Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rosemary Honey Spiced Almonds and Parmesan Crackers - A Busted Picnic

Possibly the longest blog post in our history: Rosemary Honey Spiced Almonds and Parmesan Crackers - A Busted Picnic. The weather in the Pacific Northwest is a fickle and manipulative beast sometimes. Just when you think you're IN THERE and it's going to be a great weekend, it pours. Just when you think you're going to start growing moss in your hair, the rain stops and it's gorgeous. Lesson #1 for living in or visiting the Pacific Northwest - HAVE A PLAN B. 

SO, as you may have gathered from the title, we were going to have a picnic, and from paragraph one, you may have also gathered, the weather mixed things up. Luckily in our almost 9 years up here, we've learned. Living room picnic it was.

For our picnic, I'd made Rosemary Honey Spiced Almonds and Parmesan Crackers (I also made No Knead Bread and Mango Chili Chicken Salad, and those are already posted.)

Rosemary Honey Spiced Almonds - from Recipes Interrupted
Preheat oven to 325
Makes 1 cup

1 cup unsalted almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Mix honey, oil, rosemary and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until the honey and oil are well mixed. Stir in the almonds and toss until the nuts are all very well coated.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour nuts and all of the honey mixture onto the paper. Spread out nuts so they have lots of space. Bake at 325 until nuts are well toasted and the honey mixture has set, about 15-20 minutes (I pulled these out at 17 minutes.) Turn the pan once in the middle of baking for even cooking. 

Let the nuts cool completely on the pan and then break up any clusters. DELICIOUS. Maybe my new faves, even over these Spiced Nuts. Oh man, I don't know... very different flavors... I will make both again and again!

Parmesan Crackers - from Ina Garten
Preheat oven to 350
Makes about 2 dozen crackers

1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup shredded Parmesan 
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 heaping teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In a stand mixer, or with awesome arm muscles, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add in the cheese, flour and spices and blend until all ingredients are combined. Dough will be very crumbly.

Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until the dough starts to stick together. In a sheet of plastic wrap start to form a log about 12-14 inches long, like making a sushi roll. 

Once the log is formed, place in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Remove when the log is firm and slice into 1/4 inch slices and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. These crackers keep their shape well, so you can place them pretty close together. 

Bake for about 20-22 minutes or until crackers are very lightly browned. Let them cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

While our outdoor picnic was a bust, the indoor picnic was almost as good... but par for the course, as soon as we had cancelled our plans and set out the food on the coffee table, out came the sun. We shook our heads and grabbed some wine. Sometimes its all you can do.

A few things about these recipes... 
I love making crackers. For some reason it makes me really feel like I'm cooking. These are great too!
I think these crackers would be GREAT with sage in place of the thyme. 
These nuts were insanely easy. Great for an impromptu visit.

Made this time last year...

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