Whoa! Here we are! I am beyond excited to be finally welcoming you to my blog! A Pinch of Lemon has been in my head for OH SO VERY LONG! But, I am a skilled procrastinator – yes it’s true, I know you don’t believe me, but I need to be honest with you from post number one. Honesty is the most important quality to a good relationship and I intend to start off on the right foot with you! So, beginning today I am putting that “ambitious” slacker behind me and I am presenting myself to you as a serious and dedicated blogger. Bold statement right? I believe in putting it ALL out there and you can hold me to it! My aim is to inspire you about cooking, entertaining, hospitality and the exciting food scene that is happening around us. It get’s me so jazzed and I can’t wait to share my ideas, thoughts and whatnots with you! There will be recipes. There will be kitchen tips, entertaining tips and more. There will be interviews with my friends who are doing cool things with food. And then there will be…who knows!?! I will continue to tweak the recipe as we go because that IS what all we home-cooks do right? Right!
Since we are just getting to know each other I wanted to share something intimate about myself with you so that we can get to know each other better. My intimate secret…I LOVE TO SNACK. Oy! Do I love to snack, just ask my husband. In the evenings when TV time begins I don’t miss a beat, into the cupboard I go. The cupboard could be barren and I will still find something worth nibbling on. Half empty bag of tortilla chips! Awesome! Broken pieces of tortilla chips at the bottom of the bag, even better, those teeny crispy nubbins are a snackers heaven. Candy? Red Licorice. Hands down. Give me a classic Twizzler and I am one happy girl. Perhaps you have the Australian Variety to share? OMG! I’ll down that bag in seconds!
Right about now you are probably thinking, great, who cares, give us the recipe!! And you are absolutely right – I am new at this!!!
My first recipe for you is for my Harissa Spiced Almonds. Sometimes I must remind myself that I can do better than tortilla chip nubbins and red licorice, and that is where these nuts come into the picture! These slightly sweet, a little bit spicy, and, seriously addictive almonds are pretty close to the perfect snack. Whether they accompany you to couch for an evening with Olivia Pope, or perhaps you set them out to snack on with cocktails, or if you simply toss them into your workbag to nosh on throughout the day, these will not disappoint. Plus, they are almonds! You are going to feel very grown-up and proud of yourself for making the adult choice to snack on nuts instead of the stale tortilla chips! See what I did there, I have justified snacking!
Fiery Harissa Spiced Almonds
2 Tbsp. Harissa Sauce (or paste)
2 Tbsp. Honey
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Celery Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper + more for seasoning
1 ½ Tsp. Flaky Sea Salt + more for seasoning
1 tsp. Black Pepper, ground
2 Cups Raw Almonds
Granulated Sugar for seasoning
Preheat oven to 350⁰F and place rack in the center of the oven. While the oven is preheating prepare the almonds for roasting.
Into a medium sized mixing bowl combine the harissa paste, honey, olive oil, celery salt, cinnamon, ½ tsp. cayenne, 1 ½ tsp. salt and the black pepper. Using a whisk or a fork, mix the seasonings all together. When a gooey red paste has come together, stir in the almonds, getting them very well coated.
Next, prepare a 9 X 13 sized baking sheet by either covering it in aluminum foil or fitting it with parchment paper – you don’t have to line your pan with anything, but the clean-up will be painful if you don’t! Once the pan is ready, spread the sticky almonds onto the pan, using a wooden spoon or spatula to evenly spread the almonds across the pan.
Place the pan of almonds in the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, giving the nuts a good thorough stir every five minutes or so. While the almonds are in the oven combine equal parts of cayenne, salt and granulated sugar in a bowl, you will finish the almonds with this once they are out of the oven. The almonds can come out of the oven once they have achieved a nice rich brown color, they will still be sticky, but they quickly dry out once out of the oven. .
As soon as you have removed the pan from the oven, sprinkle the tops of the almonds with a generous amount of the cayenne, salt and sugar mixture that you made. Let the nuts sit for about a minute, give them another good stir, and once more sprinkle the seasoning mixture onto the almonds. Now let them finish cooling on the pan. After about 10 minutes, using your hands, shuffle the nuts all over the baking sheet, letting the almonds collect as much of the seasoning that has settled onto the pan as possible. Now you can pack them into a jar, or, any other airtight food storage container that you like!
These nuts are great for gifts, or, perfect for putting out when you are having a few beers!
Thanks for reading my inaugural post! I cannot wait to bring you more!