Monthly Archives: March 2011

Old-Timey Lemon Buttermilk Cake

Lemon and buttermilk – makes me think of summer winds, cotton dresses and thick slices of freshly baked Bundt cake… the perfect recipe to make with  my buttery yellow Bundt pan…

In celebrating the vintage nature of my cookware, I give you an old-fashioned cake recipe, seasoned only with buttermilk and fresh lemons, with an extra lemony glaze drizzled all over.Adapted from Baking and Books – a great foodie blog you should check out!

Old-Timey Lemon Buttermilk Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Grated zest of 2 large lemons
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)

For the Glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan (mine was smaller, so I poured the extra in a little loaf pan) and set aside. Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy and pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Don’t overmix; just fold gently until the batter looks well blended. Fold in the lemon zest and juice.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, stopping about 2 inches from the top, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Bake the cake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, and the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan (Note: if using smaller pan, check it at 45 min.). Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze.

For the glaze: in a medium bowl add the lemon juice to the 2 cups of confectioners sugar, mixing vigorously to get rid of any lumps of sugar. If the glaze isn’t thick enough to coat the cake, add more sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well between additions. The glaze should be thick but pourable.

Invert cake onto a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Spoon the glaze over hot cake and allow to cool completely before cutting. Best the day it is made, it will keep fairly well, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days.

Just because I couldn’t ignore the bright daffodils in Grant’s front yard, I picked a bunch and arranged them with a few dogwood sprigs for a little Bundt centerpiece. So pretty!

The cake is moist and flavorful – and that glaze! I thought it tasted like something you’d get from a bakery at $3 per slice.

Yum – enjoy with coffee or tea.

Happy Spring, friends! xoxo

Korean-style Beef with Toasted Rice and Fried Egg

Toasted rice is usually what happens when I lose track of time and remove my rice from the burner too late. But here, the rice is intentionally toasted, giving it a nutty flavor and crunch that sticks to your teeth. It’s a good sensation, along with the thin strips of beef, wild mushrooms and wilted spinach.

And oh, let’s not forget the fried egg on top. We all know I have a soft spot for any recipe that incorporates this beauty (I have breakfast pizza in mind for the weekend).

This dish is lovely in preparation and presentation. It’s quite a show – quickly frying, then transferring to bowls warming in the oven, then back to fry something new. All the while you’re building layers in your rice bowl. Layers that the egg yolk will soon soak in to. And you’ll top it all off with a crunchy little pickled salad that adds an acidity and freshness you need to balance the other flavors. Genius!

I adapted mine from the Cook’s Illustrated “Cooking For Two” magazine.

Korean-Style Beef with Toasted Rice and Fried Egg (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

Ingredients (serves 2)

Pickled vegetables:

  • 1/2 c. mung bean sprouts
  • 1 carrot, peeled and then peeled into ribbons or grated
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 c. seasoned rice vinegar

Combine the above ingredients, pressing veggies down so submerged in vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for 30 min. Drain vinegar before serving.

For beef bowls:

  • 1 c. rice (I used long-grain), rinsed
  • 1 c. water
  • 4 oz. flank steak, or any other steak good for a stir-fry, sliced against the grain into 1/8 inch strips
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 oz. (one box) baby spinach
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 tsp toasted sesame oil

Place two oven-safe serving bowls on baking sheet in oven and heat to 200 degrees.

Bring rice and water to boil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until rice is tender, 15-18 min. Uncover lid and crank heat to medium-high and cook until rice is golden brown in spots and emits a toasty smell, about 7-9 min. Divide rice between two warming bowls and return bowls to oven.

Wipe out pan and heat 2 tsp oil until just smoking. Meanwhile, toss beef with soy sauce, then add to hot skillet. Add mushrooms immediately and cook until beef is cooked through, 3 min. Divide into bowls; return bowls to oven

Add 1 tsp oil to skillet over medium heat and add garlic, cooking until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in spinach until wilted, about 1 min. Season with S&P to taste, then divide into the bowls.

Wipe out skillet again and add last 1 tsp oil. Return to medium-high heat until hot, then crack in two eggs on opposite sides of the pan. Sprinkle with S&P. Cover and cook until the whites are set, 2 min.

Remove bowls from oven and slide one egg on top of each. Drizzle each with sesame oil and top with pickled vegetables.

When you pierce the yolk, it runs down through all the layers of goodness and is just lovely.

While I spent time reading a book, drinking wine and making this, Grant slaved away outside making the giant trellis pictured below, which will soon be covered with hummingbird vines, wisteria, jasmine and honeysuckle. Handyman. And gardenman.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Buttermilk Biscuits with Sage Sausage and Gravy

Sunday was wet and cold and the worst day for a 2-hour run. As Grant and I jogged through downtown, Old Salem and past churches emptying pious citizens, all I could think about was biscuits and gravy. That ultimate in comfort and soul – thick, peppery gravy spilling over spicy sausage and buttery biscuits. Knowing I had buttermilk at home, I couldn’t resist the temptation. And hey, we earned it after braving that weather.

I found a recipe in my trusty Best Recipes cookbook, although I altered it a bit. The result was a delightfully buttery biscuit that deeply pleased my Southern boyfriend.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk, plus 4 T
  • 2 T butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with your rack in the middle.

Place flour, powder, soda, sugar and salt in food processor and mix to combine in six 1-second pulses.

Distribute butter evenly over and pulse 12 times. Pour buttermilk over and pulse 8 to 10 times, until wet clump forms.

Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and pat into a ball. Using floured rolling pin, gently roll out to 1/2 inch thick. Use floured biscuit-cutter to cut 8-9 biscuits. Grant had a fab antique biscuit-cutter:

Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Bake until tops are light brown, 10-12 min.

Meanwhile, make the sausage and gravy…

If we’re going authentic, I only use one kind of sausage:

While biscuits bake, heat large nonskillet over medium and add hand-formed sausage patties (size and shape don’t matter, just make sure to cook through). Cook until browned on all sides, then cover and let steam until fully cooked, 5-8 min. Remove to paper towels to drain.

To drippings, add 2 T flour and whisk until well incorporated, 1 min. Whisk in about 1 c. milk and a splash of cream (if you have it – I find the all-cream kind way too rich). Reduce to low and whisk until thickened. Add a bunch of cracked pepper and salt, to taste.

To serve, you may butter your biscuits, or not…

Grant likes to put mustard on his, but I go plain, with  my sausage on the side and gravy all over. We added salted and peppered tomato slices up top, along with some hot sauce for extra flavor.

The combo was yummy and so satisfying on a dreary day.

Enjoy your next comfort meal, friends! xoxo

Meridian Restaurant

The food at Meridian is so good. Grant and I enjoyed a Groupon Date Night there last week, where he had the NC rock fish and grits while I had the seared scallops with andouille, leek and wild mushroom risotto. Everything – from the service to the appetizer to the meal – was superb.

My dish inspired me to make a bacon and leek risotto that also has wild mushrooms in it…and a poached egg on top, because that is my latest culinary crush.

Happy dining, friends! xoxo

Sesame-Broiled Tilapia with Coconut Red Curry


A certain special friend, who shall remain nameless, turns her nose up at tilapia as the lowest fish on the pescatarian totem pole. Something about tilapia being a cheap bottom-feeder. :)

Tilapia are indeed cheap, but in my opinion, are a great vehicle for strongly flavored dishes due to their clean taste. I will note that I’ve read that farm-raised tilapia can be unhealthy due to the amount of corn the fish are fed, so be mindful when you are shopping. When handled properly, this fish is not mealy or fishy, but instead a quick and yummy weeknight meal option.

Grant typically fries tilapia for fish tacos and it’s one of my favorite dishes. But I need something beyond fried. Then my friend Merissa wrote me about a delicious tilapia curry she had recently made. The resulting recipe is all her.

A wonderful and rather light curry simmers on your stove and is poured over tilapia fillets perfectly broiled in toasted sesame oil. It filled our house with wonderful smells and the taste met our expectations.

Sesame-Broiled Tilapia with Coconut Red Curry

Ingredients:

  • 2  teaspoons  dark sesame oil, divided
  • 2  teaspoons  minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  cup  finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1  cup  chopped green onions
  • 1  teaspoon  curry powder
  • 2  teaspoons  red curry paste
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 4  teaspoons  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1  tablespoon  brown sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1  (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4  (6-ounce) tilapia fillets (we used 2)
  • Cooking spray
  • 3  cups  hot cooked jasmine rice
  • 4  lime wedges

Preheat broiler.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add pepper and onions; cook 1 minute. Stir in curry powder, curry paste, and cumin; cook 1 minute. Add soy sauce, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and coconut milk; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.

Brush fish with 1 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve fish with sauce, rice, and lime wedges.

When I made this, I packed it into a picnic basket for a picnic at Reynolda Park. What a great departure from the typical fried-chicken picnic fare. That curry is so delicious, I could drink it with a straw!

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Strawberry and Pistachio Tart

Glorious spring days, where the grass seems to glow electric green and the daffodils trumpet a louder yellow … just makes you want to kick off your flipflops and get elbow deep in buttery pastry, silky egg cream and vibrantly red strawberries.

Adding smoky green pistachios creates a texture and color contrast that I loved in this traditional strawberry tart recipe. It offers a bit of earthy crunch to the super sweet filling.

The recipe is for smaller tartlets, but I made it in one large tart pan, which turned out fine. Just don’t expect your pieces to come out clean – the pastry cream is all goopy, like a thick pudding. Reading the reviews, the crust does indeed get quite hard to cut through with your fork -  which I think is good, because the crust needs to stand up to the soft custard inside.

Recommended for a crowd…

Strawberry and Pistachio Tart

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cold shortening
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 2 cups Pastry Cream, recipe follows
  • 2 pints whole strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/3 cup apricot jelly
  • 3 tablespoons shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a small bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 times, or until the butter is in the size of peas. Add the ice water and process until the dough comes together. Dump on a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make pastry cream:

Pastry Cream

Ingredients:

  • 5 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups scalded milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch.

With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don’t be alarmed when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding. Stir in the vanilla, butter, and heavy cream. Pour the custard into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.

While the pastry cream chills, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll out the dough and fit into your tart pan with removable side. Don’t stretch the dough when placing it in the pans or it will shrink during baking. Cut off the excess by rolling the pin across the top the pan. Line the tart shell with a piece of buttered aluminum foil, butter side down, and fill with dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil, prick the bottom of the shell all over with a fork, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Before serving, fill the tart shell with the pastry cream. Arrange the berries decoratively on top of the cream. Melt the apricot jelly with 1 teaspoon of water and brush the top of the tart. I love the way it looks like a star burst!

Sprinkle with pistachios, if using, and serve.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Baked Goat Cheese Salad

Baked (or, more often, fried) goat cheese salads are something I frequently order at restaurants, but never pulled off correctly at home. I usually tried to pan-fry the disks of lemony goat cheese, which resulted in them falling apart and burning in places. Then I looked through one of my old Cooks Illustrated magazines and found their perfect recipe for baked goat cheese salad.

Aha, you have to freeze the goat cheese before baking (or frying) it. And I must say that the baking method is much easier, less mess and more tasty than anything fried on your stove top (or Fry Daddy).

I adapted the recipe based on what I had at home and used a salad dressing I had left over from this recipe. I added dried cranberries and some pumpkin seeds that Grant had roasted with sesame and soy. Quite a tasty combination!

Baked Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. plain bread crumbs
  • 1 T chopped fresh thyme
  • Black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 4-5 oz. goat cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • Salad mix (arugula is preferable)
  • Your favorite vinaigrette dressing
  • 1/4 c. roasted pumpkin seeds (or any seed or nut you like)
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries (or other fruit)
  • EVOO

Preheat oven to 475.

Cut goat cheese into 1/4-inch disks and roll disks into balls. Set aside. Whisk eggs with dijon in a small bowl. Set aside. Mix bread crumbs with thyme, large pinch of salt and 10 cracks of black pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Drop cheese balls into egg, then roll in bread crumbs. Flatten balls into disks, then place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cheese balls. Place prepared goat cheese in freezer for 30 min. (I only did it for like 15 min., and it worked fine)

When goat cheese is cold and firm, brush all over with olive oil and bake until crust is lightly golden brown and cheese is slightly soft, 7-9 min.

Meanwhile, toss salad mix with vinaigrette and sprinkle seeds and cranberries all over.

When cheese is done, delicately remove to paper towels, then place on top of salad. The crust will be thin and crisp, perfectly holding the soft cheese inside. I love the lemony thyme flavoring the cheese.

This was a deliciously light Friday dinner for us, perfect after a week of eating heavy foods.

Enjoy as a meal or as a great starter salad when you have company over. The goat cheese keeps well and you can just pan-fry it to heat it up the next day. Best served warm, of course, so the cheese can spread all over the salad.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Lavender Lemonade

Last weekend was sunny, beautiful and deserving of something with flowers and fruit. I have decided that this summer will be my summer of mixing different flavors with lemons and limes to make all sorts of new “-ades.” A new Martha Stewart juicer may have something to do with that.

So I went to a favorite flavor that I rarely cook with – lavender. I researched a dozen different recipes until I found one adapted from Cooking Light, which creates a lavender tea with actual lavender leaves, rather than the little purple flowers. Although the tea smells like soap while you’re making it, the fresh lemon juice and sugar syrup will balance that for a refreshing drink (that also happens to go well with vodka, btw!).

Lavender Lemonade

Ingredients (Makes 4-5 servings):

  • 4  cups  water, divided
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh lavender leaves (you can find these at Whole Foods, or your garden!)
  • 2/3  cup  sugar
  • 1  cup  fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
  • Lavender stems and buds, for garnish (optional)

Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Combine the boiling water and lavender in a medium bowl; cover and steep 30 minutes. Strain the lavender mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard lavender leaves.

Combine 3 cups water and sugar in saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and cook 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved. Combine lavender water, sugar syrup, and lemon juice in a pitcher. Cover and chill. Serve over ice. Garnish lemonade with lavender stems, if desired.

I still think I’ll play with this recipe a bit because I want a stronger lavender essence without the soapy effect – it’s a very fine line, which you would know if you’ve ever cooked with lavender. Next time, I’ll try it with the flowers instead. Other flavors to come: lemon thyme, rosemary and sage. Maybe a basil limeade? Can’t wait to get my herb garden going!

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

White Pizza with Arugula and Prosciutto

In the universe of hand-thrown pizzas, I’m the first to turn to the experts for that crispy-yet-chewy crust, perfect cheese blend and whatever magic they put on top.

But that all changed recently, when I made my version of Ina Garten’s White Pizza with Arugula salad on top.

White pie with arugula is a popular pizza – the peppery arugula, tossed in a vinaigrette, adds a crisp bite to the ooey gooey cheese. My addition of thinly sliced prosciutto adds a veil of salty pork to the party that makes all the other ingredients have more fun.

I made the dough the day before (veering from the recipe), which I think made it easier to work with. The garlic-chili-thyme oil is brilliant – be sure to spoon some of the soft garlic bits onto the pizza as you drizzle – they get all sweet and smooth. And the simple lemon vinaigrette for the arugula just brightens the greens. If I could marry a pizza, it would be this pizza.

Grant said this is the best pizza he’s ever had. And he’s lived in NYC!

White Pizza with Arugula and Prosciutto

Ingredients:

FOR PIZZA

  • 1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Good olive oil
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the topping:

  • 2 cups grated fontina cheese (8 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (7 ounces) – I forgot to get this, so just used leftover manchego – use up your leftover cheeses here!
  • 8 ounces creamy goat cheese crumbled
  • 1/2 lb. thinly sliced prosciutto

For the VINAIGRETTE:

  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces baby arugula

Mix the dough: Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved and fizzing (10 min.), add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.

When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Let it rise.

Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes (or longer, if you go out).

Meanwhile, place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Set aside.

Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into equal portions (we made two, but you can make up to six). Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours (Note: I instead just punched the risen dough down and left covered in the fridge overnight).

Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place on each sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (If you’ve chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)

Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with fontina, mozzarella and goat cheese. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.

Top with prosciutto slices.

Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the greens.

When the pizzas are done, place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough lemon vinaigrette to moisten. Place a large bunch of arugula on each pizza and serve immediately.

When you slice in, the cheese will be delightfully messy, the prosciutto will be blooming with that slightly gamey flavor and the arugula will be starting to wilt. Yum.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Blue Cheese and Walnut Shortbread Crackers

Like fish sauce, anchovies and hard-boiled eggs, blue cheese is one of those things that tastes better than it smells. And smell it I did, when I baked these shortbread crackers, or cookies, as they appear.

The smell of baking blue cheese will fill your house with that distinctive aroma, sure to drive away intruders who do not have a discerning nose. I quite liked the smell, which wafted up with the roasting walnuts and nutty shortbread. Indeed, these  crackers are delectable. Biting into them, you will at first be hit with a sense of saltiness and (somehow) cheddar cheese ( ? no idea why), which then gives way to pepper and a gentle breeze of blue cheese.

Delicious as an appetizer, along with some fresh fruit, perhaps some nuts and of course a full-bodied red wine. Exactly how I served them.

I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten, of course.

Blue Cheese and Walnut Shortbread Crackers

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 8 ounces blue cheese (Stilton, or, heck, you could use Gorgonzola), about 12 ounces with rind, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cheese together for 1 minute, or until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, salt and pepper and mix until it’s in large crumbles, about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of water and mix until combined (Ina is so smart – the water and butter add the perfect amount of moisture to make a dough).

Dump the dough onto a floured board, press it into a ball, and roll into a 12-inch long log. Brush the log completely with the egg wash. Spread the walnuts in a square on a cutting board and roll the log back and forth in the walnuts, pressing lightly, and distributing them evenly on the outside of the log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 4 days.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the chilled log 3/8ths-inch thick and place the crackers on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 22 minutes until very lightly browned. Rotate the pan once during baking. Cool on racks and serve at room temperature.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo