Midweek snacks

Some bits ‘n’ bobs to break a long, dry non-blogging spell. Hey, man, I’ve been busy lately, so cut me me some slack.

Pumpkin time

Pumpkin CupcakesHalloween is right around the corner. Make these cute (and easy) lil’ Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Pig parts

Picture 2I dubbed 2008 the Year of Bacon, and our love affair with all things pig continues unabated. Last week, Top Chef contestants were challenged to create fare for the Pigs & Pinot event in Northern California. Serious Eats contends you can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear–or at least a tasty snack of Crisp Fried Pig’s Ear (and I thought pig’s ears were only for dog treats…). On The Atlantic, Ari Weinzweig touts the pleasures of smoked pig’s jowls.

Make garlic even better

CIMG0952Here’s a cool trick I picked up recently: Place peeled garlic cloves (doesn’t matter how many) in a small saucepan. Cover with olive oil (be generous). Bring to a simmer, and cook until the garlic is very tender. Drain through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving the oil. The oil can be refrigerated and used for dressings, cooking, whatever. Mash the garlic with a fork. Use the mashed garlic to flavor all manner of things, from salad dressing to beans and legumes.