Monday, November 10, 2014

Big T's Dukkah

2 cups hazelnuts (or almonds, or pistachios, or pepitas, or a combination--experiment!!)
1-1/2 cups sesame seeds
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
Flaked sea salt (to taste)
Za'atar (to taste)
Chia seeds (optional, mandatory for Giraffes)

The secret is in toasting the seeds and nuts just until they become fragrant, and not a minute more

Since all the seeds and nuts are different sizes (think hazelnuts vs. sesame seeds), you are best off toasting each ingredient separately. Otherwise, you risk burning one type and under-toasting another. (If you toast the cumin and coriander together though, I won't tell anyone.)  It is therefore wise to make as large a batch as possible; the final mix stores well in the freezer.

Here's some suggestions:
  • Hazelnuts: 
    • 275 degrees F for 15-20 minutes
  • Pistachios:
    • 350 degrees F for 6 to 8 minutes
  • Pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
    • 350 degrees F for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through
  • Almonds:
    • 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes.
It goes without saying that you should not be toasting the salt.  Or the za'atar or ground pepper.  Chia seeds don't need to be cooked at all.

Once all the seeds are toasted and fragrant, you'll want to get out your food processor/chopper.  The only ingredients that need to be chopped are the nuts and the coriander, and as before you might want to do them sequentially so that you don't overprocess anything.

Mix it up!

As soon as all the ingredients are cool, immediately freeze any dukkah you won't be consuming in the next week or two. Freezing right away locks in the flavor that will otherwise be lost during two weeks of refrigeration (if it lasts that long).

Dip fresh bread in this tasty blend of toasty nuts and spices! Sprinkle it on cooked meat or pasta. Top plain yogurt with dukkah for a savory option.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Low-sugar caramel corn clusters

Sticky Stuff:
Dry Stuff: 
  • 2-3 cups puffed unsweetened corn
    • This can usually be found at whole foods or similar health food stores. I've also used corn pops cereal when puffed corn couldn't be found
  • 1/2 cup rolled or quick oats, whatever you have laying around
    • I also add 1/4 to 1/3 cup quinoa flakes if I have them
  • 1 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 1/2 to 1 cup very roughly chopped almonds (or whole, if lazy)
    • I use closer to a cup, I like the extra crunch
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
    • Wheat bran can also be substituted, or omitted completely

Preheat oven to 300F, and prepare a sided baking sheet with a silicone baking liner or greased aluminum foil. 

Unwrap all candies and place in a small saucepan with all "sticky stuff" ingredients except butter and vanilla, over low heat until melted, stirring every few minutes with a rubber spatula. 

While "sticky stuff" is melting, gather and measure all "dry stuff" ingredients into a large bowl.

When all candies are fully melted, remove saucepan from heat and add 1/4 cup butter and 1 tsp vanilla extract, stirring until butter is fully melted and incorporated. 

Pour "sticky stuff" over "dry stuff", stirring while pouring to fully coat. Stir until "sticky stuff" is thoroughly distributed, pour out onto the prepared baking sheet Pat down mixture gently to spread over the entire baking sheet. Immediately put baking sheet in oven, and bake for 15-25 minutes, longer for crispier caramel corn. 

Allow to cool completely (trust me, you don't want to burn your tongue or fingers on hot sugar!) and then crumble into bite-size clusters. Stays crispy for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.