Tag Archives: Nuts

{ Food from Barcelona, Spain Pt. II }

Milk Bar

Gignas 21,
Barcelona, Spain 
{Metro strop: Jaume I}

(www.milkbarcelona.com)

By the time we got to Barcelona, Ariana and I were already two weeks into our trip and we were craving some sort of an American breakfast (especially after coming from Morocco where we had been on the Quaker granola bar diet for five days—the consequences of unsanitary water are far from desirable). We hadn’t seen eggs, bagels, or pancakes in forever, and we wanted to taste a little piece of home. I honestly can’t tell you what I would have done for a Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee, a veggie omelet, and a WWET bagel (whole wheat everything) toasted with cream cheese. But we were in Spain, and there are no Jewish deli’s or Jersey diners there, so we did the usual and turned to Google for help! The search returned: “MilkBar: Best recovery brunch in Barcelona.” Sounded American enough to me!

When we arrived at the café/bar, we were pleasantly surprised by the eclectic and vintage décor but disappointed to find out that they only served brunch Thurs-Sun from 10 am till 4 pm. It was Wednesday….sad face. Of course, we made the trek the following morning though.

I ordered the French Toast topped with Greek Yogurt and Fresh Berries and Ariana got the Ranchero Omelet with Spicy Chorizo, Chili, Mixed Peppers, Scallions, and Crème Fraiche. Certainly not the ideal “American breakfast” we had been yearning for, but we figured it was as close as we were going to get. The quality of the ingredients was excellent (one of the best Greek yogurts that I have ever tasted, and incredible chorizo in the eggs), but for some reason both dishes were slightly off and unsatisfying. It was odd that they smothered the warm French toast in chilled Greek yogurt because it made both elements of the dish room temperature. I like my food like my coffee…hot or cold, not lukewarm. And Ariana’s omelet had a nice spicy flavor, but it was drowning in crème fraiche. Too much crème fraiche is just never a good thing.

Although I wouldn’t recommend MilkBar for their recovery brunch, their lunch menu looked very appetizing and their nighttime bar scene looked very trendy and hip. I would go back to cozy up on the cool upholstered sofas and have a drink, but I would skip breakfast there.

Lesson learned: When in Spain, just stick to eating a traditional Spanish breakfast, which is a pastry or piece of bread with jam.

 La Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boquiera

Rambla, 91
Barcelona, Spain
{Metro Stop: Liceu}

(http://www.boqueria.info/)

Mercat de la Boqueria is  foodies Mecca. It is the end all, be all of gourmet food markets. In fact, it gives new meaning to the word food market. Upon entering, I experienced same overwhelming emotional feeling that I did when I first saw the Roman Coliseum—it was complete sensory overload. But after a few short minutes, I regained my sense of purpose and devised a plan of attack; heading first for the fresh squeezed fruit juices, and ending at the nuts and candy. I cannot really even put the experience into words, so just enjoy the photos!

Ohh, and just outside the mercat is a little pastry/chocolate shop called Escriba and they have incredible truffles, quiches, and coffee (photos are included at the end):

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{ Mixed Nut Turtle Cookies }

Mixed Nut Turtle Cookies with Decadent Chocolate

Tis’ the cookie season once again. It seems that everyone is either making them, giving them, or receiving them, and then of course, we are all eating them! The holidays and cookies just tend to go hand in hand. Some of my fondest Christmas memories as a little kid are in the kitchen making Spritz cookies with my mom. We would stand at the center island for hours each day making dough, greasing cookie sheets, and sprinkling the tops of our cookie cut outs. I think our tiny house could have been heated solely by the oven during cookie-making week! Thankfully, our cookies have evolved since these days and we no longer make Spritz cookies, which might as well be butter packets with sprinkles (superrrrr fattening). Instead, our new favorite holiday cookies are these Mixed Nut Turtles, which have a decadent layer of chocolate to top them off! It’s a nice change from the classic chocolate chip, snicker doodle, and oatmeal raisin. Put these on a tray of assorted cookies at a party, they will surely be the first to go. There is just something irresistible about the saltiness of the nuts contrasting the sweetness of the chocolate and cookie dough. The texture is great too, because the cookie is a little soft and the nuts are nice and crunchy. (Warning: May cause euphoria). The dough is very easy to make. I have never had a problem attaining the right consistency, as long as you make sure the butter is room-temperature before you use it (I cheat and throw mine in the microwave on defrost for a few seconds just to be sure!). They are the ultimate holiday cookie though so I encourage you to try them!

{ Ingredients }

  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 (9.75 ounce) can of mixed nuts—almonds, cashews, macadamia, and walnuts
  • 1 ½ cups (9 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels/chips
  • 2 teaspoons shortening

{ To Make Cookies }

**Makes about 26 cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter at a medium speed with an electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment) until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolk and vanilla, scrapping down sides. Add flour to butter mixture, beating until just blended.

What The Finished Dough Should Look Like

Using two spoons, drop dough onto cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball into a 2-inch circle, using fingers. Firmly press nuts into the tops of cookies.

Turtles Before Going Into Oven

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned (I like to rotate my pans half way through). Cool on baking sheets for 1 minute and then remove cookies and transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Place chocolate and shortening in top of a double boiler over hot water, stirring until melted.

Double Boiler System

Spoon the chocolate on top of the cookies, concentrating on the center and nuts. Let stand until chocolate hardens. Serve and Enjoy!

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{ Kendall’s Simple Baked Brie en Croute }

Baked Brie en Croute with Almonds and Raspberry Preserves

Baked brie is a great and easy appetizer to bring to any holiday party. I showed my roommate Ariana how to prepare it for our potluck Thanksgiving dinner, and since then I have received a lot of requests among my friends for the recipe (Ariana did a great job making it!). Instead of sending each of them an individual message, I have decided to just post it on my blog for all to view and enjoy!! Unfortunately, now I think everyone is going to offer to bring baked brie to my next potluck…but brie is delicious so I would be okay with that.

You can make this dish using either philo-dough or puff pastry. Philo-dough is flakier and a little bit more difficult to assemble because it is done in thin sheets one at a time. Therefore, I encourage using puff pastry dough if it is your first time making this dish! Also, feel free to substitute different nuts and flavors of fruit preserves, such as walnuts and/or Black Current preserves. Get creative!

{ Ingredients

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, pre-packaged (or philo-dough)
  • 2-3 tablespoons melted butter (or 1 egg beaten if using philo-dough)
  • 1 8 oz brie wheel
  • Apricot, Raspberry, or Strawberry preserves
  • ½ cup sliced almonds

{ To Make using Puff Pastry }

Preheat oven to 375.

Defrost puff pastry for about 15-20 minutes and then unfold. Place the wheel of brie in the middle of the pastry dough and top brie generously with fruit preserves and then nuts. Fold the puff pastry dough up over the toppings and wheel of the brie, gathering up the edges in center and gently squeezing together the excess dough at the top. Brush the sides and top of the puff pastry dough with the beaten egg using a silicon brush. Place the brie on a cookie sheet lined with foil and bake for about 20 minutes, or until pastry dough is golden brown.

Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes and then serve with crackers and fresh fruit.

{ To Make using Philo-Dough }

Preheat oven to 375.

Defrost philo-dough for about 15-20 minutes and then unfold. Place the wheel of brie in the middle of the dough and top brie generously with fruit preserves and then nuts.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Fold the philo-dough up over the toppings and wheel of the brie one thin layer at a time. In between layers, brush butter onto dough (almost as an adhesive) using a silicon brush. Continue in layers until the brie is well covered, gathering up the edges in center and gently squeezing together the excess dough at the top. Brush the sides and top of the dough with butter one last time and then place the brie on a cookie sheet lined with foil and bake for about 20 minutes, or until pastry dough is golden brown.

Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes and then serve with crackers and fresh fruit.

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{ Walnut Sage Fettuccine }

Walnut Sage Fettuccine

I mentioned in the previous blog post that my mom and I made three different pasta sauces for dinner tonight, and thisWalnut Sage Sauce was one of them. I have never tasted anything like it before, and it is awesome!! The flavor of the walnuts really opens up when they toast in the pan and who doesn’t love the taste of butter?!? This simple recipe is the product of my mother’s culinary creativity, and I hope you will all enjoy it as much as we did tonight!

{ Ingredients }

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped sage leaves
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Cooked out fettuccine

{ To Make Pasta } Place the walnuts in a saucepan over medium heat and allow the walnuts to toast until fragrant. Add the stick of butter in pieces and then stir so that it melts completely. Once melted, add the Parmesan and the sage leaves until they wilt slightly. Season with kosher salt, to taste. Pour over desired amount of fettuccine pasta and serve with freshly grated Parmesan!

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{ Pesto }

Linguini with Pesto

Over the past two years I have both made and tried several different pestorecipes. However, being a college student on a budget, I could only make pesto when I had enough money to buy the outrageously expensive pine nuts (ohh how I dreaded buying the pignolis!!). But as my mom always says, “budgeting inspires creativity,” and sure enough I found a substitute for pine nuts….WALNUTS!! Same great taste, quarter of the price! This recipe, which is my own, uses equal parts of pine nuts and walnuts, giving the dish a greater depth of flavor and making it more affordable. I use this sauce on everything…pasta, grilled chicken, roasted veggies, sandwiches, and even as a salad dressing (equal parts pesto and balsamic vinegar). If you’re using it over pasta, add more olive oil (between a cup and a quarter to a cup and a half) so that the sauce is thinner, and when using it as a spread on sandwiches only add about a cup of oil so it is thicker.

Buen Provecho!

{ Ingredients }

  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 cups packed basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup good extra virgin olive oil –Possibly 1 ½ if you like your pesto thinner

{ To Make PastaPlace the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade. Process for about 30 seconds and then ass the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. While the food processor is running, slowly pour the amount of desired olive oil through the feed tube into the bowl and process until the pesto is pureed. Then add the Parmesan and pulse for one minute. Serve or store in fridge!

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