So these days, everything comes in a box. Dog toys, beauty products, healthy snacks... Recently a lovely friend signed me up for the only kind of mail subscription box I need: Skosh Box. Each month, a cardboard box decorated with drawings of origami arrives in my mailbox (it fits in the mailbox, too! No creepy neighbors stealing my stuff, like my steak costume…but that’s another story) packed with brightly colored and expertly decorated Japanese treats including chewy candies, cookies, and once something called “corn potage snack” which tasted like instant soup seasoning packet–yum!
New York’s East Village, where I live, is an ever-spouting culinary fountain, providing me with next-level cuisine at seemingly every corner. While I often aim to leave the neighborhood, I frequently find myself sticking to the region, and enjoying some particularly delicious bites. These three tantalizing tastes have a few things in common: they can all be found within a 5 block radius of my house, and they all fly under the radar on the menu but thrill upon consumption.
1. Corn at Miss Lily’s 7A:
Toasted coconut and jerk mayo slathered on corn on the cob? For some reason I didn’t anticipate the taste insanity that was about to ensue in my mouth at my go-to Jamaican spot. This is one of the best things I’ve tried in a very long while, and thank god the servers insisted I order it. Sweet but pungent and super-creamy with a hit of spice at the end, this corn is the one to beat.
2. Carrot Chorizo Flatbread at The Redhead:
These crackers are a go-to for me, especially when I’m asked to bring snacks for a party. They’ve got a distinctive taste—buttery and blue-cheesy, with texture and richness from the walnuts which coat the outside—especially if you’re a fan of Stilton. Your kitchen will have a….similarly distinctive quality during the preparation of these goodies (read: strong blue cheese stench), but it’s worth it. I particularly love removing the chilled log of dough from the fridge and slicing them into thick disks before baking. For a slightly different holiday (or anyday) treat, try these out.
8 ounces Stilton cheese, crumbled (about 12 ounces with rind), at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt [USE 1/2 OF THIS! OTHERWISE FAR TOO SALTY]
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and Stilton together for 1 minute, or until smooth. [my mixer broke during this process, so aggressive stirring had to suffice. turned out fine!] With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, salt and pepper and mix until it’s in large crumbles, about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of water and mix until combined.
Dump the dough onto a floured board, press it into a ball, and roll into a 12-inch long log. Brush the log completely with the egg wash. Spread the walnuts in a square on a cutting board and roll the log back and forth in the walnuts, pressing lightly, and distributing them evenly on the outside of the log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 4 days. [i find it sort of hard to roll out, but once inside the plastic wrap, it’s much easier to make it look uniform and evenly distribute the dough into a log]
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the log 3/8ths-inch thick with a small, sharp knife and place the crackers on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 22 minutes until very lightly browned. Rotate the pan once during baking. Cool and serve at room temperature.
Pickle Pantry Essential #12: Doctor Kracker Pumpkin Seed & Cheddar Crispbreads
I love cheese, I love crackers and I love pretending to be a crunchy-healthnut-hippie type. Well, the last part is a lie, but these crackers do make me feel that way even when I continue to mistakenly refer to them as “Uncle Kracker” in remembrance of a one-hit wonder of note. They’re fairly healthy, organic (praise the lawd) and very tasty. They’ve got a lovely cheesy flavor to them, and are a perfect accompaniment to a salad or hummus. I go through a box a week and couldn’t recommend them more highly. While they may adorn your floor with pumpkin seeds, they’re a great pantry staple for snacking or crostini-ing.
(image courtesy of Doctorkracker.com)