Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon by Monday 10 a.m. EST -- with photos and your story behind the dish -- and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.
This week, we asked for your best nut recipes and ideas.
THIS WEEK'S WINNER:
Creamy cashew/roasted garlic spread by Cathy Elton: Sure, vegan nut "cheese" can be silly, but Cathy takes one killer trick she's learned from making the stuff: soaking nuts overnight can make them luxuriously soft, and easily turned into a sweet purée. Add a wallop of roasted garlic, and you have something the texture of bean dip, but a whole lot richer. (Incidentally, Lisa Barlow also has a slew of recipes -- with wonderful photos! -- featuring these soaked, softened nuts.)
THIS WEEK'S ALTERNATE WINNERS:
Crunchy Mandelbrot by Vivian Henoch: "Mandelbrot" translates as "almond bread," but the treat is more crunchy, sweeter and coffee-friendly than that name might lead you to believe. Call them biscotti if you want, but either way, Vivian's got a nice one to share with you.
Slow-roasted candied walnuts with caramelized apples by Trish O'Rourke: We have to confess that we've never heard of this unusual technique for nuts -- boiling them in a sweet/salty brine, then slowly roasting them with maple syrup. But it sounds fantastic, and paired with caramelized apples and ice cream, you're on your way to delicious intrigue.
Chicken stewed in pomegranate-walnut sauce (Fesenjan) by Linda Shiue: When the landlords-from-an-overly-warm-place-in-the-afterlife turned Linda out of the comfort of her vacation rental home, she at least got to explore all the local restaurants in a diverse section of London, and came home with a love for this Persian classic.
PLUS, ALSO, TOO: THE HONORABLE MENTIONS
Monastery Munch granola by Dawn E. Bell: Really, now, are you going to not be curious about a snack recipe invented by a nun? So here it is: vanilla-scented, honey-sweetened nuts, fruits, and crunchy oat clusters. Winning!
Coconut walnut pecan pie by Fusun Atalay: If you like pecan pie, why stop at pecans? In this version, walnuts and coconuts add whole new layers of texture and flavor.
Vegan tiramisu by Beans and Greens: Wait, seriously? Seriously.
Pecan pralines by Theresa Rice: Hey, happy Mardi Gras, y'all!
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AND NOW FOR THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE:
Recently, the esteemed food scholar and cookbook writer Dr. Jessica Harris published an important book, "High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey From Africa to America." In it, we find the stories of how okra, black eyed peas, rice and watermelon, building blocks of Southern food, came to us with the slaves. We find the fascinating stories of the slave chefs of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, culinary superstars and dandies-about-town in their day. And we find the stories of how all the different bloodlines and migrations of people from Africa to the South and throughout the country have forever intertwined the foods from there and the foods from here to become so much of what we think of as simply "American food."
This round of the Salon Kitchen Challenge is in celebration of these stories. We invite you to share with us stories and recipes in your family that have come here from elsewhere, maybe from a grandfather from Indonesia, or a great-grandmother from Poland, or a cousin from Ghana. And, in celebration of your recipes and your stories, we'll award a copy of Jessica's book to each of the winners of this challenge.
A note on timing: The Kitchen Challenge is going on vacation! So you'll have an extra week -- until 10 a.m. EDT on Monday, March 21, to submit your entry.
Be sure to tag your posts: SKC High on the Hog (Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. Adaptations of existing recipes are fine, but please let us know where the original comes from. And if you'd like to participate but not have your post considered for republication on Salon, please note it in the post itself. Thanks!)
Scoring and winning
Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, and execution.