Tag Archives: Sitting Around Snacks

Chapter 2

As I write this, the book is “on press.” That means that the work of the past six years is being born right now. My understanding is that the actual printing takes the better part of a day — though there is lots to do after the physical printing and before shipping. It is hard to describe the sense of anticipation that I feel right now.

Each day between now and the ship date my post will feature  from each chapter a recipe, a Pascal Lemaitre illustration and either a side note — a tip — or a “bottom note” — a little bit of autobiography.

As we count eighteen days to the book’s ship date, I have eighteen chapters still to provide a taste. Chapter 2 continues Section 1 about Welcoming Guests.

Chapter 2 Chips, Dips & Other Pickup Snacks

Here is a recipe and illustration from Chapter 2:

Za’atar Toasted Pita
It’s extremely easy to make your own pita chips and well worth the effort. The homemade variety have a tempting crispy-soft texture that you just can’t get from a bag. Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend of sumac, thyme and sesame seeds, can be found in specialty food stores and spice shops. These chips are excellent on their own; they can also be paired with charred eggplant dip (see page 79).

do ahead Pita crisps can be made up to one day ahead and stored in a plastic freezer bag.

4 rounds 7-inch pita
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon za’atar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 Preheat oven to 350°.
2 With a knife or your finger, poke a hole along the edge of pita rounds and peel apart, yielding 2 thin pita circles for each round.
3 Pour olive oil in a small bowl; using a brush, generously coat smooth side of pita. Generously sprinkle oiled side with za’atar and salt and transfer to cookie sheet.
4 Bake until lightly browned and crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. For extra flavor, toast pita on grill pan or outdoor grill. Break pita into large, irregular pieces.

Picture 4

And a side note:

Ingredients
Ethnic Snack Mixes
A cornerstone of entertaining is intentionality. Anyone can serve pretzels or chips, but it takes the enterprising and organized entertainer to serve one of the multitude of snack mixes available in Indian groceries. These often spicy and colorful blends of seeds, fried noodles and crunchy beans are much more fun than potato chips. Or try setting out a bowl of Japanese wasabi-coated peas, found in the aisles of an Asian market. The Japanese also produce an array of sesame seed and seaweed wrapped rice crackers that are excellent with cocktails.

If you purchase a book between now and the end of the month you will receive a signed, numbered first edition. Books will never be available in bookstores. You can buy it now in our online shop. Who knows, one day that may be a collector’s item and you’ll be able to sell it on eBay for big bucks! When you buy the book, you will receive access to our At Home Online. And just wait until you see that!

Also, if you want to share the excitement of our daily countdown along with a daily recipe, illustration and note, pass this along to friends and family.

P.S. Wednesday morning we begin operating the daytime food services at The Franklin Institute. We have long been the evening caterer there, but Wednesday marks a new daytime beginning for us and The Franklin Institute.

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Za’atar Toasted Pita Recipe

Za’atar Toasted Pita
It’s extremely easy to make your own pita chips and well worth the effort. The homemade variety have a tempting crispy-soft texture that you just can’t get from a bag. Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend of sumac, thyme and sesame seeds, can be found in specialty food stores and spice shops. These chips are excellent on their own; they can also be paired with charred eggplant dip (see page 79 of At Home).

do ahead Pita crisps can be made up to one day ahead and stored in a plastic freezer bag.

4 rounds 7-inch pita
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon za’atar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 Preheat oven to 350°.
2 With a knife or your finger, poke a hole along the edge of pita rounds and peel apart, yielding 2 thin pita circles for each round.
3 Pour olive oil in a small bowl; using a brush, generously coat smooth side of pita. Generously sprinkle oiled side with za’atar and salt and transfer to cookie sheet.
4 Bake until lightly browned and crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. For extra flavor, toast pita on grill pan or outdoor grill. Break pita into large, irregular pieces.

Picture 4

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Pepper Roulette — Pimientos de Padron

This “bottom note” about discovering Pimientos de Padron is from At Home by Steve Poses: A Caterer’s Guide to Cooking & Entertaining. There are more than 100 “bottom notes” that, added together, tell a story about me starting in “My Mother’s Kitchen” and running through this year. The book and its companion website will be available at the end of September. You can buy the book and access to At Home Online right now and receive a signed first edition.

Pimientos de Padron in Madrid

Just when you think you’ve tasted it all, there always seems to be something new to discover in the wide world of food. Christina was winding down her 20-year rein managing the artistic and business affairs of Mikhail Baryshnikov. We joined Misha’s summer tour in Madrid where Misha was initiating a new duet with Ana Laguna — choreographed by Luguna’s husband, Swedish choreographer Mats Ek. We dined well over several Madrid days, but it was at Casa Alberto on calle Huertes, near Plaza de Santa Ana that we discovered pimientos de padron. Sitting on Casa Alberto’s zinc-lined bar was a platter of thumb-sized green peppers, shriveled and glistening from their recent bath in hot olive oil. Eating them — you just hold the stem and bite the flesh — is culinary roulette because most have an intensely green flavor but every now and again you get a fiery burst of capsicum heat. We washed them down with a chilled glass of modestly sweet local vermouth served on tap. When we returned from Madrid I tracked down a US source and ordered several pounds as a free treat for our Frog at The Yard patrons.

Casa Alberto, Huertas 18, near Plaza de las Cortes & Huertas, Madrid

Picture 1

Illustration by Pascal Lemaitre.

Pimientos de Padron

Pimientos de Padron are currently available online from La Tienda and Happy Quail Farms. Order now for Labor Day and they will be the hit out your backyard outing. To eat, just hold a pepper by the stem and bite off the pepper. Most are quite mild with a little bite. Occasionally you get a hot pepper — but not at all unpleasantly hot.

Do ahead Garlic may be chopped ahead, but saute peppers just before ready to serve.

2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

1 pound pimientoes de padron

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons salt, sea salt preferred but otherwise kosher salt

1. In a large saute pan heat oil until hot, but not smoking. Add peppers and garlic, tossing frequently until peppers are wilted and slightly wrinkled. Off heat and add salt. Serve immediately.

Picture 2

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Thank you.

Steve

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Sauteed Pimientos de Padron Recipe

Pimientos de Padron Sauteed with Olive Oil, Garlic & Sea Salt

Pimientos de Padron are currently available online from La Tienda and Happy Quail Farms.  To eat, just hold a pepper by the stem and bite off the pepper. Most are quite mild with a little bite. Occasionally you get a hot pepper — but not at all unpleasantly hot.

Do ahead Garlic may be chopped ahead, but saute peppers just before ready to serve.

2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

1 pound pimientoes de padron

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons salt, sea salt preferred but otherwise kosher salt

1. In a large saute pan heat oil until hot, but not smoking. Add peppers and garlic, tossing frequently until peppers are wilted and slightly wrinkled. Off heat and add salt. Serve immediately.

Picture 2

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