Sriracha Cauliflower

Recipe by Mary Reilly, Food Styling by Joy Howard, Photo by Dominic Perri

This may never replace the iconic wing, but these spicy bites are pretty darned addictive. Plus, a hot oven gives you crispy florets while keeping you away from the deep fryer. Use your favorite purchased blue cheese dressing, or whip up your own by whisking sour cream, a splash of red wine vinegar, a generous amount of ground pepper, and a handful of blue cheese crumbles. When cutting up the cauliflower, don’t toss the core—cut it into thin strips and roast it along with the florets.

Serves 6 as a snack

1 medium cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets (about 8 cups)

½ cup flour

½ cup water

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

⅔ cup sriracha

2 tablespoons butter, melted 

Heat oven to 450°. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, water, salt, and pepper. Add cauliflower and toss to coat well. Lay onto baking sheet and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp.

In a large bowl, stir sriracha and butter together. Toss the baked cauliflower in the sauce. Return florets to the baking sheet and bake for another 30 minutes, or until crisp. 

Serve with blue cheese dressing and carrot and celery sticks if desired.

Cracker Jill

This recipe, taken from the blog of Cathy Barrow, friend of Edible Pioneer Valley (cathybarrow.com), makes the perfect bar snack. Adjust the ingredients to suit your taste: Leave out the nuts, amp up the pepper, swap the bourbon for rum, and so it goes … Cracker Jill lasts about two to three days in a tightly covered container. 

Makes about 12 cups

6 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled, 1 tablespoon bacon fat reserved

1 cup popcorn kernels

⅓ cup grapeseed oil

2 cups salted peanuts, or slivered almonds (if you have run out of peanuts)

6 ounces unsalted butter

8 ounces light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon gochucaru chili powder (or pimente d’Espelette, or Aleppo pepper, or cayenne), depending on your pantry and your preference

Heat oven to 250° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

In a 5-quart heavy pot, heat the grapeseed oil and 3 popcorn kernels. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn, remove the pot from the heat, cover and wait exactly 30 seconds. Place the pot back on the heat, shaking often until the corn stops popping. Dump into a very large bowl immediately. Add bacon, bacon fat, and peanuts. Set aside.

Make the caramel: In a 3-quart saucepan, cook the butter, sugar, and salt until dark amber and a candy thermometer reads 265° to 270°. Add the baking soda and stir well, then add the bourbon and chili powder and stir very thoroughly and carefully, as the bourbon may sputter. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir gently and thoroughly to coat with caramel.

Spread the popcorn out on the baking sheets lined with parchment. Slide in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Cool completely. Break up especially large chunks.

Chickpea “Fries”

Recipe by Mary Reilly, Food Styling by Joy Howard, Photo by Dominic Perri

Chickpea flour is used in snacks across the world. In Italy, chickpea flour is mixed into a crispy crèpe called farinata. In India, chickpea flour (called besan flour) is used in pakoras and other fritters. This recipe hews closely to the French panisse, a french fry–like fritter. Chickpea flour is easily found in supermarkets and Indian markets.

Serves 6 as a snack

6.4 ounces (1½ cups) chickpea flour

1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted 

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2¼ cups water

Oil for pan-frying

Garlic mayonnaise for serving

Spray a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with pan spray. 

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the flour, cumin, salt, and pepper. Whisk in water until there are no lumps. Place the pan over medium heat. Stir continuously with rubber spatula until the mixture is very thick. Scrape the batter onto the baking dish and spread it into a ½-inch-thick layer. The batter may not cover the entire dish. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. 

The next day, unmold the batter and cut it into french-fry-sized strips. In a heavy skillet, pour oil to a depth of ¼ inch. Heat oil until very hot, but not smoking. Gently lay the strips into the oil in batches and fry, turning to brown all sides, about 5 minutes total. Do not crowd the pan; the strips should not touch each other. 

Drain hot fries on paper toweling. Serve with garlic mayonnaise. 

Garlic Mayonnaise

Makes about 1 cup

1 cup prepared mayonnaise 

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons parsley, minced

1 to 2 cloves garlic, to taste, minced 

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Pinch paprika

Mix all ingredients together. Keep cold until ready to serve. 

Inside-Out Shishito Poppers

20180202_EdiblePioneerValley_0833.jpg

Recipe by Mary Reilly, Food Styling by Joy Howard, Photo by Dominic Perri

Jalapeño poppers are standard bar fare. In this recipe, shishito peppers and a tequila-spiked queso dip offer similar flavors in a slightly more elegant package. No deep-frying required!

No peppers on hand? The queso dip is also great with tortilla chips or cut vegetables. 

Serves 4 to 6 as a snack

2 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil

1 pound shishito peppers

1 batch Tequila-Spiked Queso Dip

Coarse salt

Heat a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan over high heat until very hot. (If you have an exhaust fan, this is the time to use it.) Add the oil to the pan, then the peppers. Let the peppers rest in the skillet until charred, then stir gently to spin and char evenly. Let the peppers cook for another minute or two. The peppers should be charred and starting to soften. 

Remove from skillet and sprinkle with salt. Serve with queso dip. 

Tequila-Spiked Queso Dip

(adapted from Rick Bayless)

Makes about 2½ cups

1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil

1 small red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup diced tomato (canned is fine)

3 tablespoons tequila 

½ pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 3 cups) 

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened. Add the tequila to the skillet and cook until it’s almost completely evaporated. 

Reduce the heat to low. Sprinkle the cheese into the pan. Stir constantly, until completely melted. Stir in the sour cream and cilantro. Keep warm in a small chafing dish until ready to serve. 

Mini Potato Skins

Recipe by Mary Reilly, Styling by Joy Howard, Photo by Dominic Perri

Perfect for game day or any day, these two-bite morsels will tick all the essential snack boxes: crispy, cheesy, and salty. Try fingerlings or tiny new potatoes. If only large ’taters are to be found, follow the recipe (the baking time will be longer), but cut the potatoes into inch-wide wedges. 

Serves 6 as a snack

1½ pounds little potatoes (about 12 small potatoes)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper

½ cup shredded cheese (try cheddar, pepper jack, parmesan, or a combination)

¼ pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons minced chives

Heat oven to 400°F. Bake potatoes until cooked through, about 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool until cool enough to handle. 

Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Gently scoop out some of the potato, making a boat. Drizzle each half with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden and crispy.

Preheat broiler.

Divide the cheese and bacon between the potato halves. Broil until the cheese melts. Remove from oven and top with sour cream and chives. 

CHILLED RADISH AND GINGER SOUP WITH GRILLED RADISH AND SCALLIONS

by Sanford D’Amato, Food styling by Joy Howard, Photo by Dominic Perri

CHILLED RADISH AND GINGER SOUP WITH GRILLED RADISH AND SCALLIONS

20180201_EdiblePioneerValley_0504.jpg

For 8 to 10

2 tablespoons regular olive oil

1½ pound trimmed radishes, cleaned and cut in quarters

8 ounces Granny Smith apples, washed, cored (not peeled), and cut in medium dice

2 ounces fresh ginger root, washed (not peeled) and sliced

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom

8 cups unsalted chicken stock

Zest of ½ lemon

In a 1-gallon sauce pot, place the oil over medium heat. Add the radishes, apple, and ginger and cook for 10 minutes (do not brown). Add the bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, and cardamom and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock. Bring up to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the radishes are very tender. Remove the bay leaves and thyme, add the lemon zest, and carefully purée in a blender until very smooth. Refrigerate.

To Finish the Dish

12 scallions, ends trimmed

3 tablespoons regular olive oil, plus more if needed for coating

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

24 radishes (large enough that they won’t fall through the grill grates), cleaned, ½ inch of green tops left on, and cut in half

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1½ tablespoons granulated sugar

Prepared Chilled Radish Soup

Toss the scallions with 1 tablespoon of the oil, then season them with salt and pepper. Grill over a hot fire for 1–2 minutes per side, until cooked. Toss the radishes with the remaining oil, salt, pepper, and sugar, and grill over medium heat until very tender, 4–5 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and toss with the lemon juice. Cut the cooled scallions on the bias into 1-inch lengths. Toss with the radishes and divide between bowls. Pour the soup around the radishes and serve.

Sweet & Spicy Purslane Relish

Sweet & Spicy Purslane Relish

This recipe is adapted from the website LedaMeredith.com. If you’re new to boiling water bath canning, please visit The National Center for Home Food Preservation for USDA guidelines on safe home canning. If you don’t want to can the relish, store it in a clean glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

Read More

Sprouty Temaki Sushi

Sprouty Temaki Sushi

Sushi may seen like a complicated thing to try to make at home, but temaki sushi, also called a “hand roll,” is easy to assemble. And honestly, even badly made rolls still taste great! Choose whatever fillings you like from the list below or improvise and use bits of leftovers in your fridge. This rice cooking method is nontraditional, but results in firm, just-sticky-enough rice. Makes about 8 rolls.

Read More

Whole-grain Chapati

Whole-grain Chapati

Chapati (pictured on the left) are traditionally served alongside Indian meals and are a delicious vehicle for stews and braised dishes. In our test kitchen, we used them for tacos and to make some very nontraditional grilled cheese sandwiches. If you have a griddle, it will speed up production immensely.

Read More

Quick Pickles

At the Red Fire Farm Strawberry Soirée Feast in the Fields dinner begins simply, with bread and cheese. To add some brightness and spark to the cheese platter, I made up a batch of spiced strawberry jam and a HUGE vat of pickles. 

While I used a bushel of farm-fresh vegetables in my batch, these quick pickles are a great way to use up little bits of vegetables that might be floating around your vegetable crisper. I pickle various types of vegetables all in one jar or tub. The only exception I make is for beets––unless you want everything to be a wonderfully lurid shade of magenta, pickle beets in their own container. 

Read More

Beet Pancakes

On June 20, Red Fire Farm hosted their annual Strawberry Soirée. This event is a day-long festival celebrating these juicy, bright red berries. You can see all the fun here in Red Fire's photo album

The day concludes with The Feast in The Fields, a vegetarian, farm-centric meal. For the last two years, I've had the pleasure of being the chef for this event. It's a lot of fun and engaging professional challenge to prepare many courses, for many people, from the gorgeous fruit and vegetables grown on the farm. 

Whenever I feed a large group of people, I'm always curious to see which dish is the most popular. Sometimes the group is split as to a favorite, but last Saturday these beet pancakes were the belle of the ball!

Read More