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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.

Healthy Party Snack: Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Black Truffle Dip

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

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

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

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

MAKE THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS

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

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

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

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

MAKE THE BLACK TRUFFLE DIP

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

Mix together in a small bowl.

Roasted Carrots with Creamy Kale Dip: A Tricolor Harvest Splendor

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

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

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

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

ROAST THE CARROTS…PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF

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

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

MAKE THE CREAMY KALE DIP

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

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

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

TO SERVE

thyme, minced, for garnish (optional)

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

Marinated Black Olive Bruschetta: Back in Black for Halloween

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Bruschetta is a fun party offering, where you can set our pre-made toasts, or just let your guests make their own. We chose crinkly Moroccan olives for this Black Olive Bruschetta, because of their intense taste, and the ability to hold up to the marinade without getting mushy. They lost a little of their leathery texture and soaked up the flavors nicely. The orange slices and curls add to the orange and black theme, in addition to giving the olives an additional level of taste.

Halloween and Day of the Dead parties are getting spookier by the minute! See the full menu in our party theme Spooky Harvest: a squid ink pasta, roasted carrots, and tomato soup—to name a few recipes in the party mix.

MAKES ABOUT 30 BITES

MARINATE THE OLIVES

2 CUPS black olives
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp orange zest
3 slices orange
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 TB parsley, chopped
EV olive oil

Lightly crush the olives, and transfer to a glass jar with a lid. Add the spices and cover with olive oil. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 1 to 3 days, shaking the jar occasionally.

MAKE THE BLACK OLIVE BRUSCHETTA

crusty baguette, cut into thin slices
EV olive oil
orange curls, for garnish
thyme, minced, for garnish

Drizzle olive oil onto bread. Take marinated olives and crush 3 onto each baguette slice. Top with orange curls and a touch of thyme. Or just leave out the ingredients and let guests make their own toasts.

Richard Caruso of Javelina Shares his Recipe for Habanero-Glazed Spicy Chicken Wings

Posted on: September 15th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Looking for a more upscale, tongue-tingling recipe for spicy chicken wings? Try this Tex Mex combination from a NYC chef know for his bbq creds.

Those looking for a taste of Tex-Mex in NYC have been gathering at Javelina, which is known for its boisterous vibe and melty, goo-ey fare. Perhaps it’s their selections of tequila that gets the place all riled up (see our post) but we like the bar bites too.

For this month’s party theme for hosting an upscale party event,  Chef Richard Caruso shares his recipe for creating the most juicy and spicy chicken wings on the planet. A plate of these at your next sports viewing party might have you hosting your own fan club.

Only for the consummate host, these are not your Tabasco-infused, finger-staining wings, but a lively mix of hot and sweet proportion, with fantastic side dips. Caruso comes to Javelina from the BBQ world, so really knows how to keep meat flavorful and perfectly cooked. javelinatexmex.com

recipe

Habanero Glazed Chicken Wings

FOR THE SPICE MIX:

(for 12-18 wings)
2 TB chili powder
2 TB salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
2 TB paprika

Mix together in a bowl.

FOR THE JALAPENO-RANCH DRESSING:

1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 TB chopped cilantro
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chopped jalapeño chili
1 TB cider vinegar

Mix together in a bowl and refrigerate (will last 1-2 weeks).

FOR THE HABANERO-LIME GLAZE:

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
2 habanero chilies (finely diced with seeds)
1/4 cup honey
1 TB corn starch
2 TB water

In a pot, bring all the ingredients except the corn starch and water, to a boil, then lower to simmer.
In a small bowl, mix the corn starch and water together. Slowly whisk in the mixture into the glaze until there are no lumps and the glaze becomes thicker. Set aside and cool. Note: you can set aside some of the glaze for a spicy dipping sauce.

TO MAKE THE WINGS:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

In a large bowl toss the wings with the vegetable oil, then add the spice mix and toss until evenly coated.
Place the wings on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 min.

Remove from oven, move wings to a clean bowl and coat with the habanero glaze. Bake for an additional 5 min, remove from the oven and let stand.

Place wings on a platter, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with celery and carrots and jalapeño-ranch dressing.

hobnobmag recipe spicy chicken wings

See more tips for hosting a five-star sports viewing in the UP YOUR GAME issue.

Not So Sweet Dessert: Smoked Almond Dip with Apples

Posted on: September 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

I’m one of those people that is interested in finding recipes for desserts in the not so sweet category. In coming up with a menu for watching a sporting event,  I thought a savory nut dip would fit the bill. You can pair this dip with either crisp, citrus-y apples, carrots or pretzels. See more upscale recipes in our Classy Sports party theme menu.

MAKES ENOUGH DIP FOR AT LEAST 72 APPLE SLICES

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR

2 CUPS smoked roasted almonds

5 TB peanut oil

Pulse nuts till very crumbly. Drizzle oil into running processor. Process with light touch.

ADD FLAVOR TO THE MIXTURE

2 TB tamari
1/4 CUP of water
juice of 1 lime
2 TB maple syrup
1 TB smoked salt

Add all ingredients to almond mixture. Process till combined.

SLICE THE APPLES

3 apples
juice of 1/2 lime

Slice apples in half, quarter. Remove core, cut each quarter into 6 slices. In bowl, toss apple slices with freshly squeezed lime juice. When displaying, stick one or more apple slices in dip to encourage dipping.

Health-Conscious Party: Sesame-Crusted Tuna in Miso Ginger Sauce

Posted on: September 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Not every party dish needs to be corruptive to your normal focus on nutrition. Health-conscious party fare can be just as delicious as the junk. These barely-cooked tuna bites will provide a gourmet bit. Tip: Make sure to buy sushi-grade tuna, (here’s a great source) since it will be only seared. Your health-conscious and dieting sports fan friends will be duly impressed when they see this on the roster. The lettuce leaf not only makes a pretty wrap, it makes it easy to pick up and eat.

If you love to entertain in style, I’ve come up with a whole menu for impressing your favorite sports fans, see it all here. Forget hotdogs and chili.

MAKES 10-12 BITES + ABOUT 3/4 CUP OF SAUCE

MAKE THE MISO GINGER SAUCE

2-inch pc fresh ginger, chopped
3 TB brown rice miso
juice of 1 lime
1 TB tamari
1 TB grape seed oil
2 TB brown sugar
3 TB sesame oil
3 TB white balsamic vinegar

In a food processor, blend all ingredients until creamy. Refrigerate overnight for more intense flavors.

PREPARE THE TUNA

10 oz sushi-grade ahi tuna steak (if frozen, defrost overnight in the fridge)

Pat dry. Cut tuna into elongated cubes (about 1 1/2 inches square).

COAT THE TUNA

2 TB black sesame seeds
2 TB white sesame seeds
salt

In a flat bowl, add the sesame seeds and salt. Coat tuna on all four sides.

COOK THE TUNA

1 TB grape seed oil
tuna

In a warm skillet, heat oil. Sear tuna about 30 sec each side, using tongs to turn.

MAKE THE BITES

seared tuna
baby bibb lettuce leaves
miso ginger sauce

Cut tuna into 1/2 -inch slices. Place each slice on a leaf of bibb lettuce, top with sauce.

Chicken a Whole New Way—Dressed in a Smoked Cumin Mayo

Posted on: September 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Make chicken a whole new way. We accomplished this with The Smoking Gun by PolyScience, which adds smoke flavor without adding heat. Guys, and gals, will love using this gadget. The Smoking Gun is perfect for smoking just about anything—mayo, butter, juices, you-name-it. You’ll be really surprised at how much flavor can be added in a minute amount of time, the mayo only needed about two minutes.

We love this recipe as part of the classy menu we created for serving while watching the big game. Sports fans can graze on these bites all through the game. Alternate serving idea: Mix the smoked mayo with chicken bites to create a chicken salad and serve atop crackers or make mini sandwiches.

MAKES ABOUT 80 BITES

GRILL THE CHICKEN BREASTS

1 LB chicken breasts
smoked salt

Get a grill pan nice and hot. Cut breasts into uniform thickness, if necessary, separate the tenderloin. Sprinkle with smoked salt. Grill.

MAKE THE CUMIN MAYO

2 TB mayo
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp smoked salt

herbs, for garnish (optional)

Mix ingredients together in deep bowl. Spread mayo around the sides to create a lot of surface. Cover bowl in plastic wrap, with the tube from The Smoking Gun inserted. Place wood chips in gun, light it as you would a pipe. Turn on the gun, and allow smoke to fill bowl, about 20 secs. Shut off gun. Allow smoke to remain for 2 to 3 min, (the longer you leave it, the more intense the result will be). Remove plastic. You will get a waft of smoke here, so avoid area with smoke detector. You might want to open a window for a minute to allow smoke to dissipate.

MAKE THE BITES

With a sharp knife, cut breasts into bite-size pieces. Put a dollop of the mayo on the bites using a small spoon. Spear with toothpick. If you have any oregano, parsley or chives around, chop and sprinkle over the bites to decorate.

Greek Flavors Through the Eyes of a Preeminent Chef: Smashing Plates by Maria Elia

Posted on: August 3rd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

In this cookbook review, we show a top international chef who relies on the Greek flavors of her childhood, and turns them into the most artistic and interesting plates.

Raised in a restaurant owned by her Greek Cypriot father and English mother, Maria Elia knew from the early age of four that she wanted to be a chef, to surround herself with the excitement of the kitchen she had grown up in. After years working in world-renowned professional kitchens such as El Bulli and Arzack, Elia found herself returning to those flavors of Greece, saying, “They are the ones that are most emotive to me; the ones that make my heart sing.”

BACK FULL CIRCLE

She rediscovered those flavors by spending a summer cooking with her father in the Troodos mountains of Cyprus, embracing the rural life as much as the villagers embraced her in return, sharing recipes old and new. There in Cyprus with her father she rediscovered Greek ingredients through her eyes as a professional chef, and found that they were inspirational on a whole new level. Smashing Plates represents the fruits of that rediscovery, Elia’s contemporary twists on the elevated, yet still rooted in the iconic flavors of Greece.

hobnobmag Greek Flavors Smashing Plates

A SHARED PLATE PHILOSOPHY

As is traditional, dishes in Smashing Plates are meant to be shared rather than individually plated, with 120 recipes divided into mezze-like small plates, more filling shared plates, salads, sides, and desserts that are all meant to be mixed and matched to enjoy amongst friends and family.

All the traditional, essential flavors and elements of Greek cooking remain—briny olives, bright lemon, luscious olive oil, vibrant herbs, juicy tomatoes, succulent lamb, and fresh seafood— but have been reimagined in creative, modern ways by Elia’s skilled touch in dishes such as Slow-Roasted Paper-Wrapped Leg of Lamb, Kalamata Olive Gnocchi, Zucchini-Coated Calamari, Carrot Tabbouleh, Sumac Flatbread, Honeyed Fried Feta, Rabbit Baklava, and Wild Greens Macaroni and Cheese.

Elia’s food is simple yet elegant, light yet lush, and absolutely belongs on your table. About $17. Enjoy this recipe from the book for a light and beautiful dessert, a twist on a traditional milk pudding.

hobnobmag COOKBOOK smashing plates Greek flavors

recipe

WATERMELON MAHALEPI

This is the only way I eat mahalepi, flavoured with one of my favourite fruits, the watermelon. Traditionally, mahalepi is made with water and cornflour – not the most enticing dessert, even when it’s served sprinkled with sugar and a glug of rose syrup! I’m in a minority, though, as the Greeks love it.

Variations: You can try various flavours – grape would be interesting, as would orange, scented with fresh basil. Just make a purée of the fruit, pass through a fine sieve and then make up to the required volume with water.

Serves 4

FOR THE ROSE SYRUP

5 oz [150ml] water
1/3 CUP [250g] sugar
2 TB rose water, or a few drops of rose essence
juice of 1/2 lemon
red food coloring

To make the syrup, place the water and sugar in a pan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and boil for 3 minutes, then take off the heat and stir in the rose water and lemon juice and taste for strength. Add a tiny drop of food coloring and pour into a sterilized jar or bottle. Once cooled, seal and refrigerate.

FOR THE MAHALEPI

4.4 LB [2kg] watermelon, cut into small pieces (discard the rind)
1/4 CUP [60g] cornflour
1/3 CUP [75g] caster sugar

Place the watermelon pieces in a blender and blend until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve into a large jug or bowl. Do this a little at a time as you’ll need to push the purée through the sieve with a spoon. You should end up with around 600ml watermelon juice in total – make up with a little water if necessary.
Whisk the cornflour with a little of the juice to make a smooth slurry, then whisk with the remaining juice and pour into a saucepan. Whisk over a low heat until the mixture comes to the boil and thickens. Cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and whisk in the sugar until it dissolves.

Pour the mixture into four shallow bowls that have been sprinkled with a few drops of cold water – this will make turning out the mahalepi a lot easier, as it stops them from sticking. Allow to cool before refrigerating overnight or for at least 3 hours.

TO GARNISH

8 strawberries
around 16 chopped pistachios
rose petals or violas (optional)

Turn the mahalepi out of their molds (they should easily slide out – add a splash of water if they don’t). Serve in deep dishes, topped with a glug of rose syrup, and garnished with strawberries, pistachios and rose petals or violas if you have them.

Buy the book: Smashing Plates: Greek Flavors Redefined>

Photo/Publisher: Credit: Taken by Smashing Plates by Maria Elia. Published by Kyle Cathie, priced £19.99. Photography by Jenny Zarins

Greek Pantry: Authentic Olive Oil, Sweets, Sauces and More

Posted on: August 3rd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

If you are cooking Greek food, you need to gather a few essentials. Here are a smattering of high-end products that are the must-haves for your Greek pantry.

Support Greece in the most fun way: by eating their products. We’ve gathered a selection of goods imported straight from the homeland, plus products made with handed-down recipes by second and third generation Greek Americans. Kali orexi! [Bon appetit!]

[1] Five Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This super design-y bottle stands for an excellence you can sense before even tasting it. Using hand-picked, sustainably-grown Koroneiki olives from Finiki Lakonias, Greece, the oils have no additives and are produced using a method of cold extraction at low temperatures, resulting in very low levels of acidity. The packaging, in matte black, allows it to be displayed prominently on the counter or buffet. Check the entire line for other extraordinary olive oils, in matte white bottle, and special edition Swarovski crystal Five. So giftable. $24. fiveoliveoil.com Available online at hellenicfarms.com

[2] Navarino Icons Spoon Sweets

Start a Greek tradition in your household: offer a sweet preserve to arriving guests, along with a glass of cold water to kick off the gathering. These flavor-packed “spoon sweets” are made by gently boiling seasonal fruit for hours—or even for days (as the tomato version is), resulting in sweet gem-like delights that are a perfect accompaniment to strong cheeses, Greek yogurt, or even atop ice cream.

Choose from three varieties: tomato, olive, and the limited edition orange. The olive variety is made by simmering Kalamata olives, pitted and stuffed with almonds, and brewed in an intoxicating syrup of fresh orange juice, wine, honey, herbs, and spices. The tomato variety is simple but sweet, using only three ingredients: sugar, lemon, and fresh tomatoes picked in August.

Navarino Icons is an incredible company committed to distributing authentic products created by small-scale producers on the coastal region of Messinia in the southwest Peloponnese. Their food products are all prepared using recipes handed down for generations, and always with respect for local traditions. $16-$18. navarinoicons.com Available online at hellenicfarms.com

[3] Olympia Provisions Loukaniko Sausage

Based in Portland, Oregon, Olympia Provisions (formerly Olympic Provisions) is making America’s best charcuterie, and though it’s almost impossible to choose, one of their best products is their loukanika, a traditional Greek salami boldly flavored with garlic, cumin and a touch of orange zest. The recipe itself was passed down by “Old Man Cairo,” the father of head salumist Eli Cairo.

Cairo, who is a first generation Greek American, grew up with his father making charcuterie from scratch at home, where doing things the old fashioned, handmade way was the norm. Lucky for us, Cairo has taken up his father’s craft, and now he and his fellow salumists at Olympia Provisions are taking charcuterie in America to new heights, using nearly extinct old world techniques, aging his salumi naturally and slowly, and using hand-butchered antibiotic-free Pacific Northwest pork. olympiaprovisions.com

hobnbomag Greek Pantry

[4] Kaldi Greek Cooking Sauces

Kaldi’s line of all-natural cooking sauces make recreating your favorite long-simmered Greek specialties simple and easy—all you need is to add beef, chicken, shrimp, or your favorite vegetable.

Choose from sauces based on traditional Greek dishes: the hearty veggie-packed PLAKI, perfect with beans or fresh vegetables; the sweet and savory PORTOKALI made with blood oranges, olives, ginger, and tomatoes on seafood or fish; SAGANAKI, woven with quintessential Greek flavors of anise, black olives and capers; and the deep rich STIFADO made with red wine, onions, and allspice over beef, lamb, or chicken. There’s no limit to the scope you can bring to these one-pot creations—just think of these sauces as an amazing base to jump off from. amazon.com

[5] Ariston Wildflower Honey

This month’s Halloumi and Ham bites were highlighted by a lime-honey-lemon verbena sauce, in which we featured this delicious honey. Bees have a field day in Messinia, an untouched area of Greece, where wildflowers bloom in glorious profusion. Add a jar of this to your cheese board, or tea service. $6. aristonspecialties.com

hobnbomag Greek Pantry

[6] Ballard Family Dairy and Cheese

Halloumi, traditionally made with goat and sheep’s milk, is the most famous cheese of Cyprus, Greece. The name Halloumi is derived from the Greek word “almi”, which refers to the brine solution that is used to preserve the cheese. Salty, tangy, and with a very elastic texture, Halloumi’s high melting point makes it perfect for grilling, as it can magically brown without devolving into a melty mess.

Since the name Halloumi is a protected product of Cyprus, this American brand calls their version Idaho Golden Greek Grillin’ Cheese, which is made using a traditional halloumi recipe but with 100% Jersey cow’s milk, which has a higher butterfat content.

Ballard’s award-winning version is not your everyday squeaky, vacuum-packed variety. Cooked to crisp, golden perfection and with a rich bouncy bite, we daresay Ballard’s American-made cheese is a mighty rival to its Greek counterpart. The Ballard family started their small dairy nine years ago with the strong belief that loving care and a healthy diet would create not only higher quality milk, but also happier cows. $16.50 ballardcheese.com

Grilled Eggplant Slices Stuffed with Herbed Feta

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Make sure to get high quality feta, one that has a bit of a kick to it, preferably whole, not crumbled. Fresh herbs are mandatory to add new dimension. I grew some lemon basil this year and cannot get enough of it, it really takes basil up to another level. If you can’t find any, go for regular basil or even lemon verbena.

Get your eggplants from your local greenmarket—now is the time. And make sure not to cut them too thin, 1/4-inch is ideal, any thinner and they will not hold the feta, any thicker and you will not be able to fold then over. We have more recipes with a Greek bent in our party theme that showcases the best in Greek ingredients,.

MAKES ABOUT 25 BITES

GRILL THE EGGPLANT

2 eggplants, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
pastry brush
1-2 CUPS EV olive oil
s + p
2 TB dried oregano

Brush one side of eggplant slice with oil and season with s + p and oregano. Heat a grill pan or bbq, and place eggplant seasoned side down. Oil and season other side. Grill about 2 to 3 min each side, till cooked through. Allow to cool slightly before assembling bites.

MAKE THE HERBED FETA

16 oz feta cheese, room temperature
1 TB lemon basil, minced
1 TB oregano, minced
1 tsp black pepper

Combine ingredients together in a large bowl. Spread the mix onto half of the grilled eggplant and fold over.

Stuffed Grape Leaves with Extra Pizazz: Greek to Me

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

The staple accompaniment to Greek salads all over NYC: stuffed grape leaves. These stuffed grape leaves with extra pizazz take the flavorings up a few notches. To enhance the rice filling we added tangy feta, crunchy pine nuts, and a bunch of spices and let them work their magic. Before working with the grape leaves, make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove excess vinegar flavors. Leftovers are great in a Greek salad, of course.

See more Greek recipes in our party menu, for a full repertoire for entertaining.

MAKES 32 LEAVES

WASH GRAPE LEAVES

1 jar grape leaves (16 oz)

Gently remove the leaves from jar and thoroughly rinse each one. Let drain in a colander covered in a damp paper towel while you make the filling.

START THE FILLING

2 TB olive oil
1 med red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 CUP Amira Organic Basmati Rice, uncooked
2 CUPS water

Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and, saute 5 min. Add garlic and saute for 1 min. Incorporate rice. Add water, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 20 min. Turn off heat, let sit for additional 10 min. Move to a bowl. Allow to cool slightly.

ADD MORE FLAVOR

1/2 CUP pine nuts, toasted, chopped
1/2 CUP feta cheese, crumbled
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 TB thyme, chopped
1 TB mint, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Combine ingredients with rice. Allow mixture to cool before making the leaves.

MAKE THE GRAPE LEAVES

torn leaves
6 lemons, cut into 1/4-inch slices
rinsed leaves
filling

In a large Dutch oven, line bottom with torn leaves, then top with a row of lemon slices.

Start rolling: Lay one leaf flat with the veiny side face up. Remove stem. Place a tablespoon, or so, of the mixture (depending on leaf size) just above the cut stem. Fold the two bottom sections of the leaf over the filling, then fold the sides in, and roll tightly.

Place in Dutch oven with seams down. Fit rolls in snugly around the circumference working your way in. Add a second level, if needed. Top with more torn leaves and lemon slices. Pour water until it reaches the middle of the top row. Place a heavy plate on top so rolls do not move around and come undone.

Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Then simmer for 1 hour and 10 min. Remove from heat, and let rest undisturbed for 20 min more.

Arrange rolls in lines on a plate and garnish with lemon slices. If you like, cut them in half to maximize amounts and show off the rice filling.

Party Food for a Scorcher: Cod with Greek Yogurt in Lettuce Wraps

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

When thinking about party food for a scorcher, the idea is choosing food that is not too heavy and filling. The fish has a refreshing, lemony bent that goes well with the cool yogurt. Make more of the yogurt mix to serve on the side or put it out for dipping thick slices of cucumber.

We developed this dish with Greek cuisine in mind, and developed a whole menu for entertaining. See more Greek recipes for a hot summer party at this link.

MAKES 28 BITES

MAKE THE ZESTY GREEK YOGURT

1 CUP Greek yogurt
2 TB mint, minced
1 TB oregano, minced
1 TB basil, cut into thin ribbons
1 TB lemon zest
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed in a garlic press
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.

PREHEAT OVEN 375ºF… MAKE THE COD

1 1/2 LB cod fillet, 1-inch thick
salt
zesty greek yogurt

EV olive oil

1 lemon
bibb lettuce, leaves separated

Cut fillets into bite-sized pieces that will fit on the lettuce leaves. Season with salt. Cover the tops with a smear of the yogurt. Place in pyrex baking dish, lightly greased with EV olive oil, do not crowd. Bake for about 18 min, till cooked through. Remove from oven and squeeze lemon over the fillets. Add a dollop of the yogurt and place in a lettuce wrap.

Vegan Appetizer: Artichoke Hearts with Black Pepper-Lemon Dip

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Something light and easy for summer entertaining, this vegan appetizer packs a lot of flavors in its small bites. Lemon, herbs, and a touch of sour cream bring it all together. I found myself loving the flavors in the dip and think it could work well in many dishes. Think about pairing it with all sorts of things: pouring it over broiled fish, tossed as a salad dressing, or dousing string beans with slivered almonds.

Hints of oregano and thyme in the breading of the artichokes allude to the tastes of Greece. Check out our other recipes from the Greek party theme, if you like that idea, we have a whole menu of Greek dishes that you can serve at a party to great applause.

MAKES 50 BITES

MAKE THE DIPPING SAUCE

zest of 1 lemon
juice from 2 lemons
2 TB brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
1 TB Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
1/2 CUP EV olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk ingredients together.

PREHEAT OVEN 375ºF…MAKE THE ARTICHOKES

2 cans artichoke hearts (14 oz), quartered


2 eggs, beaten

1/4 CUP nutritional yeast
1 CUP breadcrumbs
2 TB thyme, minced
1/2 TB dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
pinch of cayenne

Rinse artichokes, allow to dry on paper towels. Prepare dipping stations in two bowls: one with eggs, the other with dry ingredients combined. Drench each heart in the eggs then cover with the breadcrumbs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 min, flipping halfway through.

Cucumber Cup with Healthy, Refreshing Raita

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Nothing like a tasty raita in the summertime, which the chilled yogurt and fresh cucumbers offering a cool, refreshing bite. We’ve taken the traditional recipe and served it party-style: in a little cucumber cup you make by slicing up a cucumber and scooping out the middle. Also, would look cute as a side dish.

These cucumber cups make a nice statement plated in rows. See our other recipes for summer entertaining at this link.  We love the idea of plating in stripes, and using striped patterns on the table. So orderly.

MAKES ABOUT 20 MINI CUPS

MAKE THE RAITA

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, grated
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 red onion, minced
1 jalapeño, cut into thin strips
1 1/2 TB dill, chopped
1 CUP Greek yogurt

Toss grated cucumbers with rest of ingredients. To get rid of the excess liquid, push through a mesh strainer in batches.

 

MAKE THE CUPS

2 english cucumbers

Peel cucumbers and slice into 1-inch rounds. To create the hollows: insert a small knife at an angle into the top of the slice, and spin with the other hand. Discard the center.

TO SERVE

dill, for garnish

With a small spoon, fill each cavity of the cucumber cups first. Then add a small dollop on top of each, and garnish with a small sprig of dill.

Healthy and Phenomenal: A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry

Posted on: July 16th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Cold soups and summer make for a fine pairing. In our review of cookbook A Change of Appetite, author Diana Henry shares her recipe for a cucumber and yogurt soup dressed with walnuts and rose petals. This is a true party hit.

As part of my summer entertaining party plan, a cold soup was called for. Luckily we found one in this cookbook devoted to healthy eating. Too often “healthy” eating means deprivation and sacrifice, where food becomes the enemy and every mouthful of bland, sad diet food is a form of punishment in the name of whittled waistlines. A Change of Appetite completely upturns those notions with its bright, fresh, abundantly delicious and satisfying dishes that just happen to be good for you too.

DEPRIVATION IS NOT THE THEME HERE

Celebrated British food writer and cookbook author Diana Henry, who shares her weakness for French pastries and really fantastic crusty bread, is a true food lover who believes that cooking should be full of joy, pleasure, and care, never suffering. In A Change of Appetite, she shows us what healthy eating really means, in which deliciousness is key, and healthiness is just a happy bonus—no fanaticism in sight.

hobnobmag cookbook review A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry

To start, it’s not about what you can’t eat, but the incredible abundance of what you can eat. Henry, who proclaims in the book’s introduction that she is “more into living life to the full” than she is “into thinking of [her] body as a temple,” sought out dishes that are so good that you would never think you were missing out.

LIGHTER, FRESHER, SEASONAL RECIPES

Organized by seasons and beautifully photographed and designed, A Change of Appetite features recipes that are loaded with vegetables, legumes, whole grains, olive oil, fish, and just a bit of red meat and sugar too, because no food should be forbidden and overall balance is what we should strive for.

These are lighter, fresher takes on the classics, but in no way boring. Inspired by the “accidentally healthy” cuisines of the Middle East, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam, her dishes are full of what she calls “big front-of-mouth flavors”—think chiles, ginger, lime, bright herbs, and lively spices. And what does she suggest if you do indulge in that perfectly rich and buttery golden croissant? Really love it and enjoy yourself. See if you don’t agree with her recipe for a spectacular and beautiful cold soup.

recipe

CUCUMBER AND YOGURT SOUP WITH WALNUTS AND ROSE PETALS

I always love the look—and the idea—of Middle Eastern cucumber soups, but have never tasted one that actually has enough depth of flavor (not for me, anyway). So this isn’t purely Middle Eastern, because I’ve used some stock, which they wouldn’t do, but it has the right spirit: light, healthy, and “green” tasting. I actually prefer it without the dried fruit garnish, but that is traditional.

Serves 8

For the soup

2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped, plus matchsticks of cucumber to serve
1 CUP walnuts, plus extra chopped walnuts to serve
4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 scallions, chopped
3 TB chopped mint leaves
3 TB chopped dill leaves, plus extra to serve
pinch of dried red pepper flakes
leaves from 5 sprigs of tarragon
1 3/4 slices stale white country-style bread, crusts removed, torn
1 CUP strong chicken stock
1 CUP Turkish yogurt (or Greek, Turkish is thinner)
2⁄3 CUP extra virgin olive oil, or to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
2 TB white balsamic vinegar, or to taste
salt and black pepper

To serve

handful of raisins (optional)
pink or red rose petals

If you will be serving the soup with raisins, put them in a small bowl and cover with just-boiled water. Let stand for 30 minutes to plump them up, then drain.

Put all the ingredients for the soup into a blender, in batches if necessary, and process. You will have to stop every so often and move the ingredients around so that all of them get to be near the blade. Taste for seasoning; this soup needs really careful adjusting. You may find you need a drop more lemon juice or white balsamic or extra virgin oil instead of salt or black pepper.

Chill well, then serve in small bowls, with the raisins (if using), chopped walnuts, cucumber matchsticks, dill, and rose petals.

Try a heartier version Cucumber soup is wonderfully adapatable and can be dressed in all kinds of ways. Instead of rose petals and walnuts, top this with spoonfuls of Salmon tartare or flaked hot-smoked salmon, or even with chopped, still-warm hard-boiled egg and sautéed shrimp. You could also try replacing the dill in the recipe with basil, and the walnuts with almonds, to make a more Italian soup. Top with finely chopped tomatoes and torn basil leaves mixed into a vinaigrette, or Almond and basil gremolata.

A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley 2014. Photos: Laura Edwards

10 Stellar Foodie Gifts to Bring to Your Next Party

Posted on: July 16th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

It’s summer party season, and if you are headed away for the weekend, or just next door, treat your host to something more imaginative than a standard bottle of wine. HOBNOB gives you the foodie gifts to impress and delight even the most snobby host.

Make sure to include the background story with your gift—they are SO inspirational, admirable and plaise-worthy.  We found stellar examples in the foodie realm that really stand out from the crowd to include in this roundup.

[1] Bumbleberry Farms Honey Creams

Tell your host to put down the Nutella because a new sweet spreadable obsession has arrived. Bumbleberry Farms’ honey creams are as deliciously decadent as they sound. Spread, stir, and drizzle into a honey frenzy with flavors like Lovers’ Leap Sea Salt Caramel, Squirrel Crazy Maple, Molten Lava Spiced Chocolate, and Sticky Buns Cinnamon.

It’s almost impossible to decide—so we recommend the Honey Cream Gift Set which includes all 4. Each is made from small batch honey carefully collected from hand-spun honeycomb. Though their bees may travel up to 55,000 miles, visiting more than two million flowers, Bumbleberry keeps things local with the addition of high-quality, all-natural ingredients in their honey creams, hand-selecting and sourcing the dairy and maple sugar from operations just down the road. Bumbleberry Farms, based in the foothills of Pennsylvania’s Laurel Mountains, is led by owner and “Queen Beekeeper” Karen Mosholder, who has gone from making 18 jars of her golden delicious spread at a time on her honey-house stove to now cooking up to 100 gallons a batch. $40. bumbleberryfarms.com

honobmag foodie gifts to bring to your host

[2] Savannah Bee Company

Tupelo is a supreme honey, collected for two weeks every spring, while tupelo trees in the Southeastern swamps bloom globe-shaped clusters that glisten with nectar. Savannah Bee Tupelo Honey is very unique and only produced in the threatened tupelo ecosystem of the Altamaha and Apalachicola River Basins of Georgia and Florida. Gold Reserve Tupelo Honey comes in a limited edition, and gorgeous package—and the contents are just as special. $112 for an 80 oz bottle. savannahbee.com

[3] Tonewood Maple Syrup Cubes

Tonewood’s products are made with pure, premium maple syrup that is single-sourced, unblended, and free of additives. The Maple Cube, housed in a sleek black gift box, can be shaved over oatmeal, fruit, ice cream, and more—anything that could use a touch of golden sweetness. What a revolutionary concept.

Get your Maple Cube in two varieties: try Golden Delicate, which features a lighter, buttery maple flavor, or the more intense Dark Robust. Like wine, Tonewood’s artisan sugarmakers pay deep attention to their maple syrup’s terroir. Their trees grow in Mad River Valley, VT where the combination of rich soil, southern facing slopes, and high elevation allows them to produce a syrup with incredible flavor, clarity, and color. Raising the bar for maple products, Tonewood is also dedicated to preserving small-scale maple production and involved in funding climate research, local farming efforts, and sustainable, forest stewardship. $17. tonewoodmaple.com

honobmag foodie gifts to bring to your host

[4] Hella Bitters

After years of obsessing over the perfect bitters, the team at Hella Bitters decided to hand craft its products in New York in small batches, using classic age-old techniques and only the best ingredients. With upwards of 130 botanical ingredients (yes, that’s 130) used in highly secretive formulas, their bitters are vibrant and complex.

For the DIY-ers, the Craft Your Own Bitters Kit includes essentials tools such as glass infusion jars, apothecary style dropper bottles, and a custom steel fine mesh strainer and funnel, plus their proprietary mix of herbs, spices, bittering agents, and dried fruit peel. Bring this to your budding mixologist hosts. $65. hellabitters.com

[5] La Tourangelle Artisan Coconut Oil

You might ask, why coconut oil? How does thus qualify as an artisanal pleasure? With its numerous health benefits, coconut oil is all-the-rage in certain crowds, but La Tourangelle takes their product to the next level with their 100% Fair Trade practices, extruding organic, extra virgin oil made from fresh coconuts—never dried.

La Tourangelle uses organic coconuts picked right off the tree to produce the freshest oil possible. The oil is processed by their revolutionary centrifuge technology, producing an oil with a unique light texture, while retaining all of its natural antioxidants and nutrients. With its super high quality, you can even use your coconut oil outside of the kitchen as a soothing moisturizer for dry hands and lips, deep hair conditioning treatments, and face masks. Perhaps a spa weekend is in order. $14. latourangelle.com

honobmag foodie gifts to bring to your host

[6] Caravel Gourmet’s Infused Sea Salt

Salt is indispensable. These samplers with different flavor profiles are a thoughtful gift for that person who loves to dabble. The themed samplers offer six different salt varieties in each set. Choose from Spicy, French, Infused, Natural, and Smoked. From rosemary to Hawaiian bamboo jade, every dish can taste like something new, with just a flick of the wrist. $22. seasaltsuperstore.com

[7] Back to the Roots Herb Kits

Maybe your host has imagined dreamily snipping fresh herbs from a garden, but the closest thing to Eden is a rusty fire escape. Well, we’ve got their green-thumb fancies covered. Not much beats the satisfaction of nurturing a plant from seed, and Back to the Roots makes it incredibly easy with their line of ready-to-grow cans for small-space windowsill gardening. Just pop open the can, plant the seeds, water, wait patiently for nature to do its thing, and harvest. The Garden-in-a-Can Gift Set includes four organic herbs (basil, cilantro, oregano, and sage). Also nice to bring to those with kids, so they can have a fun summer project. backtotheroots.com

honobmag foodie gifts to bring to your host

[8] Bittermilk Old Fashioned Mixer Gift Set

Channeling your inner master mixologist and crafting speakeasy-level cocktails has never been simpler. Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Bittermilk produces small batch, hand bottled, all-natural, non-alcoholic mixers inspired by classic cocktails.

The Old Fashioned Set, perfect for lovers of strong, serious cocktails, includes the Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned, the New Orleans Style Old Fashioned Rouge, and the Oaxacan Old Fashioned. Enormous amounts of attention is paid to the techniques used to prepare the unique ingredients in each mixer, creating complex, incredible layers of flavor.

Aged in Willett bourbon barrels, the Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned mixer is made with burnt sugar, a touch of orange peel, and classic old fashioned bitters spices like gentian root and cinchona bark.

Inspired by the traditional and beloved Sazerac cocktail, the New Orleans Style Old Fashioned Rouge has strong Absinthe-like notes from spices like wormwood, gentian root, and cochineal, a Peruvian red beetle that imparts the original red coloring of Peychaud’s bitters.

The Oaxacan Old Fashioned, packed with complex chile, chocolate, and dried fruit notes, is made from a base of dried Mexican chiles and raisins and a syrup aged in drums with cocoa husks. All you have to do is add your favorite booze and enjoy. $45. shop.bittermilk.com

[9] Red Rocker Candy Chocolate Bark

Simple but deliciously satisfying, Red Rocker Candy’s rich chocolate treats bring back the nostalgic flavors and sentiments of times-gone-by. Handmade using only the highest quality ingredients, owner Sue Charney is committed to old-fashioned values.

Keep it classic with her amazing chocolate bark, available in four flavors: Crispy (using crispy rice cereal), Marshmallow Coconut (a fun take with fluffy marshmallows and toasted coconut), Nonpareils (a grown-up version of the mini snow-capped chocolates of yesteryear), and Roasted Almond—all available in both milk and dark chocolate varieties. $12. redrockercandy.com

honobmag foodie gifts to bring to your host

[10] Brooklyn Slate Co.

From a family-owned quarry in upstate New York, Brooklyn Slate Co. offers a natural platform for displaying cheese, hors d’oeuvres, and more. Use the accompanying soapstone pencil to inscribe a personal message to your host—and also to label what’s being offered. Also nice to send as a thank-you gift after the weekend—with pickles, cheese, or the makings for gourmet s’mores. $28 for the cheese board. $65-$80 for food/slate packages. brooklynslate.com

These ingredients are part of our weekend BBQ party plan. Whether you are showing up at a party, or preparing to host a fun BBQ, see my other details that will get the party flowin’.

Healthier Cookies: Chewy Coconut Raspberry Macadamia

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Of course everyone loves a good, chewy cookie. But some are healthier than others. In this healthier cookie recipe, we cut back on the sugar by substituting pomegranate powder, made from freeze-dried pomegranates, which also adds a nice, tangy sweetness. We also got our hands on some coconut flour to see how it would bake up, and, by golly, it came out soft and chewy, just as you’d like a cookie to be. The chewiness of these cookies might become addictive to your crowd. Two batches may be in order!

MAKES 22 COOKIES (3” DIAMETER) OR 32 COOKIES (2.5” DIAMETER)

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350°F… COMBINE DRY INGREDIENTS

1 CUP coconut flour
1/4 CUP pomegranate powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Sift ingredients together in a bowl.

GET OUT THE MIXER

10 TB salted butter, softened
1 CUP natural sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

dry ingredient mix

At medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar, about 2 min. Add vanilla, combine. Add egg, combine. Switch mixer to low speed. Add dry ingredients in batches. Do not over mix.

ADD SOME TEXTURE

1/2 CUP macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 CUP sweetened coconut flakes

Incorporate into mixture.

SHAPE THE COOKIES

2 TB turbinado sugar
the dough
raspberries

Put sugar into a small bowl. Using a small ice cream scoop portion dough, and roll into a ball. (To make more cookies, only fill the scoop about 3/4 of the way.) Roll the ball lightly in the turbinado sugar. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment. Gently push dough ball into a disk shape. Make an indentation in the center, place raspberry there.

GET IT IN THE OVEN

Place on middle rack in the oven. Bake for 7 min, flip baking tray around, and bake an additional 7 min. (for the smaller cookies do 6 and 6). Remove from oven, let cool on pan 2 min. Transfer to wire rack until totally cool.

Vegetable Ribbon Tart in Colorful Stripes

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Vegetables add to the design of this tart and to the taste. We mixed shaved strips of carrots, zucchini, and eggplant to create a beautiful pattern in this vegetable ribbon tart.

I tried this recipe two ways. First in a 9.5-inch square pan that was only 1-inch deep, and then in a scalloped 9-inch round pan, about 1.5 inches deep. They both came out well, so decide how you want to serve: in small elongated bites, or cut into triangles from the round.

If this recipe appeals to you, we’ve got even more recipes geared for summer in the Stripes party theme.

MAKES 18 SMALL SERVINGS (1 INCH X 4 INCH) OR 8-10 PIE WEDGES

THAW PUFF PASTRY

1/2 pkg Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry

Remove one pasty from package. Securely wrap remaining pastry and return to freezer immediately. Let pastry thaw for 40 min.

MAKE THE CHEESE MIX

1 CUP ricotta
1 CUP mozzarella, shredded
1/2 CUP sour cream
1 egg
2 TB parsley, minced
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.

PREPARE THE VEGGIES

2 large carrots, peeled
2 zucchini
1 eggplant

Using a peeler, shave strips of carrot lengthwise, holding the larger end. Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise, then cut into strips. With the eggplant, slice into it keeping in mind that you want to keep the skin for its color. The slices should be about the same height as the depth of the tart pan, so adjust accordingly.

PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF… ASSEMBLE THE TART

9.5-inch square ceramic dish, 1-inch deep
thawed pastry
cheese mix
veggie strips

Into a lightly greased pan, lay the puff pastry. Trim excess. Add the cheese mixture. Alternate the vegetable strips.

Bake 35 min on the lowest shelf in the oven, until the veggies have browned a little. Allow to cool a bit before cutting and serving. For the square, cut into 9 rows, then in half to get 18 petit servings. If you chose the round tart, then cut into 8 or 10 triangles.

Shirlei’s Addictive Brazilian Potato Salad

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

My Brazilian friend Shirlei is a fantastic cook, and has taught me a trick or two. When she lived in NYC we hosted many a gathering together. Whenever she made this potato salad I loved it so much, I prayed there would be leftovers—which I would eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I could not get enough of Shirlei’s Addictive Brazilian Potato Salad.

It might seem like an odd combination of things, but it totally works, and is almost a meal in itself. The parsley is essential for the proper flavor, as is regular mayonnaise. As for the things you boil, to simplify things when cooking, I saved the boiling water from the potatoes, then cooked the string beans in it, then cooked the carrots in it.

See more recipes that are great for summer entertaining in the Stripes party theme.

MAKES ONE VERY LARGE BOWL

START CHOPPING

5 large russet potatoes, peeled

Cut the potatoes into half-inch slices, then cubes. Bring to a boil in covered pot. Boil 7 to 8 min. Monitor the pot, as the bits cook quickly and you do not want them to overcook. The texture should be firm, keeping its cubed shape. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon—save the water for boiling the veggies. Place potatoes in cool spot or refrigerator.

MORE CHOPPING

1/2 LB string beans, cut into 1/4-inch bits
5 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch bits (about 2 1/2 CUPS)

In the water used to boil potatoes, boil each for roughly 5 min, till they are soft but not mushy.

GET A REALLY BIG BOWL…CREATE THE POTATO SALAD

cooked potatoes, string beans, carrots
3/4 CUP golden raisins
20 green olives, cut into tiny bits
1 apple, diced
1 CUP mayonnaise
1 CUP parsley, minced
1-2 TB salt
freshly ground black pepper

potato sticks (optional)

Mix together all the ingredients, except the potato sticks. Refrigerate at least a few hours to allow flavors to meld. Cover the top with the potato sticks when ready to serve.