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Friday, December 25, 2009

A Very Merry WHITE Christmas

Okay, so I'm 45 years old and I've lived in the DFW Metroplex or not too far from it my entire life. Around here we're more likely to have shorts-and-short-sleeve weather at Christmas time than cold weather. Well, this year I experienced my first ever white Christmas!!! It started snowing here on Christmas Eve afternoon and the weather was cold enough that the snow was still on the ground on Christmas Day. It was such a beautiful experience, and since I'm statistically probably halfway through my life it's not really likely that I'll experience another White Christmas, so I cherish this amazing holiday.

Due to the weather we were "snowbound" for the night at the home of my beloved Mami-y-Papi-in-law after our Christmas Eve celebration, so I had another fun experience for the first time of waking up with my "extended family" and enjoying Christmas morning with all of TLOML's family, my stepdaughters, and my son. I'll treasure this day for the rest of my life.

So now on to the food. For Christmas Eve with my second family and for Christmas Day with my first family we prepared Roasted Rosemary Walnuts, courtesy of a recipe from,

Roasted Rosemary Walnuts Recipe
Total: 25 mins
Active: 5 mins
Makes: 8 to 10 servings (5 cups)

Roasted Rosemary Walnuts
By Amy Wisniewski

Nuts and booze are a tried-and-true combination for any happy hour or cocktail party. Here the addition of rosemary and black pepper classes up the combo without getting too fussy.

Game plan: These nuts will last up to 10 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

This recipe was featured as part of both our Academy Awards Cocktail Party menu and our Bar Snacks photo gallery.

5 cups walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Place nuts on a baking sheet. Add remaining ingredients and mix with your hands to evenly coat.
Bake until nuts are browned and toasted, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet, transfer to a bowl, and serve.

These incredible tidbits and also the following wonderful Kahlua Spiked Pecans (recipe from were big hits.

I think the rosemary walnuts were slightly too oily and I'll decrease the amount of olive oil next time I make them. However, both of these treats were like holiday crack to me and I think to both of our families, absolutely fabulous recipes.

Kahlua Spiked Pecans (Adapted from Stop and Smell the Rosemary)

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
3 tablespoons Kahlua
4 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 325

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together egg white and Kahlua. Add pecans and stir well to combine.

Sprinkle half the sugar mixture on top - mix well. Pour the rest of the sugar on top and stir until completely combined. Scoop the mixture onto a large baking sheet lined with foil and coated with nonstick spray. Spread the pecans to an even single layer.

Bake until pecans are lightly toasted and browned, stirring every 10 minutes - about 20 to 25 minutes total. Remove from the oven and scoop the hot pecans onto wax or parchment paper to cool completely.

Note: I used half white sugar and half brown sugar because I had a dab of brown sugar that needed to be used up and it worked perfectly.

We prepared the black bean dip we've made before, recipe courtesy of Erica at, . Everyone loves this stuff!

Black Bean Dip (Dip De Frijoles Negros)

Although it doesn’t look very pretty, this creamy black bean dip tastes absolutely delicious and is very easy to make. You can serve it with tortilla chips or Patacones.

Ingredients(About 2 cups)
1 (14 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo
½ tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1. Place all the ingredients in food processor until the dip is smooth and creamy, scraping the down the bowl as needed.
2. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl, sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.

This dip is so, so good, and so healthy! As Erica says, it's not so pretty, but damn, it's tasty! I made it again with dried beans that I soaked and cooked, just because that's very inexpensive and we really enjoy preparing food from scratch as much as possible.

We also made a wonderful white bean-roasted red pepper dip, recipe also courtesy of

White Bean -Roasted Pepper Dip

I love beans! In Colombia we may eat beans two or three times a day. I never get tired of eating beans so I have a long list of bean recipes. This one is a delicious white bean –roasted pepper dip. It is great as a light and healthy snack with pita chips, as an appetizer for your next party or for that unannounced visit, as it is quick and simple to prepare!

1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans
1 roasted red bell pepper
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped onion
Chives for garnish

1. Place all the ingredients in the food processor and mix until well combined and smooth.
2. Transfer the dip to a serving dish and top with the fresh chives. Serve with pita chips on the side

I used a can of rosada beans for this dip because I had one on hand, and it was really good.

We made the Cook's Illustrated hummus recipe again, with a few modifications, This time we made a double recipe and used a little more garlic, a little more olive oil, a little less sesame tahini, and 2 cubes of Knorr chicken bouillon. It turned out really good.

Also made the stuffed mushrooms that I've been making for 25 years that everyone seems to like. Recipe to be posted later.

And in other important Christmas Eve news, SMU defeated Nevada 45-10 in the Hawaii Bowl!

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