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chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Sandwiches, Snacks, and Munchies

Smoked, roasted, candied, and spiced nuts. Sweet, salty, savory, spicy, smoky roasted nuts are always a hit as a snack. Serve them straight or mix them with dried fruits, pretzels, or Chex mix. Serve them as garnishes and toppings on salads, in rice dishes, in grits or oatmeal, in granola, or on top of ice cream. They also make great gifts.

Chestnuts roasted on an open fire, in the oven, in the microwave, or steamed or boiled. Warm fresh chestnuts are soft, fleshy, sensuous, creamy, and sweet. They are best served nekkid with a glass of port or a mug of hot glogg and, on the bearskin rug, in front of the fireplace, with Nat King Cole in the background. For a sinful treat, dip them in melted butter and sprinkle a little salt on them. But don't wait til Christmas. They are moldy that late in the season. Roast them in October and November.

Frico. If you love the crispy bits of cheese that stick to the griddle when you make grilled cheese sandwiches even better than the sandwiches, frico will become your favorite munchie.

3 Pimento Cheese Spreads. Pimento Cheese has many nicknames: PC, Carolina Caviar, Atlanta Paté, and Menta Cheese. In the South, particularly the Carolinas and Georgia, you cannot have a church social, family picnic, card game, wedding, or any social gathering without Pimento Cheese sandwiches. Traditionally it is spread on white bread and that's all. But it is also great on toast points, sliced French bread, and even garlic bread. Make grilled cheese sammies with it all by itself or add lettuce, tomato, and/or fresh basil. Use it to stuff cherry tomatoes as a snack, or a whole tomato as an appetizer. Stuff celery with it. Dip carrots into it. Add it to grits, omelets, or scrambled eggs. Slather it on top of chili dogs or on burgers instead of sliced cheese (oh my!).

Home-made Boursin Cheese Spread. If you haven't tasted Boursin (TM), you're missing something. It is a spreadable cow's milk cream cheese flavored with garlic, black pepper, and herbs. It's great as a spread on a crusty baguette or on crackers or stuffed into jalapeno poppers. It is also wonderful as a sauce dolloped on a hot steak, asparagus, or in with mashed potatoes. It is fairly easy to make something similar to real Boursin at home for a fraction of the cost.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on the Grill. Here are the secrets of great gooey grilled cheese.

Mayo Mojo Hard Boiled Egg Salad. Amp up garden variety hard boiled eggs with a little Mojo Mayo.

Caramelized Onions.

Sweet Sour Pickle Chips. This quick and simple recipe makes sweet and sour pickle slices for sandwiches perfect for mounding on hamburgers, deli sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, or even straight as a side or snack. You don't need to Pasteurize or heat treat these pickles, and you don't need much time.

Classic Kosher Dill Pickles. Just like they serve at the kosher delis, you can make them in your fridge, and they're ready in 48 hours. No fermenting. I use the recipe for leftover green tomatoes, and I can use the brine over and over.

Jalapeno Poppers. These are great appetizers. While restaurant jalapeno poppers are usually breaded and fried, the grilled version are much more flavorful. And you can remove most of the heat to accomodate wimps if you wish.

Cowboy Candy (Sweet Pickled jalapenos). There are two kinds of "Cowboy Candy" and this recipe is not for chaw. This is a sweet/sour pickled pepper that is great as a relish on hot dogs, burgers, cold cut sandwiches, pulled pork, coleslaw, on grilled cheese sandwiches, on Italian beef and Italian Sausages, or mixed in with your cornbread. Take a block of cream cheese and cover the top with these tasty rings and serve with crackers as an appeteaser.

Quick Pickles. Want to give some zip to a dish? These pickles are ready in less than 30 minutes. The recipe calls for onions, but it works just fine with scallions, ramps, leeks, cucumbers, sweet peppers, green beans, cauliflower, shredded cabbage, carrots, corn kernels, garlic.

Pickled Eggs. In the South, you will almost always find a big jar of pickled eggs in a bar.

Maple Taffy. When the first snow flies, we make maple taffy. Chewy and rich, the texture and flavor are a real treat. Kids love making it almost as much as eating it.

...more to come (to be notified when new recipes and other articles are published, be sure to subscribe to our free, spam free, email newsletter "Smoke Signals").

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