Saturday, December 26, 2015

Spiced Nuts and Everything Nice For X-Mas...

Getting together with my family over the holidays is precious--- our first with my entire side of the family together with my brother, his wife and son permanently back from Japan since January. At my parent's house, everyone was preparing something and I decided on a huge Caesar salad, and also a crunchy snack for pre- and post dinner munchies, like nuts which are awesome after we polish off our meal, dessert, clear the table and bust out the hard alcohol :). I've come across many alluring spiced nut recipes over the years, but have yet to make my own concoction. Sweet spice is a favourite over the holidays but I personally gravitate towards savoury. I made my own with all the elements I love in such a cocktail nut mix-- the warm exotic flavours of coriander and cumin, jazzed with hints or garlic, onion and cayenne for kick bound together with egg white and Dijon mustard-- deliciously flavourful and crunchy that falls in the betcha'-can't-eat-one category! Use you favourite combination of nuts as long as you get 4 cups, and split your batch to make spicy and non-spicy offerings at your affair.

Spiced Nuts

Makes 4 cups

2-1/2 cups natural almonds
1 cup walnut halves
1/2 cup pepitas
2 egg whites
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 300 F. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and Dijon mustard until frothy; toss together nuts until coated. Combine spices in a small bowl and add to toss with nuts to coat. TIP: To make some non-spicy, divide batch in half and add cayenne to one; bake separately on baking sheet and serve/store in different marked containers.

Arrange the nuts in a single layer on parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and fragrant. Cool for one hour. Break the nuts into bite- sized pieces and place in serving bowls or store sealed in container for five days for freshness.

Here is how our Christmas night went at my parents.... My brother ever-the-artist created his own make-shift tall Christmas tree taping together tissue paper for strands covering a floor lamp... incredible!

My spiced nuts amongst other snacks...

Cooking up a feast with my dad...

Roasted veggies in turkey gravy, and salt and pepper shrimp.

Dad cutting up slabs of oven-roasted ham
My big hit Homemade Caesar Salad.

The feast is ready: Roasted Stuffed Turkey and Vegetables, Oven-Roasted Ham,  Roasted Beef, Sweet and Sour Cabbage Slaw, Caesar Salad, Chinese Vegetarian Medley, Steamed Choi Sum with Oyster Sauce, Salt and Pepper Shrimp, Shrimp and Artichoke Pasta Salad and Garlic Bread.

So nice to have my dad's brother Chef Uncle for together since he usually works Christmas Day. 

Let the crazy eating begin...

Crunchy spiced nuts to munch on are perfect along with after-dinner drinks...

 Some quiet gift unwrapping at home Christmas morning...

Before the frenetic chaos with all the cousins post dinner...

I hope everyone had a superb Christmas with your loved ones!

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