Even walnuts have thick skins

11292013_Even walnuts have thick skinsIt was a bit of an odd week, with two recipes taking me by surprise. The first was a spaghetti with walnut sauce. I chose it for a week-night supper, as it had very few ingredients (spaghetti, walnut pieces, breadcrumbs, olive or walnut oil, fresh parsley, garlic, butter, cream, saltnpepper, fresh parmesan) and I thought the walnut sauce would make for a nice fall evening dish. I also had some fresh walnuts from France on hand (OK, they were from the grocery store, but originally from France).

After a half hour of cracking the walnuts while listening to Little T complain about having to play golf in Wii (only way to get Daddy to play Wii baseball), they were ready for the first instruction of the recipe:

Drop the nuts into a small pan of boiling water, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain. Slip off the skins.

An hour later, hubby and I were still slipping off the #&#(* skins from the walnuts. Prying is a much better description as there certainly wasn’t any slipping involved. Or wine either (which could have helped pass the time). Once in a while I cheated and threw a walnut piece in the bowl with half a skin still intact. My thumbnail was throbbing! After we were finished, while hubby was preparing a paste with a ¼ of the peeled walnuts and breadcrumbs, oil, parsley and garlic, I proceeded to take the remaining peeled walnuts and tossed them into the bio bin. Yup. I was cleaning up and mistook the bowl for the empty skins.

Horrified, I grabbed the bio bin and the minute I did so, Hubby glanced over and said:

“You didn’t!”

How did he know? Luckily, I had emptied the bio bin earlier that evening, so the only thing in it were the precious walnut pieces, along with the empty shells of about 50 peanuts. Together, Hubby and I separated out the walnut pieces from the mass of peanut shells and skins. We must really love food or must really be crazy.

When the pasta was finished, I took a picture and vowed to say the pasta was amazing, even if it wasn’t, as I couldn’t bear to think of it not turning out after all that work. Thankfully it did turn out pretty good! With our leftovers that we froze, I’m thinking of reheating it with a baked chicken breast. But it does stand up on its own, especially if you are looking for a meat-free meal. If you want to try it, I suggest using this recipe, with no slipping of skins involved.

The second surprise was a goulash soup that I planned for another week-night meal, as  I like one-pot meals that fill the house with a yummy aroma as they simmer away on the stove. I used a Sarah Wiener recipe that was in German, and had carefully gone through the recipe Monday morning to order the ingredients I needed from my online Bio delivery store. Obviously my German is still not good, as when I went to make it, I realized the recipe called for a leg or shoulder of beef and I had ordered ground beef. But, it was actually not a bad mistake to make, since I obviously didn’t read the recipe in detail to also note that the beef leg or shoulder was to simmer away for 1 ½ hours – time I didn’t factor in – so thank goodness for the ground beef!

Even with the wrong cut of beef, the soup turned out yummy with potatoes, tomatoes, red peppers and sauerkraut mixed in, but the consistency was more like a chilli (without those nasty beans). Little T ate his bowl up, without pulling out the sauerkraut, which was surprising. Here is a link to the recipe if you would like to try it. It’s in German, but if I can do it (well, sort of), so can you.

A few lessons learned this week – don’t plan meals and buy ingredients on a Monday morning, and when a recipe calls for slipping skins, run for the hills. But that’s the thing about cooking. You have to roll with the surprises and hope for the best.

It also helps to have thick skin. Like a walnut.

8 thoughts on “Even walnuts have thick skins

  1. The walnut recipe sounded delicious – but thick skin or not, I don’t think I’ve got what it takes -or the patience- to pry skins off walnuts! Sorry Heather – but I do adore your (and Hubby’s) perseverance! Are the skins really that bitter when cooked??


  2. Heather I am so impressed with how you have become such an adventurous cook. Also, it is nice to cook as a couple, makes the preparation so much more fun, I would imagine. I don’t have personal experience with couple cooking since Allan doesn’t cook. However, he does shop and he is very good at that! Best regards to both of you and of course T as well.


  3. You’ve come a long way baby! From the girl who used to consider making toast “cooking” to walnut pasta…very impressive! I still make a version of your spaghetti al limone (sp?) so maybe I should try this as well. But dang, that walnut skin shucking does sound like a lot of work. lol


    • Well, a girl has to start somewhere! lol I think you’ll like the recipe – I seriously don’t think it needed the walnut skins removed.. I will try it again without doing that and will report back to you! Glad you still like the lemon spaghetti! Me too!


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