Friday, April 19, 2013

Savory Nuts

The next time you’re feeling peckish, give these savory nuts a crack.  This recipe takes a plain, ordinary handful of nuts to a trendy new level.  Light, flavorful and healthy, they are a flawless snack any time of the day.  For a more complete nosh, pair them with dried fruit, cheese and a sparkling aperitif for an impressive, delicious course.  

Savory Nuts

1 egg white
1 t. Smoked paprika
1/8 t. Cayenne Pepper
1/4 t. onion powder
¼ t. chili powder
½ t. garlic
Dash of Pepper
2-3 C. Mixed Nuts

Preheat oven to 350. 

In a medium bowl, beat the egg white until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold in the spices and combine well.  Fold in the nuts and make sure they are evenly coated.  Spread the nuts onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until the coating has hardened and browned lightly.   

*TIP:  This method of using an egg white is also how you would make the cinnamon-sugar pecans you find around the holidays.  Experiment with your own special blend of spices to make it personal.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Not So Po' Boy Sandwiches

If you would have told me 2 years ago that I would begin to crave fish sticks, I would have told you, “you're crazay!”  This was about the same time that I realized my true love for “queso” and consequently, how I would dress in disguise to embarrassedly purchase Velveeta at the grocery store.  I’ll tell you more about that later… 

Back to fish sticks.  So, I’m pretty sure we all ate these as kids.  Probably with tartar sauce and limp French fries and the faux title of “Fish n’ Chips.”  Well, I’m going to change your mind about them with these Po’ Boy Sandwiches.  I tried a version of these sandwiches awhile back and fell in love.  The crunch is flawless against the pillowy texture of the bread, and the veggies drizzled with the tangy remoulade provide just the right amount of spicy contrast.  Feel free to “elevate” these sammiches with freshly caught, boned, battered and deep-fried fish when you find the time.  For me, I look forward to the wicked, nostalgic sticks. 

Open-faced Po' Boy Sandwiches

Fish Sticks (I prefer beer battered)
Tomato, diced
Cucumber, diced
½ C. Thousand Island Dressing
1 T. Horseradish
Sriracha (optional)
Hawaiian Buns
Something green, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 425. 

Scatter the fish sticks on a baking sheet.  Cook in the oven until they are sizzling and golden brown, flipping once (about 24 minutes total). 

In a medium bowl, toss together the tomato and cucumber.  Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper.  Place in the refrigerator to chill.  To make the remoulade sauce, whisk together the Thousand Island Dressing and horseradish in a small bowl.  Taste and season with salt and pepper or more horseradish, if needed.    

In the last 5 minutes of baking the fish, slice the Hawaiian buns in half to form a top and a bottom and set them on the baking sheet with the fish.  All you want is to warm them up and maybe add a slightly crunchy edge. 

I like my sandwiches to be open-faced, but feel free to top them off with another bun if you desire.  To assemble, place the buns on the plate.  Top with the tomato and cucumber relish.  Place a fish stick or two on top and drizzle with the remoulade.  Sprinkle the sandwiches with something green for looks.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Blueberry Brownies

Okay, so I'm going to recommend that you cheat on this recipe.  I know, I know.  Some of you will frown on this and say a real chef would make these from scratch.  But I say, give yourself a break!  Take a helping hand when it’s offered.  Especially when the result is just as tasty as if you’d spent hours laboring in the kitchen.  Feel free to make your brownies the old-fashioned way, but a boxed brownie mix works just as well.  And in my opinion, it's a hell of a lot easier.  To me, if you take something quotidian and put a unique spin on it, you should take credit for it!

Without further ado, let me introduce you to Blueberry Brownies, a gooey and scrumptious twist on that classic dessert your co-workers bring to the office every couple of weeks.  These brownies are rich and decadent with a surprising burst of fresh fruit in each bite.  Feel free to have two, because they’ve got a great supply of antioxidants as well!

Blueberry Brownies

1 Brownie Mix
2 Eggs
½ C. applesauce
¼ C. water
1/2 Pint of Blueberries
1 Dark chocolate bar, broken into pieces

Did you know you could replace the vegetable oil in cake and brownie mixes with applesauce?  It’s a great way to keep desserts moist and less fatty.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Generously grease a 9”x13”x2” baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the brownie mix, eggs, applesauce and water and thoroughly beat with a mixer.  When combined, fold in the blueberries and dark chocolate.  Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake for about 28 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the brownies comes out clean.  Let the brownies cool slightly before cutting.