Archive for the 'appetizers' Category

Butter Crackers

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If you’re the type to devour a sleeve of salted crackers with cold butter, pull up a chair – these pre-buttered crackers are for you. To eat by the stack.

I’ve always been a fan of homemade crackers – although most of us have made a batch or two of cookies in our lifetimes, we don’t tend to run toward crackers. And yet the dough is just as easy – often more so; and the results just as delicious compared to the store-bought boxed kind as homemade cookies are, gooey and warm from the oven, in comparison to the carboardy ones that often taste of their own packaging.

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Homemade is better – and cheaper still – and perfect for piling on cheese boards (party season coming up!) or nibbling in bed or crumbling into soup. I confess I ate the majority of these straight from the cookie sheet, and didn’t bother with dinner.

Butter Crackers

Adapted from Epicurious.

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. oat bran (optional)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt, plus extra for sprinkling
3 Tbsp. butter, chilled
1 Tbsp. olive or canola oil
1/4 cup water
1 egg
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oat bran, sugar, baking powder and 1/2 t. salt. Add the butter and oil and blend with a pastry blender, fork or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Add the water and stir until the dough forms a ball.

Let it rest on the countertop for 15 minutes, then roll out on a lightly floured surface to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into shapes (a fluted round cutter mimics Ritz crackers) or squares with a knife and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Poke the crackers with a fork. In a small dish, stir the egg with a spoonful of water and brush the crackers with egg wash. Bake for 5-8 minutes, until golden.

Brush the crackers with melted butter and top with a pinch of salt while still warm.

Makes 2-3 dozen crackers.

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November 08 2015 | appetizers and bread | 5 Comments »

(Greek) Green Goddess Dip

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My mom is a great cook. I didn’t realize this as a kid, when her focus was on cooking healthy 80s-style meals for her three daughters and aerobics-doing and squash-playing husband. For the most part, my memory clings to the meals I dreaded, and those wondrous packaged foods (Oreos! Fruit Roll-Ups! Wonder Bread!) I wasn’t allowed to have.

Whether she evolved as a cook or my palate did, she turns out amazing dinner parties, but rarely emails with a recipe she insists I must have. My sisters and I all got an email after a meeting last week at which one attendee brought this ‘Greek goddess dip’, the dregs of which were retrieved from the bowl by finger once the veggies and pita chips were gone. “Trust me,” she said, “you want this recipe.” Although I’m already familiar with green goddess dip, I took her seriously.

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It turned out this wasn’t your usual Green Goddess, but Greek Goddess, so named for the inclusion of crumbled feta and fresh dill. I don’t make dip often, but it is the season of super-sweet carrots and a plethora of zucchini (the ones I planted at Mike’s mom’s house survived the hail! and are perfoming!) it seemed like a good thing to have sitting in the fridge for lunch at my desk. (And if you’re taking it to go, I like the idea of pouring a bit into a jar, then standing your veggies upright in it, ready to nibble.)

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Green Goddess Dip

Adapted from Melissa Clark of the New York Times, who calls it Greek Goddess Dip on account of the feta and dill.

1/2 cup packed fresh dill or watercress
1/2 cup packed fresh mint
1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup packed fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 green onions, chopped (or 1/4 cup chopped chives)
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
pinch salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise (optional)

Combine the dill, mint, parsley, basil, garlic, green onions, lemon juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Add the feta and process until smooth; pulse in yogurt. Taste and add more salt, if desired. If you like a creamier, richer dip, add the mayonnaise.

Serve immediately with veggies or pita chips, or refrigerate for up to 4-5 days. (The flavour improves with some time in the fridge.)

Makes about 2 cups.

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September 01 2015 | appetizers | 4 Comments »

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