Monday, February 23, 2009
Whenever I plan a dinner party, I put a lot of thought into the menu. Because I like to bake and so many of our friends do not, I usually start with dessert. Based on how rich or light that is, I plan the rest of the menu. It is only when I am writing up my shopping list that I realize that I had better have something for people to munch on before we sit down at the table.
Because appetizers are kind of after-thought for me (not that they are not important), I like to have a few go-to recipes that are winners and not too filling. I usually plan a big dinner, so I like to have something light to nibble on - cheese plates are not usually found at my house. Olives seem obvious but I love that they are a quick salty bite that is very satisfying.
To along with olives, these cashews are great for many reasons. They are salty and sweet, but also smoky (from pimenton) and piney (from rosemary). They are quick and I have yet to meet a person who doesn't like cashews. And, if you have raw cashews in your freezer (where you should store your nuts), smoked paprika in your spice cabinet, and a (in my case, half-dead) rosemary bush in your yard, you always have the ingredients on hand.
Other quick appetizers found at DanaTreat:
Spinach and Lemon Stuffed Mushrooms
Parmesan and Thyme Crackers
Adapted from Martha Stewart's The New Classics
Makes 2 cups
2 cups raw, unsalted cashews (about 9 ounces)\
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. smoked hot paprika (DN: I used smoked sweet)
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cashews in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven, stirring once or twice, until golden, 10-12 minutes. Place remaining ingredients in a medium heat-proof bowl. Remove the cashews from the oven and immediately place them in the bowl and stir them continuously until the butter melts and the cashews are coated with the the other flavors.