Category Archives: Nuts

Barley Salad with Veggies

Rain was predicted for today, and thunder.  Instead, it’s hot outside here in DC!  Summer is just around the corner, yay!  We’ll enjoy it for today- outdoors!

Every month 2 of my friends and I meet up at each other’s places and make dinner.  We switch off between our homes and the themes for the dinners, and the person who hosts also does the cooking.  Others bring the wine/beer.  Every month I really look forward to my time with A* and C* just because we always end up having fabulous conversations, and have tons of fun.  =)  Last night I hosted, and we had an array of wonderful food (if I do say so myself), which I will write about later in future posts.  But for now, I’ll give you some hints: dinner rolls, a Nutella bar, orzo salad and vegetable soup with parsley crisps.

Although, wonderful company makes food taste even better!

Barley Salad with Veggies
Adapted from: Cooking Light

1 cup uncooked pearl barley
3 cups arugula, lightly chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large roasted red bell pepper, chopped
1 15oz chickpeas, rinsed and drained
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup pistachios

Cook barley according to package directions.

Once the barley is cooked, combine: barley, arugula, red bell pepper, roasted red bell pepper and chickpeas in a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl mix: lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and stir.  Sprinkle the top of the salad with pistachios.

Book Club Pt 4- Spicy Peanut Brittle

There were two desserts during Book Club- this being the second one.  Since I wanted to something which I could make ahead- peanut brittle seemed perfect!  I made it the night before, and it was fresh and tasty as if I had made it right before everyone came over. It is a little tricky since you have to heat up the sugar, and then quickly form it. It was the first time I’ve heated sugar like this, so I was surprised how quickly it turns hard! Cooking is definitely chemistry. 

I came across this spicy peanut brittle by accident.  I was intrigued, and that’s how it made it on the menu.  It definitely has a specific flavor- when you take the first bite, it feels like the back of your throat is warming up.  Weird, but cool, sensation nonetheless.  Worth a shot if you want a small sweet snack (I can’t eat too much of this at one time).  Whatever was left over I had brought to work to nibble on around 3pm…the time I get sleepy.     =)

Spicy Peanut Brittle
Adapted from:Eat Make Read Blog

1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
parchment paper

If you don’t have roasted peanuts, roast them for about 10 minutes in the oven, set for 300 degrees.  Let them cool before proceeding.

In a food processor, chop the peanuts.  Some will be more ground, while others will still be in tact.  Add them to a large bowl, then add the cayenne and stir.

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add sugar.  Watch closely as the sugar will begin to melt quickly.  Stir it often as it changes into a liquid for about 10 minutes.  When the mixture is completely melted, quickly pour over the peanuts.  Then pour onto parchment paper, and spread.  You can put another pieces of parchment paper on top, and then using a rolling pin roll it into shape.  You will have to be fast, once the sugar cools, it hardens, and it’s difficult to form it into shape.

Let cool for at least 30 minutes, then using a knife cut the brittle in various sized pieces.  Most of them should be around 1-inch or so.  They will still be delicious after a couple of days- feel free to make ahead.

Zucchini Bread

Delicious snack or breakfast.  The zucchini made the bread so moist, it was unbelievable.  I noticed this recipe since one of the ingredients was poppy seeds.  I have a container of poppy seeds and couldn’t wait to use them.  So when this recipe showed up, I had to try it!  The poppy seeds and walnuts can be omitted, but they do give a nice texture to the bread.  The last ingredient is curry powder, and it may sound strange- feel free to omit it- but I think it gives a great flavor dimension.  This makes 2 loaves, so in the future I’d split the recipe in half since it’s a lot of bread for 2 people.

Zucchini Bread
Adapted from: :101 Cookbooks Blog

1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup poppy seeds
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 large zucchini, grated
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp curry powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray.  In a stand mixer beat the butter until fluffy.  Add the sugar, and beat again until the mixture is not crumbly.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Stir in the vanilla, and then the zucchini.  Next, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and curry powder.  Stir the mixture together.  Add in the walnuts, poppy seeds and lemon zest. 

Divide the batter equally between 2 loaf pans.  Bake for about 1 hour, check to make sure the fork comes out clean from the bread.  Remove from the oven, and cool the zucchini bread.

No-riccotta Lasagna

I enjoy eating lasagna, but I can never order it at a restaurant or enjoy it made by someone else!  Why?  Because of ricotta cheese- it’s my stomach’s worst nightmare!  I’ve tried substituing other cheeses, but it’s just not the same….until I came across this recipe! 

I’m not sure if everyone else enjoys tofu like I do, but if you’re willing to give this at try, it really is enjoyable.  Obviously, you have to add a lot of flavor to the “tofu ricotta”, otherwise it’s a little bland.  But once you blend the tofu in the food processor, the texture is very similar to the ricotta.  Feel free to play around the with the flavors, and this way it won’t be the same lasagna each time you cook it.

No-ricotta Lasagna
Adapted by: Love and Olive Oil Blog

1 (14 oz) package of firm tofu, well-drained
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
4 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slides
5 cups marinara sauce
8 oz lasagna noodles
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  cook a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray.  Toast the pine nuts on a dry skillet over medium heat.  Keep stirring until they are golden. 

In a food processor, combine: tofu, basil, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, and sugar.  Blend until smooth and the texture will be similar to ricotta cheese.

In a skillet, heat oil and saute zucchini on medium heat until they are tender. 

Spread 1/4 of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.  Then cover with a layer of noodles.  Layer 1/2 of the tofu mixture, then 1/2 of the zucchini mixture.  Then place another layer of noodles and the remaining zucchini.  Next, add 1/2 of the marina sauce and another layer of noodles.   Finally, spread the remaining 1/4 of the marinara sauce.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1 hour.   

Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving, sprinkle Parmesan cheese onto each serving.

Cabbage Thai Salad

Cabbage Salad

As I have mentioned, I love salads.  Easy salads that take less than 30 minute to throw together and they can be a meal.  Growing up, my mom used to make a chinese cabbage salad, which included Ramen noodles as an extra crunch- and I loved it!  So when I saw this recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook, I definitely wanted to try it to see this salad satisfied my love for the crunchy cabbage salad.  Simililar ingredients, but there are some fun additions.  I did change it just a bit, more of some stuff, less of others- but it is crunchy and refreshing.  My favorite was putting the sesame seeds on it!

Cabbage Thai Salad
Adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook

Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 fresh hot red chile, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 Chinese cabbage, chopped
2 handfuls of snow peas, chopped
5-7 radishes, chopped
1 handful of cashews
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of sesame seeds
8 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
6 leaves of fresh mint, chopped

Mix all of these ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Although, this can get a big soggy, so it’s better to eat it right away.