Meringue Bones

I’ve always loved Halloween. Part of the joy of living in cities like San Francisco and New Orleans is they are the perfect places for adults to costume and party and enjoy All Hallows Eve.

One of my favorites is making meringues in the shape of bones. These are pretty easy and very tasty.

Meringue Bones

2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat eggs on medium until frothy. Sprinkle on the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Increase the speed and add in the sugar. Continue to beat until the egg whites are glossy and stiff peaks form. Add in vanilla and mix until just combined.

Pipe the meringues onto the prepared baking sheet. To form bones, place two dots connected by a long line and two additional dots.

Bake for 2 hours or until you can easily peel the meringues off the parchment paper. Turn off the oven and let cool completely inside for a couple of hours or overnight if your house isn’t too humid.

Store in an airtight container or they will become soggy.

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Salty Garlicky Roasted Edamame

I’ve been making snacks all weekend (Spicy, Chili Cheesy Dip, Cocoa Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Chickpeas, Circles and Squares). I couldn’t stop there, so I grabbed the bag of shelled edamame and got to work.

Salty Garlicky Roasted Edamame

1 bag frozen, shelled edamame
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

Thaw bag of frozen edamame in a strainer. For a quick thaw, run frozen edamame under running water. Spread thawed edamame onto a towel to dry.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, salt and garlic. Stir in edamame and toss to coat. Spread the edamame onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, shaking the pan regularly. Edamame is done when it is browned and crispy.

Store in an airtight container.

Optional: toss with 2 to 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese while stir warm.

Crunchy Cocoa Cinnamon Sugar Chickpeas

I’m making snack foods this weekend. This is another really simple one that you can flavor pretty much however you want. I went for sweet plus chocolate goes really well with cinnamon. Because of the sugar, I didn’t add the flavorings until after they had roasted. If going the savory route, you can add the spices when you add the olive oil.

Roasted chickpeas are a healthy treat but don’t eat them all at once. They are still beans.

Crunchy, Cocoa Cinnamon Sugar Chickpeas

1 15.5 ounce can of chickpeas
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Drain and rinse chickpeas. Set them on a towel to dry. Peel off the skins – if you don’t do this step, the oven roasted chickpeas will not get crunchy. Dry again and put in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, shaking the pan midway through cooking.

Remove chickpeas from the oven and pour into a bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the chickpeas and stir to coat completely. Return to pan and the chickpeas to the oven and continue to bake for 30-40 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. They are done when they are golden and crispy.

In a small bowl combine sugar, cinnamon and cocoa. Stir to combine.

Remove chickpeas from oven and pour in a bowl. Toss with a couple tablespoons of the cocoa cinnamon sugar to coat. Place remaining cocoa cinnamon sugar in an airtight container for another use.

Return the chickpeas to baking sheet and place back in the oven with the heat turned off. Crack the oven door and let them stay in the oven to cool slowly.

Snack on them still warm or after they’ve cooled. Store in an airtight container.

Spicy Chili Cheesy Dip

It is Go Sports time again and I had a pound of Velveeta cheese in the pantry just begging to be used. What I ended up making is a super simple dip recipe but oh, so delicious. You’re just three ingredients away from your own party, whether you watch football, futball, or fussball!

Spicy Chili Cheesy Dip

1 can Ro-tel diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 lb Velveeta cheese
1 small can Hormel chili no beans

Combine all ingredients in the top of a double boiler. Over low heat, melt everything together, stirring occasionally. Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos corn chips.

If you find Ro-tel too spicy (especially when you’ve rewarmed the leftovers the next day), add in a package of cream cheese and melt it with the rest. It cools things down and makes the dip even more creamy!

 

Butter Poached Shrimp With Grits

Shrimp and grits is a perfect food pairing. I’ve posted about making them before (here and here) and many more times when I’ve eaten them at restaurants. This time, I’m poaching the shrimp in butter (a la Michael Ruhlman). I can recommend this preparation (even without the grits) as it makes the shrimp velvety and delicious.

When the poaching liquid is combined with the grits, you end up with a dish that is rich, decadent but still quintessentially southern.

Butter Poached Shrimp with Grits

4 strips bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 bell pepper, diced (about 1/2 cup)
Kosher salt
1 1/4 cups grits (not instant)
2 cups milk
2 cups water
1 cup butter, cut into 12 chunks
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon Cajun/Creole seasoning

Heat a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until slightly crisp and brown. Remove the bacon and set aside. In the bacon fat remaining in the pan, sauté  the onion. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add in bell pepper and cook for just a minute or two. Pour in milk and water and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the grits and a pinch of kosher salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook the grits, stirring occasionally, until done, about 20 minutes.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of water and bring to a simmer. Then whisk in the chunks of butter, one at a time until all are incorporated and you have an emulsion. Add the shrimp and then moderate the temperature to keep the butter just below simmering (170-180 degrees F). Poach the shrimp, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 3-5 minutes. Take the shrimp off the heat.

Add half of the poaching butter to the grits. Stir and add Cajun/Creole seasoning. Taste for seasoning. Spoon the grits into bowls, add the shrimp, sprinkle on the diced bacon and drizzle on a little more of the poaching butter. Serve.

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

I was craving cinnamon and, after flipping through my cookie books, I found this one. It combines cinnamon in the dough and it is rolled in cinnamon-sugar but the peanut butter flavor totally raises this up a notch. These are a cinch to make – the hardest part is waiting long enough for the dough to firm up to roll.

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Optional – 1/2 cup semi-sweet morsels, chopped

Cinnamon sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix flour, the cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Cream the butter and the sugars in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed. Add in egg and beat to combine. Add in peanut butter and vanilla. Scrape down the bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. If using chocolate chips, add them now. Refrigerate 1 1/2 to 2 hours to firm.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix cinnamon sugar by combining 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in small bowl.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Place about 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Gently flatten with fork, pressing a crisscross pattern onto tops of cookies.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

 

Creamed Corn without the cream

As much as it might surprise regular readers of my food blog, I don’t always have cream in the house. I do have whole milk, though, so I was able to do a cheat on one of my corn recipes.

Using corn that Michelle cut off the cob and frozen in pint bags, I made some delicious creamed corn. It was thick and rich and no one missed the cream.

Creamed Corn

2 cups corn off the cob (2 cans)
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup whole milk, divided
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium skillet, combine corn, butter and 1/2 cup milk. Place over medium heat. Add the flour to the remaining 1/2 milk and whisk to combine. Pour flour mixture into the corn and stir well. Add in the salt and pepper and bring to a simmer, stirring regularly, making sure to scrape the bottom so the milk doesn’t burn.

After about 10 minutes, the mixture will have thickened. Taste for seasonings and serve.