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Appetizers & Snacks

Appetizers & Snacks

Cheddar Crackers

May 13, 2019

These nippy, buttery little crackers are soooooo easy to make! And they have a wonderful, crumbly texture. You can make them with store-bought pub cheese, or, make them using the recipe Chef Jonathan Lundy gave me for a creamy, smoky pub cheese that includes barrel-aged ale and a splash of bourbon in the mix. Either way, this recipe is a snap: just blend the pub cheese, with unsalted butter and some flour, knead into a smooth dough, chill, roll out, cut and bake. I like to cut the crackers into rounds, but you can also score the dough to make squares. Be sure to prick each cracker with the tines of a fork to keep them from puffing up when you bake them. To serve, I like to blend a little mascarpone cheese with orange marmalade and spread between two crackers to make savory sandwich “cookies.”  Enjoy! Continue Reading…

Appetizers & Snacks

Pub Cheese

May 13, 2019

You could buy pub cheese from the refrigerated section near the deli, or you could make this creamy, smoky, beer-and-bourbon-spiked version yourself! I got this recipe from Chef Jonathan Lundy in Kentucky, and it’s a keeper. Lundy comes from family long-known for good recipes–starting with his great-great-grandfather William Monroe Wright, founder of the Calumet Baking Powder company, and a cousin of flight-tastic Wilbur and Orville Wright. William sold his baking powder company to General Foods for $40 million back in 1929 and used the profits to create the Calumet Farm racing stables in Kentucky. (The most successful in American history, with six Kentucky Derby winners.) Lundy likes to make this spread using a bottle of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co., but you can substitute another barrel-aged ale.  I love this pub cheese with carrot and celery sticks. But I also make my own cheddar crackers with it–sooooo easy: just butter, this cheese and flour. Do try both recipes! Continue Reading…

Appetizers & Snacks

Wine-Poached Pears

December 9, 2016

As far back as the 15th century, English cooks discovered that wine-poaching hard pears made them both tender and palatable. One Syon Abbey recipe had cooks: “pare wardens (hard cooking pears) clean, seethe them in red wine till they be tender, then take them up and put them in a pot; put thereto wine of Crete or Vernage (Verona)…powder of sugar and powder of ginger and let them boil awhile and then serve forth.” Continue Reading…

Appetizers & Snacks

Chicken Liver & Bacon Pate

October 11, 2016

After my brother got mononucleosis as a kindergartner (how does that happen to a five-year-old?) Mom launched a relentless iron-rich dinner campaign: pots of lentils, schooners of spinach, endless platters of liver and onions. Every. Single. Week. I can still see the big black cast-iron skillet and enormous lobes of calves liver, cooked to boot-bottom toughness.  Thank god there were days when she made chicken livers and bacon instead–delicious and so much more forgiving to her pan fry. This easy, potted pate puts the best of those flavors together, and has gone a long way in eradicating the less-lovely liver memories. It’s a nice snack with crusty bread or crackers–add onion slivers, and a little chopped egg, capers or parsley. Continue Reading…

Appetizers & Snacks

Scotch Eggs

September 30, 2016

So a little history…Go to the website for British gourmet food retailer Fortnum & Mason and you’ll find the claim that the classic Scotch egg was invented by Fortnum’s in 1738.  Others say origins go back to farther to a Moghul, egg-stuffed, kofta-ball  snack, but the basic gist is the same: Take a boiled egg, wrap it in seasoned sausage and breadcrumbs, fry it ’til crisped, and you’ve got a hearty, portable lunch. There are plenty of variations on the theme, from a black pudding version, to scrumpy (with apples, onion and sage) to Fortnum’s hammy, pinkish version. Continue Reading…

Appetizers & Snacks

Green Goddess Dip

July 16, 2016

Anchovies, chives, parsley, wine vinegar, sour cream…the original Green Goddess dressing was created by Chef Phillip Roemer of San Francisco’s Palace Hotel in 1923 for a banquet in honor of actor George Arliss who was starring in William Archer’s play, “The Green Goddess.” Add some minced garlic and zowie-wowie! It becomes a potent dip like this one we found in a 1940s “Let’s Eat Red Dot Potato Chips” company flyer. Continue Reading…

Appetizers & Snacks

Pimiento Cheese Cherry Bombs

July 11, 2016

My mom loved pimiento cheese. She had an old box grater and used to make me shred mounds of cheddar to prepare the spread from scratch, keeping it in the fridge next to jars of pickled peppers so hot even the brine made my eyes water. Hers was the simple cheese-mayo-pimiento blend.  But remembering those jars of jalapenos, I thought, why not add a little more kick? Continue Reading…