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Archive for the ‘Snacks’ Category

Breakfast Pizza

In Breads / Grains, Eggs, Pork, Snacks, Uncategorized on May 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm
breakfast piza

Sometimes you just don't care.

You know how sometimes you just want to pig out on junky comfort food? Just throw everything you’re craving into a pan and cook it? Well, the urge hit yesterday. We wanted breakfast, and it was like, midnight. What was unusual for these types of situations is that the ingredients to satisfy my craving were actually in my fridge! Yay!

So I threw together this melange of sloppy, and it was delicious. I mean, really good. Full to bursting. But not so good for you.

Breakfast Pizza


2 cups Bisquik

1 cup milk

6 slices bacon

6 eggs

4 ounces Velveeta or similarly gross cheese.


Okay – you won’t be very proud of yourself for this one, but I promise it will taste good.

Mix the Bisquik and the water until a soft dough forms. Press the dough into the bottom of a cake pan, and about one inch up the sides. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until golden.

While the crust is baking, scramble the eggs and cook the bacon as usual, and grate the Velveeta (god help us).

When the crust comes out of the oven, sprinkle with the chopped bacon pieces, top with the scrambled eggs, and top with the Velveeta.

Stick the whole mess back in the oven for a couple of minutes until the cheese melts, then take it out and gorge yourself, ya pig.


Stuffed Tomatoes

In Snacks, Uncategorized, Vegetables on May 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm
stuffed tomatoes

Believe it or not, this is actually quite healthy!

I’m trying to do new things, and cook things I normally wouldn’t think of. There are so many independent produce markets around here, full of so much beautiful produce, I want to start doing more with vegetables.

Tonight’s dinner was fantastic – stuffed tomatoes. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought of this before, but I never would have, and I’m so glad I found it. The tomatoes really shine in this dish, and the cheese makes it hearty enough to fill you up without weighing you down. A very warm, cozy dish. It even makes a nice appetizer!

Stuffed Tomatoes


4 large tomatoes

3 cups soft bread crumbs – run a few slices of bread through the food processor.

2 cups shredded mozzarella

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375.

Halve the tomatoes, scoop out the insides, and reserve them in a bowl. Sprinkle the tomato halves with salt, and turn upside down on a paper towel to drain.

Chop the tomato insides, and mix with the bread crumbs, cheese, and garlic. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

Brush the inside of a glass baking dish with the oil, and arrange the tomato halves inside. Spoon the mixture into each tomato, and sprinkle with olive oil.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until top is golden brown.

I served mine with linguine tossed with chickpeas and spinach, but you can do it however you’d like. Some nice, crusty, artisan bread would be lovely.

Maple Pinwheel Biscuits

In Breads / Grains, Snacks, sweets on May 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm
maple pinwheel biscuits

Sweet, soft, and gooey. Talk about gone in 60 seconds....

Okay, this is another one from Biscuit Bliss, which I just reviewed for the Daring Kitchen. I was experimenting with different types of biscuit, because not being a Southern grandmother, I had never really been into them so much. This book totally changed my mind, but that’s another story.

I made these for Mr. Gorilla and I the other day, and we ate the entire batch withing twenty minutes of them leaving the oven. Seriously. Yes, we are pigs, but it’s totally justified when you consider the fact that biscuits go stale really fast, and the only way to get your effort’s worth is to eat them fresh. That’s my excuse.

I altered the recipe a little, because I like over-the-top sweet, so I’m going to post my version. If you want the real version, buy the book.

Maple Pinwheel Biscuits

(adapted from Biscuit Bliss by James Villas)


2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons butter, cut into bits

2/3 cup whole milk

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup brown sugar

cinnamon to taste

1 cup maple syrup


Preheat oven to 425, grease a 9-inch cake pan and set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.

Cut in half of the butter until mixture is mealy.

Add milk gradually, and stir until a soft dough forms. You may not need all of the milk!

On a floured surface, roll dough out to a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle the remaining butter bits over the surface.

Sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar over the surface, and top with half of the nuts. It should be looking quite yummy by now.

Roll the dough lengthwise, like a jellyroll, and cut into 1-inch slices.

Place the slices in the pan, drizzle the tops with syrup, sprinkle with the remaining nuts, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.

Drizzle with powdered sugar icing if you would like. I did. ‘Twas yummy.

I promise you, these will not last.

Polenta Panini

In Breads / Grains, Sandwiches, Snacks, Uncategorized on May 5, 2010 at 7:03 pm
polenta panini

It's like a sandwich, but with polenta for bread!

So, are you tired of eating sandwiches? I was, but Mr. Gorilla LOVES them. I’m a fan, but have you ever noticed how time-consuming and expensive it can be to make a couple of really good sandwiches? Try this: go to the store and just buy the stuff you need to make sandwiches, and I don’t mean cheese sandwiches, either. Get a loaf of bread, a block of cheese, some kind of meat, a head of lettuce, a tomato, some mayo or mustard or some other topping, maybe some onion or olives, or whatever else you think you’d like. Before you know it, you’ve spend $40 on sandwiches! For $40, you could have had swordfish. Or lobster. I mean, come on.

So when I came across this recipe for Polenta Panini, I immediately got excited because a) I already had cornmeal to make the polenta with, and b) I already had cheese. The only thing I needed to buy was prosciutto – seven dollars. Done. And boy, were these great. Not exactly low-fat, mind you, but really good, especially with roasted asparagus and a nice salad. Perfect for spring. Hop to it.

Polenta Panini

(adapted from Panini, by Viana La Place)

1 cup coarse cornmeal

1/2 cup fine cornmeal

6 cups water

8 ounces mozzarella cheese

4 ounces prosciutto

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup flour

3 slices toast

oil for frying


Bring the water to a boil in a large pot, and add the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir until polenta pulls away from the side of the pan. This is supposed to take 30 minutes, but it only took about 15 minutes for me, because I have super powers.

Immediately pour the polenta into an oiled cookie sheet and let cool.

Meanwhile, cut the mozzarella into thin slices about 1 inch square, and cut the prosciutto slices into strips about 1 inch wide. These are gonna be so cute!

When the polenta is cool – and I mean COMPLETELY COOL – use a glass to cut it into as many rounds as you can get out of it. I got 12, I think. Remove the rounds from the pan and place them on a cutting board, and save those polenta scraps! They come in handy for stuff.

Put prosciutto and cheese on top of half the rounds, dividing everything evenly. Top with the remaining rounds.

Pour the flour onto a plate, and run the toast through a food processor to make breadcrumbs. See how I tricked you into that? Trust e – once you start using fresh breadcrumbs, you’ll never buy them in the store again. So, make you breadcrumbs and pour them in a dish.

Your beaten eggs should already be in a bowl. You’re not standing there with a pocket full of egg, are you?

Pour the oil (your choice) into a large pan until it’s about 1/4 inch deep, and heat on medium-high until it’s all shimmery and sputters when you drop a piece of polenta in. See? Those leftovers are already coming in handy!

Gently (GENTLY!) roll the edges of each sandwich in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. It must be in that order. It won’t work, I’m telling you. Now is not the time for creativity.

Immediately after rolling, place the sandwiched in the pan and fry until golden on all sides. You may need to use tongs to get the sides, but I didn’t. Fresh breadcrumbs seem to cook better.

Only do a few sandwiches at a time – if you crowd the pan, they’ll take longer to cook and absorb more oil. Drain them on many, many layers of paper towels.

That’s it! I served mine with pretty tomato slices on top, but you don’t have to. These make a great snack, appetizer, or even dinner. Hey – they got the Mr. Gorilla stamp of approval!

polenta panini

Smile! There's cheese!

Cinnamon Scones

In Breads / Grains, Snacks, sweets, Uncategorized on May 3, 2010 at 5:25 pm
cinnamon scones


So, I’m in the process of reviewing a cookbook called Biscuit Bliss by James Villas. Since I am not a southern cook, I considered myself to be generally clueless about biscuits, and I was right. My first attempt totally failed, but you’ll have to wait for the review to hear that story. This story is about scones. Mr. Gorilla, being the Anglophile, LOVES scones, so I thought I’d try my hand.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not as scone-intensive as the next lady – every time I’ve tried them in the past I’ve found them to be quite dry and crumbly, and not sweet enough. So I had high hopes for Mr. Villas’ recipe. Even though I threw my trust in him, I still altered a couple of things about the recipe, just to hedge my bets.

1. The recipe itself is for plain old scones, but I added cinnamon ’cause I felt like it.

2. I did not knead the dough. I’ll tell you when we come to it.

3. I topped mine with loads of coarse cane sugar before baking. ‘Cause I like sugar.

4. I didn’t use a biscuit cutter, ’cause I don’t have one.

Here it is, folks – the most awesomest, moistest scone you will ever eat!

Cinnamon Scones

(adapted from Plain Scones, in Biscuit Bliss, by James Villas)


2 cups self-rising flour

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, softened

3/4 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons cinnamon

1/4 cup cane sugar


Preheat oven to 425, and line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Feel free to add more cinnamon if you’d like.

Add the butter, and rub with your fingertips until the mixture is crumbly. MUCH more pleasant than using a pastry cutter, let me assure you.

Gradually add the milk until a soft dough forms. You may not need all of the milk, or you may need a bit more. Use your judgement.

Here is where I differ from James: instead of kneading the dough on the counter, I squish it around gently in my hands (over the bowl) for a couple of seconds, just until the dough holds together and seems uniform. So do that.

Now, swipe the parchment off of your baking sheet and put it on the counter. Place your ball of dough on the parchment, and using floured hands (yours, of course), pat the dough into a rectangle about 3/4 of an inch thick. Coat the top of the rectangle with the cane sugar.

At this point, James whips out his diamond-honed biscuit cutter, but I don’t have one, and using a glass makes them come out flat. So here’s what I do. I cut the dough into squares, but I do not separate them. I then make diagonal cuts to form triangles, but still, I do not separate them. I simply pick up the whole shebang by the parchment, transfer it to the baking sheet, and throw it (place it gently) in the oven for about 12-15 minutes.

cinnamon scones

Here's how they come out of the oven. Nifty!

I let them bake as one piece, but the cuts make them easy to separate when they cool. This method keeps them moist, and prevents the sides from overbaking. It’s great!

So yeah, these scones were amazing, even three days out. Great recipe, James.