Mustard Cheddar Cheese Crackers

Mustard Cheddar CrackersOne of Sheila’s “go-to” recipes for an appetizer is Mustard Cheese Crackers. It is relatively easy to make, easy to transport and everybody seems to love them.  Can’t get much better than that.  This recipe was first published in 1998 by Gourmet and now may be found on Epicurious if you prefer to do your own research.  Please note that Sheila adds a couple of minutes to get a “crisp” golden brown cracker.

If you are stuck for a creative appetizer, this is a sure winner:

Mustard Cheddar Crackers

Ingredients (Makes 10 to 12 dozen)

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 lb sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (preferably in a food processor; 5 cups
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown or yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tsps of salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
  • Special equipment:  parchment paper

Preparation

  1. Blend together butter, cheese and yolk in a food processor until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and pulse until just combined.  (You may have to do in two batches with a small processor).  Transfer dough (it will be very soft) to a bowl and chill, covered for 15 minutes.
  2. Halve dough, then shape each half into a 12-inch log on a lightly floured surface.  Wrap logs in wax paper and foil, then chill until firm, at least 4 hours.
  3. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Unwrap logs and cut into 1/8 inch-thick slices with a sharp thin knife, then arrange slices about 1 inch apart on baking sheets.  Bake in batches, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes.  (Sheila recommends cooking 1-2 minutes longer to get golden brown).  Line sheets with clean parchment between batches.

Enjoy.

Mussels and Clams on the Grill

 

I was thinking about clams yesterday as I discovered that you can buy 10 clams for $6 or 100 for $40 directly from a local fisherman at the Greenwich farmers market. Personally, I like them served over spaghetti al dente with garlic, olive oil, a dash of white wine and, perhaps, a few pepperoncini flakes. Eating doesn’t get much better than this classic Italian dish.

Since pasta has been removed from my diet by the carbs police (aka Sheila), Melissa Clark provides a useful alternative although I prefer mussels and clams to be cooked separately.  If you can keep the carbs police occupied in the kitchen making some healthy vegetable dish while you grill, you can secretly dip your hidden focaccia bread or baguette in the briny syrup as the clams and mussels open.  Lovely.

Smoking Miss Piggy on Father’s Day

While Dan and I would have preferred a large T-Bone steak on Father’s Day, we have had to settle for Pulled Pork sandwiches to accommodate family eating “issues” (Editor’s Note:  “Issues” were referred to as “disorders” when I went to school, but I now understand it is no longer fashionable or politically-correct to use that term.)

Sandwich from Lillie Q?

Sandwich from Lillie Q?

In any event, I like a slow-cooked pork butt, but I hadn’t realized that I would be smoking it all day in the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill  (Editor’s Note:  I guess this is what you get for living so close to Chappaqua).

We purchased a great looking 10-lb pork butt and “Pit Bull” Dan is soaking three handfuls of hickory chips overnight. Also,  I have selected some colorful new potatoes for potato salad (no mayo as per Dan’s instructions) and we will have a nice cole slaw for the pulled pork sandwiches.  Grand-mommy (aka Sheila),  is making a raspberry pie and I do hope that Dan and Miranda have vanilla ice cream in the refrigerator.

The dry rub (see recipe below), will be applied this evening by yours truly.

Sunday (Father’s Day) Pulled Pork Cooking Timetable:
  • 0230 hrs – Papa awakes to take Ms. Piggy out of refrigerator to bring to room temperature;
  • 0715 hrs – Papa takes Ms. Piggy to Broderick house (Hopefully, someone will be kind enough to give this Old Father a coffee and say “Happy Father’s Day!”);
  • 0730 hrs – Papa at Broderick’s to light fire;
  • 0750 hrs  – Papa places drip pan with water in center of grill;
  • 0755 hrs – Papa adds a handful of hickory chips that have been soaked the evening before;
  • 0800 hrs – Ms. Piggy strategically placed by Papa for ideal smoke;
  • 0810 hrs – Papa departs Broderick’s for a bit of exercise and a long steam bath;
  • 1000 hrs – Papa returns to check temp and to add more chips (possibly more charcoal to keep heat level at around 200º F);
  • 1130 hrs – Papa adds more hickory chips and possibly charcoal;
  • 1300 hrs – Papa wraps Ms. Piggy in aluminum foil and adds more coals.  Maybe turn up the heat up a bit more by opening the top vent to halfway;
  • 1600 hrs – Papa removes Ms. Piggy from Weber;
  • 1640 hrs – After Ms. Piggy has been allowed to rest, discard layer of fat and with two forks shred pork;
  • 1700 hrs – Pulled port sandwiches with cole slaw and German potato salad

Dry Rub Recipe (reduced heat element for palates of children)

  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • 3 to 4 Tbs of cooking salt
  • 1 to 2 Tbs of ground pepper
  • 1 to 2 Tbs of cumin
  • 2 tsps of oregano
  • 2 to 3 tsps of ground chili powder
  • 2 to 3 tsps of garlic powder

As mothers can attest, “A father’s work is never done.”  Happy Father’s Day.