This right here is what I like to call my "snacking granola." We're talking about big chunky clusters of lightly-sweet granola studded with pistachios and dried cherries. A handful of this makes all other afternoon snacks look puny by comparison — and a whole bag of it makes the ultimate gift for everyone from the friends in your book group to the babysitter.
If you're looking for a way to repurpose your turkey beyond round two at the buffet, might I suggest a (slightly over the top) Kentucky "Hot Brown"? Normally I make this open-faced sandwich as part of my Derby day spread, but the Southern specialty also makes a perfect reprieve from Thanksgiving casserole overkill.
These might just be the crackers to top all other crackers. They're flecked all the way through with roasted nuts and chewy bits of cranberry, and they're crunchy enough to satisfy any snack-addict. Rosemary adds its piney, fresh presence, while whole wheat gives them a savory depth. The crackers are sturdy enough to spread with cheese or hold some dip, but they're also fantastic on all on their own as a mid-afternoon snack. For pre-dinner cheese plate or a handy hostess gift, trust me: these crackers bring it to win it.
Once again, South Carolina favorite Duke's mayonnaise is in the news. According to the Washington Post, it has a cult following. And it's a pretty large cult: Duke's ranks third, behind Hellman's and Kraft. As a South Carolina native, I weep for the rest of the nation, especially those who haven't realized Duke's is clearly the superior choice.
And yet, while the commercial choice is obvious to me, I wondered how it compared to homemade.
In my ongoing quest to freeze anything and everything (burritos, fresh herbs, diced peppers from my CSA), I was pleasantly surprised when my sister-in-law left me with a batch of frozen, ready-to-bake scones following a visit. For weeks, or maybe just one week due to how delicious they were, I sleepily popped a frozen mini scone or two in the oven each morning. As I emerged from my shower, the heavenly scent of freshly baked orange cranberry scones filled my apartment.
What a way to start the morning — why hadn't I thought of it before?
I've talked a little in the past about my very favorite kind of fall dinner party: the soup party. And this week, my partner Sam and I started planning what is becoming an annual tradition. While we discussed chunky minestrone versus puréed butternut squash, the one question that has us inspired this year was: what to put on the toasts?
It's squash and pumpkin time! And that means it's roasted pumpkin (and squash) seed time, too! Roasted seeds are a delicious autumn treat and well worth the tiny bit of effort needed to produce this salty, crunchy, toasty snack.
I have so many good memories of soft pretzels: a cold afternoon my first time in New York, Red Sox games at Fenway Park a few years later, a fantastic restaurant in San Francisco that serves them as an appetizer with cheese dip. In fact, it was a recent visit to this restaurant that reminded me of my deep and abiding love for this salty, chewy, soft-centered bread — and how, once upon a time, I'd even made them myself.
Soft pretzels aren't that hard, really. They are made with a simple dough nearly identical to sandwich bread, and the only tricky part — a leap of faith — comes when you drop the pretzels in a vat of simmering water before baking. But that's why I'm here — to show you how. And also because I believe everyone should get to relive their best memories with a piping-hot soft pretzel every once in a while.
Every fall I seem to go on an all-out apple bender, putting them in everything and anything I can think of. I usually make it a good month or two until my excitement finally sputters out, and then I'm satisfied for another season. This batch of apple streusel muffins marks this year's kickoff using my favorite fall fruit, and what a delicious start it turned out to be.