Tag Archives: Walnuts

Syrian Style Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Dip with Pomegranate Molasses

Syrian Style Roasted Red Pepper, Toasted Walnut and Pomegranate Molasses Spread

Syrian Style Roasted Red Pepper, Toasted Walnut and Pomegranate Molasses Spread

This dip is my take on a traditional middle eastern Muhammara dip which is an amazingly delicious mixture of roasted red peppers, walnuts, bread and pomegranate molasses.  If you’ve never tried pomegranate molasses before, it’s worth seeking out at your local middle eastern shop (I bought mine at Yaranush in White Plains, NY) or other specialty market, you may even find it in the “international” section of your local supermarket or in places like Whole Foods.  Pomegranate molasses is a deep dark burgundy colored syrupy sauce with an unusual sweet and tangy almost citrusy taste, it’s like nothing I’ve ever tried before, but once I did I started imagining all kinds of possibilities!

my take on a Syrian Muhummara dip with Roasted Red Pepper, Toasted Walnut, Sun dried Tomato and Pomegranate Molasses

I first came across this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers and cookbook authors Heidi Swanson of 101cookbooks.com and knew I had to give it a try.  I changed it up a bit from the traditional recipe, by adding in some sun dried tomatoes, just thought their tangy umami flavor would work well and it does!  I also skip the bread all together, making this a great grain & gluten free dip, of course I still serve it up with a some toasted baguette slices for anyone who enjoys bread, it is delicious as a topping this way or spread into a leaf of romaine as a topping for a bean & veggie burger, with falafel, in a hummus wrap as Colin likes it, with tuna or even on top of a fried egg! As you can see, the list is pretty endless and once you try this I’m sure you’ll come up with even more ways to enjoy this unusually delicious dip, also perfect for parties…

I must confess, I’m a little late on getting this post out as my original intention was to post this in December as I thought this a perfect party dip for the holidays.  Well, a house full of sick people and the normal/stress filled rush of the season kept that from happening, but I am happy to note I’m squeaking by getting in my first post of the New Year in before the month of January officially ends (even if by mere moments!).

Syrian Style Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Dip

with Pomegranate Molasses

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

 gluten free, vegan

Ingredients:

1 roasted Red pepper – jarred works just fine, but if you have fresh roasted all the better

½ cup toasted walnuts – toast in a dry skillet until fragrant or toast in the oven

6 sun dried tomatoes – oil packed preferably – roughly chopped

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses

½ clove or 1 very small clove of garlic

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Sea salt to taste

1-2 Tablespoons water

2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

2 Tablespoons fresh chopped mint

Squeeze of fresh lemon

Directions:

Into the bowl of food processor add – red pepper, walnuts, sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste, pomegranate molasses and garlic.  Process until mostly smooth, or leave it a little bit chunky if you like it that way.  Next mix in red pepper flakes, salt and water, blend again and add more water if needed to get it to the consistency you like. Stir in chopped herbs and finish with a squeeze of lemon.

Pour into a small bowl and use as you like.  For a party, surround the bowl with *toasted sliced baguette* and small romaine or endive leaves OR on a platter with other spreads & salads such as hummus, taboulli, creamy feta and some cut up veggies and pita wedges.

 *I like to slice a baguette, rub each slice with garlic infused olive oil and then grill each side until lightly toasted.  You can even make this a few hours ahead of a party.

Other serving ideas: this is an all around delicious condiment; spread in place of mayo or mustard on a turkey or chicken sandwich, on a hummus wrap or dolloped on top of a bowl of nutty brown rice & veggies or even atop a runny yolk fried egg, yum, Enjoy!

also known as yum dip! Roasted Red Pepper, Walnut & Pomegranate Molasses

also known as yum dip! Roasted Red Pepper, Walnut & Pomegranate Molasses

Heart Healthy Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread (vegan optional)

Banana Bread flecked with chocolate chunks and walnuts
Banana Bread flecked with chocolate chunks and walnuts
I often find myself with extra bananas past their eating prime, over ripe and brown, which is why I have so many different recipes for baking with super ripe bananas, like these muffins and these cookies or I’ll add them into the daily smoothie that 5 year old Evan often asks for/demands.  But, one of my favorite ways to use extra ripe bananas is, in what else, but banana bread. A slice of banana bread There are a million banana bread recipes out there, but of all I’ve tried, this one is my family’s favorite.  Aside from being super moist, flecked with chocolate chunks and often walnuts, it is lower in fat than many recipes and filled with so many heart healthy ingredients.  I love using bittersweet dark chocolate and even if I use chips I like to chop up the chocolate so you get different size bits with a few chunks.  Honestly, I think even without the chocolate this banana bread would be delicious, but why not indulge a little with chunks of dark chocolate, after all chocolate is a super food too.

Chopped Dark Chocolate

Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread. Heidi’s recipe calls for a lemony glaze poured over the top of the finished banana bread and while I love the addition of lemon in so many recipes I am not a huge fan of sweet glazes, and I think in this case the banana bread with the addition of great chunks of chocolate and chopped walnuts really stands on its own with no need for an added glaze.  Dry mix for Heart Healthy Banana Bread
Avocado and Olive Oil

The base recipe is fantastic with olive oil and aside from eliminating the glaze I’ve amped up the heart health with the addition of oat bran, avocado and flax.  And if you add in the optional walnuts, you get even more heart healthy benefits since walnuts are a great source of Omega 3’s, aside from adding in a little yummy crunch.  I like the mix of avocado and olive oil, just be sure to really mash the avocado well, but if a few tiny flecks of green remain it’s no big deal. I also like using a combo of one egg plus one “flax egg”.  Egg substitutes are easy to make using 1 Tablespoon of ground flax with about 2 ½ Tablespoons of water per egg.  Mix up the flax and water at the start of putting together the recipe, to allow time for the water to be fully absorbed and gel up a bit.   Again if you prefer, you can always use 2 eggs or go full out doubling the flax and skip the egg altogether. Either way, the banana bread turns out moist and delicious.  Super healthy, Super yummy, what more could you ask for! 
Slices of Heart Healthy Banana Bread with chocolate chunks and walnuts, yum!
Slices of Heart Healthy Banana Bread with chocolate chunks and walnuts, yum!

 

Heart Healthy Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread 

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones
Adapted from: Heidi Swanson’s Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread
Ingredients:
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour – I use whole wheat pastry flour
¼ cup oat bran
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate – from about 2, 3-4 ounce bars or use chips
½ avocado – well mashed
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 X-large egg (or make it vegan, by doubling the flax and water)
1 Tablespoon ground flax with 2 ½ Tablespoons water (double, if leaving out the egg)
3 very ripe mashed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional (but really good!) ½ cup chopped walnuts
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a standard loaf pan, I use olive oil spray or coconut oil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flax meal and water, set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, oat bran, sugar, baking soda, salt.  Mix in the chocolate chunks.
Once the flax has absorbed the water, add in mashed avocado, olive oil, egg.  Add in mashed banana, and vanilla.  Mix well.
Add the banana mixture into the flour mix, stir until just combined.  If using, mix in walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Place in the center of your oven and bake for about 50 minutes.  Let cool at least 10 minutes before removing from loaf pan.  Slice up, serve and Enjoy!   
Heart Healthy Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

Oatmeal Maple Scones

WP_20140427_043 Maple Oatmeal Scones

Oatmeal Maple Scones

inspired by the Barefoot Contessa

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

Inspired by the Barefoot Contessa’s Maple-Oatmeal Scones, but with a whole LOT less butter, Ina also tops her scones with a maple glaze while I do not.  I’m personally not a big fan of glazes as they tend to be a little too sweet for me, instead I chose to make a little maple mascarpone spread based on the idea of a traditional British scone being served with clotted cream, but totally different.  If you like the idea of a glaze, you can find it here http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/maple-oatmeal-scones-recipe.html , you could also skip the mascarpone spread and just use a little butter on the warm from the oven scones or jam of your choice.  This recipe bakes just as scones should (in my opinion at least), a little bit dense, a little bit moist and (preferably eaten) a little bit warm from the oven.  If Goldilocks were here in the kitchen, I think she might feel compelled to utter “just right”.

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Unbleached Flour

1/2 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (regular Oatmeal not instant)

2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Salt

4 Tablespoons cold unsalted Butter (1/2 stick)

2/3 cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I use non fat)

1/4 cup Maple Syrup (the real stuff)

1/4 cup Low Fat Milk (I used unsweetened Almond Milk, since that’s what I have)

1 large Egg

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 heaping cup chopped Walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Lightly butter or spray a large baking sheet, or cover with parchment.

IMG_4721 Maple Oatmeal Scones Dry MixIn a large bowl stir together dry ingredients (flours through salt).  Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and cut them into the flour mixture, until the mix resembles coarse crumbs.

IMG_4726

In a small bowl stir together yogurt, egg, maple syrup, milk and vanilla extract.  Add to the flour & butter mixture.  Stir to combine.  Mix in the nuts.  The dough should come together to form a slightly sticky ball.WP_20140427_005

IMG_4736 chopped walnutsIMG_4737

IMG_4742Gently roll out the dough to about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cut dough into whatever shape you like.  I used heart shaped and round fluted cutters about 3 inches across, because when your baking assistant is a tyrannical/terribly sweet not quite 5 year old, mama does not get to choose and why use one shape when three are better (for the record I insisted on the fluted edge heart cutters).

IMG_4743Place scones on prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle with a little coarse raw sugar if you like.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and toothpick comes out clean.

Remove baking sheet from oven and allow to cool a few minutes, before transferring scones to a wire rack.  Enjoy!  

Makes about 12 – 15 or maybe even 18, scones depending on the size.

Click here to view printable version

IMG_4752 Maple Oatmeal Scone

 

Recipe Notes:  I served my scones with both Blueberry Mascarpone and Maple Mascarpone Spreads.  For the blueberry version, I simply stirred together a few tablespoons of mascarpone with some really good blueberry preserves and then for the maple version, just a little maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon into the mascarpone, amounts to your desired taste and stirred until creamy.   IMG_4753 Maple Oatmeal Sone

A Note on Shapes:  I rolled out my dough and used a combination of fluted edge round and heart shaped cutters measuring about 3 inches across and also a smaller 2 inch heart shaped cutter.  If you don’t have cutters of this size on hand, you can use the open end of a juice glass or tea mug as makeshift cutters or if you like simply free cut squares out of the shaped dough with a sharp knife.  I would stick to shapes that are fairly uniform across and steer clear of pointed edges such as stars or trains with their pesky smoke stacks (if you have a young boy at home you’ll know just what I’m talking about).     

Additional Notes:  A recipe for Baking Powder

So on my last test of this recipe, I found myself in the very unfortunate situation of reaching into my baking powder container and coming up with a Tablespoon measure only 2/3 of the way full. My baking powder was empty! Now my policy is to always stock up on sale and never ever ever not have a backup of frequently used (and some not so frequently used) items and this is especially the case in the kitchen.  Plus I was so certain that I had an extra container of baking powder hidden away which is probably why I ignored the fact that it was nearing empty on my recent trips to the market.  I searched and searched through my overstocked pantry, the baskets on top of the fridge and everywhere else I could think of, to only come up empty on the baking powder front.  Mind you this was all taking place early on a Sunday morning when I sometimes like to spend a little alone time in the kitchen before the family chaos begins and my time before my four year old invaded my world was ticking by fast.  After a bit of panic, I remembered that my brother-in-law Josh had sent me a link to an article about the difference between baking powder and baking soda a month or two ago.  So I went to my computer, waited for it to wake up (this actually takes awhile, as I’m repeatedly told by my husband and daughter that it’s old and it sucks and it desperately needs to be replaced, but that’s a story for another day), and then searched through all my old emails for the one in question, the one that would hopefully save the day.

So according to the link sent by Josh, http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/what-s-the-difference-between-baking-soda-and-baking-powder-144950994.html,one can make baking powder using a recipe of baking soda and cream of tartar, great!  One problem, I had no cream of tartar, in fact my dad had given me some not too long ago for a cake decorating class I was taking (don’t even remember what it was supposed to be used for), but then I gave it back to him, d’oh!  But, then I read on and discovered that in the absence of cream of tartar, lemon juice could be used, and lemon juice is one thing I am never out of, woo hoo, my morning and my scones were saved!.   I’m not going to get into the science of it all and the exact ratios, for that you can go to the link above, but long story short, for my missing 1 teaspoon of baking powder, I replaced it with ½ teaspoon of baking soda plus 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.  I added the baking soda in with my dry ingredients and the lemon juice in with my wet.  The recipe worked, I noted no discernible difference between this batch of scones and previously tested batches using the full Tablespoon of baking powder.  So now you know, no need to panic if out of baking powder, but if you end up with an empty box of baking soda, you’re on your own. : – )

 

Chewy Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate and Walnuts

WP_20140402_051

Chewy Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate and Walnuts

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

I am deeply ashamed to admit it, but somehow I let National Oatmeal Cookie Day come and go without even knowing it existed! It’s true, it was March 19 according to Teresasfamilykitchen, admittedly I did not research this to see if it’s true or not, but really who needs an excuse to make chewy gooey oatmeal cookies anyway, certainly not me. I cut down some of the butter in this recipe and replaced it with Neufchatel cheese, which yields a lovely light, soft and chewy texture to this cookie. I also decided to have a little fun and baked up half the batch in mini muffin tins, this kept the dough from spreading while it baked to lend even more to the already perfect cookie texture.

Ingredients:

1 cup Unbleached Flour – preferably organic

1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

¾ stick of unsalted Butter

4 ounces Neufchatel Cheese

½ cup granulated Natural Cane Sugar

½ cup Brown Sugar – I use organic (for pretty much every ingredient here)

2 Eggs – I use X-large

2 teaspoons pure Vanilla Extract

1 large ripe Banana – mashed – about ½ cup

1 ½ cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1 cup Bittersweet Chocolate – from about 6 oz chopped chocolate OR chocolate chips or a combination of the two – I used 3 oz chopped chocolate and ½ cup 60% cocoa chocolate chips

½ cup chopped WalnutsWP_20140402_015

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a small bowl, whisk together flours, salt and baking soda. WP_20140402_014

In a larger bowl, cream together (by hand) Butter, Neufchatel Cheese and Sugars, until light and fluffy. Add Eggs and Vanilla, mix until combined. Mix in the mashed Banana.

Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the Oats, Chocolate Chunks and Walnuts.WP_20140402_017WP_20140402_019

WP_20140402_021

WP_20140402_022

Scoop out 1 slightly heaping Tablespoon of dough and place it on a cookie sheet WP_20140402_024or alternatively drop the dough into each cup of a mini muffin tin. WP_20140402_026Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 F. Err on the side of undercooked and allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet out of the oven for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

This recipe makes about 3 dozen (36 cookies) give or take. Enjoy!

Recipe Note: A strange thing happens to these cookies when you let the batter rest for a little while, say between baking batches.  The resulting cookie, bakes up a bit thicker and denser, while the unrested version bakes a bit flatter and gooeyer. Now, I have never claimed to understand much about baking science, but I suspect it has something to do with the baking soda’s reaction evolving.  Either way the end result is oh so very yummy.

Click here for printable version

WP_20140402_056WP_20140402_053WP_20140402_043 Oatmeal Banana Cookies with Choc and Walnuts masquerading as a muffin

 

 

Banana Avocado Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

IMG_2054

Banana Avocado Muffins with Chocolate Chips & Walnuts

Makes about 20-22 regular size muffins OR 15 regular size muffins plus 12 mini muffins

This recipe makes A LOT of muffins, definitely enough to share or for a party (unless you have a very hungry muffin loving husband/family).  I know the avocado may sound a bit strange, but you won’t taste it all, it replaces other less healthy fats with good for you fats.  Just make sure you really mash the heck out of it, or you may end up with flecks of green in your finished product.  This is a muffin you can feel good about giving to your kids for breakfast or an afternoon snack and not have to feel guilty about eating a few yourself.  Of course, the chocolate adds just a bit of indulgence.

Preheat Oven to 325

Line muffin tin with liners OR spray lightly with oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk the following Ingredients together:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat together the following Ingredients with an electric mixer:

1 cup sugar (I use organic, it’s less refined, maintaining some minerals and I just think it tastes better)

2 Jumbo Eggs (or 3 large)

1/2 Avocado – mashed completely

8 oz yogurt (I use a combination of 4 oz vanilla  + 4 oz Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt, but any vanilla, banana or plain will work well here, always use a natural yogurt without any gelatins or artificial ingredients) – you can also substitute soy yogurt or other non dairy to make this dairy free

To the Wet Ingredients, Add in:

3 very ripe Bananas – mashed

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract (optional)

Add Dry ingredients to Wet and Stir together, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.

Mix in to muffin batter:

3/4 Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I use Ghiradelli 60% cocoa chips, mini chips would also work)

1/4 cup (or more if desired) Chopped Walnuts OR leave out to make this nut free

Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, filling about 3/4.

Bake at 325 – about 25 minutes for regular size and about 18 minutes for mini muffins.

Cool on wire rack.

Enjoy! IMG_2816

IMG_2817

%d bloggers like this: