Frequently, when I go to my parents’ house, the organizing spirit seizes me with an iron grip and won’t be satisfied until I’ve emptied out the pantry, sorted every package and box and can of food, and replaced them again. It’s usually a comical affair as my mom and I chuckle at the ridiculous artifacts of gift baskets and deep discounts we find lurking at the back of the cupboard. And upon returning home, I tend to find myself inspired to root through my own pantry to create meals with odds and ends I already have on hand.
This dish came out of one such rooting. An excess of white rice, leftover almonds from my holiday toffee-making, a can of water chestnuts, and chicken and peas from the freezer, seemingly disparate parts, became something great together as this Almond Chicken. With the addition of a green onion and a bit of sherry and soy sauce, it’s a quick meal that requires only a few minutes of stir-frying and a fluffy bed of rice.
To kick off my favorite season here at 30 Pounds of Apples, I have something for you. I was trying to wait. I thought these would be good to share right when you are planning treats for Halloween parties. Maybe around Thanksgiving? Or do I dare wait until the holiday season?
But they’re too good. I simply couldn’t wait to share this secret with you, because it will change your world. At least, it will change your world if you have pecans on hand and a deep or even moderate love of those tasty nuts that cost $10 a cone at any given festival or county fair. I’m here to report that you may never buy those again. Why?
Because you can make them yourself! And they are dangerously, frighteningly easy.
I must confess, I had never considered making these little gems myself until I started pulling together recipes for this little wedding cake project I’m working on. I sort of expected them to be a challenge. After all, the first few recipes I ran across involved oil and frying and a precise level of humidity. Yikes. It seemed like a difficult process. But this particular recipe involvesnone of those pesky hurdles.
Most of the other breakfast-y treats I’ve posted here are warm, savory treats: they tend to revolve around potatoes, eggs, or bacon. You might assume that I eat these hearty country breakfasts every day, when in truth, breakfast is usually more of a poached egg and apple sort of affair.
But maybe there’s a happy medium. Something hearty and tasty, but quick enough to pack before I run out the door in the morning. How about some homemade granola?
This granola is not boring. This granola is not bland. This granola is full of oats and almonds and coconut, all toasted together on an ugly old cookie sheet.
While most of my friends sense summer only through the seasonal changes, my university job means the seasons are still distinctively marked by the ends and beginning of semesters. It seems so recent that I was fighting graduation traffic on campus, sending Brad off on an internship, and excitedly making a list of all the recipes, garden projects, canning extravaganzas, and social outings I’d surely have time for in the balmy months of summer.
But here we are, at the beginning of August. Aaaaaaand the list is still really long. Is it possible that it’s longer?
It is. Probably because I keep ignoring the recipes I have on my list to make because I get cravings to make something out of left field. Like this.
For the last couple of weeks, my Google Reader has been buzzing with “game day” recipes. Game day party decorations. And game day craft projects (which seems a bit bizarre, don’t you think?), all in preparation that un-official American holiday: the Super Bowl!
I must confess, (braces for judgement) I’ve never really watched the Super Bowl. Neither of my parents were ever particularly big sports fan, and more often than not, we would go skiing or see a movie on Super Bowl Sunday to take advantage of empty slopes and matinee tickets. In fact, I was in college before I sat down to watch my first Super Bowl work on a paper in the corner at my dorm’s game day party.
But the food, the food! Such a celebratory spread of mind-bendingly delicious snack food I’ve never seen! Wings and ranch and chips and dips and cookies and sodas and crackers and cheeses and and and and… it’s an ode to snacking as much as it is to football. And I’m not a hater. If I could live on chips and salsa, I would totally do it.
Generally quiet, cold, and frugal, it’s never been my favorite month. The anticipation of the holidays has passed, and the next break seems distant. But I’m still juuuuuuuuust close enough to December that I am still savoring the memories of a holiday baking project conducted in my parents’ kitchen.
Potica (pronounced po-tee-tza) is one of those recipes that my grandma made rarely but talked of often as a favorite family treat. It apparently is known by many names and varies dramatically depending on which eastern European recipe you happen to be following. To create this spiral nut bread, a sweet dough is rolled extremely thin and slathered with a mixture of butter, pecans, and sugar before it bakes into lovely loaves, fitting for a simple breakfast or a stunning gift.
Since the day I decided to start this blog, I’ve wanted to share this recipe. But it turns out I only make it at Christmas, and making it at other times o year would feel like, I don’t know, cheating? I’ve been patient, but halfway through December, it’s FINALLY time.
In fact, I want to share it soooo much that I’m giving away one pound of this, my favorite holiday treat, to one of you! Yay contest!
We’ll get there. Promise. But first, some background.
My Grandma Emma has been making toffee now for decades. She taught my mom early in my parents’ marriage, and now mom has been making it ever since. I watched in awe, all through my childhood as my mom cooked batch after batch of toffee, broke it up into pieces, and carefully placed it in tins to give to our friends and family. And many a neighbor has been to our house so she could teach them to make this decadent candy.