Let's #GetCrackin: Delightful Holiday Recipes From Wonderful Pistachio

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The holiday countdown is on! And I’m ready to get crackin’ on all things festive, fun, holly, and jolly. My favorite way to celebrate the season: breaking bread with friends and family.

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To kick off the most wonderful time of the year, Momtrends hosted an incredible event with a few fabulous foodie bloggers, featuring amazing recipes from Wonderful Pistachios.

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After getting a brief lesson in knife safety from the professionals at My Cooking Party, we gathered around our individual cutting boards and got to work—chopping, mixing, stirring, prepping, and cooking delightfully delicious holiday dishes—all featuring Wonderful Pistachios, of course—which, BTW, might just be the most versatile ingredient ever.

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I was stationed at the dessert table (not by coincidence, I might add!), and helped to make sweet-and-salty popcorn balls (more on that later!), but let me just tell you it was so easy, so relaxing, and so fun. Seriously, drinking wine and molding popcorn balls might be my calling in life—and it was definitely the least stressed out I’ve felt all month.

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Some of my blogger friends had more difficult assignments: stuffing raw turkey meat, slicing stubborn squash, and roasting sweet potatoes, but everyone seemed to be having a blast! (If it's up to me, though, I’ll stick to the sweet stuff—thank you very much!)

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When we were finished honing our culinary skills, we were seated at a stunning winter-white holiday table featuring decorations from Minted. How stunning are those silver foil-dipped tree centerpieces! And the Nordic Noel silver foil-pressed paper ornaments are lovely. Everything was perfectly placed on a snow dot silver foil-pressed table runner. After going around the spectacular table and saying what we’re thankful for (a Thanksgiving throwback!), we all enjoyed the fruits (and pistachios!) of our labor.

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It was a lovely evening filled with community, laughter, wine, and Wonderful Pistachios... And I’m sharing three of my favorite recipes from the event, below. These simple dishes are perfect for holiday parties. Enjoy!

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Wonderful Pistachios, Peach and Barley Salad
A fresh summer salad with the crunch of Wonderful Pistachios and delicious peaches.
Prep: 15 minutes / Time to Table: 1 hour a 5 minutes / Serves: 4

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⅔ cup pearled barley
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cups trimmed green beans
¼ cup pistachio oil, or olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 cups baby arugula
2 ripe peaches, sliced ¼-inch thick
⅓ cup crumbled ricotta salata
⅓ cup shelled Wonderful Pistachios Roasted & Salted, roughly chopped

1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in barley, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook about 45 minutes, until barley is tender and water is absorbed. Remove from heat, and set aside 10 minutes. Add parsley, fluff barley with a fork and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in another saucepan; boil string beans about 5 minutes, until crisp and tender. Blanch in ice water and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk pistachio oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper; toss with arugula, string beans, and half the sliced peaches.
4. Place greens mixture on individual plates. Top with a scoop of barley, remaining peaches, ricotta salata and pistachios. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges with Wonderful Pistachios, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Glaze
Sweet roasted potato wedges get the holiday treatment with crunchy Wonderful Pistachios, tangy goat cheese and a lovely pomegranate glaze.
Prep: 20 minutes / Time to Table: 45 minutes / Serves: 8 (about 4-5 wedges/person)

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4 large sweet potatoes, well-scrubbed and cut into 1” thick wedges
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
4 ounces goat cheese
½ cup shelled Wonderful Pistachios, chopped
2 tablespoons POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons honey

1. Preheat oven to 425°F and line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.
2. Toss potato wedges with olive oil, salt and pepper, mixing thoroughly. Transfer the wedges to the baking sheets making sure they spaced evenly.
3. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir wedges and rotate pans. Bake another 10 minutes until cooked through and caramelized. Remove from the oven.
4. Combine the honey and the POM Wonderful pomegranate juice. Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave and stir. Arrange the sweet potatoes on a platter and scatter the Wonderful Pistachios and goat cheese over them. Drizzle the pomegranate glaze over all. Serve.

Wonderful Pistachio and Cherry Popcorn Balls
Old fashioned popcorn balls sparkle with the tart addition of dried cherries and tasty Wonderful Pistachios, while the brown sugar gives them a caramel-y flavor. These are sure to be a hit at any holiday gathering.
Prep: 8 minutes / Time to Table: 18 minutes / Makes: 20 balls about 2 ½ inches in diameter

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12 cups popcorn
1 cup shelled Wonderful Pistachios Roasted & Salted, lightly chopped
1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
½ cup light corn syrup
¾ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large roasting pan combine popcorn, dried cherries and Wonderful Pistachios, mixing thoroughly.
3. In a medium saucepan combine syrup, sugar, butter and salt. Over medium heat bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue stirring and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. Be careful as mixture will bubble up.
4. Pour syrup mixture over popcorn and stir to coat well. Popcorn will still be warm from the syrup. To keep your hands clean slip them into two plastic bags and coat bags with cooking spray or butter.
5. Working quickly, form popcorn mixture into balls about 2 ½ inches in diameter. Place on the parchment lined baking sheet to cool.

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