Around this time of the year, especially if you partake in the Halloween festivities, you will find yourself inundated with candy and other sweet treats and bakes. In a nutshell, a sugar overload. While I love my cakes and sweets / candy as much as the next guy or gal, if you are like me, you will need a little bit of savory to cut through all that sweetness.
Last year, I was really excited about Halloween. We were supposed to have a big Halloween party at my workplace. However, as luck would have it I quit that job in early October to focus on building up a little business. When my colleagues threw me a small farewell party, they decided to roll with the Halloween theme. I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to whip up a few treats. These little cracker bites were one of them. I will share the rest of them with you over the next few days. My job was extremely physically demanding and boasted quite a few really long days. So I had to come up with treats that were quick and easy to put together. I knew the candy part of the party would be taken care of, so I stuck with the savories.
These Monster Eye crackers are perfect for a party or get together. They are a Halloween Play on cheese and crackers. They can be whipped up really quickly with all of 3 ingredients. So, I knew I was going to make them. I was a little skeptical about them considering how simple they are, but let me tell you, they vanished really quickly. I wish I had made more. If you decide on making these, make sure you make a big batch. So to make these, all you need are crackers. I love the Eton crackers found in Aldi stores locally, but if you cannot get your hands on them, Ritz Crackers will work just as well. You can use any other crackers you’d like. Now that the crackers are sorted, the next ingredient is the cheese. I used Kraft Cheese Slices, but again, you can use any cheese slices you like. The last ingredient you need are olives. You can use Pitted Kalamata olives or pitted Green olives, if you prefer.
The process is fairly simply, and works fastest if you create an assemble line. I hope you enjoy these little snacks this Halloween as much as we did.
You will also need a circle cookie cutter, just a little smaller than the size of the crackers you choose to use.
Cut the cheese slices into circles using the cookie cutter and keep aside.
Cut the pitted olives in half and keep aside.
On a serving platter, place the crackers in a single layer.
Top the crackers with a circle of cheese and top that with half an olive.
And that’s basically it. Serve up.
Every summer, snake beans were at the peak of their season. We didn’t grow this but there was a local farmer in the village who did. And he did a fantastic job of it. I loved and to this day love snake beans. We cook this up in a very simple way, a traditional Goan fugad. A fugad has its roots in Portuguese food. It is a stir fry of vegetables with some spices and seasonings and a sprinkling of fresh grated coconut. Most Goan households still cook their vegetables this way. The snake bean version was my favorite. I volunteered to prep 2 massive bundles every single day. Yes, I managed to convince my mother and aunt that I wanted to eat this every single day while I was there and that I would clean it and get it ready to be cooked myself. Thankfully, they obliged and so someone from that good old farmers household would graciously drop off a couple of bundles at the house on their way to the market. The simplicity of the dish may fool you. But the end result is fantastic. In my humble opinion, it is delicious. The beans turn out tender and sweet I’m sure kids would love it too. I could eat it by itself or with steamed rice or chapatis.
I recently managed to get some gorgeous bundles of snake beans and had to make this fugad again and I thought it was a perfect opportunity to share it with you. So if you can find some good, fresh snake beans or if you grow them yourself, I hope you try this out.
Eeril Fugad / Goan Snake Beans Stir Fry
3 small bundles of snake beans, the fresher the better
1 large onion, diced
2 fresh green / red chillies
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
1 tbsp olive oil
Break off the ends of the snake beans and break off into inch sized pieces. Rinse through and drain and keep aside.
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
Slit the chillies in length, but not all the way through. This way you get all the flavor but not much of the heat.
Let the chillies fry up for a few seconds till they get fragrant.
Add the chopped onions and saute till the onions have softened and get slightly brown on the edges.
Add the snake beans and stir them in for a while. You will see the green color of the beans turn a darker shade.
Add the salt and let the bean stir fry for about 2 minutes.
Add a splash of water, a very small amount to prevent the beans from burning and help them cook through.
Cover the pan and let it cook. Add more water, if needed.
When the beans are almost cooked, add the freshly grated coconut and stir through.
Serve hot as a side dish with some Goan fish curry or prawn curry and rice or with some chapatis.
After a little looking, I settled on this recipe that requires just 3 ingredients. Making the cookie dough was super easy and after a few minutes in the oven, I had a pile of little cookies. I split the dough and to half of it I added a fourth ingredient – some chocolate chips. You don’t have to do this, but who can resist a little chocolate. With this cookie you get a little sweet and a little salty. If you are going to use some crunchy peanut butter like I did, you’ll have a few small pieces of nuts in there too. I love having a quick and easy recipe like this one in my arsenal. I would, however, cut down the sugar in this recipe the next time I make them. I did find them a little too sweet for my taste. I’d probably drop it to 3/4 of a cup the next time and take it from there. The recipe below has the original quantities.
3-ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
Yields:18-20 depending on size
1 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
1 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 170ºC.
Mix the peanut butter, sugar and egg till smooth.
At this stage, if you’d like to add chocolate chips to some, or all of the dough, you can do so.
Portion out and roll into balls. I just use my hands for this.
Press down lightly with a fork. The tines of the fork give you a criss cross pattern. You could either press down just once to give you some lines across the cookie or turn the cookie a little and press the fork down again to get a chequered pattern.
Place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Don’t let it overbake or brown it off too much.