Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Easy Cheesey Crackers


A friend brought these tasty morsels to exercise class one day and had to follow up with her recipe soon after. She promised these are easy to make; I finally got brave enough to give them a whirl. I allowed FaceBook to taste my photo and now want to follow up with the recipe. I gave up trying to figure out an easy way to post the recipe on that format. My solution: do a blog post which I have not done in years. I hope you try the recipe! It truly is easy (whether you follow my "modifications" or follow the recipe).




Cheddar Crackers
Makes 20 dozen small or 48 large crackers

Ingredients
2 cups flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for sprinkling
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, softened
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
3-4 tablespoons ice water
1 egg white, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Instructions
Add flour, salt, baking powder and cayenne to the bowl of a food processor; pulse to combine.
Add the butter and cheese and pulse until well mixed. [I used a pastry cutter and good ole finger muscles, switching to fist power toward the end]

Add 3 tablespoons of ice water and pulse until mixture starts to hold together; add additional water if necessary. [I used a lot more water – maybe because I wasn’t using a processor; maybe because I was impatient]
Divide dough in half, form into 2 cubes and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze 20 minutes.

Using one cube at a time, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut the dough into ¾ inch strips for small crackers or 2 inch strips for large crackers – use a fluted pastry wheel. Cut the dough crosswise to make 3/4-inch or 2 inch squares. [Okay – I have no idea if my dough was 1/8 inch thick; I quit rolling when I got tired. I used a pizza cutter and paid no attention to size or shape: quick and uniquely shaped]

Poke a hole in each with the bottom of a skewer or other pointed object and place squares on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Freeze until firm (10-15 minutes). Repeat with the remaining dough.
[I skipped this freezing step because no way could I get cookie sheets in my freezer! I went straight to the egg wash and baking.]

Remove one baking sheet from the freezer/ brush the dough with the egg and sprinkle with salt. Gently separate crackers on baking sheet, leaving space between each cracker.  [Well, I threaded the little buggers onto my skewer, took them to the cookie sheet and un-threaded them leaving a little space around each one – egged them, salted them, baked them. No gentleness required]

Bake at 350F for 15 to 18 minutes, until puffed and crisp. Transfer to cooling rack and repeat with the remaining dough. [I did both gobs of dough and baked them all at once]

Store crackers in airtight containers at room temperature. [I ate them]


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quinoa -- My Way

Quinoa. "KEEN-wah"    About a year or two ago (trust me - nothing is exact in my world), I purchased this big bag of quinoa because ... I'm not exactly sure why. On this chilly November morning I decided it was time to open the bag and get started on a new and wonderful epicurean delight.

"Breakfast Quinoa" seemed to fit the bill. I have had the recipe printed off for about as long as I have owned the bag of quinoa; I have no clue where I found it. I immediately decided half the recipe would be more than plentiful for a nice jump start to my morning. This was my first recipe revision: cut everything in half.

Step One: rinse half a cup quinoa -- what a pain, but I did it.

Next: "Bring one cup milk to a boil in a small saucepan, add quinoa, return to a boil . . . blah, blah for about 15 minutes."  Wait ... time for a do over.
My Way: Use up the almond milk (close enough to one cup). Dump the rinsed quinoa in, or at least as much as will come out of the stupid strainer. Place saucer over measuring cup, upside-down to vent. Microwave one minute at 4% power ... I'm not good at standing around and waiting. I decided to clean those rotten itty-bitty quinoas out of my strainer.
While having a little something to tide me over ...
Time to stir my concoction and reset the microwave ...
Say What? In just a mere one minute? I think it was just a 
one mere minute. Sheesh ....
Gadzooks! I will be finding stray Quineee-little-oas for days. 
I just know it.
This looks like it will take some time to turn into a fluffy, edible breakfast. And it will warrant a close eye and really frequent checking and stirring. ... and time ....
I said I was not good at waiting!
Eventually it started to show some promise. The original recipe called for some fresh blueberries to be stirred in toward the end of cooking.
Dried cranberries are close enough plus pomegranate infused ones are far superior to plain blueberries. The recipe also called for brown sugar and ground cinnamon . . . 
Mmmm. Pumpkin Pie Spice coffee creamer. Now this is substitution at its finest!
In addition to loosing its crunchiness, this quinoa stuff was also expanding! On top of everything else, now that it was ready (enough) to eat, it was hotter than blazes. More waiting . . . 


I set up my place to dine - complete with (fake-silk) flowers. Truth be told, I really wasn't too hungry at this point. 
More time to wait around . . .
Hey -- at least I didn't spend the Cool Down Time snacking! 
Wow. Totally ready to dish up and eat. It looks pretty good, 
but everything is tastier with 
Sure! Why not! My two-pound bag of pecans is almost gone, and this will be the first time they will be used in a "recipe". 
I positively was no longer hungry.
So, I ate the pecans off the freshly made Breakfast Quinoa, unset the table, and put the concoction in a dish. We'll see how well it reheats in the morning for a quick breakfast. 
Yay, KEEN-wah!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dahlia's Heart


The beautiful color caught my eye especially since I was on the hunt for fall colored leaves. Then I fell in love with its heart.
Linking to Guest Heart Thursday, the 185th edition!