Parmesan Thyme Crackers

Sometimes I think we take the carbs in our lives for granted. Breads, crackers, chips, ect. They are always there when we need them, they last for a considerable amount of time, come in a multitude of flavors and pair nicely with TONS of stuff.

So, this post goes out to the crackers of the world. I salute you and your ability to accompany cheese so delightfully.

But first, let me introduce you to someone special. Someone that I rarely get to spend time with due to distance and my busy schedule when I do come into town.

I’d like you all to meet my mother’s Kitchen Aid Mixer.

It’s big, blue, and beautiful and my mother has adorned it with a many fantastic attachments.

If anyone was to ever bestow upon me this fine piece of machinery, I very well might die of excitement. I just don’t know what color I would want yet…mint green, royal purple, copper? With over 20 different colors how is a girl ever supposed to choose!?

I would surely feel the need to buy every attachment as well; the pasta maker, the meat grinder, the ice cream bowl, the citrus juicer, the ravioli maker. Yea, Kitchen Aid would make a lot of money off of me.

Anyway, moving on.

Crackers. I don’t make a habit of keeping them in my house. But they are one of those things I have always wanted to make myself.

I thought to myself, if I’m gonna take the time to make crackers, they are gonna be fancier. Personally, I think that anything containing fresh herbs are automatically elegant. And, as you may know, I adore anything with cheese.

Parmesan Thyme Shortbread Crackers seem to fit the bill.

Adapted from: Ina Garten

Makes about 46 crackers

What you’ll need:

2 sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temp

6 ounces finely grated Parmesan Cheese

2 1/2 cups Flour

1/2 tsp. Salt

2 tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves, chopped

1 tsp. Black Pepper

1 Tbs. water*

What to do with it:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Mix butter with an electric mixer or a hand mixer until creamy

2. Add in the Parmesan, then the Thyme, salt and pepper

3. Slowly add the flour 1/4 cups at a time

*if the dough seems a bit dry, add water

4. Flour a cutting board and when the dough has been well incorporated place it on the board and divide into 2 evenly sized mounds

5. Roll into 9 inch long logs (2 logs total)

6. Wrap each in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 25-30 minutes to firm

7. Take out of the freezer, unwrap and cut the dough into 1/4-1/2 inch slices with a very sharp knife. I got about 23 crackers per log

8. Place on a baking sheet and put in the oven. For a moister, breadier cracker, bake for 24 minutes, for a drier, crisper cracker about 32 minutes. Check on them all the while, I wanted my crackers to develop some extra color, so I left them for the 32 minutes.

Put a little salami on top for a protein filled snack

Smear a little cream cheese over it and top with a baby sprig of thyme for a creamy and cooling afternoon treat.

Or because I know you all to be crafty little foodies, make both of them, turn ’em in on each other and have a mini meat and cheese sandwich.

These crackers are herbaceous and savory and wonderful and addicting and light (despite the butter) and unique and a crowd pleaser.

So make them. You won’t regret it.

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Spiced Crispy Onions

Ever get a craving for onion rings? Or those French’s Fried Onions you put on top of your Thanksgiving Green Bean Caserole? Or Funions?

I do.

You probably do too.

There’s just something about fried onions.

That’s why this lil’ recipe comes in handy, they are kind of a love child between the 3 aforementioned snacks.

Dare I say these savory things could be a new favorite treat.

They are crispy, but not dry.

They are spicy, but don’t make your eyes water.

They are fried, and that’s just plain great.

Gettin’ down to business

What you’ll need:

1 yellow onion

1 cup milk

1 1/2 Tbs White Vinegar

1 cup Flour

1 Tbs. Cayenne

1 Tbs. Paprika

1 Tbs. Salt

1 Tbs. Pepper

Canola Oil, for frying

What to do with it all:

1. Slice your onion real thin, does,’t really matter how – full circles, half moons, quartered – let your creativity flow free!

2. Put your onion slices in a bowl and cover them with the milk and white vinegar, make sure they are covered. Let them soak for 15+ minutes

3. In the meantime, heat your oil to 350-375 degrees. Keep the oil at medium heat

4. Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika

5. Put a handful of onions into the flour and let them roll around a bit. Don’t be shy, indulge your inner chef, use your hands and smother those onions, cover them in flour and spices ’til a wet spot is nowhere to be found.

6. Then drop them gently into the hot oil, for the sake of not burning them, I keep the heat on medium and let the onions jump around in the oil for about 5 minutes

7. When the slices are golden and gorgeous take them out and set them on a paper towel to let some oil drain – for the sake of your figure

8. Resist the urge to eat them immediately. Really fight it. Hard

9. After cooling for a few minutes, indulge. Eat them one by one…or by the handful…or put ’em on a delectable sandwich

10. When you run out make them again, and again to your heart’s content

You can thank me later.

What’s your favorite homemade snack?

Rosemary Cherry Compote

Hello my sweet darlin’s!

Basically my life the last week has looked a little like this:

Study for finals, work, study more for finals, work, write final essays, work, stay up all night studying for finals, take finals, fly to LA for best friends graduation, drink a lot of liquor in celebration, SLEEP.

Yesterday was the first day I actually felt somewhat rested. It’s been great.

Now that I am at my parents house for a week I have time to try some new recipes. When I made dinner last night though, we had yet to go shopping and my folks got into town the same day as me, so ingredients for dinner were slim pickin’s.

There were a couple items that caught my eye: roasted turkey, sourdough bread, onions, and fresh cherries. I could work with that.

A roasted turkey sandwich with rosemary cherry compote and crispy onions. Yea, that sounds tasty.

Lucky for me, the turkey was already roasted, the bread was already baked, and we will get to those crispy onions a little later. Right now, I’m gonna show you how to make some seriously phenomenal cherry compote.

Recipe adapted from YumSugar

What you’ll need:

2 cups rinsed, stemmed and pitted cherries

2 1/2 Tbs. Sugar

1 tsp. Fresh Rosemary, finely chopped

1 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 Tbs. Water

Salt

Pepper

What to do with it:

1. Place cherries, sugar, rosemary, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil

2. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and allow to simmer until cherries are nice and soft and the sauce has thickened. It will take 15-17 minutes. (I helped it along by taking the back of a wooden spoon and slightly mashing the cherries against the side of the pan)

3. Once they are at the consistency you prefer, take them off the heat, add the balsamic and allow to cool

4. Serve hot or cold

I would liken this compote to the summer version of cranberry sauce, its a little tart, not too sweet and goes great smothered on turkey. Which is exactly what I did.

For the sandwich:

Sourdough loaf, cut into hearty slices

Cream Cheese

Dijon Mustard

Roasted Turkey

Cherry Compote

Spiced Crispy Onions

I think sandwich assembly is pretty easy, but here’s what I did

Slather one piece of bread with cream cheese, and the other with Dijon

Layer about 3 slices of roasted turkey on one side – you can do more, but my bread was on the small side

Spoon a generous heaping of cherries on top of the turkey, take the wooden spoon and get the sauce in crevices of the turkey layers

Take a big ol’ handful of the crispy onions and place that on top and cover with the other piece of bread

This sandwich was so divine. It pretty much felt like a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich…and who says I have to wait for November to get on that?!

Nobody, that’s who.

So go ahead, indulge and enjoy in this delightful slice of heaven.

Btw, my parents have an entire hillside of rosemary growing wild in their backyard.

Any ideas for what to do with some of it?

Blueberry Scones

Up until recently, I have not been a big breakfast person.

I love cereal, but usually in the afternoon, or as a midnight snack.

The typical breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns followed by an overwhelming food coma is a rare occurrence for me.

It was really only after doing my raw food challenge that I discovered the beauty of raw overnight oats and have since incorporated Greek yogurt, nuts, almond flour, and berries into the mix. Some variation of this is now my breakfast staple. I love the crunch of the nuts and oats, the bright tartness of the berries and the rich and filling creaminess of the Greek yogurt.

Isn’t it just gorgeous?

BUT something must be said about a breakfast pastry every once in a while. Not the overly decadent ones with globs of glaze or doughnuts that have sprinkles or Lucky Charms adhered to the top.

Although sometimes pastries like this Apple Pecan Bun with a maple glaze is much appreciated.

No, no, I talking about a good old fashioned pastry, like a scone.

A blueberry scone, to be exact.

Perhaps a scone with a fantastic blueberry goat cheese spread.

Yes, that’s my kind of pastry.

I adapted this recipe from my homegirl, Martha Stewart, ’cause sometimes, nobody does it better than Martha.

What you’ll need:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling tops

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/3 cup low fat milk (2%)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Here’s what you do with it:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a bowl, mix together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt

Make the work easier by cutting up the butter into small pieces and incorporate

Then toss in your blueberries and zest

In a separate bowl, whisk together cream and egg

Slowly incorporate your wet mixture into your dry mixture

Stir lightly with fork just until dough comes together

Place mixture onto a floured cutting board and knead gently a few times

*I opted to make round scones by scooping out a heaping tablespoon of batter onto a baking sheet

Brush tops with cream, and sprinkle with sugar

Bake for 20-22 minutes

 

Aren’t they beautiful?

Now, onto the spread!

These are rough measurements, but basically:

4-5 oz goat cheese, softened

3/4 cup blueberries

Release the days frustrations on these blueberries, squishing them in your hands letting the juice drip onto the goat cheese

Then scrap the peels and seeds off your hands and add that to the cheese

Mix together with a spoon

That’s it

Spread generously on top of your cooled halved scones

Yea, they were perfection in the morning.

And in true breakfast food form, I ate them in the afternoon, and at midnight too.

What’s your favorite breakfast, pastry and otherwise?

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Goat Cheese Frosting

Hey all!

Remember a few days ago when I posted that wonderful goat cheese pasta salad? Well, I made a promise to you guys that I would be posting the sweet yin to the savory yang of my goat cheese feast with Sohini and Kati.

This is me making good on that promise to ya’ll.

I present to you: Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Goat Cheese Frosting!

What? OMG? Is this real?

Yup, they happened.

I can’t take all the credit, cause that would be wrong. The recipe is one that I found on Saveur’s website, but Sohini and I tweaked the frosting a tad.

For the Cupcakes:

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

6 tbsp. cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup hot coffee

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 large egg

You may notice, there is no butter in these cupcakes.

What?

No butter?

But, Kristina, you love butter!

Yea, I love butter, but hey, sometimes you can do without.

For the Frosting:

5 oz. cream cheese, softened

3 oz. goat cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Andddd, you can add a whole vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and scraped if you want, but Sohini’s vanilla bean happened to be really dry and it snapped in half while we were trying to scrape it, so we scraped the idea.

Let me tell ya, the frosting still tasted FANTASTIC.

What to do for the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line cupcake trays

Whisk together all dry ingredients

Add in the coffee, oil and milk

After that is well incorporated, then you can add the vanilla extract and eggs

Bake cupcakes for 20-22 minutes

Let cool

What to do for the frosting:

Beat cream cheese and goat cheese together with an electric mixer, or a very strong arm, until light and fluffy

Add powdered sugar, 1/2 at a time

Once your cuppy cakes have cooled enough, slap that frosting on!

I didn’t have a pastry bag, so I just used a ziplock with the tip cut off

I think goat cheese frosting is my brand new favorite frosting. Its SOOOOOO much tastier than just cream cheese frosting. Don’t get me wrong, I love cream cheese frosting, but the goat cheese lightened up the frosting just enough to not be overwhelming or too sweet.

Yea, these cupcakes were devoured.