Caramelized Nut Tart

Adapted from the Williams & Sonoma Complete Seasonal Cookbook. San Francisco, CA: Weldon Owen Inc., 1997.

The original recipe calls for equal amounts of hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts & sliced almonds. I left out the hazelnuts and increased the other nut quantities. I also adjusted the recipe to fit a 10″ tart pan, so the amounts are a little odd. Honestly, their directions can compete with mine for lack of clarity. But it was delicious so how bad could it be?

1 10-inch short-crust tart shell, baked until lightly golden (recipe follows from their cookbook but feel free to use your favorite pie crust)


Total of 1 1/4 cups nuts, (generously measured):
6 Tbsp. sliced almonds
6 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
6 Tbsp. chopped pecans

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and roast at 350F for about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Position oven rack in the upper part of the oven and raise the temperature to 400F.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly. Boil until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in nuts. Let stand 15 minutes.

Pour filling into tart shell, place on a baking sheet. Bake until the top is lightly colored and dotted all over with small holes, 30-35 minutes. Cool on a rack 15 minutes, remove and slide onto serving plate. Serve at room temperature.

Short Crust:
1 3/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
13 Tbsp. butter (1 1/2 sticks plus one Tbsp.) cut into pieces
about 1 1/2 Tbsp. water

Place flour, sugar and salt in bowl of a food processor, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add water a little at a time until it just comes together.

Gather into a ball, press into a 6″ disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Roll out or press into tart shell. Place in freezer 30 minutes. (This helps produce a flakier crust)

Line the pastry with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights.

Bake at 400F 10 minutes. Remove foil and weights, reduce heat to 375F, continue baking 15-20 minutes longer until lightly golden.


Spicy Cucumber Relish

Adapted from True Thai, The Modern Art of Thai Cooking by Victor Sodsook. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1995.

1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup light brown sugar (or white sugar)
1 tsp. salt

1 large cucumber
2-3 serrano chilis or 4-6 small thai chilis, finely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, crushed or finely chopped
1/3 cup loosely packed chopped clilantro

Combine vinegar, sugar & salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stir to dissolve sugar & salt. Cook 1 minute at a gentle boil. Set aside to cool.

When ready to serve, peel, seed (if necessary) and dice or thinly slice the cucumber. Place the cucumber, chilis, peanuts & cilantro in a bowl. Add cooled vinegar. Mix and serve immediately.

The dressing can be made a day in advance. Add to the rest of the relish ingredients just before serving so that everything remains crisp.

Venison Roast with Apples & Onions

I found this recipe on It worked very well. The meat was tender and delicious. Of course it is a slow cooker recipe so the meat is like a pot roast, which was a hit with my family.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 pounds venison roast
garlic powder
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped and stems discarded (about 1/2 tsp)
2 apples, cored and cut into thick slices
2 large onions, sliced
4 cloves crushed garlic
1.5 tsp. beef base (“better than bouillon” is what I used)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water (or replace vinegar and water with 1/2 cup red wine)

Spread olive oil in bottom of slow cooker.
Place roast inside and season well with ground black pepper and sprinkle with garlic powder. Lightly sprinkle with salt.
Top with garlic, thyme, onions and apples.
Mix vinegar, water and bouillon, pour over everything.

Cook on low for 10 hours, meat will be falling apart. Cook for less time for meat that is more solid.

Weight Watcher’s Garden Vegetable Soup

0 points per 1 cup serving, yet tasty

2/3 cup sliced carrot
1/2 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cups fat-free broth (any flavor)
1 1/2 cups diced green cabbage
1/2 cup green beans
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup diced zucchini
sliced fresh basil

Heat a large saucepan over low heat saute, spray with cooking spray. Saute carrot, onion & garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add cabbage, bean, tomato paste, salt and oregano. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes, until beans are tender. Add zucchini. Cook 5 minutes.

Serve with shredded fresh basil.