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Archive for the ‘Snacks’ Category

You’ll never go back to the bag.  These homemade potato chips are just that incredible.  They are a bit time-consuming, especially if you are cooking for a crowd but totally worth it.  The oil is infused with sage, rosemary, and garlic.  You’ll know the oil is hot and ready for the potatoes once the herbs have become crispy.  Remove the crisped herbs and put the potato slices in one at a time.  After they turn brown, take them out of the oil, lay on a paper towel, and sprinkle with sea salt.  You need to sprinkle with sea salt or whatever other toppings or spices while they are still hot.  Experiment with whatever herbs you prefer (I suggest ones that are more woody and earthy) or top with parmesan after cooked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to get the thinnest potato slices, use a mandoline, a food processor, or a vegetable peeler.  I suggest using Yukon Gold potatoes but feel free to experiment or use what you have in the kitchen.  I deep fried these potatoes for the full potato chip experience, but try baking them for a healthier alternative and let me know how they come out! 

 

Sage & Rosemary Infused Kettle Chips

  • 6 large Yukon gold potatoes
  • Canola oil and olive oil, 75/25 ratio for frying
  • 6 whole cloves garlic
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 bunch sage
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Wash and clean the potatoes in cold running water. Using a mandoline, food processor, or vegetable peeler, finely slice the potatoes into chips. Drop the chips into a bowl of ice water as you work to prevent them from going brown. This will also remove any excess starch.

2.  Set a large pot of 75/25 canola and olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic (paper and all) and whole stems of fresh rosemary and sage.. Bring oil up to 375 degrees F. As it heats up the oil will get infused with the garlic and herbs. Once the herbs crackle and get crispy and you know they are done. Remove the herbs and garlic and set aside on paper towels.

3. Fry the potatoes in batches until golden and crispy. Drain the chips, dry well on paper towels and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with crispy herbs and garlic.

 

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I was on vacation last week, which meant bike riding and exploring during the day and going out to eat every night with friends.  We went to some great restaurants and even discovered a new food – ramps.  They look like a scallion but taste more like garlic.  I loved the ramps and maybe they will make their way up here so I can attempt to cook them.  But besides the ramps, one of the favorite foods I had was the crackers – sunflower seed tuile – that were put on the table to begin our meal at Pazo in Fells Point, Baltimore.  I spent lots of time trying to figure out what could be in them – making them savory but also a tad bit sweet.  I was thrilled to find that they posted the recipe on their website.  I’ve only been back for one night and making these delicious crackers was my first priority. 

 

The recipe isn’t too specific – it doesn’t give measurements for the size of the pan, nor does it tell how long to make them.  I also don’t have a silicone baking pan so I used a metal baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  You need to cook the tuile longer than you would think – till they get dark brown.  I took them out when they were not quite done, tasted them, and then made the good choice to put them back in.  They get sweeter and the flavor is enhanced the longer you cook them.  But of course, don’t let them burn.  Also, the more evenly you spread the batter, the more evenly they will cook.  For the same reason, I would suggest rotating the pan while it’s cooking.  The end result is really tasty – you can serve them as an appetizer or as a snack.

Sunflower Seed Tuile

Adapted from Pazo Restaurant

 

  •      1/4 cup egg white (it is better to measure eggs by volume as it eliminates size of egg as variable)
  •       1/4 cup sugar (ordinary, granulated white sugar)
  •       1/4 cup all purpose flour
  •       1/4 cup butter, melted
  •       A pinch of salt
  •       3 cups sunflower seeds, shelled and shaken gently in a collander to remove the finely ground      sunflower seed dust that often accompanies the whole seeds at the bottom of the bag.

1.    Whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. Add the egg whites all at once while continuing to whisk. Add the melted butter in a slow stream while continuing to whisk. For the smoothest and finest texture you can then pass this mixture through a fine sieve.  (This step can be ommitted if time and equipment do not allow for it.)

2.    Chill batter in the refrigerator for an hour or two.  This will firm it up and make it easier to spread.    

3.    After chilling, spread the mixture across a silicone baking sheet (Exopat and Silpat are common brands) or a metal baking sheet lined with parchment paper in thin, even layer (a bit less than 1/8″). Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

4.    Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-25 minutes or until brown but not black (you will smell the sunflower seeds toasting).

5.    Allow to cool for a few seconds and cut into squares directly on the silicone baking sheet using the round end of your pallete knife. Allow to cool completely then break the squares apart. Or for a more rustic look, break them into squares.

 

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Basic Hummus

Hummus is one of those classic Middle Eastern standards that’s become so commonplace in restaurants (many are doing hummus with bread rather than extra virgin olive oil to cut down on costs), in sandwiches (especially veggie ones), and of course, in my kitchen.  So instead of buying another tub of hummus from Trader Joes when I had none left last week, I decided it was time that I made it myself.  I was tainted from my first attempt at making hummus a few years when I didn’t own a food processor and I couldn’t get the chickpeas to a smooth puree.  But this time was much better and I attribute it to my food processor (let me know if  you’ve found a way of making hummus without one).

 

I made a garlic hummus and a roasted red pepper hummus but there is endless variations, depending on your taste and creativity.  Some suggestions would be parsley, chive, basil, cilantro, roasted red pepper.  You can make with or without the tahini.  I personally love tahini so I wouldn’t choose to leave it out but it would reduce the fat of the recipe. 

Hummus

  • 2 cups of chickpeas well cooked or canned chickpeas, liquid reserved
  • 1/3 cup of tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled, or to taste
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed
  • Paprika or ground cumin, to taste and for garnish
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

1. Put everything except the parsley in a food processor and begin to process; add the chickpea liquid or water as needed to allow the machine to produce a smooth puree.

2. Taste and adjust the seasoning (I often find I like to add much more lemon juice or water). Serve, drizzled with the olive oil and sprinkled with a bit more cumin or paprika and some parsley.

 

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Do-It-Yourself Power Bars

I love energy bars because they are a quick and easy source of protein and a good needed boost in the late afternoon or after a hard workout.  But it’s difficult to find ones that are tasty and not overly processed at the grocery store.  I do have a few regular store-bought favs but it was time to try something new.  Heidi from 101 Cookbooks has some awesome all natural recipes and this is a slightly adapted version of her Big Sur Power Bars.  Feel free to make your own variations of the recipe.  Brown rice syrup and crisp brown rice cereal can be found at Whole Foods or any other natural food store in your area.

in cupcake tin

DIY Power Bars

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 cup pecans, chopped


1 cup slivered almonds


2/3 cup (unsweetened) shredded coconut


1 1/4 cups rolled oats


1 1/2 cups unsweetened crisp brown rice cereal


1 cup brown rice syrup


1/4 cup sugar


1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt


2 tablespoons ground espresso beans


1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking pan for square bars or a cupcake tin for circular bars.

2. On a rimmed baking sheet toast the pecans, almonds, and coconut for about 7 minutes, or until the coconut is deeply golden. Toss once or twice along the way.

3. Mix the oats, toasted nuts, coconut, and the cereal, together in a large bowl and set aside.

4.  Combine the rice syrup, sugar, salt, espresso, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly as it comes to a boil and thickens just a bit, about 4 minutes. Pour the syrup over the oat mixture and stir until it is evenly incorporated.

5.  Spread into the prepared pan and cool to room temperature before cutting into whatever size bars you desire.

Wrap in parchment or place in sealed baggies to bring with you when you are on- the-go or for an afternoon pick-me-up.  

 

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