My mother’s standard party donation is a boule of pumpernickel bread with the center scooped out and filled with a spinach dip that includes water chestnuts because, of course. The sides are cut into fingers that remain attached at the base (as “severed fingers” would be unsettling, yes?) and can be torn off when the urge comes to swipe one through the center. The urge will come often, so I try to position myself in any room that the boule is not. Nevertheless, I hadn’t considered that there were other approaches to party bread until I came upon this 1998 recipe for one in Taste of Home, the belly full of dip forwent for a multi-pronged attacked of butter, cheese, scallions and poppy seeds, all toasted until melted and crisp.
But why stop there? You could pretty confidently argue that you’ve happened upon a lucky series of life choices when you get to spend half an hour on a Wednesday morning at Whole Foods debating what you’d like to put on your party bread in addition to butter and cheese. There was so much to consider! I considered rarebit-ing it, with a boiled mess of butter, beer, mustard powder, paprika, cayenne, Worcestershire and a scattering of cheddar that I might dream about tonight. I wondered if we ought to go French, with gruyere, shallots and herbes de provence or style it like an American baked potato, with chives and bacon, sour cream and cheese. And then I realized that I’ve never once covered garlic bread on this site and was suddenly filled with purpose and couldn’t wait to get home and start playing in the kitchen.
I admit that my spice storage is a mess right now. The bottles are not stored so much as piled together in a corner in my pantry. (Ugh.) Here’s one solution that could work, though, and it’s really smart: hang wire mesh drawer organizers (or pencil holders, depending on what you want to call them) on the wall!
It’s hard to write about sunchokes without mentioning two things: the name is confusing, and they can cause embarrassing gas. So let’s get those two topics out of the way. First of all, sunchokes are also known as Jerusalem artichokes. They are neither from Jerusalem (they are native to the Northeastern United States), nor are they artichokes. They are actually tubers of a sunflower-like plant. “Sunflower” is girasole in Italian (look toward the sun) and, well, girasole sounds a bit like Jerusalem. Try it out loud.
It’s a new year, and in the spirit of new things, we’re hiring! We’re looking for recipe developers, drinks writers, and general contributors. Interested? Read on for more on how to apply.
Across Asia, dumplings symbolize good luck for the Lunar New Year. In preparation for this year’s celebration, I decided to learn how to make one of my favorite dumpling dishes, the Korean hobakjuk or pumpkin porridge with sweet rice dumplings. If you aren’t familiar with the Asian tradition of sweet soups and porridges, it might help to think of this as a pudding. In addition to the velvety pumpkin, it has delightful mochi-like rice balls and makes a delicious winter breakfast or subtly sweet dessert.
There are wings to be eaten, chips to be dipped, and nachos to be devoured this Sunday during the Super Bowl. But before you finalize your menu, take a second and consider the not-so-humble Snackadium (snack + stadium) that most definitely deserves a spot in your festivities.