Friday, January 23, 2009

Oh, nuts!

You guys, I have blogger's guilt. I actually have been cooking, I've just been neglecting to tell you about it. There have been some misses, I admit. I made a rather lackluster wild rice salad with tofu, arugula and pecans and... no blue cheese, because I had forgotten to buy it. I over-steamed some baby bok choy while attempting to recreate my favorite side dish from Wagamama.

My shot at preserving lemons for the first time is as yet undetermined - they'll be ready in a couple of weeks (just in time for my birthday, wee!) but I think I used the wrong kind of jar because the ones at the top are not submerged and I think maybe they should be.

On the other hand, there have been some hits! Last week I made that yogurt cake again and it came out really well - I cooked it all the way through, which I think helps (heh) and Adam very artistically berry-fied it.

Saturday night my friend Jeremy and I had a little cook a thon and made some delicious chicken and dumplings (from the Cook's Illustrated recipe - highly recommended), of which I took NOT ONE SINGLE PHOTO. (forehead smack)

I also brought these delicious mixed nuts to an Inauguration Party/Poker Night on Tuesday. The original recipe over on Pink of Perfection has you mix them with rosemary and brown sugar and cayenne, but I had no rosemary save my beYOND dead plant in the corner, so I left it out.
I upped the cayenne because, well, I knew who would be eating deez nuts. I think they came out just dandy - salty and sweet and crunchy with a slow burn, they go really well with beer. Plus they take less than ten minutes to whip up. They're better once they've cooled but pretty tasty warm, too. I made 4 cups because I knew I was going to a party, but 2 cups is a reasonable amount of nuts, too.

Sweet & Spicy Nuts

4 cups unsalted mixed nuts, I used a cup each of walnuts, almonds, cashews and pecans
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (lower this to 1 teaspoon if you don't want them spicy!)

In a wide dry skillet, toss the nuts over medium heat until they smell good. Add the butter and toss the nuts as it melts, then continue tossing the nuts and letting them cook in the butter for about a minute. Mix the sugars and cayenne in a small bowl, then add the mixture to the nuts and stir. It should take a couple of minutes for the sugar to caramelize, then you can spread the nuts on a cookie sheet and allow them to cool. You may need to break up chunks of nuts, and if you started with raw unsalted nuts, sprinkle some kosher salt on top. If you had roasted salted nuts in the beginning, you probably don't need to add salt.


  1. i've had some serious misses too lately! oh well, the cake and nuts look lovely....i definitely will try to make the nuts. salty and sweet? delish.

  2. Hey,

    I've been lurking in the background here for a while, enjoying your delicious posts. I made spiced nuts over Christmas and was disappointed, but yours look amazing, definitely going to have to give them a try.

    Oh, and the lemons? Yes, you need to cover all of them I'm afraid to say, you should be able to just top up the jar with more lemon juice though (if that's how you're doing it). I've got mine ready to go later this week as I'm on a total preserving kick at the moment.

    Shameless plug: I've just started publically food blogging and would love to have you pop in a see: