Celebrating the delights of good healthy everyday food and special treats! Sharing recipes, information, and experiences.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Review: "On A Stick" by Matt Armendariz (and recipe)

Photo by Matt Armendariz, used with permission

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to receive a free review copy of a new fun and quirky cookbook, “On a Stick!” by photographer and blogger Matt Armendariz, published by Quirk Books, May 2011.   Ha!  Quirky cookbook, published by Quirk books-unplanned, honestly!  OK, moving on.  I follow Matt’s blog (mattbites.com) so I was enthusiastic to see what in the world he had come up with for his “anything on a stick” cookbook.

Well, Matt did not disappoint!  Now, I’m not saying I’d make everything in this cookbook. However, there are plenty of fun appetizer or snack ideas that I would make and others that will inspire me to adapt the recipes to my ingredients/style. 

Any cookbook based on street food and country fair treats is bound to have its share of fried, and I mean deep fried, goodies.  Think pineapple funnels (spears of pineapple wrapped in funnel cake batter and deep fried), deep fried candy bars (no explanation needed!), suppli (fried risotto stuffed with cheese), and deep fried mac ‘n’ cheese (again, you can probably figure that one out). 

But what I really liked about the cookbook is that those jaw-dropping, fun to read about, heart attack inducing, oh so delicious recipes are interspersed between good for you ones like dak sanjuk (Korean marinated chicken and veggies), caprese sticks (as you’d imagine but with regular and sun-dried tomatoes), fresh mango with chili powder (just as described with a squeeze of lime and touch of salt), and fruit salad skewers (beautiful skewers, perfect for kids of all ages).

As you can imagine, Matt has produced a cookbook with a beautiful full page picture of each of the 80 completed recipes.  Ah, to be able to get those kinds of photos.  Oh, well, one can only dream!

I was on a Twitter chat where Matt was the featured guests and I asked him what was the inspiration for the Fudge Puppies on page 157 of the book.  “I really wanted something chilly, chocolatety, and messy in the book!”  Not one to pass up much in the way of chocolate myself, I thought I’d give them a try.

Time: 60 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

  • 4 wooden sticks
  • 2 frozen Belgian waffles, toasted and cut down the middle
  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

  • Insert a wooden stick into each half waffle and freeze about 30 minutes.
  • Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Dip frozen waffle sticks in melted chocolate, creating a thin, even layer.  Place on baking sheet and let chocolate set before serving.

Tip from Matt-Before chocolate sets completely you can dip Fudge Puppies in chopped peanuts, sprinkles, or homemade whipped cream.

I need to work on my dipping technique to get that "thin, even layer"!
Well done Matt!  Classic fair food at home.  Next, I think I should try the spam and pineapple skewers, don’t you think?  (Maybe with low salt turkey spam.)

Matt’s book is available on Amazon here. FYI, I am not compensated for reviewing or linking to Amazon.