Celebrate with Flavorful Nuts

Tree nuts are not only a delicious and healthy snack that can be eaten plain any time of the day, they can be “jazzed up” to give a special touch for any occasion or taste.  Here are a few ideas to get your own creative juices inspired!

Ideas for Kids with a Penchant for Sweet Things:

Much better than a candy or sugar laden treat, toss raw nuts in enough warmed honey to coat, place on a parchment lined baking tray and bake on moderate heat until golden brown.  Allow to cool, break apart and enjoy! If desired, dust with some nutmeg or cinnamon before cooling. You can even get the kids involved.

Nuts for Wine Lovers:

 If you love wine, you’re probably familiar with a wine reduction, where you simmer wine until it’s a silky glaze. Toss nuts in this and allow them to soak before draining and roasting in a moderate oven until toasted!  White or red is great, or even a liqueur – whisky pecans anyone?

 Nuts for the Spice Lovers:

If you like a kick to your food,  toss raw nuts in olive oil, drain well, then toss in your favorite spice blend, such as chili, cumin, curry, rosemary, Cajun spice, Chinese 5 Spice, cardamom, lemongrass or basil.  Roast as above.

Chocolate Lovers:

Here’s a tasty alternative to chocolate coated nuts, and one that you can really personalize. Toast nuts then toss in melted honey or even molasses. Drain and then toss in cocoa power (dark or milk), and perhaps a few drops of peppermint, orange or vanilla extract.  Or, toss in ground instant coffee and a few drops of Kahlua or Bailey’s and serve with coffee…makes great birthday gifts!

Asian Food Fans

Stir-fries commonly incorporate nuts of any kind, but try toasting nuts then tossing in honey and soy sauce, and cooling on parchment paper.  This makes a lovely garnish over rice and noodle dishes, or if sushi is your penchant, puree nuts with wasabi, it makes sushi much more wine-friendly!

Whatever your flavor or preference, there’s a nut for it!

Happy New Year and Bon-appétit from the Nutty Chef!