White Pumpkin Seeds

White pumpkins are fun to carve for Halloween, and if you’re carving pumpkins of course you have to roast the seeds! Simply separate the seeds from the inner pulp (the “goo” if you’re a kid), rinse well, and spread in on a well greased pan. I prefer to use real butter for this, coating a baking pan with approximately 1 tablespoon of melted butter for each cup of seeds. Then, sprinkle generously with your favorite seasoning. Half-Pint is on a ranch kick, so we used the ranch seasoning mix shown above. Roast in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, flipping seeds with a spatula halfway through. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying.

Happy Halloween!

Toasted Melon Seeds

melon seedsIf you’re waiting longingly for October to enjoy the savory taste of roasted pumpkin seeds… no need. One of the best kept secrets among frugal cooks is that ALL melon seeds are edible! The seeds from pumpkins, winter squash, watermelon (yes, watermelon), cantaloupe, honeydew, etc. are not only edible, they are chock full of Continue reading

Bacon Jam

Bacon Jam

IMG-1793Since we’re spending, ah, a lot of time at home these days, we may as well make the best of things. Here’s a warm and savory treat to enjoy with crackers or crostini while watching a movie in your living room, pretending you’re at the theater. Stay safe, friends.

Ingredients (Makes 1 cup; recipe doubles easily)

1/2 pound bacon, diced Continue reading

Tokyo Train Station Bears

1029180200Hello again, fellow foodies and travelers. We’ve been busy exploring Korea and Japan! Throughout our most recent travels, we’ve logged many hours on trains. This means we’ve also logged many hours in train stations, which can be pretty cool places to explore! One evening, we channeled our inner five year-old and enjoyed a snack of these delightful, chocolate filled bears.

1029180203A bit like bite-sized, filled pancakes, these little bears are also available in caramel and custard flavors. A 14-count bag of these charming treats cost 580 Yen, or approximately $5.15. If the long line at the counter was any indication, we weren’t the only train travelers enchanted with these roly poly little pandas.

1029180202Stay tuned for more fun from Japan and Korea over the next few weeks here at Crowded Earth Kitchen.

 

Sweet ‘n Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

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If you’ve been a Crowded Earth Kitchen friend for a while, you already know of our love for pumpkin seeds. These tiny little powerhouses of nutrition are a free “bonus” snack after turning pumpkins into all sorts of delightful goodies. What’s not to love about that?  Continue reading

Chicken Dip with Crostini

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Start a conversation at your next summer party with Chicken Dip and Crostini straight out of the 1950s! Go ahead – channel your inner Betty Draper and let’s get started. Martinis optional. Continue reading

Quinoa “Popcorn”

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Many American cooks are familiar with quinoa, tiny little seeds that can be cooked like grain. Quinoa is certainly good for you, offering more fiber per serving than either brown rice or corn, and also packing a nice little punch of protein. But did you know Continue reading

Dried Pineapple Snacks

pineappleWith all the flavor of fresh, ripe pineapple and a chewy, candy-like texture, Dried Pineapple Snacks are perfect for combating a case of midday munchies. Even better, this snack has Continue reading

Microwave Potato Chips

chips1Our garden produced a nice crop of lovely little purple potatoes this year. The insides are ringed with beautiful shades of violet, but the small size of these potatoes makes them impractical to peel. Voila! Potato chips! What a simple way to show off the color of these heirloom veggies!

On our Kitchen Gadgets page, we’ve provided a link to an affordable gadget which makes potato chips (oil free) in the microwave. It works really well, but makes small batches. We have a LOT of potatoes, and needed to find a way to process larger batches of chips. Aha! This worked like a charm:chips3

Emson Bacon Wave, Microwave Bacon Cooker

Yes, friends, an “As Seen On TV” microwave bacon maker, no joke! We used a mandolin to slice potatoes really thin, sprinkled them with a bit of sea salt, and arranged them in the bacon maker as shown:chips2

We microwaved our chips for approximately 6 minutes (until the chips started to brown). Done! So simple! What a great way to enjoy the high fiber goodness of garden fresh potatoes, without adding fat.

PS – this same technique works for vegetable chips made from yams, beets, carrots, and parsnips. Stay tuned!

 

Tokyo Food Tour! Octopus Senbei

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Crispy octopus chips for sale at Tokyo Solamachi

My travel companions and I spent a rainy day at Tokyo Solamachi, an enormous shopping mall/entertainment complex attached to the Tokyo Skytree. If you live in the US, think Mall of America but more of a feast for the senses!

There it was… a cheerful red and white storefront prominently advertising something called “Octopus Senbei.” My understanding was that senbei were rice crackers… but these were clearly, definitely, octopus! How Continue reading

Tokyo Food Tour! Part I: Airplane Snacks

airplane snacksOur bags are packed, our flat has been rented, and our airline tickets have been printed. Crowded Earth Kitchen is off on a Tokyo Food Tour! We promise to bring you lots of amazing photos and delicious foods to recreate… but first, there’s that little detail about needing to travel halfway around the world. Spending over 12 hours on an airplane with children – after hours spent driving to Chicago and flying to Toronto to catch the flight to Tokyo – is not for the faint of heart. That said, it’s not impossible, either. Here is the two -part method to our madness:

  1. Pack really light. Don’t be that goofy American in an international airport, trying to drag 100 pounds of nonsense behind you to the train station. Seriously, reconsider every item you pack! Nobody needs 3 pairs of shoes on vacation. Most people in the world don’t even own 3 pairs of shoes. People will notice your accent… they won’t be looking at your feet.
  2. Pack your own travel snacks. While all of those shoes are silly, travel snacks are smart. Just try a 12 hour flight without snacks for children… that’s taking your life in your hands, my friend! Snacks in airports are outrageously, sinfully expensive. Bring a carry-on with healthy food items to get you through your travels and hold you over for a first meal of two (if needed) in a foreign country. Use the carry-on to bring foreign foods back home!

granola barsHere’s what we pack:

Homemade granola bars (dense and satisfying, these pack well)

Cereal bars (these are a great way to use up open cereal boxes before you travel)

Vegetable chips (provides crunch without making you feel icky on an airplane)

Fruit pockets (ever popular with kids)

Whatever you decide to pack in your carry-on, make sure it can stand up to a bit of jostling and squashing. Also, avoid foods that are too fragrant – the people seated around you may not appreciate your love of curry or aged cheese! Finally, make sure not to pack foods that can be considered liquid (applesauce, gelatin, etc.) – these will be confiscated by airport security.

The world is your oyster. Enjoy your trip!