Nigella’s Spiced Nuts

Twelve years ago I found myself living back in Florida in a small apartment complex located behind a delicious Italian restaurant called Ivarone’s.  The fantastic smells coming from that place along with a quick jaunt from La Pelota for a mug of steamy Cuban coffee brings back some good comforting food memories.  I happened to find myself home sick one day, curled up on the couch, and flipping through channels.  The BBC channel popped up and I came upon Nigella Bites.  That was back in the days when Food Network was just starting out and Rachel Ray was IT.  I remember Nigella having this ultra-cool vibe; cooking seemed so easy for her.  Nigella Bites was based in London and filmed in her apartment.  I was a major rebel back in those days and loved the fact that she was an atheist, wore fur, and   never went to a culinary school.  A New York Times commentator once wrote of her, “Lawson’s sexy roundness mixed with her speed-demon technique makes cooking dinner with Nigella look like a prelude to an orgy.”  I wouldn’t take it that far, but then again I’m not a man.

However, she did make you feel like you could come over to her house at anytime and enjoy a great meal that took her little effort and little time to make.  It was that show back in 2000 that Nigella made two recipes that are still staples that I  make twelve years later.   One is her chicken/sage/onion recipe.  So incredibly easy.. put all the ingredients in a Ziplock bag, marinate over night and dump into a pan to bake the next day.  Onion, chicken, sage, lemon, sausage…heaven on a cold winter’s night.

The second recipe that I make is her Spiced Nuts.  Whenever I have put these out for a party, I can honestly say they are always, always eaten up.  Two weeks ago a friend asked if she could take some home with her before she left. People make a point not to share their own personal stash of these nuts. Over the years I have used a variety of nuts, but always seem to enjoy the mixture of almonds, peanuts, and cashews.  You want to look for the unsalted, skin-less nuts, no mater what ones you end up using.  One major lesson that I have learned is to not walk away from the nuts when they are toasting in the oven….because once you smell then, they are usually burnt by then.

Nigella’s Spiced Nuts

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup skinless, unsalted nuts

2 tsp. brown sugar

2 tbs. rosemary; finally minced

1/2 tsp. cayenne

1 tbs. melted butter.

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Place nuts on a cookie sheet. Toast until slightly brown, approximately 10 minutes.

3. Toss nut with melted butter and spice mixture.

4.  Let cool. Be sure to hide a small bowl for yourself to enjoy later.

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