Matt Armendariz, acclaimed blogger and food photographer extraordinaire, has just released his first cookbook of his own original recipes (he's photographed many other authors' cookbooks). On a Stick will leave you full, happy and pondering just how many foods you may be able to throw onto a skewer. After I made a few of the recipes, I found myself looking at my kitchen pantry anew, with crazy 'put it on a stick' potential.
Matt's cookbook is written with plucky irreverence and humor. It's comprised of 80 internationally inspired sweet and savory recipes. All of the foods are beautifully photographed and practically leap off the page into your belly (hopeful dreaming!). His expertise as a photographer is showcased in the large-format images that accompany each recipe. And his recipe-writing style is clear, concise and wickedly funny. I haven't had this much fun with a cookbook in a long time. You name it, Matt's pulling it off in stick form!
Matt's Caprese Sticks were quick to assemble and delicious. The combination of basil, tomato and mozzarella was kicked up with the addition of sun-dried tomatoes, a drizzle of good olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. This classic salad, which I normally serve on a big platter, worked really well in stick form. The individual pieces were easy finger foods and perfect for the party I brought them to. In fact, Matt's recipes from this book would all make stand-out entertaining dishes. Eating foods on sticks just makes people happy! Perhaps it's because no silverware is required, thus getting us eaters back to our more basic nature? Or is it more of a nostalgia thing, after all some of the cheekiest treats come on sticks — cotton candy, corn dogs, push-pops!
Caprese Sticks makes 12 cocktail-sized or 6 chopstick-sized skewers 12 cocktail picks (I used 6 chopsticks) 1 cup small fresh mozarella balls 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes 1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves Sea salt and extra virgin olive oil (optional) Arrange mozzarella balls, both kinds of tomatoes, and basil leaves onto cocktail picks, mixing and matching in varied combinations. Before serving, sprinkle with sea salt and a quick drizzle of olive oil, if desired.• Check out Matt's Book: On a Stick • Visit Matt's Blog: Matt Bites Related: Recipe: Cherry Tomato Bites (Images: Leela Cyd Ross, cover image and recipe by Matt Armedariz, reprinted with permission from Quirk Books)