Summer Nibbles – by Isolde

When the weather gets hot and humid, I don’t like to do as much baking.  So for this month, I’ve got three easy recipes that don’t require the oven.

Quick Maple Kettle Corn
from The All-American Dessert Book


One 3 to 3.5 oz bag of microwave popcorn – plain, not flavored
3 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs corn or vegetable oil
1 tbs sugar

Pop the popcorn.  In a large pot, mix syrup, oil and sugar.  Cook over medium high, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it boils and thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.  Immediately remove from heat.  Quickly and vigorously stir in the popcorn until it’s evenly coated.  Dump it into a bowl and sprinkle with a bit of salt if desired.  This looses its crispness after a couple of hours, so eat right away.


1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup tahini
3 tbs lemon juice

The amounts given are just the starting point. Hummus is really flexible, so adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes. If you like more tahini, garlic or lemon juice, add more.  Add salt and seasonings to taste (pepper, cumin, cayenne – use what you’d like).

Throw it all in the food processor and blend until smooth.    If you’re using it as a dip, you can add water until it’s the consistency you like, but if using for a spread, you’ll want to have it a bit thicker – only add as much water as you need to get it to make a smooth paste.

Tropical Tapioca


Pineapple Topping:

1/2 cup sugar
4 cups of fresh pineapple, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 tbs rum (optional)


4 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup small pearl tapioca (not quick-cooking)
1 13.5- to 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (I used low fat)

Topping:  Mix sugar and pineapple in a saucepan. Cook on medium until pineapple softens and gets a bit translucent.  You can continue to cook it until it breaks down more, but I wanted full pieces. The fruit should have released about a cup or more of juice. Remove the pineapple chunks with a slotted spoon (you don’t have to get the tiny pieces) and cook the juice until it thickens into a syrup.  Add rum (or any flavor extract you like), pour it over the pineapples and stir it in.

Tapioca: Rinse the tapioca and let it sit in the strainer while you get the milk going.  Bring milk and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the tapioca.  Once it just hits boiling, reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer, stirring very frequently (a skin will form if you leave it for long), until thickened. For me, this took about 25 minutes.

Stir in coconut milk. It’ll be a bit soupy, but it thickens overnight. Transfer to bowl. Cover – placing plastic wrap directly on the top to prevent a skin from forming – and refrigerate overnight along with the pineapple.