Roasted Sriracha Cashews

Roasted Sriracha CashewsWho says fireworks are only for the sky? While the US’ Independence Day may have been yesterday, that doesn’t mean you can’t set off some food fireworks on your tongue — in the form of roasted sriracha cashews.

For an added layer of umami, I tossed the cashews in a teriyaki sauce before coating them in sriracha. The result was a bite of “Hello, spicy!” followed by savory and ending with the creamy characters of the cashew. What an addictive snack! Serve these with a beer, microbrew of course. A Pale Ale or Pilsner would be quite nice, tempering the spice and cutting through a bit of the fattiness of the nuts.

Roasted Sriracha Cashews

1 pound plain cashews
2 Tablespoons teriyaki sauce
2 Tablespoons sriracha sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, toss cashews with teriyaki sauce. Let sit for a couple of minutes.
Toss with sriracha sauce until fully coated and let sit another couple of minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the cashews in a single layer over the paper.
Roast for 20 minutes, stirring the cashews at the 5, 10, and 15 minute marks.
Remove from oven and allow the cashews to cool completely.

Kuri Squash and Bacon Soup

red-kuri-squash-soupFlu season is here, and I’ve already fallen prey to a strain that had me bedridden for most of a week. When I could eat again, I wanted something rich, filling, warm, and easy, as my stamina wasn’t back yet. Using my fab new technique to cook squash, I plopped in a couple of my favorite variety, Red Kuri, and took a nap.

Nap achieved, I had some beautifully cooked squash and no recipe bubbling up into my consciousness, so I did what every cook does when they want something but can’t find anything that quite satisfies the craving — I made it up. What was produced in my soup pot will be a dish I replicate quite often, as it was tasty with a capital T, and it was exactly what my recovering body needed.

Kuri Squash and Bacon Soup

serves four

2 Red Kuris, cooked, seeds and skin removed (If Kuris aren’t available, other winter squash, like sugar pie pumpkins or butternut, will work just fine.)
10 slices of bacon, cooked crispy and chopped
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup half and half
1 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay.)
Sriracha to taste (I used two healthy squeezes.)
2 teaspoons dried sage
salt and pepper to taste

Using a food processor, blend the squash and stock until smooth. You will need to do several batches so as not to overload the processor.
Dump in a soup pot and cook on medium heat until it begins to bubble. Add bacon, Sriracha, and sage. Stir well. Taste to see how much salt and pepper is needed and if you need to add more sage or Sriracha. Add wine and bring back to a slow simmer.
Pour in half and half and stir well. Taste once more to check and see if any final adjustments are needed. If all is to your liking, pour into bowls and enjoy.

Pairing notes: As I was recovering from the flu, I paired my soup with water. Another option would be using the wine that you used in the soup. Charles paired his bowl with a Pinot Noir and enjoyed it immensely.

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