New year, new plan, new recipes to try on old friends. In case you missed the memo, we’re going to be spending hopefully the next 12 months cooking through Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.” Read more about that here. On the agenda today were some sweet and savory snacks for a new year’s party. So while trying out my new Basia Bulat CD, we made:
- Cheese Shortbread
- Sweet Doughnut Puffs (with two variations – ‘baked’ and ‘churro-style’)
Za’atar (which we’d never heard of) is a spice blend featuring sesame seeds, with a tangy, slightly lemony flavour. Because we didn’t read the quantities correctly, we ended up halving the recipe, but it still made lots. A tablespoon of the blend was thrown into a cup of Greek yogurt with a clove of garlic, as Bittman suggests, and served as a dip for raw veggies.
The next night, the same sauce was a nice accompaniment for salmon – almost a variation on tzatziki. Definitely a make-again recipe, and super simple.
The Cheese Shortbread were already one of Rachel’s favourites, and take almost no effort, though they do require the use of the food processor.
They combine the texture of a shortbread with everyone’s love of cheese, and a hit of spice. Oh, but when it says ‘cube the butter’ it really means ‘cube the butter’. You actually have to do it, or you end up finding the blob of butter covered in the other ingredients, and cubing it by hand and making a mess, as seen here:
Fortunately, everything had gone well up to this point, so we pushed on with the Doughnut Puffs. This was an odd recipe, because it was made on the stove. I feared a mess of the pan, but actually it came together well. Instead of frying them, we took advantage of the ‘Baked Puffs’ variation, and popped the puffs in the oven.
Turns out you should take them out halfway through cooking and flip them all over, otherwise one side burns and the puff doesn’t actually cook through. The ‘Churro’ variation rolled the puffs in cinnamon sugar after cooking. Although they were tasty, they definitely were not cooked through, as the fear of burning the outsides prevented it.
Regardless, a bunch of university students ate everything, including the under-cooking puffs. For our first day, I’ll count that as a success.