Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bar Nuts

If you ever happened to walk into the Union Square Cafe in New York City at the start of happy hour, you may have been lucky enough to enjoy this delicious bar snack.

Giada de Laurentiis was on Food Network recently gushing about them and how they are her favorite bar snack.  I got a craving for them and so I wanted to whip up a batch once it was cool enough to turn the oven on.

All this entails is tossing lightly toasted nuts with a mixture of brown sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, chopped rosemary and melted butter. They are so good you might eat the entire bowl!


2 1/4 cups of assorted, unsalted nuts
2 T coarsley chopped rosemary
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 t dark brown sugar
2 t sea salt
1 T unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread nuts out onto a sheet pan and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes.  In a large bowl combine the rosemary, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, sea salt and butter.

Transfer the hot nuts into the bowl with the other ingredients and mix to combine well.  Keep mixing for a minute or two so that as everything cools a little the spiced butter mixture sticks to the nuts.   Serve warm.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Homemade Pesto

Well, it's been a long time (eight months, but who's counting?) and I'm back in the blogosphere!  This year I made a resolution to get back into running and I've kept it, which is why I wasn't here much.  I'm almost to the end of Syrathon which is a series of races all around the area in which you accumulate 26.2 miles.  So that has been a fun way to keep motivated all year long.  That along with summer holidays, traveling and visitors and I have been M.I.A.

The temps are dropping upstate and I wanted to make use of the last of my basil plants before they whither and die in the cold - so sad!  Pesto is super easy to make and has lots of uses: a sandwich spread, a base for a pizza instead of red sauce, sauce for grilled chicken, noodles and pasta.  Tonight I mixed it into some vegetable ravioli with some peas!  Homemade tastes so much better than the store bought stuff in a jar.  The color alone shows you how fresh it is!  Here is what you'll need, along with a food processor or a blender.  

2 cups basil (packed)
2 garlic cloves (smashed)
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesean cheese
3/4 cup good virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In your food processor add in everything but the olive oil and pulse it a few times until everything gets chopped up into really fine bits. Then with the food processor or blender running, add in the olive oil in a steady slow stream stopping once everything emulisifies and becomes a smooth paste. You may not need to use all of it.

There you go! You'll be amazed at how good it tastes! If you're not using all of it, or have made a double batch you can freeze it in ice cube trays for later use (after the cubes freeze, pop them out into a freezer bag to store in the fridge.