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!

Crab Rangoon Egg Rolls

I have mentioned this in the past, but my wife is a total fan of crab rangoon, and now my middle son is as well. What’s not to love about a crab rangoon? A little wonton purse loaded with cream cheese, crab, scallions, and simple seasonings, all bursting into your mouth in a couple of bites. I’ll admit, I love them to, and it is something we commonly default to as an appetizer if going out for American-Chinese food. Lately I had a real hankering for some crab rangoon, but I did not feel like making a bunch of wontons. It can be time consuming, so after I gave it a couple of seconds of thought, I decided I would come up with the crab rangoon egg roll.

Crab Rangoon Egg Rolls Recipe
Crab Rangoon Egg Rolls Recipe

These crab rangoon egg rolls take a lot less time to make, and yield one whopper of an egg roll. It’s a one and done type of egg roll due to the richness of the cream cheese, but that one is so darn good.

Let’s get started. Keep in mind that you can half this recipe for about 8 egg rolls, however I doubled as I knew I would reuse the mixture for an upcoming holiday get together.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 sticks of imitation crab, chopped
  • 7 oz claw crab meat, drained
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 package of egg roll wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups of canola oil
  • sweet and sour sauce, hot mustard sauce, or your favorite dipping sauce

Start by getting a medium sized mixing bowl ready. Add the bars of cream cheese, add the worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, crab meats, and scallions. Using a form or spoon, mix thoroughly. Just make sure everything is nicely incorporated before putting into your egg roll wrapper.

Ingredients for Crab Rangoon Egg Rolls
Ingredients for Crab Rangoon Egg Rolls

Next it is time to wrap your egg rolls. Get a couple of plates out.

One one plate, add the egg roll wrapper, diamond style, meaning the points facing you. Add a heaping tablespoon into the lower center of the wrapper. DO NOT over stuff these babies. Next, take the point nearest you and fold over the mixture, gently pulling back to you. Roll one time, then fold over the side points. Continue to roll just until about done, leaving about an inch or so, then brush on some of the beaten egg onto that point. Continue to roll, sealing the egg roll.

Repeat with however many egg rolls you desire.

To a medium size pot, enough to house a few egg rolls to cook, add the canola oil, and bring to a medium heat, just until about 350 degrees.

Add a few egg rolls, being careful not to overcrowd, and cook until golden brown. This only takes a matter of minutes. Once golden, remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate, and repeat. Let these cool for a few minutes before biting into them. They are piping hot.

Once you are ready to dig in, give a dunk into your favorite dipping sauce, and prepare yourself to an unreal crab rangoon experience. Creamy, rich, crunchy, and just down right delicious. This one really lives up to its name, but in egg roll form. My wife and I joked and said ‘this egg roll probably equates to 4 regular crab rangoons, right?’. If you are looking for something neat, and a one and done, give this one a shot. It’s a great appetizer, and perfect this holiday season.

Keep in mind that any leftover mixture can be stored or frozen and used in other things such as a crab rangoon grilled cheese, or a cranberry crab rangoon, you get the idea. 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!

Thai Style Beef Jerky

My kids go nuts over beef jerky, or heck any type of jerky for that matter. It almost sits on the fence of borderline ridiculous as if they have a bag of eat, they pretty much would devour the entire bag, and let’s face it, beef jerky is not that cheap. With that being said, I wanted to introduce them to a Thai style beef jerky that you often find in Asian markets, homemade to say the least. Thai style beef jerky, in my opinion, is a bit sweeter and is lightly coated with sesame seeds. Not only that but once dried, it is lightly fried giving it a wonderful chew. My kids don’t know it yet, but this stuff is a great game day snack and pairs perfectly with a cold beer. (Note, I don’t have the final photo as my kids pretty much devoured the entire batch. Regardless, you get the idea from the photos, I hope.)

Thai Style Beef Jerky Recipe
Thai Style Beef Jerky Recipe

Let’s get started.

  • 2 lbs of beef eye of round roast, or something lean
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp Maggi seasoning
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • .5 oz of sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Start by trimming any fat away from the beef. Once removed, thinly slice the beef into about 1/8 inch slices, not too thin, but definitely not too thick. I find it best to lightly freeze the beef before slicing, and using a sharp knife as well.

To a mixing bowl, add the ginger, sugar, garlic, salt, Maggi seasoning, soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Add in the beef, and using both hands, mix really, really well. Wash those hands, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.

The following day, preheat your oven to the lowest temperature. Mine only goes down to 170, and that is fine. You can also air dry this, laying the beef on your oven racks, and using a fan to constantly blow air on them. Or, you can use your food dehydrator if you have one. I don’t, but really, really want one.

Take your oven racks out. I used all three of mine, and lay the beef along the racks. Some of my cuts were shorter, others longer, but just make sure they are not touching one another, and that they lay on the rack. This can be a bit messy, so I laid paper towel on my counter to make cleaning up a bit easier.

Carefully place the racks back into the oven, and slowly cook these for about 3-5 hours on low and until they are the texture of beef jerky.

When you are ready to make them, after the jerky phase, heat a medium skillet on medium heat, adding the oil, and place however many pieces of jerky that can fit, into the heated oil, and lightly fry for a few minutes per side. Remove, place onto some paper towel, repeat, and then dig in.

My kids were so stoked, not only that there was almost an endless amount of jerky, but a new jerky at that. The sweetness from the sugar, and that balance of ginger and garlic really make this jerky a real winner. Hope you enjoy, and if you want to donate a dehydrator for me, that would be awesome! Kidding.