Yesterday’s post featured Cinnamon Pecans. And a picture of two others treats, Honey Candied Walnuts and Crispy Roasted Chickpeas. That’s them pictured again in the two spoon-sized portions above.
The walnuts, from Alice Waters, are divine on their own but Alice mentions all the potential uses. They pair well with fruit and cheese, either on an appetizer plate or in a salad. These nuts would be a surprise sprinkled on a baked sweet potato or buried deep in a quesadilla filled with pork. While this version uses walnuts, pecans and pistachios are good substitutes. Of course, because honey is key ingredient here, and because honey comes in a zillion flavors, there is the potential for creative variability. Pick your honey. And your walnut, too, for they come with their own range of wonderful flavors.
Chickpeas are the core of hummus, ideally soft, creamy and lightly lemoned. Here is a recipe that goes to the opposite extreme. The chickpeas are roasted until crisp, then rolled in a spicy mixture that will turn you to drink. I suggest something with higher alcohol content than simple water. These treats are hot, and not just moderately hot.
Honey Candied Walnuts
Yield: 2 cups
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup water
- 2 cups walnuts
In a deep saucepan, combine the sugar, honey and water, while stirring. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the walnuts.
Stir, mixing well, for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and let the nuts steep in the syrup for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the nuts into a strainer and drain well. Spread the drained nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Properly candied nuts should feel slightly sticky and look light golden and shiny. Remove the nuts from the oven and cool completely before using. The nuts can be stored in an airtight container in the pantry for up to a month.
Source: The Art of Simple Food II by Alice Waters
Crispy Roasted Chickpeas
Yield: serves 4
- One 15-ounce can chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels.
In a colander, drain and rinse the chickpeas. Remove as much water as you can, then pour the chickpeas onto the lined baking sheet and place another paper towel on top of them. Roll the chickpeas around between the towels to dry the chickpeas and removes some of their loose, thin skins. Remove the paper towels (from the top and bottom) and add the olive oil, tossing to coat well. Roast the chickpeas for 30 to 40 minutes, until they are golden brown and crispy.
Meanwhile, combine the salt, cumin, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl. Removed the chickpeas from the oven and immediately sprinkle them with the spice mixture, tossing to distribute the mixture and evenly coat the chickpeas. Let cool before serving. The chickpeas will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Source: Lunch by Gale Gand
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EF-S 60MM Macro Lens, F/2.8, 1/60th second, ISO-3200
Yesterday I compared the spectrum of quick summer fruit desserts you can assemble: cobblers, crumbles, betties, grunts, slumps, … And I suggested that you can pair any of them with vanilla ice cream. Flo Braker has another idea: whipped cream sauce.
Have you ever eaten just whipped cream? Just the cream. No vanilla, no sugar. Just the cream. If the cream is fresh, it’s delightful. The lesson there is that a point of whipped cream does not actually need a half cup of sugar when you whip it. Not that the cream won’t hold it. It can. But, should it?
Flo’s version here uses little sugar, which is a surprise because she does add considerable sour. The cream is whipped with crème fraiche producing a concoction that your taste buds will immediately notice. For desserts, such as a berry cobbler, that’s exactly the flavor addition you want. Cobbler and crumbles are invariable sweet. The fruit is almost always dressed with sugar before baking.
So, out of the oven, comes a bundle hot sweetness. Pair that with the cool tang of this whipped cream and you have a sublime combination.
A second helping combination.
Whipped Cream Sauce
Yield: 3 cups
- 2 cups cold heavy cream, as fresh as possible
- 1 cup crème fraiche
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, crème fraiche and the sugar just until very softly whipped. You’ll want this topping to slowly “flow” over the dessert, not stand rigidly and impolitely on its own.
Cover and refrigerate until serving.