Monday, January 26, 2015
What are you going to serve on Super Bowl Sunday? Chips and dips, frozen pizza and grocery store salads. No way! Special events deserve special food. Snacks that reach out and grab you, that make you stop watching TV and say, "That is amazing!"
Here are two of my favorite snacks. One, the pistachios, I figured out last week. The other, the Vietnamese-style wings are a long time favorite. What they have in common is an addictive salty-sweet heat.
Have a great game!
My only debate about this snack is whether to use pistachios in the shell or shelled. Personally I like the fun of cracking open the shells. If you want easy-snacking, use the shelled pistachios.
I prefer to use raw pistachios. If the only pistachios available are already roasted, check to see if they are also salted. In which case, do not salt the nuts.
16 ounces pistachios (in the shell or shelled)
1 cup citrus peel (oranges, grapefruit or tangerines), fresh, washed, dried
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (do not use salt if the pistachios are already salted)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon raw sugar
Using a sharp chefs knife, cut the peels off the citrus of your choice. I like a mix of flavors, so I use equal amounts of grapefruit, orange and tangerine peels. Once you have removed the peels, you can cut the citrus into segments and make a delicious fruit salad by adding cut up apples and pomegranate seeds.
Lay the peels out on a cutting board and select portions of the peel that are unblemished. Use a sharp knife to carefully remove most of the pith from the back of the peel. Leave a little white layer for flavor. Cut the peels into thin ribbons approximately 1/8 inch thin.
Heat a nonstick pan on a medium flame. Add the citrus peel, spices, sea salt and sugar. Toss frequently. The goal is to flavor and dehydrate the peels.
When the citrus peels are lightly browned and crisp, remove from the pan. Using the same pan, heat the pistachios and toss until lightly browned.
In a bowl mix together the citrus peels and pistachios.
Serve warm in a bowl.
Spicy Sweet Ginger-Garlic Chicken Wings
Make the wings a day or two ahead. Reheat the wings just before half-time and feast.
Serves 4 as an entrée or 8 as an appetizer
2 pounds chicken wings, washed, disjointed, wing tips discarded or reserved and used to make stock
½ cup white sugar
½ cup warm water
¼ cup fish sauce--preferably a light caramel colored brand
¼ cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
4 cloves garlic minced
1 dried Chinese Szechuan pepper, stem removed, seeds and skin minced
3 tablespoons or 3” ginger, peeled, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large non-reactive bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Add other ingredients, stir to mix well. Place chicken in marinade. transfer to a sealable plastic bag and refrigerate one hour or, preferably, overnight.
When ready to cook, separate wings from the marinade. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan. Add brown sugar. Stir to dissolve. Over a low flame, reduce by half. Taste and adjust for more sweetness if desired by adding more brown sugar.
Line a large baking sheet with a sheet of aluminum foil for easy clean up.
Place in oven. Turn every ten minutes. Cook until tender, about thirty minutes.
Serve on a plate of Asian noodles, steamed rice or shredded lettuce. Just before serving, pour the heated marinade over the top of the wings.
Monday, January 21, 2008
If T.S. Eliot's J. Alfred Prufrock didn't dare to eat a peach, he would never have eaten anything as dangerous as honey. Dense, viscous honey seems to have a mind of its own. No matter how carefully I handle it, invariably there's a sticky dribble on the counter to clean up. But given its deep, primal flavor and sweetness, it's worth the risks.
I recently spent a long weekend at the Sundance Film Festival, where I saw 8 films in 2 1/2 days. The always difficult part of the festival is finding time to eat. the films are scheduled so close to one another. Usually all you can do is grab some fast food or an appetizer at a reception. The trick is to eat something that's nourishing and not too unhealthy. I decided I needed to make something to eat I could stuff into a shoulder bag or the inside pocket of a ski jacket.
Tired of trail mix and power bars, I tried cut up fruit and carrot sticks, but they weren't satisfying. After several failed experiments, I discovered a simple and surprisingly flavorful snack that, in any cold climate, will satisfy your hunger and help preserve body heat.
Honey and cheese compliment each other perfectly. Organic honey tastes best. To subtly affect the flavor, try the different honeys: orange blossom, avocado, clover, lemon...the list is endless.
Honey and Cheese Sandwich
1 croissant, sliced in half the long way or 2 slices of bread
1 tablespoon honey
1 slice of cheese (cheddar, muenster, or jack)
Lightly toast the croissant halves or the slices of bread and spread on the honey. Put on the cheese and the other half of the croissant or 2nd piece of bread. Cut the sandwich in half. If you're carrying the sandwich around with you, use plastic wrap to prevent the honey from making a sticky mess. Seal the wrapped halves in a sandwich bag.
Serves 1. Preparation Time: 5 minutes.
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