Maple Masala Pecan and Szechwan Peppercorn Crusted Tofu

The first thing Sean said upon tasting the Cosmic Maple Masala Pecans by Olomomo Nut Company was that they’d make a great crust to something. Indeed they did with the addition of Szechwan Peppercorns from Savory Spice Shop.

Cosmic Maple Masala Pecans and Szechwan Peppercorn Crust

He ground them in our mortar and pestle, and then crusted some extra firm tofu that had been (of course) frozen, thawed, and pressed. The tofu pieces were crusted and pan fried in peanut oil until oh-so-gorgeously golden brown.

Crusted Tofu

These were a perfect accompaniment to sautéed greens and brown rice. Nothing fancy, but a somewhat effortless great meal thanks to the maple masala crust.

Mango Chipotle Zinger Guacamole

Guacamole has so many variations, almost all of which are fantastic. One combo I’d not yet tried is adding nuts. As I had a drawer full of Olomomo nuts, one of which was their Mango Chipotle Zinger Almonds, a bowl full of ripe mangos, and a few avocados, it seemed like the planets had aligned for my next recipe featuring Olomomo nuts.

Mango Chipotle Zinger

Olomomo’s Mango Chipotle Zinger Almonds not only add just the right amount of crunch, the flavor profile is perfect for this guacamole.

Mango Chipotle Zinger Almonds

It’s just some ripe avocado, cubes of champagne mango, garlic, salt, lemon juice, aleppo pepper, and coarsely chopped almonds. I’d say add as much or little as you like. You know how to make a good guac… You don’t need me to tell you.

Mango Chipotle Zinger Guacamole

 

Applewood Smoked Cashew Stir Fry

I’ve been a fan of Boulder-based Olomomo nuts for a number of years now, but the chef in the house hadn’t heard of them until a box of goodies showed up at our door from Olomomo a few weeks ago. I dropped everything I was doing and started opening up bag after bag and alternated between eating a few and shoving them at him saying “try THIS one.” Chai Bliss Almonds, Righteous Cinnamon Cayenne Almonds, Mango Chipotle Zinger Almonds, Cherry Vanilla Almonds… I had a really hard time showing restraint from stuffing my face with almonds.

But, they’ve branched out and are no longer faithful to just the almond: There’s Cosmic Maple Masala Pecans and Applewood Smoked Cashews. The cashews were the first to go, and I’m considering making them a staple in the house because they’re the perfect addition to stir fries.

I don’t have a step-by-step recipe here, as it was a really simple and quickly prepared dish, but I’ll tell you the basics and highlight the Applewood Smoked Cashews as the ingredient that tied it all together.

Stir Fry with Applewood Smoked Cashews

I fried some onion, garlic, and eggplant in peanut oil and soy sauce while boiling rice noodles. The noodles were done at the same time as the veggies, so I added them to the wok with some more soy sauce, a couple tablespoons of liquid tamarind, the juice of a lemon, and a bit of kecap manis. After it was all well mixed, I served it topped with avocado, chopped parsley, and Olomomo Applewood Smoked Cashews.

The cashews provided the needed crunch, and their flavor was a perfect match for stir fries. We’ll be doing it again- different veggies, different noodles, different sauce, and it won’t matter. Olomomo’s Applewood Smoked Cashews are the secret ingredient to a perfect stir fry.

A Bolder Table in Texas

Sean and I had the honor and privilege of being flown down to Texas to cook for one of our clients. We’ve had the pleasure of cooking for them a number of times in Boulder, but never for their friends in Texas. After a brief discussion with the hostess, he planned a spring-themed menu. We had the interesting opportunity to shop in the enormous (which is an understatement) Whole Foods in Austin, drive out to a ranch about an hour away from the city, and experience the peacefulness of a Texas ranch during a few breaks in our marathon of a day.

We started with some h’ordeuvres: a cheese platter and smoked salmon toast points. I was in charge of the cheese platter and followed his directions on the smoked salmon toast points topped with chives and capers. These were ready for the guests upon arrival with a little bubbly to get the book club gals talking.

Cheese Platter

Smoked Salmon Toast Points

 

After a bit of nibbling and socializing, we steered our guests to the dining room for our first course: chilled pea soup with creme fraiche and mint.

Chilled Pea Soup

Our second course was an arugula, endive, and grapefruit salad in a citrus vinaigrette.

Arugula, Endive, and Grapefruit Salad

Our entree was a citrus brined chicken breast on risotto with grilled asparagus and a citrus olive relish. I must declare- the chicken came out perfectly. I ate an entire portion and had to show serious restraint to not dive into a second.

Chicken, Risotto, Asparagus

Dessert was a pound cake (I made it!) topped with hand-whipped cream and the last jar of Sean’s Western Slope peaches in vanilla syrup that he had canned in Boulder last summer and brought with us to Texas.

Pound Cake

In the end, we had a fantastic time working together, hanging with the homeowners, and staying the night deep in the heart of Texas. We can’t wait to do it again!

The Courtyard Tea Rooms, Poole, England

We had just over an hour in Poole, so we ducked into a pub for a warm, flat beer, and checked Trip Advisor to see what sounded good. The Courtyard Tea Rooms came up as number 3 and had such great reviews, we decided to go there.

There are two rooms inside and an outdoor courtyard for dining or enjoying a tea service. As we walked through the first dining room into the kitchen, it became clear that this establishment had been a home and was converted to a restaurant. The woman working in the home-style kitchen was cooking all of the food and baking all of the cakes in what was hardly larger than most Americans’ kitchens.

I had a fun time being introduced to Fentimans, a botanically brewed beverage. When it’s served, it comes with a quirky card.

Fentimans

I advise reading the card and following the directions for a cute little laugh.

Fentimans Card

The card suggests that one’s right hand is very useful for FURTLING, which, you’ll find, it is.

Furtling

I ordered the soup of the day, which was vegetable soup, and it was served piping hot with freshly baked bread.

Veggie Soup

Fresh and delicious. Next was a cheese and spicy chutney sandwich with a side salad.

sandwich

Sean opted for the frittata of the day, also served with a side salad.

frittata

The service was spectacular, the food was fresh and well prepared, and the owners are clearly hard-working and love what they do. We were so glad to have trusted the good old Trip Advisor recommendations on this one.

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