Tag Archives: chile

How Do You Like Your Nuts?

I wanted to makes spiced pecans for a snack for a day’s excursion to the South Bay and needed inspiration, so I posed this question, “How do you like your nuts?” to some culinary minded friends on Facebook. Usually spiced nuts are mixed with egg whites and baked to allow the seasonings to adhere to the surface of the nut, but for me that is disallowed because of the eggs so I needed a new idea.

Happily my friends came through with suggestions such as rosemary and cayenne, sugar and black pepper and butter!

My memory flashed on a jar of Aji Amarillo chile powder I purchased from Peppahead, a friend’s family business. It’s a beautiful yellow chile with a warm heat and fruity flavor, and much more interesting than cayenne pepper.

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My grocery delivery the night before included a sack of fresh rosemary so I broke off a big piece and pulled the jar of Demerara sugar from the pantry cupboard and set to work making hot, spicy, salty and sweet nuts for our snacking pleasure.

I melted almost an entire stick of butter in a skillet and added the sugar, spices and the rosemary and when it was all melty and mixed well, I poured in handfuls of fat pecan halves. Four minutes of stirring later I poured the hot nuts onto a platter to cool and showered them with sprinkles of crunchy Maldon sea salt. I love Maldon salt, it has such a clean flavor and the squared shaped crystals, like little patio umbrellas, crunch delightfully between your molars before hitting your tongue with that perfect salty hit.

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When they were mostly cooled I scooped them into a little bento box that would fit into my satchel I was bringing on the trip. I made up a thermos of hot Earl Grey tea and tossed in some little bags of peanut M&Ms for good measure and set off for my fun day with friends.

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When we stopped for a break we were the envy of all around us as we popped these rich, toasty, buttery, spicy and sweet and salty nuts into our mouths and groaned in delighted pleasure as all the flavors combined in our mouths. It was an utterly satisfying snack. The best part is that I still have a half a bag of pecans left at home to make more!!!

Spice up your own nuts here! (printer friendly recipe)

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Farmer’s Market Bounty

Where the locals shop
(where the locals shop)

On my way home from the Beach House, A___ and I stopped at the farmer’s market at the UN Plaza.

It is a warm morning, although most of the city does not yet realize the fog is creeping in from the beach.  Today will not be another scorcher like yesterday.

Our first stop was at an Asian vendor who always has great and inexpensive produce. I left with green beans and a massive bunch of flat leaf parsley.

After admiring the various plants got sale we spotted massive organic carrots; what beauties!

Pretty plant, look at the cacti in bloom!Chubby carrots

Then, it was huevos time, the real reason for the market today. One vendor has Araucanas chickens, which yields “Easter eggs”, so named because their eggs naturally come in shades of cream, white, pink, brown and green.  The green ones are especially delicious. I also purchased organic yellow potatoes, salad greens and ginger.

I spied tables piled high with more Asian greens and bought a massive bunch of Chinese spinach.

Then I noticed a commotion and squawking coming from a huge truck covered with tarps, behind which were cages of gorgeous Rhode Island Red chickens. The vendors were so nice, they pulled out a hen to pose for me. One day, I will buy one, but today’s purchases are destined for a hearty lamb broth.

Miss Rhode Island Red

The fish stand had some beauties, I wonder how many of their offerings are sustainable? The vendor’s English doesn’t withstand questioning of this nature, unfortunately, so I took a pass.

Are you sustainably caught? Perhaps not.

Needing more standard vegetables, I scored several heavy bags full of goodies: onions, cabbage and the prettiest patty pan yellow squash.

It would have been nice to linger but appointments beckoned as well as the lure of fried eggs.

Once home, I was putting my tote bag down near the cat who was lounging luxuriously on the bed. My custom is to allow him to sniff the produce and herbs I bring home, and this time something unexpected happened…

Cow-cat collage

My cat likes spinach!!!

What the ????? Bwa hah ha haaah!

I had to take it away to ensure I had some left for me!

Such a lovely haul, no?

Today's Haul

There were two green eggs in the carton, and out they went, straight to the frying pan. They were taken from the hens this morning, and consumed before 11:00 am – amazing!

green egg collage

Green eggs and green chile = a heavenly breakfast.

Green Eggs and Green Chile
(googly-eyes!)

Visiting the farmer’s market is a lot of fun and I love seeing the variety of the seasonal produce. It feels great knowing my purchases are extremely fresh and will last weeks in the fridge if I fail to consume them as planned. However, the real reason I shop there lies within my handbag.

Shopping directly from the grower ensures they receive 100% of any profit from their crop. Cutting out the middleman, or middlemen as the case may be with large grocery chains, results in a lower cost to the consumer. As a consumer with a limited budget, I appreciate getting a larger amount of food for my meager dollar, not to mention higher quality and better flavor of produce!!

Today’s haul:

Potatoes                                  (1# 5 oz)       $ 2.40      $1.83/#
Spring salad mix                   (6 oz)             $ 2.00     $5.33/#
Ginger                                       (1 oz)              $ 0.10
Eggs                                           (dozen)          $ 5.00
Green beans                           (12 oz)            $ 1.50     $ 0.85/#
Parsley                                     (6 oz)              $ 1.00     $ 2.66/#
Cabbage                                   (2#)                 $ 1.00     $ 0.50/#
Onions                                      (1.5#)             $ 1.05      $ 0.70/#
Squash                                      (1.5#)             $ 1.00     $ 0.66/#
Spinach                                    (~1#*)            $ 1.00     $ 1.00/#
*net weight after cat noshing

Total:                                                        $16.05

Some of the items cost a little more than the commodity produce or eggs but, as I said, the quality is better, so I don’t mind paying a dollar over for their cost for eggs.  And one cannot easily find eggs of this quality for sale anywhere except a farmer’s market.

Overall, my table full of produce is far less expensive than shopping at Safeway or Whole Paycheck for organic produce.

Now, to wash and put everything away, and start my lamb stock for broth. I like making a batch of soup every week for lunches or breakfasts (if the fog has roared in overnight, a warm bowl of soup is a perfect “summer” breakfast).

Have a happy Sunday!

Wordless Wednesday

(you *know* you want some!)