Dec 29, 2008

Herbed Bread Sticks

Despite what you might think, nothing is more difficult to me than shooting in direct sunlight. So many exposure issues to pay attention to, so many harsh shadows, so much soft, yellow light to mess up your white balance. But I like a good challenge and believe I’ve used the soft and rustic light to my advantage.

What did I make? Another party snack/appetizer, of course! Simple herbed bread sticks. New years is right around the corner and I love a table filled with copious amounts of simple yet tasty snacks. This is definitely one of them. It makes for a fantastic appetizer when you serve them with soup and transforms into party food at New Years. Incredibly simple but amazingly good. More party food recipes can be found here.

I think there’s something rewarding about making your own snacks/appetizers rather than buying pre-made ones. It doesn’t have to be a 5 star meal that looks utterly breathtaking, but people see, taste and feel you went that extra mile. Not sure why, but it’s important to me that my friends and loved ones know I took the time and effort to prepare something special for them, no matter how simple a recipe it may be.

Ingredients:

Ciabatta or Focaccia
5 tbsp olive oil
flat leaf parsley
2 sun-dried tomatoes (on oil)
1 garlic clove
pepper
salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400F (200C).

I didn’t want to cheat or I would have probably grabbed the mini food processor that came with my immersion blender, tossed it all in and blitzed … feel free to make it easy on yourself, ok! Minimum effort, maximum flavor is good :)

Grab a bowl and pour 5 tbsp olive oil in there.

I’m going for a really heavy garlic flavor, so I bought red creole garlic—it has a far more intense flavor than regular garlic. I’ve used one decent sized clove, so if you like garlic as much as I do, go for 2 medium sized normal cloves or play it safe and use one. I’ll only laugh at you for a little while :)

Grate the garlic and add it to the oil. It will immediately start to flavor it.

The weather has been awesome here, freezing cold but with a clear blue sky and lots of sunshine. Hence the way my photos seem to be immersed in soft yellow light.

See how much I use the stuff? Wash, dry and finely chop a really good handful of flat leaf parsley. I once tried it with basil and the flavor was just too overpowering; this seems to work best. I’m sure you can also do this with fresh sage, though.

Finely chop 2 sun-dried tomatoes. I really like the deep, sweet flavor they give to dishes—the flavor of summer. You just can’t beat it, it’s like adding a little sunshine to your food.

Add everything to the bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. You can add whatever you like, a little cayenne or some onion powder. Just try not to over-season it, less is really more. Give everything a good stir.

They were out of full-sized ciabatta/focaccia by the time I got to the store, now I could have made a focaccia myself but simply didn’t have time for it. I’ll probably make one myself the day before New Years since this recipe works really well with slightly stale bread.

Opted for 3 small ciabattas this time, sliced them (about 1 inch slices) and turned those into smaller strips.

Putting them in a large roasting or baking tray always works best for me; less dishes to wash because you can just flavor them inside the tray. Pour the oil on top and shuffle them around with your hands until they’re covered with herb oil. Try not to let them overlap each other too much.

Pop them in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until golden brown and crunchy. I like serving them in several lower glasses. Especially whiskey glasses are great for this, it looks so perky :)

 

     – Kayotic Kitchen Recipe Card –

     Click here for printable size.

Dec 28, 2008

Chicken Puff Samosas

  Snack time! In case you haven’t noticed; I’m totally into puff pastry! It’s the perfect party food. Think about it, most people keep a few sheets in their freezer anyway. It’s quick, tasty, can often be made ahead of time and even served hot or cold. On top of that you can stuff them with anything you like; from crab or surimi, minced meat with veggies to curried chicken, veal ragout and everything…

Dec 24, 2008

Sour Cream Gratin

I’ve always been a huge fan of sour cream—I love the freshness and tang it gives to dishes. If I can use sour cream in stead of regular cream, I definitely will. The stuff is absolutely fabulous and highly addictive. I use it as a sauce for pasta, as a dip for my Sweet Potato Rösti, to spike up stews with and especially spooned on top of a steaming bowl of hot soup it’s nothing…

Dec 23, 2008

Chocolate Carrot Cake

I had no idea you guys were such chocolate fiends when I posted my Winter Wonderland recipe! Your thighs and saddlebags are not gonna be happy with me today, though, that’s for sure :) Over the past 10 years I’ve tried several chocolate cake recipes, but this one in particular sparked my interest. Ran into it in one of those ancient cook books and tweaked it a little. I love chocolate cake but in…

Dec 22, 2008

Lining your cake tin

Just a quick tips & tricks posting to show you how I line my spring form cake pan. Most of you probably know this already or have your own (favorite) way of doing it, but for those of you new to cooking & baking, it might be useful to see at least one way you can do this.

Dec 20, 2008

Spicy Scampi

I have this thing for seafood. It’s the perfect appetizer; so tasty, light and pretty. I honestly believe that 50% of how food tastes is determined by how its presented. Lucky for me; there’s absolutely nothing easier and more beautiful to serve than gorgeous pink shrimps. I decided that one of our Christmas days (we have 2 official days of Christmas here) will be reserved for seafood. It’ll be a nice break from all…

Dec 17, 2008

Tuna Salad Wrap

There are times I simply lack the energy or desire to cook (yes, it really happens!). When I’m running out of time, had a rough day or simply forgot to yank something out of the freezer, I always fall back on simple wraps. They’re so versatile, pretty much anything goes. I just open my fridge/pantry, see what’s in there and combine it all. It can vary from cheese and baloney slices, leftover chicken with apple…