I was in Vermont recently, the maple syrup capital of the U.S., where I purchased a jar of maple walnut peanut butter, which quickly disappeared. Before I tossed out the empty jar I checked the ingredient list and saw that it contained just a few ingredients – peanuts, maple syrup, walnuts, and salt. Easy enough to make I thought, but since I’m more a fan of almond butter than peanut butter I decided to make Maple Walnut Almond Butter instead. The results were fantastic.
Put the walnuts and almonds on a sheet pan and roast them at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes until they are slightly toasted. Check the oven after 5 minutes to make sure they are not browning too quickly. I keep the walnuts and almonds separate on the sheet pan so that if one is toasting more quickly than the other I can remove them easily and return the pan to the oven until the other nuts are done.
When I was researching how to start a food blog I learned that recipe titles are extremely important and that using the right recipe title can often mean the difference between someone clicking to read your post or passing it by. It’s tempting to name a recipe something unique or fun, but when you do that you’re not giving the reader a window into what the dish will taste like. Instead you’re forcing them to read through the entire recipe (if they’re even still reading) and decide for themselves what the dish will taste like, what flavors are prominent, etc. It’s far better to sum up the dish with an appropriate title. Even so, my initial inclination was to name this recipe “Not your Average Meatballs” because of its unorthodox ingredients, until it occurred to me that the more descriptive name is far more enticing. Blue cheese and beef is a classic culinary combination and the rosemary adds just a of hint of savoriness that complements the two ingredients perfectly. In this recipe the wild rice takes the place of bread crumbs as a filler and adds an interesting and pleasing texture. It also makes them gluten free. You can serve these meatballs with homemade ketchup or marinara, and while we don’t normally think of meatballs as finger food, my favorite way to eat them is straight out of the refrigerator, cold, with just the tiniest sprinkling of salt – no utensils required. The turkey, goat cheese, and sun-dried tomato variation of this recipe is equally delicious.
The first thing you need to do for this recipe is cook up some wild rice. To yield 1½ cups of cooked wild rice bring ½ cup of uncooked wild rice and 1½ cups of water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
Chopped fresh rosemary gives these meatballs an unbeatable flavor but if you can’t find fresh rosemary simply substitute 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary.
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…)
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 Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Mozzarella Sticks. They’re not crumbly and are 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. (more…)