Snack Archive

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

ethereally smooth hummus

ethereally smooth hummus

For as long as I have written this website — yes, even longer than it has been since I told you the wee white lie that Paula Wolfert’s hummus was all I’d ever need — I have known how to make the most ethereally smooth, fluffy, dollop-ing of a hummus and never told you. I have some nerve. But, in my defense, I had my reasons, mostly that I knew if I told you how to make it, I’d be able to hear your eye rolls through the screen, they’d be at once so dramatic and in unison. From there, there would be the loud, synchronized clicks of “Unfollow!” “Unfriend!” “Hide these updates, please!” and the under-breath mutters of “Lady, you have got to be kidding me.” Because, you see, the path between the probably acceptable, vaguely grainy but borderline good-enough hummus you probably have been making and the stuff that I dream about sweeping cold, sweet carrots sticks through — the January version of fresh strawberries and whipped cream — has only one extra stop but most of you will argue that it’s at Cuckoo Farm: you see, you must peel the chickpeas.

my chickpeas
your chickpeas just want to be free

Chickpeas, when they’re cooked, have a thin skin that sags a bit, kind of like a Sharpei’s, but less cute. It hangs about them like they’re trying hard to shake it, but just couldn’t. I have found that if you help them — put a single chickpea between your thumb and next two fingers and press gently until it pops out with a rather satisfying soft pop, then plink! into a bowl — it makes all of the difference in the texture of your final hummus. But I theorized that no sane person would ever spend their time ejecting chickpeas from their skins, because it would be such an arduous task, even reorganzing bookcases, which we did last night, would be preferable. Yet when I cautiously asked you last week if you’d want to hear about a new hummus technique, so many of you said “Yes, please!” I figured it was time to make peace with this technique once and for all.

naked chickpeas are happy chickpeas

Continued after the jump »

Friday, December 28, 2012

fromage fort

fromage fort

I think we should all go to a party. And we should all eat this. I know, it doesn’t look like much. I am sure you’ve seen cheese spread on a slice of baguette before. It probably looked prettier than this too; less blue, more smooth. But please, lean in anyway, because I have to tell you: this is brilliant. And I can’t believe I’ve gone most of my life without knowing about it. Don’t let it happen to you.

odds and ends of cheese, wine, yes
grate the harder stuff

You know that thing that happens when you have friends over? No, I don’t mean the Santa Baby sing-along or red-wine-on-the-white-sofa thing or the ow-my-head-hurts thing the next day, though all of those are grand too. What I mean is, what we usually do is stop by a cheese store or counter and pick up a bunch of wedges of this and that and put them out with wine and bread and at the end of the night, there’s always one sorry little glass left of wine left and a few nubs of cheese. Maybe they end up in the trash. They shouldn’t. And they won’t anymore because let me introduce you to (drumroll, Oprah voice, please)… fromage fort!

four cheese happy place

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

cauliflower-feta fritters with pomegranate

cauliflower fritters with feta, yogurt, pomegranate

I know what you’re thinking; you don’t even need to say it: It’s time for a fritter intervention. A frittervention? Here, I’ll go first: My name is Deb Perelman and I have a fritter problem. And I really do. I pretty much want to fritter all the things, all the time — broccoli, zucchini, apples, parsnips, an Indian medley, leeks (here), and potatoes, potatoes, potatoes, I actually have to hold myself back, and try to evenly space my fritter episodes throughout the year, so not to pique your concern about my fritter consumption. It’s not easy because no matter how many times I talk it out in a circle of understanding peers, I fear I will still think that fritters are the answer to most food dilemmas, most of the time.

a big brassicaceae head
big chunks of cauliflower

They’re the ideal toddler vegetable delivery method. Aside a bowl of lightly dressed mixed greens for the lunch I’m supposed to be having (not, cough, leftover pizza), a couple fritters make it all worthwhile. Alone on a plate, dolloped with a creamy yogurt sauce, they’re a happy afternoon snack. And formed intentionally tiny, they belong at a cocktail party. As do you.

partially cooked cauliflower

Continued after the jump »

Friday, November 9, 2012

granola-crusted nuts

granola nuts

Seeing as I’ve already admitted that I’m kind of a terrible host, I might as well let the confessional continue and tell you that I’m a terrible traveler. Oh, I don’t mean that I kvetch and whine the whole time (though you might want to ask Alex if he agrees, now that we’ve taken six flights and visited five cities in eight days together!), I just mean that I never do any of those really great things those really smart people writing really quite logical articles suggest, like keeping the amount of stuff you bring down so that it will fit in one of those bitty suitcases you can stuff into overhead. I don’t roll my clothing to prevent wrinkles or have my most important items in my carry-on so I won’t be at a loss if my luggage is. I never have one of those scarfy/pashmina things to use as a blanket/pillow/tent of warmth on the plane or train, nor do I remember Vitamin C, hand sanitizer, eye masks, earplugs or to eschew caffeine for purer forms of hydration, like water, and I never, ever remember to pack a wholesome homemade snack.

However, if you are one of the people that fits the description above, I would immensely love to travel with you. May I interest you in a book tour?

oats, cinnamon, coconut, brown shuga
oats, coconut, pepitas, sugar, salt

If I were, however, I’d bring these. I wasn’t actually trying to make these when I did. I was trying to make a fall crepe. But, I decided that pumpkin crepes were kind of boring, and when trying to figure out something to gussy them up with (maple yogurt? something crunchy?) I realized that a nut would be wonderful. But then I started kicking around ideas like maple-butter walnuts and spicy-sweet-pecans I decided it was rather lame that most spiced nuts are full of butter, sugar and bacon and this was breakfast, surely they could be a tiny bit indulgent but also wholesome. And then I made these and I entirely forgot about the pumpkin crepes. (Really. We had the delight of evacuating them from our fridge after a few days of a power outage and trust me, you wouldn’t be hungry for pumpkin crepes after that either!)

walnuts and pecans

Continued after the jump »

Monday, September 24, 2012

homemade wheat thins

homemade wheat thins

So, the problem, if there could be one, with having a slight obsession with making homemade version of snack-aisle favorites — goldfish crackers, oreos, graham crackers, pop-tarts, ice-cream sandwiches and the like — is that people quite often think you’re crazy. And if you’re me, someone who already delights in things that most people find awful — dicing vegetables, fitting every dish in the dishwasher (triumphantly humming the Tetris music) and, apparently, dotting the eyes of cheddar goldfish with the pointy end of a meat thermometer — you probably don’t need any help convincing people that you’re nuts. Sadly, when people don’t think you’re crazy, they might be suspicious you have some sort of Sanctimommy/Down With Cheetos-type agenda, but I no more fuss in the kitchen to make others feel bad if they lack the time or inclination to than the woman walking down my street right now with flawless, flowing locks and $300 skinny jeans is there to make me feel bad that I am currently in possession of neither, sigh.

a blessedly simple cracker dough
thin, but not thin enough, wheat thins

Nevertheless, because of these two things, I tend to be overly cautious before sharing recipes like the one I am today for Wheat Thin-like crackers at home. Let’s put one thing out here before I tell you about them: Do we eat exclusively homemade foods and snacks 24/7? Bwah! Even 12/7? Maybe. On good days. But, the thing is, I really love projects like this because, the fact is, we all need a snack from time to time and while the packaged options are hardly universally evil, there’s a lot of things in there you’d never put in your food at home. It’s liberating to be able to make the foods you love in your own kitchen, and it’s a great idea to tuck away for a rainy day afternoon project when your kid is spinning off their axis again or, you know, when you get a little carried away in advance of your toddler’s birthday party.

they look thin, but they're too thick!

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