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Archive for the ‘Snacks’ Category

ppatties
Ah, yes, the commercials tell you eating these will make you think you’re skiing in the Alps, it’s brisk, it’s clean, it’s…corn syrup. Yeah. The ingredients of a York Peppermint Patty according to the Hershey’s website are: SUGAR; CORN SYRUP; SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE ( CHOCOLATE; SUGAR; COCOA; MILK FAT; COCOA BUTTER; SOY LECITHIN; PGPR, EMULSIFIER; VANILLIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR) ; INVERT SUGAR; EGG WHITES; OIL OF PEPPERMINT; MI LK

There are worse things, but I’ll pass. Good thing they are easy to make at home!

Hats off to This Chick Cooks for her peppermint patty recipe. Find it here.I followed her recipe to the letter and these are delicious. Only technique I changed a bit was that after putting the chocolate on the top and sides, I stuck them back in the freezer for a few minutes, flipped them and applied the chocolate to the bottom.

These treats are easy, delicious, and filled with the great health benefits of coconut oil. Get the facts here!

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Dehydrated Tomato Goodness

Dehydrated Tomato Goodness

For my birthday I finally bought myself something I’d been kicking around for several years but couldn’t bring myself to lay out the cash. A dehydrator. More on that to come in another post, but the giant metal monstrosity arrived and I couldn’t wait to try it out. I looked around my kitchen like a mad scientist thinking “what can I shrink??”

Those plump roma tomatoes caught my eye. Within moments they were sliced about 1/8 inch think and spread out on one of my racks. At 125 degrees and about 6 hours later, we had dehydrated tomatoes.

Test subject Bill was the first one to take a bit. He nodded approvingly and said, “It’s like candy!”

Tomato candy?

I took a bite. Indeed, the sweetness of the tomato had condensed into these slightly chewy little rounds of goodness. And now I know how to turn the world’s undercover fruit into a sweet snack!

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My latest Viking cooking class covered some classic Thai cuisine. I have a favorite Thai place by my house and I have to say…the stuff we made was BETTER. Here’s the menu:

Thai Spring Rolls with Sweet n’ Sour Dipping Sauce

Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Banana Leaf Wrapped Snapper (with Red Curry Sauce)

We also got to sample Thai Cucumber Salad and Thai Roasted Coconut Cashew Nuts. (Both delish!)

The roasted cashew dish is a cinch. Pretty much all you do is heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok (I would use coconut oil), stir in a few tablespoons of honey, toss in a few cups of cashews and a few cups of unsweetened shredded coconut (the kind that looks like shavings) and toast them. At the end, toss in a few seeded, finely chopped fresh red chilies and salt and pepper to taste. Wok it a few more minutes until everything is as you please. Nice party dish!

Spring rolls. Check me out. I did the stylish plate arrangement myself!

The spring rolls were UH-maze-ing. Sure, it takes some time to do all the chopping, etc., but once you get everything rolled up…guess what? You don’t have to deep fry. I’m serious. We pan fried these spring rolls, just rolling them around in a pan with some oil (again, I’d use coconut oil, but we use canola oil in class which I try to avoid) and they turned out fantastic. Next time you’re on a roll try a pan fry (and make sure you’re using spring roll wrappers, not egg roll wrappers).

Chicken Satay

The chicken satay was good but I’ve gotten so accustomed to the deep flavor of the dark meat on a pasture raised chicken that they seemed really dry to me. I would definitely try them at home along with their dipping sauce but I’d use thighs from a free range bird.

Snapper in banana leaf

The snapper dish was really interesting. We made the curry sauce first (which tasted almost exactly like the red curry I get from my favorite Thai place – wow!) and let it cool while we prepared the fish. We cut banana leaves into strips, then crossed them, added the fish and some sauce and wrapped them up. Using kitchen twine, we tied them up and into the oven they went for a steam. The fish turned out really delicate and moist.

Snapper unwrapped!

I have to say this was probably my favorite class. The dishes and techniques were excellent, and the instructor was very enthusiastic. So exciting to see someone else get worked up over quality ingredients! Thanks for a great class Chef Sandra!

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It was a normal Friday. I did my work thing, test subject Bill did his work thing, we went out for sushi, we came home. Then it happened. SNACK ATTACK. I was just sitting at my computer Facebooking when all of a suddent I HAD to have something sweet or I was going to turn into a DRAGON.

Midori

Toothless

My cat Midori may bear a striking resemblance to Toothless, but the kitties really do not dig fire-breathing in the house. So something had to be done.

As luck would have it, I’d been out and about today and picked up ingredients for these Cocoa and Coconut Balls I found over at Mark’s Daily Apple. This would be my speedy fix – nuts to keep me from turning into a dragon. A quick zip of a multitude of nuts, dates, coconutiness and cocoa. Heavenly!

I followed Mark’s recipe very closely. I used 5 dates (I noticed he likes to use dates for sweeteners. Who can blame him? I sort of have a crush on dates after the Moroccan salad.) and about 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. I used 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1/3 cup shredded coconut and no ground coffee. After a squeeze and a taste, I added about 2 tablespoons of my favorite sweetener, Grade B maple syrup.

The recipe said to form them into balls. Yeah, right. Maybe you could do it, but it would take the patience of Job and I’m just not there yet. So I pressed the nutty, sweet mix into the bottom of a square glass pan and stuck it in the fridge while I cleaned up my mess, then cut them into 9 squares.

Cocoa and Coconut Not Balls (AKA Dragon Nuts)

Despite my sub-par walnuts (they were a little old. I’m ashamed.) these little treats turned out really well. They are very crumbly, but that’s why God made forks. (Ok, God probably didn’t make forks. But he gave us brains that invented forks. And cute scarves.) The dates offer a really sophisticated sweetness that granular sugar in it’s overpowering way could never duplicate. Dates and maple syrup are Wushu. White sugar is WWE.

Anyway, I ended up not turning into a dragon so the evening is ending well. I recommend playing with this recipe and making it your own. It’s nutritious, fast, delicious and it could save your life.

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In my transition to eating real food I’ve given up a lot of unhealthy, processed foods. Many of these are sweets. Oh, those cookies and frozen confections that once held me captive…no longer. Bewitched, bothered and bewildered no more! Honestly, since I’ve been feeding myself as God intended for us to eat, I no longer crave or even have any desire to eat the old junk I used to love. That’s not to say, however, that I don’t want an occasional treat!

Chocolate Almond Macaroons

Lucky for me, I’ve found some wonderful recipes to make delicious homemade real food sweets! I recently made the Chocolate Macaroons from the Heathy Home Economist.  They are a bit of a time investment, but not so much in labor. After you whip up the eggwhites and flavorings and actually bake the cookies, they need to continue to dry in the oven for several hours so it’s largely non-active time. It is worth it though – they are feather light and crunchy and delicious! I couldn’t find the chocolate extract her recipe calls for so I used almond extract and it turned out very nicely. The only problem I ran into is that my final product had random very small suuuuper crunchy (aka HARD) chunks that ended up in them. Perhaps I wasn’t vigorous enough when I folded in the dry ingredients, or maybe I should have sifted in the dry ingredients slowly. Or maybe I should go back and watch Sarah’s video again. Either way, I loved them and will definately make them again.

Maple Vanilla ice cream with a crunchy macaroon!

I also had the pleasure of stumbling upon Chef Emily Duff’s blog, Family2Table. In this post, she offers a variety of real food desserts, all of which look UH-maze-ing. I made the vanilla and maple syrup ice cream. Not only is the recipe very simple, it is the most delicious ice cream I’ve ever made (and I’ve made my fair share). I LOVE LOVE LOVE using the maple syrup as the sweetener. It is so sophisticated and is a gentle sweetness, not overpowering or harsh at all like some ice creams I’ve had. It reminds me a bit of French Vanilla, one of my all time favorite flavors. Maybe it’s the real vanilla bean, maybe it’s the mix of vanilla bean and maple syrup. All I know is that it is truly a thing of beauty and I recommend that everyone reading this run out and buy an ice cream maker if you don’t already have one and make this ice cream.

The cool thing about making these two recipes on the same day is that the ice cream calls for egg yolks only and the macaroons call for egg whites only. This way you don’t have to worry about wasting. You will end up with four extra yolks, but hey….you can save them for another batch of ice cream or make your morning scrambled eggs extra yolky!

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You know it’s a busy semester when I don’t even have time to post blogs I’ve had written for a few months….whew! But it will be over soon. In the meantime, enjoy some eggplant….

Baba Ganoush

About a week after I made the Mahkloubeh lamb I had more eggplant to use and decided to give in and try the baba ghanouj. It was something I’d thought about doing for a good while and just never got around to. I should be slapped for waiting so long. Sara’s recipe is easy and so yummy, again I ate the whole thing. Not all at once. I used more Asain eggplant as I rarely see the traditional large supermarket version of eggplant in my CSA or at the farmer’s market. 

Baba Ghanoush

 1 large eggplant ( roasted whole over a charcoal grill fire, baked in an oven until it is thoroughly cooked. )

2-3 garlic cloves

1 cup tahini

½ cup lemon juice

¼ cup vinegar

salt to taste

These amounts are approximate and the best way is to try it and taste, then balance the flavor.

Process peeled garlic, salt, and lemon juice in food processor or blender until thoroughly mixed. Take peeling off the cooked eggplant and process. Add the tahini and blend. Doing this in the food processor will leave the seeds of the egg plant whole but if the blender is used the seeds are ground up. Add vinegar and if it is too thick add water to reach the right consistency. Serve in rather flat dish with olive oil, parsley and thin radish slices for garnish. Dip pita bread.

(This same basic recipe can be used for Humus by substituting Garbanzo beans for eggplant.) 

I plan to use this version for hummus the next time I make it. YUM.

But I wasn’t satisfied leaving this tasty spread on the side. A friend of ours provided us with some wahoo fish that he caught and I thought hmmm…what if…

Usually when I go off like that it ends badly. This time, however, it turned out quite well!

Mediterranean Wahoo with Baba Ghanouj

¾ pound wahoo filets (I’m sure any similar firm-fleshed fish would also work)

2 T butter

One lemon

1 T dried oregano

Baba Ghanouj

Feta cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Season fish on both sides with salt and pepper. (I try to bring my fish to room temp before cooking so it can cook more evenly.) Melt butter in frying pan. When pan is good and hot, add fish. Squeeze lemon halves over the fish. (Roll the lemon with your palm against the counter to get it loosened up and release more juice before cutting it in half.) Sprinkle on half the oregano. Turn fish after about 3-4 minutes depending on thickness and add the rest of the oregano. Fry another few minutes until done.

Plate with baba ghanouj and sprinkle feta cheese over all.

Wahoo with baba ganoush and veggies

I served mine with buttered green beans and carrots that I’d steamed with fresh dill. If I’d had some fresh tomatoes I would have tossed them in the pan with the fish.

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Clearly, the fall school semester has begun. That’s when I practically drop off the face of the earth. But I’m surfacing this morning to reminisce about the fun I had with tomatoes this summer. Although it almost still feels like summer in Georgia…kind of annoying as I’m ready to start wearing sweaters! I was actually still able to get tomatoes at the farmer’s market two weeks ago…amazing! Anyway, here is a happy memory from this summer’s tomato haul:

When you make every effort to eat seasonally, tomatoes are one of those things that are truly treasured. A fresh, homegrown tomato in the heat of summer is a special thing. But I don’t want to forget that in the middle of winter. “Fresh” grocery store tomatoes are a sad, tasteless waste of money. Enter the water bath canner and 24 pounds of tomatoes I picked up from a happy vendor at the farmer’s market.

As I was picking through the tomatoes for my canning projects I heard another market customer come up to the farmer and tell them in a hushed voice about how they had the best tomatoes in the whole market. This is the kind of stuff you want to hear when you’re preparing to drop sixty bucks on ‘maters. The farmer replied that it must be the soil…or the love they have for growing. Ah. That’s something you can never buy at Publix.

When I got home I had several ideas for what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to make the garlic-basil tomato sauce from the Ball website. But how much did I want to make? And there was something else nagging at me…

I recently pronounced my disgust for jarred salsa. Yet when I was home in Iowa for my niece’s wedding in July my sister in law provided me with a taste of a jar of her home canned salsa and it was good enough for me to ask for her recipe. Perhaps I was too quick to judge. Maybe I shouldn’t condemn all jarred salsa until I have tried my own…

So I ended up with three different salsa recipes. Janet’s recipe, one from the Ball website, and one from Cooks.com. It was going to be a salsa brawl to the finish, and a really really long weekend in the kitchen. I had pickled jalapenos to can as well.

Basil garlic tomato sauce/soup.Tasty!

The tomato sauce turned out delicious, but very thin. Next time I may strain the tomatoes a good bit. Or just eat it as soup…it bares a fair resemblance to my tomato-basil soup.

The three salsa recipes smelled fantastic cooking away on the stove prior to filling the hot jars. Only the Ball recipe called for cilantro, one of the ingredients I feel a good salsa needs to have. But after tasting Janet’s cilantro-free salsa I am in a bit of a quandary as to whether it really is a requirement.

 

 

Janet’s Salsa

5 cups tomatoes

1 green pepper

1 red pepper

1 large onion

1 banana pepper (optional)

½ cup vinegar

¼ cup tomato paste

1 T sugar

2 tsp crushed red pepper

1 T salt

1 tsp garlic salt

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for one hour. Pour into hot jars and process for 30 minutes.

I used about four pounds of tomatoes for this and it yielded six half-pint jars. I did not use banana pepper but did use two large and one small jalapeno peppers. (Later I made the same recipe again but added fresh garlic to the mix. I am incapable of leaving anything alone.)

At first I thought the addition of tomato paste was really odd, but as things got cooking and I saw how liquidy all the salsas were I understood, and I actually ended up adding it to both other salsa recipes otherwise they would have been soup instead of dip. Next time I am definitely being more cautious about how much juice I allow to make it into the pot.

For the pickled jalapenos, I didn’t have any carrots to include so I used some of the multi-colored bell peppers I got at the farmer’s market instead. Hopefully that doesn’t wreck the recipe. I plan to include these pickled peppers in black bean soups and such this winter.

I was excited to be able to use almost exclusively items from my farmer’s market for these recipes. The tomatoes, of course, but also the red and green peppers, the jalapenos, and the onions. Only the cilantro and seasonings were store-bought.

Canned pickled jalapenos, salsas and tomato sauce.

At the end of the weekend, I had six pints of garlic-basil tomato sauce, six half-pints of Janet’s salsa, six pints of pickled jalapenos and onions, and three pints each of the Ball salsa and Cooks salsa. I’m still a big fan of Janet’s salsa, but the Cook’s salsa kind of caught me by suprise. It was the one I was least excited about but turned out to be the most interesting (and a little hotter than the other two). Test subject Bill likes the Ball recipe with the cilantro. A suprising success story for all three recipes, and I stand corrected. I will eat jarred salsa if it’s home made!

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