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Buvette is a place that is defined by its smallness; everything is small on purpose. Walking into the darkened West Village restaurant is like going down the proverbial rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland – you are instantly transported to a place far, far away from the largess of New York City. Make no mistake, this place is still very NY.
On the Saturday night that I visited the tiny place that seats no more than 50, it was fully packed with a hub of people standing by the bar. Luckily, my date and I had no problem getting a seat even though Buvette does not take reservations. We were seated between some young women enjoying a girls’ night out and several glasses of wine and an older couple who slowly scrutinized tonight’s chalkboard’s menus offerings in the dim light. Steak tartare and braised rabbit seemed to be some of the selections tonight, but we had already eaten and weren’t hungry. Our very French waiter was quick to entice us with the night’s wine selection, but we didn’t come for drinks, we came for dessert— chocolate mousse to be exact. We did note the vast wine selection that’s sorted by varieties from the different regions of France. A visual depiction of France’s wine regions provided a charming backdrop for our dining experience on a neatly drawn blackboard behind us. Since we both drank alcohol earlier, we knew we’d have to enjoy the wine at another time. We ordered coffee instead; a cappuccino and an Americano and one order of the simple yet decadent chocolate mousse.
Glancing around Buvette, you can’t help but notice the owner’s meticulous attention to detail in little touches like the oversized vases filled with fruit juxtaposed between the bottles of wine on the wall; the wait staff dressed in immaculately white freshly pressed apron looking like little French paper dolls; precious oval glasses of water our waiter offered us right before he brought out our dessert and coffee.
The chocolate mousse adorned with a generous serving of freshly whipped cream managed to garner the attention of both of the tables next to us. The girls stopped their endless chatter to whisper approvingly to each other, “that looks good.” The elderly couple’s gaze lingered, as we were about to dig in. The dessert was incredibly rich and perfectly balanced with the very strong coffee – not too sweet, not too bitter, just right, just so. We left quickly to catch a late movie, but we vowed to come back again with our French friend who no doubt would love this place.
This is a great place for an intimate date, a small group dinner (I heard their breakfast is fantastic too) or a quick bite before a show. Your best bet is to go around 7 p.m. since the place fills up fast, but even if you have to wait, it will be worth it to have everything served to you just so.
This show stopping salad is a delicious, meatless, hearty meal. Ras el hanout, is a legendary North African seasoning blend loaded with heady and aromatic spices, the perfect flavors for oven-roasted cauliflower.
Tabil is a Tunisian spice blend consisting of a savory, fragrant blend of coriander, caraway, and cumin. The chicken in this salad is heartily seasoned with this tasty spice blend before cooked, shredded into tender bite-sized pieces, and topped on a heaping bed of baby arugula (along with other very tasty additions.)
These delicious marinated cremini mushrooms make a great snack, or a side dish for your next cookout or gathering. Think of the seasonings in this recipe as a starting point and adjust or substitute depending on your personal preferences.
6 cannabis cookbooks with recipes from basic to gourmet
As cannabis is legalized — although it remains illegal under federal law —and goes mainstream in California and other states, the cookbook industry has churned into high gear with books on what ways to use jazz cabbage beyond the bong. What to look for? A lot depends on your level of expertise — not just in the kitchen but with cannabis itself. If you’ve been making batches of pot brownies and want to expand your repertoire to, say, French macarons, there are cookbooks to help you out. Many books have lengthy introductions that outline the specifics of cooking with cannabis, so find one that fits with what you know — or don’t know.
“Bong Appetit: Mastering the Art of Cooking With Weed” by the editors of Munchies (Ten Speed Press, $30)
This book, based on the Munchies and Viceland television series “Bong Appétit,” was published in October by Ten Speed Press. (This is in itself notable, as Ten Speed is one of the best cookbook publishers around, and continues the legitimate trajectory of the cannabis cooking genre.) The book has a comprehensive introduction that includes topics such as dosing, techniques, methods of decarboxylation and infusion, cannabis pairing tips, questions to ask your dispensary, tips on equipment and more. The recipes are sourced from the Munchies test kitchen and from many well-known chefs, whose recipes are recalibrated to add cannabis. Thus: Korean fried chicken from Deuki Hong of San Francisco’s Sunday Bird fried soft-shell crab with shishito pepper mole from Daniela Soto-Innes of Cosme and Atla and (my favorite) Joan Nathan’s preserved lemons. The Munchies test kitchen also has some fun ones, including herb focaccia with, well, herb and confit octopus, in which a whole octopus is poached in cannabis-infused olive oil. If that sounds too aspirational, there are instructions for making an apple bong — a hollowed-out apple filled with weed-infused mezcal — at the end of the drinks chapter.
“Edibles: Small Bites for the Modern Cannabis Kitchen” by Stephanie Hua with Coreen Carroll (Chronicle Books, $19.95)
“Edibles” is a just-published, user-friendly cookbook in a few notable ways: There is a lengthy and well-defined introductory section that discusses dosage, potency, effects, terminology and techniques. The 30 recipes that follow are purposefully low-dose (5 milligrams per serving), which is very helpful for beginning cooks, as well as those with a potentially problematic sweet tooth (Stephanie Hua is a confectioner at a marshmallow company she and Coreen Carroll met at culinary school in San Francisco). The recipes are also a lot more appealing than those in many cannabis cookbooks, which can tend to run a little toward dorm food. Hua and Carroll instead give well-written recipes for cardamom caramels, gruyère and green garlic gougères, strawberry jam Pavlovas and roasted grape crostini. The blueberry lemon French macarons are a serious improvement on pot brownies.
“The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook” by Elise McDonough and the editors of High Times Magazine (Chronicle Books, $18.95)
This 6-year-old cookbook is from High Times magazine, the pot-championing publication founded in 1974. The book collects recipes from various sources (cooks who’ve contributed to the magazine, a “dude from Texas”) and begins with a workmanlike introduction that covers some of the basics of working with and consuming cannabis. But those basics are minimal strains of cannabis, relative potency and issues of temperature and decarboxylation aren’t covered. Dosing in the recipes is also vague: a recipe, for example, says it “stones 4,” and there’s no mention of how many mgs are in the servings. The recipes are fun, and hardly technically difficult: the chocolate layer cake calls for Betty Crocker cake mix and frosting. If the Munchies book is for hipster stoners, this one is for people who’ve been listening to their Cheech and Chong records on vinyl since the last time it was cool.
Andrea Drummer is a Los Angeles-based culinary school grad and private chef specializing in cannabis cooking. Maybe because of her culinary training, the book is short on the science of cooking with cannabis and long on recipes, including some fun ones such as kimchi fried rice and escargot in puff pastry. This is both good and bad, as the recipes for infused stock, pasta dough and mayonnaise are comforting for home cooks, but the book doesn’t give much information about how to work with or use cannabis. (There’s also no index, which is frustrating.) Although Drummer gives bud pairings, as if she’s talking about a good Cabernet, decarboxylation isn’t even mentioned recipes simply call for grams of “cannabis product.” This assumes a lot, and unless you’re already versed in this kind of cooking, you’ll need outside reference in order to use this one properly.
“Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking With Cannabis” by Melissa Parks and Laurie Wolf (Inkshares, $24.99)
This 3-year-old cookbook from two classically trained chefs — the pair have degrees from the Culinary Institute of America, Le Cordon Bleu and Johnson and Wales between them — is one of the better books about cannabis cooking. It’s both pragmatic and culinary-minded, and avoids the stoner language that can obfuscate the prose of the genre. The concise “cannabis 101” intro section concludes with good recipes for canna-oil, canna-butter and compound butters made with it — a great and nicely cheffy touch. The recipes focus on well-sourced ingredients and give techniques for components in such a way that you could easily use the book for non-pot cooking. I’d switch out the cannabutter for regular butter and make the triple-chocolate espresso cookies on a regular rotation, and the matcha sugar cookies too.
Published in 2015 by a Colorado writer and photographer, this cookbook collects recipes from a dozen chefs and one bartender who specialize in cannabis-infused food. Before the recipes, there’s a 100-plus-page section that provides biographies of the chefs and discusses many aspects of buying, identifying and cooking with cannabis, covering cooking cultivars, details on infusions and extractions, plus dosing tips. There’s a longer section on how to make the oils and butters and tinctures than in many books it also includes recipes for infused milk, cream, honey and simple syrup, all of which makes the recipes that follow succinct. The dosage per serving is clearly stated, and the recipe headnotes often include nicely geeky bits, such as how mangoes are reputed to heighten the effects of cannabis because they’re high (ha-ha) in myrcene molecules. Thus a recipe for rice pudding with green cardamom, mango and pistachios.
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Amy Scattergood is the former editor of the Los Angeles Times Food section and a former member of the Food reporting team.
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Tips for making mini churros
- Use a candy thermometer for the temperature.
- Use a 1/2″ closed star tip for pipping.Ateco 846 tip is used for these churros, but Ateco 845 would work too. The closed star tip helps create more defined edges for the perfect consistency and crispy texture.
- Small pieces of dough will fry quicker and easier than large pieces. You do not want to use too large of a star tip or have pieces that are too long. They will not cook through completely or evenly and you will be left with a doughy inside. Follow the directions here for perfectly crispy churros.
- When the churros are golden brown remove them from the oil. When in doubt, fry a little longer so that they are crispy. If undercooked, they are raw and doughy in the center.
- Use any leftover churros to make delectable Churro Cupcakes. You won’t regret it!
This recipe was adapted from the original Disney churros recipe posted on the Disney Parks Blog. After making these homemade churros a few times, we made a few minor adjustments and added our own tips to help you create perfect churros every single time.
Try these mini churros inspired by Disney and let us know what you think!
How to turn cupcakes into mini cupcakes
The only baked good cuter than a cupcake is a mini cupcake, but there aren’t as many recipes out there for these downsized goodies as there are for their full-sized counterparts. Fortunately, it is not difficult to turn a batch of full sized cupcakes into miniature ones as long as you have a mini muffin pan to work with.
Most cupcake recipes can be made into mini cupcakes. Mini cupcake pans hold roughly 1/3 of the amount of regular cupcake pans, so if you have a recipe that yields 12 full sized cupcakes, you’ll get 36 minis from the same amount of batter. It is much easier to start with the full recipe and make a big batch of minis than to cut down the recipe, as there are some recipes that don’t take well to downsizing.
Once you have your batter, fill up the mini muffin pan as you would a regular muffin pan (filling each cup somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 full) and pop the tray in the oven. While most cupcakes take about 15-20 minutes to bake, most mini cupcakes take from 9-14 minutes or so to reach donenss. Check your minis at 9 or 10 minutes with a toothpick and bake longer as needed. The only thing you really need to look out for is the fact that it is easy to overbake these miniature cakes, so keep a close eye on them while they’re baking and check them at very short intervals when they’re close to being done.
All this is also true of mini muffins. One additional thing you’ll want to keep in mind where muffins are concerned is that they tend to have mix-ins, and while big blackberries make a great addition to a full sized muffin, they can overwhelm a mini. Scale down your mix-ins by opting for smaller pieces of chocolate, nuts or fruit to keep them proportional to the mini muffins.
Here are a few mini recipes – and these already come with baking times – to get you started:
Small batch tiramisu
Please tell me this doesn’t just happen to me: You know when you love a dish so much, you don’t even want to risk ordering it when you’re out because it’s so often disappointing? Hopeless child of the 80s and 90s that I am, tiramisu is a top five dessert for me but I almost never eat it for this messy reason. At its finest, little bits of cake are almost saturated with bracing espresso then burrowed in a cream that’s ethereally light and fluffy for containing an unholy amount of mascarpone and dusted generously with cocoa or shaved unsweetened chocolate between each layer. The sum of the parts isn’t overly sweet but quite rich, ideal in small doses. It is heaven.
The obvious solution would be to make it at home, and pre-kids and pre-this-site, we did this often. Pretty much any dinner party we had was an excuse to fine-tune my recipe and if you told me there was some not-so-distant future when I would realize it had been almost a decade since I last made it, I would have thought you’d gone off the deep end. But here we are and the reality is that good tiramisu, the only kind I want to bother with, contains the following not exactly child-friendly or child-incubation-friendly things:
Very strong espresso
Marsala or rum, or both, you lucky thing
Raw eggs, several
… Which has severely cramped my tiramisu intake over the last 8 or so years. It’s funny, I am completely okay with making something for dinner my husband and I want to eat that the kids might hate (it helps to wear earplugs to drown out the complaints) (just kidding!) (kinda) but a big pan of a chocolate-dusted dessert that the kids can’t touch? Even by my standards, that’s excessively cruel. [“Yay! You made chocolate pudding with cake in it!” “Not for you, dear.”]
But I finally found my solution: small-batch tiramisu, that is, utterly perfect, completely uncompromised tiramisu made and served in small enough cups for an occasional luxury but not so much that two adults end up eating a casserole dish of triple cream. Furthermore, they’re so tiny and funfetti-free, the little people might not even notice that you’re not sharing.
- Servings: 8 small (2/3 cup) or just shy of 6 large (1 cup) portions
- Time: 30 minutes plus time to set
- Source:Adapted a bit from the Polpo cookbook
- 24 ladyfingers (savioardi) cookies (storebought or from recipe below)
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1/3 cup (65 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (13 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 8.8-ounce (250 ml) package mascarpone
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) sweet or dry marsala
- 1 cup (235 ml) strong, warm espresso coffee
- A couple tablespoons of your favorite cocoa powder, for sifting over
In a larger bowl, using same beaters, beat egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until thick and pale yellow, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in mascarpone cheese until combined, and continue beating another minute for extra fluff. Beat in marsala until smooth. Gently fold in egg whites until combined, trying not to deflate the mixture. It will be a loose, soft, creamy custard.
In a small bowl wide enough to dip cookies into, combine the espresso and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside.
To assemble small cups: Dip first cookie in espresso mixture until almost fully saturated but not falling apart. Break in half and place the first half in the bottom of your cup. Spoon 1 generous (I use a measuring spoon, but heaped a little) tablespoon cream over it. Repeat with second half of first biscuit and another spoonful of cream. Dust with cocoa powder. Dip second cookie in coffee and break in half. Place side-by-side over cocoa then top with 2 generous tablespoons cream mixture, which should take you nearly to the top of the cup. Dust with more cocoa. Repeat with remaining cups.
To assemble large cups: Dip first cookie in espresso mixture until almost fully saturated but not falling apart. Break in half and place side-by-side in the bottom of your larger cup. Spoon 2 generous tablespoons (I use a measuring spoon, but heaped a little) cream over and dust with cocoa powder. Dip two biscuits in espresso mixture and break in half. Place 3 of the halves on top of the cocoa powder, cover with another 2 generous tablespoons of cream and cocoa powder. Dip a 4th biscuit in the espresso mixture, break it in half, and place these two halves plus the leftover half from the previous layer on top of the cocoa. Dollop more cream over and repeat with remaining cups.
If you can bear it, let cups chill in fridge overnight to set. Before eating, you can dust them with fresh cocoa powder for a prettier look.
Simplest Ladyfingers (Savioardi)
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 2/3 cups (85 grams) all-purpose flour
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
In a large bowl, with the same beaters, beat egg yolks with 1/3 cup sugar until thick and pale. Gently fold in egg whites, then fold in flour, trying not to deflate the mixture.
Pour batter into quart-sized freezer bag and snip off end to about a 1-inch opening or a pastry bag with a large round tip. Pipe cookies into 3-ish inch strips, with a 2 inches between each cookie. Sprinkle each with a pinch of granulated sugar and a light dusting of powdered sugar, then bake cookies until faintly gold and dry to the touch, about 6 to 8 minutes (although I found it to take up to 4 minutes more when using a lighter-colored cookie sheet better to check early). Let cool on tray for a minute then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
If you’re getting a lead on these cookies and won’t need them until the next day, leave them out uncovered so they can dry out as much as possible.
First things first: You might have noticed I made my own savoiardi, not because I cannot get them around here and not because I think your tiramisu will suffer without them. Nope, quite simply, I realized they contained a few as three ingredients and had to see for myself if they were as simple as they sounded. Turns out, they totally are so I’m including the recipe I settled on (after a couple flops, let’s not talk about it) below.
Should you be purchasing ladyfingers, look for crisp ones. I understand that at some point, American-style ones were softer and Italian-style ones were more crisp. (I feel like I only see the latter these days, but should you end up with the former, dry them out in the oven for a bit until they have a snap to them. You want them to be able to absorb.
This recipe is tweaked from one of my favorite cookbooks to curl up with. I talked about it previously here and here. This version is halved, uses a bit less sugar. I used the rum in the coffee but would skip it next time I think the marsala is sufficient for good flavor.
Marsala is the traditional alcohol in tiramisu. You can use sweet or dry. Sweet is more typical for desserts but I only keep dry around. After reading this from Cook’s Illustrated, I felt confident it would be just as good, and it was. My second choice for tiramisu is rum. I know brandy works fairly well too. I’m not crazy about Kahlua because the dessert itself is naturally flavored with chocolate and coffee, no need to add it artificially when you could just use rum. For both brandy and rum, I might use a touch less because marsala has a lower alcohol content.
As for tweaking this recipe to make it less risky, you could use pasteurized eggs, and at minimum, you should use eggs you’re as confident one can be are fresh. You could use decaf espresso. I am sure someone somewhere skips the booze or uses less. All work. You’re making this for you, not me. But if you’re making it for me, please don’t. And if you’re on the fence about making it this indulgently, do it once and if it’s terrible, you can send all the extras over here.
101 Simple Appetizers in 20 Minutes or Less
YOU want good food at a holiday cocktail party and you want to impress people? You don’t want a caterer, you refuse to heat up frozen food, and you want to show that your expertise extends beyond buying perfectly ripe hunks of cheese and juicy olives? Then think about doing some cooking.
Here is a collection of party foods that are as easy to eat as they are to make. Each can be produced in 20 minutes or less. Many can be served at room temperature. And none require a plate. (Few people can juggle plate, wineglass and fork successfully, let alone gracefully.)
Most of these recipes are beyond minimalist: they never do in two steps what can be done in one, and they need no embellishment. As you scan these recipes for ideas, mostly think this: The ones you find most appealing are the ones your guests will like. Choose a few, spend an hour or two in the kitchen, and you’ll be in great shape.
On Bread or Crackers
1 Red peppers and anchovies: Drizzle piquillos or other roasted red peppers with olive oil, and top with a good anchovy fillet. A caper or two on each is not amiss.
2 Top rye flatbread with thin slices of crisp apple and pickled plain or schmaltz herring (not herring in cream sauce).
3 Sear skirt steak to medium-rare, not more than 8 minutes. Cut into chunks 1/2-inch to 1 inch, first with the grain, then against it. Spread bread with coarse mustard and/or butter. Top with steak and coarse salt.
4 Toss high-quality crab meat with minced shallots, a little tarragon or a lot of parsley and/or basil, and enough mayonnaise to bind. Also good on lettuce leaves.
5 Mash together best-quality tuna, minced anchovies, minced garlic, chopped oil-cured olives and olive oil as necessary.
6 New York comfort food: Spread cream cheese or crème fraîche on small bagels or bagel chips black bread is also terrific. Top with sturgeon, sable or lox.
7 Slice soft goat cheese and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and chopped herbs, then with bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees until soft, about 10 minutes, and serve hot.
8 Might not be the new ketchup, but great stuff: purée skinned roasted peppers or piquillos with some of their liquid, salt and olive oil. Serve alone or with other foods — a piece of cheese, even.
9 Top buttered bread with shaved country ham, prosciutto or regular deli ham and bread-and-butter pickles.
10 Chop shrimp fine, then sauté in a minimum of oil, or poach quickly and drain. Mix premade pesto with mayonnaise so that it is gluey. Combine cooled shrimp with sufficient pesto to bind chill.
11 Tapenade: Combine about 1 pound pitted black olives in food processor with 1/4 cup drained capers, at least 5 anchovies, 2 garlic cloves, black pepper and olive oil as necessary to make a coarse paste. Can also be a dip. Use sparingly it’s strong.
12 A kind of Moroccan tapenade: As above, but use good green olives with capers olive-oil-canned tuna (instead of anchovies) garlic, if desired and cumin.
13 Chop fresh mushrooms. Cook slowly in olive oil with salt and pepper until very soft. Stir in minced garlic and parsley. Cook a few more minutes until garlic mellows. (Especially good if you add reconstituted dried porcini.)
14 Mix together a bit of flour and good paprika. Cut Manchego or similar sheep’s milk cheese into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Dip in flour, then beaten egg, then bread crumbs, and fry quickly to brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.
15 Beef tartare: Carefully pulse good beef in food processor. For each pound, add an egg, a teaspoon dry mustard, a tablespoon Dijon mustard, a tablespoon Worcestershire, Tabasco to taste, 1/2 cup chopped scallions and a touch of minced garlic. Salt and pepper, if necessary. Amazing stuff.
16 Put a thick film of olive oil in a skillet over low heat with lots of thin-sliced garlic. When it sizzles, add shrimp along with pimentón. Raise the heat just enough to get the shrimp going, and cook until it’s pink. Stir in parsley. Spoon a little of the oil onto pieces of bread and top with shrimp.
17 Season cornmeal with lots of chili powder, salt and black pepper. Heat a thick film of neutral oil (or oil mixed with butter) in a skillet. Dredge shucked clams, oysters or chicken breast pieces in the cornmeal and cook about 2 minutes a side, or until crisp. Serve on bread with mayonnaise, or sprinkle with lemon or lime juice and serve on toothpicks. It’s almost convenience food when prepared with shucked mollusks.
18 Bruschetta is the basis for so many good things. Don’t make it too crisp, and start with good country bread. Brush thick slices with olive oil. Broil until toasted on both sides. While it’s still hot, rub with cut clove of garlic on one side (optional). Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and serve, or top with prosciutto or tapenade.
19 More than party food, and an amazing snack: Top bruschetta with white beans cooked soft (or use canned) and finished with minced garlic, sage, olive oil and salt.
20 One more level: Make white beans as above. Toss with good quality canned tuna and mash. Spoon over bruschetta.
21 Top bruschetta with chopped, well-cooked broccoli rabe or other greens tossed with minced garlic and olive oil while still warm. Health food, practically. Also good with a layer of Tuscan beans (above).
22 Cut pork tenderloin into 1-inch slices broil or sauté until done. Cut each piece across into 3 or 4 thin slices, then pile onto round bread slices, toasted or not. Top with slice of Manchego and bit of piquillo pepper.
23 Cut chorizo into chunks. Cook in a lightly oiled skillet until nicely browned. Kielbasa is equally good (or better), if not as hip.
24 Portable Caprese: Skewer a small ball of mozzarella, a grape tomato and a bit of basil leaf. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil.
25 A no-brainer: Cut slab of bacon into 1/2-inch chunks. Cook in a skillet, a broiler or a high-heat oven until nice and crisp. Skewer with a grape tomato.
26 Even jazzier: Cut just-ripe pears in 1/2-inch cubes sprinkle with a little salt, sugar and cayenne. Spear with bacon.
27 Pair crispy bacon chunks with one cube of beet and one of goat cheese.
28 Angels on horseback: Wrap oysters or not-too-large sea scallops in bacon skewer with toothpicks. Broil, turning once, until bacon is done.
29 You can call them devils on horseback: Wrap pitted dates (replacing the pit with an almond if you like) in bacon. Skewer with toothpicks and broil, turning once, until bacon is done.
30 Rumaki, a 1960s cocktail food that deserves reviving: Brush canned water chestnuts (or chicken liver halves, or crimini mushrooms, or pieces of portobello) with a little soy sauce wrap in pieces of bacon. Skewer closed with toothpicks and broil, turning once, until bacon is done.
31 Wash mussels or littleneck clams well steam open in covered pot. Let cool, remove from shells, and serve with aioli, flavored mayonnaise or vinaigrette.
32 Cook real bay scallops in hot butter or oil for just a couple of minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and parsley and serve hot.
33 Crab cakes: For each pound crab meat, add an egg, 1/4 cup each minced bell pepper and onion, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons bread or cracker crumbs, salt and pepper. Shape into small cakes and refrigerate, if time allows. Dredge in flour, then brown in oil (or oil mixed with butter). Serve with lemon wedges, aioli or tartar sauce.
34 Meatballs: Combine 1 thick slice white bread with 1/2 cup milk let sit for 5 minutes. Squeeze milk from bread and gently mix bread with 1/2 pound not-too-lean ground sirloin, 1/2 pound ground pork, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves and salt and pepper. Shape into 1-inch balls. (If mixture doesn’t hold well, add more bread crumbs and an egg.) Broil about 5 minutes, turning once or twice.
35 Cod cakes with sauce rouge: I’m hedging on time here, but you’re really getting two recipes in one: Combine 1 pound chopped boneless cod, an egg, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, a tablespoon Dijon mustard and some salt and pepper. Add bread or cracker crumbs until you can shape the mixture into cakes. If possible, refrigerate for an hour. Meanwhile, cook chopped canned tomatoes in olive oil with salt and cayenne until saucy. Shape small cod cakes. Dredge in flour, sauté in butter and oil until nicely browned. Serve hot or at room temperature, with sauce on the side.
36 The banderilla: The first tapa created, or at least that’s what people tell me. Skewer a crisp pickled pepper, an anchovy and a pitted green olive. Incredible with dry (fino) sherry.
37 Toss peeled shrimp with lots of minced garlic, pimentón or paprika, cayenne, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Broil until done, turning once, about five minutes.
38 Marinated mushrooms: Cut button mushrooms into chunks and toss with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let rest five minutes. Spear two chunks with a piece of Parmesan about the same size.
39 Cut tuna or tenderloin of beef into bite-size pieces. Sear in hot pan until browned on one side turn smear browned side with dark miso slightly thinned with sake. Continue to cook another minute or two.
Five Weeknight Dishes
Emily Weinstein has menu suggestions for the week. There are thousands of ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking.
- This coconut fish and tomato bake from Yewande Komolafe yields a gorgeous, silky ginger-coconut sauce.
- A tasty recipe for sheet-pan chicken and potatoes by Lidey Heuck is really nice without being fussy.
- This vegetarian baked Alfredo pasta with broccoli rabe is inspired by pasta Alfredo, but with green vegetables added.
- Kay Chun adds asparagus and snap peas to spring vegetable japchae in this vegan take on the classic dish.
- You could substitute chicken or another type of fish in this summery grilled salmon salad from Melissa Clark.
40 Flash-cooked squid: Marinate whole baby squid for 5 minutes in olive oil, a little sherry vinegar, salt and pepper. Sear on both sides in a very hot pan or broiler for less than 3 minutes total. Cut into pieces and sprinkle with more salt. You can do this with shrimp and scallops, too.
41 Soak a couple of tablespoons of black beans in sherry. Blast bite-size shrimp in a little peanut oil until just about cooked through add minced garlic (and chili and ginger, if you like), then cook 30 seconds. Add black beans and their liquid, and toss. Turn off heat and add a little soy sauce. Serve on toothpicks.
42 Chicken meunière: Sounds fancier than it is, and works with veal, turkey, pork, oysters, clams, shrimp, etc. Cut boneless meat into bite-size pieces (not too small). Dredge in flour, brown quickly in a combination of butter and oil. Serve with lemon wedges.
43 Cut tenderloin or other tender beef into bite-size chunks. Toss with a lot of roughly chopped basil (say, 1 cup basil per pound of meat) and peanut oil. Stir-fry with garlic and red pepper flakes until rare. Sprinkle with soy sauce or nam pla and lime juice.
44 Chicken kebab, Greek style: Cut boneless, skinless chicken thighs into 1-inch chunks. Toss with minced onion, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, crumbled bay leaf and oregano. Skewer. Broil, turning occasionally, until browned.
45 Chicken kebab, South Asian style: Cut boneless, skinless chicken thighs into 1-inch chunks. Toss with equal amounts ground cardamom, minced garlic, ground allspice, ground turmeric and thyme leaves add a dash of nutmeg and peanut oil to moisten. Skewer. Broil, turning occasionally, until nicely browned.
46 Chicken kebab, faux-tandoori style: Cut boneless, skinless chicken thighs into 1-inch chunks. Toss with yogurt, chopped onion, minced garlic, minced lime zest, ground cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne and lime juice. Skewer and broil, turning occasionally, until nicely browned.
47 Chicken teriyaki: Cut 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs into 1-inch chunks. Toss with 1/4 cup each soy sauce, sake and mirin, and a tablespoon of sugar. Skewer. Boil remaining sauce for a minute or so. Broil the chicken, turning and basting with the sauce after a couple of minutes.
48 Pork kebabs, West Indian style: Mix 1 tablespoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, a pinch of nutmeg, a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, 1/4 cup chopped onion and the juice of a lime. Toss with 1 pound pork shoulder (you need some fat or these will be tough) cut into 1-inch cubes. Skewer and broil about 5 minutes.
49 Pork kebabs, Iberian style. Mix 1 tablespoon garlic, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 tablespoon grated or minced lemon zest and 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice. Toss with 1 pound cubed pork shoulder (with fat). Skewer. Broil about 5 minutes.
50 The egg’s gift to cocktail parties: Hard-cook eggs, peel, and cut in half carefully remove the yolks. Mash yolks with salt, mayonnaise, good mustard and cayenne. You can also add minced radish, snow peas, scallions (or any crunchy vegetables) or curry powder. Spoon back into the whites, sprinkle with paprika, pimentón or parsley.
51 Even more fabulous: Cook eggs as above. Mash yolks with cooked and minced shrimp, a little chopped olive, minced onion, parsley, salt, pepper and mayonnaise to bind. Spoon back into whites. Garnish with parsley or a piece of anchovy or shrimp.
52 Aioli with steamed cold vegetables: Make the mayonnaise yourself or flavor bottled mayonnaise with lemon, garlic, anchovy (if you like it) and a little saffron (if you have it) for amazing color. Serve with lightly cooked carrots, snap peas, purple potatoes, seafood, etc.
53 Shrimp cocktail: Combine ketchup with chili powder, pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire, Tabasco and horseradish. Make lots, because people will be double-dipping. Serve with cooked shrimp.
54 Sprinkle rib lamb chops (rack of lamb, separated) or loin chops with good coarse curry powder, or any spice mix you like. Broil quickly, until crisp but not well-done. Serve hot, with yogurt mixed with same spice rub. These will go very fast.
55 Stuff Medjool dates with a piece of Parmesan or Manchego or an almond. Or fresh goat cheese. Or mozzarella, and bake until the cheese begins to melt.
56 Wrap small pieces of melon, figs and/or dates with thinly sliced prosciutto.
57 Buy the best anchovies you can find. Curl each around a tiny ball of butter. Eat.
58 Teeny tiny hamburgers: The hardest part is finding teeny tiny buns, but you can use toast squares. Make them small from beef mixed with salt and pepper. Cook quickly in a hot skillet and serve with ketchup and bits of onion and tomato.
59 Nachos: Yes, nachos. Top a layer of tortilla chips with grated cheese (something orange is traditional) and bake until cheese melts. Top with warm beans seasoned with chili powder, along with chopped scallions. Other possible toppings: jalapeños, sour cream, cilantro, tomatoes, olives.
60 Hot wings: Cut chicken wings into three sections discard the tips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and broil until browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter with vinegar, garlic and hot sauce to taste. Pour off excess fat, baste the wings with hot sauce, turn them, baste again, and brown. Baste once more and serve, with napkins.
61 Sweet wings: As above, but melt the butter with Dijon mustard and honey or maple syrup.
62 Soy ginger wings: This time baste with equal parts vinegar and soy sauce, mixed with a couple of tablespoons each minced ginger and sesame oil. You can sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on the wings.
63 Put peeled raw shrimp in a food processor with garlic, chili, ginger, shallot or red onion, salt, pepper and cilantro chop finely. Shape into small patties and shallow-fry or broil, then serve with napkins or on buns, with lime juice or spiced mayonnaise.
64 Gently cook raw nuts in oil or butter (or a mixture) with salt and spices — pimentón, chili powder, curry powder, ginger, sugar — whatever combination you like. When they’re fragrant, bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool or they won’t be crunchy.
65 Beyond simple: Buy decent tortilla chips sprinkle with lime juice and chili powder. Eat fast, before they get soggy.
66 Coat good olives in olive oil mixed with crushed garlic, rosemary, thyme, and/or lemon or orange peel spices, like chilies, are O.K. Let sit overnight if time allows.
67 Little pizza bianca: Cut prepared dough into small pieces and press out. Brush with oil, sprinkle with rosemary and good coarse salt. Bake at about 500 degrees until browned. Cut up to serve.
68 Quarter quail, rub with olive oil or peanut oil. Broil, skin side down, about 3 minutes. Broil, skin side up, until brown, crisp and cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Brush lightly with pesto or soy sauce and sesame oil, and serve hot or warm.
69 Popcorn parmigiana: Make real popcorn, pour melted butter over it, and toss with fresh Parmesan.
70 Cut baby back ribs into individual ribs sprinkle with salt and pepper (lots). Broil, turning as needed, 10 minutes or so. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
71 Fill endive leaves with crème fraîche or sour cream and caviar or salmon roe. Or use drained ricotta mixed with chopped parsley, thyme, a little olive oil and a little minced garlic.
72 Steamed asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. That’s the recipe.
73 Cucumber and caviar: Take 3/4-inch-thick slices of cucumber. (The quality of the cuke is more important than that of the caviar it has to be good enough to leave the skin on.) Scoop out most of the seeds, leaving the bottom of each slice intact. Fill it with a spoonful of yogurt, sour cream or crème fraîche mixed with dill, and top with caviar or salmon roe.
74 Boil frozen or fresh edamame in pods for 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with coarse salt. For this they charge you eight bucks.
Dips and Spreads
75 Purée white or other beans (if canned, drain them) with garlic and olive oil in food processor, adding olive oil as needed. Stir in lemon juice to taste. Garnish with chopped scallions or red onion. You can add cumin or chopped rosemary with lemon zest.
76 Hummus: Truly one of the great culinary inventions. Mix four parts well-cooked or canned chickpeas with one part tahini, along with some of its oil, in a food processor. Add garlic, cumin or pimentón and purée, adding as much olive oil as needed. Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste garnish with olive oil and pimentón.
77 Drain good whole-fat yogurt in cheesecloth for 15 minutes squeeze to remove remaining liquid. Add salt, pimentón and olive oil. Thin with a little more yogurt to use as a dip, or serve on crackers or bread.
78 Mix four parts drained yogurt (as above), farmer cheese or cream cheese with one part sour cream, until creamy. Add thyme and chopped parsley (or any fresh herbs), minced garlic, salt and pepper.
79 Start by draining yogurt as above but do not squeeze or use sour cream. Stir in chopped seeded cucumber, bell pepper, scallion, dill, then add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Or use chopped arugula and/or cress, with some herbs. Or use horseradish and/or Dijon mustard, with or without vegetables. Or minced or puréed onion or shallots and chopped fresh parsley. Always taste for salt.
80 Drain yogurt as above but do not squeeze or use sour cream. Add flaked smoked trout or whitefish, or minced smoked salmon, along with chopped parsley, cayenne and lemon juice. Or add minced onion with salmon roe or caviar.
81 Taramosalata: Take 3 or 4 slices good white bread, preferably stale, and soak in water to cover for a few minutes. Squeeze out water, purée bread with 2 or 3 cloves garlic, 8 ounces fish roe (tarama) and at least 1/4 cup olive oil, adding more as needed. Stir in lemon juice and pepper to taste.
82 Mix four parts cream cheese or fresh goat cheese to one part chopped walnuts. A little spice mix (chili powder, curry powder, whatever) is nice in here. Or, replace the nuts with roasted peppers, olive oil and minced anchovies.
83 Boursin: Maybe you have a few Ritz? Mash cream cheese with minced garlic (if you have roasted garlic, so much the better), pepper and small amounts of minced thyme, tarragon and rosemary.
84 Mix three parts cream cheese, one part minced cooked shrimp, a few mashed capers and pepper.
85 Mash four parts goat cheese with one part fig jam.
Little Sandwich Triangles
86 Layer cooked ham and cheese (Gruyère, Cantal or good Cheddar) on thin bread, then press and grill in a not-too-hot skillet with butter or oil.
87 Finding top-quality roast beef is worth a little legwork. Slice it thin and serve with horseradish on rye.
88 Dice cooked shrimp, toss with chopped onion and/or celery, and bind with aioli or well-seasoned mayonnaise.
89 Extra seasoning takes this egg salad higher: Toss chopped hard-cooked eggs with scallions, chopped anchovies and parsley. Bind with well-seasoned mayo.
90 Toss shredded or cubed chicken with minced shallot or red onion, chopped black olives, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper and chopped herbs. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve on slices of toast.
91 Cheese quesadillas: Use 4-inch tortillas on each, put grated cheese, scallions and minced canned green chilies or chopped fresh poblanos. Salsa and beans are optional. Top with another tortilla. Griddle with oil, turning once, about 5 minutes.
You Might Need a Fork
92 This is easier than carpaccio: Cut trimmed filet mignon into 1/2-inch or smaller cubes. Toss with arugula, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
93 Make parsley pesto (parsley, garlic, oil, lemon juice) in a food processor. Sauté whole shrimp or small pieces of fish in oil. Arrange fish on small beds of the pesto. You can put this on bread and forget the plates.
94 Ceviche: Thinly slice — or cut into 1/4-inch dice — sea or true bay scallops (or any really fresh fish). Toss with a bit of peeled and minced bell pepper, some lime zest and about 1/4 cup lime juice per pound. Add salt and cayenne to taste. Garnish with cilantro.
95 Mock ceviche: Briefly poach a mixture of (for example) shrimp, scallops and squid, cut to bite size. Drain, then combine with olive oil, minced fresh chili, red onion, and (optional) garlic. Finish with lime juice and cilantro and serve in lettuce cups.
Soups and Wraps
96 Bisque: Heat shrimp, lobster, fish or chicken broth with minced onion and chopped tomato for 5 minutes. Add chopped shrimp or lobster to the simmering stock, and cook another two minutes. Purée, then add heavy cream or half-and-half, along with salt and pepper. Serve in small cups garnished, if you like, with a piece of cooked shrimp or lobster.
97 Avocado soup: Put 2 cups avocado flesh in a blender with 3 cups whole milk along with some salt and cayenne. Purée, then add fresh lime or orange juice to taste, and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate or serve immediately in small cups garnished with a piece of avocado or cooked shrimp.
98 Gazpacho: Chop 2 pounds of tomatoes and a cucumber blend with a couple of slices of day-old bread, torn into pieces, olive oil, sherry vinegar, garlic (optional) and anchovies (optional). Add a little water (or more oil) to the blender, if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve in small cups. Optional garnishes include minced bell pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, a piece of anchovy, and/or parsley.
99 Buy roast duck and take meat off bones toss with hoisin sauce and roughly chopped scallions. Roll in small tortillas.
100 Roll prosciutto and Parmesan in small tortillas. Bake gently to soften the cheese.
101 Broil a good hot dog, roll in a good tortilla spread with brown or Dijon mustard. Slice. You know everyone will eat them.
No Knead No Rise Soft Pretzels
Since there are only a few ingredients to mix up and no waiting for kneading or rising, the kids can move from helping to add ingredients right to shaping their own pieces of dough.
From there it's another few minutes to bake and cool a bit before tasting their creations.
I started making these when my kids were little as something fun to do when they had playdates. One of my friends and I organized bi-weekly play dates to give the other mom some time for errands and shopping and her girls surprised me by asking to make these every time they came over after making them the first time.
They always wanted to make the pretzels- not anything else, even when I offered. It was the same with my nieces and nephews a few years later.
What part can kids do?
The littlest people can help pour in the ingredients and just pat the dough if rolling is too hard - all shapes are allowed, not just traditional pretzel shapes (as you can see in the photo below).
At about four and up, rolling is easy and all kinds of shapes become within reach. The dough is pretty easy to shape and doesn't spring back like a lot of bread doughs can. Keep reading for ideas of different shapes to make.
The kids always love the "painting" part. They brush on an egg wash and sprinkle the tops with some kosher salt.
By the way, the egg wash is crucial to giving this simple bread dough the chewy mouth feel of a pretzel- so don't skip this step or use butter instead. While butter tastes good, it makes the pretzel more like a roll in texture.
Ideas for soft pretzel shapes:
This is a great crossover activity for preschoolers learning their letters!
I always help kids make the first letter of their name, if they need it, even the littlest children. Just one more way that they start to recognize "their" letter
Traditional pretzel shapes.
The "blob" is for those little ones who just can't grasp the rolling technique yet. It's fun to let them make whatever shape they want, helping only when they ask so that they have a feeling of accomplishment.
No matter what the shape, when anyone takes a first bite of one of these soft pretzels, the pretzel tastes that much sweeter from the hands that made it, don't you think?
Two extra notes:
- In my experience, the kids will be tired of this after making just 2-3 shapes, so be prepared to make the rest of the shapes yourself.
- The pretzels don't really taste as good the next day - they lose that fresh from the oven crisp that helps them resemble soft pretzels. I've had some luck using a toaster oven to heat them up again.
Both of these things are a reason to make only one batch. This isn't really the time to double the recipe, or you will find yourself rolling, and rolling, ha!
Soft Pretzel Bites Ingredients:
To make this homemade soft pretzel bites recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
- Milk (or water): I prefer to use cow’s milk as the base of this pretzel dough, which makes it extra tender and adds a subtle touch of sweetness. But if you prefer not to eat dairy, you are welcome to just use water instead.
- Sugar: I used brown sugar, but white granulated sugar or coconut sugar would work too.
- Coarse sea salt: Which we will use in the dough and also sprinkle on top. (Or you are welcome to sprinkle actual pretzel salt on top, if you prefer.)
- Yeast: One packet of active dry yeast.
- Flour: I went traditional with this recipe and used regular all-purpose flour. But you could sub in white whole wheat flour if you would like to make these a touch more healthy.
- Butter: Which we will use in the dough and also brush (extra) on top of the pretzel bites after baking.
- Baking soda: Which we will add to a pot of boiling water to give the pretzel bites a quick dunk before baking.
- Egg: And finally, you will need one egg, which we will whisk together with water to make a quick egg wash to brush on the dough before baking.
Detailed ingredient amounts and full instructions listed in the recipe below.
Bacon Date Paleo Bites
Yield Serves 10 to 20 , Makes 64 (1-inch) bites
- Calories 201
- Fat 11.8 g (18.1%)
- Saturated 3.8 g (19.2%)
- Carbs 21.7 g (7.2%)
- Fiber 1.9 g (7.8%)
- Sugars 19.1 g
- Protein 4.2 g (8.3%)
- Sodium 188.0 mg (7.8%)
bacon, cooked, extra grease patted off, cooled, and crumbled
Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment or wax paper, leaving about a 1-inch overhang on at least 2 sides.
Place the dates in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse a few times to break them up. If necessary, separate the dates if they clump together. Add the bacon and sesame oil, then process until the ingredients break down, then clump together into a ball, about 1 minute.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan. Use another piece of parchment or wax paper to press it into the pan and form an even layer. Uncover, then sprinkle the top with the sesame seeds.
Freeze for 30 to 40 minutes. Pull up on the excess parchment or wax paper to remove the slab from the pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into 1-inch squares.
Instant Pot Raspberry Cheesecake Bites
- Author: 365 Days of Slow and Pressure Cooking
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 minutes (plus 10 minute NPR)
- Total Time: 38 minutes
- Yield: 14 cheesecake bites 1 x
Mini cheesecakes with a fresh raspberry sauce all made in your Instant Pot. A perfect dessert or treat for any occasion.
- 7 rectangle graham crackers
- 1 Tbsp white sugar
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- 1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 6 oz raspberries (plus more for garnish)
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch + 1 Tbsp water
- Make the crust: Place the graham crackers into a ziploc bag and mash them with a rolling pin until they are crumbs. This should be about ½ cup of graham cracker crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a medium bowl and then stir in the sugar and melted butter. Spray 2 silicone egg bite molds* lightly with non stick cooking spray. Then use a tablespoon measuring spoon to add 1 Tbsp of the crumb mixture into each of the molds. Mash the crumbs down with the back of the spoon.
- Make the filling: In a medium mixing bowl or in a stand mixer add the cream cheese. Beat it until it is smooth. Add in the sugar and the vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add in the egg and beat until barely incorporated. Spoon the filling into each of the molds evenly.
- Cook the cheesecake bites: Add 1 cup of water into the Instant Pot liner. Lay a paper towel over the top of the eggs bites molds and then cover tightly with foil. Place one of the molds on top of a trivet with handles* and then place the other mold on top. Lower the trivet with the molds on top into the bottom of the Instant Pot. Cover the pot and secure the lid. Make sure valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 8 minutes. When the time is up let the pot sit for 10 minutes and then move the valve to venting. Remove the lid. Carefully remove the foil and paper towels from the molds.
- Refrigerate: Cool the cheesecake bites on the counter for 30 minutes and then place in the refrigerator for another 2-8 hours to set completely.
- Make the raspberry sauce: Turn your cleaned Instant Pot to saute setting. Add in the raspberries, sugar, water and lemon juice. Mash the raspberries. Cook until mixture comes to a boil, stirring often. In a small bowl stir together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Stir the mixture into the boiling raspberry sauce. It will thicken up almost immediately. Remove the liner from the pot and stir in the vanilla and salt. Allow the sauce to cool and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Assemble and serve: After cheesecakes have been refrigerated carefully pop them out of the molds. I used a butter knife to go around the edges and loosen them up. Place on a platter. Then drizzle a tablespoon of the raspberry sauce over each of the cheesecakes. Then top each of the cheesecakes with an additional raspberry.
If you only have one egg bite mold you can halve this recipe. Keep the amount of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot the same. Halve all other ingredients (for the egg, just use an egg yolk). Pressure cook for the same amount of time as stated in the recipe.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to days, or you can freeze these cheesecake bites.