Friday, December 19, 2008

Hello, Easiest Party Snack Ever!

Toasted spiced chick peas, aka garbanzo beans:

Crunchy and savory and satisfying and the perfect companion to a glass of wine or cocktail.

I chose to season these with curry, but I think anything from herbs to garlic to sweet or spicy or both, would work. I followed no particular recipe but there are many out there, and if you feel the need, just Google. My method was to drain a can of garbanzo beans and dump them into a bowl. I added a couple of tablespoons of oil and some curry powder and salt, tossed it all together and baked for about a half an hour at 400 degrees. They got pretty crunchy, and could probably have used a bit less time in the oven, so check yours every 10 minutes or so until they've reached a level of crunch that you like.
Seriously, like the easiest snack ever, with extra credit because it's different from plain old spiced nuts.

Then, remember the amazing bacon and egg breakfast pizza recipe from a while ago? We revisited it just the other day, this time for dinner, and you'll be happy to know it's as good as I said it was back then. I switched things up a bit go-around with a little hot smoked Spanish chorizo in place of the bacon, and that was a huge, huge hit. We couldn't decide which version was better!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Undoubtedly I'll be documenting our current tale of woe in its entirety over at Modern in MN later, specifically why you should never, ever buy a Weil-McLain product even if it's the last boiler on earth, but the short story is that we've been without a domestic heat and hot water source since Monday afternoon. On the bright side, despite the catastrophic failure of our really expensive and high-end, American made, greatest-thing-ever-invented barely three-year-old boiler manufactured by a company that bills themselves as the most reputable boiler manufacturer out there yet doesn't see fit to stock parts for their products anywhere, including at their own factory and tells you, the customer without any heat in the midst of a Minnesota winter, that YOU HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE FACTORY CAN MAKE ONE (and then is willing to do us the favor of making us pay the extra $150 for express shipping which puts it here in six days instead of ten or twelve), our house is super energy efficient and super insulated, so we're getting by decently with a few electric space heaters. The hot water issue, not so much, but I did discover that putting a wet washcloth in the microwave for 30 seconds is a quick and easy way to be sure you don't have to wash your face with ice cold water before bedtime.
Camping baths, not so fun, but it does let me pretend for a few minutes that I'm realizing my dream of hanging around at base camp of Mt. Everest.

Anyway, if you haven't already noticed, there's lots of new stuff to check out in my Etsy shop, my favorite of which happens to be several leather and fabric combinations of these:

or is my favorite these?:

or this?:

I know, I know. I say every new item is my favorite, but this time I mean it. It's the black leather messenger that is sure to outlive it's owner. Or maybe this adorable little custom number complete with my new favorite obsession, the monogrammed leather tag and tassel:

Sigh. So much cuteness, so little closet space :)


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Revisting the Recipes, Thanksgiving 2008

When it comes to the number one food holiday, I have to admit that I'm always a little torn between doing the usual array of comfort food stand-bys or going completely out on a limb and redefining the meal. Yet almost without exception, I end up sticking to a mostly normal menu because I just can't imagine a Thanskgiving without those traditional elements and I get panicky when I start to think it could be an entire year before I get another chance to enjoy them. But I do like to throw in a twist or two. Think traditional ingredients and flavors with spunk.

One of my favorite sides from this years' meal was good old green beans. No, not green bean casserole (gack), but Spicy Stir Fried Green Beans with Bacon, a recipe I threw together based on an addictive dish I love that's served at one of our local pubs. It's quick and easy and can be done mostly ahead, perfect for a busy holiday cook.

The very un-fussy cast of characters:

Tail and tip a pound of fresh green beans. Chop 1/2 lb. of good bacon and cook until crispy. Remove from pan, drain, and set aside. Pour off all but a bit of the grease from the pan and add the beans and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. Saute briefly until bright green, then dump in about 1/2c. of bottled oyster sauce and continue to cook, tossing over high heat until beans are blistered and al dente and well coated with sauce, adding reserved bacon back to the pan for the last minute or two. Remove to serving plate and garnish with sliced scallion and sesame seeds:

You can make these as spicy as you like. In my case, that's fairly spicy so I used about 1 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes for a pound of beans. The pile you see above was about half a batch, and I had no problem eating them all myself as tonights dinner entree. As I said, they're addictive, and great hot or at room temperature. If you're working in advance, prep the beans and scallions and saute the bacon and then stash everything in the fridge in separate containers until you're ready to cook.
The restaurant that inspired the recipe offers them as an appetizer but I did them as a side dish and our Thanksgiving guests loved them.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

It's All About the Leftovers

Thanksgiving. whew.
So as you may recall, I went from a crazy sewing squirrel to a crazy cooking and cleaning squirrel, on account of us hosting again this year. Not that I'm complaining, because I truly love doing it, and cooking and cleaning for three days felt like a spa vacation after a few months of doing nothing but sew. But I'm also the only person in BoysFamily who doesn't see cooking as some kind of torturous dark art or a trip to Mars, so I consider it my duty as a food lover to see that the meal is done right and made from scratch.

One of the things I picked up on the second of my two show display gathering missions to IKEA was the kids art easel. Truthfully, I had been coveting it for a while so this was the perfect excuse, and although I didn't actually end up using it for the show, it came in handy as a menu board to greet my guests on Thursday:

There's a couple of things on there I'm definitely going tell you about in the next few days, but tonight I'm here to declare that we've officially moved on from sandwiches and reheated stuffing and sides to leftover leftover mode, and that means Turkey a la King and biscuits:

This batch was honorably whipped up using fresh homemade turkey stock courtesy of the organic free range and local turkey whos' carcass I felt compelled to get the last bits of goodness out of.

And it was delicious.
But really, turkey a la king is just an excuse to make and eat biscuits. And turkey a la king with biscuits is really just the route to an excuse to chase the meal with another biscuit slathered with butter and honey. Because you wouldn't want to spoil a nutritionally bankrupt meal with some kind of healthy dessert, right?

Unfortunately I am not a biscuit-making expert, what with being from the non-biscuit-centric cultures of the Midwest by way of SoCal and being the product of a mother who hated them. And it doesn't help that I only make them once or twice a year, but I guess that also makes me none the wiser to the nuances of a proper biscuit. So I guess it goes without saying that we had no problem making mine disappear :)

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?