New York Nuts

New York Nuts

No matter where you are in New York City, you're destined to encounter the street vendors selling fresh roasted nuts. Now enjoy these addictive snacks no matter where you live and recreate your New York City memories.

One of our fondest memories about New York City is the plethora of fabulous food options available at any given moment. The first time we visited NYC as a couple, we discovered restaurants like Eli Zabar’s E.A.T. on Madison Avenue with its overstuffed sandwiches and fresh salads, Pizza Italia in the financial district with their enormous thin-crust pies that we had to fold in half to eat, and the Oxford Café in midtown on Lexington Avenue with its cheerful staff, fresh-squeezed orange juice and melt-in-your-mouth breakfast sandwiches. As you can imagine, for the foodies that we are, New York is heaven on earth. But no matter where we were in my favorite metropolis, it was the street vendors with their huge pretzels, juicy hot dogs and fresh roasted nuts that beckoned to us most. Whether we were standing in line at the TKTS booth in Duffy Square waiting to buy discounted Broadway tickets for shows like Thoroughly Modern Millie and Cabaret, surfacing outside Grand Central Station, walking through Central Park, or exiting the Met, the scent of street food wafting up to us drew us like bears to honey. No matter how much we ate, we could never get enough of those amazing nuts. Now we recreate the experience at home with this quick and amazing recipe that lends a sweet heat to our favorite nuts.

COOK: 10 minutes + 5 minutes cooling time

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups roasted peanuts, cashews or almonds
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large stainless-steel skillet, combine nuts, sugar, and 1/4 cup water. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until water evaporates and sugar crystallizes around nuts, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine coriander, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, and salt. Stir into nuts and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until sugar begins to melt and caramelize, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Remove to a parchment-lined baking sheet and pour remaining caramel over nuts. Cool to room temperature before serving, about 5 minutes.

TIPS: The caramel coating will congeal on the parchment and may resemble peanut brittle. Simply lift cooled nuts off paper and crumble apart. Store remaining nuts in a resealable plastic bag for up to a week.

YIELDS: 1 pint

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Jalapeno Creamed Corn

Creamed Corn with Jalapenos

Savor the sweetness of summer with this tempting, creamy treat filled with cheese, onions and jalapenos.

When I was 19, I moved to New York City where I quickly made tons of friends, each hailing from a different corner of the globe. Life in the big city was fast, caught as we were on an electric current where everything forges more quickly than anywhere else I’ve ever been. Those friendships were no different, and most weekends we found excuses to do things together, including shopping in vintage clothing stores, catching sales at Barneys or Bergdorf Goodman, exploring used bookshops where volumes were stacked to the ceiling, and sometimes getting lost in labyrinthine museums like the Met, MoMA or the Guggenheim. As fun as those times were, however, our favorite things to do were simple, like taking picnics in Central Park or driving out to the Hamptons, leaving behind the chaos and noise of our concrete jungle and seeking refuge at a friend’s summerhouse along the sandy shores of the Atlantic. There we could lose ourselves in the tranquil beauty of Long Island, where farmers markets and tiny roadside food stands dished up delicious treats and we could buy fresh produce to conjure up some of our favorite recipes in a spacious kitchen, unlike anything we had in the city. Our Jalapeno Creamed Corn is like one of the many dishes we prepared back then, packed with nutritious goodness, a touch of heat, and the sweet flavors of summer.

PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ white onion, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (discard seeds for less heat)
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels or 2 10-ounce bags frozen corn kernels
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Melt butter in a heated large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeno. Saute for 2 minutes.
  2. Puree 1 cup corn or ½ bag of corn in food processor or blender. Add pureed corn and remaining corn to pan, cook 5 minutes. Add cream, water, and cheese. Stir and cook until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and serve warm.

YIELDS: 8 servings

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Celebrate family and friends this May

May 2011

Dear friends,

Life definitely has a way of changing overnight, and none of us could foresee that President Obama would announce tonight that Osama bin Laden had finally been found and killed, 66 years after Hitler’s death was announced. The news has been received with celebrations by many, as crowds gathered to party outside the White House gates, at Ground Zero, and even at Times Square. And while this event in history may bring Americans some closure, particularly those who lost loved ones during the horrific day we watched the World Trade Center towers collapse, we watch thoughtfully as events continue to unfold over the next few weeks. The president reminds all of us that the War on Terror is not over, American troops will not return home immediately as many would hope, and that now more than ever, we must all be cautious because retaliation by Al-Qaeda is possible. Times like these make us increasingly aware of what is important, and in our case that is our friends and family. Tell your loved ones how much you love them, and better yet, show them by treating them to a family get-together. In fact, this is a great month to do it!

As some of you already know, we have a special place in our hearts for everything Mexican, particularly the cuisine! Since I spent my early years in California and Texas, many of my friends have always been of Hispanic descent. Even when I lived in New York City, I discovered that the tradition continued because many of my friends were from San Antonio, Dallas and other cities with a strong cultural heritage and ties to the Latino community. So in honor of that tradition, we’re going to feature several Mexican dishes during the month of May (when Cinco de Mayo is celebrated, meaning “the fifth of May,” which is actually a commemoration of the Mexican militia over the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1812 and not Mexico’s Independence Day as many mistakenly believe). So look for those recipe ideas as the month progresses.

Bison in Wichita Moutains Wildlife Refuge

The Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge located 90 miles southwest of Oklahoma City is the oldest managed wildlife preserve in the United States.

Memorial Day is commemorated at the end of the month and many of you will have time off from work and we’re sure you’re looking forward to getting away for a mini-vacation. This year we’re going to try out the camping gear we purchased several years ago, but never seemed to get around to using. Both of us went camping as children, but somehow the experiences we had were never that pleasant. Parents either forgot to pack food or thought we’d catch fish and eat it (which we never did). In Heather’s case, six kids and her mother were crammed into a tiny tent in the heat of July. The only positive experience I did have camping was when I lived in Dallas and friends and I camped among the bison at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Oklahoma. The views were breathtaking and the animals were awesome as the moved fearlessly among humans. We did get rained out, however, and one of my friend’s tents floated away, so hopefully that won’t happen this time. In either case, please send us your camping stories and any tips you have that make camping safe and fun. We need all the help we can get! Then, next month, we’ll share our adventure with you.

Heather and I both turn another year older this month (but don’t even think about asking us our ages!), but we figure that any year we are healthy and above ground is a good one. We also have several friends celebrating wedding anniversaries this month, so we’d love to congratulate my cousin and her husband, Tabitha and Scott E., my former Spanish professor and her husband, Allison and Ivan M., and our friends Tom and Carla R. on yet another year of marital bliss.

We hope you’ve been enjoying April’s book club pick, The Cabinet of Curiosities, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. We’ve received numerous notes from readers, which is always fantastic. One reader said “the Pendergast books were among her favorite series and this one is the best.” Another thanked us for introducing the Pendergast series to him, because now he “is definitely hooked!” We feel the same way. So be sure to check out Preston and Child’s latest novel in the series, Cold Vengeance, which will be published on August 2nd. For more information, visit the authors’ Website at www.prestonchild.com. We will also reveal our latest book club pick this week, so stay tuned!

Finally, remember to check our Food page for recipes you may have missed, like our favorite peanut butter cookies, a classic meatless Italian dinner menu, some treats from our first ever breakfast week including our bacon and egg quesadillas, and our succulent oven-braised short ribs.

Whatever you’re doing this May, we hope you’re safe and healthy, that the time off from work allows you the chance to get in some much needed recreation, and that you find something wonderful to celebrate, even if it is just the simple pleasure of gathering together with friends and family.

With love,
Jathan & Heather

What lies beneath

We are admitted bibliophiles. If you’ve been to our home, you know that our walls are lined with books and the collection never stops growing. Frequently, we’re asked, “Have you read all those titles?” So in coming months, we will introduce you to some of our favorite authors and their work. To begin with, we present a novel that could have been written by Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg. It is a definite page turner we’re sure suspense fans will love!

The Cabinet of Curiosities book cover

The Cabinet of Curiosities follows Preston and Child's popular FBI Special Agent Pendergast through a suspense-filled tour of the historic streets beneath the city of New York.

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are the powerhouse writing team who brought us suspense classics like Reliquary and The Relic, which later became a hit film of the same name. But this time, rather than surprise us with bloodthirsty creatures, they drop us right into the middle of a very unusual murder investigation.

In New York City, real estate is at a premium, and a new development by one of the city’s leading builders is underway. To build a new structure, old ones must be torn down. When a section of turn-of-the-century buildings is removed, a mass grave is discovered, and soon Special Agent Pendergast arrives on the scene.

The FBI agent contacts Dr. Nora Kelly and asks her to visit the site of the century old site. But before she has much time to do research on the find, the construction company is given the go-ahead to complete their project and what evidence there was is destroyed.

With little to go on, it doesn’t seem as though Pendergast and Kelly, along with her reporter boyfriend, William Smithback, will ever find out the truth about who committed the century old crime.

The trio no sooner discovers how the murders were committed when a new wave of copycat killings begin, thus linking the past murders with those of the present. Suddenly everyone wants to find the killer, but only Pendergast recognizes that the truth lay buried in a long forgotten cabinet of curiosities.

Readers who have encountered Pendergast in the past are familiar with his uncanny intuition and knack for discovering clues where there seem to be none. As the story unfolds, so does the mystery, with countless twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end. Preston and Child’s The Cabinet of Curiosities is one suspense thriller that is sure to keep you turning pages until late into the night.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Douglas Preston was born in 1956 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and grew up in the suburb of Wellesley. He attended Pamona College in Claremont, California, where he earned a degree in English Literature before beginning his career by working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. His eight year stint at the museum resulted in the publication of a non-fiction book, Dinosaurs in the Attic, which was edited by Lincoln Child. It was during this time that Preston gave Child a midnight tour of the museum and while standing in the darkened Hall of Late Dinosaurs, Child proclaimed that the museum would be a great place for a thriller. However, it wasn’t until the early 1990’s that Preston and Child actually teamed up to write Relic, which brought them their first commercial success. He now lives on the coast of Maine with his family.

Lincoln Child was born in Westport, Connecticut, then went on to get a degree in English from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. In 1979, he became an editorial assistant at St. Martin’s Press. By 1984, he was a full editor and worked with authors like James Herriot and M. M. Kaye. In 1987, his career took a strange twist, and he went to work for MetLife. While there, Relic was published and within years he was able to leave the company and work full time. He now lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter.

Click here to visit the authors’ Website or you can buy the book on Amazon.

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment.