Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Sweet Potato Biscuits – Before or After

I originally planned for these sweet potato biscuits to be this year’s Thanksgiving leftover recipe, but they came out so well, I decided to upgrade them, and I’m now officially suggesting you make these as one of the centerpieces for your feast. The downside of that plan is that you’ll have to share them with your guests.

Adding things like mashed sweet potatoes can cause all sorts of issues in a biscuit recipe, since they need to take the place of some of your “wet” ingredients, and considering how much thicker they are than something like buttermilk, over-mixing the dough can occur. By the time the potato mixture is incorporated, you can develop too much gluten, which can make biscuits tough.  

So, to protect against that, we’ll do most of the mixing while we form and fold our dough on the work surface. Not only does this make for a tender biscuit, but as you saw, we also get lots of beautifully buttery layers.

These are amazing with just plain butter, but for a little seasonal twist, I made a pomegranate spread, and have explained how to do that below. No matter what you serve this with, I really do hope you give these amazing sweet potato biscuits a try soon Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 large or 12 normally sized Sweet Potato Biscuits:
1 1/2 cup mashed orange sweet potatoes (cooked in well-salted water, drained thoroughly)
3 1/4 cups *self-rising flour 
(*if using all-purpose flour, add 4 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 1/2 tsp fine salt)
1 rounded tablespoon brown sugar
12 tablespoons ice cold butter, grated in
1/2 cup buttermilk

For the pomegranate spread:
4 tablespoons room temp butter
1 teaspoon pomegranate syrup, aka pomegranate molasses (you can make your own by reducing juice until it thickens)
1 teaspoon fresh pomegranate juice, for a better color
fresh pomegranate seeds to garnish

Friday, November 17, 2017

Peposo dell'Impruneta - Making Bad Beef Better Since Before Columbus

Some recipes have amusing, or romantic stories for how they came to be, but this peposo isn’t one of them, unless you consider making bad quality beef taste better by covering it in black pepper, amusing or romantic.

As the story goes, the workers who made terracotta tiles in the city of Impruneta, would place this stew into clay pots, and leave it their still-hot kilns overnight, where it would be ready the next morning. Since they were often stuck using less than fresh meat, copious amounts of black peppercorn was used to make the beef palatable.

Luckily, this recipe adapts quite nicely to fresh meat, and produces one of the more uniquely flavored braised beef dishes I’ve ever had. The amount of black pepper is up to you, but even the ridiculous amount I used wasn’t overpowering. The acidity and sweetness of the reduced wine balances everything beautifully.

I hear that beef shank is the traditional cut of meat to use, but short ribs worked really well. You could even use some beef chuck, cut into two-inch pieces, but you’d have to adjust the cooking time. Having said that, forget the time, and keep cooking until a fork goes in easily. Regardless of which cut you use, or how fresh it is, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 portions:
6 bone-in beef short ribs (about 8 to 10 ounces each)
1 tablespoon kosher salt to coat the beef
8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, freshly crushed
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
3-4 sage leaves
3-4 small sprigs rosemary
2 cups red wine, preferably Chianti
2 bay leaves
salt to taste, to adjust sauce
- Simmer on low, covered, about 3 1/2 hours, or until fork tender. Turn occasionally.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Caldo Verde – My Green Soup Redux

Caldo verde is many things: simple to make, inexpensive, nutritious, famously delicious, and beyond comforting. What it isn’t, however, is Spanish. I learned that after posting a version of this soup 10 years ago, when I tagged it as “Spanish Cuisine,” and a few very “passionate” Portuguese viewers let me know, in no uncertain terms, that was not accurate.

This soup hails from the Minho Province in northern Portugal, and now that the record has been set straight, we can move on to just how great this simple soup is. This is one of those recipes where you actually hope for horrible weather, so you can enjoy it in all its soul-warming glory. This is so hearty and comforting, you’ll almost forget how good it is for you.

I recommend trying to find Portuguese linguica, but like I said in the video, pretty much any cured, spicy, smoked sausage will work. Andouille would be a great choice, as would a dried chorizo. As usual, feel free to adapt this as you see fit, but I wouldn’t change the recommended russet potatoes.

They have the perfect starchiness for this soup, and produce a wonderfully silky texture. Waxier red potatoes won't work as well, but, having said that, it’s your soup, so do what you want. Just don’t call it Spanish. So, whether you wait for some nasty cold, wet weather or not, I really do hope you give this caldo verde a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 large portions:
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces Linguica sausage
1 onion diced fine, plus a pinch of salt
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, sliced
2 teaspoons salt, plus more as needed
2 quarts chicken broth or water
2 pounds kale, trimmed, chopped, washed and drained
pinch of cayenne, optional

Friday, November 10, 2017

Pork Saltimbocca – Jumps in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands

You have to give it to the Italians when it comes to naming recipes, and this pork saltimbocca is a perfect example. By now, you’ve probably heard that “saltimbocca” means “jumps in the mouth,” which makes perfect sense if you’ve had it before.

Maybe we should start doing this to American recipes? For example, we could rename Buffalo Chicken Wings, “Order More Beer Bones.” Let me think that one through a little more, but the point is, I love the idea of trying to describe a food’s affect in its name.

If you don’t want to mess around making the fake pork stock with the chopped up trimmings, you can still use the gelatin trick, and simply dissolve a teaspoon into a cup of chicken broth, and reduce it by half. However, the browned scraps do add extra meatiness, and this way you won’t have to feel guilty about trimming off too much meat. By the way, if you’d made our demiglace, you could skip the gelatin and add a nugget of that.

Feel free to use the more classic veal loin for this recipe, but the pork tenderloin really works beautifully. It’s just as tender, and maybe even a bit more forgiving if slightly overcooked. Which reminds me, don’t overcook this. Slightly pink pork tenderloin is completely safe, not to mention juicy and delicious. So, whether you use pork, veal, or even a chicken breast for this, I really do hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 portions:
1 to 1 1/4 pound pork tenderloin, seasoned generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
about 12 sage leaves
4 large thin slices prosciutto
flour for dusting
2/3 cup white wine, or Marsala wine for a little sweeter sauce.
- Be sure season the final sauce before serving.

For the stock:
1 tablespoon butter
chopped pork trimmings
1 cup homemade or low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water, or as needed
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- simmer until reduced by half

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

“Code Red” Cheese Spread and a Hot Pepper Challenge for ALS

I was halfway through production on this “code red” cheese spread, when I heard that Andrew from “Binging with Babish” had tagged me for his Hot Pepper Challenge for ALS. What are the odds? Anyway, I happily accepted his challenge, although, as you’ll see from this video, I took the coward’s way out, and used the almost already completed pepper spread, instead of eating whole chilies. I have some gastrointestinal issues that, while relatively minor, would make such an endeavor “problematic.” So, to make up for my good judgment, I donated a little extra, and hope you can do the same.

Above and beyond raising some funds for ALS research, this delicious spread is simple to make, and a real crowd-pleaser. Just ignore those initial complaints. As you’ll observe, people will literally be spreading more of this on their next cracker, while they tell you that it's too spicy. It isn't, and by the end of the party, they will agree. They may be sweating when they do, but they'll agree.

Here’s the link to Andrew’s video, where he shares the inspiration for the challenge, as well as heroically eats a habanero, AND a ghost pepper. It hurt just to watch. If you'd like to participate, the link is https://www.gofundme.com/alshotpepperchallenge. I really hope you give this great pepper spread, and hot pepper challenge a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 4 1/2 cups “Code Red” Cheese Spread:
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese
8 ounces fromage blanc, mascarpone, or just more cream cheese
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup sriracha hot sauce
2 tablespoons ghost pepper hot sauce, or to taste
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons hot smoked paprika
2 teaspoons chipotle pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne, plus more to taste
salt to taste

Friday, November 3, 2017

Chicken Little – The Sky is Not Falling

Armed with nothing more than a sharp boning knife, and some patience, pretty much anyone can make this visually impressive, “chicken little.” At least that’s what I’m calling it, for lack of a better name. In the business, this is sometimes referred to as an individual chicken ballotine, which really doesn’t have much of a ring to it.

I was thinking of going with “pear chicken,” but then I’d have to deal with all those “where’s the pear?” comments. Anyway, regardless of the name, this is a real showstopper, and easily adaptable when it comes to seasonings, and glazes. I did the simplest pan sauce possible, by deglazing the drippings with a splash of chicken stock, but you could use wine, and/or demiglace, to fancy it up even more.

I’m recommending that we cook this to an internal temp of 150 F., to ensure ultra-juicy meat, which will terrify some of you, “Henny Penny’s”. I still see recommendations online to roast chicken to 165 F., which is not only crazy, but completely unnecessary. Anything that would harm you is killed at 140 F., so please try to relax.

Since there is a bit of production involved, I do suggest making these ahead, and keeping them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Not only will they roast to an even more beautiful golden brown, but your flavored butter ingredients inside will have time to permeate the meat. So, whether you’re making these to impress guests at a dinner party, or just improve your knife skills, or both, I really hope you give them a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 portions:
one 1.5 pound game hen (this will work with any size bird, but roasting times will change)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the butter:
1 clove garlic, sliced
large pinch of salt and pepper
1 teaspoon minced thyme and rosemary
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup seasoned chicken broth to deglaze and reduce in roasting pan

- Roast at 450 F. for about 30 minutes, or until internal temp of 150 F.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Bigos (Polish Hunter’s Stew) – Go Bigos or Go Home

I don’t often get requests for Polish food, but when I do, they’re usually for bigos. Which makes perfect sense, since this meaty stew is one of the most delicious dishes you’ll ever taste. It’s also low-carb, highly nutritious, and very simple to make, as long as you don’t consider having to wait a day to eat it, “complicated.”

While you can eat this as soon as it’s made, and I bet most of you do, it’s much better the next day, as all the flavors have time to properly meld together. You can also really customize this to your personal tastes by changing up which meats you use.

Traditionally, this is made with wild game, such as venison, boar, and other shootable animals, but is perfectly acceptable, if not amazing, using easier to find domestic livestock. Regardless of which meats you include, be sure to use a lot of them, as I think this stew should be at least 50% meat.

Since you can, and should make this ahead of time, it’s perfect for feeding large groups, especially when the weather turns cold and dreary. But, no matter what it’s doing outside, I hope you give this a try, and have a pot simmering inside soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 portions:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 packed cups drained sauerkraut
1 small head green cabbage, quartered and sliced (2 pound head before trimming)
4 strips bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 lb pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb polish sausage links, sliced (or any other sausage)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 pitted prunes, diced
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked until soft and chopped
1 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 large bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Zombie Meatloaf – Better Than Brains

After seeing various versions of this Halloween-themed, zombie meatloaf on social media over the years, I decided it was time to post my very own. I’ve seen many approaches to this; such as covered in “blood,” or mummified in strips of pastry, but the ones wrapped in bacon always looked the most realistic, and the most appetizing.

Ironically, “appetizing” is the last thing you want this to look like, but if we’re going to do some kind of gimmicky, holiday recipe, it might as well taste great, and this most certainly did. It’s been a while since I posted a meatloaf recipe, and I was very happy with how this one came out. You can use a food processor make chopping the mushrooms a bit easier, but don’t leave them out. They add a lot of flavor, as well as help keep the meat moist, and tender. 

By the way, if you're trapped in one of these households where certain people don’t eat mushrooms, add them anyway, since they’ll never be able to tell they’re in there. Then, next week, after they’ve eaten this, and loved it, you can come clean. Trick or treat, indeed.

Having said that, this zombification will work with any of your favorite meatloaf recipes, and you won’t be hurting my feelings. Much. Regardless of what you use, I really hope you give this fun-to-make, even funner-to-eat, zombie meatloaf a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 large portions:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup diced celery
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
8 ounces brown mushrooms, chopped fine
3 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 pounds ground beef
3 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
1 large beaten egg
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 pound strip bacon for  zombie “facial muscles”
1 onion for eyes and teeth

- Bake at 325 F. for about 1 hour, or to an internal temp of 155 F.

- I went for a realistic muscular look, but if you’d rather have something that looks like crispy bacon, go ahead and put foil over the eyes and teeth, and pop this under a hot broiler, until it looks just right.

- Serve with “blood sauce,” which is made with equal parts SFQ bbq sauce and ketchup, spiked with hot sauce.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Buttermilk Pie – The Best Pie You’ve Never Heard Of

I can understand certain recipes being relatively unknown, but this buttermilk pie is not one of them. Not only is this easy to make, and beautiful to look at, it’s also bursting with the kind of bright, tangy flavor that no other custard-style pie can touch. Like I said in the video, this is sort of like a vanilla custard, meets lemon meringue pie, meets very light cheesecake. Except better.

I’ve never had much trouble finding buttermilk, even in regular, non-fancy grocery stores, but depending on where you live in the world, apparently that’s not the case. There are many “hacks” for making a substitute, usually using milk and lemon juice, or vinegar, and I’ll let you Google those at your leisure, but I’d be more inclined to try some yogurt, thinned out with some milk.

I think that would be closer to the tanginess of buttermilk, but as far as the recipe “working,” one cup of any type of dairy product should yield similar results. Once your pie is made, it can be served “as is,” or topped with seasonal fruit. I went with raspberries, mostly for the pictures, but if you were going to do this for the holidays, some persimmons, and/or pomegranate seeds would also be very nice. Regardless of how you serve it, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for one pie:
Enough pie dough for a 9-inch pie dish
(I used half a recipe of our butter crust dough)
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
zest from one lemon
juice from one lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk

- Prebake crust at 350 F. for 15-20 minutes, let cool, then fill and bake for another 45-55 minutes, or until the filling is golden and “set.”

Friday, October 20, 2017

Potstickers – For When You Can’t Decide Between Fried and Steamed Dumplings

Potstickers (or Pot Stickers, depending on which style guide you’re using) are very fast and easy to make, unless you only do them once or twice a year, in which case they’re going to take a little bit of time to fold and shape. 

Just for fun, find a video that shows professionals doing these, and marvel at how they come together in seconds. That's what happens when you do hundreds each day, for years.

Having said that, every second spent producing these, is a second well spent. The play between the crispy, crusty bottom, and the tender parts, makes for a truly unique dumpling. They’re also very versatile, since you can fill them with anything you want. No matter what you use, you’ll know exactly what you’re biting into, which is not always the case when you get these out.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the occasional take-out binge, and its associated mysteries. But, it’s nice being able to control the contents, as well as the generosity of the filling. There is nothing worse than biting into one of these, and realizing it’s only half-full. So, for all those reasons, and more, I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


One production note: While I’ve made these many times, I’ve never actually measured the ingredients before, so I ended up with extra filling. So, I’ve increased the dough amounts from what I used in the video. Instead of getting 24 wrappers, you should get more like 32 (cutting each quarter dough into 8, instead of 6 portions), which should be a better match. Of course this depends on exactly how much you fill, but it should be close.

Ingredients:
For the filling:
1 pound ground pork
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
3 tablespoons very finely minced ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
pinch cayenne
1 1/2 cups finely chopped green cabbage

For the dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup hot water (about 130-150 F.)

For the dipping sauce:
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
Optional: You can spike dipping sauce with things like hot sauce, garlic, minced green onions, ginger, etc.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Stuffed Hasselback Turkey Breast – A Little Thanksgiving

Everyone loves a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings, but because of the time and work involved, we usually only get to enjoy it once a year on Thanksgiving. So, what if we create a second holiday, called “Little Thanksgiving,” and feature this smaller, and much easier, Hasselback turkey? 

By the way, when I say easier, that assumes we’ve figured out how to carve it significantly better than I demonstrated in the video.

A thinner, more flexible knife would have been much better, as well as just slicing off one section at a time. I may try another one, but before stuffing, I'll go around the outside edge of the breast with a knife, cutting in about an inch, where it attaches to the bone. This would still leave most of the meat attached at the center, and probably make slicing simpler.

I guess we could try using a boneless breast, but I really think the ribcage is important for keeping the meat, if you’ll pardon the expression, moist. If you’ve tried this sans bones, please let me know how it came out. Regardless, since these breasts can really vary in size, be sure to use a thermometer to check doneness. So, whether you do this for regular Thanksgiving, or that new “Little Thanksgiving” everyone is talking about, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large or 4 smaller portions:
one 2 to 3 pound split turkey breast, bone in, skin on
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon melted butter for brushing on before roasting
For the very basic stuffing:
2 cups small dry bread cubes
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (dried sage, rosemary, and thyme)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper and cayenne to taste
1/2 cup diced onion and 1/2 cup diced celery sautéed in butter until golden
1 cup hot chicken broth, plus more if needed
1 large egg yolk

NOTE: In the video I said to roast at 350 F., to an internal temp of 150 F., but in hindsight, I’m thinking that a 375 F. oven would work better.

For the stuffing, try these recipes, and cook the extra mixture in a pan alongside your Hasselback Turkey Breast.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Rice Crispy Wings – No Breakfast Cereal was Harmed in the Making of this Video

As promised, here is the rice-flour coated chicken wings recipe I teased in the mumbo sauce video. It’s hard to believe that this is the first fried wings video we’ve ever done, but that was the case, which is why I’m so glad these turned out as well as they did. 

Besides being gluten-free, which is probably a big deal to a small, but enthusiastic part of my audience, this rice flour coating ended up being light, crispy, and extremely sauce friendly.

The original buffalo style chicken wings are fried without any type of coating, and while I do enjoy them that way, they aren’t the best at holding on to a sauce. This is why people started adding some kind of starch to the outside, which creates a less slick, rougher surface, that really grabs onto whatever you’re dipping, or tossing them in.

By the way, before your wings get coated with the flour, you’re free to spice these anyway you want. Other than the salt, everything else is up for grabs. I went very simple, as I usually do, but the mind reels at the possibilities. Regardless of how you flavor yours, I really do hope you give them a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for *one pound of rice crispy chicken wings:
1 pound chicken wing sections (flats and drums)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon fine salt)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup rice flour, preferably "stone-ground" (you can grind you own in a spice mill)

* This can be scaled up to however large a batch you need. I usually allow 1/2 pound of wings per person for a party.

- If you’re doing a larger batch, be sure to give the wings a toss or two during the refrigeration time. By the way, two hours would be a minimum, but if you want, you can leave these overnight with the seasoning.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mumbo Sauce – Is D.C.’s Secret Sauce the Next Big Thing?

A friend of mine asked me recently if I’d ever heard of mumbo sauce, since she had just returned from Washington D.C., and said it was “everywhere.” I hadn’t, which isn’t a surprise, since unless you’re from the Capital, or select neighborhoods in Chicago, this stuff is virtually unknown.

Apparently, this sweet-and-sour condiment came to Washington D.C. via Chicago, where it somehow became a staple in Chinese take-out restaurants, served as a condiment with fried chicken wings, among other things. That’s as much background as you're getting here, and like many other regional culinary specialties, the history is murky.

All I know is that this was great with fried chicken wings, and I look forward to finding other uses for it, although I’m not sure French fries is going to be one of them. I’m a ketchup guy, and probably too old to change. Having said that, I can see this catching on, and for once, I’ll be ahead of a trend.

They say every takeout place in D.C. has their own secret recipe, but there were quite a few published recipes on the Internet, and so this is sort of a composite, based on the extensive, 20 minutes of research I did. Stay tuned for the chicken wing experiment I mentioned in the video, and in anticipation, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 4 cups of Mumbo Sauce:
1 can (6-oz) tomato paste
2/3 cup ketchup
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

- Please note: Every one of these ingredients is “to taste.”

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Mumble Sauce

I just got home after some fairly painless oral surgery, and my troublesome wisdom tooth is now gone. That's the good news. The bad news is my mouth is currently stuffed with cotton, and doing a voice-over for the just completed mumbo sauce probably isn't a great idea. Hopefully, I'll be able to rock the mic soon, but in the meantime, thank you for your patience, and please stay tuned! 
.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Canelés de Bordeaux (Crispy Baked French Custards) – Hold the Mold!

I’ve wanted to do a Canelés de Bordeaux video forever, but just never got around to buying the specially designed molds that they require. After seeing a picture of them online a few days ago, I decided this would be the week, and headed out to the one store near me I knew carried the necessary hardware.

Since it was actually a hardware store that also carries lots of kitchen equipment, I figured they would have the beeswax, as well. I’ve been in that store at least a hundred times, and I would anyways see the canelé molds beckoning me, but never pulled trigger, since I was usually looking for something else.

So, you can imagine my shock when I walked down that aisle, as I’d done so many times before, only to find they were no longer stocked. Thanks a lot, Amazon. Anyway, purely out of spite, I decided to make them anyway, using a regular muffin pan, and the results were pretty amazing.

As long as you cook them long enough, the muffin tin works great, assuming you don’t care about getting the classic shape. Since this was an experiment, I only did six, but I’ve scaled the recipe below to make 12. I’m not sure how many real canelé molds this recipe will fill, but it’s probably close to that. Either way, I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 Canelé de Bordeaux:
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon unsalted butter
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or 1/8 teaspoon of fine salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup rum

For greasing pan:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons beeswax

- Bake at 450 F. for 10 minutes, then at 375 F. for about 50 minutes more, or until well browned.

-- NOTE: These only stay crispy for about 8 hours. So, fair warning if you plan to make them a day ahead. I've never tried to re-crisp. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

It’s The Great Pumpkin Seed Spread, Charlie Brown

"It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” was definitely my favorite animated holiday special, and I suspect that goes for most people my age. I found the Christmas special a little heavy, and was bothered by the menu in the Thanksgiving episode, but the Halloween offering struck all the right notes.

Back then, I probably wouldn’t have had much interest in this pumpkin seed spread, since I needed to save room for all those miniature Mr. Goodbars, but now, I can’t think of anything I’d rather eat. This straddles the fence between sweet and savory, and would be very easy to adapt to your tastes.

I need to credit Cortney Burns and Nick Balla, from a restaurant here in San Francisco called Duna. They do a similar, albeit more savory version, which inspired this spread. If you don’t like the term “spread,” you could call it a pumpkin seed hummus, or pumpkin seed butter, but no matter what you call it, I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 3 cups of Pumpkin Seed Spread:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 peeled garlic cloves, quartered
2 cups green pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted in dry pan
1/2 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons diced green Serrano or jalapeño chilies
3/4 cup apple juice, to reduce with onions and peppers
juice from 2 limes
1 cup freshly picked cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
additional 1/2 cup apple juice or water, if you want less sweetness to adjust texture
- you can also adjust texture and acidity with a splash of apple cider vinegar