Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I love Ina Garten. She is hands down my favorite celebrity chef and using her techniques has improved my cooking more than any other influence. I love that she is elegant and down to earth at the same time. I don't know this to be true, but I'm willing to bet she enjoys a naughty joke.
I have been trying to find a way to get more people to read my blog as it has been a fairly lonely journey so far. So I was thrilled to find http://barefootbloggers.wordpress.com/. Barefoot Bloggers is a group of food bloggers that pick out an Ina recipe twice a month and post their results. The current pick is Ina's Cheese & Fruit Platter. I have to admit I wasn't thrilled at this twice, because it doesn't necessarily involve cooking and I didn't have an 'event' to prepare a potentially expensive platter. I've been wanting to try Ina's recipe for Parmesan & Thyme Crackers from the new cookbook and that was enough inspiration to get on board with the current challenge. The crackers are fantastic and were the star of the board. I added chunks of a Dutch cheese called Beemster, a slab of Fontinella, a slightly sharp cheese I love, and a small log of herbed goat cheese. A pile of beautiful green and red grapes and a sliced pear rounded out the platter.
I was pleased with the end results and loved the grassy, lemony taste of the Beemster when paired with the buttery, salty crackers. I can't wait to find out the next barefoot challenge!
Parmesan & Thyme Crackers
from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, add the Parmesan, thyme, salt, and pepper and combine. With the mixer still on low, add the flour and combine until the mixture is in large crumbles, about 1 minute. If the dough is too dry, add 1 teaspoon water.
Dump the dough onto a floured board, press it into a ball, and roll into a 9-inch log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 4 days.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the log into 3/8 inch thick rounds with a small, sharp knife and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 22 minutes, until very lightly browned. Rotate the pan once during baking. Cool and serve at room temperature.