Tag Archive: entertaining


Sweet and Spicy Nuts

With this weekend comes Superbowl Sunday. Like most Americans, I will be watching, even though I really don’t care much about the game itself. I’m a die-hard Patriots fan, so, sadly, I haven’t needed to watch a  football game in almost a month. But, I know my husband will want to tune in and I won’t deprive him of that simple pleasure, even though I’d rather watch pretty much anything else.

So, since I hate the Steelers with the fire of a thousand suns (because their quarterback is a rapist) and the Packers are probably not going to win, I’ve decided to focus on the snacks. Snacks that will keep me happy while I watch two unlikeable teams play a dirty football game punctuated by some clever commercial breaks.

This is one of those snacks. It’s a happy snack.

It seems deceptively simple – spiced nuts are pretty basic and don’t require much effort. But, when I originally made these to munch on during the Pats first home game this season, my husband declared them “dangerously good” and started requesting them on a fairly regular basis.  So, I make them a lot and every time I do, he rewards me by joking that he’s lucky to have married a woman who’s so good with nuts. Oy. Oy vey.

But I do agree that they ARE good. What could be bad about crunchy, roasted nuts coated in a sweet, smoky, spicy glaze? Oh yeah. The fact that they’re addictively delicious and will be gone before halftime.

More Superbowl snacks to come this week.

Sweet and Spicy Nuts

(adapted from Real Simple)

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chipotle powder
  • 2 cups lightly salted nuts (Mixed nuts are fine, but this also works well with a single variety. I like using almonds or cashews.)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white, brown sugar, and spices. Add the nuts and toss to coat. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading evenly. Bake 15 minutes or until the coating is set.

Cool and enjoy!

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Sumac Hummus with Pita Chips

I love when my travels take me through Inman Square. It’s a really eclectic neighborhood and a tasty place to visit, so I tend to linger there, paying visits to my favorite sandwich shop and the wonderful ice cream parlor just a bit further down the street. I fill my belly, I people-watch, I let the day slow down and I savor it like something delicious.

When I’ve had my fill of sandwiches and ginger-molasses (or chocolate orange…or burnt caramel…or almond khulfee) ice cream, I make my way over to the spice shop adjacent to the ice cream parlor. Never mind Inman Square or even the greater Boston area, this shop is one of my favorite places on Earth. When you walk in the door, you’re hit by the intoxicating, almost hypnotic smells of spices from every corner of the world.  Every available inch of the store is stocked with oils, vinegars, condiments, herbs, teas, tinctures, spices, and every type of grain, flour, and bean you can imagine. I never seem to make it out of there without bags full of hard-to-find pantry staples, like bitter orange, zaatar, harissa, baharat, smoked salt, and lots of different dried mushrooms and chiles. I also never leave without buying something new to add to my spice rack.

Being a huge fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, I love zaatar, which is a widely used spice blend. However, one of the components of zaatar – ground sumac berries – always seemed like an unnecessary purchase because it’s already in the zaatar, mellowed by thyme and sesame. But, during my last visit, I decided to buy it anyway and I’m so glad I did. On its own, it’s tart and bright, with a subtle herbal quality that complements pretty much everything.

I’ve been playing around with it for a few weeks and it’s been a delicious experience. I already have a few solid, sumac-spiced main dishes in my recipe arsenal, all of which I’ll share with you eventually, but since the Superbowl is coming up, I thought I’d make you a sumac snack!

Sumac Hummus with Pita Chips

  • 2 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 small lemons (preferably meyer), zested and juiced
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2-3 tablespoons tahini, to taste (I prefer less tahini, but feel free to adjust it to your taste)
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil, fresh parsley, sumac, black pepper for garnish

Pour the chickpeas into the food processor and pulse to mash. Add the garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and water, then allow it to mix for about one minute to combine thoroughly. Add the tahini and sumac, then, with the food processor running, slowly stream in the olive oil. Season with salt. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley, a little more sumac, and a few grinds of black pepper.

This hummus pairs well with veggies, olives, and…

Pita Chips

  • 4 whole pitas, cut into triangles
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon zaatar, if you’ve got it/want it (a 1/2 teaspoon each of dried thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, sumac, and cumin will work, too)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss thoroughly to coat. Spread the pita triangles out on a large baking sheet, making sure they’re evenly spaced to allow for even toasting.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Serve with hummus or your favorite dip.