the salty blues

Just the other day, we talking about foods too rarely made at home. Less than two hours before the neighborhood cookout, and I hadn’t made anything to share (nor had I showered/picked out an outfit/plugged in the hairdryer). Minor limitation: no time left in the day or money left in the budget to purchase ingredients. What’s a Lindsey to do?

Make homemade crackers, of course.

Flour? Check. Butter? Check.

You remember my indulgent blue cheese binge when Andrew went hiking recently? I still had 3/4 block of Blue, and knew Andrew would not volunteer to eat the stinky cheese. The inspiration came from a sunny day in March, reading  cookbooks with cousin Ruby on the porch, teaching her small phrases like “caponata” and “who loves Ina”.

Excuse me for a moment while I share a gratuitous photo of the sweetest strawberry ever.

Yes, it was this memorable afternoon that Ru and I came across this appetizer. When Ruby pointed to these and said, “Uh-oh!” I knew she meant that I would may eat the entire batch.

Well, little cousin, by the time you’re old enough to read this (which may be next week, at your pace) your teeth should be able to handle the serious crunch. Thanks for the inspiration.

Blue Cheese and Walnut Crackers

inspired by Ina Garten

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature

8 oz. Stilton or other blue cheese, crumbled (about 12 ounces with rind), at room temperature

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash

1/2 cup finely 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.

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 log 3/8ths-inch thick with a small, sharp knife and place the crackers on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 22 minutes (check around 18 minutes) until very lightly browned. Rotate the pan once during baking (I also flipped with a small spatula halfway through). Cool and serve at room temperature. Fabulous with wine or my father-in-law’s frozen margaritas. You definitely don’t need to like blue cheese to enjoy these salty snacks—ask the hubs. And the neighbors.

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2 Comments

Filed under budget, dinners, here to share, small bites, techniques

2 responses to “the salty blues

  1. JOSKA

    I was a guest at this neighborhood get together and really enjoyed these (several) ala carte” as well as with a vege dip I found on the table nearby. You would not have guessed there was blue cheese therein. Also, I noticed that most of the beer drinkers enjoyed their share of these morsels. They went exceptionally well with my iced tea!!!! Thanks Lindsey for your “last minute” delight. JOSKA

    • Thanks so much!!! I also thoroughly enjoyed our discussion on Polish cuisine (as I have so little knowledge of it) and cannot wait for a full day of pierogi-making!!! ~Lins

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