Category Archives: snacks.

Quickles

Even better when homemade.  Very easy and once you have the ingredients in your pantry or spice drawer you’ll be making them all the time.  This is a good base recipe that can be easily modified with different vinegars or aromatics.  Shoot for 1/4 cup seasonings for each pound of pickles.

Basic Pickle Recipe

1 lb kirby cucumbers, halved

2 cups water

1/2 cup white vinegar

3 tablespoons salt

3 garlic cloves, smashed

2 tablespoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

handful fresh dill

bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon peppercorns

Place cucumbers in a bowl or pot with garlic, mustard seeds, caraway seeds, dill, bay leaf and peppercorns.  Set aside.  Boil water, vinegar and salt until salt dissolves and pour over cucumbers.  Place a small plate over pickles to submerge them.  Cover bowl or pot and leave at room temperature 24-36 hours until crunchy and pickled.  Transfer to fridge.

Truffle Parmesan Popcorn

Truffle Parmesan Popcorn

2 tablespoon canola oil

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1 teaspoon truffle oil

salt and pepper

parmesan cheese, grated

In a large pot, heat popcorn kernels in oil until they pop.  Toss popcorn with truffle oil and grated parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Candied Ginger Candy

I find the store bought version too caked with sugar.  These are also a bit spicier and taste very much of ginger.

Candied Ginger

Large bunch of ginger, about a 1 lb

2 cups sugar plus a bit more for sprinkling

2 cups water

Slice ginger, not too thin. (Otherwise it ends up too crispy.)  Place in a pot and cover with water.  Boil for 15 minutes and drain.  In the same pot mix sugar and water, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 40 minutes.  Drain well.  (Save the liquid – its ginger simple syrup now and would be good mixed with club soda and slice of lime as ginger ale.)  Roll ginger in as much sugar as you like and lay out on baking sheet or foil to dry.  Drying may take up to 2 days.

Vinegar Chips

These are mild in vinegar flavor.  For more of a kick soak in white vinegar instead of water.  Vinegar powder can be hard to find.  I ordered mine from spicebarn.com

Vinegar Potato Chips

4 idaho potatoes or 6 yukon golds

canola oil

1 teaspoon salt

black pepper

3 tablespoons vinegar powder

Wash and dry potatoes.  Slice very thin with a mandolin.  Thoroughly rinse slices and soak in water for 30 minutes.  Pat dry or give them a spin in a salad spinner if you have one.  Heat oil in a pot to 300 degrees.  Working in batches, fry slices until light golden brown.  Remove from oil and place on towel.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and vinegar powder.

pear bleu puff tarts

I wanted to make homemade poptarts and had a puff pastry dough in the freezer. Perfect. I also made a raspberry version.

Pear and Bleu Cheese Poptarts

1 package puff pastry dough, thawed

1/4 cup mascarpone

1/4 cup bleu cheese

two pears halved, cored, sliced

honey

flour for rolling out dough

egg yolk and milk (for the wash)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gently roll out pastry on floured surface very thin. Use a pastry or pizza cutter to cut poptart squares. (Mine were huge portions at 5″ x 6″. I recommend smaller portions)

In a bowl, mix bleu and mascarpone cheeses and smear on what will be the bottom pastry square. Layer with slices of pear. Drizzle with honey. With a pastry brush or finger, brush small amount of water along the pastry edges. Create a sandwich with another square. Press along edges to seal. Repeat with remaining squares until you have all your little poptarts sealed up and ready for baking. Poke holes in top layer with a fork.

Mix egg yolk and about a tablespoon of milk together for the egg wash. This will create a pretty golden brown glaze. Lightly brush each square with egg wash. Bake for about 20 minutes.  They will be golden, flaky puffs of heaven.

In a Pickle

On a trip to Trader Joe’s last week I was forced to purchase an eight ounce container of jalepenos even though I only needed one. Eight ounces is about 8-10 chilies.  I ended up sneaking in one or two here or there but was still left with a small surplus, enough for escabeche or pickled jalepenos.

Pickled Jalapenos

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, sliced

1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces

6 jalapenos,halved lengthwise, seeds and ribs removed

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled

4 bay leaves

1 tablespoon thyme

2 tablespoons  kosher salt

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon corriander

1 teaspoon oregano

1 1/2 cup vinegar (white or cider)

1 1/2 cup water

Saute onions until clear, about 2 minutes.  Add remaining veggies and cook 2 minutes more.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer about 30 minutes.  Cool.  Will last about one week refrigerated.

Peppers

These little lovelies can be difficult to find. I stumbled on these shishito peppers at dean and deluca. Padron peppers could also be used and are almost identical. Both are small delicate peppers that generally are mild in taste although every one in ten you might find a spicy one.

Blistered Peppers
1/2 lb (or any amount) shishito or padron peppers
coarse salt
olive oil

Wash and dry peppers. Some one told me each pepper should be pricked with a pin before cooking but this seems fussy and I never do it. In a pan heat a drizzle of olive oil and add peppers. Cook until they blister and deflate. Salt to taste. Serve hot. Eat everything but the stem.

Tamari Almonds

Salty snack.  Tamari is a gluten/wheat free soy sauce.

Tamari Almonds

1 lb raw almonds

1/2 cup tamari sauce

Toss almonds in sauce and spread on baking sheet.  Roast in oven at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.  Mix every 10 minutes during cooking.  Cool.

apple sauce with ginger and black pepper

This last December, like all Decembers I packed up my knife, micro plane, husband and puppy and made the long journey upstate to Ithaca, New York to cook and spend another delightful Christmas holiday with my family.  Ithaca, besides being a borderline boring place to grow up, I realized after moving away to NYC; is a place of great, fresh food with an abundance of  locally made goods and farm fresh produce.  With the seasonal hiatus of the union square green market, it has been weeks since I had seen a good apple.  Upon leaving Ithaca, my mother in true Mazzarella fashion proceeded to give me a verbal tour of the refrigerator asking what I would like to bring back to brooklyn.  I have assured her that although we are without a Wegman’s, we are with a Wholefoods.  During this listing of condiments and snacks I did learn that my parents purchase apples BY THE BUSHEL at a nearby farm and were willing to part with said bushel.  A lovely farewell present.

I eat at least one apple a day.  Whether its crunchy slices pressed onto a peanut buttered toast for breakfast or a giant whole one for an afternoon snack or shredded into a carrot apple cake for dessert or layered into a tart also for an appropriate anytime snack or meal or as my favorite midnight snack: Apple sauce.   Possibly one of the easiest snacks to prepare and (as most homemade foods, much better than its store bought counterparts.

Recipe for Gingered/Black Peppered Apple Sauce:

  • Apples (any type and amount)
  • Water
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Ground Ginger (more) + Nutmeg (less) + Cinnamon (less)

Wash, Peel, Core and Cut apples into Quarters.

Place apple pieces in a pot with about half and inch of water.  Cover and bring to boil then uncover and cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes or until apples are soft.  Add fresh ground black pepper and spices to taste.  (I made this batch a little peppery and quite spicy with the ginger.  The cinnamon will help bring out the sweetness).

Mash. Cool. Try to resist eating the entire batch.