apple crisp with oatmeal walnut streusel topping

Apple Crisp with Oatmeal Walnut Streusel Topping

Growing up, my mom loved fruit and always kept a variety in the house which she encouraged my brothers and I to eat.  However, one fruit that was conspicuously  absent was the apple.  It was not the taste she didn’t like. Rather it was the sound of someone biting into one that bothered her. It was like fingernails on chalkboard and the sound literally gave her goosebumps and sent chills up her spine. Continue reading

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cream cheese shortbread with toasted walnuts and orange zest

Cream Cheese Shortbread

If you’re looking for buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookies with a nutty crunch, look no further than these cream cheese shortbread cookies flavored with toasted walnuts and orange. The addition of cream cheese transforms these from the traditional sandy and crumbly shortbread to lighter, softer cookies. For an even more cake-like texture, roll the dough into balls instead of using a cookie cutter. Continue reading

chocolate chip, coffee, and walnut muffins

Most mornings, I don’t have time to eat breakfast at home, so I like to grab something convenient I can take to work. Once I get to my office, I usually buy a mocha to go with whatever pastry or muffin I brought from home. So, with my rushed morning routine, I’m always looking for quick, portable, yet delicious breakfast item, and these muffins fit the bill perfectly. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and what better way to start the day than with chocolate and coffee! Continue reading

cranberry-orange walnut bread

 

The past few weeks have been a bit hectic, but a lot of fun and I’m sure that the next couple of weeks will be too. Last month I went to London and a couple of days ago I returned from a trip to New York. Tomorrow I’m taking the train down to San Diego for a shopping trip with my girlfriends and next week I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with my parents in Las Vegas.  While I am loving the time off and the opportunity to travel, I have not had much time to cook and, as I am sure you have noticed, post entries to my blog. Continue reading

honey walnut shrimp

Honey Walnut Shrimp is one of my favorite dishes.  I’ve always wondered how to make it, but I never bothered to figure it out since the Chinese restaurant down the street makes an absolutely fabulous version.  Per chance, I was watching the program on the Food Channel a few weeks back called Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and the host, Guy Fieri, visited a Chinese restaurant called Pagoda, in North Pole, Alaska (0f all places!).  The chef demonstrated how he made some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, including the Honey Walnut Shrimp.  (To see the show’s segment, click on the restaurant’s link below.) Seeing how good it looked, I decided to try it for myself.   Continue reading

banana tarte tatin


Tarte Tatin is a French upside-down tart primarily made with apples, and caramelized with butter and sugar until golden brown. It is usually made in a skillet and put over the stove top first to start the process of caramelizing the sugar and then finished in the oven. In this shortcut version from the October 2011 issue of Bon Appétit magazine, the apples are replaced by bananas and then baked in ovenproof crème brûlée dishes. I added some orange zest since I’ve been on such an orange kick lately and I knew that it would enhance the sweetness of the caramel.

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caramelized fig breakfast bruschetta

This is reprinted from The Thompson Family Cookbook, a collection of recipes from my extended family that I compiled last year.  The recipe was adapted from the Breakfast Bruschetta served at Starling Diner, a cute little neighborhood restaurant in Long Beach, California owned by my cousin, Joan.  Starling Diner is a wonderful place to hang out and have a leisurely breakfast.  The food is outstanding and the ambience is comfortable and relaxed.  My favorite things on the menu are the creamy Breakfast Polenta, the decadent San Francisco Stuffed French Toast and these Breakfast Bruschettas.  At Starling Diner, the bruschetta is served with seasonal berries, but I think the recipe works beautifully with caramelized figs as well.  Perfect for a casual brunch, this is a quick and easy dish to prepare that may be assembled ahead of time.

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pumpkin ice cream with maple walnut crunch

Chris was cleaning out the fridge and found the pumpkin purée that was leftover from that awful latte recipe, so he decided to make pumpkin ice cream with it.  Neither one of us had made ice cream lately, so this was a welcome treat.  It is a nice transition from the lighter flavors we’ve been making this summer .  The recipe is adapted from our favorite ice cream cookbook author, David Lebovitz. The walnut topping adds some crunch and pairs very well with the pumpkin.

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roasted fig and mascarpone tart with candied walnuts

Time really does fly when you’re having fun…and what fun I’ve had this past week!  From celebrating my wedding anniversary to transforming my backyard into an urban vegetable garden to making some yummy desserts, this staycation has definitely been a blast!!

One luxury of my time off has been to indulge in longer baking sessions than I would normally have time for during a regular work week.  As such, I was able to develop this tart recipe.  This was a perfectly sweeet ending to my weeklong staycation.

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