Spicy Polenta-Cheese Crackers
Heidi notes: Don't burn them, cooking time will vary depending on how thin you've actually rolled them - they can burn in no time. I started watching these in the oven at 6 minutes, mine were really on the thing side, so I pulled them out after eight minutes.
Equipment: A food processor or a blender; 2 nonstick baking sheets; a 1 3/4-inch round biscuit cutter or a glass.
1 cup bread flour (hs note: white whole wheat flour works as well)
1 cup instant polenta
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk, shaken to blend
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a food processor or a blender, combine the flour, polenta, sea salt, baking soda, cayenne pepper, and cheese. Process to blend. Add the butter and process just until the mixture resemble coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and process until the dough just forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a few seconds. Wrap in plastic and set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Cut the dough into quarters. Set one quarter on a lightly floured surface; cover the remaining pieces with plastic. Roll out the dough 1/16 inch thick. Using a 1 3/4-inch biscuit cutter or a glass, cut out rounds of dough and arrange them on a nonstick baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake until the crackers are golden and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. Once cool, transfer to airtight containers. The crackers can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Makes 75 crackers.To go with the crackers we had a white bean dip flavored with mint and lemon, a Danish blue cheese and a feta cheese spread. The crackers were really great with all the spreads, but the saltier fare of the blue and feta really paired well with the crackers.
The main dish tonight was a combination of cauliflower and asparagus. We made a creamed cauliflower, perfect for the whiteout conditions outside and a perfect comfort food for that tired winter feeling. The cauliflower was really great and would be a great side dish or a vegetarian main dish at any seasonal gathering. Our accompaniment to the cauliflower was a wonderful roasted asparagus with a browned butter sauce. This is my favorite way I have ever had asparagus and it was an easy dish to put together.
Now onto dessert....We had a super easy (no-cook) dish. We made a parfait layered with lemon yogurt, blueberries and ginger snaps. Easy to put together, but a wonderful combination of flavors and crunch. We used a thick, creamy lemon yogurt which really added to the success of the dish.