Houston Press' food writer extraordinaire, Robb Walsh, who generally knows everything I'd care to know foodwise, put up this post on his blog yesterday.
Apparently he doesn't know what an oyster cracker is though. So disappointing is this - he thinks it's a cracker one eats with oysters.
Disappointing... like when I was fourteen and my mother finally convinced me that there really, really, really wasn't a Santa Clause or Easter Bunny. In a diatribe, mom crossed her heart, I became apathetic but remember her saying something about a hundred needles in her eye. Sigh.
Back on point...
In a former life, my now ex-wife made these fantastic snack treats for parties, events, camping or just snacking during football games. One of her many fine qualities.
Bonus whisper: the treats are much easier to sneak into movie theaters than popcorn.
Since I'm not sure if I have joint custody of her original recipe, I've taken the liberty of modifying, and of course improving, the recipe.
Call'em What You Want to Call'em Niblets
2 bags of Nabisco Oyster Crackers
1 cup canola or veg oil (or any other neutral tasting oil)
1 envelope of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 tbsp dried dill weed
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tbsp lemon pepper
Mix herbs/spices, HVR mix and oil in a small pan. Heat over medium-low heat to about 200 degrees - do not boil/fry the herbs/spices (if you do, toss it out and start over). The object is to heat the oil enough to extract the flavors, but not cook the herbs. Many recipes don't heat the oil, but do it, your attention to details will be rewarded.
Put crackers in an over-sized mixing bowl and pour the hot oil mixture over them. Toss or stir until the oil is absorbed and everything is cooled to room temperature (usually 5-10 minutes). Hint - using a really large stainless steel bowl and tossing will quicken the cooling and absorption.
Store, air-tight, for their lifetime...usually a day or so, but I've found Zip-locks of these stashed away a week or so after they're made and FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! Like finding a $10 bill in a pants pocket on the day before payday.
Here are a few variations on the basic recipe.
Texican: add 2 tbsp Cholula sauce (or Tabasco if you prefer) and one tbsp red pepper flakes
Asian: add 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp Rooster (Sriracha) sauce, 1 tbsp ground ginger, 1 tbsp red pepper flakes; omit dill and thyme
Buffalo-y: use HVR dressing with bleu cheese, add 4 tbsp Franks hot sauce; omit dill; toss with 2 tbsp of real bleu cheese fine crumbs.
Italiano: use XVOO, 1 tbsp dried basil, 1 tbsp dried oregano; omit dill (serve this variation on a tray with fresh mozz and sliced tomatoes)
Make. Eat. Enjoy.
I'm working on a 12-step program for Niblet Addicton that may help us in the future.