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.

15 July 2012

Cracker Challege - B - Blue Cheese Shortbread

Blue Cheese Shortbread Leaves with Cream Cheese-Chutney Roulade

Bon App├ętit | November 2002
yield: Makes 10 to 12 servings
You can start making these savory cookies up to three days ahead. Even easier: Serve the cheese roll with store-bought crackers.

3 1/2 ounces crumbled blue cheese (about 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1 8-ounce package chilled cream cheese
2/3 cup purchased spiced cranberry-apple chutney
1/2 cup very thinly sliced green onions

For shortbread:
Bleu Cheese Shortbread
Blend blue cheese and butter in processor until creamy. Add flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add walnuts and process just until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Flatten into disk. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough between sheets of plastic wrap to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove top sheet. Using 2 1/2x1-inch leaf-shaped cookie cutter, cut out leaves. Transfer leaves to prepared baking sheets. Gather dough scraps and reroll; cut out additional leaves. Transfer to prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer leaves to rack and cool. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

For roulade:
Using rolling pin, flatten cream cheese between sheets of plastic wrap; roll into 10x8-inch rectangle. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Spread 1/3 cup chutney atop cream cheese rectangle, leaving 1-inch plain border. Sprinkle chutney with 2 tablespoons green onions. Using plastic as aid and starting at 1 long side, roll up cream cheese, jelly-roll style, into log. Gently press remaining green onions onto roulade. Wrap roulade tightly with plastic. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Place roulade on platter. Surround with shortbread leaves. Top roulade with remaining 1/3 cup chutney and serve.