I spent a very nice year in Denmark once upon a time. (Yes, I can still remember how to say about two things in Danish.) The country has many charming aspects, one of which is the fine tradition of making a meal out of good things piled on top of bread.
Recently, a similar movement seems to be gaining steam here in the U.S. as well, except that we toast our bread first. I think of the evolution this way: bruschetta (1980’s), crostini (1990’s), toasts (aughts), tartines (isn’t that what we call them now?). Or maybe there’s some other difference, I don’t know. Anyway, here’s a nice way to get away with eating melty cheese on toast for dinner. My friend Daisy at Coolcookstyle made it up by substituting radish greens for nettles in a Nigel Slater rarebit recipe, and I say it was a wise decision. You can swap the greens, swap the cheese, or vary the mustard, of course: the only two essential ingredients are bread and something delicious to put on top of it. Continue reading Green Tartine, or, Radish Top Toast (click for recipe)
This will be brief because it’s J’s birthday and I still have presents to wrap. But the cakes (yes, cakes!) are baked, the birthday granola (by special request) is cooling, and we’re ready to celebrate another sunny day and wonderful year together.
Whatever you’re celebrating this weekend, this is the season for enjoying the sunshine and hanging out with friends, and where there are friends hanging out, there are bound to be snacks. These pecans are sweet and snappy, with a little something special from the fragrant woodsy rosemary. (I won’t tell anyone if you hide a few away in your cupboard to throw in a spinach salad with strawberries and goat cheese later this week. In fact, I’m going to go do that now.) The recipe below is a happy love child of this one and my favorite olive oil granola.
Continuing the cheese-and-cracker-in-one theme of this week’s happy hour menus, I baked a batch of savory oatmeal “cookies” with rosemary, black pepper, and Parmesan cheese. It sounded a little zany when I first read the recipe on The Kitchn, but I was on a tear with the homemade crackers and jumped right in. (A much later search on the internet turned up all manner of variations on the theme of cookies and crackers combining oats, Parmesan and savory herbs–who knew?)
These are not really cookies and not really crackers. They’re a little sweet and a lot savory. Cookers? Crackies? No matter. They wouldn’t be out of place in a cocktail party spread or on a cheese board, but they’d also make a great ending to a meal by themselves alongside a glass of port. Or, you know, just leave a jar of them on the counter. They’ll be gone before you know it.
Savory Oatmeal Cookies with Rosemary, Black Pepper, and Parmesan: Sprinkle 1/4 c. hot water over 1 c. rolled oats in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk one egg with 1/3 c. olive oil and 1/4 c. light brown sugar. Pour this mixture over the oats and stir to combine. In a third bowl (I know, sorry!), mix 1 c. flour with 1/4 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. chopped rosemary, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, then stir in 1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the oat mixture until well combined. Roll into 1″ balls, flatten each to 1/4″ thick, and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. They can be close together because they don’t grow much. Sprinkle a pinch of salt (flaky sea salt if you have it) on top of each cookie. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, until the edges are crisp and golden brown, then move to a rack to cool.
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.