December 4, 2012 · 7:00 am
We told you a couple of months ago how much we loved Primizie Classic Italian Red Chile & Herbs Crispbread. We knew at first bite we would be tasting Primizie’s other flavors. Their Spicy New Mexican Chimayo Chile & Lime Crispbread should go on your “must try” list right away! Everyone at our weekend buffet gave these crispbreads two thumbs up.
Mark and Lisa Spedale, the Austin caterers who launched Primizie crispbreads, have created a masterpiece line of snacks that are all natural and free of preservatives, trans fats and cholesterol. Their process of grilling, then frying the dough creates a texture and crunch that is like no other snack chip. The chile and lime combination is a classic which in this case, is very well done. I don’t know that I had ever tasted chimayo chile before, but it is flavorful without being hot. Primizie’s website suggests serving these tasty treats with soft cheese, queso or guacamole. We stuck with the basics for our buffet because we wanted to focus on the flavor of the crispbreads. They were delicious solo, and with simple toppings of monterey jack cheese, diced avocado and jalapeño peppers. I changed gears today and topped the crispbreads with creamy Chimay beer cheese, which might my favorite combination, at least so far!
I wish I could send each one of you a bag of these tasty treats because they are not yet widely available outside Austin and Dalls. The Spedales are working to expand their distribution network and you can help them (and yourself). Visit their website and download a letter you can take to your local grocer, asking that they carry Primizie crispbreads. The company’s tagline is “Crave the Crisp” and I promise if you get your hands on these snacks, you will!
November 21, 2012 · 7:00 am
Southern Living magazine claims that cheese straws are like deviled eggs–every Southern cook wants to make great ones. I’m happy to simply eat great cheese straws, and Janis & Melanie Original Cheese Straws make me very, very happy! First, they have the perfect crisp texture. In my humble opinion, some cheese straws lean a little too far toward crunchy rather than crisp, but not so with J&M. Second, their cheddar is better. I’ve had cheese straws with the pronounced taste of artificial cheese products, but the Original Cheese Straws are the real deal. Finally, the spice is just right. Cayenne pepper provides the pivot point between flat, fabulous or fiery flavor, and J&M found the balance. Now that I love Original Cheese Straws, I’ll have to try their Asiago, Bleu and Jalapeño flavors!
The holiday season provides many opportunities to enjoy and share Original Cheese Straws. They are great on an appetizer buffet, or with wine and cocktails. They are super complements to soup or salad, and they are addictive straight from the box. Jamie Parham, the creative baker behind J&M, even suggests trying Original Cheese Straws with jams and chocolate sauce! I’ve noticed them in upscale gift baskets, so keep them in mind for business gifts, or as a perfect partner to a bottle of wine for a host gift. Check out the gift tins available on their website.
Janis & Melanie is a family-owned business started with the recipe for their Original Cheese Straws. Jamie’s daughters, Janis and Melanie, are involved in the company that bears their names. The family also makes delicious cookies, and we shared their key lime cookies with you in an earlier post. J&M’s gourmet food line has become one of our favorites!
October 22, 2012 · 7:00 am
Allen and I snack a lot, but try to snack somewhat responsibly. Lighter meals and in-between snacks suit our lifestyle better than a regular routine of heavy meals. We try to keep a variety of ready-to-eat foods on hand that we enjoy, but are not heavily processed (not counting the peanut butter Oreos Allen currently has stashed in the pantry). OK, we aren’t perfect!
Dry roasted nuts are the specialty of AustiNuts, and because they contain no oil, they are healthier, taste crisper and fresher. Snack mixes with a variety of nuts, crackers and seasonings are also among the company’s most popular products. (Note: the snack mixes do contain oil.) I had seen their nuts and snack mixes before, but had not had an opportunity to try them until now. I tasted several different snack mixes, and selected two to bring home for Allen to try. The Spicy Party Mix lives up to its name with cayenne peanuts, chili lime peanuts, crescent-shaped chili crackers, sesame seeds, jalapeno cheddar sticks, and cajun sesame sticks. It would make perfect game day fare with cold beverages. My favorite is the Spicy Mediterranean Snack Mix. It contains peanuts and sunflower kernels seasoned with sugar and spices. The initial taste on the tongue is sweet, but a pleasant kick of heat follows. If you enjoy sweet and savory combinations as I do, you will be a fan!
Doron Ilia and his mother, Cipi, own and operate AustiNuts. Their website has a an extensive selection of nuts, snack mixes, and other specialty foods. They also maintain a popular retail store in Austin, Texas.
October 16, 2012 · 7:00 am
I had a tough time deciding whether to tell you about this great snack bread, because it isn’t widely available yet. Sharing wonderful foods that are easily obtained through retail markets or online sources is our primary goal, but this crispbread is too good to keep under wraps. When I saw the Primizie display at Central Market, I thought I was purchasing a bag of traditional flavored chips, but I was very wrong.
The bag described the contents as “thick cut, handmade crispbreads”, so I was expecting something similar to a pita chip. Wrong, again. The crispbreads are thicker and crispier than most pita chips I’ve tried. I could immediately imagine them holding up well to the most substantial dip, but I wanted to show you how beautifully rustic the chips are, unadorned by dips and spreads. You already want one, don’t you? The Italian seasoning is flavorful enough to enjoy the chips alone, but delicate enough not to compete with a dip. This artichoke dip recipe immediately came to mind. It is a great last-minute dish because it has only three ingredients that are usually on hand in our kitchen.
Hot Artichoke Dip
Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.
1 cup mayonnaise (always use a quality product)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained
Place mayonnaise and cheese in food processor. Mix slightly. Add artichokes and pulse for 4-6 seconds, only until gently chopped and mixed. To serve hot, place in oven for 20-30 minutes.
Source: From My Kitchen, A cookbook of simple, Southern Recipes by Barbara Richardson McClellan
These wonderful crispbreads were created by Austin, Texas caterers Mark and Lisa Spedale. The dough is grilled, then fried for uniquely crisp chips.
After the crispbreads became a hit with their catering clients, the Spedales made plans for retail sales. They are available in the Austin area, and I was fortunate enough to find them in Plano’s Central Market (Dallas area). I hope you will turn any frustration over not being able to find Primizie snacks into action! Go to the company’s website and launch an email to see when Primizie’s might be available in your area. Lobby your local grocery or specialty market to stock Primizie’s, too. It will be worth your effort!