Archive for the ‘Savory Snacks, Dips and Sauces’ Category
Candied nuts are one of the easiest snack foods to make and eat. I like them all year round, but they are especially great around the holidays because they’re an easy snack to put out when family and friends come out to visit, and they’re a fantastic homemade gift to take when you go for visit them. This year, I’m big on walnuts and while I’ve used pecans, almonds and cashews in the past, walnuts are my nut of choice at the moment. Walnuts are full of protein, fiber and Omega-3′s, and while I’ll never turn down a holiday cookie, even I have to admit that this is a slightly healthier holiday snack!
I tossed untoasted walnuts in a lightly beaten egg white, then added in vanilla sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and salt to create a sweet and spicy coating for the nuts. The nuts are spread on a baking sheet and toasted until the sweet coating is nice and crispy. Make sure to get them in one even layer on the baking sheet and try to coat as evenly as possible. Areas with very thick coatings of the glaze may come out to be a bit chewy and not quite as crisp as more evenly covered nuts.
Vanilla sugar is easy to make with a leftover vanilla bean (although I used Rodelle Vanilla Sugar in this batch) and is a great ingredient to keep on hand for recipes like this one, that benefit from a hint of vanilla flavor. You can use regular sugar and add in about 1/4 tsp vanilla extract if you don’t have vanilla sugar, or simply omit the vanilla altogether.
The finished nuts are delicious and very addictive! There is just the right amount of salt in the mix to keep these from being overly sweet, and the buttery walnuts go very nicely with the sugar and spices. Store these in an airtight container to keep them as fresh as possible until they’re all eaten!
I want to have a fancy name for this dish, but I just can’t bring myself to call it anything other than what it is: roasted tomatoes with olive oil. I make this all the time with fresh tomatoes in the summer and it is one of the easiest and best ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes – apart from simply slicing them and eating them as they are, of course.
All you need are a bunch of fresh tomatoes, some olive oil and some salt and pepper. Toss everything together and roast the tomatoes until they’re tender. Then scrape all of those tender tomatoes into a bowl with some more olive oil and use it as a dip for bread (or anything else you might think goes well with it). Roasting really brings out the sweetness in the tomatoes.
I use a mix of tomatoes for this, depending on what I have. Large tomatoes can be cut into medium-thick slices and place on a baking sheet for roasting, while cherry tomatoes can simply be added whole. I will admit that cherry tomatoes, or other very small tomatoes, are my favorites, but all tomatoes will work well for this recipe. Use a good quality olive oil – one that you like the flavor of – because you’re going to taste it in the finished product, just as you would taste the flavor of the olive oil when you’re simply using it with vinegar as a dip for a nice piece of bread.
Shortbread is marked by its fine, crumbly and sometimes delicate texture, as well as its buttery flavor. They’re primarily made with butter and flour, and although they’re often served as dessert with coffee or tea, most shortbreads don’t have a lot of sugar in them. This means that they’re easily adapted into more savory applications, like this parmesan cheese-infused variation.
This shortbread comes together very quickly and makes a really nice homemade appetizer to put out with some wine. You can make it by hand, but it is easiest to put it together in the food processor. Simply add your flour, parmesan, spices and butter, then pulse everything together before pressing the mixture into a pan and baking it until golden. The spices I added in are the same ones that I might add to a batch of homemade macaroni and cheese – garlic, chipotle pepper (cayenne will work well, too) and mustard – since they go so well with cheese. They’re subtle and just give these shortbreads a little bit of dimension.
When baked, these are tender and slightly crumbly, and they’re much less crisp than a cracker because they are quick a bit thicker than your average cracker would be. They have a great flavor and are quite addictive, so it’s a good thing that this recipe makes quite a big batch. These are best when they’re fresh and eaten the day they’re made, but you can store them in an airtight container. If you need to crisp them up after a day or two, simply put them on a baking sheet and pop them into a 350F oven for 5-8 minutes and you’ll be all set.
One of the best things about Thanksgiving dinner is that there are always plenty of leftovers for the next day or two. This means that all the time and effort that went into cooking and cleaning on Thursday makes up for the fact that there is no need to spend much time in the kitchen for at least a day or two. Aside from heating up the leftovers, of course.
It can be a bit boring to just eat plates of the same dinner items over and over again, so I try to repurpose them a little bit. This year, I’m doing Leftover Turkey Sandwiches with Homemade Cranberry Barbecue Sauce. The turkey obviously comes from the bird and you can use either white or dark meat. The cranberry bbq sauce starts out with whole cranberries that are made into a quick sauce (you can substitute 1 1/4 cups leftover cranberry sauce for the first three ingredients in the recipe below), to which some classic barbecue sauce flavors are added. The finished sauce has a nice tang to it and a good amount of sweetness from the cranberry sauce.
The sauce, like the turkey, will keep well in the fridge so feel free to make it in advance and just pull it out when you’re ready to dig in to leftovers.
Mayonnaise is a creamy emulsion of vegetable oil, egg yolks, lemon juice and/or vinegar and seasonings, like salt or mustard. An emulsion is unique because the elements of an emulsion don’t necessarily want to come together smoothly on their own and need a little encouragement to become a silky smooth mixture, like mayonnaise. The trick really is to beat the ingredients at a very high speed and combine them bit by bit so that their individual elements spread out evenly throughout the mixture. Homemade mayonnaise can be made by hand, but I much prefer to use a food processor because it is faster and easier.This mayonnaise is made with olive oil and as a distinct olive oil flavor to it, noticeably stronger than other mayonnaises, which tend to be made with more neutral oils. While it tastes a bit strong on its own, the olive oil mayonnaise tastes great on most sandwiches and can be a great base for dips. This recipe also calls for a whole egg, not just yolks, so there is nothing leftover from the preparation that you’ll need to use up (like leftover egg whites). If you want a milder flavor, you can substitute canola oil for part of the olive oil.
The mayo will keep or at least a week, probably a bit longer, in the fridge if you store it in an airtight container. I would try to use it up relatively quickly and make a big batch of chicken or tuna salad, or another dish that uses a good amount of mayonnaise, to take full advantage of its flavor.