21 December 2012

Christmas Cooking - 2012

We'll I fell off the wagon - the blogging wagon. But I'm ready to start again and what better way than for Christmas. Here are the plans.

Christmas Eve - at my brother and sister-in-law's house. She is from Texas so we're having Mexican food - yeah. I really like that idea. I'm responsible for salsa and guacamole. I'll have to go with canned tomatoes since there are no decent tomatoes this time of year - even in Florida. I don't care what color they are they just don't taste like a tomato - it's just not right. 

Christmas Day - am - my traditional Sausage Balls w/mustard and/or grape jelly (may sound gross, but don't comment until you have tried it  - we had these every year growing up. This year, I'll be using the Cook's Country version to see if I like it better - I expect that I will. My personal favorite for Christmas - latkes with applesauce and sour cream. Finally, I plan on trying my mom's recipe for banana nut bread - we'll see how that turns out. Happily, the Boy will be in attendance. Music = Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, The Klezmatics - Jews with Horns. 

Christmas Day - pm - back to my brother and sister-in-law's house for turkey dinner - fried turkey. It's truly an amazing thing. I am responsible for cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole (more like dessert than vegetable) and a dessert - probably pecan pie from America's Test Kitchen - it is truly fool-proof. Oh, and an appetizer - mini sweet potato biscuits with horseradish cream and ham - excellent.

Then on the the list of etc.
M&M Cookies, Lemon Curd (have Meyer Lemons from my tree!!), Chocolate Croissants, Sauteed Apples, Spinach & Mushroom Quiche, Peanut Butter Fudge, Parmesan Crackers (new recipe - like I need another one).

Then it's on to planning New Year's Eve! Hot damn. 

27 August 2012


Maybe my slightly (?) superstition-ness worked. Since the storm is going to NOLA - not that I wish it upon them. 
But... It's still windy as all heck here tonight and raining, slightly, but I'll take this over a direct hit. There is still much more Season to go.  It is what it is. 

26 August 2012

Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic, Bleu Cheese and Herbs

Yes, I deviate from the recipe, but only for very good reasons. Plain store-bought bread crumbs taste like ... um, crappy cardboard. Never use them. Ever.

12 Roma tomatoes, sliced in 1/2 lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2  pieces of bread, whirred into crumbs in food processor
3/4 cup finely crumbled Gorgonzola or grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Using a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon, remove the seeds from the tomatoes. Place the tomato halves, cut side down, on paper towels to drain, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Using clean hands, gently toss the drained tomato halves in the oil mixture until coated. Marinate the tomatoes for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and Gorgonzola cheese (and additional garlic if you like). Place the marinated tomato halves, cut side up, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Fill each tomato half with the bread crumb filling. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly softened and the underside of the tomatoes are brown.

Arrange the cooked tomatoes on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Source: Food Network

25 August 2012

Isaac - well this might be craptacular

I'm not happy - but this is the season... it's what is expected. Crap. Thank goodness the generator is in working order. And that I get mimosas tomorrow morning. It will be necessary. That is Sunday. 
And Monday will bring what it brings. It is life. 


Spent most of today going through hurricane supplies, purchasing a few things, checking the generator, and making sure we've watched all the clothes. 
Expect to spend tomorrow putting away all said hurricane supplies, etc. Looks like it is going east of us. 
Now, we'll still get rain in bands and wind, but we're on the good (west) side of the storm as it's projected. 
We'll see what tomorrow brings. 

Three Cities of Spain Cheesecake

Literally, the best cheesecake ever. From Three Cities of Spain

1 crumb-crust recipe made with finely ground graham crackers
3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
16 oz sour cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Make crumb crust as directed. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy and add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla and sugar, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.

Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken. Let stand in baking pan on a rack 5 minutes. Leave oven on.

Make topping:
Stir together sour cream, sugar, and vanilla. Drop spoonfuls of topping around edge of cake and spread gently over center, smoothing evenly. Bake cake with topping 10 minutes.

Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen and cool completely in springform pan on rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.) Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side from pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

well, that did not work or at least not yet

groan ....we will not deal with this until it is past Cuba --- - or at least I will not ... that will be  Sunday ... ugh.

It's the Season

Two people in the office today requested that I start my summer superstition post haste. In my own defense, it has worked for many years now - warding off hurricanes from our area.
So what is it? I print copies of the National Hurricane Center's 5-day cone of probability and put them on the front left (if you're sitting in my chair) of my desk -- where anyone can see them as they walk by my office.
So take that Issac.
(fingers crossed)

24 August 2012

Blueberry Crumb Cake

For the Streusel Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
For the Cake
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk, well shaken
1 1/2 cups blueberries
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make streusel topping: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter using your hands or a pastry blender until large, moist crumbs form. Chill.
Butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and allspice. In a large bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg; beat well. Add flour mixture
and buttermilk alternately until just combined. (Batter will be very stiff.) In a large bowl, toss the blueberries with remaining teaspoon flour. Fold blueberries into the batter; spoon into prepared pan.
Sprinkle cake with streusel topping. Bake until golden brown and a tester comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar before cutting into squares.

Source: Martha Stewart

23 August 2012

Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
2 Tbs lemon zest
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10" tube pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in lemon zest, then beat in the eggs one at a time until well-combined. In measuring cup or small bowl, combine vanilla, buttermilk and vegetable oil. Working in two or three additions, alternately add the flour mixture with the buttermilk mixture, ending with the final addition of dry ingredients. Stir only until no straks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack before topping with lemon glaze (recipe below)

Serves 16

Lemon Glaze
2 Tbs butter, melted
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs lemon zest
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake.

22 August 2012


We've had several dinner events at work recently, and with one meal came a loaf of country white bread that no one touched, save my single slice with butter for breakfast. So I took it home and made - wait for it, croutons.

There isn't a real recipe here, although I read Jennifer Reese's recipe from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter (p.137), and used that as a starting point. 

Heat oven to 275 degrees. In a fairly large saucepan, heat olive oil over low heat and add minced garlic. Keep on low to let garlic flavor the oil. Slice bread into equal sized pieces (they cook more evenly that way). Add herbs - I used Herbs de Provence (rosemary, fennel,
savory, thyme, basil, tarragon, dill, oregano, lavender, chervil, and marjoram), lemon zest, and black pepper to the olive oil and again left it on low in to flavor the oil. When everything started to smell nice, increase the heat to medium and add the bread cubes and turn to coat, adding more oil as needed. You're going to try to get them crisp, and then finish drying them out, for lack of a better term, in the oven.

Once crispy on the outside, put them on a baking sheet and place in the over for 35 or so minutes.

Notes: One time I added the juice of a lemon to the olive oil - excellent! A dash or three of Worcestershire Sauce is a good thing too. You can also dry the croutons by putting them in an oven where you were baking at a higher temperature, but turn the oven off and leave in for about an hour. I also leave them out over night to make sure they are really dry before storing them. I did not add any salt, but think I may put more black pepper next time. 

21 August 2012

"Artisan" - what does it mean?

I thought this was a great explanation of the demise of the words artisan and artisanal and their vast overuse in food discussions. From the larger discussion here.

Kevin West of Saving the Season:

""Artisanal" is the Paris Hilton of food words – it went from obscurity to ubiquity in no time, and now I'd like to see that trajectory reversed. The first time I remember hearing it used frequently was in 2001, around the opening of Terrance Brennan's New York cheese-centric restaurant, Artisanal. Back then I liked the word because of its etymological roots in skilled craft – akin to "art" but with that special connotation of the practical arts, such as carpentry, iron-working, and making food.

In recent years "artisanal" has become a synonym for small, smaller, smallest – the Portlandia battle cry – and has grown shabby with overuse. Now that Domino's has unveiled Artisan Pizzas, the word is officially threadbare. Anyone who cares about food or language should put "artisanal" in cold storage for a century, in hopes that it may be restored and repaired by generations to come."

20 August 2012


I've been looking for a good recipe for a red sangria over the summer. I have a favorite California Mexican restaurant that serves a great sangria that is described as a Merlot with citrus, peach, and mango juices - it's heavenly, but I was hoping for something a little simpler. So after experimenting this summer, this is what I've come up with and it's pretty good. 

1 750 ml bottle of red wine 
2 oranges
2 lemons
1 lime
1 c sugar
1 c water

Put sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and let cool. 

Slice one lemon and one orange into segments. Juice the other orange and other lemon in addition to the lime. Add these juices to red wine in pitcher. Add the lemon and orange segments. When cooled, add the simple syrup. Mix and chill.
Serve over ice. 

Things I've learned:
Red wine should be something fruity, I usually use a beaujolais villages and find it works well. 
Experiment with other fruits, such as peaches when in season.
Lemon Verbena simple syrup
Flavor the simple syrup. I used some of my lemon verbena to flavor and it was a nice floral lemon flavor. 
Lots of recipes call for Triple Sec or other liquors, but to me, they can overpower the drink. 

03 August 2012

Kitchens then and now

I was thinking recently about the things that I have in my kitchen which would have never been in my family kitchen growing up. The computer I’m working on, for example – but it would be very strange for me if I didn’t have one in the kitchen. I've gotten quite used to it being here when I need it. It’s quite useful and not just for writing posts for this blog-thing. I have a DSLR camera with an additional macro lense right next to my 12 cup food processor. My stand mixer has it’s own area on the counter with the sugar containers and flour containers nearby.
orange, lemon, lemon-rosemary, celery
I am ridiculously obsessed with salt and have kosher (of course), sea salt, Maldon salt, bourbon smoked sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, malt salt (this is outstanding on potatoes), Portuguese traditional salt, plus the four salt blends I made (lemon, orange, lemon-rosemary, celery) with the flaky Maldon. Pepper is a lesser fascination, but my list includes: India Tellicherry, Sarawak white, reunion pink, and India green.
I probably shouldn't get into the spices that I have that my mother would never have even heard of, much less tried. Maybe I will do that one day. 
One thing I totally take for granted, but am glad everyday I have is a dishwasher. When my mom built her house, the kitchen was small and there was no room to add one. She always did dishes by hand. I don't mind doing that, but I like having  the dishwasher all the same. It makes life so much simpler to set it to go off at midnight and have clean dishes in the morning. 
My digital kitchen scale is always at the ready as is my electric knife sharpener. I have learned a lot using the scale when canning and, particularly, when baking. It does make a difference to go by weight and I prefer that now that I'm used to it and it's easily done with my scale. 
It's an interesting thing that in the kitchen of my childhood with few bells and whistles, my mother made wonderful food. That's a true talent that you don't get from gadgets.

30 July 2012

Wacky Cake

In cooking from 1945, it's hard for me to imagine going through rationing. My mom talked about it from time to time, but not much. Let's see, she would have been about eleven in 1945, so I'm certain it would have made an impact and her and the vast majority of her stories were about food rationing. 
So this week, at America's Test Kitchen, it's cook the 1940s. I suppose this is called Wacky Cake because it makes no real sense, unless you get the science. The combination of vinegar and baking soda at the last possible second is what gives the cake lift. With no eggs and/or butter, this is also vegan - first vegan thing I have made and it's from a recipe that from World War II - ironic, isn't it. 
So I made the cake one evening and planned a nice picture the next day, with good natural light and what do I find in the morning? What I should have expected. The Boy had gotten home from work late that night (or early the next day) and had helped himself. 
That said, this is a tasty cake. Chocolately, but not too much so. Since I'm not a huge fan of chocolate, that's a good thing. Wonder if there are other version as this makes a very quick cake to put together and could certainly do for a sweet tooth. 

26 July 2012

Easy Parmesan "Risotto"

Easy Parmesan "Risotto"
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade, divided
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Add the peas and stir until heated through. Serve hot.

Thank you Ina Garten. This was not a recipe that lent itself to photography. Used only 4
cups stock and used Valencia rice - a short grain rice that I also use when making sushi. It worked as well Arborio rice and was much much less expensive.
Use real Parmesan - it makes a difference. 
Was very creamy and super easy to make - will work on some variations of this. I'm thinking asparagus should be involved. 
Reheats well too. That's a plus. 

25 July 2012

Sriracha Hard Candy

The following is a recipe that I first found on sprinklebakes.com (link below) for sriracha lollipops. Wanting to try this, but not sure I wanted an entire lollipop of the flavor, I opted for something smaller - hard candies. I haven't made hard candy in about forever, so I had to get back into again and realized how much I really enjoy it. Might have some ideas for other flavors working in my head now - this could be good - or this could be bad - we shall see.

Sriracha Lollipops
Yield: 12-17 Lollipops

Special equipment:
Candy thermometer
Lollipop Sticks
Lollipop molds

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce, divided
1/4- 1/2 tsp. orange gel food coloring

Lightly grease candy mold with cooking spray.
Stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan and insert a candy thermometer into the mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Continue to heat without stirring until the bubbling mixture reaches 244°F. Drop one
level tbsp. Sriracha sauce into the bubbling mixture– do not stir!
first addition of sriracha sauce
When the mixture reaches the hard crack stage (302-310°F). Remove pan from heat.
Stir in the remaining 1 tbsp. Sriracha sauce and food coloring. Be extra careful because the mixture will bubble and sputter with these additions.
When the mixture has stopped bubbling, pour it into molds and let harden. Wrap the cooled lollipops in cellophane or wax paper and store in an airtight container.

Bench Notes: 
Use a small saucepan or the mixture won't reach the bulb of the candy thermometer and you will end up with burnt sugar on the bottom of a saucepan - not fun and definitely not good eats.
getting a dusting of superfine sugar
Sort of one note - like something is missing, but I'm not sure what yet.
Did not use orange food color - or any food color for that matter - think they look fine. 
Rolled in superfine sugar before wrapping

24 July 2012

Weekend Cooking

I do most of my cooking and all of my experimenting on the weekend. So that means that today - Tuesday - I start planning for what I want to make this coming weekend. When will it appear on this site - who knows? I think it depends on how excited I get by the process or by the results.
Any early contender for this weekend is Buttermilk-Lemon Chess Pie. I've not made chess pie before, but this combines two of my favorite things - buttermilk and lemon. And get this - there's buttermilk in both the crust and filling. Yes, this has potential.
There may also be biscuits in our future.

Pull-Apart Spicy Cheese Bread

Pull-Apart Spicy Cheese Bread

1 rustic loaf of sourdough bread
¾ cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
¾ cup shredded provolone cheese (or sliced provolone, cut into strips)
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped*
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (more if you want spicier bread)
¼ cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a serrated knife, carefully cut bread horizontally into inch-wide strips without cutting all the way through the bottom crust. Use the same method to cut bread vertically so that the result is a grid of 1-inch square cuts, leaving the bottom of the loaf intact. Set aside.
Combine cheese, chives, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and mix until evenly distributed. Using your hands, gently stuff the cheese mixture in between the cuts in the bread. This is easier if you stuff cheese in the horizontal cuts and fill in as needed. Sprinkle any remaining cheese on top of the loaf. 
Place loaf on a sheet of foil, pour melted butter on top, and wrap the loaf with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, unwrap from foil, and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and slightly browned on top. Serve while hot.

Bench Notes:
* Garlic Chives from the garden - lovely plant really. 
Not sure about the logistics of the cutting the bread - awkward to pull apart. An onion, it is not. I used a round country bread instead of sourdough. I placed the bread on the foil after slicing so it wasn't stuffed when moved - less likely to lose filling that way. 

Very tasty, used 1/2 provolone and 1/2 sharp cheddar, added 1 teaspoon of lemon salt since the butter I used was unsalted.
All said, Very Good!

23 July 2012

Cracker Challenge - The Results - Part II

Overall winners:

D: Parmesan, Rosemary & Walnut Shortbread
Flavor: D - Parmesan, Rosemary & Walnut Shortbread

Crispy: A- Cheddar Cayenne Coins, D

Cost: least = A, E-Parmesan Rosemary Icebox Crackers / most = B - Blue Cheese Shortbread, C- Rosemary Cheese Bites

A: Cheddar Cayenne Coins
All-Around: D, closely by A

Now on to create the ultimate cracker of my own based on these results.

Lemon Chewy Crisps

Lemon Chewy Crisps
By: Jennifer Lipka
Perfect Cookie
"Great fresh lemon taste in a chewy little cookie with a nice crisp brown edge. If you don't have the almonds, you can substitute 1/4 cup additional sugar instead."

Yield 2 dozen

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients except flour until
well blended. 
On low speed, beat in flour just until blended. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 1 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with sugar or almonds.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute before removing to wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. 
HINT: These cookies will have a nicely browned edge if baked on a regular thin cookie sheet rather than a thick or insulated one.

Bench Notes: 
Add salt. I used unsalted butter, as I always do in baking, but I think this recipe is in need of salt. 
Used 3 tsp of lemon juice, but it still seemed not enough. Lemon extract might be needed. 
Mixed baking powder and baking soda with the flour - seems like the right thing to do. 
Baked 16 minutes, turning in the middle. 
Demera Sugar
Topped them with demera sugar - very good. 

22 July 2012

Cracker Challenge - The Results - Part I

In order of baking:
A: Cheddar Cayenne Coins
B: Blue Cheese Shortbread
C: Rosemary Cheese Bites *
D: Parmesan Rosemary and Walnut Shortbread
E: Parmesan Rosemary Icebox Crackers *
*First time making.

In order of preference:
B** not a fair comparison, so is pretty much off the list. Will test
against other blues.

In order of pantry, ie - things on hand (5 best - 1 worst) (It should be noted, I have a large rosemary bush in the garden, and always have walnuts in the freezer and cheddar and parmesan in the refrigerator - it's just how I roll.)

Time to Mix / Log or Rolled-out
A: 4 / L
B: 3.5 / R
C: 4 / L
D: 4 / L
E: 4 / L

Dough Handling / Time to Chill
A: 4.5 / 4 hours to 2 days
B: 4.5 / 2 hours to 2 days
C: 3.5 / 30 minutes - 24 hours
D: 4 / 30 minutes - 3 days
E: 3.5 / @ least 24 hours (plan ahead)

Spicy / Nuts
A: Y / Y
B: N / Y
C: N / N
D: Y / Y
E: N / N

20 July 2012


This first thing I did this morning after listening to NPR was make sure the Boy was home,
safe, asleep in his room. You see he worked last night. From 5:00pm - 1:00am (or possibly longer) at the midnight showing of the Dark Knight Rises. I wonder what his movie theater's plan is for something like this. Do they have enough (any?) security? I'm sure the more that comes out we'll see new rules in place in theaters, but that didn't happen for those killed and injured.

Up until now, my biggest worry was him coming home so late - you know - when only idiots are out at 2:00am. Nothing good happens at 2:00am. Or possibly what would they do if a tornado hit, but this ... it boggles the mind. I'm so very glad he's off today. Saturday night, I'll just hold my breath.

A prayer for all the families affected...

18 July 2012

Cracker Challenge - E - Parmesan-Rosemary Icebox Crackers

Parmesan-Rosemary Icebox Crackers
This recipe adapted from "Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook"
(Clarkson Potter, 1999).

Yield Makes 20 crackers

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Pinch of white pepper
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra sprigs for garnish
3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup finely grated (2 1/2 ounces) Parmesan cheese
5 tablespoons sour cream
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Parmesan-Rosemary Icebox Crackers
Combine flour, salt, pepper, and rosemary in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cheese; pulse until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of the sour cream at a time, pulsing each time to combine. Process until dough comes together and is well combined.
Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape dough into a 2-inch-wide log. Wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. 
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Slice chilled log into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Transfer slices to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dip a sprig of rosemary into egg white, and place in center of a cracker slice; repeat with remaining rosemary and crackers. Bake immediately, rotating sheet once, until crackers are golden brown and firm in the center, 25 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

17 July 2012

Cracker Challenge - D - Parmesan, Rosemary and Walnut Shortbread

Parmesan, Rosemary, and Walnut Shortbread

Epicurious | October 2004

yield: Makes 30 pieces
Crumbly and melting, easy and irresistible, at the catering company, we keep the dough for this shortbread on hand in the freezer for in-house treats.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Heckers or King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted at 350°F for 10 minutes, then chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper

Parmesan, Rosemary, and Walnut Shortbread
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter; add the Parmesan, and mix well. Stir in the flour, rosemary, walnuts, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Form the mixture into 1-inch-wide logs, wrap them in plastic, and refrigerate for at least half an hour, or up to 3 days.

When you're ready to bake the shortbread, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Cut the logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices, place the slices on the baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden at the
edges. Remove the shortbread slices and cool them on a wire rack. You can offer these by themselves passed in a basket, or top them with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto.

16 July 2012

Cracker Challenge - C - Rosemary Cheese Bites

Rosemary Cheese Bites
(from goodlifeeats.com)
Yield: 3-4 dozen depending on how you slice it
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp minced, fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper or freshly ground black pepper
2 sticks, unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 c gruyere cheese, grated
1 c parmesan cheese, grated

Rosemary Cheese Bites
In a medium bowl, combine your flour, rosemary, salt and pepper. Set aside. Then in the bowl of a food processor, add your butter and your cheeses. Process a few times or until the mixture comes together and starts to form little pea-sized chunks.

Pour in your flour mixture and process again until the ingredients come together and start to look like a coarse meal. Turn out the whole mixture onto a lightly floured surface and use your hands to bring it all together to form a ball. Divide the ball into two sections. Carefully, roll each section out to form a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and about 9-10 inches long. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to a day. Even better, bake one batch now and freeze the other batch of dough for up to 6 months and save for another day.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while your dough is chilling. Once properly chilled, take your log of dough and slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or a silpat liner and bake for 14-16 minutes.