Category Archives: Snacks

POACHED PEAR SALAD WITH PINOT NOIR VINAIGRETTE

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Ohh man, this salad. I just ate this salad, right before I wrote this blog post. It was seriously delicious.

To be truthful, this is a little more involved than the average dinner salad. It’s not difficult, but there’s more steps. That’s where all the flavor comes from! Flavor building steps.

Even so, it’s not difficult. Beautiful autumn pears are peeled and tossed into a bath of warm, sweet, spiced red wine. I used Pinot Noir, but you can use whatever red you have on hand. They cook down for about a half hour, but this step can be done way in advance of plating your salads.
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We’re not done with the wine after the pear-wine pool party. I take using wine for uses other than consumption seriously, and waste as little as possible. I suppose it’s a principle residual from college.

We reduce that wine down and use it as the base for the perfectly complimentary dressing for this salad. Done and done.

Sweet pears with a hint of red wine pair with tangy blue cheese like you wouldn’t believe. This is a really classic pairing, and if you haven’t tried it before this is the perfect place to start.
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This is a perfect salad to have before a really easy main dish. We had it while some pre-seasoned salmon baked in the oven.

It’s also the perfect thing to bring to a friend’s house for dinner as your contribution to the meal. Poach the pears and remove the cores beforehand. Slice the onion and prepare the dressing, then pack it all up and prepare to impress.
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POACHED PEAR SALAD WITH PINOT NOIR VINAIGRETTE

Makes 4 small salads

Ingredients
4 pears, peeled (I used Bosc pears)
1 whole grapefruit
1 1/2 cups red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
4 large handfuls mixed greens
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. minced shallot
salt and pepper

Instructions
Slice the grapefruit in half. Squeeze the juice from one half into a large sauce pot. Add the red wine, water, sugar, cloves, and allspice berries to the pot. Add the peeled pears and place over medium heat. The pears should be at least half way submerged.

Let the pears simmer in the wine mixture for 30 minutes or until they are fork tender and the outsides turn pink. Stir the mixture and rotate the pears ever 5-10 minutes to keep from burning and to keep them cooking evenly in the wine.

When they are finished, remove the pears to cool on a plate. Raise the heat under the wine mixture and let reduce to at least half, about 15 minutes. Let the reduced wine mixture cool to room temperature.

When ready to plate your salads: squeeze the juice of the remaining grapefruit half into a mixing cup. Remove and seeds and add 1 cup of the reduced red wine mixture, the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and minced shallot.

Arrange four small plates, and to each add: a large handful of mixed greens, 1/4 of the sliced red onion, 2 tbsp. blue cheese, and 1 tbsp. chopped walnuts. Slice each pear in half and use a melon baller or paring knife to remove the core and seeds. Slice into 1/4-inch sliced and lay half a pear on each salad.

Stir the dressing again if it has separated and drizzle over each salad. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy immediately.

APPLE AND BRIE CHEESE GALETTE

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I don’t know what it is about cool air that makes me want to roll out a buttery, flakey crust. It just kind of happens.

Maybe it’s that I finally don’t mind having my oven on, nice and hot. Maybe it’s just that a bunch of butter mashed with a bunch of flour is the best thing ever.
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So a I rolled into the grocery store to buy a whole bunch of butter, I see them. Pretty much everywhere, I see them. Beautiful, shiny apples.

Sure, we can get apples any time of year. But right now they are THE BEST. Seriously. So I filled my cart with a bunch of apples…then a bunch of butter.

And a little secret? The best way to make fall apples taste even more fall is to add some creamy brie cheese and just a touch of cranberry. Sweet, juicy, tart, creamy. (And then buttery and flakey, of course.)
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The crust for this galette is the same one I used for this sweet potato, chorizo and sage galette. It’s a fancy thing known as a “pâte brissée.” What’s really important, though, is that it’s delicious.

If you want to go ahead and make your own cranberry sauce from scratch, I commend you. One of my favorite parts about make a galette is how simple it is, so I opted for the can. Just roll out the dough, dump everything on top, and bake.

And then eat it. Eat it all.
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APPLE AND BRIE CHEESE GALETTE

Serves 8-10

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (divided, 2 sticks should be very cold)
1/2 cup ice water
3 apples
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 – 1/2 lb. brie cheese
1/4 cup cranberry sauce, canned or homemade
1 egg
sugar, for finishing

Instructions
First, make the crust: add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor* fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to combine. Take 2 sticks of the butter from the refrigerator (and not until now!) and slice into 1/2 inch pieces. Add the butter to the flour mixture and pulse until somewhat combined. Most pieces of butter should be roughly the size of peas, with some larger and some smaller.

With the food processor set to “On” steadily stream 1/4 cup of the ice water into the flour-butter mixture. From there on add just a small splash of the water until your mixture is moist, but not wet. You’ll probably need to remove the lid once or a few times to assess the texture of your dough. The dough is right when it’s the consistency of wet sand.

Once the mixture is ready, pour half onto a prepared sheet of plastic wrap, and the other half onto another sheet of plastic wrap. Gather each pile into a disc-like shape and wrap in the plastic wrap. Wrap in an additional sheet of plastic to keep it concealed and tight. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

*If you do not have a food processor you can still make this recipe! Whisk together the dry ingredients and then incorporate the butter by hand and/or with a dough blender utensil. Once the butter is combined, make a well in the dough and add the ice water in the same increments specified above.

While the dough chills, prepare your filling. First, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. If using, place a pizza stone in the center of your oven to heat up as well and line a cutting board or pizza peel with parchment paper. If not, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel your apples and slice into 1/2 inch slices. Melt the butter and toss with the apples. (Brown it first if you’re feeling crazy!) Slice the brie into 1/2 inch slices about 2 inches long.

When the dough has rested, prepare a floured workspace. Remove both discs of dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap the discs and knead for a few minutes with your hands until it comes together in a dough. Roll out into a circle about 15 inches in diameter. Roll the dough around your rolling pin so that you can transfer it to the parchment paper in one piece.

Once the dough has been transferred, spread it with the cranberry sauce leaving a 2-inch boarder. Layer the apples and cheese evenly on top of the cranberry sauce. Fold the outer crust of the dough over the filling so it keeps everything in. cramble the egg with 2 tbsps water and lightly brush the outer crust. Lightly sprinkle the crust and exposed filling with sugar.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Serve warm.

ROASTED RED PEPPER FETA DIP

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I think this needs to prefaced with the fact that not only is this roasted red pepper feta dip delicious, it requires only four ingredients. FOUR!

Red bell peppers, feta cheese, olive oil salt. Done. That’s it.

This recipe also makes a sizable amount of it. But you’re going to need it, trust me.
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Crazy things happen when you roast bell peppers in your oven. Have you tried it? they get all charred and black and kind of look like they just got beat up.

Then you arranged them in a special aluminum foil packet…that is not actually special at all. But! When you take them out, all that charred skin has peeled away from the flesh of the pepper. It almost feels like plastic.

Peel that junk off and you’re left with soft, sweet, bell peppers that have the most wonderful flavor.
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Then blend it together with some feta cheese and oh my goodness. I hope you’re ready for this! Fresh and creamy and tangy. That soft sweetness from the peppers balances the normally stinging flavor of the feta cheese.

Let’s just say it works. It really works.

You can serve this dip on its own with some vegetables pita bread and make lots of people happy. If you want to take it to the next level, make some hummus and baked garlic fries to go along with it.

That will likely please just about everyone in the room!
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ROASTED RED PEPPER FETA DIP

Makes about 2 cups of dip

Ingredients
3 red bell peppers
6 oz. feta cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt

warm pita bread, for serving

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place the bell peppers whole on a sheet pan or directly onto the center rack of your oven. Roast for 20 minutes, and then carefully turn over. Roast anther 15 minutes.

During the last 15 minutes, prepare a large piece of aluminum foil for each pepper. After 15 minutes the peppers should have black, charred spots on their skins. Carefully remove them from the oven and place each on its own piece of foil. Carefully seal the foil into a package so that no steam escapes. Set aside to steam for 10 minutes.

Once the peppers are done steaming, carefully remove them from their foil packets. Place on a cutting board and use a pairing knife and your fingers to peel as much of the skin away from each pepper as possible. Try to peel as much from the tops and bottoms, too.

Pull the stem from each pepper and as much as the seeds as you can and discard. Place the peppers in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the feta cheese and the salt.
Process until the mixture is combined, and then slowly stream in the olive oil. Taste for salt and add as needed.

Serve with warm pita on the side. Dip can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 4 days.

ROSEMARY THYME BREAD BOWLS

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Oh hey there! Happy first day of autumn!!!

Also happy day of the season premier of Nashville. I spend the summer binge watching it from the beginning just in time to start planning my entire week around the new season airing. There’s nothing like a Hulu-induced primetime televisions obsession.

Also there’s nothing like soup…in a bread bowl! Because isn’t that one of the reasons we really love soup, anyway? Even if not in a bread bowl, I’m usually breaking up crackers or a baguette and tossing it in there…wishing I was just eating out of a bread bowl.
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So I just went ahead and made some of my own. With some beautifully fragrant and flavorful herbs, of course!

I made these bread bowls on the small size for a few of reasons. Mostly, they’re perfect to have for a lighter lunch or having soup with a salad of some sort. They’re also great to serve with some sort of soup or chile with your full football spread.

Also though, sometimes I like to enjoy soup and a bread bowl without the guilt of eating a loaf of bread the size of my head. So there’s that.
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If you’re planning to serve these with a soup that won’t jive with rosemary and thyme, just leave the herbs out. Generally, though, the flavor goes pretty well with any fall flavored vegetable soup.

If you want to get insane and put some mac and cheese in there too that would definitely work. Make it cauliflower mac and cheese to keep that angel on your shoulder in check.
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ROSEMARY THYME BREAD BOWLS

Makes 4 small or 2 large bread bowls

Ingredients
2 1/4 tsp. dry active yeast (1 packet)
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup warm (not hot) water
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
sea salt for topping

Instructions
Add the sugar and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer.* Add the warm water and stir lightly with a fork. Let sit 5-10 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy. Add the flour, kosher salt, rosemary, and thyme. Using the dough hook attachment, stir the mixture on a low speed. Once the dough starts to come together, slowly stream in the milk.

Keep mixing the dough until it comes together into a wet but firm ball. Oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

In the meantime, line two small baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Kneed lightly until the dough is one smooth ball. Cut into 2 even pieces if making large bread bowls or 4 small pieces if making small bread bowls. Shape the pieces into balls and place on the baking sheets. Cover with a clean baking towel and let rise an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Add the egg to a small cup and mix with an equal part water. Brush the top of each bread ball with the egg wash and top liberally with cracked sea salt. Bake for 15 minutes, and then remove from the oven to brush with the egg wash again. Bake for another 10 minutes for small bread bowls and 15-20 for larger, or until the bread bowls begin to turn golden.

When cool enough to handle, remove the bread bowls to a cool rack until ready to serve. Heat your soup in a separate pot. Use a small knife at an angle to cut a hole around the top of the loaf. Use your fingers to remove the core of the bread along with the lid. Fill the bread bowl with soup and serve the top on the side.

*If you don’t own a stand mixer, mix the dough by hand and kneed on a floured surface. Oil the bowl and return the bowl to rest.

END OF SUMMER STUFFED PEPPERS

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I’m as guilty as the next for jumping feet first into fall the day after Labor Day. But truthfully, we’ve still been well into the 80s here in Denver and we’ve got the produce to show for it.

The first day of fall isn’t until September 23, so it is officially the end of summer. Like, it’s happening right now.

So let’s take our winnings, stuff them in a pepper, and top them with cheese. It’s a thing, I swear.
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These end of summer stuffed peppers are a celebration of all those gorgeous, bright flavors that spend all summer just getting themselves perfect. There’s very little seasoning and (for once) very little cheese. These guys just don’t need much help.

I made my peppers with onions, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and corn. But if you’ve got mushrooms or other goodies growing in your garden, toss them in there!
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Stirring in a little tomato paste and cooked rice helps hold everyone together. Then they hang out in the oven, soften even more, and just get to know each other.

These peppers make a great snack, light lunch, or hearty side dish. Serve two per person and they’re a really great meatless meal.

End of summer, for the win!
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END OF SUMMER STUFFED PEPPERS

Makes 6 side servings or 3 meals

Ingredients
3 bell peppers
1/2 cup white or brown rice
2 small or 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small yellow squash, diced
1 ear sweet corn, kernels sliced from the core
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. dry or 1 tsp. fresh thyme
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cook rice according to package instructions and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and then the diced onions. Cook until the onions become soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato, zuchini, squash, and corn and sauté another 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.

While the vegetables cook, slice each of the bell peppers down the middle and remove all the seeds and white ribbing inside. Grease a baking dish large enough to hold all the pepper halves and set aside.

Once all the vegetables have softened, add the minced garlic and thyme and cook for one minute. Add the tomato paste and stir until well combined with the vegetables. Remove from eat and stir in the rice.

Generously stuff each bell pepper halve with the vegetable mixture. Place in the baking dish and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and raise the temperature to 450. Sprinkle the top of each pepper with the parmesan cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve warm.

BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER SLIDERS

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Ok, so, I know I’m on a bit of a cauliflower kick lately. First this Sriracha Honey Cauliflower Pizza, then the Creamy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, and now this.

But really, I’m not even sorry. These Buffalo Cauliflower Sliders are that good.

This recipe was a serious labor of love for me. Lucky for you though, I nailed it eventually! The first few rounds resulted in deliciously flavored sliders with a gross mashed potato-like consistency. Not cool. Also no salvageable, it turned out.
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There were two big changes that made these sliders eventually awesome. First, roasting the cauliflower in the oven is key. It softens it up and gives great flavor, all while drying out a lot of the excess moisture it secretly holds. That extra moisture = mushy burgers.

The second thing was just giving it a light pulse in a food processor instead of full-on ricing it. You could even achieve the same result with some dedication and a sharp knife. That’s the ticket to Texture City.
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Fold in a few other goodies, and these babies are ready to fry. Delicious buffalo sauce comes together in seconds. Assembly is simple and the results are absurdly satisfying. Tons of flavor and great texture make this the ultimate snack. The cauliflower is filling enough to make a few of these a whole meal.

Win-win!
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BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER SLIDERS

Makes about 10 sliders

Ingredients
For the Patties:
1 small head cauliflower
1 tbsp. vegetable oil, plus more for frying the patties (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1-2 tbsp. hot sauce
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

For the Sauce:
1/2 cup hot sauce
1 stick butter

10 slider buns
lettuce, sliced tomato, and ranch dressing, for topping

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Roughly cut or break the cauliflower head into florets. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil. Roast the cauliflower in the oven for 35 minutes, tossing with a spatula halfway through. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature, so it is no longer steaming.

Add the cauliflower florets, blue cheese crumbles, garlic powder, and hot sauce to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse about 5 times, until there are no larger pieces of cauliflower left, but so the mixture is still courser than rice. Move the mixture to a mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the beaten egg and panko breadcrumbs.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is warm, add the vegetable oil so that it is about 1/2 inch deep. Use your hands to make patties from the cauliflower mixture, about 3 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Gently place in the oil, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry until each side is a deep golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.

While the patties drain, place the butter in a small bowl and microwave until melted. Add the hot sauce to the melted butter and mix with a fork until well combined. Set up your slider buns with a dollop of ranch dressing, a lettuce leaf, and a tomato slice. Individually toss each patty in the sauce, coating both sides, and place directly on the bun. Enjoy immediately.

SPICY BLACK BEAN ENCHILADA DIP

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In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not-so-subtly building up my arsenal of football season snacks. (See here and here.) It’s quite deliberate, actually. And this Spicy Black Bean Enchilada Dip is another winner for your game-day menu!

I’m not kidding about the spicy part, though. The chipotle chiles in adobo sauce juuust might make your nose run. That means it’s good, though, right? Right.

(If spicy is not your thing just skip the chipotle chiles! That’s where all the heat comes from.)

It’s not all fiery, though. All that heat is balances out by flavors of black beans, sweet corn, and mild green chiles. Plus some roasted tomato, red onion, and garlic. All the best things get stirred up and baked in the oven until warm and gooey.
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Oh yeah, gooey….that’s because (obviously) there’s a ton of cheese in here! Gooey, melty, yummy cheese.

I couldn’t decide if the cheese would be better in the dip or on top.

So I put it in the dip. And then I put some more on top.

That’s just how I roll.
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This dip is vegetarian. But, if you’re a meat enthusiast, feel free to stir in some shredded chicken before baking. Totally allowed. It can be made earlier in the day and then warmed up in the oven!

Just be careful bringing it to a party as it will likely make you lots of friends.

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SPICY BLACK BEAN ENCHILADA DIP

Ingredients
3 vine-ripened or roma tomatoes
1 large red onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 7-oz. can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 bunch cilantro
2 15-oz. cans black beans (divided), drained and rinsed
1 8.5-oz. can corn, drained and rinsed
1 4-oz. can mild green chiles
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
salt to taste
4 cups grated cheddar cheese (1-1 1/2 blocks)

sliced avocado, for topping
tortilla chips, for serving

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a skillet over medium heat.

Slice the tomatoes into 3 slices each. Add the olive oil to the hot skillet, and then carefully add the tomato slices to the pan. Cook until slightly golden, about 3 minutes per side.

While the tomatoes cook, cut the onion into 1-2 inch chunks. Once the tomatoes are done cooking, add the tomatoes to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Place the onion into the hot skillet and cook until just golden, about 5-6 minutes. Add the minced garlic to the onions and sauté for 1 minute. Remove the onions and garlic to the food processor with the tomatoes.

Add the canned chiles and their sauce to the food processor. Add the cumin, oregano, and salt. Pulse a few times until the mixture is chunky but without any large pieces of onion. Add 1 can of the black beans and a handful of cilantro to the food processor and pulse a few more times.

Remove the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the remaining black beans, corn, and green chiles. Stir in 2 cups of the cheddar cheese, and move the mixture to a large baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve warm with tortilla chips and topped with sliced avocado.

PIZZA PRETZELS

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Ohh man, guys. It’s back to reality for me today. If you follow me on Instagram (@boxesandjars.com) you know I just spent a super long weekend at the Jersey Shore visiting my family.

Long story short, it was great. And instead of getting back to work, I’d really rather sit back and just have a beer.

And what’s better with a beer than a hot pretzel? Except maybe pizza…sooo…

I just decided to go ahead and roll them into one. Like, literally roll them. InoYou guys, I made Pizza Pretzels!
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We make a traditional pretzel dough, roll it out into long skinny rectangles, fill ‘er up, seal ‘er shut, and bake them to perfection. After boiling in a little baking soda/water potion, of course. Did you know that’s what makes pretzels so pretzely? Baking soda is magic.

I made these pretzels with just tomato sauce and cheese, but you can stick more fun stuff in there if you want. Try pepperoni!
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Whatever you try, don’t overstuff. We want to keep everybody inside the pretzel. I also recommend making sure all of your filling is finally chopped to make the pretzel-folding part easier.

Make these for football game watching or for a fun dinner. Make them to hoard or make them to share. Make them for an excuse to drink some beer.
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PIZZA PRETZELS

Makes 4 large pretzels

Ingredients
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast (1 packet)
3 1/2 – 4 cups flour
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking soda
1/2 cup tomato sauce, divided, plus extra for dipping
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tbsp butter
garlic powder, dried oregano, and sea salt for topping

Instructions
Add the water, sugar, and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer* and froth with a fork to combine. Let sit for about 5 minutes while the mixture becomes foamy. Add the flour and salt and mix with the dough hook attachment on the lowest speed. Once the dough comes together, move up to a medium speed. Gradually add 1/4 cup to a half cup more flour to allow the dough to come together into a sticky ball.

After about five minutes it should be smooth, but still fairly sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Once the dough is ready, divide it into 4 equal pieces. One by one, roll each piece out into a rectangle about 24 inches long and 4 inches wide. Evenly spread about 2 tbsp. of tomato sauce in a thin layer along one edge of the dough, lengthwise, leaving about 2 inches bare at each end. Lightly top the sauce with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.

Starting at the edge with the sauce and cheese, gently roll the dough up to seal the sauce and cheese inside. Wet your finger tips with water and gently pinch the seam to make sure it stays shut. Carefully shape the dough into pretzel shapes and place 2-3 inches apart on an oiled baking sheet to rest for 20 minutes.

While the pretzels rest, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Just as the water starts to boil, add the baking soda. Once the pretzels have rested, one by one boil each in the water for 1-2 minutes per side. The longer you boil, the browner your pretzels will get.

Once they have been boiled, return the pretzels to the baking sheet. Melt the butter in the microwave and brush each pretzel liberally with the melted butter. Top with garlic powder, dried oregano, and sea salt as desired.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until nicely browned. Let cool about 5 minutes, then serve with a side of warm tomato sauce.

*If you don’t own a stand mixer, you can mix the dough by hand in a large bowl and and kneed on a floured surface. Return the bowl to rest.

BAKED GARLIC FRIES AND HUMMUS

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Today we’re talking comfort food! But not the super heavy, coated in butter and cheese kind. Even though I really love that kind.

This snack is so simple but it means so much to me! When I was in college, I was lucky enough to spend a few years working at an amazing Lebanese restaurant. I learned a ton about food and drink while I was there. I also watched them make the hummus daily…and it made up about a third of my diet.
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The staff spent so many nights sharing food after a crazy shift, and it always included french fries and hummus. A lot of people have never had the two together, but it’s sooo good!

This hummus recipe is not exactly the one from that restaurant, but it’s pretty damn close. The method is also roughly the same. Garlic cloves and salt are broken down into a paste before being added to a food processor. This brings out a little more flavor than just throwing them in whole.
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These fries are similar to the ones I baked for these Disco Fries except way more flavor, most of which is garlic! And I added a little cayenne for some kick. Because I can do whatever I want.

I find baking fries to be a lot less hassle than frying even if it does take a little extra time. And for this snack, you can easily make the garlic while the fries cook. Boom.

This is the best summertime comfort food to me. It’s filling and flavorful but still fairly light. And full of garlic, duh.
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BAKED GARLIC FRIES AND HUMMUS

Ingredients
For the Spicy Garlic Fries:
Makes enough for 2-4 people to share
2 large potatoes
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
6 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley

For the Hummus:
Makes about 4 cups of hummus
2 cans garbanzo beans/chickpeas
4 tsp. tahini
4 large garlic cloves
3 tsp. salt, divided
juice of 3 lemons (about 1/3 cup) strained of any seeds
olive oil, paprika, and fresh parsley for topping

Instructions
First, make the French Fries: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with foil and set aside.

Slice the potatoes into matchsticks about 1/4-1/2 inch wide. Place all the potato sticks in a large mixing bowl, and add the spices, minced garlic, and oil. Use your hands to toss the potatoes with the oil and make sure the spices are evenly distributed. Lay out on the baking sheets in a single level, making sure all the minced garlic makes it onto the pan.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring/flipping once halfway through. After 30 minutes, add the parsley and toss to mix. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, checking periodically to make sure the fries don’t burn.

While the fries bake, make the hummus: add the chickpeas to a colander or fine mesh strainer. Rinse thoroughly and discard of any loose shells. Add them to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and 1 tsp. of salt. Process until the beans are completely blended, but still thick.

While the chickpeas grind, add the garlic cloves to a mortar bowl. Mash with a pestle a few times to break the cloves up. Add 1 tsp. of salt and continue to mash until a paste starts to form.

Add the lemon juice and 1 tsp. salt to a measuring cup. Fill the measuring cup with warm water so that the total of your liquid is 1 cup. (If you have exactly 1/3 cup lemon juice, add 2/3 cup water.) Stir to dissolve the salt.

Start the food processor again and slowly stream in the lemon juice and water through the spout. Once you’ve added 2/3 of the mixture, stop the processor. Add the garlic/salt mixture from the mortar bowl. Fill the mortar with the remaining lemon juice and water, and scrape down the sides with the pestle to get any remaining bits of garlic. Pour it all into the food processor, and process the hummus for another minute.

Serve the warm fries alongside the fresh hummus. Store extra hummus in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for one to two weeks.

OVEN FRIED BROCCOLI WITH SPICY BEER CHEESE SAUCE

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Before I jump into this, let me make one thing clear: I’m the last person who wants to see the summer go. I love the warm weather, long days, etc. etc.

However, I also love football. And it’s about this time that I start getting excited about the approach of the season.

But really, the game is only half of it. I am one of those people that can sit on the couch all weekend and watch game after game without getting tired. But, what I love even more is watching with friends…and snacking!

When it’s just the two of us, John and I often opt for a bottle of wine and a Cheese Antipasto Dinner. But when we’ve got friends over, we’re Snack City.
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So, I’d be lying if I said this recipe wasn’t a result of over zealous football snack planning.

But seriously, I think this oven fried broccoli is going to be making more than one appearance this season! It’s really easy to pull together – way easier than frying. It’s got a nice crispiness to it, but the broccoli florets are not caked in batter beyond recognition.
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The spicy beer cheese sauce is really similar to this beer cheese fondue and equally delicious. It comes together quickly on your stove while broccoli gets nice and crisp in the oven.

Pull it together at halftime and don’t miss a thing. Happy snacking!
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OVEN FRIED BROCCOLI WITH SPICY BEER CHEESE SAUCE

Ingredients
For the Broccoli:
4 cuts broccoli florets (about 2 small crowns)
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil

For the Spicy Beer Cheese Sauce:
1 cup grated cheese (I used 1/2 cheddar and 1/2 pepper jack)
2 tbsp. flour
3/4 cup beer of your choice
salt & pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste (optional)

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Add the water and oil and whisk again to form a thick batter. Add the broccoli florets and toss with a rubber spatula until the broccoli is evenly coated in the batter.

Move the broccoli to a baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes, mixing once halfway through.

While the broccoli cooks, make the cheese sauce: heat the beer in a small sauce pan over medium heat. In a small bowl, add the grated cheese and the 2 tbsp. flour and toss to coat the cheese in the flour. Once the beer starts to simmer, add the cheese and whisk until it forms a sauce. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Keep warm (careful not to burn) until the broccoli is ready. Serve immediately!