Maple Salted Pecans

My husband could sit and eat a bowl of mixed nuts any ole time.  If I had to pick a favorite snacking nut, it would be the pistachio.  The fact that I have to spend endless hours shelling them makes it feel like I am eating more than I really am, resulting in much more food satisfaction.  And yes, I am aware that you can buy shelled pistachios now.  But what’s the fun in that?  The only time I buy those at the outrageous prices that they are is when I am making pistachio ice-cream and don’t have the time or desire to shell all those nuts.

Now, if these candied pecans were laying around, they would win as my favorite snacking nut hands down.  No contest.  I’ve been making them for 15 years and one batch is never enough.

Pecans aren’t cheap where I live, so this isn’t something I make a lot anymore.  And when I do, I may hide them deep in the depths of the pantry where lazy people searching for snacks won’t find them.

Put them on ice-cream, that sweet crunch will only enhance your sweet treat.  I’ve used them in salads, especially spinach ones where the sweet crunch contrasts nicely with the strong spinach flavor.   And they make a great hostess gift.

You better make two batches.  At least.  Trust me.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 TAB sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • 2 cups pecans

DIRECTIONS:

In a bowl, mix together maple syrup, sugar, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon.  Add pecans and stir well to coat evenly.

Spread over parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake in a 325°F oven for 8 minutes.  Stir pecans to make sure they are not sticking, and bake about 10 minutes more or until golden.  Let cool completely.  Break apart any pecans that may have stuck together.  Sprinkle more coarse sea salt over the top if you choose.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Makes 2 cups

Cochinita Nachos

Cochinita Nachos

I have a feeling over the next few months we will see a lot more nacho recipes popping up on the social media sites of food bloggers.  With football in full swing, it seems Sunday is for snacking . While we don’t live in a football frenzy area, we do live in a constant state of snacking.

You know how you feel in summer? When the weather is so nice you just want to sit outside and enjoy it for all it is, with good food and drink and friends? Well, it feels like that almost always here on the coast, especially though in winter when we have more tourists and visitors and everybody wants cheap Mexican beer, tacos, guacamole, and anything easy to snack on while spending the day on the white sands of the Mayan Riviera.

Nachos may be on of the easiest meals to make, I am not sure why I don’t make it more often.  Especially here, where corn chips are cheap, and you can buy a kilo of any fabulous Mexican style meat like cochinita that I don’t have to cook in the ground for two days.  I know I say happiness is homemade, and technically this is, but the best family run cochinita joint in town.  It is family owned and they only make two kinds of meat for tacos, and, as many places do here, only stay open until they run out.  They could make so much more money and stay open all day, but they prefer to make enough to live off, and not be a slave to their business.  I so do admire that way of life here.

Some days I’ll be there at 10:30 a.m. and they’re closed up.  Sold out.  Some days they’re still there at noon if I’m fortunate.  They are a family run business, he calls me by name when I drop by, and man, his cochinita is the best.

So for nachos here, I had to put cochinita on it.  I bought a kilo and shredded it finer, and tossed it onto those chips, and added the rest of my toppings, including the pickled onions that they include when you buy a kilo of meat.  Oh my, it was good.

nachos2

I am aware that you probably can’t go down the street and pick up authentic Mexican Cochinita.  But keep an eye out for it if you are in a big city, I am sure there are local markets where you can buy it.  Otherwise, toss some pulled pork on there for a change from beef.  Or if you want to keep it vegetarian, we see a lot of black bean nachos here too.

This is another loose recipe, it’s all how much of everything that you like.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large bags corn chips
  • 1/2 kilo pulled pork
  • 2 cups mixed grated cheese (I used cheddar and Manchego, which is similar to mozzarella, nice and stringy)
  • 1/2 cup pickled onions (optional)
  • 1/2 cup green onions
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, parsley

DIRECTIONS:

Lay tin foil down on large baking sheet.  Spread corn chips in a thin layer.  Add meat, cheese, onions.  Repeat with another layer of chips, meat, cheese.  Bake in a 400 oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Add additional toppings to baking sheet or let people add their own.