My back hurts. Really hurts. I have no idea how chefs stand for that many hours in a row. I just finished my most recent catering gig. This was with 80P’s mom again. I conducted many, many brainstorming conversations (thanks: Maids, Romeo, El, WestCoast, BS, 80P…) but because I’m so used to Eating Down the Fridge (using up ingredients in my fridge/pantry and not shopping for new food) that I could only fathom working with items already in my possession, or ones I knew I could pick up while working at the farmers market.
Fortunately, I was recently in Philly for work and had some spare time before dinner (ate at Monk’s–mussels, fries and stout–with BroadAndPattison). I found this adorable nut shack: Nuts to You.
I’m not even kidding, I was in that place for 45 minutes browsing the 4 aisle store filled with nuts, dried fruits, grains and candies. I walked out with, and I’m still not kidding, FIVE pounds of food, which I then had to drag around as I wasted more time checking out Banana Republic, Lacoste, Williams-Sonoma (don’t get me started on their uni-tasker inventory; they have 6 instruments alone to peel and chop garlic) and this weird all-natural soap and lotion place with the perkiest staff of all time. Soap that smells like pine nuts and lavender, no thanks.
I left Nuts To You with: dried dates (pound), dried figs (pound), quinoa (pound), mixed bag of almonds, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts and walnuts (pound) and cashew butter (pound). Yes, not peanut butter, but cashew butter. And I saw them make it. There was this crazy looking glass machine with some peanut oil in it and the salesperson dumped a pound of cashews into the machine and then out oozed cashew butter. No salt, no preservatives, no corn syrup. Just nuts and oil. A-mazing.
Anyway, with that in the cupboard, here is what I proposed to 80P’s Mom:
- Dates and figs (either or both) stuffed with cheese (either ricotta, goat cheese or quark) and herbs. This can be served warm or room temp and can be stuck with a toothpick for serving
- Sweet potato disks with cashew butter and chili powder spread ( Can spread the cashew butter on top of the chips or let people dip it)
- On a toothpick: cube of roasted winter squash, cube of feta, cube of squash
- Cucumber slice with Greek yogurt, lemon zest and quinoa
- Artichoke, olive and caper crostini
- Radish, cashew butter and broccoli (Or the broccoli can be cooked)
80P’s Mom selections after the jump.