Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Espresso Glazed Nuts

It took a kitchen mishap to discover this interesting and indulgent snack.  I was making a caramel sauce and became distracted, as I sometimes do.  When I went to toss the ruined concoction alla spazzatura, I noticed how quickly it hardened.  I experimented a bit further and decided it could be incorporated into a light snack.  Less difficult to eat than peanut brittle and ever so slightly bitter from the espresso, these glazed nuts were born.  Serve them with a cheese plate and chutney or an espresso con panna for a light after-dinner snack.  

Mixed nuts (peanuts, cashews & almonds)
Pinch of salt, if needed
3/4 C. Sugar
1/4 C. Water
1 pkg. Instant Espresso powder (for 1 cup of instant coffee)

Pour the salted nut mixture onto a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, or until fragrant.  Remove and cool. 

In saucepan, combine the sugar and water.  DO NOT STIR.  Swirl the saucepan until the sugar has dissolved.  Bring it to a boil, swirling constantly.  Cover and boil for 2 minutes.  Remove the lid and reduce the heat.  Simmer until the sugar is a deep amber color, swirling occasionally.  Allow it to cool slightly (until manageable - it will be HOT!). 

Sprinkle the nuts with the espresso powder.  Lightly drizzle the caramel sauce over the roasted nuts.  Let coated nuts sit until the caramel mixture has hardened. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Superbowl XLVI :: Grape Jelly Meatballs

As many of you know, I’m not a huge fan of football.  I have a hard time watching 3 second plays and then 4 minutes of commentary and recap.  But, I am a fan of football players, the camaraderie that the game creates, and most of all, parties.  And a Super Bowl party is no exception. This year, Sean and I will watch the game (cough, the commercials) with a few friends and I will do some cooking.  

While visiting in Ohio this year, Sean’s dad Tony turned me on to these delicious and ridiculously easy meatballs.  Sean’s nephew Tré devours them…and actually, so do I.  They are sweet and smoky and the perfect addition to our Super Bowl Party this year.  Feel free to add some Smoked Paprika and Chipotle Chile Pepper to add a bit of spice.  

Frozen Meatballs, thawed
Equal parts BBQ Sauce and Grape Jelly
Smoked Paprika and Chipotle Chile Powder, to taste (optional)

Heat a large skillet or crockpot over medium low heat. Add each ingredient and toss to combine. The grape jelly will begin melt into the BBQ to form a smooth and silky sauce. Stir the meatballs occasionally to make sure they are well coated and not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low. The longer you cook the sauce, the thicker it will get.