Signature Nuts?

French Fridays with Dorie

Signature Nuts
I really like the idea that certain types of things can come to be thought of as someone’s “signature”. Scents, dishes, articles of clothing, even cocktails can become automatically associated in your mind with one person or one place. Coco Channel had her white pearls. Bing Crosby had that damn hat. The Brown Derby of course had the Cobb Salad. Anna Wintour has her haircut. My early business and graduate education was in brand development and marketing so this notion of an automatic association with something unique has always been somewhat fascinating to me. It is certainly not easy to attain in either the personal or the professional realm. Even a million dollars can’t create it if it is not meant to be and yet when it does happen, it is golden…and worth much more.

Speaking personally, I would very much like a “signature” of some sort. Once upon a time I had a rather well-known signature but lets just say that certain advances in the scientific engineering in the commercial hair straightening industry has pretty much wiped that one away. (Just in case you are trying to think of a new one for me, white pearls are taken.) Back when I was quite the cologne aficionado (a hobby not too far related to cooking if you really think about it) I would to wear my favorite scent repeatedly and declare it “my signature” and yet truly, it never was. How come? The answer is that people tend to confuse their commitment to wearing only one sent, repeatedly serving the same dish, or drinking only one cocktail with it being a ‘signature’. Not so. A real signature is not something you give yourself, it is given by others. Signatures aren’t yours because you say so — they become yours because others insist they are yours.

So why this talk? It occurred to me while preparing for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie entry that Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts would be just such a dish ( if I could get it just right) that I could put forth to the world as an eventual ‘signature’. I hadn’t even tried them or read about them when I thought of this possibility idea struck me as ripe with possibility. Just read the title. Given the ease with which dish can be personalized and given the frequency with which one is given the opportunity to serve nuts certainly I could get people to declare them “my signature”? Well, Dorie as per usual already thought of this possibility and wrote about how this dish can easily become a spécialité de la maison. (Those French have words for everything!)

Signature Nuts

Signature Nuts
I didn’t achieve anything close to what I would want to call Signature Nuts this time around but I am intrigued with the process. Given its ease and inexpensive ingredients I know I will keep tinkering. Not being much of a fan of chili powder unless its used in actual chili and realizing that doing this recipe exactly as written (in one of the most popular cookbooks of 2010 no less) isn’t going to be quite personalized — I opted toward the Bonne Idée this time around and used cardamom. This somewhat lemony toned spice is something I had not really encountered until Persians became a fixture in my life. I would have not normally considered it for a cocktail nut spice since most of my associations with it are with baked goods yet I was quite heavy handed with it here. Adding a very heavy hand of cayenne gave it some necessary heat for balance (and provided a fun trigger for excessive drinking.) Delicious perhaps but not ‘signature’ just quite yet. Future tinkerings will no doubt have me raiding the saffron from my mother in law’s kitchen. (All relatives visiting from Iran are duty bound to bring her.) Perhaps a splash of lime juice with the cardamom and saffron? The Garam Masala I just bought from the new gourmet spice shop in town will take these a new direction as well. So much endless possibility. Will I get that signature appetizer?

That will be up to you. Do you have a true ‘signature’?


About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. Great post. I made them as written, but was inspired by using Cardamom. I know I’ll be making more this season… maybe next time!

    Good luck creating your signature!

  2. Love this post! I’m definitely making these again… just trying to figure out what will make them pop! 🙂

  3. Loved reading your post! It made me smile. Your nuts look fantastic…can’t wait to make this one!

  4. I don’t have a signature, culinary or otherwise. But now you’ve got me thinking about one! Love the post.

  5. Not sure if it’s appropriate to call nuts your stunning, but they are. Interesting about the cardamom. I went to buy ground bulk and a woman wouldn’t let me leave without buying only the pods/seed and crushing them myself. She said the flavor isn’t close. I felt trapped. I love nuts for the holidays and have a signature recipe myself! (ok, it’s from Diamond)…soon yours will be referred to as Trevor’s Nuts (by all).

  6. Trevor,

    I’ve been struggling with a way to tell a man, “Your nuts look great!” LOL! I can’t wait to make these – but am afraid I’ll eat them all at once!

    The soup was really good, but I definitely recommend adding croutons or crostini for additional flavor. Your potatoes certainly look better than mine. Looking forward to seeing what you make next.

  7. Chalk it up to my quirky sense of humor, but the title of your post made me laugh out loud! I’m making two different versions of these nuts for my office holiday party, so we’ll see which they like better. As for my signature? Well, I do favor Vera Wang perfume. So much so that when I pick up my baby nieces, their mother will smell them and say, “Oh, you must have been held by your auntie who blogs!”

  8. They look great, and I bet the cardamom and cayenne was a very tasty combination. I am biased, though, as I put cardamom in so many things. You could call it my signature spice.

  9. Signature or not, the nuts look awesome. 😉

  10. Yours sparkle! How lovely. I hope you report back to us as you keep tinkering with your signature dish.

  11. that top photo is magazine worthy! great post and i hope you find your magic nut combination.

  12. I too am intrigued with tinkering with the spices. I have made nuts with pepper in them and enjoyed them. I will omit the chili powder next time. Good luck with your signature development.

  13. Trevor, I love reading your blogs. They’re always humorous and j’aime quand vous utilisez le français.
    The nuts look délicieux.


  14. I kick back, pour a glass of wine, and get ready to enjoy your writing. You make me think, you make me laugh, and you make me envy your photos. Grrr!
    I agree on the “signature” definition, although I cannot think of one thing that could be my signature. But, let’s work on it:)
    I have been introduced to Persian cuisine recently, when we moved to SoCal from Ohio (of course, way before that I read “Pomegranate Soup” and fell in love with the food without tasting a bite). There are three Persian grocery stores near by and I do not buy my meat or produce anywhere else. And spices? Heaven!
    Looking forward to more of your posts:)

  15. Beautiful photos and something to think about – great post!

  16. so I bashed the idea of using lime in my post but I didn’t actually give it a shot….I think with the right combination it could be killer! Next time I’m going to try to cover all the tastes to see how it goes – spicy, salty, sweet, sour. Please share if you ever find your perfect ‘signature nuts’!

  17. I loved reading your post and just from your writing the spices smell terrific enough to make me want to go to my kitchen right now and make these nuts in at least 3 variations…too bad I have to work a few more hours and the week is filled…but soon!

  18. I don’t have a signature dish either, but it’s a great idea. Those nuts, with the spices you added, sound delicious. I think I’m going to try these this week. 🙂

  19. Your photos are so pretty! Please post when you come up with some good spice combinations! I loved these nuts and am going to make them often, trying to get more good spice combos, too.

  20. Great post and funny! Love the photos and your experimentation of the different flavors!