Rosemary sea salt crisps

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I love finding new little party snacks to serve at a dinner party of 2 to a party of 30.  I love making food and sharing it, especially if it’s good. I especially like the kind of party bites you can make way ahead of time and that costs nothing compared to the very similar store bought items.

I decided to make my own crackers after reading a recipe for cheddar crackers from a recipe in one of the last Martha Steward Living magazine. I made Martha’s cheddar crackers. I froze half the dough and baked the other half.  The crackers were very flavorful, however I cut them too thick and they were chewy. I tried to fix the problem by putting them back into the oven and ended up making little tasty bricks.

I have learned a lot in my cracker making and think I’m improving-it’s seriously easy to make once you understand that you need to roll the dough as thin as possible. I think next time I will put the rolled out dough into my pasta machine and make it even thinner.

But enough said, these crackers are delicious. I wanted to see how long the shelf life was, but they didn’t even make it past a day. I do still have 3/4 of the dough frozen in 3 parts in the freezer-I know it will last up to one month. I will pull them out at the next gathering or bring in a nice little clear plastic bag with bow for a hostess gift. The great thing too is these are significantly cheaper to make than store bought-almost 1/8th the cost and there is no waste. I’m tired of spending 4-8 dollars on artisanal crisps that are 1/2 eaten and not easily kept and end up being tossed after a few days.

I ate these with a little sharp cheddar cheese and tomato. The crackers pair well with goat cheese, brie, sharp cheddar- you can even top with prosciutto and fresh mozzarella, sharp cheddar and cucumber, smoked salmon and cream cheese… the possibilities are endless.

Even the photo below just has a few slices of tomato with salt… delicious balance of juicy and dry.

IMG_5478Rosemary Sea Salt Crisp ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons of sugar

2 teaspoons of salt for mixture

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary

Toppings-

2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary

1 tablespoon Maldon salt or a nice fleur de Sel ( if you have neither-kosher salt will do)

You can play around with these toppings.  The next I will try will be poppy seeds with salt, maybe sun-dried tomatoes and olives, chili pepper, pine nuts with salt maybe, or whatever I can find that I think will compliment the cheeses I’m thinking of serving these tasty crisps.

Directions:  Heat the oven to 425 and place rack in the middle.

Set two cookie sheets with parchment paper/

Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl as well as the 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary.

Add the oil and water.  Mix this as much as you can for it to all be cohesive. If there is still too much flour or it’s not coming together add a bit more water and oil, one teaspoon of each at a time.

Roll the dough out. Cut in half and put top half on top of other.  Get some muscle into this. Keep rolling and dividing and rolling till everything has come together.  At this point you can reserve half or even 3/4 of the dough for another time. My advice is if you are keeping 3/4th of the dough (1/4 makes about 20 crackers) you should divide the dough into 3 balls that way you can have more or less depending on size of gathering. 1/4 is a great amount to put in a little gift bag.

Get working again with your rolling pin. This is where I think my pasta machine would help as my arms almost fell off using my wooden rolling pin. If you have a marble rolling pin you are in luck and you can probably get this dough as thin as possible.

I cut my little squares/rectangles and rolled each one again individually.  Place each on the cookie sheet as close as you want together. Add salt and rosemary to the tops and prick each cracker with 3- 4 fork holes.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes depending on your oven.  Let the crackers cool completely. Best is to transfer them to a wire rack so they can cool in a uniform way and get crunchier as they cool. You can store your crackers in a tin or place them in a sturdy clear gift bag-tie a bow and it’s a gift ready-but it won’t last more than 5 days.

 

Hope you enjoy and if you think of other toppings that would be yummy, let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Graciela’s Egg Yolk Cake

All I can say is YUM. This is truly an easy cake to make and it’s delicious on it’s own. If you make the Pavlova and have extra egg yolks this is a perfect way to use up the yolks. See below for the instructions and ingredients.

12 egg yolks

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup warm milk

3 teaspoons vanilla

2 sticks of softened butter

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer beat the egg yolks and sugar.  Slowly add the milk and flour at the same time slowly to not get any clumps-careful if you have the mixer on you can have a big flour cloud like I did with a big mess, so turn the mixer down. Add the 2 teaspoons of baking powder.  Continue mixing and turn mixer up. Add  2 sticks of softened butter. Once well incorporated add the vanilla.  Voila you are ready to bake in well greased pans.  Put in any size you want-play around with it. The little cupcakes were also delicious-but the tops were crunchy-so we’ll call it vanilla crunch cupcakes. I added a raspberry butter cream frosting to the cupcakes.

Butter cream:

2 cups confectioners suger

1 stick softened butter

3 tablespoons raspberry jam

The cupcakes take no time to bake-depending on oven-maybe 10-15 mins.  The cake takes about 30 mins-just check it with a tooth pick to see if no batter comes up when you poke the toothpick in.

YUMMY-this cake is easy and can be a simple breakfast cake or dress it up for a birthday or party with frosting, melted chocolate, whipped cream… whatever you want.

Enjoy

 

 

 

Meringues

So, on a past blog I learned how to make meringue for the Pavlova. The other day I was craving something sweet but didn’t want to spend much money or go to the store to buy more ingredients. I wanted to see what I could make just from what I had in my pantry/fridge. I decided to make Meringues! All I needed were 6 egg whites, 2 cups of sugar,vanilla and this time I added cream of tartar-just 1/2 teaspoon. My meringues were delicious!  I put some in a pipping bag and made little cute ones and got lazy for the others and made huge pancake-like shapes.

The trick that I learned was to heat the oven at 400 until you are ready to cook the actual melt-in-your mouth white clouds. Once you place the meringues in the oven, turn the temperature down to 180. I cooked mine for about 2 hours-I kept checking and tasting them which was the yummy part.  It all depends on the size you make and if you want them a bit undercooked with seriously chewy insides-which I love.

Now for the eggs-beat 6 whites at full blast till firm and fluffy. Slowly stream in 2 cups of sugar while still beating the whites. Beat for anther 20 or so minutes-you have to taste the egg whites to see if the sugar has dissolved. Once sugar crystals are gone, add 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar and 3 teaspoons real vanilla extract. Place in a pastry bag and make little kiss shaped mounds. You can choose the size, but just know it will affect the cooking time. IMG_4804

Another trick is to leave the meringues when done in the oven, with the oven off,until the oven is completely cool.

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Pizzas! -Pissaladiere and black olive,mushroom and ham

I love this pizza for parties-slice it up in smaller portions and you have a savory little bite.

I got two pre-made pizza doughs. Luckily as the pissaladiere took longer than expected. I had no idea what time it was and getting dinner done in 15 minutes wasn’t happening with onions that had to cook slowly for 45 minutes. So we ate the mushroom, black olives and ham pizza on Friday and enjoyed the anchovy, onion and black olive pizza on Saturday.

For the Pissaladiere:

3 lbs of sweet onions-about 7-8 depending on size

6 tablespoons of thyme

3 tablespoons of butter

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 can pitted black olives or cured black olives

3 small tins of anchovies

Pizza dough-I bought mine as I love Papa Joe’s pizza dough and there is no reason for me to make it at home-but just google pizza dough if you want to make it homemade.

Slice up onions as thin as possible

Melt 3 tbsps butter in 3 tablespoons olive oil and add 3 tablespoons fresh thyme.  Add onions and stir occasionally. Keep onions covered for 45 minutes.

Once onion mixture is done add them to rolled out pizza dough that has been placed on a greased cookie sheet.  Add the anchovies in a criss/cross/latice manner-please see video above.  Place one olive in each rectangle/diamond area.  Sprinkle the rest of the thyme and bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven and likings.

This pizza can be frozen before it’s baked for up to one month. It’s great for appetizers or just a simple meal. Serve with a side salad with an easy dijon vinaigrette.

Enjoy!

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Pavlova

IMG_4804Pavlova:

This will feed at least 30 people so cut the recipe in half if you have less J

12 Egg whites

4 cups plain white sugar

1 quart whipping cream

1 quart raspberries/blueberries/strawberries-get inventive 😉

3 teaspoons vanilla

Please see this demo my friend Graciela and I made on YouTube

Very easy recipe. Place 12 egg whites in a mixer and beat until thick and creamy. Slowly add the 4 cups of sugar streaming the sugar in the mixer at full speed. Mix for about 20 more minutes or more, until the sugar crystals have dissolved and there is no texture. Turn the oven on 400 degrees.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. When egg whites are ready take half the mixture and spread as evenly as possible on cookie sheet. You can also pipe the mixture for a desig-effect for the top layer of your Pavlova. Use the other half of the egg whites and do the same on the other cookie sheet. Place them in the oven for 10 seconds with door open. Turn heat down to 180, shut oven door and bake for 3 hours. Once finished cooking leave in the oven to cool completely. I kept my meringue in the oven over night and assembled my desert 3 hours before the party.

Mix one quart of whipping cream-or more like I did, if you watch our YouTube video. Add 3 teaspoons of vanilla. Spread half on one layer of meringue-take the least attractive meringue for the bottom layer as it will be covered with cream. Add berries to the whipped cream layer. Add another layer of whipped cream on top of the berries and then top with your 2nd meringue. Voila-a gorgeous pavlova! You can get creative and play around with shapes and décor for the top of the meringue… have fun and enjoy!