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Herb Roasted Almonds - Meatballs&Milkshakes

These make a great snack with drinks, before dinner, or just about anytime. These will be on my table for New Year’s Eve, but they were also out throughout the holidays and were great to munch on between all the big meals. I first had these kind of specially roasted almonds in LA last year, where they were artisanally roasting nuts with various spices. The options are endless, just take a look in your spice cabinet or refrigerator for inspiration.

Herb Roasted Almonds

12 ounce package of almonds, unroasted and unseasoned if possible

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus extra

2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper

2 tablespoons Herbes de Provence or chopped rosemary

2 tablespoons salt

Pour the almonds onto a foil-lined sheet tray. Pour the olive oil and spices on top, and using your hands, mix everything so the nuts are well coated in olive oil and spices. Spread them out and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until the nuts start to toast and they are fragrant. Toss when they come out of the oven to make sure they continue to absorb flavor as they cool. Add a little more olive oil if they seem dry, or to give more fresh olive oil flavor.

Herb Roasted Almonds - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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I’m a huge fan of crab in any form, but crab cakes are always classic. I came across this method for making mini ones and I wanted to try it out. I have to say, it’s cute for a party and a much easier way to do bite-size crab cakes but I think next time I’ll be making them the usual way– in a pan. The texture on the top and bottom comes out a little differently, and part of what I like most about crab cakes is the crunchy outer layer. Either way though, these were still pretty delicious. Stay tuned for some more crab recipes, we still have some in the fridge!

Baked Mini Crab Cakes

1/2 pound picked crab meat

1 cup panko

1 cup parmesan

2 tablespoons mayo or yogurt

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 egg

1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Sriracha or other hot sauce

1/2 onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon thyme

2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

salt and pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until it gets translucent and softened. Add the thyme and remove from the heat. Allow to cool and remove to a bowl.

Add the egg, crab, Worchestershire, Sriracha, parsley, paprika, mayo, heavy cream, and half the parmesan and panko. Stir together lightly and don’t over mix. In a small bowl, combine the remaining parmesan and panko and drizzle it with a tablespoon or two of olive oil.

Spray a mini muffin tin with oil and spoon a little of the panko mixture into each cup. Spoon in some of the crab mixture and top with a little more of the panko. Press down a bit with your hand. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until they start to brown on top. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan and then gently remove with a fork.

I like to serve with some mango relish. I chop up some mango and mix with my own homemade salsa (shallot, chipotle in adobo, roasted garlic, olive oil, lime juice blended up).

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The menu for New Year’s Eve included these crackers along with some homemade chocolate covered strawberries and prosecco. I brought the second batch last night to a New Year’s Day Party as well, and they disappeared quickly. I think these are going to be a good substitute for the gougeres I usually make. Because they don’t have a lot of butter, they aren’t flaky but more crunchy from all the cheese. Definitely addictive. A great start to the New Year!

Parmesan Cheddar Crackers

1 cup flour

1/3 cup spelt flour or whole wheat flour

3/4 cup grated cheddar

1/2 cup grated parmesan

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 pinch cayenne

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 eggs

Combine the flours, sugar, salt, and cayenne into a bowl. Add the butter and squeeze between your fingers until the butter pieces have broken down and the mixture is crumbly. Add the cheeses and stir to combine, making sure all the cheese is distributed. Add the olive oil and eggs and stir together. Divide into two halves and wrap in plastic wrap. Let them rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

After resting, roll out each half between two pieces of parchment paper as thinly as possible. Cut with a pizza wheel and place the crackers on silpat-lined baking sheets. They will puff up a little while cooking, so you want to spread them out a little. Bake them at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until starting to brown on the edges. Let cool a few minutes before moving them so that they can crisp up as they cool.

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