You know those interviews they do with big celebrities or personalities where they ask them a whole bunch of questions meant to delve into souls and reveal intricacies that might go unnoticed by the public otherwise? Questions that are meant to draw the readers in, to create a sense of intimacy between fame and and the common man? Well, now food magazines are starting to do them. The other day, I came across one such interview with a proported “foodie actress” in one of my favorite publications, and of course had to read it. “What’s in your bag?” it read. I thought about this as I was schlepping my bags into LAX yesterday this afternoon. “What the fuck is in this thing?!” though I already knew.
If someone were to interview me about what is in my bag right now, I’d blush and reveal just how much almond butter is in there. They’d learn about the Skratch Rescue packets I always have on hand (because: wine and bike rides in the sunshine.) I’d tell them about the cycling kit and helmet, the knife roll and apron, and for this particular trip I’d have to explain about the three pairs of heels (probably one more pair than I really needed.) I’m not even embarrassed to say that most of my interview responses would speak to the snacks I have at any given time; today there’s a little bag of cherries that I picked in southwestern Colorado earlier this week, plus a couple of bags of caramel marshmallows from this great little place in Los Angeles that I just discovered. Then there are the requisite chocolate bars and always, always almonds.
On this trip I happen to be carrying these Sweet + Hot Tamari Roasted Almonds; a riff on the almonds that I previously purchased in the bulk section of the grocery store on the regular before I figured out I could actually improve upon them. The almonds are salty and savory and I can’t help but munch on them by the handful. When I’m at home, I toss them into salads, and oatmeal, to chop them up and sprinkle them atop cakes or even make almond butter with them.
You’ll only need a couple of ingredients and some forethought to pull them together; the ingredient list is comprised of things we have at all times in the Skratch Labs food trailer, items that have become staples in our house as well because they make equally delicious savory rice bowls, salad dressings and roasted almonds in different concoctions. I suggest using Bragg’s Liquid Aminos in the recipe below, but if you can’t find it for whatever reason (your local natural grocer will have it,) you could use tamari sauce or soy sauce instead, just adjust the salt content to taste. The batch size below makes a healthy pound of nuts so you have plenty to travel with, and plenty to store for later if need be. Once you nail down the recipe, I completely suggest playing with the formula to strike your own spicy/sweet balance. Add pepper, or maple, or whatever your little heart desires.
Some of you might be wondering where I am, and where I’m going. As I type I’m sitting in the chaise lounge on the yard of a 200 year old farmhouse (eating almonds,) near the coast in New England. Yesterday, I traveling from Los Angeles, after spending a few days in Calabasas to assist/attend a sold out James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour dinner at Pedaler’s Fork. It was an absolutely spectacular week filled with cycling, cuisine, and discussions on how to fuse the two together in a very real way. We ate well, rode beautifully, and crafted some projects that I think will advance it all and I can’t wait to share them with the world.
In the spring, the calendar looked like I’d have a nice lull in travel and activity right now, but from where I sit the adventures have just begun. Which means it’s time to make more almonds so I have fuel for the road. Enjoy this one, and more soon! xx L
- 1 pound raw almonds
- 3 tablespoons Bragg's Liquid Aminos, or tamari (or soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- sea salt to taste
- fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- Pop the almonds in the oven and roast until browned and fragrant, roughly 12 to 15 minutes. While the almonds roast, whisk the Bragg's maple, olive oil and sriracha in a small bowl.
- Remove the toasted almonds from the oven and pour the Bragg's mixture over the warm almonds. Toss until all of the almonds are lightly coated in the Bragg's mixture, then sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste and return to the oven to roast for another 12 to 15 minutes, tossing once during baking. The almonds will be done when they're dry roasted, not burned and deliciously fragrant.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.