are recipes that I think I could tweak to become low sodium. When I needed a new idea for a New Year's day side dish, that would include the cranberries I overbought from King Arthur flour, and the couscous buried at the back of my cupboard, I went to this board. And there I found a recipe from Gimme Some Oven that looked like a good start. She used cheese and commercial packets of toppings, both of which I removed. And I changed the kale to spinach...

And so here is what I offer for our curiosities from the cupboard week!


One small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into half inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Three-quarter cup couscous
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 to 3 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts

Freshly ground pepper
Benton's Table Tasty

Lemon mustard vinaigrette (Whisk together 1 teaspoon good grainy mustard, the juice of half a Meyer lemon, and olive oil to taste)

Douse the squash cubes in olive oil, sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and Benton's table tasty, and roast in a 350 oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pan, stir the squash, and add the walnuts. Roast for another 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile bring the broth to simmer in a small pan, and add the couscous. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the couscous to cool.

Wash and dry the spinach and add to the salad bowl. When the squash and nuts and couscous are cool, distribute them over the top of the spinach. Sprinkle the cranberries over top of that.

When you're ready to serve, add the lemon mustard vinaigrette and toss well. Of course this would also be tasty with some added cheese if you're not watching sodium, say feta or goat or what used to be my favorite, gorgonzola.

KILLER TAKEOUT is coming in April, but available for pre-order today!

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Many Layers of Baklava #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Our daughter and son-in-law visited Turkey this fall and look at what they brought back to us: samples of one of my favorite desserts, baklava. Isn't that the best gift ever? Those tasty nuggets inspired me to try making it--again.

Quite a few years ago, I was asked to help our son's elementary school class make baklava. (They must have been studying food from various countries around the world.) Though I've always been a fan of this pastry, I had never had the nerve to try making it myself. Believe me, if a group of schoolkids could make it, anyone can:). The only problem we had was discovering occasional brush bristles in the finished pastry--this I blame on poor quality pastry brushes and intense paint strokes...


1 pound package of phyllo dough, thawed overnight, then brought to room temperature

1 pound walnuts or mixture of pistachios and walnuts (I used 1/3 salted pistachios and 2/3 walnuts)

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 sticks unsalted butter, melted

12 ounces honey

Chop the walnuts and pistachios finely in a food processor and then add the sugar and cinnamon and pulse to combine these.  Set this aside.

Remove the phyllo dough from the package and unroll it on a clean counter. Butter a 13 x 9" baking dish and layer in 8 of the phyllo sheets, one at a time, buttering each sheet with a pastry brush dipped in the melted butter.

As you work, cover the remaining sheets of phyllo with a damp towel so they don't dry out. (Don't sweat any little tears--they won't show up in the end.)
Pour 1 cup of the nut mixture over the eight layers of phyllo and spread this evenly to the edges. Continue to layer eight more sheets of dough, painting each with melted butter. 

Spread another cup of the nut mixture over the top. Repeat the layers and the nut mixture until all the nuts are used, ending with phyllo. 

With a sharp knife, cut the baklava into diamond shapes. Bake at 325° for 45 minutes or until golden. 

Remove the dish from the oven and drizzle honey over the dough until it does not absorb any further. To the left is the honeyed pastry before it has soaked in. (I used a full one pound jar of local honey.) Then sprinkle with some ground up pistachios if you like that look. (I did.)

Let cool and sit for six hours or overnight, then serve at room temperature, well wrapped. Oh the agony of waiting! But it's worth it. My guests told me this was the best baklava they had ever eaten. My hub and I had to agree. 

These little squares could make a splendid addition to a Christmas cookie platter!

Question:  How is a good mystery like a piece of baklava? 

Answer: Many layers!

 DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS is here in time for Christmas stockings! 

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Friday, September 26, 2014


by Sheila Connolly

My new toy!
I warned you that the new old apple peeler was coming, and here it is! I bought this at Brimfield, just because I really wanted to see how it worked. It may or may not be a true antique: there’s a company that bought up the old molds and started manufacturing it again (and asking a ridiculous price, far more than I paid for mine). The claims for it are glowing, of course, and I wanted to see if they were true.

Re the apples I used here: it’s harvest season. My tiny orchard is producing apples! Some the squirrels steal. Others rot before I can pick them (because I don’t use any chemicals on them). They ripen at different times. As a result I find myself harvesting them one at a time, which means that it takes a while to collect enough for a recipe. This time I supplemented them with the Paula Reds I bought on the Massachusetts Turnpike. The ones from my orchard, you may notice, included the last of the Pink Pearls, which have pink flesh.

The Pink Pearls are in front, and yes,
they've already been peeled

Back to the peeler. First you have to clamp it to a work surface. But then all you have to do is impale the apple on the three-prong thingy and turn the crank. The blade moves around the apple, removing a thin strip of peel (all the way to the ends!), and when it’s done another part pushes the apple off the prongy-thingy. No fuss, no muss. (The only warning is that you have to use crisp fresh apples.) No waste, either. I love it! I was so excited that I peeled more apples than I needed. How often does a gadget do exactly what it claims to do, and does it well?

Oh, right, now to use all those apples I peeled. This recipe lies somewhere between bar cookies and apple crisp. I made it thick, using a 9” square pan (another vintage find). I think if I had used a larger pan, the results would have been more bar-like, but the cream cheese filling might have gotten lost along the way.

Apple Walnut Cream Cheese Bars

Crust and topping:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup (one stick) salted butter
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients together. Cut in the butter (use a pastry blender, your fingers, or a food processor) until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the chopped walnuts.

Set aside 2 cups of the mixture (for the topping), and press the rest into an ungreased pan (the size will depend on the thickness you want).


1 8-oz. package of cream cheese, softened
2 Tblsp whole milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg (at room temperature), lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla

4 cups apples, cored and coarsely chopped (you may use any number of varieties, although cooking time may vary based on the apple type). Try to find a variety that doesn’t turn to mush when cooked.

Beat the cream cheese and milk with an electric mixer until they are well blended. Stir in the sugar, egg and vanilla and blend. Pour over the bottom crust in the pan.

Spread the chopped apples over the cream cheese mixture. Then sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the apples are tender (poke one with a sharp knife to check—if not done, bake a little longer) and the top is browned. Cool slightly before cutting into squares.

My husband and I ate the whole thing (not all at once!), and it held up well. 

And now for the BSP: This week I released Seeing the Dead, a sequel to last year's Relatively Dead, which was a New York Times ebook bestseller. I never planned to write this series, but after Relatively Dead I found I wanted to know what came next for Abby and Ned. And there will probably be a third one next year (I'll give you one clue: witches!).

Available in all ebook formats I've ever heard of, including Amazon and Nook.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to Make Wet Walnuts: Easy Maple-Walnut Caramel Topping for Ice Cream, Yogurt, Oatmeal, + More by Cleo Coyle

I'm making homemade
Wet Walnuts today!

My favorite breakfast lately has been a parfait of oatmeal, Greek yogurt, sliced banana, walnuts, and maple syrup. This combo is not only delicious, it's highly nutritious and recommended as a "probiotic-prebiotic" elixir. 

And what is a P&P elixir? Well... 

If you've seen a yogurt commercial lately, than you know that probiotics are the healthy bacteria that live in your gut. They're also found in fermented foods like good quality yogurts with live and active cultures.

Prebiotics are nondigestible carbohydrates, and they can be found in bananas, oatmeal, maple syrup, honey, and high-fiber foods. 

When these two "P" foods (pro- and prebiotics) are paired in a single meal, they contribute to healthy digestion and immune function. They also have a "synergistic relationship, because prebiotics feed the probiotics," as registered dietitian Nancy Clark puts it. You can read more on this subject at the Mayo Clinic website, by clicking here.

Whether or not you join me in my P&P parfait, I hope you'll enjoy today's recipe. In my kitchen, this amazing topping is a marriage of convenience between the walnuts and the maple syrup that I use in my P&P parfait. I keep my Wet Walnuts in small jars in the fridge, where I can quickly dip in a spoon and drizzle them with joy. 

(Truth) my husband (and partner in crime-writing) has no interest in my P&P parfaits, but he does absolutely love these Wet Walnuts spooned over vanilla Häagen-Dazs. So no matter how you serve them, I sincerely hope you will...

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle’s 
Homemade Wet Walnuts 

(Maple-Walnut Caramel Topping
for Ice Cream, Yogurt, Oatmeal, and More...) 

 To download this recipe in a PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here

Cleo Coyle, who is nuts
about nuts, is author of The
Coffeehouse Mysteries
Natural maple syrup is transformed during the cooking process of this recipe, and the resulting sauce tastes like caramel--but a caramel that's made without butter, cream, or refined white sugar. To learn more about maple syrup's nutritional and health benefits compared to white sugar, read my recent blog post on maple syrup (and tips on understanding its various grades) by clicking here.

TIP: Use the freshest walnuts you can find and you'll be happy with the result. I buy whole nuts, freshly shelled, from a local green grocer, and chop them myself. Sometimes I toast the nuts, sometimes not--so make that decision based on your own taste. According to, roasting nuts does not significantly damage their nutritional value. Read more here.

Adapted from the Vermont Maple Festival Cookbook (After experimenting with the original recipe, I altered the ingredients and amount of ingredients, and wrote up my own directions and variations, but the cookbook did inspire me!) 

Makes about 1-1/2 cups 


1 cup roughly chopped walnuts (*see my note below on toasting)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon hot tap water

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/8 teaspoon table salt)

1-1/2 cup pure maple syrup (**see my tips below on choosing)   

1 teaspoon vanilla (***or see my other flavor options) 


Step 1 - Prep Ingredients: In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, hot tap water, and salt. Use a fork or small whisk and work the mixture until you see no lumps. Set aside. If you’d like to use toasted nuts in this recipe, then prepare the nuts now. (My directions on toasting nuts are at the end of this recipe). 

Step 2 - Cook the sauce: During this step, the syrup will bubble up quite a bit, so be sure to use a large, heavy saucepan that allows enough room for the bubbling (see my photo below). Pour the syrup into the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When the syrup bubbles up, turn the heat down, and simmer for one full minute while stirring continually. After a minute, stir in the cornstarch mixture that you prepared in the first step. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil again. Boil and stir for a full minute. Turn off the heat and take the pan off the hot burner.

Step 3 - Remove from heat and finish: For best results, make sure the sauce is well off the boil before you stir in the vanilla or rum or liqueurs. (You don’t want to boil off the flavoring.) Finally, stir in the chopped nuts. The syrup will thicken as it cools but should remain pourable right from the refrigerator. If chilled sauce becomes hard, simply re-heat in a pan or microwave and stir in a few teaspoons of water before returning to the storage container and the fridge.

Drizzle over ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, pound cake, puddings, pancakes, waffles, even fruit pies (especially apple pie). The sauce can be stored in an air tight container or glass jar and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. 


*TOASTING NUTS: Spread the chopped walnuts on a single layer of a baking sheet and heat for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 F. Stir once about halfway through to prevent burning. Proceed with the recipe as written.

*PURE MAPLE SYRUP has one ingredient on the bottle--maple syrup. Do not use not "pancake syrup" or "maple-flavored table syrup" for this recipe; those products are artificial imitations of real maple syrup, which is made by boiling down maple tree sap. Look for Grade A, Medium or Dark Amber for this recipe. To learn more about maple grades, read my recent blog post on this subject by clicking here.

***FLAVOR OPTIONS: You can replace the vanilla with other options, including 1 tablespoon of dark rum; or 1 tablespoon of the following: Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur); Amaretto; or (if you can find it) Nocino (green walnut liqueur).

F o o d i e

P h o t o s

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 
To learn more, click here. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here

Friday, February 8, 2013

Aunt Ka's Chocolate Macaroons

by Sheila Connolly

My father's parents both came from Ireland (they met in New York), along with many of their siblings.  They all arrived in New York in the late 1890s or early 1900s, and the women found work, without exception, as domestic servants.  My grandfather, so I'm told, drove a horse-drawn milk truck, and he met my grandmother at the kitchen door at the house where she was working.

The Lawless Sisters: my grandmother
is on the left, Ka on the right
Several of these women never married but stayed "in service" until they retired or could no longer work.  My grandmother was one of the exceptions:  she worked for several years, and then when she and my grandfather married, they moved to Syracuse where she had a sister who had married a local contractor. She had her first child—my father—when she was 39.

When my grandmother arrived in this country, she brought along her youngest sister Katherine, known as Ka.  Poor Ka was only a year old when her mother died, so she was raised by an aunt in Ireland.  She spent most of her adult life working for a family in Darien, then New Canaan, Connecticut. (There's a family mystery there: apparently she married a man named Ryan, but it didn't work out and nobody ever mentioned him again, although she kept the name Ryan and a divorce was unlikely.) 

A decade or more ago I discovered that my father had somehow held on to the sum and total of what Ka had left:  a small suitcase with a few family pictures, and a spiral bound booklet—with recipes. It's not really long enough to be considered a cookbook.  If this were fiction, I'd tell you that it was filled with either treasured family recipes from Ireland or wonderful concoctions with which she wowed her employers for a couple of decades. 

Not so.  What I'm guessing is that it's a record of her employer's favorites (this was Charlotte Heyl of Wahackme Road in New Canaan): vegetable soup (with two tablespoons of sugar?), "Spanish rice" (with a half cup of sugar??), cheeze (sic) balls, made with "1 roll snappy cheeze (sic)," French dressing (with "4 heaping teaspoons sugar (perhaps more)…Shake like everything!", scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheeze (sic), chocolate pudding, and so on.  At best it's a snapshot of conservative foods from the nicer suburbs. At worst…they're awful recipes.

It was a challenge to decide which of these recipes to prepare, but in the end I settled for what are called


Butter size of an egg (half a stick?)
2 squares Baker's chocolate (I assume that back then it was all unsweetened)

Melt together over hot water.

Add one cup sugar and mix thoroughly.

Add 2 unbeaten eggs

Sift together 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt and beat in.  Add 1 tsp vanilla

Is this a handful?
Add 3 handfulls chopped nuts (I used walnuts) and 1/2 pound pecans. (A lot of nuts!)

All the nuts, chopped

Bake in a 325 oven for 10-12 minutes.

Okay, as you can see there are a few issues with this recipe.  Like, what size egg?  (I'll admit I always wanted to use a recipe with that measurement, though.)  And "handfuls" of nuts?  You may also note that there is no description of how to form these so-called macaroons.  On a greased baking sheet?  Large or small dollops?

I opted for using a Silpat, and making each cookie about one tablespoon of dough. The baking temperature and time worked. I let them cool briefly before I put them on a rack.  This recipe made 2 1/2 dozen cookies.  Basically they taste like very nutty brownies, but they're good.

P.S.  nobody ever said my relatives were good cooks!

Available now!