The Walnut Harvest Dinner

by Robyn on November 21, 2010

A picture of a sunset under the trees of a walnut grove.October is the month California Walnuts are harvested. As many of you know, I was invited to attend the celebration of that harvest this year by the California Walnut Commission. It was a great trip and I’ve yet to tell the whole story. After getting back and learning how versatile walnuts can be I decided on a challenge. The all walnut dinner that was both nice to look at, of course healthy for my family  and it had to taste great. Every item served for our Sunday meal would contain walnuts in one way or another. There will be four of us to feed. I have some picky eaters so this challenge was going to be a tough one! First I need recipes.

I went to the California Walnuts site and began my search for dinner there. I had a 3 pound bag of new crop walnuts I had just purchased and wanted to use them up! First choice was on the front page. We had an Iron Chef competition in conjunction with the BlogHer Food 10 Pity Party a month or so ago and chose a winner for the best recipe using California Walnuts. Side note: California provide 99% of all walnuts sold, so you’re pretty safe on purchasing a California grown nut. I want to go into a speech about how healthy they are for us, but I’ll leave that to you! I’ll just say, how can something so tasty be so healthy for you???

The recipe By Deanna Schneider’s Muhammara Dip. It is a delicious walnut and red pepper dip that is the perfect starter for any meal. Okay, we need a cracker to put it on. I stumbled upon FoodNouveau’s Walnut Pecan and Almond Crackers that would be perfect. Okay, appetizer set, now on to the salad and main course.
A blended paste of walnuts, roasted red peppers, cumin, and other spices as a dip for crackers

Salad? Simple. I’m going to do the Waldorf again. Everyone loves it. It simple and goes together in about 5 minutes. But I’m going to candy about half of the walnuts before adding them this time.

A salad of chopped apples, celery, walnuts, raisins and chopped chicken.

Waldorf Salad, my version

Main course? I was intrigued by a pork roast recipe at Ca Walnut’s site. I have a pork roast on hand. And, it will go with a polenta side dish I want to use. Ca Walnuts has a great recipe currently on their front page, Festive Fruit and Walnut Stuffed Pork Roast now this looks like the perfect main dish.Roasted Pork with a stuffing of apples, pears, walnuts, cranberry and spices. Dessert. Dessert was easy. It was the pumpkin bars I showed on the last post. I’ve been thinking about a pumpkin bar for weeks. This was the perfect time to bake it up.

So we have

  • Appetizer: Muhummara Dip and crackers
  • Salad: Waldorf Salad with Candied Walnuts
  • Main Course: Festive Fruit and Walnut Stuffed Pork Roast
  • Vegetable: Braised brussel sprouts with toasted walnuts and parmesan
  • Dessert: Pumpkin Bars
  • Each of the recipes were foolproof! I’ve included the recipe links to each one. I will definitely be making them all again. I especially loved the fruit and walnut stuffing with the pork roast. The family raved about it and for the first time in months and months, I didn’t have a leftover to be found.

    The recipe for the polenta I chose to use was simply 2 teaspoons of sage, 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and 1/4 cup of olive oil melted and blended in a saucepan. Add to it 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth, 2 cups of whole milk and heat on medium heat. Stir in 1 cup of corn meal and begin stirring. Continue stirring as the corn meal comes together, if it begins to thicken beyond your liking, add in a bit of chicken broth. It should take no longer than 5 minutes to stir together and should be served immediately. I make it while I allow the roast to sit once coming out of the oven.

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    November 22, 2010 at 11:22 am


    Kim December 1, 2010 at 9:30 am

    How very Iron Chef of you to include walnuts in every course!

    We had walnuts in a persimmon and spinach salad last night. With all this talk about walnuts, I’m gonna have to do it again! 🙂 And maybe snap a photo so I can share it with y’all!


    P.S. Thx for camera tips. 🙂

    Robyn November 21, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Thank you Paula. You’ll definitely have to try this pork recipe. I wasn’t sure of the fruit and nut stuffing going in , but cooked down, it was delicious! I’m definitely adding this to the recipe box.

    Robyn November 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    I was so surpised at how they all blended so well and worked together. The brussel sprouts worked with the roast and the fruit&nut stuffing so well. I just loved everything. To be honest though, we felt so satisfied with dinner, we held dessert until the next day.

    Paula November 21, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Everything in you dinner looks scrumptious. My husband loves roast pork so the next time we have one, I may use your festive fruit stuffed pork recipe. Your Waldorf salad with the candied walnuts…brilliant idea.

    Nancy@acommunaltable November 21, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I love how you used walnuts in every dish and yet had such a variety of flavors and textures in the meal!!! I honestly don’t know which of the dishes I want to make first .. maybe I’ll have to copy you and make them all for one meal!!!

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