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Black Walnut Bread

The Recipe: A loaf of lemon quick bread, bright with citrus and smoky with black walnuts, Missouri's much treasured nutmeats, so difficult to harvest. At Christmas, I jumped on the chance to purchase husked, shelled and picked native Missouri black walnuts. Knowing how difficult it is to extract the meat from black walnuts, I wanted to use them in a way that would highlight their distinctive flavor. This recipe is the first keeper, one that pairs black walnuts with lemon. The walnuts came from a friend of a friend whose parents wile away winter evenings in front of the television with industry: shelling black walnuts. It's tedious work but generates a little cash, an old-timer's practice that's likely to slowly die off, what with the digital distractions of Netflix and Facebook. Really, who has time for shelling walnuts? Sigh.It's not easy to find black walnuts, even in Missouri. Believe it or not, the most reliable source is Sam's Club, usually right after Chri…

Roasted Pear Salad

The truth is, this is the fanciest salad I make. Another truth? I don't make it often enough.Roasted Pear Salad isn't the least bit hard, it's just roasted pears cloaked in a savory-sweet wine sauce and served over salad greens and, for those who truly like to indulge, rounds of warm toasted goat cheese.So sure, it's an elegant salad worthy of a special occasion, like Valentine's Day at home, say. But it's also simple enough for less scheduled, less predictable celebrations. A pretty fall evening, the last one warm enough to eat outside. Or the night long-time friends come for dinner. Or, you know, just because it's finally Friday, the work week over.
One enchanted evening, you will find your true love …The first bite is all romance, the second is true love, the third, well, prepare for the life-long commitment that roasted pears inspire. Here, pears play the beautiful bride in a romantic salad. But do roast extra pears, for as simple as simple can be, roaste…

Poblano Steaks: How to Cook Cheap Steak

How to cook a cheap steak to make it taste like you spent a bunch. My go-to recipe for cooking steaks in the skillet, transforming an inexpensive cut into tender, delicious steaks. When paired with smoky poblano peppers and onion, definite man food. For the longest time, I have felt ham-handed about cooking steak. The meat is pricey, the expectations high. No matter what -- how expensive, how marbled, how prime, the meat -- my steaks failed to measure up. We didn’t need steak knives, we needed chainsaws to cut through the toughness. I kept experimenting with ways to turn inexpensive steak into something that tasted, well, like I’d invested big bucks and bathed these babies in butter.Enter Poblano Steaks, where the onions and peppers simply pop-pop-pop with flavor – and a little heat too, mind you, like those little Mexican jumping beans from the dime store, you know?Even so, the meat, even a relatively inexpensive but tender cut such as top sirloin, is the star of the plate. It turns …