Snacking Nuts

The holiday season is full of gatherings with friends.  I made this snack mix to put out while having a drink before going out to dinner.  I didn’t want everyone to fill up, but there is something nice about having a small snack with your beverage.  This is easy and will last in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks, so you can cover Christmas and New Years with one baking.  This would also make for a nice host/hostess gift with a bottle of wine or box of chocolates.

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I found this recipe on the Food and Wine website, perfect amount of sweet and savory without overbearing the natural nut flavors.

Ingredients:

2 cups almonds
2 cups pecans
2 cups walnuts
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup (heaping)
2 Tbsp of fresh chopped rosemary and thyme
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (heaping)
salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Toss to combine all ingredients except the salt and pepper in a large bowl.

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3. Spread out mixture on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.
4. When you remove them from the oven sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and stir 1-2 more times while cooling.

2013-12-21 14.57.57Enjoy!

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Ginger Glazed Pork

It was feeling a little crisp in the air, so I decided it was time for a “fall” meal.  Obviously I turned to pork and root vegetables, standard.  For the pork I searched around for a recipe that I have used in the past that I got from a friend.  It was something to do with maple syrup, shallots, and mustard, but I couldn’t find it.  I ended up using a recipe I found on the food network site and loosely following it.

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Ingredients:

-4 to 6 pork loins about 1 inch thick

-1 heaping Tbsp fresh grated ginger

-2 garlic cloves, minced

-1/2 cup maple syrup

-2 Tbsp mustard

-salt and pepper

-olive oil

Directions:

1. Start by seasoning the pork with salt and pepper, generously.  Try to do this about 30 minutes before you want to put it on to cook.  If it’s closer to room temperature it helps it to cook more evenly (or so says the internet) and not get a ring around the edges (like mine).

2. Heat a large skillet and add olive oil to the bottom to coat the pan.  When it’s nice and hot with little waves in the oil, sear the pork on both sides for 3-4 minutes.  I wasn’t sure if this was the exact amount of time, but you want it to sear and start cooking without being totally done.   Remove and set on a clean plate.

3.  In the hot skillet add more olive oil if necessary to coat the bottom of the pan, then add the garlic and ginger.  Let this cook for 2-3  minutes before adding the maple syrup and mustard.  Stir for about 2-3 minutes before adding the pork back to the pan to simmer for 5-6 minutes, flipping once.

I was having issues with splattering oil and maple syrup, so I put a lid partially over the skillet…this may have interfered with the thickening of the sauce, so I had to cook it a little longer to thicken up.

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For the final plating I used some of the left-over coleslaw from BBQ night and made bacon roasted cauliflower and beets (recipe to come).  I think in the future I will try to marinade the pork in some kind of ginger and and white wine concoction to infuse a little more flavor to the center of the meat, but the glaze makes a nice coating of flavor.