Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Smoked Almonds

This recipe isn't for everyone as it requires a smoker. There's none of that namby-pamby "smoke flavoring" here. If you do have one and are an almond lover, rejoice! Not only can you greatly reduce cost by smoking your own almonds, you'll probably enjoy the taste a lot more. Keep an eye out for sales on unroasted, unsalted almonds and buy them in bulk.

While it is a multi-day task, it's highly rewarding. I like to soak the nuts Friday night, dry them on Saturday, and smoke them on Sunday. The process isn't very labor-intensive until smoking day.
Make sure to keep your nuts away from the hottest part of the smoker. Otherwise, the back-breaking work of sorting the good nuts from the burned ones will make you thankful that you're not a professional almond sorter. It will also make you appreciate the next can of perfectly roasted nuts you purchase. Somewhere, in some third world country, some child sorted nuts for 12 hours a day to help fill that can.

Smoked Almonds

2 lbs unroasted, unsalted almonds
2 cups kosher salt
1 quart water
Hickory or Maple wood

1. In a large pot, combine the water and salt. Stir to dissolve.
2. Add the almonds. Set aside to soak for 24 hours.
3. Drain nuts. Set out to dry on paper towels.
4. Heat smoker, keeping heat between 180 and 200 F for the entire process.
5. Line smoker racks with cheesecloth and lay out nuts in one to two layers per rack.
6. Smoke for 3 - 4 hours, stirring every 20 minutes. Two hours in, alternate the rack positions.

After three hours, start checking your nuts for flavor. When the smoke taste permeates the entire nut, they are done.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shellfish in White Wine, Butter, and Garlic

I didn't mean to go so long without posting a recipe. Really. Hopefully, this recipe will make up for it. It's super quick, can be adjusted to feed many or few, and is impressive when served at dinner parties.

Shellfish in White Wine, Butter, and Garlic

24 mussels

24 clams

1 cup 80/110 scallops

8 tbs unsalted butter, cut into one tbs pieces

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

2 1/2 cups Viognier

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 small white onion, chopped

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

1/4 cup chopped basil

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the wine, onion, garlic, and salt. Simmer until the onions are slightly translucent.
2. Add the clams and mussels. Cover, raise the heat to high, and cook until they are done (5 - 7 minutes).
3. Stir in the scallops.
4. Stir in the butter until melted.
5. Remove from heat and stir in the herbs.
Serve with a crusty bread for dipping!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Food Posting Will Resume Shortly

I apologize for the lack of updates on this site. Of course, anyone that knows what life has been like around here for the past month will understand. I'm not staying up long enough to make dinner most nights nor do I have energy to cook on the weekends. I've been surviving off of food that smiles, which has limited me to a diet of whole grain Goldfish crackers.

I did get a big craving for some drunken noodles today, so I think my cooking bone is ready to be flexed once again.

Soon...I promise.