Thursday, December 02, 2010
Yesterday I decided to abandon the lists. Baking sounded indulgent; relaxing; vacation-like. I made my neat little piles of spices, and prepared to roast some nuts.
Spiced nuts scream southern hospitality. They are perfect to wrap up for little hostess gifts or have on hand in case people stop by unexpectedly. I like them best with a glass of bubbly, but I like anything best with a glass of bubbly.
This recipe is nothing fancy, or hard, but it made me feel productive, like I was doing something worthy of a big fat mark of accomplishment. Shortly after I pulled the fragrant nuts from the oven, all hell broke loose. I spent hours on the telephone with my agent. The knots in my neck tied themselves into ever deeper coils. I thought about throwing something across the room.
Instead when my stomach screamed, I grabbed a handful of nuts and poured myself a very large glass of wine. These kicky, spicy, savory, bits totally hit the spot, even if I did feel like a 1950s angst filled writer, noshing away on salty nuts and pink wine before 5PM.
Later, my mom baked me brownies and served them warm with melty vanilla ice cream. But that's a whole other story.
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
5 cups pecan halves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine the salt, black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon and brown sugar. Toss pecans with melted butter and spices till nuts are well coated. Spread the pecans on a large, rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes, until fragrant. Stir, than toast 5 to 7 minutes more.