Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Peppered Party Almonds and a tip on becoming a successful cook

If we had one tip for beginning cooks it would be "Read the recipe." Read it all the way through, carefully, before you ever start cooking. Surprises suck - surprises like "Cook for 2 hours" and your guests are about to arrive. Or "Chill overnight" and you need to bring dessert to a party right now. Or, you are missing an ingredient in the recipe you were hoping to eat for dinner in the next 30 minutes.

Now, before you start thinking "Oh, that has so happened to me!" and you beat yourself up over it, just stop. We have all done this, experienced and beginner alike. You're in a rush, you scan the recipe, and you miss some important step or ingredient.

So, slow down. Read that recipe top to bottom. Read all the ingredients. Read through all the steps.

We know this is rather obvious as tips go, but it is really important. If you get in the habit of reading through recipes, you will avoid a lot of surprises that can make you feel like an incompetent cook (not to mention a dope). Confidence, which comes from success in the kitchen, is a big part of becoming a good cook. Give yourself an advantage from the get-go: read the recipe. If you can eliminate those unnecessary surprises, you'll be well on your way to being a star in the kitchen.

Here's a party recipe that takes no time to read or make.

Peppered Almonds
(makes 2 cups)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups whole unsalted almonds

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add salt, garlic powder, cayenne, and black pepper. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add almonds, toss to coat with butter and spices and remove from heat.

Spread nuts on a sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool for a couple of minutes and serve.

Peppered almonds will keep for a few weeks in an airtight container. They make a great snack too!

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