Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Barefoot Contessa Rules

Hey Rachel: It's hard to know where to go after your post yesterday in which you basically throw down the food gauntlet with all these boasts about the food day extraordinaire you are going to have on Friday. But since it is after all in celebration of your birthday and you are married to a great cook, I will tamp down my envy (mostly) and say that I am genuinely happy you're going to have such a day of complete gourmet gluttony without having to lift a finger ... and then I'm going to post about the Barefoot Contessa, who, yes, I spoke to on my birthday... so there.

Anyway Ina Garten in person — at at least in phone person — was as nice as I imagined her to be. Just down to earth and friendly, just like her recipes in her many fabulous cookbooks. I have her new cookbook, How Easy is That? (and if you want to hear some exciting news about getting your very own copy, be sure to tune in tomorrow, readers), and tried a few of the recipes over the weekend.

They were both fantastic. Here's the roasted nuts recipe, that is absolutely killer and I guarantee will earn you kudos any time you make them. The mix of rosemary and chipotle is just brilliant. Enjoy!

Chipotle & Rosemary Roasted Nuts
Serves 8-10 (or maybe a lot less if you become as addicted as Peter and I did)

vegetable oil
3 cups whole roasted unsalted cashews (14 ounces)
2 cups whole walnut halves (7 ounces)
2 cups whole pecan halves (7ounces)
1/2 cup whole almonds (3 ounces)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
kosher salt to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Brush a sheet pan generously with vegetable oil. Combine all the nutes, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, organige juice and chipotle powder on the sheet pan. Toss to coat the nuts evenly. Add 2 tablespoons of rosemary and 2 teaspoons of salt and toss again.

Spread the nuts in one layer. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring twice with a large metal spatula until they are glazed and golden brown. Remove from teh oven and spring with 2 more teaspoons salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary. Toss well and set aside at room temperature, stirring periodically to prevent sticking as they cool. (This is important to do. Otherwise, they will stick. Trust me.) Taste for seasoning. Serve warm or completely cool and store in airtight containers at room temperature (assuming there is any left over).

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