Tag Archives: Walnuts

Salsa di Noce (Walnut Sauce)

This week I hosted book club and was happy to share the food love. For inspiration, I turned to one of my newer cookbooks, Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen by Joyce Goldstein.  I have been eyeing the Salsa di Noce recipe for several weeks, not sure how to use this scrumptious sauce.  It is a combination of Italian salsa verde (see emmycooks for a tasty version) and a Sephardic nut sauce, and is full of flavor.  The author describes it as “fragrant and voluptuous” – anytime the word voluptuous is used to describe food you know it has to be good. Judging by the almost empty bowl at book club, I think it was a hit. Toasted, chopped walnuts are combined with fruity olive oil, parsley, garlic, hard-boiled egg yolks, kalamata olives and capers to create a flavorful and rich sauce that is worthy of spooning on anything.  For book club I served it with roasted carrots, parsnips and potatoes along with some hard-boiled eggs.  The Salsa di Noce would make a seared halibut filet very happy as well.  Or use it as a tapenade on a pan bagnat sandwich (see bobvivant for her recipe adaptation).  The recipe makes a generous 2 cups, but for two foodies I would recommend reducing the recipe by half as a little goes a long way.

Now I have something to nosh on while reading our next book club selection – maybe I’ll add some crusty bread with the Salsa di Noce along with a glass of wine….all the makings for a happy foodie! 

Eat well and share the love!

Salsa di Noce (Walnut Sauce)
By Joyce Goldstein
Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen
Makes about 2 cups

3 hard-boiled egg yolks, chopped
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
3/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (I used 1 clove)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons chopped, pitted Mediterranean-style black olives
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk to mix well.

Denver: Infinite Monkey Theorem’s Malbec wine (my favorite!) at the October RiNo first Friday event; they are a neighborhood winery with national acclaim.  The evening was punctuated with Boulder’s Basta Eatery & Pizzeria who fired up their mobile pizza oven to serve mouth-watering artisanal pizzas.  Hope they have it again in November!  Don’t miss it.

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Double Chocolate Walnut Brownies

This brownie recipe has been a favorite in my kitchen for over ten years and is the best one I have tasted that’s made from scratch.  There are lots of great recipes for brownies, don’t get me wrong.  But with the altitude up here, it is hard to find baking recipes that come out consistently every time.  These brownies are full-on chocolate with a cake-like texture, but still moist and rich like a brownie should be.  I decided they needed a little extra szoosh so chocolate chips are added to the warm brownies; the chips melt and then get spread over the top to make an instant frosting.  The brownies rank up there with my chocolate chip cookie recipe (click here to read blog post) and make me just as happy. 

For me, the kind of cocoa (and chocolate) I use makes a flavor difference.  I recently discovered black onyx cocoa (left side of picture) at my favorite local spice store, Savory Spice, and love the richness and intense flavor it adds.  The flavor is strong so I still use regular cocoa to balance it out.  It’s also great in my chocolate layer cake and chocolate mousse.  To learn more about the cocoa making process, I went to Cook’s Illustrated website: “Chocolate and cocoa come from chocolate liquor, a paste made from beans scooped from the pods of the tropical cacao tree. The beans are fermented, roasted, shelled, and ground into a paste. Half fat (cocoa butter) and half cocoa solids, the paste is hardened in molds. Some is sold as unsweetened baking chocolate. The rest is fed into hydraulic presses to remove up to three-quarters of its fat, then pulverized and called cocoa powder.  
Beans destined for life as Dutched cocoa have one extra stop between shelling and grinding. The shelled beans (or nibs) are soaked in an alkaline (low-acid) solution, usually potassium carbonate. They’re pressed, pulverized, and dried–and Dutch-processed cocoa powder is born.  Check out the links below for more reading on cocoa nibs and the cocoa manufacturing process. 

Baking a whole pan of brownies is tempting and would be easy for me to do a number on, but in favor of my waistline I reduced the recipe to an 8” x 8” baking dish.  The original recipe makes a 9” x 13” pan and is perfect for parties; just double the recipe below (except the eggs, use 3 large).   I also like to get a visual of what my taste buds can expect so half of the walnuts are added to the batter and the rest are sprinkled on top.  With the added melted chocolate chips for a frosting, they are absolutely divine. 

Eat well and share the love!

More reading on the cocoa making process:
Cooks Illustrated – Cocoa basics and natural versus Dutch cocoa
Ghiradelli – Cocoa Bean
Ghiradelli – Cocoa Manufacturing

Double Chocolate Walnut Brownies
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two 
(Adapted from recipe “Best All American Brownies”)
Serves two foodies – makes 16 to 18 small brownies
325 degree F oven   Prep Time: 15 minutes    Cooking Time: 25-30 mins

Ingredients:
¼ pound unsalted butter (1/2 stick, or 4 tablespoons)
½ cup plus 6 teaspoons flour, sifted
¼ cup Dutch cocoa, sifted
6 teaspoons black onyx cocoa, sifted
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 small eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
Topping
1/3 cup chocolate chips (mixture of semi-sweet & 60% cacao)
¼ cup walnuts, chopped

Directions:
Batter
Heat oven to 325 degrees F and butter an 8” x 8” baking pan.  Combine the sifted flour and cocoa, baking powder and salt. 

To a large bowl, add the eggs and vanilla and beat with a hand-mixer on low until foamy – about 2 minutes.  While beaters are still on, slowly pour in the sugar and beat until blended; pour in the melted butter and continue beating until well blended.  Add the flour mixture and beat on low until well mixed.  Stir in the walnuts with a rubber spatula.  Pour into prepared pan and scrape the sides with rubber spatula to remove all the batter. 

Bake & Enjoy
Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Let cool for 5 minutes and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top; let sit for 5 minutes to allow the chips to melt.  Spread the chocolate around the top, sprinkle with the reserved walnuts and let brownies cool completely.

Cut into small squares or diamonds (make two cuts vertically and two cuts horizontally; starting in the middle of one corner, make a cut through the middle of the brownie and continue down – repeat for remaining brownie squares).

  • Doubling the recipe: Double all ingredients except eggs; use 3 large eggs.  Cook in greased 9” x 13” baking dish as listed above.