Let's talk about appetizers and snacks. Every year I think more about what I'm serving with drinks when people come over for Thanksgiving than I do the actual meal. Of course, I already know this particular meal like the back of my hand. In my house the request is always for the traditional without too much variation unless it's a side dish or an extra dessert. So the bird and the fixings are long planned. But the snacks before hand always require more thought.
People will be here for quite a while before the dinner is ready. They will have a pitcher of cocktails and they will want to snack. Cheese and crackers, of course. Cut up vegetables with hummus is a long standing house favorite. Crunchy roasted cumin chickpeas are a welcome addition. But we need nuts.
It's tempting to just buy a jar of roasted mixed nuts from the store but I always feel like there's nothing especially holiday about it and there's never the correct amount of whichever nut happens to be your favorite. Plus, nothing beats the smell of freshly roasted nuts coming out of your oven.
Fortunately, making your own blend is wonderfully quick and simple. You can, of course, choose whichever nuts you like although the walnuts, almonds and pistachios are the ones found most often on a Middle Eastern table. As for the spices, I went full holiday here with lots of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, just a teeny bit of cloves and the wonderfully fragrant cardamom. Middle Eastern inspired holiday tastes and smells and your guests will be wooed as soon as they walk in. And, as a bonus, these nuts are also great for snacking even after the holidays. Football Sundays come to mind. Enjoy!
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 Teaspoon water
- 1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 Teaspoon table salt
- 1/8 Teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 Teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 Teaspoon cardamom
- Tiny pinch of ground cloves (or to taste)
- 1/4 Cup raw walnuts
- 1/4 Cup raw almonds
- 1/4 Cup raw shelled pistachios
- 1/4 Teaspoon sea salt for finishing
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Add the butter to a pot and melt on the stovetop on low heat. Stir in the honey, sugar, water, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and ground cloves. Continue stirring until melted and fully combined.
- Stir in the walnuts, almonds and pistachios and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven for 10 - 12 minutes, being careful not to burn the nuts. Sprinkle with the sea salt.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||19 g|
|Saturated Fat||5 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||7 g|
|Dietary Fiber||3 g|