Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Archive for the tag “walnuts”

Baklava

Baklava

Want to know what I’m doing right now?  Well, aside from typing (duh), I’m eating the last piece of this baklava.  Good doesn’t even begin to describe it.  If you’ve never had baklava before, allow me to explain what you’re missing out on: crispy layer upon layer of buttery phyllo filled with sugar, cinnamon, and chopped nuts all topped (drenched?) in a honey-lemon syrup.  Simply amazing.

This particular recipe is an adaptation from The Complete Book of Greek Cooking.  Everything I’ve tried from this cookbook thus far has been excellent, but what would you expect?  How could you go wrong with the Recipe Club of Saint Paul’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral?  Church ladies know good food.

While baklava is not difficult to make, it is a little fussy and time consuming.  The very best advice I can give you would be to, first, make sure you have all of your ingredients, tools, and whatnot ready to go and within reach.  Make a little baklava station for yourself.  Second, don’t make this when you’ve got other stuff going on or if the wee ones are running mad all around you.  If you must, wait until nap time, bed time, or whatever other quiet time you have so that you don’t end up a stressed out, grumpy mess.  Third, keep whatever phyllo sheets you aren’t working with hiding under a lightly dampened paper towel or tea towel.  If those sheets dry out, they’ll crackle into pieces before your very eyes–and before you’ve had a chance to finish that baklava.  And last of all, if you’re going to make one batch, why not make two?  One package of phyllo dough will make two 8×8 pans of this glorious goodness and it freezes beautifully.  Trust me, once you’ve tasted this dessert, you’ll be glad you’ve got a whole ‘nuther pan stashed for a rainy day.

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Pacific Northwest Chopped Salad

Pacific Northwest Chopped Salad

It snowed buckets this morning.  I suppose February has to make amends for the absurdly mild January we had, right?  Well, you probably had one of those record-breaking, freeze-your-buns-off months, but we somehow managed to avoid all of that.  In North Central Washington.  Can you believe that?  Seriously, our high’s were up in the 40’s–even the 50’s for a few days!  Craziness.

I love this little lake town when it’s blanketed in snow.  Some of the most beautiful days are when the surrounding hills and mountains are covered in white and the lake reflects a clear blue sky.  Just gorgeous.  We definitely get all four seasons around here and I love that.

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My view this morning.

But enough about the weather.  Let’s talk food.

It’s hard to beat the Pacific Northwest when it comes to good food and this salad offers a nice little array of some of these local flavors.  From the sweet and crunchy Honeycrisp apple to the handmade Beecher’s Flagship cheese, this salad pays homage to some of our best.  It’s one of my favorites and I hope you like it, too!

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