Posts tagged ‘snacks’
Valentines Day always tends to send the blogosphere into a tizzy with all things red, chocolate, heart-shaped, and/or shareable, and despite my irregular blogging habits over the last year or two, I seem to be no exception (see these Mexican Chocolate souffles for two or the little valentine cheesecakes for two— two surprisingly popular posts, mostly due to the for-two-factor!). This year, I was feeling a bit lazy about planning any sort of special dessert (especially because Stephen nearly always prefers chocolate chip cookies to anything else I might make), but then it occurred to me that one needn’t go dessert to get valentiney, and I had enough fun to want to blog about it! Valentines Day isn’t a particularly big deal around here, but we do like to try to do something involving cooking together, and this fits happily into that category.
I totally love soft pretzels, but most of the time I am far too lazy to make anything yeasted. Somehow, scaling the recipe back to just make a handful (well, a couple handfuls) of pretzels made it feel much more approachable, which was good because I decided to make these, dough-rising and all, at like 9:30 pm on a weeknight. It may have been a tad foolish given the timing (definitely not a bowl-to-belly in 30 minutes kind of snack), but it was surprisingly doable, and when we had the pretzels in hand it was all worth it. If you have some quick yeast (I didn’t), I bet you could shave the waiting down even more. Even with normal waiting time, I felt like the recipe made enough pretzels that my effort was justified, but not so many that I was shaping and poaching all night just to be left with a Super Bowl amount of snacks that we could never take down on our own. It made for a lovely Valentine preview snack!
I love my River Cottage Bread Handbook. I tend to go through obsession phases with new cookbooks and then let them fall neglected for months, but this is a book that I’ve returned to reliably over the last few months of owning it. It is a great resource for bread making– concise, clearly written, well photographed, and full of recipes for really tasty breads of all kinds. The author recommends no fancy tools (his bread/pizza peel is a board nailed to a stick), and doesn’t really advocate shortcuts or secrets, he simply shows you how to make delicious rustic bread.
When I was considering whether to buy the book or not, one of the things that really sealed the deal was the promise of a five minute bread recipe. Was this possible? Turns out it is! Enter roti, a simple, unleavened flatbread from India/Nepal that is great for scooping up puddles of stew or chasing the heat from a mouthful of spicy curry. It’s crazy easy to make – flour, water, and salt – and while I wouldn’t call it a showstopper when it comes to flavor or texture, it’s tasty in a simple way and provides some palate-relief from whatever you’re dipping it in. And for five minutes and three ingredients, I think that’s a pretty reasonable result! There’s really no excuse for not trying it– even if you’re in the middle of cooking right this minute, you could probably still whip out some roti and have it on the table before your main dish!
I am totally in love with this recipe. Like, we had it with dinner last night and used all our feta, but I want to go back and get more and eat it all by myself for lunch it’s so good. It’s like a magic little packet that you throw in the oven only imagining that it’ll probably be good but then you pull it out and it’s melty and aromatic and delicious, and it’s like opening a christmas present in summer. And the best thing is, not only does it taste good, I think it may be the easiest and most low maintenance appetizer I know, which makes it fabulous for summer when I don’t want to spend too much time in my hot kitchen– it’s definitely a throw and go kind of thing so you can stay away from the oven. And, if it happens to be just too hot to turn on your oven, you can take this one outside and throw the packet on the grill! And regardless of the time of year, for entertaining purposes you can’t argue with a recipe you can prepare in advance (in 5 minutes) and then store in its own packet in the fridge until you’re ready, then just pop it on some heat for 15 minutes and it’s ready to serve. Add bread and it’ll be a snap when guests arrive to keep yourself out of the kitchen and at the table, snacking away with everyone else.
This week I decided to make mayonnaise from scratch for the first time. I’d been meaning to try it for quite awhile, but this week I didn’t have anything else in mind for a kitchen first, and the timing seemed appropriate since I am hoping to audition a few new summery recipes this week that need a little bit of mayonnaise each (potato salad, anyone?). People are always raving about how much better homemade mayonnaise is, and I decided to see for myself.
Oh, and did I mention these bacon deviled eggs? We decided to try them because we had lots of eggs, wanted a snack, and I wanted to do something right away with my fresh mayonnaise, but I realized I’ve never actually made deviled eggs before so I guess I’m getting a double kitchen first out of the deal. Can anyone say no to a deviled egg? This recipe can be made with or without the bacon and is fairly standard, so if you’re look for a meat-free version this can certainly be it. Although really, you can’t ask for a better combination than bacon and eggs (scroll to the bottom if you want to skip to the eggs!).
Those of you who have known me for awhile know about the snacking tradition that is peanut butter popcorn. It is something my aunt always used to make, and when she gave me her recipe in high school it became a requisite part of late night hang-outs and movie times within my circle. We still make it whenever an occasion presents itself, and lately Stephen and I have taken to making it and sneaking it into movie theaters in a ziploc in my purse! It is an amazing afternoon/midnight/2am take on the idea of sweet popcorn– all the addictive, sticky yummyiness of caramel corn with the unexpected salty-sweet deliciousness of peanut butter. Plus the recipe is easy to remember and easy to execute!
I dunno about you guys, but even in a seemingly endless stretch of rainy days I’m starting to feel spring setting in. I can’t entirely put my finger on it, but all I know is that for me, the time for slow cookers and soups and roasts is passed, and all I really crave are GREEN THINGS. Asparagus. Peas. Spinach. And let’s not forget the aforementioned delicious pea shoots. I can’t get enough, even though the farmer’s market hasn’t quite started up yet and the grocery stores are still a bit spotty in this early spring time with the price and quality of spring veggies.
As I wait for the markets to catch up with my veg cravings, I’ve found myself drawn to main dish salads as a way to ease into spring. They make heavy use of easy-to-access greens like spinach, pea shoots, and other lettuces, but can be bejeweled and adorned with any number of delicious additions in smaller quantities, which is easy on my pocketbook and makes “cooking” dinner a simple matter of chopping and or cooking just a few lovely supplements and then tossing them in with the more salady bits. This latest salad, a loose adaptation of something I saw in Sunset magazine this month, takes a hefty dose of spinach and supplements it with smaller quantities of fresh asparagus, chicken, feta, tomatoes, a tangy lemon vinaigrette, and the best part: homemade pita croutons!
I had never heard of cinnamon teacake before I stumbled on this recipe, but something about the idea of it sounded utterly adorable (the notion of tea is so cute, isn’t it?), and the combination of the cuteness and the idea of cinnamon and sugar and cake and tea all in the same sentence convinced me that on a Sunday afternoon, this needed to happen. And after it happened, I realized I need to have afternoon tea a lot more often.