snacks

PuPu Platter Chicken Wings

What I am about to say may acknowledge me as a dinosaur but here it is: I remember the time before there was a Superbowl. 

I remember the first Superbowl. 1967.

I didn't watch. It was sort of a big deal, but not nearly the kind of nationwide (worldwide?) event it is today.

I can't recall what people served at Superbowl get-togethers. Or even if there were Superbowl get-togethers.

But I do remember that over the course of time, people everywhere used the occasion not only to watch football or bet, or both, but as time for a relaxed day with good friends and casual food. Like chicken wings.

I can remember before Buffalo Wings became a thing. And that after they did, wings of all sorts became one of the popular Superbowl foods.

For me -- wings were always a thing. The best part of the chicken. My mother told me they were the best part mostly because of the soft soft meat between the two narrow bones in the middle part of the wing.

She made chicken wings for us often.

I have made chicken wings often too. My mother was right. They are the best part of the chicken! Whether or not you serve them for Superbowl.

But if you do, how about these?

 

PuPu Platter Chicken Wings

  • 15 chicken wings
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons crushed crystallized ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  •  

Cut the chicken wings at the joints, wash and dry the pieces and set them aside. Combine the red wine, soy sauce, brown sugar, crystallized ginger, lemon juice and garlic in a large container. Add the wing pieces and let marinate for at least 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the wings in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Turn the wings and bake for another 15-18 minutes or until crispy.

Makes 30 pieces

 

 

Smoked Salmon and Avocado Toasts

At the end of each year food professionals discuss fads and popular trends in the culinary world and often make predictions about what's to come.

I don't know what's coming but I can say that as far as I know, one food trend this year was: avocado toast. Which is basically guacamole sandwich. Which is basically mashed avocado with some lime or lemon juice and anything else you might want in your guacamole, like tomatoes or chili pepper and so on.

I also know this: there's a good reason that avocado toasts became a thing. They're scrumptious. They're easy to prepare. They are incredibly versatile, as in you can use them as a base for a whole host of hors d'oeuvre, which might come in handy for New Year's get togethers.

For example: these avocado toasts on melba rounds topped with chopped salmon and some seasonings. 

Honestly, it couldn't get much easier than this and they do look pretty don't they?

They're on my menu for my New Year pre-dinner cocktail hour.

And btw, I buy salmon "scraps" that (fortunately) my local supermarket sells -- the leftover but still good pieces of salmon that the lox cutter cuts away to get those perfect slices. Because you chop this salmon up, so why not buy the cheap stuff?

 

SMOKED SALMON AND AVOCADO TOASTS

  • 24 toast rounds (or packaged Melba rounds)
  • 2 small avocados, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion
  • 2-3 tablespoons lime juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 pound smoked salmon pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • pinch or two of cayenne pepper

If using bread, cut out small circles with a cookie cutter, or use packaged Melba rounds. In a bowl, mash the avocados. Add one tablespoon olive oil, the scallion, 2 tablespoons lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly and add more lime juice if desired. Spread the avocado mixture evenly over the bread. Chop the smoked salmon, add the remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil, the chives and some cayenne pepper and mix ingredients thoroughly. Spread equal amounts of the salmon mixture on top of the avocado mixture.

Makes 24

 

Scones

Last week I took Lila, age 8, to afternoon tea at a tea parlor in New York City. I usually meet her after school on Wednesdays and we do something special together. On this particular day she requested tea because she said she wanted “scones and jam and that soft white stuff we had at Zev’s bar mitzvah," (the celebration after the service was an Afternoon Tea).

The “soft white stuff” was, of course, clotted cream.

Who can resist clotted cream?

Lila has good taste. I say that not just because she understands that clotted cream is something wonderful. But also because when we were seated at our table, she noticed that our places were set with clunky mugs while at the next table there were beautiful floral-design china tea cups, which, when the waiter left after taking our order, she switched. Then she switched the sugar box from our plain white earthenware one to the next table’s gold-trimmed bone china one.

I thought such niceties were gone from the earth, at least for young folks, so I felt positively uplifted by what she did.

Fancy is good sometimes, don’t you think?

As for the scones, Lila had known about those long before our date or even her cousin’s bar mitzvah celebration. She and I have made them at my house. Scones are easy. Even a young child can do it.

Scones also take very little time. And they are amazingly tender, moist and flaky.

Scones: perfect for tea, breakfast, coffee break, snack and even a bar mitzvah celebration. With or without the jam and that soft white stuff.  

 

Scottish Lemon Currant Scones

 

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel        
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

                                                                                                                                         

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon peel in a bowl. Add the butter in chunks and work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in currants. Mix the egg and buttermilk together and add them to the dry ingredients. Mix until a soft dough forms. Roll the dough on a floured surface to a 1/2" thickness. Cut out circles with a cookie cutter. Place the scones on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the scones are browned and well risen.

 

Makes 12

 

NOTE: you may also make wedge-shaped scones: divide dough in half, then roll each half to 1/2” thick circle. Cut each circle into 6 wedges.

 

 

Dairy Free Banana Bread with Coconut Milk

Another day, another banana bread.  Because, as everyone who reads this blog knows, I buy bananas but can’t eat them because I am allergic to them but love having them around the house because they smell so wonderful and besides, my husband Ed says he likes them and does, occasionally, eat one.  But most are left over so I have dozens of  recipes  for  Banana Bread . My kids love Banana Bread but mostly I give it away, often for the bi-monthly Tea our local Hadassah group holds for cancer patients and caregivers at Stamford Hospital.  Recently, one of the patients, who has been taking chemotherapy and said nothing tasted good to him, mentioned that my Banana Bread was the best thing he had eaten in a long time. He also said he appreciated how soft and moist it was.  I think about that a lot. How a simple piece of cake can make someone so pleased.   So next time I am sending this version. I wanted to make a Banana Bread without shortening, butter or any dairy. I used Earth Balance natural buttery spread plus coconut oil for the fat and coconut milk as the liquid.  It’s a simple recipe, but absolutely soft and moist.   So, I will be able to enjoy the fragrance of the bread as it bakes, even if I can’t taste it. And I hope the patients at Stamford Hospital will love how it tastes and that it makes their day a little brighter and better.      Banana Bread       2-1/2 cups flour  1 teaspoon salt  1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger  2 teaspoons baking soda  3/4 cup Earth Balance natural buttery spread  1/4 cup coconut oil  1-1/3 cups sugar  3 large or 4 small very ripe bananas, mashed  3 large eggs, slightly beaten (or use 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce or plain soy yogurt as a vegan substitute)  1/2 cup coconut milk     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch (8-cup) bundt pan. Mix the flour, salt, ginger and baking soda together in a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the buttery spread, coconut oil and sugar until well blended. Add the bananas and blend in thoroughly. Add the eggs and beat well. Stir in the coconut milk and blend thoroughly. Add the flour mixture and beat until batter is well blended. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about one hour or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a cake rack to cool completely.  Makes one bread, serving 16-18   

Another day, another banana bread.

Because, as everyone who reads this blog knows, I buy bananas but can’t eat them because I am allergic to them but love having them around the house because they smell so wonderful and besides, my husband Ed says he likes them and does, occasionally, eat one.

But most are left over so I have dozens of recipes for Banana Bread. My kids love Banana Bread but mostly I give it away, often for the bi-monthly Tea our local Hadassah group holds for cancer patients and caregivers at Stamford Hospital.

Recently, one of the patients, who has been taking chemotherapy and said nothing tasted good to him, mentioned that my Banana Bread was the best thing he had eaten in a long time. He also said he appreciated how soft and moist it was.

I think about that a lot. How a simple piece of cake can make someone so pleased. 

So next time I am sending this version. I wanted to make a Banana Bread without shortening, butter or any dairy. I used Earth Balance natural buttery spread plus coconut oil for the fat and coconut milk as the liquid.

It’s a simple recipe, but absolutely soft and moist. 

So, I will be able to enjoy the fragrance of the bread as it bakes, even if I can’t taste it. And I hope the patients at Stamford Hospital will love how it tastes and that it makes their day a little brighter and better.

 

Banana Bread

 

2-1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 cup Earth Balance natural buttery spread

1/4 cup coconut oil

1-1/3 cups sugar

3 large or 4 small very ripe bananas, mashed

3 large eggs, slightly beaten (or use 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce or plain soy yogurt as a vegan substitute)

1/2 cup coconut milk

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch (8-cup) bundt pan. Mix the flour, salt, ginger and baking soda together in a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the buttery spread, coconut oil and sugar until well blended. Add the bananas and blend in thoroughly. Add the eggs and beat well. Stir in the coconut milk and blend thoroughly. Add the flour mixture and beat until batter is well blended. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about one hour or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a cake rack to cool completely.

Makes one bread, serving 16-18

 

Heavenly Hash Popcorn

I’m a sucker for movie popcorn. You can tell me how awful it is and how it isn’t fresh or that it’s terribly fattening or full of fat or salt or hidden ingredients that will make me confess to giving top secret documents to the Soviets (Remember them? I just saw the movie Breach and it reminded me of the olden days when the bad guys in all the movies were the Soviets.)

You can tell me how much more delicious homemade popcorn is and how much better it is for you especially if you use an air popper and no butter.

But I don’t care. I love movie popcorn. And I am a sucker because even though it is way way more than I should eat, I always buy the big tub because it is such a bargain compared with the small bag. If you can call paying over $6 for popcorn a bargain. Also, if I buy the tub at my local theater I can get a free refill, so that I can have stale movie popcorn in my house to nibble on for a few days.

When I was a girl my brother and I went to the movies by ourselves over the weekend. My mother gave us each 10 cents for a treat. That dime got us a box worth of popcorn, though my brother sometimes bought Jujubes or Dots.

We never thought about whether the box of popcorn was large or small. That’s the only size there was. (Today if you have a store like Party City in your neighborhood you can buy those boxes to use for party favors.)

One of the problems I wrestle with these days is that we have Netflix and PPV and DVDs and so on and they come so quickly after a movie is out that we don’t get to the theater as often as we used to. So I’ve been really missing my popcorn recently. 

Home cooked popcorn may not be as wonderful as movie popcorn, however, if you do something else with it, like make it into caramel corn or some other sweet-and-salty goodie, it might make up for the lack. It’s also a good treat for watching the Academy Awards ceremony.

For all you committed movie popcorn lovers, try this:

Heavenly Hash Popcorn

2 quarts plain, popped corn

1 cup packed mini-marshmallows

1/2 cup salted peanuts

7 ounces chocolate (milk or semisweet)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread the popcorn out on a large jelly roll pan. Sprinkle the marshmallows and nuts on top. Break up the chocolate into small pieces and scatter the pieces on top. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool and toss slightly. Makes about 2 quarts

Tdaziki

I don’t eat potato chips anymore because they’re a “trigger food” for me. That’s a term I learned from Dr. Stephen Gullo, a psychologist who is also an expert on weight management. I interviewed him once for an article on “how to control your weight during the holiday season.” 

He more or less said that trigger foods are the ones that you eat, and eat and eat and eat and also stimulate you to eat other food in addition to the trigger food, so you wind up eating more than you should or even want to. Trigger foods are different for each person.

For me it’s potato chips. I could eat an entire 7-ounce bag. In fact, I have. 

It’s not totally bad though because I am fussy about brand. I won’t eat just any potato chips. 

When I’m in a supermarket I run down the potato chip aisle so I won’t be tempted. Unfortunately, about a year ago my local Stop&Shop had 7-ounce bags of Lay’s on sale for 10/$10. It was too good to pass up, so I bought 2 bags and well, you know what happened. It’s just my husband and me in the house and he doesn’t eat potato chips.

But this coming Sunday night at my annual Dinner-at-the-Oscars for my brother and sister-in-law, I will not serve chip-and-dip. We get together during the afternoon and they stay until the award ceremony is over. That means some snacking when they come, dinner at 7 o’clock-ish.

This year during the afternoon I’ll be serving Tdaziki, a yogurt dip that I make with Chobani nonfat plain yogurt, which is so thick, rich and delicious that it’s almost hard to believe it really is what it says it is.

Tdaziki has grated cucumbers plus fresh dill and mint, so it is truly refreshing and bursting with flavor, making it the perfect dip for cut up vegetables, chunks of crusty Italian bread, pretzels and (gasp) even potato chips.

The recipe is from my book, Hip Kosher. Try it. You’ll like it. And I know that yogurt dip probably isn’t a bad trigger food for anyone. 

Tdaziki

  • 3 cups thick, Greek-style nonfat yogurt
  • 3 medium cucumbers
  • 1 large clove garlic, mashed
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Place a double layer of cheesecloth in a strainer. Spoon the yogurt into the lined strainer and set it over a bowl. Let rest in the refrigerator for 4 hours. Place the yogurt in a bowl (discard the liquid that has accumulated in the bowl). Peel the cucumbers and cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop and discard the seeds. Grate the cucumber in a food processor or by hand. Press the cucumber in a sieve, pressing down to extract as much liquid as possible. When the yogurt is ready, stir in the cucumbers, garlic, mint, dill, salt, lemon juice and olive oil. Stir to blend ingredients thoroughly.

Makes one quart, serving 10-12 people