Friday, July 16, 2010

Betcha Can't Eat Just One!


One of my favorite bloggers in the whole wide world- that would be Chef Tess Bakeress-  issued a challenge last week to try using a fresh herb in something new.  Well, since I love challenges and since I just happen to have a super abundance of basil in my garden right now.. I decided this one was right down my alley. Normally, when I'm looking for a  recipe these days, the first place I look is online. (What did we ever do before the internet?)  But, I figured since it was a challenge after all.. I really aught to make an effort to dig up something on my own.  So, I began rummaging back thru my old cookbooks.. cough.. oh, dear, seems they are just a 'mite' dusty.  Guess it has been awhile!  LOL  Anyway, I did manage to rediscover one of my favorite 'browsers'.  You know, those cookbooks that its so fun to read thru and you're sure you will try all those recipes as soon as______ fill in the blank.  Well, in my case, it was always as soon as I finally managed to grow an herb garden.  Guess what?  I actually have an herb garden this year!  Granted, it only has 4 herbs in it, but that counts, right??
       Anyway, the book is Herbal Treasures by Phyllis V. Shaudys and the recipe I decided to make was 'Opal Basil Cheddar Crisps'.  Oh, my goodness- this was something I really should have tried years ago!  They are delicious- crispy and chewy all at once, and full of cheesy 'numminess'. (That really aught to be a word if it isn't- I'm just sayin'.) The basil is not the main event here but really more of a subtle background flavor that makes everything else work.  The recipe says to serve them hot- and they are at their best warm, but I love them cold too. I'm so glad I finally got a chance to try this one!  Thanks again, Chef Tess!  :)  PS Make these for a party or quickly pass them out to your neighbors- they are definitely NOT low fat and way too hard to resist.  Enjoy!

Opal Basil Cheddar Crisps
Yield: 40 snacks
8 ounces medium-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce (I used Chipotle)
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp. chopped purple opal basil
1 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl mix the cheese, butter, Tabasco sauce, and mustard.  Blend in the flour and basil.  When combined, stir in the cereal and blend well.  Shape into small balls.  Place on a greased baking sheet and flatten with the bottom of a lightly floured glass.  Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Serve hot.  The crisps may be stored for several days in an airtight container or frozen.  Reheat for 5 minutes as needed.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy July 4th!

I have had a marvelous time this week surfing food and craft blogs enjoying all the wonderful creative ways people have of celebrating the birthday of our country.  I really do love this holiday!  It never has taken much to get my patriotic juices flowing but, after having lived overseas for 9 years, I have come to appreciate this celebration even more.  I am so grateful to be an American.
     This year is kind of a laid back holiday for us.. no family in town to fuss over.  But, I couldn't let the occasion go by without doing something kind of fun to mark the occasion.  So, we had some 'Star Spangled Strawberry Shortcake'.. er Biscuits.  I know, people think I'm strange to serve strawberries on biscuits instead of cake, but, that's the way my mom always made it and I still prefer it that way.  She would slice the berries, sprinkle sugar on top, then mash them up a little to make sure there would be plenty of juice.  After a couple of tastes to make sure the berries would be sweet enough,  into the fridge they would go (she always called it the ice box) to chill for several hours.  They were then served over hot biscuits for a delicious summertime treat.  Heaven!
     I made them exactly the same way, just cutting the biscuits into stars.  I thought they looked quite festive served on my favorite blue plates.  Bill's touch was to add some vanilla ice cream.  Perfect for a hot summer day!