Before I complete the last three posts in my Project Wedding Dessert Bar series, I need a break from the sugar. I went through just about 20 pounds of the stuff for my baking and candy making bonanza, so I think a savory reprieve is justified.
I’ve been craving savory Fall foods like crazy. Especially squash. And cheese. Anything warm and comforting will do, but even more so if there’s some hint of freshness.
These stuffed jalapenos brought all those things home for me. (more…)
The nut parade continues with chili lime peanuts because, in my opinion, variety always makes things a little more fun.
While the curried cashews and brown sugar, rosemary, bourbon-brined almonds were fairly easy to manage, these peanuts manage to be even simpler.
I threw peanuts into a bowl, but on a lazier day, I strongly believe these nuts could mix up quite nicely with the spices directly on a rimmed baking sheet. That’s right. One less thing to clean up.
But I didn’t think of that until after the peanuts had already made their way into the bowl. So I went ahead and zested a lime straight in there.
These limes were particularly attached to their juices. After rolling them around, halving them, and squeezing with all my strength, I yielded maybe a drop or two. Things were not looking good.
While the curried cashews were undergoing their second tanning session of the day, I prepared a brown sugar, rosemary and bourbon brine to soak the almonds in.
I know. It’s like the almonds are getting the Thanksgiving turkey prep treatment. But trust me. This brining method? Best way to infuse a lot of flavor into almonds while keeping things clean (i.e., without covering them in a candied curry mixture whose yellow tinge rudely stains snackers’ fingers; curried cashew eaters beware!).
Start prepping the brine by throwing some brown sugar into a pot.
Sometimes it’s the devil, but I keep it around anyway like a trouble-making friend from the good ol’ sorority days. Perhaps it’s because bourbon makes me nostalgic for late evenings spent deep in conversation with Uncle Bill. Or because nothing else warms me up quite as quickly on a bone-chilling winter night, especially one spent visiting Jay’s Grams in Boston.
Or because bourbon has an uncanny ability to dissolve my worries just as easily as it will dissolve this brown sugar. Or because its inclusion in any recipe always seems to make the end result tastier.
Whatever the reason, there always seems to be a bottle in my liquor cabinet, which is good because I totally forgot to take inventory when I went shopping for the other ingredients in this recipe. (more…)
This whole baking-a-lot-by-myself-in-my-kitchen thing is starting to make me go a little nuts. Not because I don’t enjoy it, but just because it’s a lot of time spent measuring, mixing, scooping, and waiting.
So I’ve been trying to find ways to keep the redundant work at least moderately amusing, which largely seems to entail inner – and occasionally outer – dialogue, mostly baking related, mostly looking deeper into things that I’ve always found odd about one baking ingredient (why is “evaporated” milk not called regular condensed milk?), or fascinating about another (how is baking soda so uplifting?).
In other words, I’ve embraced the nuttiness. Speaking of which, spiced nuts are some of the easiest and most delicious treats to make for any affair, and multiple internet sources tell me that they hold well for weeks. They’re also ridiculously easy to store and transport, so welcome to my nut house.
I started with cashews, a nut that I can eat raw, roasted, plain, salted, whole, and in pieces. But curried? Somehow, I had never gone down that road, and as a curry lover, it was about time. Gotta jazz it up for the wedding, right? (more…)