Shortly after Christmas my friend Rebekka Seale, my oldest friend in Nashville, the first friend I made when I moved here, told me she was doing a solo art show and asked me to make snacks for it.
Rebekka is unlike anyone else I know (except maybe myself) in that she has been a great many things and I know she will become many more, too. When we met we were both cake bakers and decorators. Then she was an illustrator, which morphed into a career painting the sweetest house portraits. After that, she bought a spinning wheel and began her hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn business, Camellia Fiber Company. She sold the business to our friend Silbia Ro and expanded her exploration of shape, color and texture into painting. Her works are studies in color, expressions of her own synesthesia and many of them include hand-dyed and sewn fabric scraps that come from Elizabeth Suzann’s production line. They’re earthy and etherial, decidedly feminine, so very like this person I know so well, spread across a canvas in shades of peach.
I made a spread of finger food that mimicked the earthy tones and soft shapes of her paintings, the most popular being tender and crunchy little endive leaves filled with honey sweet tahini cream, topped with toasted sesame oil, parsley, mint, pomegranate arils and flaky salt. My favorite and I think yours, judging by how many people asked for the recipe, was the brown butter togarashi chex mix. It’s nutty, intensely salty and spicy- perfect for a party if you are drinking anything light and fizzy, from Miller High Life to champagne to lime seltzer.
Brown Butter Togarashi Chex Mix
-serves 16 as a snack
4 cups wheat chex
4 cups corn chex
1 1/2 cups mini pretzels
1 1/2 cups sesame sticks
1 cup nuts (I used walnuts, but mixed nuts is classic)
6T unsalted butter
2T soy sauce*
2-3T shichimi togarashi*
1. Mix together the chex, pretzels and nuts in a large bowl. Measure out your togarashi, sesame sticks and soy sauce in separate small bowls.
2. Brown the butter over medium heat- as soon as it browns, pull it from the heat fast! and add the soy sauce fast! Give it a stir and start folding it into the chex mix immediately.
3. When everything is coated as evenly as possible and still a little warm, sprinkle in the togarashi while you continue to stir gently. Add the sesame sticks and pour the mixture onto a large sheet pan to dry out for at least an hour.
*if you are sensitive to salt or spice, I recommend using 1T soy sauce and 1-2T togarashi.