I couldn’t be more excited about my Urbio garden. Last weekend I planted a series of succulents, a few orchids, and a couple bamboo stalks. You can see the snapshot of the finished wall here. The guys in the flower district were incredibly helpful and showed me how to properly plant and water everything. Aside from a little snafu, whereupon which soil and pebbles spilled all over my TV and living room floor, I was quite impressed with my craftiness.
Now, full disclosure: one week later, everything is struggling. My orchids are already losing their flowers. Somehow, my succulents, which I was told were indestructible, have started to shrivel up. Only the bamboo seems to be enjoying its stay in my abode.
I had a feeling this would happen.
My first thought was that the guy at the flower district had a very clever corporate greed scheme. He’d sell me dry, nearly dead plants, then tell me to wait 10 days to water them – and BOOM – I’d be coming back for more flowers. But really, I don’t have the best track record. Some people have the green thumb and others, like me, have fingers oozing Kiehl’s Hand Salve for humans.
We’ll see what happens. Anyone who’s a master pruner, feel free to weigh in here.
Dead plants or not, I have one person to thank for the near success of this latest home venture, and that’s my friend Keith.
Keith came over to do some innocent housework and ended up spending 3 hours with his shirt off manually screwing in 20 wall anchors. Guess drills take a long time for the battery to charge. Oops.
Anyway, I wanted to thank Keith and his girlfriend Hillary, who did absolutely no handiwork but kept me company reading Vanity Fair on my couch, with some sort of edible present. They were leaving for vacation in Aruba, so I decided to go with something tropical that they could take with them.
I’ve been really digging Tasting Table’s Good Taste newsletter ever since they featured my Vegan Harira back in the fall. That particular morning, they popped into my inbox preaching a super interesting sweet, spicy trail mix. Ding ding ding.
I adjusted their recipe slightly, using garam masala instead of straight cardamom and adding macadamia nuts and dried mango. Like any trail mix, you can mix and match the nuts and dried fruit as you like. The crystallized ginger is very strong, so cut back on it if you don’t like that kind of spice. I was able to make the whole thing just from what was in my pantry. Call it culinary spring cleaning.
In the case of many gifts, I usually drop the ball somewhere in the middle of the process, leaving me in “it’s the thought that counts” territory. Needless to say, I didn’t manage to get Keith and Hillary their trail mix before they boarded their flight to Aruba. And when they wrote asking for it upon their return, I had eaten it all. But I’m hoping this post makes up for all that.
If you’re looking for an easy pantry snack to make for a friend (and then save for yourself), this is your ticket.
Tropical Trail Mix with Ginger and Coconut
- ¾ cup shelled raw pistachios
- ¼ cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
- ¼ cup large-flake unsweetened coconut
- ¾ cups raw walnut halves
- ¼ cup macadamia nuts optional
- 1/4 teaspoon Madras curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch cayenne
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 large egg white
- 3 tablespoons roughly chopped crystallized ginger
- ¼ cup diced dried mango optional
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350°.
On a rimmed baking sheet, place the pistachios, both coconuts and the walnuts and bake until the coconut is lightly toasted, about, 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium heat-safe bowl and stir in the macadamia nuts (if using), curry powder, garam masala, ground ginger, cayenne, honey, egg white, ginger, mango, and sea salt.
Return the coconut-nut mixture to the rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden-brown, about 10 minutes. Set the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool completely. Break the nut clusters up with your hands and store in an airtight container for consumption throughout the week!