My sister-in-law, Alice, left her gorgeous Deborah Madison cookbook: In My Kitchen, so I could copy and find inspiration from the author’s favorite vegetarian recipes. Last week’s Miso and this week’s vegan walnut cookies are the result of perusing through her lush cookbook. Let’s get right to it…
Madison pairs these little nuggets with figs roasted in olive oil and honey served with fruit compotes or afternoon coffee/tea. Rick surprised me with a sweet scoop of raspberry sorbet and one of the walnut cookies teetering on top. Perfect!
Vegan Walnut Nugget Cookies Ingredients
- 1 cup fresh walnut meat, plus extra pieces to finish the cookies, if you want
- 7 tbsp Miyoko’s Dairy-free butter
- 1 tbsp walnut oil or Dynasty Sesame Oil
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¼ light brown sugar
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose, whole wheat flour or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free
- Powdered sugar
Vegan Walnut Nugget Cookies Recipe
Prep time: 15 minutes
Preheat oven: 350
Bake: 15 minutes
- Line two sheet pans with parchment paper
- Break up nuts in a food processor until they resemble coarse sand. Watch carefully— it’s easy to end up with walnut butter. If that happens, though simply use it along with the bits and pieces.
- Cream dairy-free butter or butter with the oil until soft and well blended, then add the sugars, salt, and cinnamon. When well combined, add the vanilla and then the ground walnuts.
- With the mixer on low, add the flour bit by bit until it’s all incorporated.
- Roll teaspoon-sized lumps of the dough between the palms of your hands to make small spheres.
- Place each one on a paper-lined pan.
- You should have between 25-30 in all.
- Insert a piece of walnut or press with a fork.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- The flour is a little dark, so it’s hard to tell when they’re browned, but 15 minutes will be enough time.
- Let the cookies cool on the pans, then dust them with powdered sugar and remove to a serving plate. Again, they harden as they cool.
I wish I could copy the intro of Deborah Madison’s, In My Kitchen Cookbook because she put into words succinctly how I feel about the way we eat, what we eat and why. I will share the paragraph that jumped off the page and into this blog.
“My guess is that one’s cooking life can be very fluid (that’s so me) that many people go to the effort to make something by hand—- to cook—and probably the same people do plenty of assembling from pre-made food. There may be lots of people who make their own pizzas— but pizza places have also gotten much better, (small independent businesses) that perhaps it’s not as compelling to make your own as it was when there were no alternatives and we were curious. Fresh pasta used to be so important to make at home; now many of us can buy good fresh pasta, and there are some really excellent dried pasta’s now available, too.
Other prepared foods, from salsas to fermented foods, tortillas to breads, have also gotten better, so why not use them? Good food matters and so does being able to make it ourselves. But when my cooking is helped by some of the products that are now available— foods that are often made by people who care passionately about their craft– I’m happy to support their efforts just as their products support mine.”
Recently, we were at a family gathering where those in attendance, down to the youngest, all shared passionate opinions about their daily consumption. Every food religion was represented; Keto, Plant-based vegetarianism, FODMAP, Veganism and Anti-Inflammatory diets. It was an ecumenical gathering of foodies.
I was told that I couldn’t refer to myself as a vegan if I eat eggs. “ You’re an ovo-vegetarian.” My nephew Malcom informed me. “Even one egg?” I said. “Yep, well actually Clio, you’re a pescatarian ovo-vegetarian, but dairy-free.” He added. “Did he just say I was Presbyterian” that got a good laugh.
Anyway, it was fun and lighthearted, but got me thinking about how to live a beautiful full life free of labels. So dear readers, for now on this is no longer a vegan food blog. When a recipe I share is vegan, copying from Deborah Madison, I’ll put a capital V. by the recipe or Gluten-free; GF. etc..
So much attention these days is given to labeling. From politics to fashion, recreation to music you can go on and on, but it comes down to a kind of narrowness, putting choices into boxes and then having to defend those boxes. Since this is a food blog I’ll focus on what we eat. And I’ll preface with; if you haven’t figured it out by now, reading, cooking for you my love, I’ll help; I’m a flow girl; it’s all okay.
Rick and I chose to eat a plant based diet when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. We were never big meat eaters in the first place which made for an easy transition to not eating it at all. But, I have absolutely no problem with others who enjoy their meat. No problem!
We love our fish though. And we haven’t felt compelled to give it up. Dairy is a different issue and so we walked away from all dairy products. I have to admit watching Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy on CNN, for the first time in 2 years I had a hankering for Buffalo Mazzarello. Who knows, if I find myself in Bologna I might indulge. Life is like that for me; fluid.
Just the last couple weeks, I have reintroduced having eggs occasionally. I felt like I needed more protein. Because of hormone therapy Rick is not interested. Fine, that’s okay too. He just told me he’s really enjoying what I’ve been doing with tofu, especially the scrambles. Note to self; he likes tofu; try not to over serve 🙂
Back to labels. Bear with me.. Years ago I read a book that changed my life or introduced me to a better way of living; Tom Wolfe’s, A Man in Full. Tucked into this tome of a book about a wealthy businessman and his journey of discovery was the mentioning of a small book written around 2100 years ago; Epictetus’s Manual for Living. Actually, it had such a profound effect on the businessman, it became one of the main characters of the story.
Epictetus was one of the Stoic philosophers who believed logic could be used to identify and discard false beliefs that could lead to destructive emotions. Epictetus chose 12 values to live by in order to live an exemplary life. And by exemplary, I mean serving as a model, worthy of imitation.
And that leads us to Aristotle’s 12 Virtues (who Epictetus studied):
- Wit-humor, joy
- Justice-sense of right
So let’s label the values we want to exemplify, and let those be the building blocks of our true character… wow! The title for this weeks blog should be; How I went from Walnut Cookies to Epictetus in a Vegan Cooking Blog that isn’t Vegan 🙂
Speaking of living a rich life, I have to add the simple beauty of taking a moment to sit down and reset with an afternoon cuppa tea. (Ever since I sat down to write I’ve been obsessing over the walnut cookies I was going to have with some black tea) Pick your favorite tea, brew the water, pour slowly in a circular direction and breath. Even at an office, at your desk, sitting with your kids it gives pause….
Here is a picture of Carter, my 13 year old grandson serving his little sister her afternoon tea. You’re never too young or old to start a new healthy habit.
Ciao for now 🙂
Rick just said, “Amazing you’ve been writing this for over a year and this is your first time mentioning Epictetus”!
Go to the bookstore or Amazon Books online and order, The Manual for Living by Epictetus. I’ve given it many times for a graduation gift.
And while you’re at it; In My Kitchen by Deborah Madison. Though it’s a vegetarian cookbook, all these dishes would work as side dishes with any meal.