Every early summer for the past nine years, Larry has hosted a neighborhood block party. I say “Larry has,” because two chiefs don’t work so well for this event. He checks a date with a collection of immediate neighbors, who then help with distributing flyers, bringing beverages and ice, tent setup (always a comedy of errors). He sends out a email blasts to the neighborhood. He declutters the garage, sweeps and hoses. Wipes down chairs, sets up tables. And then neighbors arrive with killer potluck dishes, like these Spicy Almonds.
Me? I’m PR. My spray-painted banner on a mildew-y drop cloth, hung on the hedge for two rain-punctuated weeks, was SO AWESOME, someone swiped it a day before the party. Seriously?? My tie dye activity produced purple-fingered moms and kids, and cool hippie clothes. Neighbor Linda and I take the leftovers to the Fire Station. Block parties always have leftovers – food is fantastic and ample.
Neighbors Marty and Bill attend just about every year, always great for gossip – I mean, conversation. Tree trimming was a highlight, one gloriously old nearby parkway tree had the frightening habit of losing gi-normous branches onto the sidewalk. Finally professionally shaped, we’re all satisfied for a spell.
Marty is clearly a Martha. A professional decorator, her home is perfection. I always say yes when asked, “Do you want to come in?” Their kitchen is what foodies would install once they won the lottery. Given this gorgeous home baked cherry pie and Spicy Almonds she and Bill brought, you know that kitchen gets great use. And the bottom of her recipe card PROVED it – “variation of a Martha Stewart recipe.” AHA, a Martha!
Spicy Almonds from Marty
- 3 tablespoons Peanut Oil
- 2 cups whole blanched almonds
- 1/2 cup sugar
Heat oil in heavy bottom frying pan over medium high heat. Add almonds and sprinkle with sugar. Sauté until almonds are golden brown and sugar is caramelized. Remove almonds with a slotted spoon to a cookie sheet and sprinkle with a mixture of:
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes
Toss and separate the almonds into a single layer. Let cool. Makes 2 cups.