Obedient Ingredients

A place to put cooking ideas to the test.


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Homemade Bitters

This summer’s project is homemade bitters.

The best way I’ve seen bitters described goes something like this: You can have all of these great ingredients and amazing flavor combinations in a cocktail, but the addition of bitters makes you come back for me.

I’m not sure where I read that, but I enjoy the sentiment and agree; bitters in a cocktail add a depth to the drinking experience that is enticing.

I made four bitters:

  • House bitters
  • Coffee-Pecan
  • Charred Cedar
  • Apple

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Everything is taken from this great book by Brad Thomas Parsons called Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All with Cocktails, Recipes and Formulas. Check it out.

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Shrubs: Strawberries and Plums

Shrubs are vinegar, sugar and fruit. Shrubs are delicious and easy to make.

They are delicious, they quench your thirst (the Gatoraid of the 1800s) and they add a great twist in cocktails. They are a great addition to hot summer parties and a non-alcoholic alternative.

Shrubs are more tart/acidic because of the vinegar, and that tends to scare people away. But it is surprisingly refreshing when added with the right things.

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Add any shrub to soda water and lots of ice with a bit of fresh lime or lemon juice, and you’ll see this drink disappear during your summer parties.

I highly recommend this book with tons of recipes for shrubs and shrub-based drinks: Shrubs – An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times by Michael Dietsch.

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Snacket Championship!

VS.

 To use one of my new favorite comments from you guys: “Valar snackghulis”

That’s right, Girl Scouts Samoas lost by 15.5% and White Cheddar Popcorn – which was NECK AND NECK for the past few days – lost only by 3.8%. Close races!

And heated emotions! Over snacks!!

You and your so-called “friends” and “loved ones” have until Sunday at midnight to vote for the winner (among other fun things) right here: http://goo.gl/forms/l8BYl2fkrm 

The winner of the 2015 Snacket will be announced on Monday, along with the winners of who came closest to predicting the champion (remember, no one picked the Final Four correctly. Only 18 out of 77 people guessed the final match-up correctly.)

 

I asked voters to share their dream match-ups. This is what some of them said:

I am making up my own – homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies vs. vermont cabot extra sharp cheddar cheese because WHY were neither of these in the snacket!? BOO.

Lime-salted chips from Chipotle vs. McDonalds Fries

Cheetos v. Nutella OR Reese’s Pieces

Oh it’s already happened. Girl Scout Cookie on Girl Scout Cookie. Epic. And the best cookie won for sure.

M&Ms vs. Movie Theater Popcorn

As a person who religiously eats 2-3 snacks for every meal, my dream match-up would be two contenders that complement each other. Like cheese and crackers vs veggies and hummos. Or reese’s peanut butter cups vs pretzels with vanilla ice cream. Then again I am the kind of person who makes sure no one gets left out of huggy-bear.

Cheetos (crunchy) vs. Tates Bakeshop chocolate chip cookies

I say we think big. Would you rather have access to all Kraft Products or all TJ products?

Cheetos or Oreos vs anything Reese’s. HOW WOULD ONE CHOOSE!?

TJ’s Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds with Sea Salt vs. Nutella

Peanut butter stuffed Oreos vs. Reese’s peanut butter cups

Ooh, this is tough. I definitely feel for Nacho Doritos, who simply got a tough draw this year. A pretty great match-up would be Reese’s mini PB cups v. Nacho Doritos, because those strike me as serious heavyweights in the sweet and salty regions. (Wait, did that match-up actually happen last year!?)

As for the polar opposite: dates (?!?!?!?!) vs. ants on a log, or whatever that celery-raisin abomination is called. Both teams should be banished forever and ever.

All of them in a smoothie vs. never eating again.

Blueberries vs. almonds. But seriously, there are so many criteria for best snack: taste, source of sustaining energy, ethics, health factor, etc. How can one choose? Also, the quality and type of apple from which the slices come makes a HUGE difference.

OMG, this question is too hard.

KFC Double Down vs. Deep-fried Oreos (AJ’s note: ….wat?)

 

 

More juicy comments:

I was going to boycott this vote because none of my snacks made it through until I ate a peanut butter cup that had been sitting in my office fridge since Halloween and realized just how good they are. Also had to vote for white cheddar popcorn because no fucking way am I going to let apples through. Fuck. That.

As the happy chompy mouse gif reminds me, why weren’t Ritz Crackers in this?

If apple slices with peanut butter win, everyone needs to rethink the definition of the word snack. What is this? An episode of the Biggest Loser? What are you trying to prove? People eat a ton of apples and peanut butter because that is a snack that satisfies your need to eat the “good” fats and “good” sugars, yet will never satisfy your stomach’s true craving.

I am upset by the lack of a cracker section. Also, as a snack I thoroughly enjoy cheese and not one single cheese made it on here. The closest respected option would be Cheez-It’s Party Mix but they weren’t even involved. They are LITERALLY a party in a box. I don’t see how string cheese, brie, mozzarella, etc did not make it here. I think the next bracket needs to expand to think of others.

Can we do a grilled cheese bracket? I think that’s a wonderful idea if you ask me. But who asks me? If I was to be asked… we could include condiments (i.e. soup, ketchup) that go with GC, the cheeses, additions (i.e. bacon, tomato)… you see where I’m going here.

SAMOAS ARE BAE <3

White cheddar popcorn is trashy. The rest of the final four are so wholesome. This tournament is making me a snob.

My life is a lie. I have just learned that Samoas and Carmel Delites have been co-existing for decades and I never had a clue! They are NOT, in fact, the same cookie! Why? Why Girl Scouts? I knew I made the right choice by not participating in your cult-ish shenanigans way back in the Daisy days. I refused to wear that horrid jumper! Brown? Really? Who looks good in brown? The answer is NO ONE! While I would like Samoas to come out the victor, I feel betrayed.

We have to defeat Reese’s peanut butter cups. They are in no way a superior enough snack to deserve this much honor.

THINK OF ALL THE PEOPLE WITH PEANUT ALLERGIES. Voting for Reese’s is voting for possible death and the Epi Pen. Just saying.

Consoling myself re: Cadbury mini eggs’s loss by eating Cadbury mini eggs at my desk at 9:58 a.m…

 

Click on each of the regions to see the bracket to see how it went down or where it all went so, so wrong:

Snacket Champion Sweet Cookies & Other Snacket Champion Sweet Bite Sized Snacket Champion Salty Snacket Champion Healthy


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Snack Bracket: FINAL FOUR!

Vote here:

http://goo.gl/forms/7bBS2CuLrO

Reigning champion Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter cups will face off against Girl Scout winner Samoas. The winner of the sweets will face off against the winner of White Cheddar Popcorn vs. Apple Slices with Peanut Butter.

Now, your comments:

 

First, my favorite comment:

Elizabeth Brinton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Brinton) was able to sell more than 10,000 boxes of girl scout cookies in the 1985 selling season. Why do you think that is? Her stupid uniform? Her Girl-Scouty good manners? Her good-ol’ American determination and sense of Manifest Destiny? Hell no. Samoas sell themselves. The combination of bright coconut, soft caramel, and rich chocolate make them something special, something magical. Dare I even say inspiring? Yes! I do dare! Samoas are inspiring! If PB Cups are a heavy favorite to win this tournament, all I can say is, so was Georgetown in 1985. And we all know how that story ended. In glory. For the Wildcats, and for Elizabeth Brinton, apparently. I submit that this year’s story shall not only end in glory, but in caramel and coconut as well.

 

Also, this hate toward Cadbury eggs comes in a close second (this was all from one person) :

Cadbury eggs are gross. No one EVER gets excited about cadbury eggs. The fact that they change the colors of the yolk to make it look real is an ever more offensive affront to mankind.
I will work for the overthrow of this monstrosity. Right here. Right now

I got your huevos right here!

“Hey man, have you ever seen deez before?”
“Deez what?”
“Deez Cadbury Balls!”

Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of cadbury eggs.

Cadbury Eggs? More like Can-I-bury-these-nasty-eggs!!!

GO HOME, CADBURY EGGS!!!!!!

Get your gross chocolate mini-testes out of here!

F you, Lord Cadbury!

 

And the rest, which are gold…

 

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Snack Bracket: The Edible 8

Vote here for the 8 remaining players in the 2015 Snacket: http://goo.gl/forms/1H4hyZGxqa

Click on the photos for a look at how each region has played out so far. The regions are Sweet: Bite-sized, Sweet: Cookies & Other, Salty and then Healthy.

Snacket Edible 8 Sweet Cookies & Other Snacket Edible 8 Sweet Bite Sized Snacket Edible 8 Salty Snacket Edible 8 Healthy

Read these pretty heated and often time hilarious comments from the voting page from the Sweet/Salty 16:

McDonald’s Fries vs. Movie Theater Popcorn is the toughest match up. Fries are delicious but if you get the popcorn and eat it within 20 minutes… that blows everything out of the water. The tough part is when it’s stale… it’s no bueno. UGHHHHH WHO WILL WIN?!
Peanut butter’s tyranny cannot stand
This bracket highlights the industry powerhouses of the snack world: Reese’s, girl scouts, and things that rhyme with ‘neato’.
Up until this point, there were some difficult choices, but not until I saw Nacho Doritos vs Popcorn did I remember how truly difficult this can be. Next year, you have to allow people to fill out brackets before the voting begins. That will also allow you to figure out who you shouldnt’ be friends with anymore and to disqualify any/all of their stupid votes.
This is making me unnecessarily hungry
(Read more below)

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Snack Bracket – Sweet (and Salty) 16!

UPDATE: Vote for next round here: http://goo.gl/forms/1H4hyZGxqa

Round 3! Lots of upsets and heart breaks. Interesting to see which snacks are advancing. Many tight races!

Go here to vote:

http://goo.gl/forms/QrbNch0ZtF

Snacket 16 Sweet Cookies

The closest Round 2 match-ups? There was a tie:
Girl Scout Thin Mints (52.2%) just beating out Nutella (47.8%). Nutella is great, but maybe it’s “snackability” hurt it. It’s more of a condiment, I suppose.
Girls Scouts did not triumph everywhere. In that same bracket, TJ’s Bite Sized Sea Salt Brownies (52.9%) won over Girl Scouts Peanut Butter Cookies (47.1%).
Biggest blow-outs?
Sliced-apples with peanut butter (83.6%) trounced granola bars (16.4%).
Clementines/Tangerines (77.6%) destroyed Roasted Chickpeas with seasoning (22.4%).

 

Snacket 16 Sweet Bite Sized Snacket 16 Salty Snacket 16 Healthy


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2015 Snack Bracket Round 2

Vote here for Round 2

Thank you to those who participated in the first round of the Snack Bracket 2015! Over 85 people voted, and there were some tight races that went back and forth over the past few days.
And it’s time to vote for Round 2 (share this link with friends to vote: http://goo.gl/forms/NoAopk3Q3t  )
Some Round 1 Highlights:

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