I’m new to the world of food blogging (this is only my 4th post) so one of the things I have been doing a lot of lately is reading other food blogs to see if I can figure out how this whole crazy thing works. Recently I stumbled upon a great food blog that’s been around for a while www.leitesculinaria.com and saw a recipe for Cheesy Fish Crackers in a post by Lara Ferroni, author of the book Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk . It brought back some fond memories of when my daughter, now 20 and a junior in college, was a little girl. She was wild about Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. They HAD to be in her lunch bag every school day. Back then I bought the famous Pepperidge Farm Goldfish in the giant milk containers and we went through them very quickly. Nowadays my daughter eats healthier snacks and even gave up gluten about a year ago. So when I saw this recipe, and remembered that I actually had a fish cookie cutter, I decided to make the gluten free version to send to her at college. Among the dozens of cookie cutters I own that I have never used is a Wilton fish cookie cutter. I have no idea what I had in mind when I bought this cookie cutter (certainly not giant gold fish crackers) but I’m always happy when I find a use for all those idle kitchen tools and gadgets that I simply can’t resist buying. I thought these crackers would be a little more interesting, and sophisticated, with some heat so I added cayenne pepper to the recipe. I also took the liberty of substituting parmesan cheese for the cheddar. If you want these crackers to have an orange cast, so that they more closely resemble the original iconic snack, then simply substitute a mild cheddar cheese for the parmesan, which is what the original recipe calls. (more…)
When my daughters were growing up this was my go-to recipe for the endless number of school related activities that required donating baked goods. I usually had all of the ingredients on hand and could throw it together very quickly, which was great because I often found out about them having to bring something into school around 10 o’clock the night before. Just as they were getting ready for bed I’d hear “Mom, I forgot to tell you, I have to bring in something for our class breakfast tomorrow”. God knows there was never enough extra time in the morning to run to the grocery store to pick something up – it was always easier to whip up this cake. Back then I put the entire recipe in a 9 x 13 inch disposable casserole tin so that I didn’t have to worry about the pan finding its way back home. That’s a good size cake for a crowd, but now I prefer to make two smaller coffee cakes (8-inch round) and put one in the freezer. The round cakes are a little more elegant and because I sometimes serve this as a desert – with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – wedges, as opposed to square slices, are a more suitable shape. This recipe was adapted from Tidewater On The Half Shell, Fine Virginia Recipes – a very old Junior League cookbook.
The blueberries and apples pair together wonderfully in this cake and make it extra moist.
After I chop up the apple I toss it with a few drops of orange juice to prevent it from browning (due to oxidation) while the rest of the cake is being prepared.
I’m not a fan of party appetizers that are messy or awkward to eat – the kind that drip and break apart after the first bite and leave you awkwardly cupping your hand under your chin to catch the falling food debris, all while trying to maintain your composure and simultaneously engage in cocktail chatter. That’s one of the reasons I love this appetizer. It’s not crumbly and is easy to eat with one hand, lest you not have to put down your drink! These are fancy enough to serve to company but simple enough to make for yourself – just to nosh on. So if your kids are getting tired of those mozzarella sticks that you put in their lunch boxes, and you have a few extra lying around, try making these. They take less than 10 minutes to prepare and make a great 100 calorie snack – with 10 grams of protein too. They’d also be a great addition to an antipasto platter.
The right balance of colors on a plate can rouse the senses before even the first morsel of food is put into your mouth. We taste with our eyes first. This salad is a perfect example of how just seeing a dish can fire up your taste buds and ready them for a delicious meal. Whenever I’m serving an entree that’s lacking in color I can always count on this salad’s bright and vivid ingredients to make an otherwise bland looking plate come alive. You can of course serve this without the pepper cups but they provide an extra pop of color and make a beautiful presentation.
- 2 (15 ½ oz.) cans black beans
- 1 pint cherry (or grape) tomatoes, halved
- 1 avocado, preferably Hass, cut into ½-inch dice
- 4 bell peppers – red, green, orange, and yellow
- 8 ounces frozen corn
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced (white part and green parts)
- 3 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 Tablespoons organic blue agave
- cilantro (optional garnish)
- Place the frozen corn in a microwave safe container, microwave on high for one minute, and then blot with a paper towel to remove excess water. Set aside to cool completely.
- Make the lime citrus vinaigrette. In a small bowl whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, agave, cumin, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- Cut the top off of each of the four peppers. Remove the stems, ribs and seeds from each pepper and then chop the tops only.
- Rinse and drain the black beans and add to a big bowl along with the chopped pepper tops, corn, avocado, grape tomatoes, and scallions.
- Re-whisk the lime vinaigrette and pour over the black bean mixture. Combine thoroughly.
- Spoon some of the black bean salad into each of the four peppers and garnish with cilantro if desired.
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