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Posts Tagged ‘family’

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.

Celebrate Spring: Chantarelle and Foraged Fiddlehead Pizza

Posted on: March 19th, 2020 by Ellen Swandiak

At this month’s party, foraged ingredients make an artistic statement on fiddlehead pizza. Take advantage of the season—and the subtle taste of fiddleheads (which are immature ferns) and have a light asparagus taste—and match them with bright orange chanterelle mushrooms.

For the base, some puff pastry and a combination of ricotta and scharfe maxx cheeses creates a luxe pairing, plus a creamy bed for these earthy ingredients. This pizza will surely make a statement at your gathering, and celebrate Spring’s wild bounty.

MAKES 12 MINI PIZZAS

MAKE THE BASE… THAW PASTRY 40 MIN

1/2 box Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry (makes 3 long pieces)

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Unfold thawed pastry and cut into thirds to achieve long sections. Bake for 15 min. While still hot, push gently down on the tops of the puff with a spatula to create the valleys for toppings.

PREPARE FIDDLEHEADS & CHANTERELLES

1/4 LB fiddleheads
1/4 LB chanterelles

3 TB EV olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
sprinkle of red pepper flakes

Triple-wash fiddleheads thoroughly. Trim brown parts. Blanche for four min and move to an ice bath. Drain and set aside. Clean mushrooms with a soft brush to remove all dirt. Cut mushrooms decoratively, keeping in mind how you they will look on the pizza.

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to the fiddleheads and chantarelles, saute for 3 min.

PREPARE THE CHEESE

1/2 LB fresh ricotta cheese
s + p
1/4 LB scharfe maxx cheese

In a bowl, season ricotta with s + p to taste. Shred the scharfe maxx cheese and place in a separate bowl.

PREHEAT OVEN 400º… CREATE THE FIDDLEHEAD PIZZAS

puff pastry
ricotta cheese
scharfe maxx cheese
ramps, cut in half vertically (optional)
dandelion leaves, cut into small bits, for garnish

When puff pastry has slightly cooled, add 3 dollops of the ricotta, spread evenly over the entire surface of each pastry, then sprinkle the scharfe maxx. If using, place 1-2 ramps lengthwise on the cheese, then spot the fiddleheads and chantarelles around the entire surface. Bake for 5 min on the oven’s top shelf. Remove from oven and toss on the dandelion leaves. Cut each long piece into 4 minis.

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.

Spinach Crepes with Two Savory Fillings

Posted on: January 28th, 2020 by Ellen Swandiak

Crepes are one of the first things I learned to cook as a child because I loved them so much. These have the addition of spinach, giving them a lively green color and a slightly more earthy taste. Using spelt flour and oat milk also makes them more up-to-date than your typical white-flour-milk variety. Make sure to let the batter rest before cooking, otherwise they will tear when rolling. You can even make the batter the night before for fantastic results.

When cooking the crepes, the first one in the pan is the test. With this result, you can determine if you need to thin out or thicken the batter, and if you need to adjust the flame up or down.

Using fresh spinach gives the crepes a brighter green color, but you can also use defrosted frozen spinach in a pinch. The two fillings: Salmon and Arugula in Lemon-Dill Cream Sauce and Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, and Yellow Squash in Tahini Garlic Sauce add to the decadence of the crepes.

MAKES 10 CREPES (CUT THEM IN HALF OR THIRDS TO SERVE)

MAKE THE BATTER

6 eggs
2 CUPS spelt flour
2.25 CUPS oat milk
1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt

Split the ingredients in half, and make the batter in two batches in a food processor. Blend on high speed until smooth. Move to a large bowl, combine both batches. Let rest at least 20 min to allow the mix to fully combine. 

COOK THE CREPES

butter
batter

In 9-inch non-stick skillet, add about a tsp of butter to the pan, and melt. Pour a ladle’s worth of batter into the pan, then add about another half, so when you twirl the pan around the batter goes all the way to the edge.

Fry for about 2 min, until bottom has golden touches. Run a spatula around the edges and carefully flip over. Fry for one more min or so. (Once you make the first crepe, and the pan is nice and hot, the rest should not stick.) Transfer to a plate and repeat with the rest of the batter.

FILL THE CREPES

cooked crepe
filling (recipes follow)

Fill the crepes as they come off the pan, allowing a minute or so for them to cool a bit. Spread 3 TB of desired filling, leaving the bottom inch clear, and top 1.5 inches clear (as seen in the photo below). Roll tightly, pushing down so there is no air. Place on serving plate with open end underneath. Crepes are good at room temperature, or even cold, so great for a buffet situation.

hobnobmag Recipe Spinach Crepes

Filling: Salmon and Arugula in Lemon-Dill Cream Sauce

A rich salmon and cream gets a kick of arugula, to add some bite. Cooking the salmon in the microwave speeds things along.

ENOUGH FILLING FOR 5 CREPES

Lemon-Dill Cream Sauce

START THE SAUCE

3 TB butter, cut into chunks
4 oz cream cheese, cut into chunks
1/4 CUP vegetable stock
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper

Cook gently over very low flame while whisking, about 3 min. Allow to cool.

FINISH THE SAUCE

lemon cream mixture
3/4 CUP sour cream
white part of 3 scallions, cut into thin rings
1 TB dill

In a small bowl mix all ingredients well.

COOK THE SALMON

1 1/4 LB salmon fillet
s + p

Cook salmon in microwave: Place on a microwave safe dish, cook on hight for 1 min. Check to see if cooked through, add time in 30 sec increments till fully cooked. Allow to cool. Shred with a fork. Move to large bowl.

FINISH THE FILLING

salmon
4 CUPS arugula, chopped finely
1/4 CUP pumpkin seeds, chopped finely
Lemon-Dill Cream Sauce

Toss all ingredients together, adding the sauce a little at a time. Don’t oversauce the mix or it will ooze out of the crepes.

hobnobmag Recipe Spinach Crepes

Filling: Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, and Yellow Squash in Tahini Garlic Sauce

This vegetable medley adds a striking vegetarian addition to the spinach crepes. The tahini really adds a special flavor and richness.

ENOUGH FILLING FOR 5 CREPES

Tahini Garlic Sauce

MAKE THE SAUCE

1/4 cup tahini
juice of 2 lemons
2 TB olive oil
2 cloves garlic, squeezed in a garlic press
1/4 tsp agave
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

water

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl. If too thick, add about a tsp of water to thin it out.

Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Yellow Squash Medley

SAUTE THE VEGGIES

10-15  brussels sprouts, cut into thin strips (or processed in food processor)
1 head cauliflower, riced in food processor
2 yellow squash, shredded
6 TB butter

Saute each ingredient separately in a large pan with 2 TB butter. Allow to sit on the pan about 3 min, so the edges get nice and brown, stir, total cook time 5-6 min each batch. (Don’t crowd the pan, you may have to do each ingredient in two batches.) Toss together in a large bowl.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

Tahini Garlic Sauce
cooked veggies

Add sauce to the veggie medley, and mix well. Do not overdress.

hobnobmag Recipe Spinach Crepes

First Blush: Celebrating Rosé in a Summer Cocktail

Posted on: June 16th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

This summer cocktail features an unusual mix of sweet, bitter, and fruity flavors that play with bouncing blueberries. See the cocktail recipe and the exceptional ingredients used in the mix.

A light sipper accompanies red and white bites on the buffet. Garnish with blue or white straws if you have them.

DETAILS ON THE INGREDIENTS:

[1] Hangar One Handcrafted Vodka

Since launching in an airplane hangar in 2002, HANGAR ONE’s handcrafted vodkas have won fans around the world, so rest assured you will be tasting an exemplary spirit here. The creators were not happy with the “straight” vodkas that were in the market, so they decided to take matters into their own hands and create something new. Known for distilling brandies, Ansley Coale and Jorg Rupf started with wheat from the midwest, then combined that with a California Viognier grape eau de vie. The Viognier grapes are distilled using the whole fruit—including the stem, leaves, skin and blossoms, thus capturing its full flavor profile. Then, by distilling the same day it’s picked, flavor is captured at its peak. The vodka is known for its smoothness. Besides “straight” there are three infusions to choose from: Mandarin, Citron, and Kaffir Lime, all lovingly created. Available online at reservebar.com (check your state’s shipping details). About $35. hangarone.com

hobobmag summer cocktail

[2] Lillet’s Rosé Wine

Can you think of anything more suitable for a hot summer night than a nice glass of rosé? The debut of Lillet’s Rosé wine is the first time in over 50 years that the renowned French company has launched a new product, and it was well worth the wait. Consisting of a blend Grand Cru Bordeaux used in Lillet’s Rouge and Blanc, plus light aromas of berries, orange blossom and grapefruit, its flavor is a delight. Lillet Rosé is best served chilled. About $18. lillet.com

[3] Mathilde Framboise Liqueur

This formula comes from an old French family recipe. Only the best raspberries are hand picked from various parts of Scotland and the Hautes Côtes de Bourgogne, to give the liqueur it’s delicacy and sweetness. Just a spoonful is all you need. Berry nice. About $14. liqueurmathilde.com

[4] DRY Rhubarb Soda

Forget about traditional tonic, or generic soda—instead, add sophisticated flavor with this soda. The tartness of rhubarb in a refreshing bubbly drink, what’s not to love? And at only 60 calories, it is a perfectly guilt free option. Great to offer those not consuming alcohol as a elegant sip. Try all their amazing flavors like blood orange, vanilla bean, apple, cherry, lavender, juniper berry, wild lime, pear and cucumber. Available online at store.drysoda.com. $32 for a 24-pack of 12 oz bottles.

[5] Blueberries for garnish

Line the bar with blueberries in white bowls so guests can nibble and play with them in their cocktails.

Chicken Tacos with Green Harissa

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Go green! These chicken tacos are a welcome party mini-bite with personality. I developed this recipe to add to a buffet made up of the colors of the rainbow. Upon discovery of these adorable, green mini taco shells, I knew this had to be the dish that took the GREEN spot on the rainbow buffet. To add to the green effect, I mixed up a green harissa—parsley, cilantro, mint, and spices— to “dye” the shredded chicken. To complete the taco, I topped with slices of of avocado, sprigs of cilantro, and skinny jalapeño ribbons.

Shortcut: instead of cooking the chicken, purchase a rotisserie chicken from your local market and shred, then you just have to make the harissa.

Other green foods to consider: spinach wraps, pesto, avocado, pea and mint soup, green salad served in cups. See our picks on PINTEREST for more fantastic rainbow party ideas and recipes.

MAKES 28 TACOS

MAKE THE CHICKEN

1 1/4 LB chicken breasts
1 bay leaf
1 tsp pink peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt

In a large saucepan, place chicken breasts and cover with water. Add herbs and spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer 10 – 12 min. Remove breasts to a bowl. When cool, shred completely.

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR… MAKE THE GREEN HARISSA

1/2 CUP parsley
1/2 CUP cilantro (save some for garnish)
1/2 CUP mint
1/4 CUP lemon juice
3 jalapeños, seeded, sliced
1 TB ground cumin
1 TB ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1/2 CUP EV olive oil
1 clove garlic

Process all ingredients till fully combined, but with some texture, about 1 min. Combine the shredded chicken with the green harissa.

ASSEMBLE THE CHICKEN TACOS

spinach mini taco shells
chicken mixture
avocado, cut into thin slices
2 jalapeños, cut into thin ribbons
cilantro, for garnish

Fills shells about halfway with chicken. Top with avocado slice, then garnish with jalapeños strips and cilantro.

A Romantic Look at Outdoor Cooking—the Australian Way—in Wild: Adventure Cooking

Posted on: October 1st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

The gorgeous photos in this book absoutely take you away—to isolated beaches and rugged camping spots all over Australia. Author Sarah Glover, who grew up eating in the great outdoors,  shows you how to cook gourmet meals over a bonfire. How cool is that? She makes everything from pizza to pancakes to full dinners featuring fresh-caught fish, whole chickens suspended over an open fire, or sausages intertwined with branches of an apple tree laded with fruit. It’s a totally romantic look at experiencing the outdoors while maintaining gourmet standards.

Recommended equipment ranges from area-sourced logs and branches with accompanying camping grills, large pots, and frying pans that can take the heat. Imagine being beachside with a roaring bonfire while you scour the area for driftwood and the perfect branch for tying the fish you just caught, wrapped with spring onions and kaffir leaves. It’s a style of glamping that respects nature in all its glory. Glover explains how to determine the temperature of the fire, and how long cooking will take. This is the epitome of slow cooking, and using what’s available to gourmet heights. Local ingredients like pine needles, saltwater and hay factor into some of the recipes, which are truly unique in their approach.

HOBNOBMAG outdoor cooking

Here are some of the recipes that caught my eye:

—Hung Snags and Apple which takes lengths of attached sausages and pairs them with branches of apples, just picked off a tree. The recommended sides are a Burnt Tomato Relish and Walnut Cabbage.

—Hot Chicks are chicken wings coated in polenta, grilled, then tossed in crumbled feta and cilantro.

—Fish on Log calls for hammer and nails, thus attaching it securely to a log stripped of its bark, and set aside raging coals to cook.

—I think this might be my favorite recipes, Mustard Beef with ‘Shrooms & Black Lettuce. The mushrooms sound absolutely heavenly cooked in butter, garlic, and heavy cream, while the beef tenderloin gets coated in peppercorn and mustard seeds. Grilled lettuces complete the meal perfectly.

—Smashing Pumpkin takes pumpkin eating to a work of art—after a few hours in the coals, the pumpkin is ready to be smashed and dressed in tahini and chopped pecans.

HOBNOBMAG outdoor cooking

Of course, many of these recipes can be made on an ordinary barbecue on your deck, which is a bit more tame, but delicious nonetheless. Or, if you have some space for a bonfire at your weekend house, I encourage reading this book for inspirational dinners that will remain unforgettable in your guests’ minds.

Enjoy this recipe from the book, which douses a crustacean in two lively sauces: one with sesame seeds, the other with lemon verbena, one of my favorite herbs.

recipe

THAT BE CRAY CRAY

Feeds 2

EQUIPMENT: Camping grill

SESAME SEED DRESSING

MAKES ABOUT 1 1/2 CUPS

1 cup (150 g) sesame seeds

1∕3 cup (80 ml) rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 cup (240 ml) grapeseed oil

Heat the sesame seeds in a frying pan until they become golden brown. Pour the seeds into a mortar and pound with a pestle until the seeds start to release their oils.

Add the rice wine vinegar and soy sauce and continue to pound. Slowly add the grapeseed oil – it will slightly emulsify. Store in a glass jar with an airtight lid until it is ready to be used. It will keep for a month.

LEMON VERBENA OIL

MAKES 1 CUP

Bunch of lemon verbena
1 bush lemon or regular lemon

1 cup (240 ml) good-quality olive oil

Pick the lemon verbena leaves from the stalks and slice them very thinly with a sharp knife (if it’s not good and sharp you will bruise the leaves). Remove the rind from the lemon and slice it as thinly as you can.

Put the lemon verbena leaves and lemon rind in a small jar, pour the olive oil over and allow to infuse for at least 2 hours. Eat within 48 hours.

THAT BE CRAY CRAY

1 live Australian crayfish (or small lobster or langoustine)
3 tablespoons lemon verbena oil (see below)
dollop of anchovy aioli (see below)
1 teaspoon crushed dried wakame seaweed

Light your fire and let it burn down until you obtain a medium heat. Put the camping grill about 8 inches (20 cm) over the coals. Just before you are ready to cook, use a sharp knife to cut through the middle of the crayfish head between the eyes, then cut down towards the face. Halve the cray from nose to tail, and remove the digestive tract and clean the guts out. Rinse in saltwater.

Place the clean crayfish on the wire part of the camping grill, flesh-side down, and cook for about 4 minutes. It will char a little, which is a good thing as this will help the flesh come away from the wire grill easily. Flip the crayfish over so it’s shell-side down and drizzle the lemon oil over the flesh.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until the flesh goes white and the shell turns bright red-orange. I like to add a little aioli to the flesh while it is still on the grill so that it gets a nice smoky flavor, too. Garnish with wakame and eat immediately, straight out of the shell.

Reprinted with permission from Prestel Publishing.

Wild: Adventure Cooking by Sarah Glover

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

Zucchini Falafel Balls with Yellow Tomato Dipping Sauce

Posted on: November 29th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Zucchini falafel balls are a little lighter than what you might expect in a falafel. These mini bites are baked, and look great in tones of yellow, especially with the yellow cherry tomato dipping sauce which adds its fresh twist.

Making these from fresh chickpeas takes a little extra time, but the end result is worth it. I suggest starting the chickpeas the night before. Then the next steps are pretty straightforward. If you want to used canned chickpeas, you will need 4 cups. Note: if you freeze the balls, they will fall apart, so these are best cooked the day of the party. See more “ball” recipes in our party menu, Have a Ball, made with meat, fish, and more.

MAKES 62 BALLS (ABOUT 1 INCH)

DO AHEAD: SOAK THE CHICKPEAS

2 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, turn off the heat, add salt, and allow them to sit in the water and cool, and soak up the salt. Drain, and mash with a potato masher or pulse in a food processor.

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…GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR… MAKE THE zucchini falafel BALLS

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

In batches, pulse chickpeas, zucchini, garlic, parsley. Transfer to a large bowl, add the spices and mix well. Roll into 1-inch balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 45 min.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Zucchini Falafel Balls

MAKE THE DIPPING SAUCE

10.5 oz container yellow cherry tomatoes
1/4 CUP EV olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp sriracha sauce
s + p

Place all ingredients in a Blendtec blender, on soup mode, which heats and spins ingredients together. OR, place in a normal blender, then move to a small pot and heat gently for 5 min.

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.

Taco Bar: Grilled Mole-Marinated Pork with Salsa and Pickled Jalapeño

Posted on: June 10th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

When you are cooking for a crowd, shortcuts are very welcome. That’s why we always have an eye peeled for helpers that are chemical-free, and are made with love. The magic behind the pork lies in the marinade. Hernán Mole Poblano paste comes in a concentrated form which can be used to create a rich, authentic mole sauce, or be used as a marinade. And if you’ve ever tried making mole, you know that it is a labor of love that takes several days to accomplish. So, having pre-made mole flavors is a fantastic time-saver. This jar can offer up those intense flavors because they put the time into it.

The joy of the make-your-own-taco buffet are the toppings. Suggested taco bar pairing: Grilled Mole-Marinated Pork with White Peach Salsa, pickled jalapeño, cilantro, and dijon mayo. Find more recipes for the Taco Bar here  that cover all culinary leanings: beef, fish, and vegetarian recipes included.

MAKES ENOUGH FOR 8 TACOS

MARINATE THE PORK

4 TB Hernan Mole Poblano paste
2 LB pork loin, cut into 1-inch chops
1 tsp salt

Scoop paste and spread evenly over the pork with your hands, or a spoon. Marinate covered or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

GRILL THE PORK

On a heated bbq or grill pan, cook the pork about 5 min on each side.

You can cook this ahead of time and keep the chops intact. If you do, when you are ready to serve the tacos reheat the pork on the top shelf of your bbq or in a microwave. Cut into thin slices and place in a serving bowl on your taco buffet. Suggested taco bar pairing: Grilled Mole-Marinated Pork with White Peach Salsa, pickled jalapeño, dijon mayo, cilantro.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Taco Bar Grilled Pork

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.

Instant Success: Dinner Party Shortcuts

Posted on: December 21st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

With weekend guests, you need to have stuff on hand. HOBNOB suggests stocking your pantry and freezer with these sophisticated flavors and dinner party shortcuts—so you come off as a hosting pro.

As part of the plan for hosting weekend guests, we found some fab ingredient to have on hand: a sensational American caviar in two price ranges, a collection of intense sophisticated sauces to accent your cooking, a line of instant cheesecakes and for the purists, the taste of just picked herbs from the freezer.

[1] Kelley’s Katch Kaviar This company produces caviar that rivals its Russian counterparts. Kelley’s Katch, a small producer based out of Savannah, Tennessee, harvests roe from wild fish from throughout the American South. The Kelleys, a husband and wife team, have been in the caviar business for over twenty years, and they own their own boats and processing and packing facilities, cutting out the middleman and passing savings along to their customers. Choose from their most popular paddlefish roe ($30 for 2 oz tin) or an even more luxurious option, American sturgeon ($99 for 2 oz tin) , seen in the photo. kelleyskatch.com

[2] La Maison Signature Sauces Whipping up dinner for weekend guests without sacrificing flavor and quality is easy with these sauces. La Maison’s line is made with fresh, flavorful ingredients, that can be used as a sauce on pan-seared steaks and chops; a glaze for roasts or vegetables; or as a creamy base for casseroles and pastas. Choose from a range of flavors, including red-wine based Burgundy Peppercorn, smoky Chipotle cream, spicy Thai Coconut Curry, herbaceous Pesto Cream, and rich Sherried Mushroom. $8 for 9 oz jars. vermontsigsauces.appspot.com

HOBNOBMAG Dinner Party Shortcuts

[3] Just in Time Gourmet: Key Lime Cheesecake Just in Time Gourmet’s dessert mixes are perfect for busy weekenders with a sweet tooth. So easy to put together that guests can get in on the cooking action too, their mixes only require a few additional ingredients like cream cheese and a graham cracker crust. Luscious and not too sweet, their cheesecake line, which includes Lemonade, Key Lime Cheesecake, Pumpkin Pie, and Caramel Apple flavors, is our favorite for family gatherings. About $9. phoenixfoodco.com Get it online at amazon.com

[4] Daregal Frozen Fresh Herbs Daregal’s frozen fresh herbs are the next best thing to picking herbs straight from your garden. Their herbs are harvested, washed, chopped (only the tender leaves are used), and frozen within three hours, maximizing freshness and flavor. Stored conveniently in your freezer for use all year, they can be used straight from the container, no thawing necessary. With more flavor than dried herbs, and more convenience than fresh herbs (no spoilage, no prep), stock your kitchen with chopped basil, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, chives, and more (organic varieties also available). About $3. Darengal

Massimiliano Eandi of Mulino a Vino’s Pasta Stuffed Tomato

Posted on: November 29th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

A most unusual and special stuffed tomato recipe comes from a up-and-coming Italian chef. His choice of stuffing: spaghetti.

Chef Eandi brings his Michelin-trained talent to this sweet, cozy Italian hideaway near Meatpacking in NYC (SORRY, THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED, BUT YOU CAN ENJOY CHEF EANDI’S FANTASTIC RECIPE BELOW). The menu at this place is so wine-driven that guests are first asked to choose from the 100-bottle wine list before selecting their food, so that a perfect match can be made. For our holiday issue, Eandi shares a recipe for a traditional pasta served in an untraditional way. He confits a tomato, then stuffs it with spaghetti, and sets it atop a parmesan crisp. HOBNOB suggests this recipe would make a wonderful first course for a glamorous sit-down dinner. (see our plan for hosting weekend guests for the holidays here)

HOBNOBMAG Stuffed Tomato

Chef Eandi’s enthusiasm for cooking pushed him to start his career early, at the age of 14, and by the age of 16 was already working at a Michelin-status kitchen in Combal.Zero, in Rivoli, Italy, under the tutelage of Davide Scabin. He then went on to London to work at ARBUTUS, before joining 3-Michelin-starred Gordon Ramsey. Just before his move to the New York, he returned to Combal.Zero as Chef de Partie when it was awarded 28th place out of the top 50 restaurants in the world. “…my mind was opened to new ways of seeing food through constant experimentation…and really grasped what rules needed to be respected and where freedom could come into play.”

HOBNOBMAG Stuffed Tomato

The wine list has been carefully curated by wine aficionado and owner Paolo Meregalli, who has assembled selections of both esoteric and more-known Italian wines. All wines are available by the glass, thanks to the Coravin system, and are poured at the table. Offerings range from $13 up to $500, for some very hard to come by vintages from their special collection. Meregalli has traveled extensively—London, Paris, Bejing, Geneva, Dubai, and chose NYC as the spot to open this intimate venue. “It was my move to the States that truly invigorated me… I found the energy, open-mindedness and diversity amongst the people living here inspiring.” Wines are categorized by their flavor profiles ‘Bright & Lively’ or ‘Clean & Earthy’ to help with the decision making, and dishes can be ordered in small, medium, and large portions to match appetites.

HOBNOBMAG Stuffed Tomato

The cozy space, is designed by SGS Architetti Associati, and lends an industrial feel with soft lighting throughout. There is a private dining room in the back which houses a wine cellar, plus an adjacent lounge outfitted with comfortable leather chairs, for those interested in having events. mulinoavino.com

recipe

PASTA+POMODORO 2

Here’s how you can make Mulino a Vino’s PASTA+POMODORO 2 at home.

hobnobmag pasta stuffed tomato

SERVES 4

FOR THE TOMATO CONFIT

4 nice heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup EV olive oil
1 oz granulated salt
1 oz granulated sugar
1 sprig rosemary
1 clove garlic

Preheat oven to 280ºF. Cut off the top of the tomato, and scoop out the pulp with a spoon, taking care not to break the skin of tomato. Set the pulp aside for the sauce.

Season tomato shells and tops with oil, salt, and sugar. Break up the rosemary sprig and clove and sprinkle across a baking sheet. Place tomato shell and tops on the baking tray, leaving about 2-3 inches between each tomato. Place in the oven and bake for 20 min.

FOR THE SAUCE

pulp of 4 tomatoes (from above), blended
1 oz soy sauce
2 oz concentrated tomato paste
1/2 cup EV olive oil
1 pinch sugar
20 basil leaves
4 oz tomato puree (canned or fresh)

Blend all ingredients together in a blender, and then pour sauce into a big pot. Cook for 20 minutes on medium fire.

FOR THE PASTA

7 oz spaghetti
3 oz parmesan, grated
1 oz butter
salt, to preference

Bring an abundant amount of salt water to a boil. (I recommend about 2 teaspoons of salt for every quart of water.) Cook spaghetti for 8-10 min until it is al dente. When the pasta is done, remove from water with tongs, put in the pot with tomato sauce and stir.

Continue to cook tomato sauce and pasta on medium heat for two min. After 2 min, add parmesan cheese and butter. Stir for 1 min. With tongs, place the pasta and sauce inside the confit tomato and close with the tomato top.

FOR THE PARMESAN CHIP

To make parmesan chips: grate parmesan cheese on a sheet of baking paper the size of plate. Microwave on high for about two min. Place tomato on top.

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.