Tonight is the first night of Passover, so we are baking matzo (matzoh? matzah! I can never decide which spelling to use) this morning instead of challah (hallah!). Inspired by a sweet post on Gourmandistan, I took their advice and didn’t use their recipe, instead opting for one that Mark Bittman published in the NY Times a couple years ago. Already untraditional in its use of olive oil and salt, I took the glad-not-to-be-actually-fleeing-Egypt spirit one step further and sprinkled the tops of some with the outstanding fennel and nigella salt from SugarPill and others with a dukkah blend from World Spice.
The result? Truly delicious crackers.
The recipe admonishes you to roll the dough paper-thin. And when you say paper-thin, I say pasta roller. That did actually work quite well, but I will also share that the much thicker rounds that my three-year-old rolled out by herself were equally delicious and only marginally less crispy. So this is not a fussy dough. Enjoy yourself. And once you try these, you may decide to make them a year-round staple. I am already thinking of the dips I want to serve these with after Passover is over and I can avoid the spelling conundrum by simply calling them “flatbreads.”Continue reading Homemade Matzo with Olive Oil (click for recipe)
My grandfather is visiting me in Seattle this week along with my parents. He is 98 and just the way I hope to be if I am ever that age. Fit, happy, and he always has something nice to say about everyone and everything. And he is something of a gourmand.
We are four generations under one roof when everyone is home, and I try to be mindfully grateful for this time together. But while one half of my brain is enjoying the sight of my grandfather laughing at my baby’s hysterical giggles, the other half is thinking ahead to happy hour.
Happy hour was a religious observance in my grandparents’ home. Five o’clock? Drinks magically appeared, ice cubes tinkled in glasses, salty snacks graced the coffee table, everyone stopped what they were doing and came together. Time has not diminished my grandfather’s appreciation of this ritual, and why should it? It’s never a bad idea to wind down your day with a tasty beverage and the people you love.
These crackers, really a savory shortbread, are perfect cocktail hour fare. I’ve also made my grandpa those rye crackers, of course. This recipe is Ina Garten’s. You need to allow at least 30 minutes to chill the log of dough, or you can make the dough ahead of time, freeze it for a month or two and then just let it defrost slightly before slicing and baking.Parmesan and Black Pepper Crackers: Start by softening a stick of butter in your mixer. Add 3/4 c. grated Parmesan, 1 1/4 c. flour, 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Mix again. If the dough is too dry (if it doesn’t form crumbs when pinched together), mix in a few spoonfuls of water or milk. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a 13″ log, wrap well and freeze for 30 minutes. Slice about 1/4″ thick and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until the crackers begin to turn golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack. Serve at happy hour.