friends - HOBNOB Magazine

Posts Tagged ‘friends’

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

Sirloin Steak Toasts with Zesty Crumbs

Posted on: February 4th, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

Generally speaking, men love sports just as much as they love steak, which is why these sirloin steak toasts had to be incorporated into this party theme of recipes to watch the game with (see more recipes here). This recipe provides a simple way to get steak into your guest’s hands, sans utensils. Just broil or grill the steak, set out on sliced bread and sprinkle the lemon and parsley crumb mixture, which gives the dish a dotted effect and an extra zip of flavor. (See this recipe made with sardines, to offer along with the steak for fish lovers, A Canape with Pizazz.)

MAKES 14 TOASTS

MAKE THE ZESTY CRUMBS

zest and juice 1 lemon
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 CUP breadcrumbs
3 TB olive oil

Mix together in a bowl. Crumbs should be kind of sticky.

SEAR THE STEAK

1 LB sirloin steak
s + p

Right before cooking, season steak with s + p. Grill the steak or broil in the oven. Let rest. Slice thinly.

MAKE THE SIRLOIN STEAK TOASTS

semolina bread, cut loaf into 1/2-inch rounds
olive oil
orange or cherry tomatoes, sliced thinly (horizontal slices)
seared steak
zesty crumbs
2 TB capers
1 small onion, cut into very thin rings

On each slice of bread, drizzle a little olive oil. Line with slices of tomato, top with steak. Sprinkle crumb mixture over the steak, add a couple of capers, and a ring or two of the onion.

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!

Chicken Paillard Salad with Garlic-Parsley Mayo + Chorizo Butter

Posted on: July 18th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Sometimes when eating out, you find a simple dish that just wows. How many times have you had a salad with grilled chicken? In this case, the chicken paillard salad prompted me to inquire about its secrets, which I will share with you here. All the elements play so wonderfully together, I can still taste it in my mind. Thank you, Chef Gordon Watton for coming to our table and sharing the secrets to this extraordinary dish.

This recipe is truly a labor of love, and has touches that only the most ambitious will create for themselves. But, perhaps, if you are entertaining guests, you might want to create all the elements. (for the lazy, in London, be sure to order this at Berners Tavern.)  Even if you do some of the components, you will have the makings of an absolutely superb salad.

MAKE THE CHICKEN PAILLARD

Pound chicken breasts thinly, and grill. (They use a Spanish Grill with charcoal.)

MAKE THE CHORIZO BUTTER

Dice chorizo and caramelize. Let cool. Incorporate into butter. Smother on top of chicken after grilling.

MAKE THE GARLIC PARSLEY MAYO

Chop garlic and parsley and combine with mayo. Dollop 3 spoons onto chicken.

MAKE THE SALAD

Combine arugula, roasted piquillo peppers, manchego shavings, and thinly sliced red onion rings.

ADD THE DRESSING

oil, mustard, lemon, lime, vinegar

THE GARNISH: CRISPY SHALLOTS

Fry thinly sliced shallots in cold pan of oil, cook slowly until golden brown, then dehydrate.

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

Cooking Elk Medallion Sliders: Like Steak but Better

Posted on: May 4th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Here is an ingredient you may not have come across: elk. I chose to use it in developing a party menu of WILD ingredients, and though unfamiliar, it turned to be somewhat familiar. Cooking elk is quite simple. Elk tenderloin medallions can be treated just like filet mignon. Do not overcook it! This recipe calls for a quick grill then a slicing of the meat for sliders—with accoutrement: bacon, a gouda-style cheese from Ireland, and bitter radicchio and topped with Creamy Old-Style Mustard Dip (also seen in our exotic sausage recipe). To preserve all the wonderful juices, be sure to flip the tenderloins with tongs, instead of a fork.

You can order elk, and other exotic meats from Fossil Farms, where we purchased the sausages as well. See more at this link.   And if you are intrigued at the idea of using wild and foraged ingredients, see our entire party menu, Exotic & Foraged.

MAKES 24 SLIDERS

MAKE THE CREAMY OLD-STYLE MUSTARD DIP

1/2 CUP sour cream
1/2 CUP Maille Dijon Old-Style mustard
4 TB Maille Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Breitsamer Honig Forest Honey

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

COOK THE BACON

8 slices bacon

In the microwave, place 4 slices of bacon between paper towels. Cook for about 1 min per slice (start with 3 min to see if crispy). Cut (or snap!)  each slice into 3 parts.

cooking elk tenderloins

GRILL THE ELK

4 elk medallions
s + p

Let meat come to room temperature before cooking elk. Generously season with s + p. Grill 1 1/2 min on each side. Let meat rest before cutting into 1/4-inch slices.

cooking elk sliders with bacon, cheese, and radicchio

ASSEMBLE THE elk medallion SLIDERS

24 Martin’s Party Size Potato Rolls
Kerrygold Blarney Castle gouda-style cheese


mustard cream sauce
sliced elk
radicchio castillo franco, trimmed to fit on the rolls

Slice rolls in half and add a slice of cheese to the bottom. Place under broiler for 1 min (or less, watch!) to melt the cheese.

Slather mustard onto top of the roll. On top of the cheese, add bacon, two slices of elk, and 3 radicchio leaves. Close roll, and push together.

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.

The Philter: A Tantalizing-Tricked Up-Tequila Love Potion

Posted on: February 2nd, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Your night is about to get interesting. The Philter (another word for love potion) brings together a trio of flavors: a tantalizing tequila, chai tea, and freshly-squeezed blood orange juice.

HOBNOB’s signature cocktail for the Aphrodisiac party plan begins with an exquisite tequila as its base, adding a delicacy of spiciness not found in other spirits, providing a nice tingling on the tongue. Add to that some chai tea, which is considered an aphrodisiac because it’s packed with antioxidants—which increase blood flow and sensitivity to sexual organs. A little dose of caffeine also does its part to add focus and energy. Lastly, the blood orange balances out the drink, adds some vitamin C, and lends its beautiful stimulating, red color.

DETAILS ON THE INGREDIENTS:

[1] Fortaleza Reposado Tequila Fortaleza Reposado has a very distinct character, and is made with 100% of the finest estate-grown Blue Agave Tequilana Weber, aged in oak barrels for 6 to 9 months. The full story: Picture a thick-walled brick oven which cooks the agaves for 36 hours. Afterwards, a horse-drawn stone mill crushes the agaves, which then get washed with pure mountain water that separate the pulp from the woody fibers, creating an agave juice called mosto. The agave mosto is then naturally fermented for five days in small wood vats, and then double distilled using small, labor-intensive copper pot stills. TASTING NOTES: Flavors include cooked agave, citrus, vanilla, apple, earth, and cinnamon. The finish is long and rich, delicately spicy, and it has an oily texture the make this a joy to drink. Tequila Fortaleza is the American label for Tequila Los Abuelos, due to a Rum with the name “Abuelos” already being distributed in the USA. About $65. tequilafortaleza.com

HOBNOBMAG love potion cocktail w tequila

[2] Dona Chai chai tea concentrate is a convenient pre-brewed chai, made in Brooklyn. The brewing process begins with cold-pressed fresh ginger and freshly-ground whole spices: cinnamon bark, cardamom, vanilla bean, cloves, black peppercorns. Organic, loose-leaf black tea is then slowly brewed in small batches to bring out a powerful balance of flavors. The caffeine and mix of herbals will enhance your energy levels. A little goes a long way, just one of these bottles will create many a cocktail. Available in Manhattan at Forager’s Grocery on 22nd/9th. donachai.com

[3] Blood Orange Juice Blood oranges are in season over the winter, and lend a special orange aroma and unique flavor. If you cannot find fresh blood oranges, or cannot be bothered to fresh squeeze, try a carton of Noble’s Blood Orange Juice instead. noblejuice.com

[4] Luxardo The Original Maraschino Cherries One taste of these cherries, offered to me by a die-hard fan, and I was sold, and thankfully only one block from where I could purchase a jar of my very own. They are perfectly textured, sour Marasca cherries in a sweet syrup. From the Veneto region of Italy, The Luxardo family has been cultivating cherry trees for this treat and its renowned Maraschino Liqueur. No preservatives or thickeners added. About $20. luxardo.it

Quick Dessert: 10-Minute Cherry Chocolate Mousse

Posted on: February 1st, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Sometimes you are just looking for a simple, quick dessert, that still wows in delivering a sweet jolt. This mousse can be served on its own, or as an accompaniment with cookies or fresh fruit, as we have done here. Cherries and currants top this 10 minute work of art.

We included this recipe as part of the menu of aphrodisiacs. Chocolate has THE reputation for promoting amorous feelings. Casanova is known to have indulged in cups of chocolate to help sustain his lustful wanderings. The passion-inducing results come from phenethylamine, a chemical released in the brain when people fall in love, and tryptophan which produces serotonin, leading to elevated moods and sexual arousal.

In searching for a sensational, and easy, mousse recipe I came across this recipe for Bill’s Food Processor Chocolate Mousse. It turned out to be a cinch to make. Below, you will see that I doctored his recipe with a spoon of Kirschwasser, a cherry liqueur, for extra lusciousness, and garnished with red berries: fresh currants, and sugar-coated cherries.

MAKES ENOUGH FOR 6 (YOU WILL WANT EXTRA)

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR…

7 oz semisweet chocolate (62% cacao or less), broken into pieces

Process the chocolate until finely ground.

PROCESS THE CHOCOLATE…

ground chocolate

2 TB grape seed oil
1 TB Kirschwasser liqueur
1 TB pure vanilla extract

1/3 CUP milk
2 TB sugar

You will be adding these ingredients into the food processor to start the mousse. Combine oil, liqueur, and vanilla in a measuring cup. Separately, in a small saucepan, simmer milk and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Turn on the processor, and with it running, pour the warmed-up milk in, and process for 15 to 20 sec, until the chocolate is melted. Add the oil mixture and process additional 5 to 10 sec, till thoroughly blended. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, let cool in the fridge for 5 min (so chocolate is not warm for the next step).

WHILE CHOCOLATE COOLS PREPARE THE CREAM

1 CUP heavy cream
Pinch salt
cooled chocolate mix

GARNISH:
currants on the stem
fresh cherries, brushed with egg white and rolled in sugar, cooled in the fridge (optional)

With a hand mixer, beat the cream and salt until it holds a soft shape, but not stiff. Remove cooled chocolate from the fridge and fold 1/3 of the cream into it, then the rest. Stop folding the moment the cream is incorporated, and scoop into glasses. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving. Garnish with currants and sugared cherries.

Adorably Mini: Where to Find Micro Veggies, Chocolates, and Customizable Candy

Posted on: September 22nd, 2016 by Ellen Swandiak

Make party bites even more tempting with micro-minded ingredients: baby veggies, mini-printed bon-bons, and candy you can customize.

[1] Elevated Crudite Supermarket plastic trays of cut-up cauliflower, baby carrots, and celery sticks, anchored by a tub of ranch dressing, no more. Upgrade your tired crudité platters of yore with mini versions of your favorite spring veggies, small, tender, and crisp. These tiny varieties of produce, perfect for a healthy, raw party bite, can come either as “baby” vegetables picked before growing to their full-size or miniature varietals cultivated to petite proportions. Think mini heads of spiky bright green romesco cauliflower, micro cucumbers that look like tiny watermelons, and real baby carrots with their tops on, not the whiddled, dried out versions from a bag. Not only do they look very cute, these veggies tend to be milder and sweeter than their adult counterparts to boot. Dunk in your favorite hummus or whip up a quick Green Goddess-inspired dip by zapping Greek yogurt, your favorite fresh, leafy herbs, a bit of garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor.

[2] Mini Produce Sources Look for mini produce in local specialty food shops and farmers’ markets in spring and summer or special order through an online source. Marx Foods sells a “Tiny Crudite Mix” that includes a seasonal variety of veggies with their slender stalks still attached, making it the perfect cocktail food, no toothpicks necessary. Specialty Produce carries a huge variety of unique produce varietals, including mini sweet bell peppers and cucumbers with colorful yellow flowers attached. Go to The Chef’s Garden for their beautiful tender microgreens of all types and their sweet, crisp baby turnips, radishes, and carrots.

HOBNOBMAG micro veggies, chocolate, candy

[3] Tumbador Chocolate The mini patterns on these fine chocolates will get your gang cooing. Executive Pastry Chef Jean-François Bonnet (formerly of restaurant Daniel) works with only the finest ingredients in the world—exotic fruits, spices, fresh herbs and regional flavors. You can also order custom designed chocolates, attuned to your palate. tumbadorchocolate.com

[4] Papabubble New York Take a look at these tiny bits of fun. Papabubble is an artisan candy making academy, where aspiring candy artists get trained in the intricacies of working in the medium of molten sugar. Picture these cuties atop a cupcake, or set around the party in tiny dishes. The flavors are bright, fresh and fruity. Check the website for their other styles, like the #1 Dad mix, the Mazel Tov mix, the Thank You mix—or have a custom candy made just for you. papabubbleny.com

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

Rafael Reyes on How to Serve Cocktails at Home Like a Mixologist

Posted on: December 12th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

If anyone can show you how to serve cocktails at home like a mixologist, it’s this guy. I’ve never seen a more well-stocked bar, between tools, spirits,  fresh herbs and concocted syrups. Learn the tricks.

Mixologist Rafael Reyes and his wife love throwing parties in their lovely Brooklyn apartment. HOBNOB stopped in to investigate the scene and got some great tips on hosting guests and making creative cocktails.

HOBNOBMAG Serve Cocktails at Home Like a Mixologist

How did you get started in the spirit biz?

My journey started in the early days of the cocktailing about ten years ago, when I worked in Northern NJ with the former bar manager of Patria. It was the first time I saw someone create cocktails with fresh juices daily—pressing fresh cane and even coconuts. Soon after that experience, I ended up working at a cocktail lounge in Nolita. After my shift I would visit Remy and Tim Cooper at Gold Bar and was amazed at how great a team they were. There was something about the style of Gold Bar that I really identified with—it was fast paced, with great cocktails, badass bartenders and that rush of having massive amounts of people in front of you and wanting more. I was determined to get to this level.

I had the chance to work on the opening of Yerbabuena Perry and was able to push my craft further with the help of Cervantes (PDT, Little Branch, The Ship) and Artemio (Pegu Club), who had deep roots in the classics. After that I started venturing off by myself, doing brief stints with renowned chefs where I was exposed to a variety of culinary toys and ingredients. It made me realize that my cocktail style was definitely kitchen-inspired. With this focus, I continued to develop my style at 1534, ECC, and with Chefs Jesus Nuñez, Andres Grundy and Didie—and most recently at Betony, where the level of skill and discipline was mind blowing. I will forever be grateful to Chef Bryce Shuman and Eamon Rockey for welcoming me into in their  kitchen and allowing me to stage and put my free time to learn from their chefs.

What are your 5 statement bar essentials?

[1] Herbs I’m the biggest sucker for herbs—I cannot create a menu or live without them in my apartment. When delicate herbs like lemon verbena are in season, it makes me happy! Basil blossoms, lemon balm, flaming shiso, anise hysop, lemon thyme, coriander flowers… the list goes on and on.

I buy herbs from websites like Fresh Origins and the Chefs Garden. They are a bit pricey, but the key is to always have more than one use for them. To save money, my wife and I grow them at home and make sure to grow a diverse selection during the warm months, so we can use them for parties all year round.

[2] Spices I’m a big believer that you should always try to introduce people to new flavors, and the options with spices are unlimited, and the level of complexity that you can add to your drinks is amazing. As opposed to herbs, most spices are not too expensive and last for a long time.

My style has never been classic, the more obscure an ingredient, the more I want to use it. My rule of thumb: For every weird ingredient, balance it with a familiar one. Examples: cherry tomatoes and champagne, or Orujo liqueur & grapefruit with IPA. Some of my favorite spots for buying spices are Lhasa Karnak and Mountain Rose Herbs. If you prefer using extracts, Terra Spice has pretty good ones, just be careful with amounts, as they are not quite like bitters, and need to be used sparingly.

HOBNOBMAG Serve Cocktails at Home Like a Mixologist

[3] European Hawthorne Strainers & Multilevel Bell Jigger Some people dislike Hawthorne strainers, but I feel it’s the only one you need at your bar for making stirred, rolled and shaken drinks, plus, it allows you to drop pours really high, with a perfect flow. Multilevel bell jiggers are also my favorite. It takes practice getting the measurements correct, but once mastered, it becomes a pretty stylish and functional tool. I like how it allows for flair and stylish moves behind the bar.

[4] Sous vide & Dehydrator I love the Sous vide machine. If you love to create amazing syrups and infusions you should own one of these. Controlled temperatures can help you in so many ways. There is no evaporation, stronger flavors, better infusions. It is also pretty handy during cold months, for making hot drinks.

The dehydrator allows you to create edible garnishes and preserve delicate herbs, especially, when they are hard to find and you want to to keep them in your repertoire.

[5] Kitchen & Home Bar Throughout my career, every cocktail program I have created has had deep roots in the kitchen. I love to cook and I believe the more you do it, the more you develop your palate, thus giving you a point of reference for future creations. At home I have an open kitchen which allows me to view my all my spices and liquor bottles while I’m cooking, making for inspired choice in drinks, food or desserts.

My wife eats super healthy. She is Paleo and also owns a paleo, gluten-free dessert company. So there are always some healthy factors that play into the dishes that I cook for her (Yes, I do the cooking!). No flours, no sugars, no dairy, etc. always creates an exciting challenge. (Me on the other hand, I eat whatever I want to eat! haha.)

HOBNOBMAG Serve Cocktails at Home Like a Mixologist

Give us some of your party throwing tips.

You might say my wife and I are party-friendly people. We love to fill the room with great friends, cocktails, charcuterie and cheese platters, and plenty of foodie-food for everyone. We even sneak in the healthy desserts.

Every Christmas, we throw a big party. Last year, there were about 20 of us up on the roof, where we sent paper lanterns into the sky and made wishes for the next year. It was a very unique moment with special people—what I think the holidays are all about.

In our kitchen, we have a self serve wine unit that is meant to store 3 bottles at selected temperatures that lets you press a button and fill your glass. We use it at parties for bottled Negronis, Rum Manhattans or any kind of a stirred drink, creating a kind of a self serve, easy access bar.

On the bar there are about 300 bottles to choose from—so anything’s possible. We also set up a cooler on the counter, full of sherry and other vino options. Usually, someone will start making drinks for everyone and when they start shaking, everyone starts cheering them on. There is no fakeness in the room. You get a sense of community and friendship, which reminds me a bit of the holidays back home in Colombia—lots of smiles and laughing. It is an affirmation of what I stand for. No matter what, its always, always, ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE.

HOBNOBMAG Serve Cocktails at Home Like a Mixologist

We love the new bottle for Santa Teresa Rum, the spirit featured in this issue’s bar—it’s so elegant. What other mixers do you recommend with this spirit?

The new bottle was designed to portray the rum’s premium level, while still showing that nothing inside has changed. Santa Teresa 1796 has always been perfect to drink on its own, like any good whiskey or cognac. It’s blended with spirits aged from 4 to 35 years, and has hints of dry fruits and American and French Oak. It finishes dry, which makes it perfect for cocktails like an Old Fashioned. It also tastes delicious in long time classics like a Right Hand or a Presidente. Perhaps you can make an amazing daiquiri or a tasty Hemingway. I personally invite you to get out of your comfort zone and let this rum express itself in a stirred drink, like a Manhattan or a Negroni. Keep it simple, though, in this case less is more!

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. My parents were born in Slovakia, and we grew up eating lots of meaty stews, with dumplings. Traditionally, the Segedin Goulash is served over this style dumpling (or as a substitute, boil some basmati rice to use as a base). Kapusta, or a flavored sauerkraut, was also a common side dish, and gets put to use in the goulash.

We created this recipe as part of a menu for hosting guests over a 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 the flavors only gets better 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).