Monday, December 24, 2007

Hot Holiday Snack

It may come as a surprise to some people, but I actually can cook, and I have been known to do so. And while I’m no Paul Prudhomme or Wolfgang Puck, the state has not required that I register my stove as a lethal weapon, either. When my ex and I were together we loved to come up with things for Christmas, especially things that you wouldn’t necessarily think are Christmas-y. Since he was a professionally-trained cook, AJP would make the complicated stuff while I would do the simple things. I especially like hot stuff, like New Mexico posolé and chiles rellenos with “Christmas” chile sauce, so named because it’s an even mix of red and green. (“Red or green?” is the official State Question of New Mexico. I’m not kidding.)

Here’s a recipe for something I loved to make at Christmas, but it’s good any time of the year. It’s called “The Devil’s Own Peanuts” from the Fancy Pantry.

– 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
– 2 tbsp soy sauce
– 2 cloves garlic (peeled & sliced)
– 1 tsp salt (more for sprinkling if desired)
– 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1/4 tsp ground cumin
– 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
– 2 dashes Tabasco sauce (optional & depending on taste)
– 2 egg whites
– 1 jar (16.5 ounces, about 3 cups) dry-roasted UNSALTED peanuts (or substitute unsalted nuts of your choice)

Combine first 8 ingredients (all but egg whites & nuts) in blender and blend until garlic is pureed. Add egg whites and run just until the ingredients are blended. Place nuts in a bowl and pour mixture over them. Let the nuts stand for 30 to 60 minutes stirring several times. Preheat oven to 250F and put nuts into colander set over a bowl to drain and reserve the liquid. Divide the nuts onto 2 baking sheets that have been lightly oiled or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray (Pam). Bake nuts on 2 shelves until they have dried slightly (about 10 minutes). Stir the nuts to break up any clumps and drizzle reserved liquid over them. Stir well and spread evenly again. Return nuts to oven, exchanging shelf positions, and bake until glaze is dry (about 15 minutes). Turn off oven and leave the nuts in it with the door ajar until nuts have cooled.

Baking times may need to be extended slightly to compensate for humidity and altitude.

I always end up making a much larger batch because I cannot stop eating them.