Monday, June 8, 2009

Artisanal Snacking

I tend to overuse the word "artisanal" quite a bit, particularly when it comes to describing food, but I think that's because I love the images that the word conjures up in my head . For example, when I hear the word bread, I think of a loaf of Wonder Bread, tied up in a plastic bag, sad and soggy as it sits on the shelf under the fluorescent lights of a grocery store. But if I hear artisanal bread, suddenly it morphs into a gorgeous, fragrant, irregularly-shaped, fresh from the stone hearth, crusty on the outside, soft and warm on the inside loaf of heaven. Much like this beauty in the pic above.

When it comes to all forms of cooking, baking and snack preparing, I'm definitely in the "keep it simple" court. But simple doesn't need to equate to boring or uninspired. And so I've made it my mission to perfect the fine art of what I call "artisanal snacking": preparing little bites of 3-ingredient-max nibbles that leverage simple staples, but staples of the finest quality ingredients and (here's the key part) - assembled in the manner of a great chef (i.e. like a little work of art). Then, if you're me, once it's assembled you spend 20 minutes stumbling around trying to set up your camera to take the perfect picture of it for your blog, curse several times then finally just eat the snack out of frustration. Then you go back later once you've calmed down, recreate the snack and retake the pic. This is the sometimes ugly side of artisanal snacking.

But I digress. This will be a weekly feature, as this is part of my Sunday ritual after a trip to the farmer's market for my staple ingredients. Here is yesterday's snack. Oh, and one more thing - you need to give a name to the snack. So without further pause, I present "Basil Tomatorella":

Basil Tomatorella:
(All ingredients purchased at my local farmer's market)
- Buffalo mozzarella cheese (the kind that is suspended in water, not the vacuum-sealed kind at the grocery store)
- Red beefsteak tomatoes

- Fresh basil
-Pinch of sea salt and black pepper (to lightly season the tomato)

An optional add-in (shown in this second pic) - La Panzanella Rosemary Croccantini crackers, available at Whole Foods Market.

I've intentionally omitted how the ingredients are portioned out or assembled, as this is an exercise in free-form artistic creation. Also, please feel free to add your favorite artisanal snacks to the comments section, I'm always looking for new ideas.


  1. Mmmmm...I'm going to make one now!

  2. Nice... okay here's one from my side.

    Pan fry Snapped Asparaguswith extra virgin olive oil
    with freshly grated clove of garlic
    after sprinkling Kosher Salt

    I name it '7 minute Asparagus'

    Thank you so much for mentioning my blog. I love yours. I am a fan!

  3. Preeti -

    These items are going on my farmer's market "grocery list" for next week. I can't wait to try it - it sounds delicious! Thanks for contributing!