Food

toasted pine nuts

by jani on April 1, 2013

HB and I love pine nuts. If you  follow my blog, you will know that we add them to as many recipes as we can.  One of my favorite snacks is a handful of these wonderfully tasting toasted nuts. Toasting brings out the savory flavors found within these delicious morsels.

toasted pine nuts 3We usually buy our raw shelled pine nuts in a 1.5 lb bag from Costco. Spread them out on a cookie sheet. Place in a preheated 325 F oven and toast for 12-13 minutes or until they are golden brown.

toasted pine nuts 1Place cooled pine nuts in a freezer bag and they should stay fresh for about 6 months (we always run out of them before six months is up!)

toasted pine nuts 2Here are a few of our favorite pine nut recipes:

blue corn blueberry piñon waffles

best ever chocolate chip cookies

cherry pine nut cookies

le creuset  mini cocottes – sausage-pine nut dressing

There are so many ways to experiment with pine nuts. We add them to our egg scramble and grilled cheese sandwiches… pretty much everything is better with pine nuts! And an added bonus… they’re super nutritious! How do you use your pine nuts other than in pesto? As always, I welcome your comments! 

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My eldest grandson, Josh (age fifteen) absolutely loves to cook. He and all five of his brothers have been cooking since they were very young. Their mom has always encouraged my grandsons to experiment with their culinary interests. She and my son have done an incredible job raising their sons to be very independent and “prepared”. Josh, after all, is an Eagle Scout!

Josh loves churros! One day he asked his mom if she would buy some for the family. She did, but soon realized that it was just too expensive. So, she told Josh that he’d better figure out how to make them, if he wanted anymore churros. So he did!

On his own, when he was in sixth grade, he searched the web and found just the right recipe on allrecipes.com. Initially, he rolled the dough into long ropes and dropped them in the deep fryer.

churros 1I believe that my grandkids are the smartest and greatest in the entire world… and I’m not at all biased! :) In this particular case, Josh came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea… and…  he thought of it completely on his own. Why not use Mom’s cookie press to make his churros?

churros 6Isn’t he handsome?

churros 2Here, he’s kneading the hot dough,using Crisco-covered gloves so as not to burn his hands.

churros 4Below, he is filling the cookie press – using the “star” tool.

churros 5He’s making perfectly formed churros, and he can decide the length he wants!

churros 3Doesn’t this churro look delicious? It was!

churros 7From time to time, I will be featuring each of my grandsons from my eldest son’s family as they recreate some of my favorite recipes. I’ve decided to call this “grandson gastronomy”. I hope you will look forward to reading these posts as much as I will enjoy documenting them. I learned so much from just watching Josh making this yummy treat!

Do you encourage your children or grandchildren to use their creativity? Is it more important to you to always have a clean kitchen or do you teach your little ones the importance of  exploration and creativity, even at the cost of cleaning up lots of messes? As always, I welcome your comments.

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blue corn blueberry piñon waffles

by jani on March 18, 2013

I have been making scratch buttermilk pancakes and waffles for years. But, when our son brought us blue corn pancake and waffle mix from a recent trip to Santa Fe, we thought that fresh blueberries and pine nuts would be a perfect complement. It was!

blue corn waf 6

blue corn waf 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 c flour
  • 1 c blue corn pancake/waffle mix (or 1/2 c blue cornmeal to 1 1/2 cup flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 -1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 2 c buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 c fresh blueberries
  • 1  c toasted pine nuts (piñones)

Preheat waffle iron.

Combine dry ingredients. Add buttermilk, beaten eggs and melted butter. Mix lightly with mixing spoon (batter will be lumpy). Gently fold in blueberries and pine nuts.

blue corn waf 4

Waffle iron should be completely heated. Pour about 1/2 cup batter into each square. Our waffles took about 12 minutes to bake. Every waffle iron varies in heat and cooking time. This batter makes approximately 12 squares. Since  HB and I are empty nesters, we froze the leftover waffles for another day.

blue corn waf 5

Reserve about 1/2 cup blueberries and pine nuts to top waffles, if desired.

blue corn waf 7

Serve with warm syrup and enjoy! As always, I welcome any comments or questions.

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best ever chocolate chip cookies

by jani on March 11, 2013

HB has been perfecting his chocolate chip cookie recipe for over 40 years. Each time he’s made these, our kids have always proclaimed, “Dad, these are the best ever!” This last batch, I can honestly say are, “the best ever!” These babies are to die for!

choc chip 3Ingredients:

  • 2-1/4 c  flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c packed brown (we prefer dark brown) sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (actually, adding the extra vanilla makes the recipe!)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup butter. softened
  • 2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 c toasted slivered almonds

Toast slivered almonds and pine nuts on cookie sheet at 325 F for 12 minutes (or until light golden brown). Let cool. Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine flour baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips  and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 12 minutes or until light golden brown.

choc chips 2My absolute favorite part is testing the cookie dough… over and over again!

choc chip 1These really are fabulous. The combination of toasted pine nuts and toasted slivered almonds just make these the perfect complement to the chocolate chips!

choc chip 4

I hope you enjoy these cookies. I welcome any comments!

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