*This year I’ve teamed with California Walnuts to bring you several walnut studded recipes that I’m certain you will love. I mean have you seen our walnut cake?! Walnuts are full of good fats (2.5g/oz omega-3 ALA) and also offer protein (4g/oz), fiber (2g/oz) and antioxidants.* But my favorite thing about walnuts? They’re delicious. As always anything you see and read here are my opinions, words and imagery but we so appreciate you supporting the brands that support the work we do. Great partnerships equals many more great recipes for all of us.
Things in the Rodriguez household have gotten a bit more complicated when it comes to food. Our tender-hearted 10 year old decided he wanted to be a pescatarian after studying about the impact much of the meat industry has on our environment. While Gabe has been put on a low-fat diet (which really is against everything I stand for – perhaps a bit dramatic, but I really am a strong believer in fat) for health related issues. And for myself, after months of feeling lethargic, foggy brained, tired, depressed and anxious I got a full lab done which revealed I’m deficient in so many many areas.
Now all of this is quite possibly more information than you bargained for if you’ve simply landed here for a recipe but if you’ve been here for longer than ten minutes you know by know that we go there. While this is indeed a food blog, what we talk about here are the things I imagine we’d discuss while sitting around my dining room table.
I’m incredibly grateful for our health, and all the things we are dealing with regarding our diets can easily be remedied, but I’d be lying if I said that it hasn’t rattled me a bit. I’ve never been one to cook several different meals for dinner for the sake of satisfying each individual in the family, but I’ve yet to really reconcile what these changes will look like at the table.
But right now it’s just me at the table. It’s lunchtime, the pescatarian is at school (although he would happily eat what’s in front of me right now), and the low-fat dieter is away working. Lunch is my time to satisfy my own needs both for nourishment and pleasure. And while sometimes I admit, lunch for one is a scoop of peanut butter and a banana, today it’s a thick slice of homemade walnut bread still warm from the oven topped with blue cheese whipped until a blue streaked cloud forms then topped with a sweet, tart and licorice tinged slaw heavily laced with dill and lemon. This is lunch for one, and it is healing for so many reasons.
Walnut Tartine with Whipped Blue Cheese and Fennel Apple Slaw
2 thick-cut slices of walnut bread
4 ounces blue cheese, room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 green apple, cut into matchsticks
1/4 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped dill
Zest and juice from 1 small lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
In the bowl of a food processor combine the blue cheese and cream cheese. Process until creamy and light. You may need to scrape down the bowl a couple of times to make sure everything is well combined.In a medium bowl combine the apple, fennel, scallion, dill, lemon zest and juice, olive oil and a hearty pinch of salt (I like flake salt here for the crunch) and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.Slather the bread (toasted or untoasted - the choice is yours) with half of the blue cheese mixture then top with slaw and walnuts. Enjoy immediately. Save the rest for tomorrow’s lunch.
Toasted Walnut BreadFrom Date Night IN
3 1/4 cups/1 pound all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups/ 400 g lukewarm water
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon yeast
1 cup / 3 ounces toasted walnuts
In a large bowl stir together the flour, yeast, salt, 1 3/4 cups/ 400 g lukewarm water, and walnuts. It will be slumped and very wet.Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let sit overnight. You can also refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days.Grab a bowl a bit larger than the volume of the bread dough. Lay a clean towel in the bowl and cover the towel generously with flour.Dump your dough onto a heavily floured surface and add more flour to the top of the dough so your hands don’t stick. The wetness of the dough creates a light and almost velvety texture to the final bread but don’t be afraid of using flour here so you aren’t covered in wet dough.Form the dough into a round by gently tucking the edges under while turning the dough.Lay the round into the bowl with the floured cloth so the seam is exposed. Cover the dough and let rise for an hour or until it feels airy, light and slowly springs back when gently pressed. While it rises, place a 3 or 4 quart oven safe lidded pot in the oven and preheat to 450°F for one hour.Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Place the round of bread into the pan seam side down.There’s no way to avoid this being a messy and awkward step. I assure you that even after dozens of homemade loaves I still look a bit disheveled in this.Give the pan a gentle tap on the counter to distribute the dough. Cover and return to the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the crust is golden and the loaf sounds hollow and looming when tapped.
Remove the loaf from the pan. If you want a deeper set and more intensely caramelized crust you can return the loaf to the oven outside of its pan for another 5 to 10 minutes.
*2 Walnuts offer a variety of antioxidants (3.721 mmol/oz), including polyphenols (69.3 ± 16.5 μmol catechin equivalents/g) and gamma tocopherol (5.91 mg/ounce). The data for antioxidant capacity of foods generated by test-tube methods cannot be extrapolated to human effects. Clinical trials to test benefits of dietary antioxidants have produced mixed results.