Tuesday, March 22, 2011
When I say 'cracker' I mean it in the loosest sense of the term ... because there's nothing in these little guys but pure, unadulterated cheese.
So, let's be honest here. These so-called crackers aren't the cheapest ones you can make. And they definitely aren't low-fat.
But ... they taste like melted cheese (!!), look nest-like and sophisticated, and you can have them in the oven in 5 minutes - after which time you can do other party preparations, or have a glass of wine, or whatever ... till they're ready 20-30 minutes later.
Extra bonus? They're remarkably hard to ruin - even if you forget them. Which is handy in my house, since I'm usually trying to do 5-10 things at the same time as baking ...
Emergency Cheesy Party Crackers
5 min prep + 20-30 min baking
250 g pecorino or parmesan cheese
freshly-ground black pepper (optional)
*Try to use organic if you can. Do not even think about using that weird powdery parmesan that comes in the green plastic shaker.
1. Preheat the oven to 160C (325F) and line a couple of baking sheets with wax paper.
2. Finely grate the cheese into a bowl and mix in 1 tsp pepper (if you want).
3. Using your fingers, take a large pinch of cheese and place it on the baking sheet. Flatten it slightly. And make sure you keep them 2.5cm (1") apart or so.
4. Bake in the oven for about 20-30 min, until they're golden and crispy. Remove from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
5. Enjoy them with wine and olives and whatever nibblies you've got to keep your guests (or kids) entertained.
Like I said, not the cheapest. I try to stock up on organic pecorino when it's on special - and I use organic pecorino just because it's easier to get ahold of here in Australian than organic parmesan. But you can really use any hard cheese for this dish. My set of lovely crackers cost me $6.
And you know what? My personal philosophy is that food shared among friends should happen anytime it can. Even weeknights. Even weeknights when your daughter's been up since 4am. Even weeknights when the house is messy. Even weeknights when you're going to miss Glee because you're feeding people.
(Though if they're really good friends, they'll watch it with you - lifting and swirling pasta out of bowls-on-laps while debating the likelihood of Rachel and Finn getting back together ... )