Miniature Banana Splits: Hitting the Sweet Spot
April 26, 2011 18:49

While baseball season comes into full swing, so do my ice cream cravings. As a kid, it was a ritual to go to our town ice cream stand after softball games, win or lose. No matter how fierce we fought on the field, we all were friends when cones came into play.

Swatting mosquitoes, I would stand before the Kimball Farm flavor board, overwhelmed by my options and plagued by the eternal question: to play it safe with cookie dough, or swing away with a new flavor?

The thing about Kimballs is that its sizes are a little skewed. They serve kiddy, small, medium, and large, although the kiddy isn’t listed on the board. With two heaping scoops, it’s equivalent to a large at most other joints, and it’s really entertaining to see rookies’ faces when they are handed their “smalls”...read more

Piglets in Blankies
April 19, 2011 13:49

     It’s funny the way traditions develop. Two seemingly unrelated things become so connected that it is impossible to have one without the other. Thanksgiving and turkey. Easter and eggs. New Year’s Eve and pigs in a blanket. It might be an odd combination to some, but I can’t remember a New Year’s Eve without the little dog in my hand.
     My family rings in the New Year (and my dad’s birthday) sardined on the couch, watching the 24-hour marathon of "The Twilight Zone," courtesy of the SyFy Network. We have seen every episode too many times, but unlike my dad, they never get old. And I’ve even picked up a few cooking tips
     You’ll rarely find my sister in the kitchen, but wrapping weenies in dough is one thing that gets her off the couch. We actually enjoy making them together, almost as much as we enjoy eating them. And it can’t get much easier...read more

Chick Pot Pies
April 12, 2011 16:52

     While most girls my age love a shoe shopping spree, I relish in a peaceful Sunday stroll through Williams-Sonoma. Rather than pacing aisles of flats, pumps, and booties, I obsess over blenders, mixers, and muffin pans. I’d take cookware over footwear any day.
     Most recently, I came across Le Creuset’s mini cocottes. I squeal with delight, the same way a pregnant woman might when picking up a tiny pair of baby shoes. Wook how wittle dey are! Instantly, I was inspired by all the mini meals I could make, and the first food that came to mind was a personal potpie. With a puff-pastry crust and a creamy yet hearty filling of chicken and veggies, chick pot pies is a truly comforting dish. It’ll make you nostalgic for homemade cooking, even if your mom never made it...read more

Say Hello To My Little Ethiopian Friend 
April 5, 2011 18:53

     For this next post, make sure you have a valid passport. We are saying ciao to Italy, land of cannoli, meatballs, and pizza, and popping in to Ethiopia for what Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmerman calls the “next big thing.” But the thing about this “next big thing” is that it’s not big at all. 
     To call it tiny popcorn would be misleading, because there’s nothing corny about it. It’s actually popped sorghum, the fifth-most produced cereal grain in the world, trailing only corn, rice, wheat, and barley. When popped, it mimics the movie theater munch, only slightly sweeter. It’s a relative of corn, plus some protein and fiber and minus some of the calories, fat and gluten, making it celiac-safe...read more

One Cannolo, Two Cannoli 
March 29, 2011 14:59

While I’m waving my Italian flag, I might as well mention cannoli. 

What I like about the cannolo is that it isn’t afraid to get creative: chocolate chips, candied fruit, pistachio-studded shells. But why wait for dessert, when you could dine on Parmesan and Cracked Pepper Cannoli with Shrimp and Celery? Holy Cannoli!

At every family gathering, guests come pastry-handed. No matter what the occasion, it feels like Christmas every time I untie the string and peek into the white cardboard box. Sfogliatelle, pignoli, zeppoli, struffoli, and…wait for it… cannoli. I close my eyes and inhale the sugary aroma... read more

Meat Means War 
March 22,2011 17:13

I have never quite accepted the meatball subs that sustain my sister. (Then again, she also loves that dog food Chef Boyardee calls Spaghettios.) I grew up eating spaghetti and meatballs, smothered in tomato sauce. As a pureblood Italian, it’s just what we do.

To me, meatballs mean business. My mom and I pull up our sleeves and start rolling baseball-size meatballs out of ground beef, mixed with some parsley, breadcrumbs, and a few other extras. Simmering in a saucepan, fishing them out reminds me of bobbing for apples, although my mom insists I use a spoon. They turn out perfectly juicy, and look picturesque atop a mountain of pasta. 

So upon my first trip to IKEA, you can imagine my surprise when I read the words “Swedish meatballs” in the cafeteria. Meatballs, from Sweden!? It hurt my hears, but my mouth was curious... read more

A Piece of Pie-adise
March 15, 2011 15:34

As exams sneak up, pizza makes a perfect snack. I’m not talking 18-inch, grease-spots-on-my-notebooks pizza, but cute little pizza bites. 

Making minis couldn’t be simpler, and best of all, the pizzabilities are endless! Starting from the bottom up, get your dough right. You can take the boring Bagel Bite route, or opt for an easy sliced English muffin—the edges crisp up nicely in a toaster oven.  

If you choose to get creative, roll out some pizza dough and cut small rounds with a glass. You can mold the dough in muffin tins to make little cups, poking holes at the bottom with a fork. Dare to be different? Mini pizzas come in all shapes and, well, one mini size… but so many shapes! Use cookie cutters to form fun shapes, like stars, hearts, or even pizzabread men... read more

The Little Quiche That Could
March 8, 2011 11:04

My semester abroad put a lot of things in perspective, and one of those things was quiche. One weekend, I traveled to Strasbourg, France to visit one of my good friends. It just so happens that her mom is an amazing Alsatian cook who used to own a French restaurant. That weekend, I ate a quiche Lorraine that rocked the entire European continent so hard that it was thought to have triggered the volcanic eruption in Iceland, consequently freezing air travel in northern Europe for weeks. Bien fait, France! You sure know how to do eggs rights.

It’s almost a shame to shrink such scrumptiousness down, but it’s more of a shame to think about life sans mini quiche... read more

Corn Puppies
March 1, 2011 9:12

A moment of honesty: Corn dogs have always scared me. Something about a fried dog on a stick is just wrong. While they remind most people of a comforting childhood, to me, they are eerie and menacing and should be kept on a leash.

So, when I stumbled upon these adorable mini corn dogs, it felt like the Fried Foods God was smiling down on me. Battered cocktail weenies perched on a toothpick, they are delicate and refined. The perfect example of why tiny tastes better.