Cocktail Nibbles

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These make a terrific cocktail or wine-tasting accompaniment.  The first recipe came from my amazing friend Tina, who is a supertalented chef and artist, made this recipe for me once when she was hanging out at our place. I promptly stole it, and have passed it off as my own ever since. I think she’s okay with that. She’s pretty cool.  The second one is the evolution of my families preferences, and it can be easily personalized to fit your family too.

Olive Oil Roasted Almonds

Ingredients

2 cups whole, skin-on almonds

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt – try a Sicilian, Italian, or Spanish sea salt, a smoked salt, or a salt infused with herbs, roasted garlic, olives, red wine, or curry

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon herbs de Provence

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread almonds out on a dry baking sheet. Toast for 15-20 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Stir every 5 minutes or so to ensure even browning.
  1. Pour the hot nuts into a bowl, and add oil and salt right away. Toss to coat, then add cheese and herbs and toss again. Cool to room temperature before serving. Store airtight.

Grown up Gorp 

Nuts and dried fruits have a very long relationship. From pemmican to girl scouts, they are perfectly matched. The sweet, spicy salt additions in this recipe bring this trail tradition into a modern culinary setting.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons herbs de Provence

Grated zest of one orange

1 ¾ teaspoon unrefined sea salt – try American sea salt from the Pacific Northwest, Australian Murray River, a smoked salt, or a sea salt infused with citrus, curry, saffron, or chiles

½ -1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup pecan halves

1 cup whole, skin-on almonds

1 cup cashews

1 cup sunflower seeds (hulled)

1 tablespoon sesame seed

1 tablespoon flaxseed

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon honey

½ cup dried cherries or cranberries

½ cup pitted dates, chopped

½ cup golden raisins

¼ cup zante currants

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat a baking sheet with pan spray and set aside. Mix together sugar, herbs, orange zest, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  1. Toast pecans, almond, and cashews in the oven on separate dry sheet pans until golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes each. (I prefer to toast them separately.) Pour the hot nuts into a bowl, and add the sunflower, sesame and flaxseeds. Add the butter and honey, and toss to coat. Add the sugar mixture and continue to toss until evenly coated.
  1. Spread the mixture out in an even layer on the prepared pan. Bake in 5 minute increments, stirring in between, until sugar has melted, and the mixture is evenly toasted. Remove from oven, toss with another teaspoon of sea salt, then cool completely.
  1. When cool, add cherries, dates, raisins and currants. Toss together, and serve, store air tight for a week, or freeze for longer storage.

 

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