Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jazz Up Your Dishes with Santé Nuts (Product Review)

I was recently sent a sample package of Santé Nuts to try out and provide my feedback on.  First off, let me say how impressed I was with the packaging the samples came in.  I received what looked like an over sized storybook, and when you opened it up, there were openings for each of the 4 sample Santé Nut packages.  Just looking at the presentation of the samples alone made me not want to eat them.  But, I had to, if I wanted to find out for myself how they tasted and share my thoughts with you and Santé.

Just look at the flavors I was sent to sample from Santé:

Garlic Almond

Zesty garlic, cayenne and black pepper give these almonds their savory punch. A touch of pure cane sugar makes them irresistible. 

Buy now online for only $4.29 a bag.

Candied Pecans

Simply scrumptious: These buttery mammoth pecan halves kissed with pure cane sugar are deliciously addictive

Buy now online for only $5.29 a bag.

Candied Walnuts
Deliciously back-to-basics: These creamy walnuts kissed with pure cane sugar are dreamily delectable.

Buy now online for only $4.99 a bag.
Roasted Salted Pecans
Deliciousness pure and simple: Mammoth pecan halves roasted and salted to perfection.

Buy now online for only $5.29 a bag.

Wondering how you eat or serve these scrumptious nuts?  Well, you can be creative and incorporate them into a favorite recipe, add them to a salad, or simply eat them out of the bag. 

My husband ended up eating the Roasted Salted Pecans right out of the package before I was able to try with the Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Blue Cheese and Pecans recipe that I found on the Santé website.  In seconds the bag was empty and he was raving about how great the pecans tasted.  He couldn't believe how big the pecans were, and how they had just the right amount of salt on them.

Before my husband could get his hands on the other nut samples, I hid them, as I wanted to incorporate them into a salad and try out a few recipes from Santé.  

The first recipe I tried was the Tequila-Marinated Chicken with Mexican Mole Sauce, which used the Santé Garlic Almonds.

Servings: 4 | Prep Time: 2 hr 36 min | Difficulty: Medium

Pass tortillas at the table when this spicy dish is served. Nothing brings the heat like a little help from ancho chiles!

Here is the recipe, in case you want to try it out with your family:


1/4 cup 
Santé Garlic Almonds chopped
1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup tequila
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 large tomatoes (1 1/4 pounds)
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
10 cloves garlic, unpeeled
10 ancho chiles, (3 ounces), stem removed and seeded (reserve seeds)
5 guajillo chiles, (1 1/2 ounces), stem removed and seeded (reserve seeds)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon, about 2 inches long
4 whole cloves
1/4 cup fresh Mexican oregano leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried
1/4 cup shelled peanuts, roasted
1/4 cup raisins
2 to 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, hot (plus a little more if necessary)
4 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 ounces (2 tablets) Mexican chocolate, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can tomato puree
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Fresh tortillas, for serving


Place chicken pieces in a large resealable plastic bag. Combine the tequila, lime juice, garlic, cilantro and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over chicken pieces and seal the bag, trying to release as much air as possible. Refrigerate the chicken for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning occasionally.

While the chicken is marinating, make the sauce.

Preheat the broiler to 500 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves on the baking sheet and broil until slightly caramelized around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the garlic to a small plate to cool. Using a spatula or large spoon, turn the tomatoes and onions so that the uncooked sides are up. Return to the broiler until slightly caramelized on the second side, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. In a large skillet over high heat, toast the chiles on all sides until lightly browned and fragrant. Do not allow to burn. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover with hot water and allow to sit until softened, about 30 minutes. In the same skillet, combine the sesame seeds and reserved chile seeds and toast until light brown and fragrant. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. Add the peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cloves, oregano and thyme to the hot skillet and “toast” for a few seconds, just until their perfume is released. Transfer to the bowl with the sesame seeds.

When cool enough to handle, peel the garlic cloves and add these, along with the charred tomatoes and onion, to the bowl of a food processor. Add the seeds and spices. Drain the liquid off of the chiles

In a large deep pot, heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil until very hot. Carefully pour the pureed mixture into the pot (be careful ? it will splatter) and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat so that the mixture simmers, and add 3 1/2 ounces of the chocolate to the pot. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 hour, or until the mole paste is very thick and flavorful. At this point you should have about 3 1/2 cups of mole paste. Reserve 1 cup to make the Mole sauce, and reserve the remaining paste for another use. The mole paste will keep for at least 6 months, refrigerated, or up to 1 year if frozen.

Preheat the broiler to 500 degrees F.

To make the sauce, heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cup of reserved mole paste and the remaining 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and stir to combine well. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is a nice sauce consistency. Add the remaining 1/2-ounce of Mexican chocolate and the salt and cook another 2 minutes, or until the chocolate is melted and the sauce is thick, smooth and flavorful. Keep warm while you cook the chicken.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the chicken pieces on the baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes, or until the chicken is charred in places. Turn the chicken and continue to broil for an additional 5 minutes, or until the second side is charred. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and continue to cook the chicken until the juices run clear, about 10 more minutes.

Serve the chicken immediately, with some of the mole sauce spooned over the top, garnished with some of the chopped cilantro. Pass tortillas at the table.

Recipe from: The Food Network.

I have to say the candied walnuts really pulled the dish together.  This is a dish I will definitely be making again.  And, it tasted even better the next day for leftovers. 

I ended up using the Candied Pecans as a salad topper with fresh gorganzola cheese and dried cranberries.  It made for a nice crunchy flavor to the salad.

And, for a special and unexpected treat, I made pancakes this past Sunday and added the Candied Walnuts to the mix.  It really added a new dimension to the dish and made for a sweet breakfast dish.

I can't wait to pick up more Santé Nuts and try them with other family favorite recipes and dishes, as well as put some out for the upcoming holiday when guests come over.  It will be a refreshing change from the salted peanuts and mixed nut medley I offer up each year.


Head on over to the Santé Nuts website and order any or all of the nut varieties I spoke of above.  And, as an added bonus, use promo code: "2011-Blog-086" at checkout to receive 25% off your total order.  If that isn't incentive enough to pick up a bag or 2 of these delicious nuts, I don't know what it! Please note that this promo code is only valid on orders placed through December 16, 2011, so act now to get this special discount!

Disclosure:  Santé provided free samples of their nuts so I could review  them. However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own.

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