Holiday Notebook: Harvest Pear Salad with Caramelized Walnuts

Beautiful and delicious, elements of the Autumnal equinox come together in this salad. Choose firm, yet ripe local pears. Freshly harvested walnuts from the Farmer's Market are especially good in this salad.

Caramelized Walnuts
Make these days ahead and keep in an airtight container

1 lb walnuts- shelled and briefly toasted in pan or oven.
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup water

Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper, have toasted walnuts nearby in a glass or metal bowl.
In a heavy saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine sugars, cinnamon and water. Stirring occasionally, let mixture come to a boil, continue to boil over medium heat until the sugar is of a very thick, honey- like consistency. Pour hot sugar over walnuts and toss to cost immediately. Pour coated walnuts out onto sheet pan with parchment paper. Let cool briefly and break apart any clumps.

Pear Vinaigrette courtesy of my friend Kris

1 large pear- peeled and cored
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tblsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Puree all ingredients in blender or food processor, adjust seasoning if necessary.

Assemble the salad using fresh mixed baby greens and fresh sliced pear. Drizzle salad with pear vinaigrette and sprinkle with caramelized walnuts. For color and flavor, add dried cranberries.

Holiday Notebook: Banana Spice Bread

While Banana Bread is fabulous year round, adding it to your Holiday repertoire is always a good idea. Especially easy to "throw together" when you are invited to Holiday parties and don't want to show up empty handed!

Banana Spice Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 5 X 7 loaf pan with butter.
You can also divide batter among 3-4 mini loaf pans and cut baking time in half.

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter- very soft room temperature
2 eggs
3 tblsp soured milk
Note: To sour milk add a few drops of apple cider or white vinegar to the milk and let set for a few minutes.
3 very ripe bananas -mashed

1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a large mixing bowl combine sugar, butter, eggs, soured milk, and mashed banana. In a smaller bowl combine all dry ingredients, including nuts. All at once, add dry ingredients to wet and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Pour into a well greased 5 X 7 loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F, for about 1 hour, or until skewer inserted in middle, comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

Holiday Notebook: Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Icing

This recipe is a Holiday staple for my family. Adapted from the 1960's children's book by Wende & Harry Devlin "Old Witch & the Polka Dot Ribbon". The recipe is originally named Old Witch's Magic Nut Cake.

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 5 X 7 loaf pans with butter.
You can also divide batter among 6-8 mini loaf pans and cut baking time in half.

3 eggs
1 -1 lb can pumpkin
3/4 cup vegetable oil (may sub canola oil)
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (may sub 1/2 of the flour with Whole Wheat)
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Combine eggs, pumpkin, oil and water in a small mixing bowl. In a larger bowl, combine remaining ingredients.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Divide batter into two well-greased 5 X 7 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

4 oz. cream cheese
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon juice
1/2 box confectioners' sugar
chopped walnuts to sprinkle

Cream together ingredients for icing.
Frost tops and sides of loaves and sprinkle with more chopped walnuts if desired.

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About Me

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Cincinnati, OH, United States
A dedicated foodie, with a passion for the best food. Favorite food crushes include; Cheese, Wine, Breads, Seafood, anything made with eggs, ...there's actually no point in a list, there isn't much out there I don't have a crush on. Transplanted from the Northeast at age 18, a whole new frontier of food was opened up to me. I have fished for Salmon, hunted for mushrooms, cracked open fresh oysters from the sea and devoured them on the spot. Figs, pears, peaches, so many indigenous jewels! I dedicate this BLOG to the endless variety this region provides. My hope is to live here for a very long time & continue to discover and experience it's unique bounty! Alas, my life has now taken me to Cincinnati, OH where the food culture is like none I have ever experienced.


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