A Simple Framework to Get Dinner on the Table

It’s 5:30 PM and as I stare through the green tinted glass, I feel the train slow to a dead stop. I roll my eyes and start to mindlessly flip through my Instagram feed. After several minuets I hear the all too familiar voice over the loudspeaker say, “This train is operating twelve minutes behind schedule due to freight train interference, Metra apologizes for any inconvenience”. As I sit there my frustration builds and then quickly shifts to anxiety as I realize how late it is and I haven’t the slightest clue what to make for dinner. There’s nothing in our fridge, I’m exhausted, and so hungry I could cry. I feel a wave of guilt wash over me as I consider eating out. Continue reading “A Simple Framework to Get Dinner on the Table”

Brown Butter & Sea Salt Toasted Crispies

If something’s not broken, why would one try to fix it? The Rice Crispy Treat’s a far cry from being broken and quite honestly, it seems impossible to make it better. But dare I say, this version is better than the original?

Refining a classic recipe is a great opportunity to reinvigorate flavors and make something old, new again. A few extra steps spent browning the butter and toasting the cereal send this classic treat over the top.

CrispyStretch

Just look at that stretch!!!! The marshmallow to cereal ratio is key here.

Like a great magic trick, watch these chewy delights disappear in the blink of an eye. Bring these and you’ll be the most popular one at the party.

BrownButterToastedCrispies

Here’s a look at how this humble treat comes together…

CrispyMiseEnPlace

ToastingCereal

Working in two batches, toast the cereal in a pan. You’ll need to stir often to insure even browning. I’ve tried toasting the cereal in the broiler but it resulted in a blackened layer on top with an under side void of color. I find browning in a pan works best.

ToastedVsNotToastedtext

See the difference in color? Toasting imparts additional flavor depth and gives the cereal extra crunch. It’s a fantastic contrast in texture with the gooey marshmallows.

BrownedButter

You’ll need to take the pan off the heat after the butter is browned. That said, use your heaviest bottomed pan to brown the butter. The heavier the pan, the better and it will hold the heat and continue to melt the marshmallows.

MeltingMallows

Remove the pan from the heat and add the marshmallows. Continue to stir until it’s all melted.

Mixing1

Add the toasted cereal and 1/4 heaping teaspoon of kosher/sea salt and mix.

Panning1

Press the gooey web into your lined pan and sprinkle with additional sea salt.

Panning2

Allow the bars to cool and then cut into squares.

Easy, right? Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Makes 16 bars

Mise En Place

  • 8″ x 8″ x 2″ square pan, lined w/ parchment and sprayed with oil or butter
  • 5 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 10oz. bag of marshmallows
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon of kosher/sea salt
  • More flaky sea salt to sprinkle on top

 

Directions

  1. Prep your 8″ pan
  2. Working in two batches, toast the cereal in a pan on the stove top. Apply medium heat and stir often. You’re looking for a caramel brown color but not too dark. Set aside.
  3. Place your heavy dutch oven pan over medium heat and brown the butter. Keep an eye on it and stir often. The butter won’t do much for a while, then all of the sudden it will vigorously bubble, and in the blink of an eye it turns golden.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and sir in the marshmallows until all melted.
  5. Add the heaping 1/4 teaspoon of kosher/sea salt
  6. Fold in the toasted cereal and mix until combined
  7. Press into the prepared pan and sprinkle some additional flaky salt on top.
  8. Allow the pan to cool, cut into squares and watch them disappear!

CrispyCloseUp

Cupid Bark

peanutbuttercrunchcupidbark2

Pat and I don’t make a big deal of Valentines Day, maybe a heart shaped pizza but that’s about it. I thought it would be fun this year to make him some homemade chocolates. With little time and zero patience for tempering chocolate, I decided to go the route of rustic chocolate bark rather than fussy candies. If you can melt a bag of chocolate chips, you can do this. Continue reading “Cupid Bark”

Doodle-Pop

I remember sitting in the family room as a kid with my mom while she watched Dynasty and Falcon Crest. My Dad would affectionately refer to the evening soaps as “The Jerk Shows”. Hardly age appropriate programming for me but I always looked forward to those nights. Not because I wanted to find out what Krystle and Alexis were up to, but rather, for the big bowl of homemade popcorn my mom would make. Right before the shows would begin, she’d pop-up a batch of kernels on the stove and then drizzle the crunchy bits with melted butter, and finish it with a generous sprinkling of salt. Next she’d flip the cap off of a bottle of Diet Rite and pour it over ice and we’d head to the TV. To this day when I smell diet pop jumping off of ice cubes, and homemade popcorn cooking on the stove, I think of those evenings.

Continue reading “Doodle-Pop”