The Food Column: My Secret Weapon for Eating In

What’s better than a snack? Snacks for dinner, snacks for lunch… or as just a snack!

My favorite snacking item isn’t just for snacking. I also use it to garnish soup, salad, sandwiches and as a main ingredient in a green bean casserole. 

It’s crunchy, it’s crispy—not salty or greasy. It’s small and light, and just one bite is not enough, ‘cause you’ll want more. Try a handful, then you’ll adore them as much as me. 

You’ll never guess what it is, cause normally I eat so health-a-ly, little fried potatoes are what they are, some are organic and come in a jar-like container. You probably can’t find them right now; they are rare and most likely not even sold everywhere.

Are you thinking, are you guessing, are you stumped, do you give up? 

I should tell you, shouldn’t I, don’t you think it’s right that I share my most favorite delight? 

OK, fine… It’s Pik-Nik Shoestring Potatoes!

Slender, little shoestring potatoes in a canaster. My husband Jeff and I first discovered them at the Stater Brothers in 29 Palms. I bought them on a whim for nighttime sitting outside star gazing snacking and have been in love with them ever since. We usually eat them straight outta the container, but then I started getting creative and used them as salad toppings to add crunch and texture, they also work as croutons in our soup, as they stay pretty crunchy, and if they get soggy, they kind of act as a thickener. But my favorite way to use them is in my gluten-free, vegan green bean casserole. 



Wash and prepare a pound of green beans, chop them into bite sized pieces and steam or sauté in veggie stock until tender. Add olive oil, salt, pepper and Asafetida (it’s a good substitute for onions and garlic—I’ll write about it one day.)

Once green beans are done to your liking, set aside to cool and pat dry.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together some veggie stock, vegan or regular mayo (the more the better), a squeeze of lemon and season to taste with salt, pepper, Asafetida, and curry powder, until the mixture tastes good and is thick enough to coat the green beans.

Mix green beans and mayo sauce together until the beans are completely coated, then arrange in a casserole dish. 

Now comes the best part, using a full container of Pik-Nik, arrange them around the outside of the green beans, so the potatoes are framing the beans. I like to sprinkle curry powder over the Pik-Nik for that certain je ne sais quoi. Heat in a 400-450 degree oven until everything is brown and bubbly, then dig in. 

Pik-Nik also comes in different flavors, none of which we have tried because we can’t find them anywhere. There’s ketchup, sea salt & vinegar, HOT, cheddar cheese and thick cut, which probably taste the same as the original. We’ve had the organic Pik-Nik shoestring potatoes; those are awesome! Pik-Nik is found in some stores and not others.

Have a recipe you’d like to share? Send it to me at It may be used in next month’s column or posted to our website for everyone to try.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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