Entries Tagged 'snacks' ↓

Grilled Asparagus Dip

I had a nice warmish evening, some asparagus, a nice BBC tv show on Netflix (Wallender) and pita chips. What to do? Make a grilled asparagus dip of course.

On the grill (aluminum foil and olive oil bed with salt and pepper) or under the broiler roast up the following:

  • 1 largish bunch asparagus, ends snapped, cleaned – guessing about 1.25 lbs
  • 3-4 skinny green onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic, halved

When a bit charred, soft and full of grilled goodness dump these in the food processor with

  • 2 Tb mayonnaise
  • dash Worcestershire sauce
  • dash hot sauce (Trader Joe’s – what else)
  • juice from 1/2 lemon and/or lime
  • more salt and pepper as needed
  • about 1/8th cup Parmesan cheese  (I eyeballed it)
  • a bit of lemon zest (poor thing was nearly naked already or I would have added more)

Whirl until smooth. Chill or if like us you can’t wait just start dipping in some pita chips.

Banana Blueberry Apple Coffee Cake

I have been making a bunch of crumbles and quick breads to use up some of the “on their way out” fruits that we have now that I am trying to up my fruit and veggie intake. Can’t seem to get through them fast enough and I figure this coffee cake has at least 1 tasty serving in it (along with the butter and sugar).

Made Up Coffee Cake

Preheat oven to 350° and butter 8 x8 casserole or other pan.

Bowl 1:

  • 2 apples, diced fairly small
  • handful frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • juice of 1/2 sweet lime (or lemon juice to prevent browning)
  • grate of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp sweet lime zest

Bowl 2:

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 TBsp oil
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp yogurt
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract

Bowl 3:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1  tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • sprinkle salt
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • sprinkle nutmeg

Bowl 4 (topping):

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • sprinkle each: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg
  • small handful honey nut o’s cereal – pulverized
  • 2 Tbsp cold butter

Gently mix bowl one and set aside.
Beat bowl 2 until creamy
Stir together ingredients in bowl 3, add bowl 1 and bowl 2 and mix. Will be fairly stiff batter/dough.

Dump into pan and smooth out.

Crumble cold butter with dry ingredients in bowl 4 to make topping and sprinkle evenly over dough.

Bake about 30 minutes or until skewer in center comes out clean.

Let cool slightly before eating so as not to burn your tongue.

Made Up Bacon

Here’s an recipe my friend Jan emailed to me –

My friend Sandie gets to go to Bacon parties. She always brings this kick ass desert.

praline bacon.
sorta something like this.
Bacon on cookie sheet, bake for 10 to 15 minutes, I think about 350 degrees.
Drain. You are pulling bacon out before it is crispy.
In food processor, blend brown sugar and pecans and chili powder. Sometimes I leave out the chili powder.
Put on bacon and bake some more until crisp.

yum, yum

I haven’t tried it but the concept sounds delicious. I have to say it sounds a good bit better than Rachel Ray’s Late Night Bacon – which is really just bacon in the microwave, but still worth checking out for the witty comments.

Semi-Homemade Egg Rolls

eggrollsThanks to co-author Alan, I found this great foodie blog called Full Bellies, Happy Kids which is now in the links to the right. This recipe I saw there inspired me to the point of actually buying some ingredients in advance that I wouldn’t normally have on hand. However, being us, we made a bunch of substitutions and in this case completely made up our own dipping sauces. Check out the original recipe for more instructions and ideas.

Had to buy:

  • 1 bag tri-color coleslaw mix
  • Egg roll wrappers

Had on hand:

  • a small Baby Bok Choi
  • 4 Green Garlic bulbs (like giant green onions)
  • 1/2 lb pre cooked frozen shrimp (TJ’s of course)
  • a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
  • canola oil
  • soy sauce
  • Sriracha (rooster hot sauce)
  • salt and pepper

First I thawed the shrimp and let them drain for a while. I combined 1/2 of the package of coleslaw with the finely chopped bok choi, garlic bulbs and added finely minced ginger. I also started the oven pre-heating to 400 degrees- which for my small egg rolls now seems a bit too high.

I stir-fried the veggies in olive oil and added the finely chopped shrimp at the end with a good strong dash of soy sauce, a small bit of the sriracha, and salt and pepper. This yielded a pretty wet mix, probably due to not draining and drying the shrimp enough, so we put it in a strainer over a bowl to get the good stuff high and dry.

On an oiled nonstick baking sheet we assembled the egg rolls following the folding directions on the package and also found in the recipe link above. After brushing the tops of our cute little rollups with some additional oil we popped them in the oven and set the timer for 18 minutes since we know our oven runs a bit hot.

Its a good thing I checked them early because they were done – more than done really about 4 minutes early. I was pretty sparing with the filling and next time – and there WILL be a next time – I will really load them up. These were so easy and so good that I am really wishing I had made more filling.

For our dipping sauces I decided to play around a bit and came up with the following quick and dirty and delicious condiments.

Mustard Teriyaki
This is simple but very tasty – I just mixed equal parts Dijon Mustard and Sesame Teriyaki Sauce (TJ’s again). This was just right with the egg rolls, spicy but not too hot for my husband.

Heather’s Generic Dipping Sauce
Equal parts Soy Sauce and Rice Wine Vinegar mixed together with a few drops of chile oil, a pinch of minced ginger, a pinch of minced garlic and this time a pinch of fresh ground horseradish. We usually make something similar to dip almost any Asian food into.

I hope you try these and enjoy them as much as we did.

Olive Oil: sometimes it’s even better than butter

I am one of those people who would rather die than put margarine on anything. Butter is a staple in our household, and it’s excellent on almost everything. Ever fried bacon in butter? Your arteries will cringe, but your tastebuds will leap for joy, trust me. 

Sadly, I needed a grilled cheese sandwich, badly, one afternoon. No prob: I have some homemade bread, some american cheese (yeah, the kind wrapped in individual slices)…and –OH NOES–NO BUTTER! 

Rather than turn away from the kitchen and head out to the local store for butter, I grabbed the olive oil, spiraled a little bit around in the pan, and grilled the sandwich con olio d’oliva. You have to watch the sandwich carefully, since the oil will absorb into the bread, and the bread will burn more quickly than with butter. Keep the heat a little lower than you’re used to, and you should be fine. 

The end result was dee-lish. The olive oil imparted another layer of flavor to the sandwich, and next time I have some fancy brie or camembert laying around, I’ll try this recipe with that instead, for a more “authentic” eurpoean grilled cheese. In the photo at right you can see the darker areas of the bread where the oil swirls were…the oil does spread out from there, and the contrast in taste between the darker areas and lighter areas are lovely.

Green Tomato Salsa

green tomato salsaThanks to fellow blog author and master gardener Julie, I found myself with 4 absolutely beautiful but mysterious green tomatoes. I decided to see what the nets had out there on green tomato salsa. Turns out there are quite a lot of recipes, but of course I decided after reading 4 or 5 to wing it and just sort of make it up as I went along. Besides, I am low on supplies right now so was out of most ingredients they called for. Here’s what I ended up doing:

4 medium green tomatoes, seeded and chopped fine, salted and put under a weight for 30 minutes,
4 small pickled jalapeno chili peppers, seeded and chopped fine
2 cloves garlic minced
1 small roasted red pepper (from jar) chopped fine

Mixed these together in a hot dry skillet then I heated mixing continually until tomatoes were softened and changed color and some roasty-ness appeared on everything. I didn’t have an onion in the house but would have added some minced red onion here if i did.

Added 2 tbsp limeade, since I didn’t have fresh limes in the house and wanted the extra sweetness to counter the tart tomatoes anyhow.

I let this cool slightly and added 2 tsp chopped cilantro (little frozen cubes from where else? Trader Joe’s), a dash of cumin, 1 tb olive oil, another 2 Tbsp limeade, a tsp of brown sugar and 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar. I used a handblender to mush this up and some of the liquids added above were mostly to get it loose enough to blend.

It turned out amazing – and addictive – and HOT. That kind of creeper hot that keeps you coming back for more. Next time, if there is a next time I will use less salt (I added a bit more than a tsp in the beginning) and less hot peppers – maybe 3 small to 4 med tomatoes. And I am really really wishing I had that onion around. Since its so spicy I am thinking of using this sauce, thinned out a bit for enchiladas with melty cheese. That is if it lasts long enough. Thanks for the inspiration Julie!

Broccoli Confetti Slaw


Last weekend our friend Lori hosted an outrageous Survivor themed multi-cause celebration and potluck. Steve cooked up some awesome terkyaki burgers to go with. It was going to be another hot one in the 90’s, so I wanted to make something fresh and cool.

I always look at potlucks as a time to get creative. This is usually because I didn’t think ahead to have the ingredients on hand to do a specific recipe and improvisation becomes a necessity. Mother of invention and all that,.

Taking inventory of the fridge turned up lots of broccoli and carrots and luckily we had just been to the farmers market the day before so we also had some lovely basil, zucchini and green onions on hand.

My typical hunt of the internet for some recipes to borrow from turned up lots of ramen noodle varieties and a yummy sounding broccoli coleslaw recipe to work from.

Alas, we don’t have a decent shredder and only a mini food processor bought from a friend’s moving across the country sale years ago and never really put to the test. I tested its limits with this dish though and more or less it passed.

This one came out well enough that several people have asked for the recipe and there were no leftovers at the host’s house or ours.

Broccoli Confetti Slaw
About 3 cups shredded, finely diced or mini-food processed broccoli
About 1 and a half cups shredded, finely diced or mini-food processed carrots
and for fun and because they were fresh I threw in a couple baby zucchinis as I was pulsing and chopping.

The mini food processor yielded the confetti texture which bemused some folks and more than one person asked me what it was and how you eat it. Someone even put it on their burger, which looked good to me.

I also ran 2 cloves of garlic and a small bunch of green onions through the chopper and sliced up a bunch of basil as finely as I could.

Once I had the base well mixed, I toasted about a half a cup of pine nuts, let them cool and gave them a coarse chop and tossed them in.

I also used the mini processor for the dressing, which i haven’t done before but will again. The dressing consisted of:

  • 2 cloves of garlic which I roasted and cooled for a bit of sweetening,
  • another couple green onions,
  • 1/3 cup EVO (extra virgin olive oil),
  • 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar (which was actually half balsamic vinegar)
  • some sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

I whirled it all up and poured it over.

I think as the original recipe author did, letting this sit together to blend, meld and get to know each other is a key ingredient. So thankfully I had my butt in gear early enough to allow for a decent setting time before we ate. I think I’ll make some more this week.

If you try this or adapt it let me know what you think.

Experimental Snack a Success!

From my friend Jan:

A small dab of goat cheese on a small square of dark chocolate, washed down with a glass of blueberry juice 

her verdict: Yum Yum!

A Chocolate Burrito, you say? ¡Si!

Señors and señoritas, I give you the chocolate burrito!My wife, daughter of a hippie family that made their own tofu, has always turned up her nose at my suburban Wonder-Bread-eating culinary youth (well, we did eventually start eating Roman Meal, which I suppose is a little better), but despite my love for her, I have no shame about my eating education. We did, after all, eat a lot of healthy, diverse food–we just ate a lot of sloppy joes, tuna noodle casserole, and grilled cheese sandwiches, too.

With this exposition in mind, let me present a scenario: It’s 1984. Your mom or dad has just made a chocolate cake (Betty Crocker, out of the box) and finished frosting it using the frosting-in-a-can. But, of course, there’s frosting left over, and nothing goes to waste in this house. So it goes into the fridge, awaiting a later fate. A few days later, burritos are made–lovely, shreds of beef, jack cheese, refritos, and lots of green chiles, of course. There are flour tortillas left over. Into the fridge they go. Now, there they are on the same shelf…perhaps it was only a matter of time before the invention of…

The chocolate burrito.

“Eeewwwww!”, you say. But, as with so many amazing experiences in life, first impressions can be deceiving. So take a walk down the dark side of the dessert (or in my case, breakfast, or coffee-break, or lunch) street, and make a chocolate burrito.

The process couldn’t be simpler: Get your flour tortilla, left over from the other night’s south-of-the-border fest. Please don’t use a corn tortilla, ok? That’s just sick. Lay it on a clean, flat work surface (or in the palm of your hand if you’re in a hurry). Get out that half-empty can of chocolate frosting. Any brand will do, but I prefer Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker, something in the milk chocolate to chocolate fudge spectrum. It might help to thrown the can in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up–you don’t want to break the flaky four tortilla as you spread the frosting. Slide your knife around the inside surface of the frosting container, scooping up a tablespoon or two of dark, sweet goodness. Spread it onto the tortilla. Repeat. Ideally, you want a coating of frosting that is thin, but thick enough to cover the ridges and valleys of the tortilla itself. A coating about as thick as the tortilla itself usually works well, but it all depends on how sweet your tooth is.

Then,roll it up. If you are working with a smaller tortilla–say, soft-taco-sized, you end up with a roll about an inch in diameter, sort of like a taquito. If you are using a full-size burrito holder, you’ll end up with something approximating, well, a burrito. If you’ve used the perfect amount of frosting, you get a nice alternation of frosting/tortilla/frosting/tortilla, spiraling all the way out into your sweaty, anticipatory hand.

Serve with a glass of ice-cold whole milk. Because this isn’t health food you’re eating. You might want to make a second one in advance…you know, just in case. Despite my now much healthier eating habits, I have a soft spot in my heart for the chocolate burrito, and to my wife’s chagrin, I plan on imparting this affection on to my little girls as well. As for my wife: well, I have yet to catch her in the act of making one of these, but there are times when I swear there is less frosting in the can than there was earlier, and all of the tortillas seem to have mysteriously disappeared….

Cold Spicy Noodle Salad

It was unexpectedly bloody hot and humid today – a day filled with numerous technical snafus and stress. But I was hungry anyhow and this is what I threw together. All I can say is that it was tasty enough to inspire this blog.

Cold Spicy Somen Noodle Salad
here’s what’s in it:

1 packet somen noodles (1 serving)
8 mint leaves finely sliced
hot and sweet asian chile sauce
soy sauce
rice wine vinegar

I added what i had left of pickled herring and onions in wine sauce – about 1/2 cup rinsed thoroughly and drained

Toss the seasonings and herring/onions in a bowl while the noodles are cooking. Rinse the noodles under really cold water and stir in.

total time – about 10 min.

I’m thinking I could do this with canned tuna or a nicer protein if I wanted to serve it to others…