Ultimate Bar Nuts

I just love this post from What’s Cookin about the Ultimate Bar Nut recipe from the Union Square Cafe in NY.  Clever article too by Snooth writer Dawn Diff.  I usually just open bags for cocktail snacks, but this is easy and looks delish.


Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts

Recipe courtesy of Food Network, modified just a bit

2 1/4 cups (18-ounces) assorted unsalted nuts (if you happen to have a Trader Joe’s near you, I have found that the perfect assortment is one bag of their fancy mixed nuts (cashews, pistachios, almonds, macadamias), and half a bag of peanuts also from TJ’s. For both, I buy the 50% less salt variety)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves (yes, that is 2 Tablespoons, and that is very important)
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons Maldon or other sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter.

Thoroughly toss the toasted nuts in the spiced butter and serve warm. Obsess.

These keep really, really well for about a week. If I am taking to a party and want them to still be warm, I line a cookie tin with foil, and make the nuts just before I hit the road. The cookie tin will keep them nice and warm for quite some time.


Healthy Restaurant Food

From an article today in Eat This, Not That by Men’s Health:  The 20 Best Restaurant Foods In America.


AFF Cocktail

I’ve never been to The Backstage Bar, (in Culver City), which apparently calls itself “the best dive bar in the world”, but any bar that is 75 years old might meet that description! 

LA Times published this drink recipe by their bartender, that sounds just great.  Next time I’m playing mixologist, I’m definitely giving this a try.   The name is short for the “unprintable praise” that a customer said when the bartender served it to her.  It was close to “Absolutely —  Fabulous!”

The AFF by Steve Chen:

1  ounce Absolut Raspberri

1/2 ounce Chambord

1/2 ounce peach schnapps

Splash fresh lime juice

2 ounces cranberry juice

Shake all the ingredients together and pour over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with a cherry and a lime.

Birthday Dinner at Marrakesh

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The BOB team helped me celebrate my birthday this week with a great dinner at Marrakesh in Costa Mesa.  The interior transports you to another mood, with the fabric tent ceiling, low couches, pillows, music and belly dancing.  The food is great too.  All the “feasts” include Freshly baked bread, Vegetable soup with lentils, tomatoes and garbanzo beans.  The Salads platter has Three Traditional Moroccan Salads: marinated eggplant, tomatoes and cucumbers, spiced carrots.  My favorite course is Bastilla: Filo dough stuffed with chicken, eggs and almonds baked and covered with powdered sugar and cinnamon.  We had entrees ranging from braised lamb to lemon chicken, rabbit, and all of it was really tasty.   Fresh Mint Tea is poured from up high into glass cups and served with homemade Baklava.  We had a great time with the dancer, who was a great sport.  Great place for a group celebration, and I’m really glad the team thought of taking me here!

P.S. Thanks to Taylor for all the great photos!!

Birthday Lunch at Andrea – Pelican Hill Resort

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Had a special birthday lunch at Andrea Restaurant at the Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach.  Terrace table had a lovely distant view of the ocean.  Wine was Rochioli 2008 Chardonnay – with honey and apricot tones.  I had visited this winery in Healdsburg a few years ago, and really respect what they do.  All their wines are great. 

Starters included 18 month aged San Daniele prosciutto with wine-marinated cantaloupe, and clams steamed in wine and garlic.  Main courses were rolled sole with spinach and sea bass tortelli with prawns in a leek emulsion.  Eye-rollingly good!  The pastas are made in house daily.  Dessert was Chocolate ganache bar, cocoa nib tuile, hazelnut crunch gelato, Frangelico sauce.  Ambiance was restful, with really pleasant service.  All in all a most delightful experience. Definitely planning a trip back.

Oh, and then I went to their spa and had a great massage, enjoyed their steam room, Jacuzzi, lounge with water feature, teas, snacks, ahhhhh……

Buy Organic – Don’t Eat the “Dirty Dozen”

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has published its annual list of the “Dirty Dozen” – the foods most likely to contain pesticides if not farmed organically.  This list is scary, because shiny, hard surfaced things like apples are in the list.  They also have a list of the cleanest foods, and they say switching from Dirty to Clean will eliminate 92% of the chemicals you consume in fruits and vegetables.  Of course if you are lucky enough to live close to a farmer’s market, or even a whole foods, you can easily get organic substitutes.  I’ve become a convert in the past year, and I really think there is a qualitative difference too, not just safety!

Spiced Rice With Nectarines

Another great side recipe from this month’s Food Network Magazine.

Recipe:  Spiced Rice With Nectarines on the Food Network.