Tags: Pine Nuts

Always on Hand Item # 1, Pine Nuts

The stock of non-perishables in my Grandparents basement pantry could have fed a small family for two years in the event of a nuclear disaster.  Luckily, the reserves were only ever used to help round out a meal for the frequent unannounced guest.

Preparedness is the foundation for any good working kitchen.  You must always have something on hand, even when there is “nothing to eat.”  My always on hand items are mostly canned and boxed, but some are ingredients I simply can’t do without.  So grab a pen and paper and start a list, these pantry staples are the perfect accompaniment to all the recipes on this blog, and they can make a meal out of themselves.

First on the always on hand list is Pignola, or Pine Nuts.  If you’ve been reading you know that this ingredient has more tags than anything else.  Toasted up these guys are the perfect additions to salads, pasta dishes, and a necessity for pesto.  Here, I take my most beloved tree nut to the desert table for a delectable little cookie that just happens to be incredibly healthful.

Choco Coco Pine Nut Macaroons 

2 cup of raw Pine Nuts
4 tablespoons agave syrup or Maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups of shredded unsweetened coconut
2 ½ tablespoons good quality unsweetened cocoa powder


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F

In a food processor or blender pulse the pine nuts into a paste.   Scrape the pine nuts down the side of the processor add the remaining ingredients.  Pulse all until extremely well blended!!!!

Using a measuring tablespoon scoop out the choco coco pine nut “batter” onto a baking sheet (nonstick or parchment lined) using your hands you can shape them into patties or balls whichever you prefer, just try and make sure that they are all roughly the same size.   Bake off in the oven for 50 minutes at 200 degrees F.

Cool on a rack for a good twenty minutes.  Enjoy …without feeling guilty!  


…and one for good luck

I don’t think I ever saw my Grandmother use a measuring cup or spoon.  Sometimes I would catch her pour the olive oil into the cap before the pan only to drizzle a bit more “for good luck”.  Vincenza prepared food with all of her senses and so the need for a stack of stainless steel cups neatly tucked inside of one another was sort of unnecessary.  I am usally not so brave, though not exactly bound by that 1/4 cup of grated cheese either.

In this series I offer you two simply prepared, delicious recipes in one post.  One for the week and one for good luck.

Honey Glazed Carrots with Caraway Seed

serves 6–8 as a side dish

1 pound organic carrots
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup of water or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon caraway seed
chopped parsley, dill, mint or a combination to top (and make it look pretty)

Peel carrots and quarter lengthwise.  In a large cast iron or other heavy bottom skillet melt the butter and add the honey, stir to combine.  Add the carrots and water and simmer covered, stirring often for ten minutes, add the caraway seeds and continue to turn the carrots ensuring the glaze covers each one.  Cook for an additional ten minutes or until carrots are tender but still firm.  Find a pretty bowl, top with freshly chopped herbs and enjoy.

Sauteed Baby Spinach with Leeks and Pine Nuts

serves 4 as a side dish

4 pounds fresh organic baby spinach (this might seem like a lot but they cook down to almost nothing!)

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 sliced organic leek, white and light green only please

2/3 cup toasted pine nuts

In a large skillet melt the butter into the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the leeks and cook until softened but not browned (about five minutes).  Add the Spinach and cook until just wilted and tender.  Transfer to a serving bowl and toss with toasted pine nuts.