Tag Archives: walnuts

An Easy, Impressive & Delicious Starter

Like I said in my last post, I had some guests over for dinner. I wanted a quick & easy appetizer so I could spend time with my guests. What did I go to for help? My newest cookbook in my collection – Williams Sonoma Cooking For Friends. The one I got from Tim for my birthday!

This starter is a puff pastry pizza-like dish. It has pears, walnuts, rosemary and Gorgonzola cheese. Basically a combination that is mouthwatering before and after your first bite. To make it even better? Drizzle it with a little bit of honey. SO GOOD.

If you want to be adventurous, make your own puff pastry. I wouldn’t even bother though, because there’s great options in your grocery’s freezers. You just have to thaw it according to package directions beforehand.

The cookbook said to cut the sheet in half, roll out a bit and then score the edges. Did I do that? No. Not so much. All I did was lay the sheet out flat on a parchment lined baking sheet & flattened the dough a bit with my fingers. I bet it tasted the same. The directions called to fold over the edge of the puff pastry about 1/2″ to make a border. I think if I did this again (which I will!) I’m not going to make a border and just score 1/2″ of the edge with a fork. I don’t think it really needed the border.

20120626-165848.jpg

Puff Pastry Tart with Pears, Walnuts & Gorgonzola
(Serves 4-6)

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
1 Bosc pear
1/4 c. walnuts, chopped
1 sprig of rosemary, stripped from the stem, finely chopped
1/4 – 1/3 c. Gorgonzola cheese
Honey

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Lay out your thawed puff pastry sheet onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Using your fingers, flatten the dough out slightly, pushing towards the edges to thin out the dough slightly. Fold the edge over about 1/2″ to make a border (optional) then score the edges with a fork.

Cut your pear down the middle lengthwise, then cut in half again lengthwise. Angling your knife, cut out the center of your pear, this will get the core out. Then, slice into 1/4″ slices.

Lay your pear slices however you’d like onto your puff pastry sheet. Sprinkle with walnuts, cheese and rosemary.

Pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the edges of the pastry are browned and puffed up.

Let sit for about 5 minutes, drizzle with honey, slice into desired pieces and enjoy!

Tagged , , , , , ,

The BEST Banana Bread EVER!

I found this recipe on The Kitchn in an article about cooking with coconut oil. It’s become all the rage and it’s available at Trader Joe’s right now … and probably regular grocery stores too. Coconut oil is an excellent sub for baking. Here’s the links to the suggestions for baking with coconut oil and one about its health benefits.

20120426-103118.jpg

In any case, I’ve used my coconut oil twice: once for this AMAZING banana bread and another for frying up some lime spiked brown rice to serve with my crab cakes (that recipe will come in a couple days).

This banana bread is super moist. For days. Seriously. It’s absolutely amazing. And the best part? It’s not as unhealthy as other banana bread recipes! I spread a bit of cookie butter on it, and oh my god. HEAVEN. But it’s also completely delicious on its own. Give it a try!

The original recipe is here. I added some chopped walnuts, but you can feel free to leave them out if you don’t like them. I also used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose.

20120426-103157.jpg

Banana Bread
(Makes 1 loaf)

1/2 c. coconut oil
1 c. Greek yogurt
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
2 ripe, medium sized bananas
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray your loaf pan or 8×8″ pan with cooking spray.

In a stand mixer, beat the coconut oil on medium speed for about 7-8 minutes until it becomes light and soft. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together.

Add the yogurt to the coconut oil and continue to beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and continue to beat until combined and slightly fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then, add the bananas and egg and mix until combined.

Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until JUST combined. Fold in walnuts, if using. You don’t want to overbeat, especially using whole wheat flour.

Pour into your pan and bake 45-55 minutes until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Start checking at about 30 minutes. If the top and edges get too brown, cover with foil.

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before digging in!

Tagged , , , ,