Indian Style Spiced and Glazed Cashews

I thought of just posting photos of food, but that would just be Instagram or Facebook, right? There is a rhyme to my reason, and that being said is to have this as part of my virtual memoir for my family. It’s part of that story where one of them is going to say ‘what was that awesome food Dad made that one day?’. That’s what this is about. This particular is only due to the fact that I went to Costco (yep) and purchased a crap load of cashews. Not only were they great sampling, hence why I bought them, but I figured I was going to create something out of them. When I brought them home, my wife started snacking on them, like her daily dose of almonds. I knew I made the right decision, so when my family left to run errands, I decided to come up with a spiced up cashew snack that I knew she would love (my kids, not so much).  Indian style spiced and glazed cashews that were addicting.

Indian Spiced and Glazed Cashews Recipe
Indian Spiced and Glazed Cashews Recipe

Let’s get this started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of plain cashews
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp curry powder (make your own)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of water

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees.

Next, on a medium heat on a large skillet, add the butter, and sugar. Toss in the water and nuts and cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes. You want the water to pretty much evaporate, and the butter and sugar to caramelize those nuts.

Indian Spiced and Glazed Cashews Recipe
Indian Spiced and Glazed Cashews Recipe

Excellente. Toss those suckers as well as you don’t want those cashews to burn. Adjust the heat as necessary but keep them from burning.

Once you have a great glaze on those cashews, remove them from the heat, and add them to a large bowl (or whatever holds the amount of cashews) and toss in the spice mix.

Toss well, or use a spoon to make sure the glaze and spice gets all over those nuts.

Line a baking sheet, or in my case a cast iron skillet, with parchment paper, and layer the spiced cashews.

Place into the oven and cook for about 12-15 minutes or until they look delicious and you cannot wait any longer.

You want to talk about great Indian spices, and an awesome nut, well sit around a small bowl of these and you have it going on. I hope you enjoy!

Dill Pickle Soup

I was first introduced to Dill Pickle Soup over a year ago at one of Milwaukee’s annual, ethnic festivals, Polish Fest. If you have never been to Milwaukee, please come from June-August as there are so many fun things to do, including an ethnic festival that takes over a major downtown park every week. The one we went to was Polish fest. I have no idea why, as none of us our Polish, but I wanted to give my kids a glimpse into some of their culture, plus I knew they would love a Polish sausage, which would lure them into a couple of attractions. For me, well, it was to try new things, and things I would typically not run into on a regular basis. That’s when I saw dill pickle soup.

Dill Pickle Soup Recipe
Dill Pickle Soup Recipe

At first glance of those words, I thought there is no freaking way this is going to be good, but hey, it’s worth a try. So as I ordered sausages for my kids, and something else for my wife, I went all in and dove into this cup of dill pickle soup. At first glance it looks like a vegetable soup, then when sticking my nose to the rim of the cup, I could smell that dill flavor coming through. Don’t get me wrong, I love pickles, especially dill pickles, but in soup? What were these Polish folks thinking? It’s soup season in Wisconsin (yes, it’s currently -6 degrees), and I figured this one would warm the soul.

Let’s get started.

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 whole carrots, trimmed, and finely diced (I used my food processor)
  • 1 whole leek, cleaned, thinly diced (I used my food processor)
  • 1 whole russet potato, peeled, and cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 5 cups of chicken stock, low sodium
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups of dill pickle juice
  • 4 dill pickle spears, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • Some good crusty bread, optional

Sounds great already, and trust me it is.

Start by getting your soup pot on the stove. Add in your butter, on medium-high heat, and let that melt down. Toss in your carrots, leeks, jalapeno, and potatoes, and give that a good stir. Continue to stir for about 3-5 minutes.

Dill Pickle Soup Ingredients
Dill Pickle Soup Ingredients

Next, add the chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat, and bring to a simmer. Check on your potatoes from time to time, and once they are knife tender, add in the pickle juice, pickles, Old Bay, salt, and pepper.

Give that a good stir. Now, to a small bowl, add the water, sour cream, and flour. Whisk until you have a smooth mixture. This will be a small thickening agent for the soup, plus it gives a bit of great, mild sourness from the sour cream.

After a few minutes, take your whisk, and your sour cream mixture, and slowly begin whisking it into the soup. Keep whisking throughout the process. Once all of the sour cream mixture is in the pot, give another good whisk, then cover, and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.

Dill Pickle Soup Recipe
Dill Pickle Soup Recipe

Now you are ready to serve. Ladle into your soup bowl, or cup, and dig in.

What were these Polish folks thinking? I’ll tell you what, they were thinking that this bowl of soup would be nothing but delicious. Again, at first glance you think it is vegetable soup, but when bringing the soup spoon closer, you get that mild dill pickle aroma, with the subtle taste when spooning it in. My daughter, who ‘can’t stand’ pickles, at her bowl of soup. I was surprised, and upon her first or second bite she asked ‘are there pickles in this?’, and I said yes, she kept her face down, her bread dunked, and kept at it.

If you are skeptical, give it a try. My neighbors brought over a bear soup yesterday, and I traded up with my dill pickle soup. He, being Polish, had never had this type of soup, so it will be interested to get his take on it, once I see him after it begins to warm up in the great white north. Enjoy!

Garlic and Sage Fries

This past weekend, like most folks in my area, I was out in the yard pulling weeds and hacking down plants only to get ready for the winter. As I walked past one of our planting areas, I realized I had not used a lot of the sage I had planted in the Spring. Sure, I’ve made a couple batches of pasta with sage and brown butter for my kids, and thinking of how much I love sage, especially this time of year, I decided that I would pull a nice handful and come up with a side dish with some roasted chicken I was about to make for dinner. These garlic and sage fries were not only loaded with flavor, but they were baked until crisp and were a perfect side dish for that roasted chicken.

Garlic and Sage Fries Recipe
Garlic and Sage Fries Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 8 yukon gold potatoes, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup of fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • generous pinch of salt
  • grated parmesan cheese, optional

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.

Soak your sliced potatoes in cold water for about 5 minutes, then strain, and rinse them, and pat them dry.

Add them to a large bowl, add the garlic, sage, olive oil, and salt, and give a nice toss to make sure the potatoes are lightly coated.

Garlic and Sage Fries
Garlic and Sage Fries

Add the fries to a baking sheet (I like to add parchment paper for easier cleanup), and place into the oven and cook for about 25 minutes or until they are crisp on the outside, and tender on the inside.

Remove, plate, and shower with parmesan cheese.

Talk about a winner, these things didn’t last long on our dinner table, and if you are roasting that chicken along with it, make some grave, and drizzle some of that love all over those fries. Hope you enjoy!

Loaded Baked Potato Muffins

With one of my most recent recipes, the pizza muffins, I kept thinking as to what to make using the muffin tins as the pizza muffins were such a huge hit. To me the muffin tin is a bit like the waffle iron. As soon as you start tinkering and making great things with the waffle iron, then it gets you thinking of other creative ideas, much like the muffin tin. So with a recent Sunday meal, and one of my favorite meals of all time (chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn), I decided to come up with a twist of the mashed potatoes, and use the muffin tin to make loaded mashed potato muffins. Talk about crazy good, this is it!

Loaded Baked Potato Muffins
Loaded Baked Potato Muffins Recipe

First let me start by saying that I love mashed potatoes, but really love loaded mashed potatoes. Maybe it’s the texture of the bacon, or heck maybe it is just the bacon, but the combination of everything really made this meal shine.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 russet potatoes, skins peeled and removed, and cut into cubes
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • cooking spray

Start by adding your potatoes to a pot of cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook until fork tender, about 25 minutes or so.

During this time, cook your bacon, and slice your green onions.

When the potatoes are tender, strain them and return them back to the heat to evaporate any remaining water. Once evaporated, season with salt and pepper, and mash them however you desire. I use a ricer on mine as I like the nice, and smooth texture.  Add the potatoes to a mixing bowl, and add in the bacon, butter, and green onions. Give this a good mix, then taste and adjust any salt or pepper to your liking.

 

Loaded Baked Potato Muffin Ingredients
Loaded Baked Potato Muffin Ingredients

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. During this time, spray the inside of the muffin tins with the cooking spray. Spoon the loaded mashed potatoes into each muffin tin, about 90% to the top. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese, then place into the oven for about 20 minutes, allowing the cheese to melt and somewhat crisp up.

Remove from the oven, and serve. To remove the muffins, I used an offset spatula, but you can use a butter knife to work your way around each muffin tin, and gently lift out. If some get stuck, don’t worry as it’s going down with the rest of your meal.

These things were awesome. Everything I loved about a loaded baked potato but in muffin form. What’s not to love about that! The muffin tin pulled through once again, and that made this cook a very happy person. Hope you enjoy!