Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Traditional Trash Party Mix

It took me a long time to understand some of the stories my grandmother told me. For example, she was not the original Kilroy, she just went by that name when she made art. And she didn't invent paper mache, she just made what she called 'rustiques' which were somewhat mache-ed fruits on pieces of drift wood that she sometimes sold. And eventually I learned that when she was offering me trash, she was offering me a delicious party snack and not actual garbage.

Trash has become a Christmas staple in our family with jars of all sizes arriving in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I have distinct memories of her leaning over the oven to stir a turkey pan filled with trash. When people talk about Chex Mix party mix, I think of Trash and how it's far superior. Chex Mix will do in a pinch but if you want the good stuff, head to the Trash.

Like most good recipes, this one is based on taste and improvisation, something I'm not so familiar with in the kitchen. Baking requires a somewhat precise hand whereas Trash requires a dash of this, a pour of that, a craving for another this. You can make it whatever you want, really.

My version of trash had the traditional rice squares (aka: Chex), pretzels and peanuts but I also added walnuts, pecans and stuffed pretzels. I bet bacon cheddar pretzels would be heavenly in this but I tried using mustard ones instead. Melted butter mixed with some soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce form the base with which to coat all the munchies. For that extra kick, I added a squirt of sriracha sauce. Plus, it's the end of 2014, Year of Sriracha.

All of the ingredients are left to soak up the spices and oils. Every 20 minutes or so, you can stir everything around to make sure each bite is soaking up the goodness. Once things are crunchy and don't appear squishy, you're ready to dive in. If there's too much marinade, you can always add more munchies, especially oat or rice squares since they'll soak up the most juice.

It seems like this was a success given the lack of leftovers. It has more flavoring and custom touches than just a bag of pre-made mix. But then again, homemade always does!

What are some of your holiday baking/cooking traditions? Even if it's Chinese food and a matinee movie, traditions are traditions.

Christmas Trash
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • Splash of sriracha
  • 2 cups of mixed nuts
  • 1 cup of pretzels
  • 1 cup of stuffed pretzels
  • 2 cups of rice square cereal
Note: You can change the quantities of munchies to your liking and swap out for other items

  1. Preheat the oven to 250. In a 9x13 baking pan, melt the butter.
  2. Once the butter is melted, add the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and sriracha as well as any other desired spices. Mix together.
  3. Pour the nuts, pretzels and cereal (or any other munchies) into the pan. Stir to coat with the spice sauce.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20 minute intervals. After 20 minutes, carefully stir and return to the oven.
  5. Continue baking until the sauce is baked into the munchies and they appear crunchy. 
  6. Trash can be stored in jars and shared as holiday gifts or served in a bowl at a party. 

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