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Oct 26, 2006 11:42 PM

What to do with fresh walnuts?

I just got a bunch of fresh walnuts (still in the shell) and haven't the faintest clue what to do with them. Granted, I could just eat them all, but I want to put them to good use in a dish. Any suggestions?

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    1. Chiles en nogada is a Mexican dish of meat-stuffed fresh ancho or poblano chiles that features walnuts in the sauce and a garnish of pomegranate seeds. Diana Kennedy's books have the recipe.

      Walnuts usually star in baked good in my kitchen. Nut breads (quick bread) and cookies like Mexican Wedding cakes and breads like banana or orange bread aren't he same without that wonderful crunch. For a stunningly easy sweet, stuff pitted prunes with walnut halves and enrobe in milk or dark chocolate.

      Cracking hint: crack the nuts lightly by striking the pointed end with a light hammer; you'll get the most halves that way. My parents, who made extra money during the depression by cracking nuts for local bakeries, taught me that trick. Every fall of my childhood we'd go around to abandoned walnut trees, remnants of old orchards or lone sentinals of long-ago farm yards, and gather nuts. Then we'd sit and chew the fat while cracking nuts for holiday baking. A great family acivity.

      1. Big handful in a bowl of mixed plain/vanilla yogurt with honey driseled on top

        1. Chicken salad: chopped chicken, pesto, mayo, celery, grapes, onion, walnuts!

          1. toast them and add to bulghur...also good with wild rice & currants...