Category: parties

Curried Chips with Lemon Sunflower Spread

Curried Chips with Lemon Sunflower Spread

Here’s a quick little snack I whipped up today to use up bagels and pita bread I (stupidly) bought before going out of town. Bagel and pita chips are really easy to make, and you can spice them however you like.

I also bought some roasted sunflower seeds, but had a hard time imagining how I could make it through 1 1/2 cups of them before they went bad. Clearly I’m not the most practical shopper.

I used garam masala to flavor my chips, but you should treat any spices (and especially, any ground spice mixes you have) as fair game for this recipe. Smoked paprika? Old Bay? Japanese seven spice? Celery salt? So many possibilities.

Fresh Lemon Juice

The sunflower dip has fresh lemon, ground white pepper, and a dash of tabasco. Here again is a lovely blank canvas for you to experiment with. If I had it available I would have added some freshly chopped mint. Roasted garlic or fresh scallions would make a lovely addition as well, for people who are normal and like those sorts of things (i.e. not me).

The dip is really rich and reminds me a lot of tahini (sesame seed paste) but without the bitter taste. If you want an even more pronounced lemon flavor, add the zest. This dip can also be thinned out to form a dressing, used as a sandwich spread, or as stand in for hummus.

Curried Chips with Lemon Sunflower Spread
Makes about 1 cup of spread and 4 cups of chips

For the Chips
1 Bagel
2 Pita Bread Rounds
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1/2 – 1 tsp Garam Masala, or other spice mix

For the Spread
1 Cup Roasted, Salted Sunflower Seeds (shelled)
1 Tbs Olive Oil
Zest of 1 lemon, optional
1/4 to 1/3 Cup of Lemon Juice (2-3 lemons)
1 Cup Water
1/4 – 1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Tabasco, more if desired
White Pepper
Fresh Herbs (optional, such as mint, scallions)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sliced Bagel

Slice your bagel into thin slices about 1/4 inch thick. Slice the pita bread rounds in half. Stack the halves and slice into 1 inch strips.

Spicing the Chips

Place all the bread into a large bowl and toss well with 2 Tbs of olive oil and garam masala.

Bagel and Pita Chips Before Baking

Arrange the chips in one layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with 2-3 pinches of salt. If needed, add a couple extra pinches of garam masala to any bits that need it.

Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes. Set your timer for 10 minutes and start checking them for doneness at that point. The chips are done when they are beginning to crisp and turn a lightly golden brown. Be careful not to over-bake. Remove and let cool.

Sunflower Seeds

Add the sunflower meats to a food processor and turn it on. While running, add the oil and lemon juice and zest. Slowly add in the water until a smooth, creamy dip is formed.

Lemon Sunflower Spread with White Pepper

Remove to a bowl and whisk in the salt, to taste, and the black pepper and tobasco. If needed, add more liquid to get the texture you like. Once the dip is ready, gently fold in any fresh chopped herbs you may be using.

The recipe makes a rather mild dip that would be appropriate even for kids’ palates, so feel free to bump up the spices, tobasco, and lemon juice of you want something a bit zippier!

Curried Chips with Lemon Sunflower Spread

Wild Mushroom Tostadas with Lime Creme Fraiche

Wild Mushroom Tostadas

It’s mushroom season!

I recently went on a wild edible plant walk here in the Boston area, and our guide told us that the best time to find mushrooms is between Labor Day and Columbus Day. We didn’t find any mushrooms on our walk, but he did get me thinking about making a recipe to show them off. I’m really interested in learning more about local wild, edible plants, so hopefully I’l be rooting around in the woods for some fungus soon.

And if you made the black pepper and cumin pickled carrots from last week, here’s a recipe to try them with.

Oyster and Chanterelle Mushrooms

Any wild mushrooms will do for this recipe, but I picked out two of my favorites today: oyster mushrooms and chanterelles.

Oyster mushrooms can be cultivated, so you are likely to find them outside of peak mushroom season. This also helps make them a bit more affordable than wild harvested mushrooms, but they are still many, many rungs up the ladder from the budget workhorse that is white button mushroom. If you are interested, there are many resources online that describe how you can grow oyster mushrooms yourself, at home.

Chanterelles, however, do not cooperate with human cultivation. This means the mushrooms you see in the store were growing wild in a wood somewhere before they reached the shelves. The effort it takes to locate and collect them, their wonderfully complex flavor, and their perishable nature contribute to their price tag.

A note about using wild mushrooms: if you’re super squicky about eating a little dirt, this may not be the best food for you. Washing mushrooms makes them soggy and sad. I pick off anything that’s big enough to be picked off, and then chop it up and cook away without thinking too hard about what might be on them. As long as the mushrooms are not slimy, don’t have any overly soft spots, aren’t hiding bugs, and don’t smell off… they are declared clean in my kitchen. A little dirt from the middle of a forest won’t hurt you.

And if you found your own, just be careful! Make sure you know what you have before you eat it.

Wild Mushroom Tostadas with Lime Creme Fraiche
Makes Six Tostadas

Six Corn Tortillas
Wild Mushroom Filling (recipe below)
Lime Creme Fraiche (recipe below)
1 Jalapeno Pepper, sliced thinly
1 Small Bunch Fresh Cilantro Leaves, roughly chopped
12 Pickled Carrot Sticks (recipe here)
1 Cup Daiya Vegan Cheese Shreds

Wild Mushroom Filling
340g or 3/4lb Wild Mushrooms, weighed after trimming
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Earth Balance Spread or Oil
Black Pepper

Lime Creme Fraiche
4 Tbs Tofutti Cream Cheese
4 Tbs Vegenaise Mayo
1 Tbs Fresh Lime Juice

Chopped Mushrooms

Arrange the racks in your oven so one is in the middle and one is in the highest position. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Chop your mushrooms into a medium to small dice. Add them to a dry skillet over medium high heat. The mushrooms will begin to release moisture after a few minutes.

Wild Mushroom Filling

After 3-4 minutes of cooking, add the salt, cumin and oregano. Keep an eye on the mushrooms and stir them every 10-15 seconds. Once most of the moisture has cooked out and they begin sticking to the bottom of the pan, about 7 minutes of total cooking time, add the Earth Balance and mix well. Remove mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

Corn Tortillas

Place six corn tortillas on a baking sheet. Brush both sides very lightly with olive oil. Put tortillas in the middle rack of the oven and bake for approximately 8 minutes. The edges of the tortilla should be beginning to curl and they should only barely have the slightest hint of color. Remove from oven.

While the tortillas are baking, mix together the ingredients for the creme fraiche and refrigerate until ready to use. It will take a lot of whisking to get the mixture smooth, but it will happen if you keep at it!

Mushroom, Jalapeno, Cilantro

Once your tortillas are out of the oven, change the oven to the broil setting. Get everything ready for assembly: sliced jalapenos, cilantro, carrot sticks, cheese, creme fraiche, mushrooms.

Making Wild Mushroom Tostadas

Evenly divide the mushroom mixture across the tortillas. Top with a little vegan cheese. Place in the oven, this time on the very top rack, to broil. DO NOT WALK AWAY! Watch them as they cook until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are golden brown. Remove immediately.

Top each tostada with a dollop of the lime creme fraiche, some cilantro, a slice or two of jalapeno, and two picked carrot sticks. Serve immediately.

Wild Mushroom Tostadas