Last night, snow fell in Seattle. It was rather beautiful. We watched it fall precipitously as we dined on tender rabbit ragu, gnocchi with wild mushrooms, seafood paella, lamb meatballs with squash risotto, brussels sprouts with toasted hazelnuts. And while there was maybe a walnut-sized amount of space left in my belly, I couldn’t leave without sampling the chocolate creme brulee (thanks for the encouragement, Lauren!). It was an intimate night out with family at Olivar’s
restaurant, full of laughter and good conversation.
As we made our way back to the car, it was clear that the hills weren’t worth navigating, so we abandoned our vehicle and took a (very) brisk walk home.
Not to worry; by morning the roads had been well-sanded and when we returned, the only damage was a hefty pile of snow, into which someone had sweetly etched a heart. I smiled as I glanced back through the rear window.
And now I find myself taking advantage of the elements and staying indoors to rest, relax and get creative.
While I have a seemingly insatiable sweet tooth, I also crave foods of the more “nutritious” variety. Salty sardines on toast, chia pudding with almond milk and berries, kale smoothies, fresh nuts and seeds. Working in the field of Nutrition, I see diet fads come and go, and while I’ve had my own history of dietary rigidity, I discovered long ago that the best relationship with food is an intuitive one. There are days when I crave a healthy dose of omega 3’s, and then there are days when I just want to eat cookies and chocolate, period.
chia pudding with berries
And so today, folks, let’s take a look at candy-making. The circuitous path my foodie journey took this morning was an evolution of crunchy, salty, sweet, nutty and caramel-y goodness. A trifecta of pistachio, pignolia and pumpkin seeds, bathed in brittle vanilla toffee and glistening with flaky Maldon sea salt. A snack that had just the right amount of everything to keep me nibbling as I waited for the slowly roasting marinated turkey to make it’s way to my dinner plate.
Enjoy, and much love,
Pine Nut, Pistachio and Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Note: This brittle comes together in a snap (pun intended), however it requires mindful presence and having all ingredients prepped and ready to add at the proper interval. A candy thermometer is requisite.
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup cane sugar
3 Tbsp water
1/2 c salted pistachios
1/4 cup each pumpkin seeds and pignolias (aka: pine nuts); toasted
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 tsp baking soda
Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon
1. Line a sheet pan with parchment and spray lightly with nonstick spray.
2. Combine water, sugar and syrup in a 2-3 quart pan over medium heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved, then increase heat to high and affix candy thermometer.
3. Once temperature has reached 290° (~3-4 minutes), add nuts, vanilla seeds, salt and butter.
4. Monitor until heat reaches 300°, then remove from heat and sprinkle with baking soda. The mixture will bubble up and increase in volume. Pour immediately onto prepared sheet pan and sprinkle with salt.
5. Allow to cool completely, then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.