Rosemary Sugar Walnuts

November 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

This may be a bit arbitrary, but one of the things I have come to associate with the East Coast is candied, spiced nuts. I can hardly walk down the streets of New York City without veering towards the carts selling honey roasted mixed nuts (+coconut), even though the dirtiness of the simmering pot of oil ought to deter me. Other times, you just have to mention roasting chestnuts, and I get excited, because it means fall and I never used to have a fall before. Leaves tend to stay on the trees year-round in California.

This year I was afraid we had skipped fall altogether and headed straight for winter. It poured and snowed, and all turned into slush, the other night in Boston. But then I boarded a bus out to the Cape the next morning, and the skies were blue, though the wind was chilly. The little town has the aura of a child’s plaything, abandoned after the summer. Many houses on the street are already empty for the cold months ahead. The few inhabited houses left behind have pumpkins on their front steps and young, fallen trees propped up in their yards, the only telltale sign that it stormed this past weekend. A harsh wind hits your face, coming up from the shore, where only a castaway crabbing net and a couple of seagulls remain sticking it out in the cold. In the evening, you can hear the wind, just from your seat by the window.

I haven’t been out here for over three years, though there was a time I came every summer. It’s quite different being here huddled up inside or out walking alone in a hat and scarf instead of doing front flips on the lawn in a bathing suit and washing sand off my toes under the sprinkler.

I know I just posted a batch of nuts, but i just couldn’t resist these. If the dried figs and fresh rosemary at first seem a bit unexpected, the flavors quickly meld together in a sticky, crunchy heap of irresistible snacking. I followed this recipe, swapping out the sesame seeds for pumpkin seeds, according to the season but also due to a personal dislike for sesame.

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