Friday, December 21, 2012

French Fridays with Dorie: How to Make Dinner with Cheez-it-ish Crackers

Along about Wednesday afternoon, I took a look at this week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe - Cheez-it-ish Crackers. Simple enough to make with only three ingredients and some spices, and I happened to have a 4-ounce wedge of Manchego cheese sitting by its lonesome in the refrigerator, but what was I going to do with a few dozen crackers mid-week?

Contemplating this further and deciding to stay with my Spanish themed Manchego Cheez-it-ish Crackers, I stopped at Whole Foods on the way home from work to gather up some complementary nibbles for a tapas platter...thinly sliced Jamón ibérico ham, shrimp, olives, membrillo (quince paste), and Marcona almonds.  I'm not into making much of a dinner for myself on weeknights, so tapas with a bottle glass of Tempranillo wine sounded just about right.


Dorie's Cheez-it-ish Crackers are your basic cheese crackers, best served freshly baked and still warm, with a glass of wine or cocktail before dinner.

Make the dough with 4 ounces of cheese (Dorie suggests cheddar, Gruyere, or Emmenthal), 5 ounces flour, 1 stick unsalted butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon white pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper.


Pulse the ingredients together in the food processor until curds form. Dump out the dough, knead it together, divide in half, form into two disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to 3 days. Roll out a disk of dough, cut small rounds with a cookie cutter, transfer to a lined baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes. I gently pressed a Marcona almond into the center of each round before baking. Repeat with second disk of dough, or keep the second disk refrigerated and bake fresh crackers on another night.


While the crackers baked, I poured a glass of Tempranillo, arranged the deli items on my board and prepared Gambas al Ajillo - shrimp sauteed with olive oil, garlic, Spanish paprika, red pepper flakes, dry sherry and lemon juice.


Tapas for two, inspired by a recipe for Cheez-it-ish crackers!


Buttery, flaky, a touch of heat from the cayenne, and added crunch from the almond...


***

French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group, dedicated to Dorie Greenspan‘s Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As members of the group, we have purchased the cookbook and cook along as much as we can. There is a new recipe each week, and we post about that recipe on Friday. We are asked to refrain from posting the actual recipes on our blog. The book is filled with stunning photography, and personal stories about each recipe, which makes it that much more intriguing. I highly recommend adding it to your cookbook collection if you haven't already!

8 comments:

Cher Rockwell said...

Okay, I wish my weeknight dinners looked like that. Non-cooking nights usually involve cereal or someother scavenger hunt...

Beautiful spread.

Have a great holiday!

Sara said...

Man, I wish our dinners could look like that! Husband is a meat & potatoes guy - I'm not sure he'd appreciate the simplicity here. ;) And your crackers look absolutely fabulous. Lovely job! And happy holidays!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Man, what a beautiful spread! Merry Christmas!!!!

Tammy said...

So beautiful. I love the idea of a marcona almond in the center of each cracker. I served up a small plate with crackers, salame, and herbed olives for myself, but can't wait to set out a spread like you did! I love your slate.

Mary Hirsch said...

Tell me that is not a "usual" weeknight dinner, Denise. Please. I have more time than you to prepare my nightly meals and they cannot compare. even if I try really, really hard. I've seen salt, jam, and herbs on these cheez-its but I think the marcona almond looks perfect. And that shrimp. I am a good copy cat and a meal like this will definitely make it to my table soon. Just a lovely spread. Have a wonderful holiday in your warm and sunny city. Many of our Doristas are head over heels in snow right now.

Betsy said...

Yours gets "best presentation" this week! What a lovely tapas meal. I love manchego cheese, so I'd love to try your version next time around, with all those tapas trimmings.
Have a great holiday!!!

Teresa said...

I love what you did with the inspiration of some Manchego in the fridge - your transformation of a simple cracker assignment into a beautiful tapas dinner is inspiring. Have a very merry Christmas.

tricia s. said...

My guys were delighted to eat these out the oven- if they saw the spread you created I would be in serious trouble :) Wow- it was really off the charts delicious looking. And as usual, your photos are simply stunning. Gorgeous. Happy holidays !