Eat!

Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Cheese and Bacon Crackers



Cheese and Bacon Crackers
I have wanted to make cheese crackers for a while. I am on a two-week break from my other life (high school teacher,) so if not now, then when? As usual, I read a ton-I weighed them-of recipes. The basic recipe is cheese, butter and flour. From there, the recipes diverge. I saw recipes calling for other varieties of cheese, even cream cheese. After this maiden voyage, I am going to tweak this recipe and try other cheeses. Doesn’t pepper jack sound intriguing? Other recipes used different herbs like garlic, dried chives, dill and oregano.

I decided to go spicy and bacony, because who doesn’t like bacon? I used ½ teaspoon each cayenne and black pepper. Next time I may substitute the cayenne for pepper flakes. I used the bacon pieces that are sold in the salad dressing aisle with croutons. The bacon pieces are much more convenient than frying all that bacon yourself. The pieces are also less greasy. I added onion flakes for a different texture and a more complex flavor. If you love this recipe, try Bacon Jalapeno Popper Cheese Straws from our friends at Food Flippers.


Servings:  3 dozen crackers
Time: Active time: 20 minutes; Cook: 15 minutes; Refrigerate: 30 minutes-crackers in an hour
Hardware:  Measuring cups and spoons, a large mixing bowl, a rubber spatula, a mixer, a baking sheet, parchment paper, plastic wrap, a knife and cutting board, a cooling rack, (optional) a silpat

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 stick room temperature butter
  • ⅓ cup crumbled bacon
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons ice cold water
 1.      Make sure the butter is soft. Mix the butter and cheese together for about three minutes on high. The dough will get stuck in the beaters. Stop occasionally and use the spatula to remove the batter and return it to the bowl. Add a tablespoon of very cold water and mix for another minute.
2.      Add the bacon, onion flakes, salt, and peppers and mix on medium until all the bacon is evenly distributed.
3.      Add ½ cup of flour and another tablespoon of cold water. Mix on medium of 1 minute. Add another ½ cup flour and the final tablespoon of water. Mix for a minute. Add the last of the flour and mix until a dough forms.
4.      Turn the dough out onto a large piece of parchment paper and shape it into a 1½ inch in diameter log. Roll the parchment paper around the log. Then wrap in plastic wrap and twist the ends to seal. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
5.      Preheat the oven to 375˚. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
6.      Unwrap the dough and cut the log into ¼ inch slices. Place the crackers about ¼ inch apart on the lined baking sheet.
7.      Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer the crackers to the rack and cool completely. Serve at room temperature.
8.      The crackers will keep for about a week in an airtight container. The dough can be kept wrapped in the fridge for a week before using, just make sure it is wrapped tight.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Marinated Olives


Marinated Olives

I love olives. Love. A local market has an extensive olive bar, but they are $10 a pound and not always fresh. When my Food Network magazine came in, it included a recipe for marinated olives. I didn’t want to pilfer someone else’s recipe. So, as usual, I did quite a bit of research, by reading and eating and eating some more, and came up with this. Sooooo good.

Choose a large variety of olives. Your dish will be prettier and taste better. You can also use different herbs and different citrus fruit. You can also omit the pepper or use more and hotter peppers. This needs to rest for at least 2 hours but will be better overnight. These need to be stored in the fridge, but served at room temperature or even warmed a little. The longer you keep the olives, the better they taste. They will last up to 2 weeks.


Servings: I had enough to fill 5-16 ounce jars
Hardware:  Sharing jars, cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a glass juicer, a large heavy bottomed skillet, a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, food safe gloves, a sauce pot, a wooden spoon, tongs, a large funnel
Active time: 20 minutes; Cook: 10 minutes; marinate 2 hours to overnight-olives in 3 hours

Ingredients: 

  • 3 pounds of olives (use a variety) drained and rinsed
  • 3 lemons-juice and peel
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of white sugar
  • A bunch of thyme
  • 10 + 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 Serrano peppers
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves per jar
  • 2-3 ounce jars of cocktail onions, drained and rinsed
  • 2 ½ cups robust olive oil

  1. Heat the fennel seeds and peppercorns over high in the skillet until they become very fragrant. Use the mortar or grinder to coarsely crush the warmed spices.
  2. Juice the lemons. Scrape the lemons peels to remove all the lemon and white pith. Slice the peel into long thin strips. Wearing the gloves, slice the peppers into long thin strips, discarding the seeds and white ribs. Set aside.
  3. Roughly chop 5 of the garlic cloves and place them in the sauce pan over medium heat until the garlic begins to lightly brown. Add the juice, vinegar, thyme, sugar and remaining garlic to the pan and bring to a rapid boil. Stir until the sugar melts. Add the peel and pepper and remove from the heat.
  4. Divide the olives, onions and ground spices among the jars. Place 2 bay leaves into each jar. Remove the thyme twigs from the liquid and discard. Use the tongs to evenly distribute the lemon peel, pepper and whole garlic into the containers. Divide the liquid evenly. Add ½ cup robust oil to each mixture.
  5. Tightly screw on the lids and shake to mix. Store upside down in the fridge. Turn the jars over to serve. By storing upside down, you keep the spices from settling.