Candied Pecans

A few weeks ago, my friends and I were having a post-gym Whole Foods tryst.  Yes, we go to Whole Foods after the gym.  At 9:30pm. Whatever.  One of my friends found something that I'm calling the "Nut Bar". No snickering.  This is serious talk here.  The Nut Bar at Whole Foods is sort of like a candy bar.  A variety of nuts are displayed in a case and you can choose which one(s) you want, or you can mix-and-match.  Whatever you desire.

This find immediately kicked our killer taste testing skills into high gear.  Resoundingly, our favorite type of nut was a pumpkin spiced pecan.  This was honestly the best candied pecan I had ever tasted.  I could have eaten a pound of this stuff, which was why I didn't buy any.  Know thyself.

However, the universe seems to realize that I can only hold out so long.  Recently, I woke up to a post by JTB (aka Joy The Baker) in which she blogged about a candied pecan biscotti she had recently made.  Though I won't turn it down, I'm not a huge fan of biscotti.  What really caught my eye was the mention of candied pecans.  Do you mean I can make my own candied pecans at home?  Oh yes.  I had hit the jackpot.

I found a bag of pecans in the cupboard.  They may have been living in the cupboard for quite a while.  I don't want to talk about it.  Let's get down to business.

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How To De-Seed A Pomegranate

Did you know that it's pomegranate season?  Why yes, it is.

I've always loved pomegranates, but this year I really got a hankering to nosh on those tart little addictive seeds (a.k.a. arils).

Did you know that you can purchase these tiny arils in convenient packages in select grocery stores?

Did you also know that they will cost you an arm and a leg?

Yeah.  About that...

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Strawberry Infused Vodka

I've got a new obsession.  Let's be clear.  I have a new obsession every few weeks, but this one is cracking me up.  It's called a podcast.  And they're funny, people.  Hilarious.

Let me stop here for a minute.  I know that many of you are already familiar with such things as a podcast.  But if you don't know, I'll explain.  A podcast is similar to a radio broadcast.  It's just broadcast across the internet instead of across the airwaves.  Just as with regular radio shows, these podcasts have themes and regular hosts.  They don't have to be funny, but why would you listed to a podcast if it wasn't entertaining?

My favorite podcast these days is hosted by Joy The Baker.  And even though it's called the Joy The Baker podcast, Joy is actually having a discussion with Tracy from the Shutterbean blog.  They talk about everything that you care about, everything that you don't care about, and sometimes they even talk about food.  They have the most hilarious commentary ever and it's totally worth listening to every week.

What does this have to do with infusing vodka? I'll tell you.  In one of these podcasts, Tracy mentioned that she likes to infuse strawberries into vodka.  I'm not mad at her. I love this idea and ran out to purchase mason jars to do the exact same thing myself.

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Roasted Tomatoes: Two Ways

Can you feel it getting warmer? Yep, it's almost summertime!

In preparation for the summer and my long-awaited return to the Union Square Green Market, I picked up some grape tomatoes for some pre-summer roasting in the kitchen. Because I could.

The inspiration for this snack is the roasted tomatoes in the salad that comes with the Warm Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tart at Balthazar Restaurant in NYC. Are you still with me after that explanation?

I wasn't exactly sure how to roast tomatoes since I'd never done it before, but really, how hard could it be?

Apparently there are two ways you can do this. The slow-roasted way, or the quick and dirty way. (There's no real methodology called "quick and dirty", but you get the idea.)

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Tomatillo Salsa

This is one of my favorite. salsas. ever.

Not only is it green (I like the color green), but it's also tangy and spicy and perfect over a piece of grilled chicken or eaten on it's own with a tortilla chip.

I was first introduced to this little gem when I visited my friend, Matt, in Austin, TX a while ago. He pulled out a batch of this stuff and I knew I needed the recipe.

Except that he doesn't really use recipes. But he was able to give me some guidelines and recommendations so I could run with it. Here ya go!

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Basil Pesto

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a huge fan of basil. Give me basil any day of the week and I'm a happy camper. (If you really want to make me happy, throw a little cheese into the mix.)

This led to my discovery that I really needed some pesto in my life. After all, think of all the uses for basil pesto:

- Toss it with some pasta

- Use it as a topping for meats or vegetables

- Spread it on bruschetta

- Add it to a grilled cheese (or any sandwich)

I'm sure there are additional ways to use basil pesto that I don't even know about yet! The possibilities are endless...

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