Rosemary Spiced Mixed Nuts 2014

Let’s remix this business.

Rosemary Spiced Mixed Nuts I first featured Rosemary Spiced Mixed Nuts back in 2010.  2010??  Sometimes it still shocks me that I’ve been blogging for over 4 years!  Anyway, despite the fact that I made these nuts a long time ago, they’re still a staple at my house.  I serve Rosemary Spiced Mixed Nuts each year at my Thanksgiving extravaganza, and I also like to prepare them occasionally as a travel snack.  The 2010 nuts are tasty, easy to prepare and completely addicting.  So, why would I update the recipe?

To be honest, I’m just switching things up a bit.  I love the flavor profile of the original recipe, so I’ve kept most of the flavors in this recipe similar.  Brown sugar, rosemary, cayenne pepper and sea salt work harmoniously together with notes of caramel, grassy wood and a faint heat that provides just enough intrigue.  I’ve also added some maple syrup for good measure.  The notable difference in my 2014 recipe is in the process.  Here, I toss a mix of cashews, almonds and walnuts with butter, maple syrup and flavorings, then bake until the nuts become golden, fragrant and slightly sticky.  I then sprinkle over additional sea salt and chopped rosemary once the nuts come out of the oven.  This process helps to really infuse the nut mix with all those tasty flavors.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Avocado Toast 5 Ways

If you enjoy avocado as much as I do, then you’re going to love today’s article.  I’ve got 5 fresh avocado recipes for you below!

Avocado Toast 5 Ways In particular, Avocado Toast.  The concept is fairly simple.  Mash up half an avocado with salt, pepper and some sort of acid (lemon or lime juice) to taste.  The flavors should be bright without covering up the cool grassiness of the avocado.  Spread this mash over a lightly toasted piece of bread, and you have Avocado Toast.  It’s that easy!  I like to use whole wheat bread here, but sourdough or country bread would also work well.

Avocado Toast can be enjoyed for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.  Avocado is packed with healthy fat and nutrients, so I find that just 1 slice can keep me full and satisfied until my mid-morning meal.  I’ve also served these luscious green beauties as an appetizer (on thin slices of seedy baguette).

To take things up a notch, here are 4 variations on the basic Avocado Toast:

  • Egg + Bacon + Chive.  A dressed up version perfect for Saturday breakfast.
  • Frisée + Bacon + Lemon.   Similar to one of my favorite sandwiches (minus the tomato).
  • Tomato + Basil + Balsamic.  Italian flavors that pair well with avocado.  Serve as an afternoon snack or a simple appetizer before dinner.
  • Corn + Chile + Lime.  My Mexican spin on Avocado Toast.  Big, bold flavors.

The recipes below are more like loose guidelines.  I barely included exact measurements, because most of the toppings are to taste.  Don’t like red onion?  Leave it out.  Love bacon (like me), add more.  A scatter of this.  A sprinkle of that.  Just know that the flavors in each recipe work well together.  Quantities of toppings are up to you.  Also, each recipe uses just 1/2 an avocado.  If you don’t plan on using the other half immediately, sprinkle the cut side with acid (lemon or lime juice), press plastic wrap directly against the flesh of the avocado, and store in the refrigerator.  Continue reading for the recipes.

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What I Drink: Old Fashioned Cocktail

Old Fashioned Cocktail If you’ve been reading Kitchen Konfidence for a little while, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I love a good drink.  Sometimes I like to go all out, and make cocktails like: Summer Crush, El Comediante, or Strawberry Letter 22.  They’re a bit more involved to prepare, but they taste damn good once everything comes together.  Usually however, you can find me drinking an almost-classic Old Fashioned Cocktail.  It’s my go-to.  My standard.  My after-work drink.  It’s a cocktail I know I can always prepare with ingredients from my pantry/liquor cabinet.  And today, I’m going to share with you my Old Fashioned Cocktail recipe.

But first, a little back story.  Several months ago, I tweeted this photo of Black Walnut Bitters that sparked up a conversation with some of my fellow booze-loving, foodie friends (boozie friends?).  In particular, Vijay from Noshon.It and Brian from A Thought For Food.  We started chatting about our favorite go-to libations, and shortly after, the What I Drink mini-series was born.  So today, the three of us are sharing some of our favorite cocktail recipes along with short interviews.  Continue reading for my recipe plus links to Vijay’s and Brian’s!

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Green Goddess Guacmole

You guys, this guac is so darn tasty.

Green Goddess Guacamole A mashup of green goddess dressing and guacamole, this rich, herb-flecked dip is completely and utterly addicting.  Rumor has it that green goddess salad dressing originated in the 1920’s in San Francisco.  The dressing is typically made with mayo, sour cream, anchovy, lemon and a flurry of finely chopped fresh herbs.  Here, I’ve taken some of these flavors, and applied them to one of my favorite Mexican dips, guacamole.  This recipe starts with cool jade cubes of ripe avocado.  Finely chopped shallot, garlic, parsley, cilantro, chive and tarragon are then added with sour cream and anchovy paste.  Lime juice and kosher salt bring everything to life.  The entire mixture is mashed with a fork to keep the texture somewhat chunky.  Each bite of this adventurous guacamole is packed with incredible herbaceous flavor.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Watermelon Ginger Spritzer

I’m keeping things short and sweet today.

Watermelon Ginger Spritzer And when I say short, I’m referring to the serious lack of time it takes to blend up this delicious, non-alcoholic beverage.  The sweetness comes in two forms.  First, chunks of watermelon ripe with fragrant, sweet juices are blended and strained, forming the most vibrant-colored liquid.  The pure essence of watermelon really.  Second, sweet and spicy Ginger Syrup is added to the mix for depth of flavor.  The drink is finished with freshly squeezed lime juice for balance, and sparkling water to lighten the texture.  This Watermelon Ginger Spritzer is crisp, seasonal, and incredibly refreshing.  A perfect summer beverage.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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White Bean, Fennel and Chorizo Salad in a Jar

I have a confession to make.  Over the past several years, I’ve developed quite a jar obsession.

Salad in a Jar Two and half years ago, I was only a few months into dating my boyfriend Jorge.  He was heading up to San Francisco at the time to visit friends, and I asked him to bring me some items from the city.  Can you guess what I asked him for?  Not a loaf or two of glorious SF sourdough.  No chocolate from Ghirardelli.  No artisan, hand-crafted this or that.  Instead, I asked for jars.  Particularly Weck Jars from Heath Ceramics.  At the time, they were a bit of a rarity.  Crate & Barrel and West Elm hadn’t started selling them yet.  I was completely elated the evening Jorge walked through the door carrying two large bags filled with carefully-wrapped Weck Jars.  This obsession has continued ever since.

With such a wide variety of glass beauties at my fingertips, I’m always looking for new ways to use my jars.  And now, I’m jumping on the Salad in a Jar bandwagon.  Here’s the basic idea: salad ingredients are layered inside a large canning jar in such a way that the greens stay crisp and fresh.  Liquids at the bottom.  Greens at the top.  With this framework in place, you can make a number of jarred salads on the weekend to enjoy throughout the week.  Continue reading for my layering technique plus a Salad in a Jar recipe that uses white beans, fennel and chorizo.

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Rainbow Fruit Purees

San Diego LGBT Pride is this weekend, and I’m celebrating with a kaleidoscope of organic fruit purees.  Each puree destined for a glass of champs of course ;)

Rainbow Fruit Making your own fruit purees at home is an easy task.  Simply blend ripe, organic fruit with sugar and citrus juice, strain, and serve!  That’s it.  For reals.  Sugar and citrus (lemon, lime or orange) help to amp up the flavors of any fresh fruit.  Once you’ve mastered one puree, try making a vibrant rainbow of purees with strawberries, papaya, mango, honeydew, watermelon, blueberries and blackberries.  All the organic produce featured in this article was purchased at the new Jimbo’s… Naturally! at Westfield Horton Plaza.  They have a seriously gorgeous selection of fresh herbs and fruit.

You can serve this edible spectrum with champagne, sparkling wine, Prosecco or sparkling water.  Place a few tablespoons of puree at the bottom of a glass, then top of with bubbly.  A perfect addition to any Pride Weekend brunch table!  Continue reading for the recipes.

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Tomato Confit Pasta

With just 3 fresh ingredients and minimal effort, you can have a plate of this seasonal pasta on the table in under 1 hour.

Tomato Confit Pasta I know the word confit may conjure up some feelings of worry and anxiety, but I assure you, the process couldn’t be easier.  The term confit is typically associated with meat (especially duck), but can also be applied to fruits and vegetables.  Confit simply means to cook something in fat at a low temperature for a longer period of time.

Here, I’m tossing cooked pasta with slow-roasted tomato confit and chopped fresh basil.  To make the tomato confit, simply toss cherry tomatoes, garlic and basil in olive oil, and slow-roast for 45 minutes.  The resulting tomatoes will soften and blister, releasing some of their juices on to the pan.  The tomatoes and juices will have a wonderfully concentrated tomato flavor.  The pasta cooks up while the tomatoes are in the oven, keeping cook time to a minimum.  For best results, give this recipe a try while tomatoes are in season.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Roasted Garlic Infused Vodka

I’m keeping things really simple today.

Roasted Garlic Infused Vodka This quick and easy vodka infusion is perfect for anyone who loves garlic as much as I do.  Roasted Garlic Infused Vodka can be made in just 24 hours with only a handful of ingredients.  The sweet-savory aroma and flavor work perfectly in one of my favorite cocktails, the Bloody Mary.  I’ve got a new Blood Mary recipe coming up next, so be sure to check back in soon :)  Continue reading for the recipe!

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Brown Butter Snacking Cake

This cake is my secret weapon.

Brown Butter Snacking Cake That’s right, it’s a secret weapon against any sweet cravings that may come along when I’ve got practically nothing in my refrigerator.  Made with the most basic ingredients, this Brown Butter Snacking Cake is a shining example of how, with a little technique, you can make something incredibly satisfying from just pantry and fridge staples.  Let’s talk ingredients: butter, brown sugar, vanilla, flour, salt, baking powder, eggs, milk, sour cream, and turbinado sugar.  Simple, right?  The magic is the pairing of brown butter and brown sugar.

When you cook butter over a medium flame, the water in the butter evaporates, and the milk solids eventually caramelize, turning the liquid golden brown.  The resulting brown butter has a seductive, warm, nutty flavor and aroma that perfectly compliments the molasses notes of brown sugar.  Flour, baking powder, and eggs are added to the mix for structure; salt and vanilla to amp up flavor; and milk and sour cream for moisture.  A final sprinkling of turbinado sugar provides a crunchy contrast.

My Brown Butter Snacking Cake is not only tasty, it’s also easy to prepare and super versatile.  After you brown the butter, this cake batter can be made in just one bowl.  No stand or hand mixers required.  I usually cook this cake in a 10″ cast iron skillet, but any baking dish would work.  I like to call this a “snacking cake,” because I find myself snacking on it all day long.  A little slice with jam for breakfast, or a big slice with honey-sweetened ricotta and sliced peaches for dessert.  I’ve even layered it with vanilla ice cream and bourbon caramel sauce!  It pairs well with just about anything in your fridge/freezer.  Continue reading for the recipe.  I’ve also announced the winner of the WestRidge Beef Big Steaks package below.

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