Eat With Your Hands: Rosemary Roast Nuts

Last weekend, Emily and I were at a family gathering. Because of her love of this snack, Emily insisted that I make the Rosemary Nuts. I did, and within five minutes of laying out a few bowls, I looked around to see everyone eating out of their cupped hands. It just brings a smile to my face. So simple, so good.

In addition to being my new “go to” snack for every occasion we host or attend this mix made great stocking stuffers this past Christmas and have become a standard component of any hostess gift.

You will be able to prepare these in 40 minutes, depending on your comfort with the steps of the recipe. And, they last (if not eaten) for quite a while before getting stale or dodgy.

As always, I want to credit the source of this recipe. Though my version is slightly different, it stems from Ina Garten’s Roasted Chipotle and Rosemary Mixed Nut recipe.

For my version, I trimmed down the varieties of nuts and ditched the chipotle to create a mix that works for my families’ palettes.

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16 oz bag of cashew, dry roasted and salted

16 oz bag of almonds, dry roasted and salted

2 teaspoons salt

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

3 Tablespoons of orange juice

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1/3 cup of quality maple syrup


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) In a bowl, mix the OJ, sugar, oil, and syrup until combined

3) Add both bags of nuts to the bowl and site through to coat the nuts evenly

4) Spread nut mixture on a rimmed baking sheet

5) Sprinkle nuts with all of the salt and half of the rosemary.

6) With a spatula, mix in the salt and rosemary.

7) Roast the sheet of nuts in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring at 10 and 20 minute marks.

8) Remove from oven and stir in the remaining rosemary.

9) Cool and enjoy!



Craft Cocktail: Patio Slammer

Yes, as I type this post – it is snowing in Chicago. And, yes that is more than a little irritating to most everyone here in town. But, it is April so it is also definitely time to get ready for summer.

When I think about summer, I think of my balcony and cocktails. Without a doubt finding the right cocktail takes a bit of patience, a dash of something new, a taste for adventure, an openness to other people’s knowledge, and friends with good taste.

Thanks to my pal Steve and his palette for whiskey, I have a beautiful bottle of Few White whiskey. And, with the guidance of the folks at Journeyman Distillery I have new recipe for a drink they named the Patio Slammer.

Here are the ingredients:

1.5 oz white whiskey

0.5 oz orange simple syrup

1.0 oz fresh lime juice

How to put it together:

1) Combine all three ingredients in a shaker with ice.

2) Shake until your fingers hurt from the  cold, then there more times.

3) Strain into glass and garnish with a lime wheel (if desired)


What in the World is Rotolo!?!

If you have ever gone to dinner and had hand made pasta, it really steals the show. And, if you ever have that experience in someone’s home, you (I) are (am) just in awe of the home cook who made this for you.

This recipe makes you that home cook.

So, to answer the question “what is rotolo?” Well, rotolo means rolled up. And, that is really all there is to that. And, for our purposes what you roll up is limited only by your imagination. The rotolo I have serve guests is filled with spinach, feta cheese, squash, and parmesan cheese.


Let’s pull this together.


Butternut squash,  red onion chopped medium, bag of frozen spinach, nutmeg, salt, pepper, parmesan and feta cheeses, fresh pasta sheets, tin of tomato sauce, sliced garlic, and a red chile (optional).


1) Roast the squash whole. When it is done and cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh onto a cutting board and season with salt and pepper, discarding the skin and seeds.

2) In a shallow skillet, sauté the sliced garlic until just golden. Add whole tin of tomato sauce and the amount of chile fitting with your taste. Simmer gently until step 10.

3) In large skillet, sauté red onion in a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the onion is soft add the bag of spinach and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to combine. At the end of the 10 minutes, grate nutmeg over the entire pan and set aside.

4) Lay our pasta sheets on a lightly oiled surface. If the sheets are not pliable, drop into boiling water for just long enough to loosen them up.

5) Scoop squash onto pasta sheets and spread out evenly to cover the entire surface.

6) Spoon the heavy spinach sauce onto the squash, distributing evenly.

7) Crumble feta over the spinach, liberally.

8) Sprinkle shaved or grated parmesan over everything.

9) With you fingers, gently roll/fold one edge of the pasta sheet and all filling over onto itself to resemble a cannoli or jelly roll.

10) Pour sauce into oven-safe casserole dish.

11) Using a sharp knife, cut each pasta roll into four equal size pieces. Once cut, transfer the pieces to the sauce and stand up on an end. Push each piece up next to the last until a “honey comb” of rolled pasta fills the dish.

12) Sprinkle additional shaved parmesan cheese over the top of the pasta and, if desired, add a few slightly oiled fresh sage leaves over the cheese.

13) Place the entire dish into a 350 degree oven and bake for 25 minutes.

14) Cool for a couple of minutes prior to serving.

This nutritious meal will serve six people easily and makes wonderful leftovers for lunches that will inspire envy at the office.