Posts from the ‘snacks’ Category

black garlic hummus !!!


we have an awesome outdoor market called green city market that i LOVE to hang out & shop at first thing in the morning-7am-before the massive crowds show up. i can only hit a few stalls per visit because it’s SO overwhelming. yesterday i saw little virgin bloody marys that had a piece of black stuff on a pick. i pulled one out & quietly sipped. i was being watched by the vendors. i sniffed the black thing, so interesting, & chomped down. i heard a chorus of angels in my head. it was my first taste of black garlic ! and i HAD to have more. it’s not cheap-around $3/bulb, but i bought 2 & a jar of the puree, which sells out fast. i have never tasted anything like it. it completely blew my head off.

i couldn’t wait to run home & make the most obvious dish with it-hummus. i used a basic recipe & increased the garlic from 2 cloves to an entire bulb of the black garlic. i wanted tons of that incredible flavor which is nothing like regular garlic. i can’t even describe what it reminds me of because it’s totally in a league of it’s own.

the hawks playoff game against the kings would be on in the evening & black garlic hummus was the PERFECT game nosh. it turned out totally amazing! seriously the very best hummus i have ever had! i used plentils-little lentil chips instead of pita. it worked perfectly.

i will never be the same again.


thomas keller’s insane avocado louie recipe


served at the oscars last night.
that is just insane. i mainly had to post this so i can try to remember to make it when i’m feeling very creative. what is super cool about him is that he shares it all! i use his simple roast chicken recipe in many of my recipes.

he encourages you to pickle your own, which is very intriguing.
who’s in?

Avocado Louie
½ avocado, pitted
5 hearts of palms, cut into rings
4 petite radishes, chopped
5 celery stalks, shaved
3 cucumber parisiennes (pickled cucumbers)
3 pickled mushrooms (Keller used pickled hon shimeju)
2 asparagus tips
1 sugar snap pea
2 romanesco cauliflower
1 cherry tomato (Keller used Sweet 100)
2 pearl onions, sliced
1 tbsp. lemon vinaigrette
1 tbsp. green goddess puree
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Fleur de sel, to taste

1. If you can, do your own pickling. Add cucumber parisiennes, hon shimeji mushrooms in a large bowl or jar with 1 part champagne vinegar, 1 part water, 1 part sugar. Let sit.

2. In a pot of boiling water, blanch hearts of palm, green asparagus, snap pea and romanesco cauliflower until tender.

3. Cut avocado in half. Trim the base so there is a flat surface. Trim the top and cut off any blemishes on the flesh. Brush the outside with lemon vinaigrette.

4. Spoon green goddess puree (recipe below) onto plate and place avocado on top. Add the rest of the ingredients—have fun with it! Drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Season with fleur de sel.

Green Goddess Puree

1 ¾ cups mayonnaise
¾ cup crème fraiche
⅓ cup roasted garlic, pureed
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
2⅔ cups herb puree (below)
Salt, to taste

Incorporate all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and combine well. Adjust to desired consistency and season to taste.

Herb Puree
3 cups pickled parsley
2 cups baby spinach
1 cups pickled tarragon
1 cups dill

1. In a pot of salted, boiling water, add all ingredients and stir well. Allow the herbs to cook until tender: they should disintegrate when pressed.

2. Remove the cooked herbs with a slotted spoon place in a colander lined with cheese cloth or paper towel. (Ring out excess liquid to avoid the puree becoming too salty.)
Place ingredients in a blender and blend on high (you might need to add a small amount of cold water to help it spin) to a smooth thick puree. Scrape the sides of the blender and pulse again. Let chill.

Brandade de Morue au Gratin (Whipped Salt Cod Gratin)


so i’m still finding ways to use my big piece of baccalao from sicily via j.p. grazianos.


i asked a friend who is of italian origin & he told me about a standard french dish you spread on toasted baguette with potatoes, garlic & cream. there are many variations but since i haven’t made it before, i decided to start with a basic recipe-brandade de morue au gratin-Jacques Pépin’s recipe.

it’s basically whipped potatoes & salt cod topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, baked, & served on toasted bread. there are many steps to this, although the ingredients are basic & simple. it calls for the cod to soak only a day. mine was soaked for several days, changing the water often which removes all of the salt.

when i tasted the final product-it does not call for salt-it needed salt. and i understand now why-it gets all of it’s salt flavor from the cod. one day soaking will keep the cod extremely salt heavy. the minute i figured this out, i added italian seasoned salt & it worked. the consistency is almost like paste-very heavy & strange. an acquired taste for sure but worth trying!

carrying a 3 lb. dried salt cod fish in my backpack all over downtown proved to be a learning experience for sure! i still have 1/3 left. stay tuned for the next salt cod recipe!

hand-crafted pierogi


pierogi. i’ve made them a few times before but it’s been years. 4 dozen took over 5 hours from start to finish. you have to love these to work this hard. and it is hard. i respect bakers. dough can be back-breaking work if you do it right. you have to knead it for about 10 minutes, give it the proper time to sit, keep it from drying out, roll perfectly-this has to be very thin. and it’s so hard! practice practice practice. there’s nothing more to say.

i researched a few dough recipes & settled on one that i’m pretty sure will be my stand-by. pierogi & vareniki dough is perfect. & if you don’t have cake flour on hand, just put 2 tablespoons of corn starch in a one cup measure, add regular flour to the rest. i did this & it worked perfectly. and 10 minutes is a long time to knead, but you have to get that gluten going. when you start to roll, cut the dough in fours. and roll it until you can’t get it any thinner. it takes awhile. i used a 3 inch diameter serrated edged cutter.

filling is tricky. you have to stretch the dough in the air all around the dollop of potato mixture & seal well. it took me a couple of hours to do 48 of these. you can use any kind of filling out there. my favorite pierogi is potato cheese onion, so i started with a standard recipe but instead of using onion powder & garlic salt, i used real onion & garlic. the farmer cheese is important for the flavor so don’t skimp if you decide to make this flavor. here’s the recipe for potato and cheese pan-fried pierogi. it’s excellent & you can easily cut it in half. i was left with tons. however, it tastes so damn good it’s not a bad thing to have it to eat on the side.


you finally boil until they float-5 minutes


they did turn out pretty good. i’m a little intrigued to work with dough again. i enjoy the challenge. & i enjoyed the backbreaking work involved in making this beloved polish comfort food.


granola bars


someone asked me to make a healthy snack for him & his wife because he does not have a dog & wanted to purchase treats from me. i was puzzled because i don’t usually make “healthy” baked items for humans. so i decided to research some granola bar recipes & decided to use alton brown’s recipe. it is chock full of various dried fruits, seeds, nuts & oats. and not very easy to make.

the first batch looked great


but it all stuck to the pan. i had to scrape it out & turn it into cookies. so i began once again-this time adding an egg to help bind the mixture together & parchment paper so i could just lift it all out when it is cooled & cut it into squares. make sure you also do this if you choose to make this.


i basically spent several hours trying to get these right because someone would be buying them from me. i had no idea what to charge because the ingredients make this very expensive to make. so i brought 2 to him, thinking that i would gift them & see if he liked them first.

after all of that work, he never showed up to receive them. i gave them to my mgr. & the desk aid. the rest is for my husband.

i don’t like people who ask me to do something for them & then blow me off. i will not be baking for him again. that being said, i have conqured the granola bar, which can be modified in all kinds of ways. it’s a great food to have around for someone who needs a healthy snack. my husband wins this time.

kimchee guacamole



this is bill kim’s delicious kimchee chopped fine into mashed avocado. i’m wondering if he has already done this. asian latin fusion dosen’t sound like it works but it does! this guacamole is excellent!

make it into a sammie!


sweet potato chips

i’ve never made potato chips before. in fact i’m pretty lame with deep-frying. i don’t eat fried food much (i just don’t like it much) and it seems most times i try to deep-fry, i fail. this took a little while to get used to but i finally got the knack.

this is a little time-consuming, so you had better want home-made chips really bad to stand over the equivalent of a bag for an hour turning paper-thin chips.

just take one small yam, use a mandolin to slice it super thin, heat peanut oil in a pan & carefully lay them in. you have to get just the right temp on the oil. if it’s too hot, it will smoke & burn. not hot enough, the chips will be mega greasy. they take about 10 minutes or more to get the right crisp. and yes-you must stand over them & use tongs to carefully keep turning them. i did 4 batches, which took an hour. it took about 5 minutes for me & my friends to kill it.

lay the chips on paper towels, season with whatever you want. sea salt & cinnamon are great. i also used a greek spice rub, which was also excellent.

go nuts!