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Posts Tagged ‘casual’

Grain-Free Crunchy Bagel-Style Almond Crackers

Posted on: April 12th, 2020 by Ellen Swandiak

A crunchy cracker you can make with pantry ingredients. Those who are trying to be gluten and grain free often get the craving for the crunch. That’s where these grain-free crackers, made with almond flour, come in to save the day.

Between the poppy and sesame seeds, my favorite bagel toppings, these grain-free crackers not only taste fab, but make for a spectacularly speckled  presentation. Not to mention the nutritional benefits of the seeds. 

MAKES ROUGHLY 40 PIECES

PREHEAT OVEN 325ºF… MAKE THE DOUGH

1 3/4 CUP almond flour
1 TB almond oil
1 egg, beaten

In a large bowl combine all ingredients, knead well, and shape into a ball. Place onto a sheet of parchment paper that fits a baking pan. Transform dough ball into a rectangle echoing the shape of the parchment. Top with second piece of parchment and roll out dough to between 1/16- and 1/8-inch thickness. I like keeping the edges ragged so the tips will get more brown. You may need to fill in some holes as the dough escapes the parchment, so just break off those parts and fill in as necessary.

PREPARE SEED MIX

1 TB sesame seeds
1 TB poppy seeds
1 TB golden flax seeds
1 TB sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt

In a small bowl, mix thoroughly. Sprinkle evenly over rolled-out dough. Cover with clean parchment paper and roll over to set seeds into the dough.

BAKE THE GRAIN-FREE CRACKERS

Bake for roughly 23 min till edges are slightly browned. Move with parchment to a cooling rack and let sit for 10-15 min. Break apart by hand into irregular shapes. Store in an airtight container. Try not to eat them!

If you like this recipe, you might want to take a look at our Cumin -Spiced grain-free crackers too.

Spicy Baked Buffalo Wings

Posted on: February 1st, 2020 by Ellen Swandiak

Touchdown this SuperBowl Sunday with these Spicy Baked Buffalo Wings that even the fittest athletes can’t say no to. This recipe is courtesy of Gozney, a company that makes the coolest and most powerful mini pizza ovens for your backyard (see more on the ovens at this link). Instead of deep-frying the wings, try Gozney’s technique for creating crispy skin while keeping the meat to remain incredibly moist inside. You can learn the tricks to crispy skin and more in this educational and entertaining step by step video here.

SERVES 4

See more recipes for watching the game, like Sirloin Steak Toasts with Zesty Crumbs, at Hobnob’s Party #18 Classy Sports: An Upscale Menu for Watching the Big Game

PREPARE CHICKEN A DAY AHEAD

2-3 TB plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 TB salt

12-16 chicken wings, a mix of wingettes and drumettes

This step allows for the chicken skin to get crisp, by removing all the moisture: Toss first three ingredients together in a bowl. Separate the wings from drumettes by cutting through the knuckle if they are still attached. First remove excess moisture from the skins by placing chicken between two paper towels and pressing down, then dredge in the flour mixture, shake. Set on a cooling rack and refrigerate overnight, uncovered.

MAKE THE BLUE CHEESE DIP

1 CUP sour cream
1/2 CUP buttermilk
4 oz blue cheese (gorgonzola or other soft blue)

Mix thoroughly in a bowl. Season to taste, if needed. This can be made a day ahead, and would allow the flavors to really meld.

MAKE THE SAUCE

6 TB Unsalted Butter
8 TB Franks Hot Sauce

While the chicken is cooking, melt ingredients together and keep warm.

PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF…COOK THE WINGS

Lightly heat a cast iron grill pan in the oven, about 5 min. Add chicken and cook for about 30-35 mins, rotating and flipping a few times. When skin in nice and browned, remove from oven and use tongs to dip the wings in warm hot sauce, transfer to a plate. Serve with blue cheese dip in a bowl alongside the wings.

North Wild Kitchen Features Traditional and Newfangled Dishes in this Norwegian Cookbook

Posted on: October 1st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

After years globetrotting, author Nevada Berg settled in Norway with her Norwegian husband and son. With a farm, and with the eyes of a newcomer, Berg learns the local traditions as she assimilates into the mountain-top lifestyle and creates her award-winning blog, North Wild Kitchen.

The cookbook breaks down those activities that are common to Norwegians: foraging, fishing, farming, hunting, harvesting, camping, baking, grilling, and frying. Each chapter begins with an explanation of Nordic culture, so you get a little lesson in the way things are done. For example, in the Foraging chapter Berg mentions “allemannsretten” a concept that everyone has the right to take from nature, whether or not they own the land. (how unlike American culture!) The idea is that you can take what you need, but make sure to leave something for others to enjoy.

HOBNOBMAG Norwegian Cookbook

Photography throughout the book showcases the simple, rustic recipes and scenes from the surrounding areas. You almost feel as if you were on a journey far away. Recipes follow the four seasons using local ingredients. Traditional foods like Meatballs with Creamed Cabbage alludes to a super-popular dish in Norway, as well as Milk Cakes, which get served up with jams, spreadable cheeses, sour cream, and butter. Hearty soups and stews using meats like venison, moose, reindeer, and hare are sure to entice.

HOBNOBMAG Norwegian Cookbook

There are plenty of recipes for bakers too. Breads, pancakes, and lots of buns and cakes will have you wanting to curl up by a fireplace, and settle in. Sour Cream Wafers and Soft Potato Flatbread Veiled work in on the sides of many meals. For sweeter pursuits, Peasant Girls is an old-fashioned dessert that combines stewed apples, with sweetened breadcrumbs and whipped cream. Plums, a Norwegian staple for 300 years, are abundant, and the excess gets made into jam for use on Custard Buns or Aniseed Wafers.

I tend to like my desserts mixed with a little savory, and thought this recipe from the book would make a nice accompaniment on a cheese board, or as a atypical dessert.

recipe

Pan-Fried Pears Wrapped in Cured Pork with Honey and Pink Peppercorns

PÆRE MED SPEKESKINKE

Salty, rich cured meat and fresh sweet fruit are a natural and balanced pairing. When pan-fried together, the crispy texture of the meat against the warm, softened flesh of the fruit brings this pairing to a whole new level. I enjoy serving these special bundles, because they’re flavorful, fresh, and quick to pull together. If you prefer, you can substitute another cured meat, such as lamb (fenalår).

serves 4 to 6

4 large pears
8 to 16 pieces thinly sliced cured pork
2 tablespoons lightly salted butter, for frying
Flaky salt
Crushed pink peppercorns
Runny honey

Cut the pears lengthwise in half. Carefully remove the cores and seeds, but leave the stems. Wrap each pear half with 1 to 2 slices of the cured pork and press the fat of the meat together to keep from it from falling off the pear.

In a large, heavy frying pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the pears, flesh-side down, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the pork is golden brown and crisp. Flip the pears and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes or until the other side is golden brown and crisp and the fruit is slightly soft.

Arrange the pears on a platter, sprinkle with flaky salt and crushed peppercorns, drizzle with honey, and serve immediately while still warm.

Reprinted with permission from Prestel Publishing.

North Wild Kitchen: Home Cooking from the Heart of Norway by Nevada Berg

Hearty Vegetarian Sandwich: Naan with Falafel & Avocado-Tomatillo Sauce

Posted on: August 31st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

Sandwiches are nice to serve at a dinner party, as long as they are special. This hearty vegetarian sandwich has a slew of heathy ingredients that combine for a true taste sensation. Chickpeas, roasted carrots, zucchini, and a super fresh sauce with avocado and tomatillos sit in a min naan.

I will admit, this recipe took some time to accomplish because of the soaking time involved, but was not hard to make—and were definite crowd pleasers. Using the dried chick peas really adds to the final product, you just have to remember to soak a day ahead, for great results.

The sandwiches are great at room temperature, and supply a hearty bite for guests they can just grab and go. Be liberal with the sauce, it really adds a freshness and needed moisture to the mix.

MAKES 22 SANDWICHES

DO AHEAD: SOAK THE CHICKPEAS

3 CUPS dried chickpeas

Pick through chickpeas to remove any debris. Rinse in a colander. Place in a large pot, topped with 4 inches of water. Cover. Soak overnight. OR bring the chickpeas to a boil for 5 min, then let them soak in the water for 1 hr.

COOK THE CHICKPEAS

soaked chickpeas, rinsed well
bay leaf
black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic

1 tsp salt

Add all ingredients, except salt, to a large pot with 4 qts of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1.5 – 2 hrs. Check occasionally to make sure there is enough water in the pot. When chickpeas are nice and soft (they smash easily with the back of a spoon), turn off the heat, stir in salt, and allow them to sit in the water and cool, and soak up the salt.

When cooled, drain, and mash with a potato masher or pulse in a food processor.

PREHEAT OVEN 425ºF… ROAST THE CARROTS

16 carrots, cut into 3-inch sticks (about 5 CUPS)
olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Drizzle carrots in olive oil, s + p. Place carrot sticks on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for about 17 min until they are soft and slightly browned on the edges.

REMOVE MOISTURE FROM THE ZUCCHINI

2 CUPS zucchini, grated

Spread zucchini on a large plate or shallow bowl, sprinkle with salt and let it sit for an hour. Drain the liquid that has oozed out, move to a strainer, and press out any more remaining liquid.

PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF…MAKE THE FALAFEL PATTIES

cooked chickpeas
zucchini
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 CUP parsley, minced

1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 TB garbanzo fava flour

Get out the food processor. In batches, pulse chickpeas, zucchini, garlic, parsley. (Or you can mash with a potato masher and fork.) Transfer to a large bowl, add the spices and flour and mix well.

Take a heaping TB of the mixture, place into center of palm, roll, then press into 2-inch patties. You should have around 44. Place on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake for 45 min, till nicely browned.

MAKE THE AVOCAD0-TOMATILLO  SAUCE

1 avocado, cut into chunks
4 tomatillos, cut into chunks
1 CUP parsley
1 CUP cilantro
2 cloves garlic, cut into chunks
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until incorporated. Makes about 2 cups of sauce.

HEAT THE NAAN

22 Stonefire Mini Naan

The naan only needs a minute in the oven to come back to life. So just as many as you can fit onto baking sheets.

ASSEMBLE THE NAAN SANDWICHES

avocado-tomatillo sauce
falafel
roasted carrots
1 cucumber, sliced thinly

Slather on a TB or more sauce onto the inside of the naan. On one side of the bread line with roasted carrots, place 2 falafel on top, 3-4 cucumber slices on the other side. Close bread and pierce through the falafel with 2 toothpicks so it holds together.

Quinoa Salad with Grilled Peaches & Corn in Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Posted on: August 31st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

This salad’s notes definitely lean to the sweet end of the spectrum. Grilled ripe peaches and corn lend their summery flavors. The vinaigrette has two special ingredients. One is a drinking vinegar from Olitalia, with prominent pomegranate sweetness, and the other is a super-artisanal honey from upstate New York, Catskill Provisions. They harvest their honey twice annually, and the fall version comes with a nice complexity. (they also produce a lively honey-rye, see Hobnob’s post with cocktail recipe—would make a great accompaniment to the buffet)

The quinoa in this recipe is also quite special. The size of Pereg Baby Quinoa is tinier that the usual, has a great crunchy-ish texture, and mixes in nicely with the greens without taking over. It’s a nice healthy addition.

MAKE THE QUINOA

2 CUPS water
1 CUP  Pereg Baby Quinoa

salt

Boil water. Add quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover loosely and simmer 15-20 min, until all water is absorbed. Turn off heat, and let sit for 5 min. Add a little salt, to taste

GRILL THE PEACHES

2 peaches, sliced

coconut oil

Grease grill with coconut oil. Grill peaches about a 1-2 min on each side.

MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE

1/4 CUP Olitalia Drinking Vinegar Pomegranate
1 tsp Catskill Provisions Fall Honey
1 clove garlic, squeezed in a garlic press
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

3/4 CUP olive oil

Whisk first 6 ingredient together well. Slowly add in olive oil to incorporate. Funnel into a squeeze bottle.

ASSEMBLE THE SALAD

quinoa
peaches
2 CUPS Cascadian Organic frozen corn, defrosted
3/4 CUP sugar snap peas, cut into half-inch pieces, (save some cut in half lengthwise to expose the peas inside for garnish)
1/4 CUP red onion, sliced thinly
manchego cheese, cut into small cubes
2 pkgs (5 oz) Super Greens mix

pomegranate honey vinaigrette

Toss all ingredients together with the dressing. Save a few grilled peaches and sugar snap peas to put on the top for garnish.

Mini Muffins: Savory Butternut Squash with Spicy Squash Spread

Posted on: March 31st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

I love the idea of creating a more savory slant to things that are usually sweet. These mini muffins incorporate squash, sunflower seeds, carrots and a little bit of farmer cheese in a little, healthy baked treat. 

Tip: An average (3 pound) butternut squash should produce 2.5 cups of puree, so I created a fresh spread with the extra to serve with the muffins, and add some zip and a freshness. Alternatively, butter or cream cheese would also go well. Think of offering all three if you are having a large crowd for brunch.

MAKES ABOUT 36 MINI MUFFINS

PREHEAT OVEN 375ºF… PREPARE THE SQUASH

1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed

Place squash halves cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 40-45 min till fork can easily pierce through the squash’s center. Let cool a little, then scoop out the squash and mash with a fork in a bowl.

WHILE SQUASH IS BAKING, MIX WET INGREDIENTS FOR THE MUFFIN MIX

1 CUP cashew milk
2/3 CUP almond oil
1 egg
2 TB scallions, green tops, cut into thin rings
3 TB carrot, grated
2/3 CUP farmer cheese, room temp

1 CUP roasted butternut squash puree, cooled

In a large bowl incorporate ingredients till thoroughly combined.

FINISH THE MUFFIN MIX

1 CUP spelt flour
1/2 CUP coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp salt

In a separate bowl sift flours, then mix in the rest of the dry ingredients. Transfer to the wet ingredients bowl and stir until just combined.

HOBNOBMAG butternut squash muffin recipe steps

RAISE OVEN TEMP TO 400°F… BAKE THE MUFFINS

spray oil
sunflower seeds

Grease 2 mini muffin tins with spray oil* and divide mixture into each cavity, allowing dough to come above the rim. Create a cone-like, irregular shape at the top, then sprinkle on a few sunflower seeds. Bake for 20-22 min, till edges brown. Let cool 5 min in pan, then transfer muffins to a cooling rack.

WHILE MUFFINS BAKE, MAKE THE SPREAD

1 CUP butternut squash puree
1/4 CUP Greek yogurt
1 TB sriracha
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to a small bowl and set on the side of muffins with a small spoon for spreading.

*If you don’t already own a spray oil dispenser, get one. That way you can use the quality oil of your choice for each project. This is a HOBNOB cupboard staple.

HOBNOBMAG Pinterest squash recipes

Want more party recipes for winter squash? Head to HOBNOB’s Pinterest page to see what we gathered from the spectrum. Party Recipes: Winter Squash We’ve done all the weeding for you, so you only see the most beautiful, healthful, and inventive recipes—the ones that are sure to impress guests. Here’s what we included:

Caprese Bites with Honey-Balsamic

Maple Glazed Acorn Squash with Apple, Parsnip and Sage

Cranberry, Butternut and Brussels Sprout Brie Skillet Nachos

Mini Bacon Butternut Squash Cups

Chard Stuffed Acorn Squash With Za’atar and Tahini

Feta and Roasted Acorn Squash Salad

Mushroom Risotto and Broccoli Stuffed Acorn Squash

Butternut Squash Chicken Flatbread Pizza

Smoky Chipotle Pumpkin Hummus

Garlic & Lemon Butternut Squash Noodles

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Rösti Cakes

Butternut Squash Hummus

Roasted Winter Squash with Vanilla Butter

Wild Rice Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

Butternut Squash, Coconut & Turmeric Soup + Crispy Sage

Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Tartines

Weekend Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash with Tahini and Feta

Party Potatoes: Roasted with Carrots and Cumin Coconut Yogurt Dip

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

We love these party potatoes as much for their color, as for their cuteness and pop-ability. An all-natural treat, they are accompanied by a dip whose base is coconut yogurt, and is spiced up with cumin. Vegans and paleoists will salute your hosting finesse. This recipe is part of a paleo party planning theme.  Click on the link to see more recipes.

MAKES 60-70 BITES

PREHEAT OVEN 425ºF…ROAST THE POTATOES AND CARROTS

1 LB mixed color baby potatoes, cut in half (keep small ones whole for variety)
5 large carrot bottoms, cut into 1-inch chunks (match potato size)
5 mini peppers (yellow, red, orange), cut and use bottoms
1 TB olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

In a bowl, toss ingredients in oil to coat sprinkle with s + p. Move to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 30 min, till tender and browned.

HOBNOBMAG baby potatoes tricolor

MAKE THE CUMIN COCONUT YOGURT DIP

1/2 CUP coconut yogurt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper

Place all ingredients into a blender, and emulsify.

TO SERVE

Put roasted mix in a nice bowl with a side of dip, add some toothpicks.

Turkey Patties Topped with Cucumber Basil Pesto

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

For those following a paleo diet, there are lots of options for party fare. These turkey patties have a nice crunchiness via onion and jalapeño bits, which adds a bit of texture and flavor to the meat. Tip: When cooking the patties, take note. They are a little fragile, so make sure oil covers the bottom of the pan to ensure they don’t stick. Patties should be white halfway up the side before flipping. Run a spatula or fork under the patties while cooking for extra insurance.

As for the pesto, prepare the cucumbers ahead of time, but don’t make the pesto till ready to serve. I made mine the night before and it did not keep its pretty green color, though it still tasted mighty fine.

These turkey patties are just one of the recipes from my paleo party theme. Click the link to see more veg and meat dishes. 

MAKES 24 BITES

MAKE THE TURKEY PATTIES

1 LB ground turkey breast
1 egg
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 small red onion, minced
1/2 jalapeño, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 TB parsley, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 TB nutritional yeast

almond oil

With a fork combine all ingredients, except oil, in a large bowl. With wet hands (the mix may be kind of sticky) take a small amount that fits in the palm of your hand, make a ball, then flatten. Size should be roughly 2 inches x 1/2-inch thick (two bites). Get a big skillet hot, add 1/8-inch oil to the pan, then add patties. Cook for 2 1/2 min, till nice and brown, then flip and brown other side. Let drain on a paper towel.

hobnobmag recipe Turkey Patties Topped with Cucumber Basil Pesto

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR… PREPARE THE CUCUMBER

2 cucumbers, peeled
1 tsp salt

Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Cut these in half and grate in the food processor. Move to a platter, sprinkle with salt and let it sit for about one hour. Transfer to a strainer and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, then place in a bowl. (If doing this part ahead of time, place cucumbers in an airtight container in the fridge till ready to use)

MAKE THE PESTO

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 CUPS basil leaves
3/4 CUP mint leaves
1/2 CUP pine nuts, toasted on a hot skillet
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 CUP EV olive oil

cucumbers

Pulse together in a food processor. Add to the cucumbers and mix thoroughly.

Crispy Artichoke Hearts with Lemon-Horseradish Sauce

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

With the mix of the lemon and horseradish, and slight creaminess from the coconut yogurt, the flavors mesh perfectly with the crispy artichoke hearts, which have been roasted in the oven. These make a light, zingy paleo snack. Using quartered artichoke hearts, allows for a dainty bite for party goers, for something a little more substantial, buy a can of whole artichokes and halve them. I created this recipe to serve all Paleo party food, you can see the other recipes here

MAKES ABOUT 40 BITES

PREHEAT OVEN TO 425º F… CRISP THE ARTICHOKE HEARTS

2 cans artichoke hearts (14 oz), quartered
2 TB olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
juice from 1/2 lemon

Place artichoke hearts on a paper towel leafy side down to get rid of excess moisture. Then move a bowl, toss together all ingredients. Space artichokes evenly across a parchment-lined baking sheet, leafy side up. Roast 30 -35 min, till tips turn brown.

hobnobmag recipe artichoke hearts and lemon horseradish dip

MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE

1/4 CUP white wine vinegar
1 TB horseradish
1 TB Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, squeezed in a garlic press
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp lemon zest
2 TB coconut milk yogurt

1/4 CUP olive oil

garnish: 1 TB parsley, minced

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients, except oil, then add in a little at a time. Drizzle over warm artichoke hearts, sprinkle parsley.

Paleo Party Finesse: Crunchy Cumin Spiced Crackers with Mixed Seeds

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

If you have committed to a Paleo diet, then you know that grains are verboten. But there is no reason to ignore those cravings for crunchy crackers. This recipe not only addresses those “crunch” cravings, but will also give you paleo party finesse when you serve them along with a stocked charcuterie board or along with guacamole. Enjoy them no matter what dietary leaning you follow. 

When developing this recipe, I did a few versions of these babies, in order to decide what flavors matched best with what. The cumin seeds add an almost a lemony zing, with the flavor profile akin to Indian and Moroccan cuisines. Therefore, they make a perfect vessel for dipping into hummus, (for non-Paleo participants, that is—beans are also not allowed). For traditional Paleoists, pair with guacamole, a swath of butter or sliced avocado, or enjoy nakedly on their own. If you like this recipe, you might want to take a look at our Grain-Free Crunchy Bagel-Style Almond Crackers, which tops the crackers with a slew of nuts and seeds for a slightly different take.

We included them on our charcuterie board, so people could match them with meat slices. You can also eat them with or in a salad, in lieu of croutons, they soak up the dressing nicely while keeping their crunch. Include some red pepper in the salad, the flavors really work especially well together. See my other paleo recipes, in the theme Purely Paleo

MAKES ROUGHLY 45 PIECES

PREHEAT OVEN 325ºF… PREPARE SEED MIX

1 1/2 TB sesame seeds
1 1/2 TB hemp seeds
1 TB chia seeds
1 TB golden flax seeds
1 TB cumin seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt

In a small bowl, mix thoroughly.

MAKE THE DOUGH

2 CUPS almond flour
seed mix

1 TB almond oil
1 egg, beaten

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients, then add the oil and egg. Knead well, and shape into a ball. Place onto a sheet of parchment paper that fits a baking pan. Transform dough ball into a rectangle echoing the shape of the parchment. Top with second piece of parchment and roll out dough to between 1/16- and 1/8-inch thickness. I like keeping the edges ragged so the tips will get more brown. You may need to fill in some holes as the dough escapes the parchment, so just break off those parts and fill in as necessary.

BAKE THE CRACKERS

Bake for roughly 27 min. The crackers should be browned on the edges. Move with parchment to a cooling rack and allow to cool about 10-15 min. Break apart by hand into irregular shapes. Store in an airtight container. Try not to eat them!

Summer Grilling Sensation: Lemony Oregano Fish Skewers

Posted on: July 17th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

One of the joys of the hot season is summer grilling. There’s nothing like being outside with a hot grill, a drink in your hand, and all your favorite friends gathered around. Once you have marinated and skewered the fish, you can just sit these on the grill for 2-3 minutes, and serve something healthy and sensational.

The yellowy-orange tomatoes and lemon wedges give skewers a uniform look. Tip: When developing this recipe, the first thought was to get swordfish for the dish, but it was not available, so I substituted paiche fillets, which had the same firm consistency, and took on the marinade flavors very well. See more recipes for Summer Entertaining.

MAKES ABOUT 39 PIECES OF FISH, 13 SKEWERS

Fish Kebabs

MAKE THE MARINADE

3/4 CUP olive oil
zest and juice from 1 lemon
2 TB mint, cut into ribbons
1 TB thyme, minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
2 tsp dried oregano
3 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed in a spice grinder
2 scallion tops, cut into thin rings
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne

Combine all ingredients in a bowl

MARINATE THE FISH

2 1/2 LB paiche fillet, 1-inch thick

Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Place fish and marinade in a zip lock bag. Let marinate for an hour in the refrigerator.

GRILL THE FISH

5 lemons, cut into 8 wedges
yellow cherry tomatoes

Onto wooden skewers thread a lemon wedge, 2 to 3 pieces of fish, and end with tomato. Grease and preheat grill. Cook fish for 2 –3 min on both sides.

Tequila Spiked Guacamole: Best of Both Worlds

Posted on: February 22nd, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Tequila spiked guacamole combines the best of two Mexican culinary masterpieces: the Margarita, and the homage to the avocado: guacamole. Lime enhances the flavors, and cream cheese makes it thick and rich. Make sure to use a better tequila, if you are looking for some better brands, see our other posts Exotic Tequila Tasting, and one brand created by a father and son team.

Be sure to serve with a side of better chips. Que Pasa organic and gluten-free tortilla chips are made with organic whole kernel corn, organic canola and sunflower oil, sea salt, and hydrated lime. They are available in various colors throughout the year (yellow, blue, red, and white) so you can create some pretty combinations, depending on the season.

See more booze-infused recipes in our party theme Alcohol Infusion, which includes a nut mix, baby back ribs, and filet mignon sliders.

MAKES ONE LARGE BOWL

MAKE THE GUACAMOLE

4 large avocados, mashed with a potato masher
1/4 CUP cilantro, chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded, diced
zest and juice of 1 lime
6 oz cream cheese, softened
big pinch of salt
3 TB tequila (blanco)

Maldon sea salt

In a large bowl, add the cilantro and jalapeños to the mashed avocados. Zest lime, then cut in half and squeeze all the juice into the bowl. Add cream cheese, salt, and mash thoroughly. Add tequila, mash some more.

Transfer to small serving bowl that you can fill to the very top. Using a spoon, even and flatten the top. Sprinkle sea salt all over.

Serve with tortilla or plantain chips. Replenish the guacamole bowl as the night goes on, sprinkling the salt on top each time. Keep the surplus covered in the fridge with avocado pit inside to keep it from turning brown.

Easy Bang Bang Chicken from Sasha Wilkins Author of Friends, Food, Family

Posted on: November 28th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

A cookbook that makes entertaining easy, fun, relaxed. See the recipe for Bang Bang Chicken, a buffet-style dinner that allows guests to fill their own rice pancakes as they please.

Fashion editor and founder of LibertyLondonGirl.com, Sasha Wilkins knows a thing or two about being a modern hostess. Wilkins has traveled the world, feeding friends and family everywhere she goes. To her, being a modern hostess means nixing the fuss without sacrificing style and quality. Her tips and recipes allow you to spend more time talking to your friends and family, and less time sweating over the stove. This is why we chose to include this cookbook as part of Hobnob’s plan for hosting weekend guests.

The ideas in FRIENDS FOOD FAMILY apply to all sorts of gatherings, from impromptu guests to perfect picnics and long weekend brunches. Including influences from her treks around the globe, Wilkins’s hope is help readers “rustle up a meal anywhere from a beach house in Cornwall to a youth hostel kitchen somewhere idyllic via the tiniest of Manhattan apartments, whether using food from the back of the fridge or from a fancy food market.”

hobnobmag Bang Bang Chicken

In thinking about your weekend guests, recipes like Bang Bang Chicken, a dish of DIY chicken wraps with tons of fresh vegetables and a spicy peanut sauce, or her puff pastry-topped Giant Chicken Pie will be sure crowd pleasers. Breakfast is a breeze with tips for poaching eggs for a crowd and no-brainer dishes like a granola parfait, a layering of fruit, yogurt, and granola, topped with eye- and mouth-popping pomegranate seeds in pretty water glasses. You can make them ahead of time and chill overnight. Wilkins also embraces the great outdoors with hot, comforting dishes you can make ahead and reheat, perfect for ravenous guests coming in from the ski slopes, or perfectly packaged sandwiches and salads-in-jars to take with you on hikes. Whether you’re feeding friends at an afternoon tea, a traditional Sunday lunch, or a warm weather picnic, Wilkins has your group covered.

recipe

BANG BANG CHICKEN

I don’t just love this dish because of its name (which is irresistibly good and comes from the noise made when cooks would tenderize the chicken by banging it with a mallet) but because it is as finger-lickin’ good as it is easy. It’s so simple that it would be a great recipe to make with children, although there is nothing childish about it. It originates from Sichuan, where the inclusion of Sichuan peppercorns makes it a much fierier dish than we eat in the West. (Feel free to add 1 or 2 tsp if you crave the burn.)

hobnobmag bang bang chicken

Bang bang chicken is usually served with its sauce over noodles—either rice or mung bean—but I like to serve mine as a DIY version with all the ingredients separated, so the eaters can choose their favorite combination to roll up in a pancake. I first made this for a Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) supper party, which I didn’t want to feel like a one-note meal, so I used a different kind of pancake for each course. The ones I use to wrap the chicken in are the thin, rice versions that you can find in any Asian supermarket, often in the freezer section. They are inexpensive and are packaged so that you can just remove what you need, and put the others back in the freezer. (I find them very useful for last-minute suppers.)

SERVES 6

FOR THE CHICKEN & NOODLES

6 chicken breasts (on the bone)
7 oz rice noodles
sesame oil

Rinse the chicken breasts under a running faucet. Put them in a saucepan, cover with cold water, and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and poach gently for 15 minutes. Check the inside of a breast, and if there is any hint of pinkness, simmer for another 5 minutes, or until cooked through.

When the chicken is cooked, remove from the water, take off the skin, and discard. Reserve the poaching liquid. Pull the meat from the bone and shred neatly—you can use a fork or your fingers.

Plunge the rice noodles into a pan of boiling water. They should cook almost immediately, but do check package instructions. Drain, then add a drop of sesame oil to stop them sticking together.

FOR THE SAUCE

8 TB peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
6 TB sweet chili sauce
2 tsp lime juice
2 TB soy sauce
2 TB rice vinegar
2 TB sesame oil

Dump the sauce ingredients in another pan with 1 cup of the reserved poaching liquid. Mix thoroughly and heat over gentle heat to warm through. (Do not to let it burn—burnt peanuts smell revolting.)

FOR THE TABLE

30 rice pancakes (4 per head, plus a few extra)
3 TB sesame seeds
2 cups bean sprouts
2 carrots (optional)
2 romaine lettuces
Bunch scallions
1 to 2 cucumbers
1/2 bunch cilantro

If you have a steamer, place it over a pan of simmering water, and add the pancakes to the basket to warm through. Otherwise, they can be wrapped in foil and warmed in the oven.

Heat a frying pan and pour in the sesame seeds to toast for 30 seconds. (This is optional, but they taste better toasted.)

For the table, rinse the bean sprouts, grate the carrots, if using, separate the lettuce leaves, shred the onions, and cut the cucumber into matchsticks.

TO SERVE

Arrange the chicken, noodles, pancakes, vegetables, and cilantro on a series of plates. Pour the sauce into 2 bowls. Put the sesame seeds in a little bowl. Let everyone assemble their own pancakes at the table. Don’t forget lots of napkins, as the sauce drips down chins and fingers.

(If you are making this on a hot summer day, don’t heat the sauce and allow the chicken and the noodles to cool to room temperature.)

Excerpted from Friends, Food, Family: Essential Recipes, Tips and Secrets for the Modern Hostess, from Liberty London Girl by Sasha Wilkins by arrangement with Quadrille Publishing, distributed by Chronicle Books, Copyright © 2015 by Sasha Wilkins.

Segedin Goulash Served Over Steamed Slovak Dumplings

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

The first time I tasted Segedin Goulash I fell in love with its unusual flavors and rich, creamy sauce. If you like pork, think about it served in a spiced paprika pool, and finished in butter and sour cream. It’s a rich dish, that will be especially appreciated in cold weather to warm the soul. Traditionally, the goulash is served over dumplings, or if you are not so inclined, boil some basmati rice to use as a base.

We created this recipe as part of a menu for hosting guests over the weekend. The plan is full of ideas for filling up guests, but not spending too much time in the kitchen. So, if you are following our plan for Hosting Weekend Guests, you will be making extra so it can be transformed into Mini Pot Pies the following day for lunch. This dish will last, and only gets better with after a day or two.

SERVES 4 WITH EXTRA FOR MINI POT PIES

PREPARE THE GOULASH

2 medium onions, chopped
4 TB butter

3 LB pork shoulder, cut into cubes
2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp caraway seeds

2 LB sauerkraut
water

2 TB butter
5 TB flour
2 CUP sour cream

In a large, deep saucepan, saute onions in butter, until they are a nice brown, about 5 min. Add cubed pork, along with spices. Saute about 15 min till pork is cooked through. Add sauerkraut, plus enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hr till thick and reduced.

In a separate pan, melt butter and add flour. Add this mix into the stew to thicken it. Stir in sour cream, and let cook gently for 2 min.

TO SERVE SEGEDIN GOULASH

Steamed Dumplings, recipe follows, sliced (or rice)

Put 2 or 3 dumplings onto a plate and pour the goulash over it.

SUNDAY LUNCH: MINI POT PIES

leftover goulash
puff pastry, thawed at room temp for 40 min

heirloom tomatoes, sliced
EV olive oil
salt

Fill ramekins just shy of the top with goulash. Cut pastry sheets to size of the ramekins, and fit around the top using your fingers to seal. Bake in preheated 400ºF oven for 20-25 min till puff pastry is cooked through and golden brown. Serve with sliced heirlooms on the side, drizzled with olive oil and salt.

recipe

STEAMED DUMPLINGS

Slovak-style dumplings are not your usual noodle-type fare. They are huge, sponge-y bread-sized morsels that do their job of soaking up the sauces and juices of many dishes. These go hand in hand with the Segedin Goulash, and make it that much better. Make these ahead if you don’t want to spend the time while guests are in attendance, or alternatively, involve guests in the prep if they love to cook.

MAKES 22 SLICES

PREPARE THE YEAST

1 CUP milk
1 teaspoon of sugar
packet of yeast

Heat milk in the microwave for about 45 seconds so it’s lukewarm. Then put 3 TB of the milk into a small bowl. Vigorously whisk in sugar and yeast and let sit for about 10 min, to allow the yeast to rise.

MAKE THE DOUGH

2 CUPS all-purpose flour
1 egg
salt
yeast mixture
remaining milk

slice of stale bread (optional), cubed

In a large bowl, combine ingredients well. Then knead for about 10 min with a mixer. Dough should be smooth and unsticky, add flour if necessary.

LET THE DOUGH RISE

Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit 2 hrs.

Dust a wooden cutting board with flour and divide the mixture into 2 parts. Dumplings will increase in size when you steam them, so start with a size that will accommodate the pot you have. Cover these with a towel, and let sit another 20 min.

MAKE THE DUMPLINGS

Set up a double boiler, and get water to boil. Place dough inside pot and cover. Steam for 20 min without opening the lid. Remove from pot, and poke the dumplings to let any steam out.

Allow to cool slightly. Slice into dumplings about a half-inch thick. Set 2 on a plate and cover with goulash to serve.

Butternut Squash Soup with Red Curry Coconut Milk

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

This soup can be made very quickly, once you have an already roasted squash. We upped the ante on this butternut squash soup with the addition of curry paste and coconut milk—the Indian and Thai spices make it rich, and the coconut milk gives it an appealing creaminess.

We created this dish as part of a plan for hosting weekend guests. If you are following the weekend guest plan, then you would have the roasted butternut squash you made the night before.  Make this soup while creating the Veggie Crepes, and serve together.

MAKES 12 SMALL MUG SERVINGS OR 4 LARGE BOWLS

START THE SOUP

2 TB olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander

20 oz vegetable stock

Heat oil. Saute onion and spices 5 min. Add broth and cook for 10 min.

INCORPORATE THE ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

1 butternut squash, roasted

10 oz unsweetened coconut milk
3 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp salt

squeeze of lime for garnish (optional)

Cut squashes in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and skin, then cut into cubes. Spoon out the flesh and add to the pot, stir to incorporate. Add coconut milk, curry paste, and cook for 10 min.

Process in blender or food processor in batches (or use an immersion blender). Season with salt.

Offer the lime at the table for those who would like to add a squeeze to their soup.

Creative Crepes for Breakfast & Lunch: Palacinky (Slovak Crepes)

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

I have such fond memories of eating these for breakfast hot off the pan with strawberry preserves and a light sprinkling of salt on the top. But you can put most anything into these crepes. To make creative crepes: add vegetables, creamy sauces, or even ground meat. They are a great leftover reviver!

If you are following our weekend guest hosting plan, make a large batch for breakfast, then parlay the surplus batter into the Veggie Crepes for lunch. The batter gets better with time. For the lunch filling, use the vegetables you roasted the night before, along with a choice of sauces: the Lemon Beurre Blanc from the cod recipe and Black Truffle Dip from the brussels sprouts recipe .

MAKES 9 NINE-INCH CREPES

MAKE THE BATTER

2 CUPS flour, sifted
1/2 tsp salt

4 eggs
2 CUPS milk

Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk together, then add to flour mix. Beat until smooth. The batter should be thick enough to hold together, yet be able to spread out on the heated skillet quickly, to create thin crepes. Use the first crepe as a test—if it comes out too thick, stir in a little milk to the batter to thin it out.

COOK THE SLOVAK CREPES

1 tsp butter for each crepe
1 tsp strawberry preserves (or your favorite flavor) for each crepe

Heat skillet over medium heat, enough to melt the butter quickly, but not brown it. Melt butter and pour one ladel-full of batter and immediately tilt the skillet to cover the entire bottom of pan.

When crepe is brown on one side, flip with spatula. Move to a plate, and with a spoon spread preserves thinly all over one side. Roll, and serve immediately to each guest.

SATURDAY LUNCH: VEGGIE CREPES

grilled vegetables
Lemon Beurre Blanc sauce
Black Truffle Dip

Reheat the grilled vegetables from dinner the night before in the oven or in a skillet. Let guests choose which sauce they prefer to spread over the crepes before adding the veggies, and rolling. Serve with Red Curry Coconut Butternut Squash Soup (see recipe).

Healthy Party Snack: Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Black Truffle Dip

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

When entertaining, you never want your guests to be without food or drink! That’s why it’s important to plan to have some nibbles around while you are preparing dinner and starting to imbibe. I came up with this healthy party snack to take advantage of the fall harvest, when Brussels sprouts are at their peak of sweetness and are abundant everywhere. I paired it with a dip made of  black truffle pâté mixed with sour cream, to give it even more dimension. Tip: Make sure to really caramelize the Brussels sprouts in the pan for full flavor effect. You can have this dish served in 15 minutes, to great applause.

I developed this recipe as part of a plan for hosting weekend guests. The plan gives you ideas for serving from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. This is the welcome snack, the one to serve before dinner on Friday night. See the whole plan at this link.

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

MAKE THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1 TB olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped

1 TB olive oil
4 CUPS Brussels sprouts, cut in half (14 oz)
1/2 tsp sea salt

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Heat olive oil and add onions. Saute until caramelized, about 7 min. Add in garlic about 6 min, and saute with onions for one minute. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add olive oil to the pan with Brussels sprouts. Let sit for 5-7 min to caramelize and blacken, then stir and let cook for an another 5-7 min. (Add oil to the pan if it starts to dry out.) Stir onions/garlic back in. Season with flaky sea salt.

MAKE THE BLACK TRUFFLE DIP

1 CUP sour cream
2 TB La Rusichetta Black Truffle Pâté
pinch salt

Mix together in a small bowl.

Roasted Carrots with Creamy Kale Dip: A Tricolor Harvest Splendor

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

When coming up with recipes for entertaining, I always like to include the idea of healthy ingredients. So, during the fall, when carrots are at their peak, a tricolor of roasted carrots could be the sweetest dish on the table. They make a nice match to the Creamy Kale dip, whose base is ricotta and yogurt, with added blend of spices in the mix.

The deep purple and orange tones of the carrots mimic an orange and black color duo, perfect for Halloween or Day of the Dead parties. Check the link to see the whole menu, which celebrates the harvest in a party-friendly way.

MAKES ABOUT 60 CARROT STICKS AND ABOUT 2 CUPS OF CREAMY KALE DIP

ROAST THE CARROTS…PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF

1 LB tricolor carrots, with green tops
2 TB EV olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 TB thyme, minced

Place carrots in a row on a baking sheet lined with parchment, drizzle with olive oil and honey, then sprinkle with thyme. Roast for 1 hour.

MAKE THE CREAMY KALE DIP

2 TB EV olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch curly kale, sliced into thin ribbons (about 6 cups)
1/2 tsp salt

1 CUP fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 CUP Greek yogurt
1 TB thyme, chopped
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper

In large pan, heat olive oil. Add red pepper flakes, garlic, saute 30 sec. Add kale, salt, and cook covered, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 min till cooked through. Allow to cool.
Transfer to food processor. Add rest of the ingredients and pulse until smooth.

TO SERVE

thyme, minced, for garnish (optional)

Present carrots on a serving platter with a bowl of the creamy kale dip, sprinkle with more thyme.

Stuffed Apricots with Pistachios and Cream: A Slippery, Creamy Dessert

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

When looking for a fruity dessert, that’s not too filling, apricots can fit the bill. To make these stuffed apricots with pistachios we started out with dried apricots, so this is something you can make even when apricots are not in season. Amazingly, they come back to life, and make the most amazing syrup. You can eat then with just the syrup, if you like, but adding the marscapone gives it a little richness, and the nuts add a little crunch and complement the fruit nicely.

This recipe creates an oozy, sweet light dessert, nice to include on your Halloween party menu featuring a graphic orange and black combination of things.

MAKES 20 BITES

SOAK THE APRICOTS

20 dried apricots
2 cups water

Soak the apricots in cold water overnight.

COOK THE APRICOTS… MAKE THE SYRUP

1/2 CUP turbinado sugar
squeeze of lemon juice

Remove apricots from liquid. Add the liquid to a pan with sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 5 min. Add apricots and simmer for 20 min till apricots are tender. Remove apricots, continue simmering liquid another 20 min till the liquid thickens to a syrup. Remove from heat, squeeze in lemon juice. Allow to cool. Transfer to a squeeze bottle and refrigerate.

MAKE THE CREAM FILLING

1/2 CUP mascarpone cheese
1/4 CUP pistachio nuts, chopped finely
1/2 TB lemon thyme, minced

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.

CREATE THE BITES

cooked apricots
cream filling
1/8 CUP pistachio nuts, chopped
syrup
powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)

Cut apricots in half leaving one side attached. Spoon in cream filling, and close. Roll edge in pistachios. Drizzle syrup on top. Spear with small fork. Dust with powdered sugar.

Chipotle Salsa with Brown Tomatoes: A Deeper Tone

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

When you see brown tomatoes in your supermarket, give them a shot. They are mild and juicy and work wonderfully in a salsa. Tip: Removing the seeds from the tomatoes makes for a chunkier, and less wet salsa, and much nicer to eat.

We chose to plate the chipotle salsa with blue corn tortilla chips to continue the serious deep mood. This will make a statement on your party buffet for sure. This recipe is part of our Halloween menu, which conforms to an orange and black color theme to give your buffet a holiday feel.

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

GRAB A NICE SHARP KNIFE…

5 brown tomatoes
1 can of chipotle peppers, chopped, adobo sauce reserved
juice of half lime
2 TB cilantro, chopped finely

To create nice little tomato chunks, cut a slice off the top, then cut in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and flatten. In a bowl, mix in chipotles, lime juice, and cilantro. Depending on how spicy you want it, add adobo sauce incrementally.