herby bourbon bar nuts, aka party tricks (and an ode to trader joe’s)

Friday night, our friends came over for a steak.

My man friend has become a bit of a steak expert, using a French immersion circulator, or sous vide, to bring them to a perfect pink internal temperature before searing them on a cast iron skillet to create a beautiful crust. Drool. 

With him focused on the meat, my role in dinner partying is to make the sides, desserts, — and practice my party tricks.

For this particular dinner party, I made THE kale and Brussels sprouts salad, coconut oil roasted sweet potatoes (using the parboil method in this recipe), and dark chocolate French macarons (more on those another day).

Even if you aren’t a natural-born Martha Stewart, it isn’t difficult to make a habit of being a good guest or a welcoming host. You just need to keep a few party tricks up your sleeve. Here are mine:

  1. Fresh flowers.
  2. Cocktail hour munchies.
  3. Surprise dessert.

Trader Joe’s is amazing for many reasons, but one of my favorite things about it is their affordable selection of fresh flowers. You can make someone’s day by bringing a $4 bouquet of flowers to their dinner get-together, and you’ll bring your table to life with a few well-selected buds. On Friday, our friends brought us some beautiful yellow tulips, which became our table centerpiece. So easy, so chic.

Trader Joe’s is also a great place for cocktail hour munchies, like crackers, cheeses, and cured meats. You can easily make a respectable cheese plate for $10-$15 at TJ’s, an easy appetizer to lay out for guests while you put the finishing touches on dinner. This is also an easy, fun thing to contribute to a potluck-style dinner party!

Or, you could take advantage of Trader Joe’s insanely low prices on nuts and make this delicious recipe. These nuts are nuts. Crazy easy to make, they contain multiple sources of deliciousness that are sure to delight your guests’ tastebuds. The surprising combination of hot sauce, sweet honey, herby rosemary, and smokey bourbon is di-vine.  They also make a great anytime snack — better for you than most salty nut mixes, and infinitely more flavorful.

Finally, top it off with a surprise dessert: Act like there is no dessert. Do not mention dessert. Then, as everyone is getting ready to leave the table, snatch it out of the fridge (where it has been hidden!). Surprise! Cue oohs and ahhs. It’s the little things, people.

Happy dinner partying,

Maja

YOU’LL NEED

  • Small saucepan
  • Cookie sheet
  • Mixing bowl
  • Parchment paper/aluminum foil

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup bourbon of choice (I used Four Roses)
  • 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2-3 sprigs of rosemary, minced finely
  • 4 cups raw nuts (cashews, peanuts, almonds)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 300. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil
  2. Place all nuts in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except nuts. Bring to a slight boil, then simmer for 2-3 minutes (to cook out the alcohol). Pour over the nuts and toss to coat completely.
  4. Lay nuts out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  5. Serve warm, or transfer to an airtight container to store. Enjoy.
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