Uni Bocadillos

uni-bocadillo

Oh my god, these are really, really good. I knew they would be since I’d had them at Toro Boston as part of a tasting menu and swooned over them then, but I didn’t quite believe that the recipe I found online would be a perfect replica. I was wrong.

What is this culinary wonder, you ask? An uni bocadillo (translated as sandwich or snack). That’s right, a sandwich made with uni– sea urchin roe (okay, it’s really the entire gonads of the urchin, but “roe” sounds more appetizing so let’s go with that). When I first tasted it at Toro I was blown away by the delicate sweetness and seafood flavor of the roe– it was rich and creamy and luxurious, and I couldn’t get enough of it! The waiter described it as “like a grilled cheese, only with uni,” and it was a fair assessment– the creamy uni worked perfectly with the buttery toasted bread, and it really did remind me of a very upscale grilled cheese sandwich.

uni

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Pumpkin Pecan Chip Muffins

pumpkin-muffins

I’ve been making these muffins for years now, and they are invariably hailed by my friends as “the best muffins ever.” They’re moist, tender, with plenty of flavor from the pumpkin and spices, and studded with white chocolate chips and pecans as nice surprises in the middle. I tend to make them in fall (our freezer always has a batch ready to defrost for snacks at this time of year) but have been known to make them on a whim out-of-season– they’re that good! Make them yourself if you don’t believe me, and you will be converted!

I will note that the recipe below makes 12 muffins, but if you don’t want to find yourself with half a can of leftover pumpkin and half a bag of leftover chocolate chips, you may as well make a double-batch. You won’t regret it!

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Nut-Free Granola Bars

granola-bars

So my daughter started junior kindergarten this fall, and while she’s allowed to bring nuts to school in her lunches (Hallelujah! Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the win!), her lunch period is at 11:00 am– making it necessary for her to have a filling, healthy snack for later in the afternoon. Snacks, unfortunately, are required to be completely peanut and tree nut-free due to an allergy in her class, so I’m going to have to get creative this year to find things that will work for a quick pick-me-up.

I immediately thought of homemade granola bars– they’re easy to make, infinitely versatile, and can be tailored to her personal tastes as well as being reasonably healthy. I’d made these thick, chewy granola bars from Smitten Kitchen before with good results, so I decided to adapt the recipe to omit the nuts and substitute seeds and extra dried fruit (and chocolate). I ended up going with pepitas, sunflower seeds, and millet (added a crispy texture to the mix), along with dried blueberries, cranberries, and dates. The combination worked very well, and it was a success with the whole family!

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Leftover Rice Fritters

rice-fritters

In my family we eat a lot of rice. The only problem is that we tend to make more of it than we need– not just more than we can eat in a sitting, but more than we need to pack away the leftovers, which leaves extra rice hanging out in the fridge… but not enough to make a whole new meal, which means we need to make more rice the next time we need it, which starts a vicious cycle.

Anyway, I developed this recipe as a way to break the cycle– cheesy rice fritters! They can transform even the oldest, driest rice into a crispy, savory cake that makes a fantastic addition to any meal. And the best part is that the recipe uses only pantry staples, so you can make these any time!

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Broccoli Melts

broccoli-melt
I admit it, I’ve done it again– shamelessly lifted a new favorite recipe from Deb at Smitten Kitchen. And I’m not even sorry, because this is such a delicious way to get my vegetables that I’ve been eating it all week. I double the recipe to be sure I have enough to last!

What is this new favorite, you ask? Broccoli melts. Garlicky, spicy, cheesy broccoli, piled on top of toasted bread, generously accented with lemon, and covered in a gooey blanket of bubbly cheese. It makes a hearty breakfast, a fantastic lunch, and (with a glass of white wine) a perfect dinner.

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Honey Cornflake Crunchies

honey-crunchies

Taking a break from sewing for a while, here’s something sweet!

After I made my Faux Fried Ice Cream Cake I had a decent amount of extra cornflake topping, which I regularly used to make “fried ice cream” on its own by topping vanilla ice cream with the cornflakes and a drizzle of honey. I kept the extra topping in a ziploc bag in the freezer, and when I ran out of vanilla ice cream I just started crunching it by the handful for a treat. Something about the crunchy, buttery, sweet mouthful made it supremely snackable, and I wanted to figure out a format I could use to make an easier-to-eat version.

Imagine my joy when I came across multiple recipes for honey cornflake cookies, which basically sounded like the perfect way to interpret this flavor/texture combination. They couldn’t be easier– only a few ingredients and minimal preparation. I even let my preschooler do the majority of the work, and she loved it! (now, if only I can teach her how to temper chocolate)

These turned out cute, crunchy, and reasonably good. Not “oh my god make these right now” good, but if you’re looking for something simple to make with your kids that won’t overload them with sugar or fat, these would work. Bonus– nut free, egg-free, and they’re made of cereal so you can bill them as “healthy treats” if you bring them to school for a party or something.

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Cherry Blossom Biscuits

cherry-blossom-biscuits

So I was making pink biscuits to go with the pink molded salad— it was originally just a one-off so I would have something else in the photo, but then I was adding food coloring to the buttermilk when I decided that I’d inadvertently made the milk too pink. I had to add extra buttermilk until the color was right, but I ended up with twice as much buttermilk as I needed before I was done! Since I had all my ingredients out already I decided to make a double batch of biscuits, but to avoid repetition I decided to change things up a bit and make these sweeter for a more springtime feel! I added sugar to the dough, cut the second batch out in flower shapes, and put on a powdered sugar glaze at the end.

The biscuits didn’t hold their shape as well as I’d have liked, but they did end up being vaguely flowery-looking, enough so that I felt comfortable dubbing them  “cherry blossom biscuits” (though I didn’t have any cherry blossom essence, so it’s just for looks, unfortunately).

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