Plantain Chips

Fried Plantain Chips from

While I was familiar with plantains and had eaten them several ways before, I had my first plantain chips ever while visiting Miami in May. I have since made up for lost time by FRYING ALL THE PLANTAINS. It's easy as can be and yields a chip that is sturdy enough to dip just about anything, dead crispy, and a fun departure from the norm. My kids are going a little bonkers for them. One of them defines his love for Plantain Chips as being, "Crazy, because they LOOK like bananas but don't TASTE like bananas which is BANANAS!" So if they look like bananas and don't taste like bananas, what DO they taste like? Well, they are a little sweet (but not anywhere in the territory of banana sweet) and a little nutty. It's kind of hard to explain if you have never had them. And keeping with the 'looks like a banana but doesn't ____ like a banana" theme, there is a bit of a trick to peeling them. You might think you just peel 'em, but that would be an exercise in serious frustration. Luckily, my gal, Meseidy of The Noshery, has a great tutorial on her blog on how to peel the little beasts. Rest assured, though, that it's totally worth the learning curve on peeling this NOT-A-BANANA. And yes, I'm asking you to break out the hot oil here, but I'm telling you, the payoff is immense. When you fry them instead of baking them, they stay crispier FAR longer than they otherwise would have. All bets are off, of course, if you're in massively humid weather... Then you'd do best to eat … {Read on...}

Crispy Avocado Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Relish

Crispy Avocado Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Relish from

When I visited Plano, Texas last month on business, I went out to lunch at the Taco Diner Plano Legacy. I had a taco sampler plate and opted for a combination of Puerco Al Pastor tacos and vegetarian Crispy Fried Avocado tacos. Some of the grilled pineapple from my Al Pastor tacos fell onto my crispy avocado tacos, and the rest, as they say is history. I tasted it and loved it so much that I recreated the happy accident at home, on purpose, adding some fresh lime juice and cilantro to the party. The result: Crispy Avocado Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Relish. This is our new favourite taco. I cannot remember one moment in my almost forty years of life that I have ever turned down a taco. The truth is that I consider tacos and pizza the most perfectly designed foods on the face of the Earth. There's nothing about them that I dislike. Even a mediocre taco is better than a spectacular casserole to me. Heh. Is there such a thing as a spectacular casserole? But seriously. Tacos and pizzas... If I had to choose just a couple of foods to live on for the rest of all time I'd choose those. Okay, maybe add fried dumplings to that list. And hamburgers. And my Grandma's biscuits and cornbread. THE POINT IS... This recipe was the entire reason I made the Crispy Avocado Fries and Grilled Pineapple Relish. I ended up loving both of them so much on their own that I gave them their own posts, but people -PEOPLE!- this is the business. This is the stuff. Crispy, Creamy Avocado … {Read on...}

Cheese Tray

How to put together a Cheese Tray for appetizers or a light summer meal.

Cheese. It wouldn't be too far a stretch to say I live for it. In fact, I'm spending today on the road driving to Maine to hang out with some of my favourite bloggers and some of the excellent people at Cabot Cheese Cooperative. Cheese plus bread plus fruit plus a little good sausage equals a perfectly satisfying and good summer meal in my book; I've mentioned it before. This post isn't about that, though, it's about how to put together a great cheese tray with all of those elements. Oh, and there's a giveaway for a Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer, but first... CHEESE! I've already mentioned our well-loved Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil and bread summer staple meal but I want to talk about one that we bust out for really special occasions: the Cheese Tray. This one makes my kids whoop with delight. In short, it's cheese, fruit, bread, and sausage on a tray... or a platter... or a plate... Heck. Sometimes we just keep it all on the cutting board we used to cut it up. When we have bread, it goes on there, too. If we don't have bread, we use crackers. It's another one of those conversation starter meals. You eat, you talk about life, you combine things, you chat about your combinations. There's a little more art to the meal than just slapping a bunch of fromage on a tray, though. It's not difficult if you keep three things in mind: 1: The strength of the cheese. 2: The flavours of the cheese. 3: Give me your cheese Okay, I guess it's just two things you really … {Read on...}

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs from

There are a few things that I know are surefire hits with my menfolk and near the top of that list are grilled things, bacon, and hot dogs.  When I combined them the other night, the result was an evening of my young men promising me all sorts of doing of chores and favours if I would JUST make the dish again. What did I do? I made Grilled Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs. My husband swore that it was the best hot dog he'd ever eaten. Looking to impress the guys in your life? (Okay, and the bacon loving girls, like yours truly...) Make them Grilled Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs. It doesn't take much effort and what little effort it takes is well-worth it in return for the adoration you receive when you serve them. Honestly, it all started with me just playing with my food. I had some packages of not-top-shelf hot dogs I had bought at an irresistible sale price. I was looking at them and thinking about how I was going to have to bury them in something because I've married, given birth to, and raised a bunch of hot dog snobs. Don't look at me like that. There IS such a thing as a hot dog snob. My kids turn their noses up whenever I make anything less than a high-end dog. They prefer Zweigle's White Hots, Sahlen's Old-Fashioned Casing Dogs, or something kosher and all-beef. If they're at a baseball game, fireman's carnival or somesuch, they'll happily eat what my husband calls a 'dirty water dog', but if we're home, they want the good stuff. So as I stared at my package of questionable … {Read on...}

Party Hummus

Party Hummus- the best hummus ever served just as hummus should be. Hint: not cold.

What makes Party Hummus so wonderful? I'm going to tell you straight up, it's the best hummus I've ever had and -people?- I've eaten my weight in hummus many, many, many times over. It is the silkiest, richest, most indulgent hummus, not only because of the amount of tahini (hint: it's generous) but also because of the drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, the toasted pine nuts, the dusting of za'atar, and the handful of chopped parsley. But there's more. It's served warm or room temperature -never cold- which wakes up the flavours of hummus AND maintains the velvety texture. If all the hummus you've ever eaten has been cold, you are in for such a treat with Party Hummus! I feel obliged to tell you something. Unless you grew up in an Israeli or Middle Eastern household (which I didn't), there's a pretty good chance you've been eating hummus that wasn't as good as it could be for most of your life. I'm sure you've had good smooth hummus; I don't doubt that. But what you've been missing all this time is the true hummus experience: the way it's eaten all over the Middle East. Freshly made, silky smooth, and warm. TRUTH: you haven't eaten great hummus unless you've had it warm or -at coolest- room temperature. It's a fact that you taste foods better when they're warm. The heat releases volatile oils in spices and herbs, making them more fragrant. When it hits your tongue, it's not a shock- your taste buds don't shiver and contract, dulling the flavours of the food. In … {Read on...}