Thanksgiving is over and I survived the mashed potatoes, the dressing and the gravy along with all the pies and sweet potato side dishes. However, for those of us who appreciate the savory side of life here is an idea for an addition to your next appetizer selection, traditional holiday smorgasbord, or just as a healthy late night snack while you binge on Vikings and wait for the next season to start. This Nordic style nut bread would have been a familiar menu item on Ragnar Lothbrok’s table.
This is not bread in any ordinary sense, and it certainly isn’t the familiar sweet fruit and nut bread that we’re used to seeing on holiday tables, but it is an excellent delivery vehicle for a whole array of tasty toppings like paté, lingonberry jelly, a smear of brie cheese, onion jam or even peanut or almond butter. Plain cream cheese is great too. You could, of course, throw in some dried apricots, or raisins if you crave something sweeter, but my personal favorites are red onion jam and mushroom paté. I’ll include quick versions of those condiments in this post. This recipe is just unbelievably easy and very, very healthy.
NORDIC NUT BREAD
- 3.5 oz pumpkin seeds
- 3.5 oz sunflower seeds
- 3.5 oz almonds
- 3.5 oz walnuts or pecans
- 3.5 oz flax seeds
- 3.5 oz sesame seeds
- 3.5 oz poppy or chia seeds or substitute 1/2 cup of chopped dried fruit (optional)
- 2 tsp salt
- 5 eggs
- 3.4 oz oil (I use grapeseed or avocado)
- 3.5 oz water (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until it forms a thick mixture.
Press into generously oiled loaf pans (will make 3 small or 1 large). Bake in a preheated 320 degree oven for 1 hour. The look of the loaves will not change very much in appearance, just slightly brown around the edges. Let the loaves cool completely before slicing. The bread keeps for a week in the refrigerator, and freezes very well.
This is a perfect delivery system for all kinds of yummy toppings. Here are some of my favorites.
You can use any combination of nuts or seeds that you prefer. However, for every 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of additional seeds or nuts remember to add 1-2 extra eggs and water and oil as needed.
A good suggestion is to make a large batch of nuts/seeds, divide them into bags with enough to make the above recipe. Store them in the freezer and take out a bag when you want to make the bread.
Red Onion Jam
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups thinly sliced red onions (about 3 1/4 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 cups apples, peeled and chopped
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup Ruby Port
1/4 cup red wine
1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup dried cherries
Heat the oil in a heavy pot over a medium heat. Add the onions and dried red pepper. Cover, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender. Add brown sugar, vinegar, port, red wine and ginger. Cook uncovered over medium low heat until onions are very tender and mixture has a thick, jam like consistency. Add the dried cherries and cook until mixture is very thick and dark, stirring frequently, about 20-25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool completely. Put in jars and refrigerate. This stores very well and can be made well ahead. I put this on all kinds of things and almost always have a jar on hand.
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup unsalted butter
¼ pound shitake mushrooms, chopped
¼ cup crimini mushrooms, chopped
¼ pound white button mushrooms, chopped
1/4 lb dried woodear mushrooms, rehydrated and chopped
1 tablespoon roasted garlic puree
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Toast the walnuts either in the oven for 10 minutes at 350° or in a dry frying pan on the stove top until fragrant and slightly browned.
In a large skillet or sauté pan cook the shallots in butter until translucent. Add the chopped mushrooms, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often until most of the liquid is evaporated.
Process the walnuts and olive oil in a blender or food processor until mixtures form a thick paste. Spoon in the cooked mushroom mixture and process until the desired texture. I like mine smooth and creamy.
Press the mixture into oiled ramekins or bowls. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. ♥