Recipe: Roasted Rosemary Chili Pecans

For the hard-to-buy for guys on my Christmas list, I like to go with food-related gifts. You cannot go wrong. First, most people like food. Especially guys. Second, if they don’t like it, by the time they figure it out the gift is gone. Brilliant! No reminder of your failure.

So these nuts — easy, savory, and totally in the holiday spirit — make the perfect gift. Package them up in a mason jar with kitchen string tied around the lid, and you’ve just made yourself a class-A gift for a special man in your life.

Arlington Darling | Roasted Rosemary Chili Pecans

Recipe adapted from Shutterbean.

Ingredients:
2 cups (or 1 8 oz. bag) of raw whole pecans
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. (or 2 sprigs) finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

To Make:
1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until pecans are evenly coated.
3. Arrange pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet.
4. Bake at 325 for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly toasted and fragrant.
5. Cool to room temperature, then enjoy!

Arlington Darling | Roasted Rosemary Chili Pecans in a jar

You can do a number of variations on these. Tracy at Shutterbean did her recipe with almonds. In the past I’ve done them with some honey and those were a little messy but it added a glorious layer of sweetness. Or, change it up with the spices and swap out a little of the chili powder for cumin, more garlic powder, or cayenne pepper. N would be very proud of how I am thinking up all these spice combinations :).

Happy gift-giving!

Review: Granville Moore’s

I cannot get enough of Granville Moore’s. This gastro pub (am I the only one who hates that term, BTW?) on the H Street corridor serves up delicious beer, fries, and mussels – and a few other dishes which I have never seen anyone order, ever. I’m sure they’re delicious. Everyone just gets mussels. Moving on.

Now before you start muttering, “I don’t want to trek all the way to H Street…” – just stop. Shhhh. Granville Moore’s is worth it. Plus you have a long bus ride home to digest all of your mussels. It really works out quite well. (In all seriousness, I used to bitch about going all the way to H Street too but it really isn’t that bad. I’ve even done it on a weeknight. And I live in Arlington! A whole different state!).

Arlington Darling | Review of Granville Moore'sI went Saturday night with N, her boyfriend, his roommate, and an out-of-town friend. We had to wait for a table but spent the time drinking away our sorrows in the bar next door. Before you could say “another vodka soda, please,” we were whisked away to Granville’s upstairs seating. Then, we ate. And ate. And ate.

We enjoyed the “Jour Ferie” mussels (orange-cranberry cream, grand marnier, duck sausage, cherries), the “Autumn” mussels (butternut & acorn squash cream, pasilla pepper, fried mushrooms), and two orders of the “Marinere” mussels (white wine, garlic, herbs, butter). The Autumn was my personal favorite – flavorful broth, perfectly cooked mussels, and pescetarian to boot. After the meal was over I think we went through 7-8 loaves of bread sopping up all of the sauce. We also had fries with truffle mayo, chipotle mayo, and horseradish cream.

Arlington Darling | Granville Moore's Broth "Shot"

The funniest part of our meal was at the end, when we were reminiscing to our waiter about how good the broth/sauce is, and joked to him, “Does anyone just ever order the broth? It is so good. Like, could you get a shot of it? We would totally do that.” He laughed but then 5 minutes later he came back and reported, “Broth shots are $1.” We promptly ordered two of them. It was weird. But great. And obviously delicious (needless to say).

A few editorial notes about dining at Granville Moore’s:

  1. The mussels dishes are very large. If you want to thoroughly enjoy all of the sauce, you should share with a friend – otherwise some of the sauce will go to waste and I will judge you. Especially if you get fries (and why wouldn’t you?), they will fill you up even more so definitely consider sharing.
  2. The beer is delicious! I don’t like beer that much and I have thoroughly enjoyed every brew I’ve had at Granville’s. However, I suggest having only one – otherwise you’ll be way too full.
  3. The mussels dishes change every so often (I’ve been 3 times this year and they’ve been different each time). Trust me, this is a good thing.

Mmmmm. Eating at Granville Moore’s takes me back to my childhood when my entire family would go out to dinner with my Grandpa. We would order a big plate of mussels, Italian-style with marinara sauce. He loved them. Since I thought mussels were icky back then (hey come on, I was like 5 years old), I didn’t eat any but my Grandpa would let me sit next to him, in the prime spot right by the platter of mussels, and I would sop up the sauce with my bread. Thanks, Grandpa, for starting me off on a great tradition – and thank you, Granville Moore’s, for keeping it alive and delicious.

Decisions, Decisions – of the Dessert Variety

My cousin is hosting our family Christmas this year, and I am so excited. Lots of firsts: her first apartment, her first time hosting a big party, and the first family Christmas hosted by someone in our generation. Definite excitement!

For her, though, it’s excitement mixed with nerves. She keeps texting me, alternating between happiness and panic. To help the girl out (and be the good cousin that I am), I offered to make an appetizer, a vegetable, and a dessert.

I think I’m set on appetizers: I’m going to do Greek Salad Bites and Lemon-Pepper Pecorino Dip. Maybe I’ll throw in some cheese and crackers, too – just for kicks. My family likes to eat. And for the vegetable, I’m sticking with a simple classic, roasted broccoli. It’s my own recipe which I’ll try to post soon so you can see it.

But now the big decision: what do I make for dessert? Sam is pulling together apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin roll, and kiffles. My spidey sense tells me that what is missing from that roundup is chocolate. So my options are:

Okay, okay, I know none of those is super-chocolatey. Too bad because they all sound delicious. I think I’m leaning toward the Chocolate Pudding Cake or the Peanut Butter Pie. The Chocolate Pudding Cake would be more of an adventure, and could potentially be made ahead of time (that would be helpful). But so could the Peanut Butter Pie – no doubt a family favorite, but the safe choice.
Help! What should I make? Any other suggestions?

Eep! And Shoes

I’ve been a delinquent blogger these past few weeks! I was going strong there for a while, posting like mad, but things have been hectic lately and I haven’t been posting as much. Ah, well – no excuses!

I will share that I recently visited Corrective Shoe Repair in Dupont Circle, and man, did they do a nice job. I had some shoes that were totally disgusting – linings all torn up, heels destroyed, holes in the soles, smelly, etc. They repaired the shoes exactly as requested, they were up-front about the price, and they had my order ready when they said they would. It ended up costing me a hefty fee (~$30 per shoe), but definitely cheaper than buying all new shoes – especially because these pairs are some of my favorites. If you go, be warned they have limited store hours but it’s definitely worth it.

Now to go write my official review on Yelp…

Happy Friday!

Holiday Gift List (I Love Lists)

My Christmas cards are finally written and mailed out! With 18 days to spare until Christmas, I feel very accomplished. However, my shopping is not…quite done yet. I have made very good progress, mostly by buying stuff willy-nilly and not setting a budget (whoops!). But the people on my list will get some awesome gifts, that is for sure.

Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite gift picks for this year. This is the cool stuff to get when you’re stumped on what to buy that BFF, grandparent, coworker, or significant other. Happy shopping!

Pan Am Travel Bag | Arlington Darling

Pan Am Layover Bag

How cute is this bag? Even though the show Pan Am received mixed reviews, this bag evokes all that the show was supposed to be — glamorous and classic. I like the metal feet on the bottom, which make it practical when you need to set your bag down in a grimy airport. Buy for your fashionable friend who loves to travel.

Office Speak Stamp | Arlington Darling

Office Speak Stamp

This is the perfect gift for your favorite coworker, team member, or boss (with a sense of humor). I’m a consultant, and I can’t count how many times a day I hear “in the loop” and “on the same page.” This would be an absolute hit in almost any office. Plus, it’s fun – who doesn’t want to have a cute stamp in their office? Even if I’d just use it to stamp post-its while avoiding real work…

Cards Against Humanity | Arlington Darling

Cards Against Humanity

Do you like Apples to Apples? Are you comfortable with a little bit of not-politically-correct humor? Then this is the game for you. I played this with a few kickball teammates over the summer, and it was hysterical. The setup is the same as Apples to Apples, except instead of a red noun card, you get a phrase to complete, such as “President Obama relaxes by ______.” Then you get weird phrases and nouns instead of a green adjective card, which you use to complete the phrase, such as “President Obama relaxes by landing on the moon.” Except the phrases are mostly dirty and not at all politically correct. So it gets funny pretty quickly. Not a gift for the elderly, anyone who is very conservative, or someone you don’t know very well!

Picture It Postage | Arlington Darling

Picture It Postage

A cute and unique gift for family (especially grandparents!). The website takes any photo of yours and turns it into stamps. How cool is that? You could give it as a gift even if you don’t have adorable children or pets to use in your photo — just use any photo that has meaning or looks beautiful, like scenery or a photo taken during a vacation. Cute and practical.