Thursday, May 30, 2013

Date and Sesame Chocolate Bars

In Go Dog Go, there are two characters that we meet a few times throughout the book. A girl dog dons a perfectly acceptable hat and asks the boy dog if he likes her hat. He says no, and then they say their goodbyes. This happens three times, with three different hats. But the fourth time they meet is different. He finally likes her hat, and afterwards, the two drive off into the sunset together. And it isn't just any hat. It is an extravagant, an outlandish, a whimsical hat.
Objects hanging from the hat include:
- a fish
- a spider
- candy canes
- pinwheels
- a potted flower
- flag celebrating the letter "Z"
- a mouse

Though I find this to be a horrid example of interpersonal relations, this is how I feel about dried fruit. Show me some perfectly acceptable, perfectly lovely dried cranberries or cherries or grapes and I will say no, I do not like that hat. But mix the dried fruit with chocolate and more chocolate and some spices and sesame seeds and sesame paste, then finally, finally - I will like that hat.

For more snack ideas check out Cooking Light's slideshow of healthy snacks.  So much deliciousness!

1 cup pitted dates, chopped roughly
1 tablespoon tahini
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
pinch cardamom
pinch cinnamon
pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
1-2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Place the dates, tahini, honey and cocoa powder in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse.  Add in the sesame seeds,  and chocolate chips and pulse again.  Take the mixture in your hands (it may help to spray them with a cooking spray) and work it into a sort of "dough."  Push the mixture firmly into a square-shaped, sandwich-size Tupperware-type container.  Cut into bars.  Sprinkle the top of the bars with fleur de sel.  I like to keep these bars in the fridge.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Water with Blackberries, Lime, and Mint

Life's greatest pleasures include:
- cheese
- naps with toddler (or without)
- snorting directly into Seth's ear
- Rice Krispies Treats
- couch, blankets, and favorite television shows
- a glass of cold water on a hot day
- purring furballs
- a cup of hot coffee in the morning
- dance parties with toddler
- skeeball

Few things rival the feeling of rolling a small wooden ball up a lane and into one of the pockets, attempting to earn the maximum number of points.

Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration.  But it is seriously super fun.

And there is nothing like the happiness one experiences when tickets come spewing out of the ticket machine.  It is likely that my temperament is that of a small child.  I'm okay with that.  I can't help but get extremely, ridiculous, outrageously excited about winning tickets in an arcade and afterwards getting to pick out silly prizes.  At this point in my life, it seems unlikely that I will "outgrow" this.  I should point out that I'm not even good at skeeball.  I just love playing.

Because of my love for the game, I have even been known to have skeeball cravings.  A craving that is wildly impractical to fulfill on most of the days of life.  A craving that takes on a life of its own, and soon visions of boardwalks and arcades and Ferris wheels and fudge shops and nachos are spinning around my imagination.  On a Wednesday morning.

Since it was unlikely that I would get to play my game, I decided to do something about my other longing.  My longing for some water.  But flavored.

I'm generally completely content with regular water as my beverage.  But on this day, I was antsy for something different.  I couldn't get my skeeball fix.  But some water with fixins'- that I could do.  

On a more practical note, it's a nice way to entertain some guests on short notice.  You know, if you're into that sort of thing. 

2/3 cup blackberries
2 small limes, sliced
3 mint sprigs
1 cup ice
4-6 cups water

Muddle the berries, lime and mint a bit in a pitcher.  Add ice and water.  Ridiculously easy.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Apricot Tarragon Vanilla Sundae

Over the past few weeks Max has
- repeated the word "ghost" over and over and over and over while on a ghost tour of the    Queen Mary
- pointed at a supposed "ghost" while scrolling through photos taken on said tour
- told me that the plumber is a ghost
- pointed at the water in the toilet bowl and said "ghost"
- found a ghost in a documentary about elephants
- pointed out a window, no less than three times, and said "ghost"

So, I guess there is a chance that Max is indeed connected to a spirit world.  But it seems more likely he just extremely obsessed with the idea of finding one of these elusive entities.  I should probably point out that he isn't frightened of the idea - I don't think he has the framework in place to have such feelings... Yet.  He is just zealously smitten.

And this makes me so ridiculously and extremely proud of myself. I have passed on the torch of obsession.

When we were younger, my friend and I were ardent enthusiasts of ghosts.  Like super obsessed.  We created ghost stories out of every day life, even insisting that a sibling's swimming instructor was really a ghost.  We supposedly had evidence of this fact.  Even though, you know, she was right there and visible to everyone and conducting class on a weekly basis.  This is what you do to stave off boredom.  Create elaborate stories of ghost worlds.

I've basically gotten over this.  Maybe? I still think it is fun, but, you know, I no longer believe that the swimming instructor was actually a ghost.

To celebrate my life's triumph, I made a sundae.  A sundae of vanilla ice cream, apricot compote, tarragon leaves sprinkled with a a smidgen of crisped cubes of pancetta.  A slightly unusual but nonetheless delicious accompaniment to our mom and tot conversations about ghosts.

scoops of very vanilla ice cream (or use your favorite recipe/store-bought version)
tarragon leaves
handful of fried pancetta cubes

For the compote:
13 apricots, pitted and halved
2 teaspoons juice from a Meyer lemon
3-4 tablespoons sugar

To make the compote: Put everything into a pot.  Cook on low for about 8-10 minutes, until warm and the apricots start to break down.

To make the sundaes: Place scoops of vanilla ice cream in dish.  Top with the apricot compote.  Sprinkle handful of torn tarragon leaves on top.  Finish with the pancetta.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Grilled Artichoke Quarters with Anchovy Garlic Drizzle - a Picnic Potluck

I am a ruiner.  As in, I ruin things.  Usually with just a few well-placed complaints.  It can be seen as a talent.  Or a buzzkill.  All depends on your perspective.

I'm starting to think I might need to keep this tendency in check.  Just a bit.  Okay, maybe a lot a bit.

For instance, we got some Chinese takeout recently.  And ate it on a table outdoors at sunset at this super scenic area.  It was gorgeous and romantic.

Until Seth asked me how I liked the food.  My response was ehhhh.

I mean, yes, I guess I was being truthful (the food wasn't bad, and some dishes were pretty interesting, but it could have been better), but the truth isn't always the most beautiful.  It won't always bring the most happiness.  Instead I was the person bringing the party down.  My complaining really served no purpose but to sap all the romance from the scene.  Would it have killed me to just say that I love it?

So I need to work on this whole complaining thing.  Just a little.

This month's Creative Cooking Challenge comes at the perfect time.  The topic is, "potluck picnic."  And picnics, being all outdoors and stuff, can be a bit of a bugaboo.  Wonderful in theory, but a goldmine for complaints about bugs, food that shouldn't be cold, food that shouldn't be warm, etc.

That said, we are preparing grilled artichoke quarters with an anchovy garlic drizzle. It may seem like a strange choice for a picnic, but if one does the prepping and boiling of the artichoke before arriving, as well as the mixing of the drizzle, one only needs to grill the quarters on site, and finish them with the drizzle, Parmesan and parsley.  Freshly grilled, they should be hot enough to melt the cheese and make up for the long trip.  And who doesn't like grilling at the park?  Plus the drizzle has a crazy amount of flavor.  Hopefully, they'll keep my whiny side in check...

Click here to check out the entire Picnic Potluck Roundup hosted by Joan of Foodalogue!

2 artichokes (will make 8 quarters)
2 ounces anchovies packed in olive oil, be sure to reserve the olive oil from the package
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground hazelnuts
Parmesan cheese wedge and microplane, for serving
parsley leaves, for serving

For the anchovy drizzle (at home):
Pour the olive oil from the anchovies into a small pot.  Mince the anchovies and add those in.  Stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil, the minced garlic, and the vinegar.  Over low heat, let the mixture come together for 5-10 minutes, until the anchovies have begun to melt into the mixture a bit.  Take off heat and stir in the hazelnuts.

For the artichokes (at home):
Prep we will do at home.  To start, set a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Using kitchen shears, trim off pointy tips of artichoke leaves. Using a large, sharp knife, cut off the top ½-inch of the artichokes and the end of each stem. Carefully remove any small leaves attached directly to the stem. Wash artichokes thoroughly under cold water to clean them off, and dry with paper towel.

For this part, you will want to do one artichoke at a time. Take your big sharp knife, coat it with lemon juice from one of your lemon wedges, turn an artichoke upside down, so the stem is sticking up and slice it straight down in half, and then in half again to make quarters. Immediately rub down all cut surfaces with lemon wedges to prevent discoloration. Take a serrated spoon, or regular spoon, and coat it with lemon juice. Scoop out the fuzzy choke in the center, as well as the inner, purple leaves. Make sure you get all of the fuzzy part out, and liberally rub down the top of the heart with lemon to prevent discoloration. I also try to cut any remaining prickly points off of the inner curled leaves to prevent poking the eater. Repeat for other quarters.

Once water is boiling, place artichokes in, cut side down, and cover with a clean cheese cloth, dish cloth, or cloth napkin. This will soak up water and ensure the artichokes stay wet while cooking. Cover pot with lid and cook about 9 minutes. When they are ready, they should be just soft enough to push a fork into the inside of the stem, but no softer. The outside of the stem should still be a bit firm.  Carefully remove artichokes and place in a bowl of ice water to halt their cooking.  Once they have cooled, thoroughly drain the water out and place in a Tupperware container to bring to the grill site.

For the artichokes (at grill site):
If using a charcoal grill, stack and light charcoal according to your favorite method. We like using a large chimney starter. The charcoal will be flaming and smoking for around 20-45 minutes.  Once 90 percent of the charcoal is ashed over, spread evenly onto charcoal rack, and place grates.  After grates have warmed up (5 minutes), scrape them clean using a grill brush.

Once your grill is ready to use, brush the artichokes with olive oil and black pepper. Adjust heat to high (350-400°). If grill grates are cast iron, rub them down briefly using a few paper towels or a cheese cloth dipped in canola oil. Place artichokes on grates, cut side down. To help them stay oriented correctly, squeeze the quarters up next to each other for added support. Close top and wait 3-5 minutes. Once the side making contact is adequately charred, brush the remaining cut side with olive oil and turn over onto the un-charred side.  Remove from heat once both cut sides have a light char.

Drizzle the artichokes with anchovy mixture, then sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Blueberry and Chocolate Dessert Sliders with Vanilla Ice Cream

I'm not really into making bread. I feel like I should be weaving poetic yarns about the wonder that is yeast, the therapeutic effects of kneading dough and the satisfaction that comes from baking your very own loaf of bread.

But I just can't.

Every now and then I'll get it in my head that bread needs to be baked. So I'll do it.  Half-heartedly.  Despite this exertion of effort, it never strikes the same chord as a well-chosen purchased loaf.

My response after baking such bread is more, "well look at that, I made some bread, I'm now totally Martha Stewart" (okay, maybe I don't really think that last part, but we can all dream our dreams) and less, "oh my god, this is so good, definitely worth the time and energy."  To be honest, I'm not quite sure why I continue to have at it.  I'm pretty sure this is sheer insanity at play.

The one exception, the one that I can enthusiastically undertake, is challah.  It is the one bread that makes me think, "yes, yes this is indeed worth it".  All rich and subtly sweet, it is difficult to not love.  Yet, when I make it, I never feel like I'm letting it reach its fullest potential.  I just serve it with some breakfast or dinner with a bit of butter and call it a day.

Rather then letting the challah rolls sulk with their their accompanying condiment of generic unsalted butter, I decided to throw them a bone and turn them into miniature dessert sandwiches with a lavender blueberry sauce and salted chocolate.  Served with vanilla ice cream.  Blueberries and chocolate are such a fun and under-appreciated combination (I still need to make that tart, it sounds ridiculously amazing).  I originally envisioned the two of them mingling in an ice cream sandwich.  But structural issues were encountered so I just spooned some vanilla ice cream on top of each bite. This time, the challah became everything it could be - and more.

challah rolls (I like this recipe from Food 52, and just formed them into small rolls instead of a loaf)
unsalted butter to spread on toasted roll
1 square sea salt chocolate (I like Lindt's sea salt chocolate bar)
fleur de sel, optional
serve with vanilla ice cream

For the blueberry sauce:
2 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons red wine
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground lavender

Place all the ingredients for the blueberry sauce in a medium pot over medium-low heat and gently boil, stirring often. Let it cook together for about 5-10 minutes.  Let cool.

To make the sliders, slice the roll of challah in half, and toast.  Spread the toasted roll with unsalted butter.  Place a square of sea salt chocolate, sprinkle more fleur de sel if wanted, and then spread some blueberry sauce on top.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Peach, Pine Nut, and Mixed Greens Pizza with Ricotta Sauce and Fried Egg - aka Breakfast for Dinner

I tend to chafe under rules.  I might even follow them intuitively, but once they have attained the official status of rule or obligation, I feel the shackles being placed on my body and my rebellious nature starts bubbling through my veins.  

I mean, of course there are limits to this. I'm not advocating complete and utter food anarchy.
Rules here include, but are not limited to:
-hot dogs = never (I'm still traumatized by a toddlerhood incident)
-never mix pumpkin into macaroni and cheese
-chocolate chips, like flour, are a necessary component to a muffin
-dried fruit is the devil
-warm oatmeal cereal is also the devil
-breakfast needs to include some sort of produce item
-apples = Granny Smith, others need not apply (this came from Seth)
-raw tomatoes are the devil (also a Seth contribution)
-ketchup needs to mixed with some truffle oil, otherwise it is inedible

That said, having strict and unwavering ideas about what constitutes a breakfast, a lunch, and dinner makes me cringe.  To put it mildly.  And I feel an accompanying bit of sadness that the person with these sort of rules never experienced the joy and delight of a slice of cold take-out pizza for breakfast.  

Life, to be appreciated to its fullest, needs a bit of chaos and whimsy and improvisation - leftover Chinese food for the morning meal, an ice cream sandwich and some carrot sticks for lunch, and one of the perennial favorites - breakfast for dinner.  Here we have pizza with cheesy ricotta sauce and topped with a mixed greens, peach, and pine nut salad...and fried eggs.  Because eggs = breakfast.  And that is a rule I can get behind.

Need more breakfast pizza ideas?  I Can't Believe It's Not Butter has you covered with their California Pizza Party webisode!

4 cups mixed baby greens
3 tablespoons chives
1/4 cup torn basil leaves
2 white peaches, chopped
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tube refrigerated pizza dough, or use your favorite pizza dough recipe
4-6 eggs, fried
I Can't Believe It's Not Butter olive oil spray, for cooking

For the mixed greens and peach salad:
In a large bowl, mix together the greens, chives, basil, peaches, pine nuts, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Drizzle the olive oil, and lemon juice over the mixed green salad.  Sprinkle the lemon zest, and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the ricotta and parmesan sauce:
In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and the garlic clove.  Add freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Heat oven to 450.  Roll out the pizza dough on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and spread the ricotta and parmesan mixture over the crust.  Bake for another 3-5 minutes, until crust has turned golden brown.  Remove from oven.

Sprinkle the mixed greens salad on top of the pizza.

Spray a pan or skillet (I use my trusty cast-iron skillet) with the olive oil spray.  Crack desired amount of eggs into skillet over medium-high heat and fry until whites have cooked and the yolks are still runny.  Once they are cooked, place on the pizza.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mango Camembert Quesadilla with Vanilla and Honey Tangerine Dip

5 years ago, I fell in love.  It was with a red dress.  The most perfect red dress in the world.

After finding my soul mate, I just assumed we would grow old together.  I mean, I guess I didn't really expect to be like 85 and still wearing it.  Okay, fine, a small but irrational part of me hoped to be 85 and rocking some long silver hair and the dress.  But the reasonable part of my brain expected at least a solid decade together. Ten years of museums and restaurants and street fairs and barbecues and trips to the grocery store to experience with each other.

It has recently come to my attention that this red dress is no longer perfect.  Instead of an expanse of flawless red, it is now red with greyish black gunk on the bottom.  It is as though I decided to drag the dress in a vat of gasoline.

I have no idea how it got there.  Nor do I know what the stain is.  I have tried all the stain removal tricks I can find.  But it won't budge.  I will probably take it to a cleaner to see if they can work some magic, but I'm not optimistic.

I have started to mourn the loss.  The loss of the dress.  The loss of our years together.

There isn't much that can fill this void.  But food helps.  Food all cheesy and fruity, and with a honey-tangerine dip.

Though our time together was perhaps cut short, I will always carry its spirit with me. I just know it would love this quesadilla.

Adapted from Cooking Light's Peach and Brie Quesadilla

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons tangerine juice
1/2 teaspoon tangerine zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 scallion, chopped
4 ounces Camembert cheese, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mango
4 flour tortillas
canola oil, for cooking

To make the honey dipping sauce:
In a small bowl, mix the honey, tangerine juice, tangerine zest, and the vanilla extract together.  Set aside.

To assemble the quesadillas:
Take the flour tortilla and put some chopped scallions, some mango, and a slice of Camembert on half of the tortilla.  Once all your ingredients are in, fold the tortilla. Heat canola oil (about a tablespoon) in a cast iron skillet. Place the quesadillas in two at a time. Once a side has a nice golden brown color, flip it over. Once both sides are golden brown, take off heat and serve with the honey tangerine dipping sauce.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chinese 5-Spice (plus more) Popcorn

"A desire would arise and, concurrently, the satisfaction of that desire would also arise.  It was as if (a) I longed for a certain (heretofore untasted) taste until (b) said longing became nearly unbearable, at which time (c) I found a morsel of food with that exact taste already in my mouth, perfectly satisfying my longing."
-from Escape from Spiderhead in Tenth of December by George Saunders

I think this would be Max's sentiment about his music class, if he were able to articulate complex thoughts. And with some lapses in time.

After an art class was cancelled not once, but twice, because we were the only ones in attendance, I scouted around for some other options.  I found a not-annoying (there are countless annoying options out there, believe me) music class, and decided to put the little guy in it.

The following day, without even telling him about his upcoming class, music was suddenly meaningful to him. He asked for me to stream Pandora constantly, danced ridiculously, and even refused to go to bed without an iPod softly playing some Beatles.

His music class has become his favorite part of his week.

This Chinese 5-spice popcorn has played a similar role in our lives.  One night we decided that we needed popcorn.  And not just any popcorn.  But popcorn with Chinese 5-spice powder, a previously unexplored combination.  We rushed to the kitchen to play and found a delicious way to satisfy our longing. And though it wasn't a completely simultaneous experiencing and fulfillment of the craving, it was pretty close.

1/2 cup kernels
2-3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
finely ground salt, to taste

In a small bowl, stir together the black pepper, Chinese 5-spice powder, nutritional yeast, ground mushrooms, garlic powder, and salt. Set aside.

Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of a large pot. Place over medium heat. Add three kernels of popcorn and cover pot with lid. Once those have popped, add the 1/2 cup of kernels. Shake the pot frequently. Once the popping has stopped, take off heat. Drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle the seasoning mix. Stir to ensure even coating of the popcorn. Adjust salt to taste.

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Day at the Beach with Quaker Mixed Berry Cookies

Attempts were made to turn me into one of those nature-y outdoorsy sorts of people.  Success was not the result of these endeavors.
The exception is the beach.  
It has the following things going for it:
a) proximity
b) castle-making sand
c) deliciously salty breeze
d) soothing sounds from crashing waves
e) an appealing blue/green color
f) possibility of whale/dolphin spotting
g) crucially, availability of bathrooms

Though I love being at the beach, the actual process of getting to the beach can be a hassle. One doesn’t just decide to go, and then “poof” there you are laying supine while rays of sunshine embrace you in their warmth. Oh no. Things must be gathered. Bags must be packed.

When we tell Max that we are going to the beach, he is overcome with excitement. The word “beach” is repeated again and again and again, an unremarkable word that sounds utterly charming when he says it. I don’t actually mind hearing this word said over and over, like a toddler incantation.  

But I do mind the insistent way he immediately heads for the door, stopping only to grab his shoes along the way.  Still clad in his footed pajamas.  So then we have to be the spirit crushers, and by definition, the tantrum midwives, reining in the excitement and telling him that we can’t go right this minute. Preparations still need to be completed.

I used to raise an eyebrow at the beachgoers lugging around bag upon bag just to spend a few hours in surf and sand.  Now I get it.  I am now the person I never wanted to be.

In order to go to the beach with even one child, things  are needed – bottles of water, food, toys, sand castle toys, extra clothes, food, blankets, camera, food, large trucks to roll over the sand and haul rocks, containers for rock collecting.  Food is clearly a most necessary part of the beach-going experience.  It can’t just be any food.  It has to be the right kind of food - handling heat well, tasting good, curbing hunger, portability. 

I would like to point out that while we have budged on this whole “why so many bags” deal, we will never be the people who return to their vehicles in a busy parking lot and then spend 20 minutes dawdling while other cars wait and wait and wait for this most precious of spots. We never cease to be mystified by the massive delay between returning to one’s car and the pulling out of the spot. We are, and always will be, quick. Like bunnies.

Finally, and it has gotten easier with repetition, provisions are obtained and gathered, and we get to the beach.  And after having to spend inordinate amounts of time running after a little guy and stopping him from running right into the ocean and being swept away by a wave, and after spending time in the sun and in the sand and trying not to fall when running after the toddler and making attempts at not twisting an ankle while traipsing along on all the rocks on the shore, one most definitely gets hungry.

So we sit down on our garishly, outlandishly, colored beach towels imprinted with ridiculously clich├ęd images of flip flips and beach balls, and pull some things out from the designated “Food Bag” for a beach picnic. Like Quaker’s Mixed Berry Cookie.  It totally fits our beach needs - doesn’t melt in the sun, sweet berries in a whole grain cookie make for deliciousness, curbs hunger with those 10 grams of whole grains per serving and all that fiber, and it is quite portable.  These cookies have become part of the beach food arsenal.  

And while we munch on our Quaker Mixed Berry Cookies we take a moment to look out at that gorgeous Pacific Ocean and relax. Just for a moment.

Quaker is on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest - so follow/like them!

And now that you need some of these Mixed Berry Cookies in your life, you need to know where to find them - look here for a product locator and here for more information about the cookie products.

This post is brought to you by Quaker.  We were financially compensated for this post by Quaker via AOL Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Quaker.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Swiss Chard Chips with Lime Zest, Ginger, and Nutritional Yeast

Recent items that were offered to the toddler, but rejected include:
homemade pizza
kale chips
turkey meatballs
cheesy-creamy pasta with broccoli
and these Swiss chard chips

Items that said child has attempted to eat during this same time period include:
a coffee table
a throw rug
a cardboard box that had been turned into a train tunnel
a windowpane
a cardboard box that had been turned into a boat

At least when he tried to eat the cardboard, he did try to justify it.  Our pig cat Rambo has a fondness for tearing up cardboard, and Max tried to explain to us that since Rambo eats the stuff, he should be able to as well.  Not the worst logic.  But still not convincing.  Both have been cut off.

I guess that leaves more of these chips - all full of lime and ginger, and ancho chile powder and the subtle umami taste from the nutritional yeast - for me.

1 bunch swiss chard, roughly chopped into chip-sized pieces
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
zest of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes
wedges of lime

Heat oven to 350.  In a small bowl, mix together lime zest, ground ginger, salt, ancho chile powder, and nutritional yeast flakes.  Place the chard in a large bowl, and use tongs to coat the pieces with oil.  Sprinkle the lime seasoning mix and use the tongs to coat the pieces with the seasonings.  In a single layer, place the chard on parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet.  Bake for 5-10 minutes, until crispy.  They may not crisp evenly, so remove the finished ones and return the pan to the oven to get the rest crispy.  I only did one baking sheet at a time, as I didn't want to risk steaming the chard instead of getting it crispy.  I did 2 rounds of baking.  Drizzle some lime juice and extra salt (if desired) on the chips, once they are all finished.  Finally, leave out on cooling rack for a few hours before storing.

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