So You’ve Eaten Your Share of Peeps, But Still Have Some Left Over
And you’re wondering–how do I use Peeps culinarily? Okay, maybe you’re saving some until they get nice and stale (hey, connoisseurs like the best this way!) Maybe you have some earmarked for a special meal (I usually eat a sleeve prior to running a half-marathon, because hey, carbo-loading!) Maybe you are keeping some for next year’s Washington Post Peeps Diorama contest. Still, you might have some Peeps that are waiting to be incorporated into some sort of gastronomic marvel. Well, Peep-le, look no further. Presenting the Peeps-nini! This molten version of a peanut butter and marshmallow creme sandwich is just the thing for your Easter leftovers.
And the Flyover Connection is…
None. None whatsoever, except that I first created it in Indiana (though I did subsequently share it on another website). Peeps are actually the product of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s Just Born candy company
This panino (yeah, panini is actually plural, but that “i” sounding like a long “e” just sounds kitschier) is just the ticket when you’re tired of savory dinner and, dagnabit, you just want something SWEET for dinner!
What You’ll Need
- panini press or heavy skillet (if using skillet, you’ll also need a pancake turner to press down on the sandwich)
- cutting board
- bread knife
- knife for spreading butters
- peanut butter (I like homemade or natural)
- softened butter (about a tablespoon or two)
- sturdy bread
- 4 Marshmallow Peeps
How to Make the Peep-Nini
- Cut two slices of bread, if you are starting with a whole loaf (or take two slices from your presliced loaf
- Preheat your panini press [or skillet, if using, to medium or medium-high (if using a stainless steel skillet, you can wait on this step until right before you heat the sandwich, as they heat up fairly quickly)]
- Butter the outside of one slice of bread and place it on your board, butter side down.
- Spread peanut butter on top of that bread slice.
- Place the Peeps on top of the peanut butter. DON’T LOOK AT THEIR EYES! Otherwise, you may not have the heart to subject them to the intense heat.
I said not to look at their eyes!
- Put a thin schmear of peanut butter on the second bread slice.
- Place second slice of bread on top of the Peeps.
- Butter the top of the second slice.
- Put the sandwich in the panini press and put the lid down. Cook until the Peeps start to melt and get gooey.
- If using a skillet, add some butter to the skillet, then add the sandwich and press down on it (and cook until the bread crisps up). Turn the sandwich over and cook, pressing down, until the Peeps get melty.
- Serve immediately.
Lip-ity Do Dah
Liptauer is a type of fresh cheese from the picturesque Liptov region in Slovakia, which is, admittedly, far from Flyoverlandia. As in an ocean and much of a continent away. So why am I writing about it here? Because Liptov also gave its name to a delicious cheese spread featuring its famous cheese. Liptauer is the adjectival form of the Germanic name for Liptov: Liptau. The cheese, typically made from sheep’s milk, is mild and fresh and difficult to get in the United States. Liptauer cheese, however, has also come to refer to a spread with said cheese as its base, flavored with capers and caraway and such, and served with dark bread.
So, Are You Going to Get Around to the Flyover Part?
Cool your jets, hold your horses, relax-don’t do it. In a word, yes. Right now. Firstly, it turns out that you can make Liptauer cheese (the spread, not the fromage, unless you have a ewe in the backyard between the shed and the Weber grill). And secondly, it also turns out that you can use cottage cheese, specifically the more accessible Kalona Supernatural cottage cheese to make a reasonable (and quite delicious) facsimile of Liptauer cheese spread. And thirdly, it turns out that the recipe follows below.
Makes 1.5 cups
What You’ll Need
- a hand blender, food processor, or fine strainer and bowl
- chopping board and knife
- two mixing bowls (preferably medium)
- wooden spoon or hand mixer
- small bowl of approximately 1.5 cup volume
- mortar and pestle (optional)
- a small plate
- plastic wrap
- 1 cup of full-fat cottage cheese, preferably Kalona Supernatural brand
- 1 stick (8 Tbsp) softened butter—I used Organic Valley’s Pasture Butter, which is lightly salted
- 1 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1/4 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
- 2 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp dry mustard powder
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
- 2-3 Tbsp finely chopped cornichons, gherkins, or capers
- 1 garlic clove, papery skin removed
- 1 tsp anchovy paste (omit for vegetarian version)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tsp finely chopped parsley or chives
- 1/4-1/2 tsp fine salt
- freshly ground black pepper
How To Make Liptauer Cheese Spread
- Using your blender and mixing bowl or food processor, blend the cottage cheese until it is a smooth paste; alternately, go low tech and press the cottage cheese through a strainer into the mixing bowl. If the cottage cheese is watery, drain in a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter for 15 minutes
- Cream the butter in another mixing bowl. Add the cottage cheese and mix together well.
- Put the caraway seeds and garlic clove in a mortar and pestle. Grind into a paste. Alternately, mince the garlic finely and leave the caraway seeds whole.
- Add the paprikas, caraway seed-garlic mixture, mustard, cornichons or capers, onion, and anchovy paste (if using). Mix together well.
- Add the sour cream, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper, mixing thoroughly. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
- Line the smaller bowl with plastic wrap. Put the entire mixture into the plastic-lined bowl and then place another sheet of plastic wrap on top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours; this gives the flavors a chance to meld.1
- Remove from refrigerator and unmold onto a plate. To do this, remove the top sheet of plastic wrap, then place a plate on top of the bowl. Invert the bowl onto the plate, remove bowl, and then remove the remaining plastic wrap.
- Sprinkle with the parsley or chives. Serve with dark bread (I’ve used cocktail rye).
All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up.Click on the image to enlarge it.
I’ve adapted this from Sara Dickerman’s recipe found in the New York Times (which is itself an adaptation from Joseph Wechsberg’s recipe found in The Cooking of Vienna’s Empire)
1I’ve found that this doesn’t taste very good initially, but fabulous after the Refrigerator Tour of Duty. The flavors really come alive and work well together after sitting in the refrigerator for a few hours.
You can make a decadent hot drink with an actual chocolate bar instead of powdered cocoa. Indiana’s Endangered Species 72% Dark Chocolate1 (the one with the chimpanzee on the package) is used to make a delicious dessert-like hot chocolate that is more rich than sweet (and gluten-free). And it IS a dessert! This is inspired by the inimitable David Lebovitz. If you do like a sweeter drink, feel free to add some sugar; you can also use a chocolate with a lower cacao content (though that will remove some of the richness and sophistication of the drink).
What You’ll Need
- cutting board
- measuring cup
- measuring spoons
- small saucepan (I used a 1-quart pan)
- 2.5 oz. (70 g) Endangered Species 72% Dark Chocolate, finely chopped (you can use another chocolate of the same strength, but it won’t be Flyover!)
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) whole milk
- 1/4 cup (45 ml) heavy or whipping cream
- rum, brandy, Cointreau, Himbeergeist, or some other chocolate-compatible spirit (optional)
- sugar, if desired
How to Make Grown Up’s Hot Chocolate
- Add the milk and cream to the saucepan. Over medium heat, bring the milk mixture to about 160°F (70°C or 345 K if you are of a scientific bent); it will be steaming and hot to the touch.
- Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. You don’t really need to take the pan off the heat, but it does lessen the possibility of the mixture coming to a boil, which you don’t want.
- Whisk the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted; you can do this on or off heat (it doesn’t take long).
- Bring the mixture to a SLOW boil2 and turn the heat down to medium-low.
- Whisking constantly so that the mixture doesn’t burn, cook at a slow boil for two (2) minutes—this will thicken your hot chocolate.
- Remove from heat and divide between two heatproof cups. Sweeten to taste if you prefer a drink that’s a bit more sugary. Add about a tablespoon of liquor per cup, if desired, and stir.
Flying solo? Drink one cup and refrigerate the rest to be enjoyed the next day. Or drink both of them.
1According to the company’s website, this bar is gluten-free, certified vegan, Rainforest Alliance certified, and non-GMO to boot!
2By slow boil, I mean that you will see bubble breaking the surface, but at a gentle pace (i.e. not a rolling (roiling?) boil
A Word about the Bird
This may have been my best turkey ever! Delicious flavor that didn’t NEED gravy (although gravy certainly wasn’t turned down!) This year’s bird was a Gunthorp Farms turkey, a fine-looking, pasture-raised 15-lb bird. Gunthorp Farms raises meat and poultry naturally, as opposed to an industrial model, and provides turkeys (and chicken, duck, lamb, and pork) to some of the best restaurants in the Midwest, including those of Rick Bayless. Starting out with quality poultry is one of the keys to a delicious Thanksgiving turkey.
I also roasted the turkey breast-side DOWN. The breast meat was unbelievably moist and the dark meat was perfectly cooked. Granted, you don’t get the Norman Rockwell picture-perfect bird, but I’d much rather have a good TASTING turkey than one that is dry, but photogenic. Which is why there’s no picture here.
Too Much Cranberry Sauce? Ideas for Using Up Leftovers
It happens. With your cranberry bounty from Wisconsin, you made plenty of cranberry sauce, like this one. But there is plenty left over, too. So, what can you do with leftover cranberry sauce? Lots of things!
- Stir it into yogurt or oatmeal
- Thin it with a little juice (or even a little water) and use it as a topping for ice cream, pound cake, cheesecake, or waffles
- Make thumprint cookies (here’s a classic recipe), replacing the jam with cranberry sauce (which is, basically, a jam).
- And here’s a personal favorite of mine—use some in a peanut or almond butter and jam sandwich. I especially like natural peanut butter (crunchy!) on good homemade or artisanal bread with cranberry sauce
Making cranberry sauce is ridiculously easy. If you’ve always used canned sauce, why not switch to homemade? This recipe is simple and can be put together quite easily on the day of the Thanksgiving feast or it can be made ahead of time. Remember that cranberries have an enormous amount of pectin, so the sauce gels pretty quickly. If you like a looser sauce, cook it for a shorter period of time. If it’s gotten too thick for your tastes, thin with a bit of orange juice or brandy.
This recipe makes 1 cup, so it’s appropriate for Thanksgiving dinners with fewer people. Just double it if you want a larger amount.
What You’ll Need
- a small saucepan
- a zester
- wooden spoon
- measuring cup and measuring spoons
- a jar or bowl
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 6 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp grated orange zest (from half an orange)
- pinch or two of ground cloves
How to make the sauce
- Put sugar, water, and orange juice into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and stir until sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally.
- Add the cranberries and cook until they pop, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. You can always smash them against the side of the saucepan with your spoon.
- Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest and the cloves.
- Place in a bowl and cool to room temperature. Serve or refrigerate for up to a week.
Add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped toasted walnuts after removing the sauce from the heat. Be sure to toast first, so that the walnut flavor comes through the orange and sugar.
Omit the cloves. Add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped candied ginger after removing from the heat.