Cashew White Chocolate Cookies

I finally used up the remainder of my sorghum with this beautiful recipe that tasted like fall, from the Iowa State Fair Cookbook.  The molasses (or I substituted sorghum) added to the great taste of the sweet and rich tastes I include in the autumn.  I didn’t have a strong sense of what I wanted to make for holiday cookies, but this seemed like an excellent place to start.  The cashews added a nice crunch.  The white chocolate brought a different sweetness, and these were a great item to have in place for when friends might stop over during the evening this fall.

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Cashew White Chocolate Cookies

2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 c butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
1/4 c molasses
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c coarsely chopped cashews, toasted
1/2 c chopped white chocolate
1/2 c dried cranberries

Sift together flour, soda, salt, and nutmeg; set aside.  Cream together butter, sugar, and molasses until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.  Gradually add dry ingredients.  Stir in chopped cashews and white chocolate.  Refrigerate at least 60 minutes.  Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes.

Chicken Salad

Earlier this summer, I was craving chicken salad.  After heading to Costco and picking up some cooked chicken breast, I started mixing things together and came up with this combination.  You could also add some dried fruit to enhance the flavor just a tad more.

Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

12 oz chicken breast
1 c Sir Kensington’s mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle
1 tsp mustard
3 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 c cashews

Mix together all except bacon and cashews.  Refrigerate.  Sprinkle with cashews and bacon before serving.

Rosemary-Maple Cashews

I have started doing a lot of snacking on nuts.  They are a great and filling snack, but I get a little tired of the regular nuts, and so when I have a moment to create something better or come across a recipe that looks particularly fascinating, I am trying it.  This recipe came about as I was looking through an old Food and Wine magazine.  It took me a couple times to make it because the first time I burned the cashews.  These are mildly sweet and the rosemary wasn’t overwhelming on the cashews.  The cayenne added a little kick, too.

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Rosemary Maple Cashews

4 c raw cashews
2 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 1/4 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, toss the cashews with the maple syrup, olive oil, rosemary, and cayenne pepper.  Spread the cashews on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned.  Immediately season the cashews with salt and pepper; let cool, tossing occasionally.

Bacon Candied and Curried Cashews

I was looking for a way to put together some cashews and use some up that I had in my cabinet, when I came across this recipe in the Smoke and Pickles cookbook.  I’ve been doing a fair bit of cooking from that cookbook recently, so you can anticipate more recipes will come from there.

Besides my oven rack being a little warmer than I would like, these were easy to do (I made them on Sunday morning before church) and had a good bit of kick to them.  The cayenne pepper was a nice addition to the other flavors.  The bacon, pre-oven cooking was nice and candied, and the cashews have been great to snack on this week.  I’d recommend trying them if you are looking for something different to have when sitting on the patio, sipping your cold beverage after having taken care of some yardwork.

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Bacon Candied and Curried Cashews

6 slices applewood-smoked bacon, diced
2 Tbsp sugar
1 c cashews
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the diced bacon and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until most of the fat has rendered and the bacon has started to get crispy.  Drain off all but about a tablespoon of the bacon fat into a small bowl; reserve.

Add the sugar to the skillet and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes, until it has coated the bacon and the bacon starts to look shiny.  Add the cashews, curry powder, cayenne, salt, and black pepper, and toss together to coat the nuts.  If they seem a little dry, add another teaspoon of bacon fat and toss to coat.

Spread the nuts out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 12 minutes, or until lightly toasted.  Let cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Asparagus, Cashews, and Mint with Quinoa and Lemon Vinaigrette

There’s something about the springtime and asparagus starting to grow that brings a smile to my face.  So, as I was reading through the Vegetable Butcher cookbook and came across this recipe for Asparagus, Hazelnuts, and Mint with Quinoa and Lemon Vinaigrette, I knew I wanted to put it together.  Even better: the recipe suggested I could substitute cashews for hazelnuts, which I had found an abundance of while cleaning out the pantry.  It was time to put this dish together.  When I brought leftovers for lunch, people commented how healthy the recipe looked, and it really was a full meal in one dish, but would also be a nice side dish.

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Asparagus, Cashews, and Mint with Quinoa and Lemon Vinaigrette

zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 c olive oil
1 lb asparagus
3 c cooked quinoa
1/3 c toasted cashews or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/3 c thinly sliced scallions
1/4 c packed fresh mint leaves, finely sliced

For vinaigrette, whisk together zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp maple syrup, ¼ tsp fine sea salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Slowly add ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, whisking constantly.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil; place a large bowl of ice water next to stovetop. Cook 1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed, tips intact and spears cut into 1-inch pieces, 2–4 minutes or just until crisp-tender. With a slotted spoon, transfer to the ice water. When cool to the touch, drain well and spread on a towel to absorb any remaining water.

Combine asparagus and 3 cups cooked white quinoa in a large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat all of the ingredients, about ¼ cup. Add ⅓ cup toasted cashews or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped, ⅓ cup thinly sliced scallions, ¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves, finely sliced, and ¼ tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper; toss again. Add more salt, pepper and/or vinaigrette to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Party Mix

Ten years ago, one of my high school friends married her husband and the reception was completely their style.  She’s not a fan of cake, so they served rice krispie bars.  Rather than having a specific meal, her family and friends of the family made all the snacks.  I, of course, asked for copies of all the recipes and have had them tucked away.  Earlier this fall I came across the recipes and thought I should start cooking some of them.  This party mix is something I remember being present at almost every gathering we had at their home while growing up, especially at New Year’s and other events we celebrated together.  As you gear up for the holiday, consider bringing this party mix to your gathering.

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Party Mix

3 c Crispix
3 c Wheat chex
2 c pretzels
1 c cashews

Melt in microwave:

1/2 c margarine
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp seasoned salt

Heat oven to 250 degrees.  Mix cereal and nuts.  Drizzle butter over mix evenly.  Spread in one layer on a cookie sheet.  Heat for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  Spread on paper towel to cool.

Cashew Coleslaw

As the end of summer is here — and feels like it has been since early August, the end of the time to eat coleslaw, BBQ, and some of the summer standards seems to be approaching.  I know it’s not quite that dire at this point, but there are moments of it feeling a little bit that way.  With that in mind, I was reading through the Minnesota Catholic Daughters cookbook and preparing to have one of my colleagues over for dinner and thought this might be one of those in-the-box while out-of-the-box dishes that wouldn’t be too scary to present to someone else.

The sugar adds to the dressing and makes it surprisingly sweet, and the cauliflower adds a nice crunch to a the mayo-based coleslaw.  Generally, I’m not a fan of mayo-based coleslaws.  I’d prefer a vinegar-based dressing.  But, I was pretty happy with this one.

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