Monday, January 26, 2009

Conclusion of the Black Walnut Harvest

I am skipping out on Menu Plan Monday this week for fear of boring you all to death. Really, about the first half of this week consists of leftovers and things stored away in the freezer to be eaten until my shopping trip midweek. I always try to stockpile a few emergency meals in the freezer for times when our schedules are at odds and my husband needs something to quick heat up before work. It's one of my more successful strategies.

This was a productive weekend, what with yet again being banned from the kitchen while the Mister rebuilt some walls around it. It enabled me to get a few things done around here that normally would not be at the top of the list. I even threw a few stitches in my "eternity quilt" (so-called because I've been working on it for an eternity) and was still able to pull together some corn bread to bring to my church pot luck.

Some of my longtime readers may remember back when I started the dirty task of gathering black walnuts as shown here. Finally, we got out the black walnut cracker and crunched open those nuts I have had curing in net bags on a wall in a back room. We had around a hundred nuts, some filled with delicious ripe meat, others duds. The Mister cracked while I picked out the meat, and the process made a big mess. All of our work netted us about 2 and a half cups of delicious black walnut meat. For now, it is carefully stored until I decide what to make with it. With the black walnut process being such an undertaking, the big question is, will we do it again next year? Honestly, the cracking part was nothing compared to gathering up those nuts in their husked form and running them over with my car repeatedly. THAT was the work. My husband commented that the black walnut cracker made short work of those nuts and it was the fastest he had ever seen one cracked open.

On the Nightstand: Churched by Matthew Paul Turner. When the author was five, his family made a big change when his parents joined a fundamentalist Baptist church. It's hard to pull off the type of memoir where your parents do something drastic and you live with the consequences without demeaning your parents, but this author does it well. He has a lot of respect for his parents, and had a solid Christian upbringing. He also has a lot of funny anecdotes from his years growing up in the church, many laugh aloud moments.

In the Kitchen:

Almond Squares

1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup almond paste
1 tsp. almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In your mixing bowl, cream butter; gradually add the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk (reserve egg white), almond paste, and extract. It helps to cut up the almond paste, or break it up with your fingers. Beat until well blended. Stir in the flour.

Spread mixture in a 13x9 baking pan. The mixture is crumbly, so press it in flat. Also, I lined my pan with parchment paper, for easy removal later. Beat egg white until foamy, and then brush over entire surface of dough. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake for about 35 minutes. Cool thoroughly, and then cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.


  1. I read the link about your walnuts. That is funny, how you have to run over them with your car. I can't say that I have ever had black walnuts. My dad in law likes them, my mom in law got sick after eating them.

    Dudnuts, huh? That is pretty close to what the baby called doughnuts, "doendnuts". LOL Try and wrap your mouth around that. How do little ones say such words.

  2. I remember when we used to toss the black walnuts from my Grandma's out in the road to run over them as well. LMSO I love them.

    Banned from the kitchen eh??? IS it driving you batty yet?? I know it would me.

    PS I left you a message on HSB.

    God's Blessings,
    Amy Jo

  3. Your menus never bore me. I look forward to them.

    I love the new background. Nice!

  4. ooo, and I have just about a 1/2 cup of almond paste left over from the cookies I made for Christmas!

    As for the black walnuts, I just put mine in a baggie and froze them. It is a lot of work! I still have a quart of the stain that I made from them!

  5. OK! I definitely need a source for the black walnut cracker - please!

    The almond squares look delicious. They remind me of this heavenly dessert bread Daughter A made and brought home during "brioche week", when she was in her International Bread-Baking class at the French Culinary Institute. So good!

  6. Our cracker was an Xmas gift, but check Lehmans!


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