Monday, June 30, 2014

coffee-crusted grilled pork chops.

If I were to try and describe my relationship with coffee it would involve a 3 hour long conversation in which I would try and explain how I love coffee (the darker the roast the better) but I only allow myself to drink it twice a week.  I realize this is not normal.  People do not fall into a category of occasional coffee drinker. Coffee is one of those all or nothing types of thing.  I am not normal.  

Since I can't consume coffee with any regularity, I constantly look for ways to incorporate it in my cooking (because coffee flavor is like nothing else).  When this recipe appeared in my inbox, I knew it was going to be my next weekend grilling project because what is better then PORK, SUMMER, AND COFFEE?! After making this, I realize nothing is better, nothing.  

This dish requires about 10 minutes of prep and 10 minutes of cooking which means it couldn't be any easier. As the pork grills the coffee flavor gets toasted and more pronounced.  Coupled with the sugar and the cayenne ensures you get that awesome sweet, spicy, smoky flavor that I simply can't get enough of.  Serve it with grilled corn and you have the epitome of everything I love this time of year.  

Coffee-Crusted Grilled Pork Chops
Recipe adapted from Leite’s Culinaria

Despite the fact that I only cooked 2 pork chops (2 very LARGE pork chops), I still made the prescribed amount of spice mixture and just really crusted the pork.  If you decided to halve the recipe, I would keep the proportions the same.  You can never have too much spice. 

1 tablespoon ground coffee
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons turbinado sugar (such as Sugar In The Raw)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 bone-in pork chops (each about 3⁄4 inch thick)

In a small bowl, combine the coffee, salt, sugar, cayenne, smoked paprika, pepper, and cinnamon. Mix well.

Season the pork chops on both sides with the coffee and spice mixture, rubbing it into the chops. (Be sure to use all the spice rub.)  At this point the pork chops can be stored in the fridge until ready to use.  I think it’s best to keep in fridge for a couple of hours as it allows the flavors to permeate the meat. 

Prepare an outdoor grill to cook directly over medium heat.  Or heat a large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. 

Place the chops on the grill or cast iron skillet and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until well-browned. Flip the chops and cook for 4 to 5 minutes more, until browned and cooked to an internal temperature of 150°F (65°C). Transfer the chops to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, June 27, 2014

the outdoors.

I want to spend my weekend here.

With a Gimlet in one hand and a piadina sandwich in the other (my latest obsession, recipe coming soon!).  

Pharell "Happy" will be playing on an endless loop.  I will eat cherries by the handful.  

Cut-off Levis, a white linen tee, and gold Ray-Ban aviators to complete the look.  

(I don't miss our old apartment that flooded.  I do miss having a backyard.)

Outdoor Fireplace

Image via Pinterest

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

blueberry shortbread bars.

As someone who is getting married fairly soon (less then 5 months ech!), I've had many people asking me about gifts and what we want.  I am terrible at answering such a question because I don't like telling people to buy me things.  Doing so feels entirely too awkward.  But then people insist which is extremely generous of them to do and then I am left trying to come up with something that is both practical and meaningful and awesome.  

(I am not someone who should be left in charge of picking practical presents.)

Tyler and I have lived together for just about 7 years (where did time go?) and during that time we amassed a lot things. Many of the traditional items that couples register for don't really apply to us.  Sure there are things we could upgrade (a new non-white bath mat would be pretty awesome since we have manged to destroy ours), but other then that we are pretty content with what we have. So I've decided the best thing we can be given is food because as far as I can tell we will always need to eat. Preferably a flat of Maine wild blueberries (or if you can't get your hands on wild blueberries I will settle for regular blueberries), sour cherries, and/or blackberries.  I will eat this fruit by the handful, then I will make pie, and then I will make jam, and then I will make a plethora of these shortbread bars that I will store in the freezer and save for when we have run out of fruit. Best. Present. Ever.

Blueberry Shortbread Bars 
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

The original recipe called for peaches and the peach version is awesome but blueberries are in season now so blueberries I will eat.  As you can tell, this can be adapted with any old fruit, I have visions of cherries (with some almond extract!) next.  God I love this time of year.  

For the bars

1/2 cup (3.5 ounces or 100 grams) white sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking powder
1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons (6 1/2 ounces or 180 grams) cups all-purpose flour or 1 cup all-purpose and 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons rye or whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces or 113 grams) cold unsalted butter

Zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg

For the berries

2 cups blueberries
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns and the very second that you turn around to do something else. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).

In a bowl toss the blueberries, cornstarch, lemon juice, sugar, and ginger.  Set aside.  

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter a 8×8 inch pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, spices, salt, and lemon zest with a whisk. Use a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips, blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Pour the blueberries over the crumb base in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

Monday, June 23, 2014

fresh orecchiette (aka little ears).

This pasta has 3 ingredients in it. Three!

Two of the ingredients are flour. One is water.
(Cooking doesn't get much simpler then this.)

This recipe kind of shock and awed me.  It's easy to make really good food when you have a supermarket aisle worth of ingredients at your disposal.  You can layer flavors, you can add more and more until everything is just right.  But when working with a minimal amount of ingredients, it's easy for flaws to be exposed if you don't know what you are doing.  Thankfully this pasta is forgiving.  

Fresh orecchiette is nothing like the boxed variety.  It's chewy yet tender.  It begs to be served with vegetables (lots and lots of vegetables) which is why it's so perfect this time of year.  

Fresh Orecchiette 
Recipe adapted (barely) from Pasta Sfoglia

Makes 6 servings about 2 pounds (can be halved)

Orecchiette is my favorite type of pasta to be eaten in spring and summer as it works best with light sauces (and makes for a stellar pasta salad).  I love it with any and all roasted vegetables, olive oil, and lots of parmesan.  Peas also make for a nice addition since they get caught in the pasta crevice!  (My version below includes mushrooms, peas, and pecorino!)  I streamlined this recipe by doing the whole thing by hand (embrace your inner Italian grandmother) and allowing the dough to rest before shaping.  

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups semolina flour
1 cup water (room temperature)
Rice flour or semolina for dusting

Add the all-purpose flour and semolina flour to a large bowl and create a well in the middle.  Pour the water into the well and gently mix to combine the flour with the water.  When the mixture begins to come together, turn the dough out onto a clear flour dusted work-surface.  Knead the dough until it comes together and is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Place the dough in a bowl and allow to rest for one hour.

Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces.  Lightly dust the counter with flour.  Roll each piece of dough into a 1/4 inch diameter rope.  While rolling you may have to cut the rope into smaller sections as it gets longer.  The dough should yield 14 1/2-inch ropes that are 9 to 12 inches long Cut each rope into 1/4-inch coins.  Use your thumb to make an indention in the center of each coin.  Let the orecchiette dry on a semolia/rice-flour covered baking sheet.

To cook: Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.  Top as you please.

To store: The dough, tightly wrapped in plastic, can be refrigerated for 2 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks Defrost in the fridge.  The dough will discolor slightly, but its flavor will not be affected.   The dry orecchiette can be stored in an airtight contained or plastic bag not refrigerated (refrigeration will make them moist and gluey), for up to 2 days.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

a big day (thoughts in pictures).

Tonight Tyler and I met with our florist, coordinator, professional personal I require to reign in my 5,712 ideas, and for the first time since getting engaged, I actually feel excited about this extravagant party we are having.  (It's nice to finally feel that way.  It also doesn't hurt that we have now reached the point where I get to tackle fun things like florals and decor and cake!)

The images I've stored on Pinterest for what feels like months now can finally be shared because I can finally think about such things and that is awesome.  I feel a little giddy.  That feeling will last up until I realize how much my ideas cost and then I will feel sad again (weddings are a vicious cycle).  Until then I will live in a fantasy land bubble that is filled the olive branches, gold flatware, and fushia pink ranunculus.)

white, gold fringe streamers
Tuscany Destination Wedding

gold flatware

Photography: Perry Vaile -  Read More: Wishbone Placecard Holders
Peony bouquet | Photo by Apryl Ann Photo | Read more -

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

olive oil cake with strawberry rhubarb compote.

I know I should be sick of rhubarb.  I think most people would be after consuming some variation of it everyday for a month.  Alas, I am not like most people.  I continue to crave it.  The season is fleeting so I might as well embrace it.  

I hope you are not sick of it as of yet because I have a new recipe!! (Do I sound like a rhubarb broken record as of yet?)

The zucchini olive oil cake that I posted about here is my olive oil cake soul mate.  It's crunchy and hefty.  The kind of cake you bring as a housewarming gift or on a picnic. It freezes brilliantly.  It's everything I want in a cake. I never thought I could fall for another olive oil cake they way I've fallen for that one.  Alas, I discovered this recipe and now there may be a little bit of friendly olive oil cake competition in our house.  

This cake is everything the zucchini cake is not.  It's light.  Oh so light! Each bite manages to melt on your tongue in a sea of citrus and rosemary.  You may think I am lying but you could quite possibly eat this entire cake in one sitting (not that I recommend you do such a thing).  The compote turns this into a dinner party worthy dessert (or even a fancy-shmancy brunch dish).  The strawberries and rhubarb break down into a puddle of blindingly red deliciousness that when spooned over the cake, manages to infiltrate each and every crevice with tart fruit.  It's kind of magical.  .  

I was going to have a showdown but I have decided it's best to declare this a tie.  

Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
Recipe from Curtis Stone

For the Cake

Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs 
1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Compote

12 ounces slender rhubarb stalks (about 3), cut into 2- by 1/3 -inch-thick sticks
1 pound fresh strawberries, halved
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

To make the cake: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick olive oil cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray the paper with nonstick olive oil spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and rosemary. Add the orange and lemon zest then rub the mixture between your fingertips until it is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs ad using an electric mixer beat on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, or until pale and thick. Beat in the milk. Gradually beat in the olive oil. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture just until blended. Spread the batter in the pan.

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached. Let cool in the pan on a wire cake rack for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and remove and discard the paper. Invert the cake, right side up, onto a cake plate.

Meanwhile, make the compote. In a large heavy skillet, bring the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and lemon juice to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring often. Continue to cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until the juices thicken slightly and the rhubarb is falling apart. Let cool.

Sift confectioners' sugar over the cake. Cut the cake into wedges, place on dessert plates, and spoon the compote on top. Drizzle a little olive oil around the cake and serve.

Monday, June 16, 2014

spring burrata salad.

I plan on eating some variation of this salad at least once a week for the rest of the summer (and let's be honest here, I would eat a variation of this well into the fall).  Why you may ask?  First and foremost it's excellent and secondly because my new life motto is that burrata makes everything better (seriously everything).

Burrata turns a ho-hum salad into something special.  It turns it into a meal.  It turns it into a dish worthy of a dinner party.  (And such an easy dish at that!)

This version is inspired by a picture I saw on Instagram which is where a lot of my cooking inspiration comes from as of late.  Thinly sliced sugar snap peas, basil, and chopped asparagus are tossed with the simplest of ingredients - lemon juice, olive oil (the really good stuff), salt and pepper.  The preparation allows for the farmers market fresh produce to shine which in my humble opinion is the whole point of cooking with farmers market produce.  The burrata adds the requisite creaminess which is why this salad is so damm dreamy.  Best served with well toasted bread to sop up all the juices.

Spring Burrata Salad 

Serves 2

1/4 pound sugar snap peas, ends trimmed, blanched, and thinly sliced
1/4 pound asparagus, blanched and cut into 1 inch pieces
10 basil leaves roughly chopped
1/4 cup roasted pistachios, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for drizzling
Salt and pepper to taste
6 ounces of burrata

Place the sugar snap peas, asparagus, basil, and pistachios in a bowl.  Toss the vegetables with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  

Tear the burrata into pieces and divide among two plates.  Top the burrata with the vegetables.  Drizzle the plate with additional olive oil, salt and pepper.  

Friday, June 13, 2014


Here's to dreaming about perfect outdoor spaces.  

Literally, this space is perfection.  There is a reason why I think about California on a fairly regular basis. Because only out West can you dine alfresco three quarters of the year.  

I'm envisioning a dinner party where I would serve burrata salads, bourbon sugar steak, and pan con tomate.  We would drink rose. The meal would be followed by rosemary olive oil cake with strawberry compote.  

I could die happy afterwards.  

outdoor dining area

Image via Pinterest.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

garlic scape hummus.

I have begun to refer to this dip as a super pumped up hummus. Because it is! (This is why I love it so.)

Hummus has a place in this world.  I can't even begin to describe how much I love it. Hummus and falafel go together like peanut butter and jelly.

But sometimes you want something different and in those instances, that is where a dip like this shines.  

Chickpeas are blended with roasted garlic scapes which if you aren't familiar with garlic scapes they basically look like the thickest and longest strands of grass you've ever seen, yet they taste like garlic! (Seriously they look like a grass monster.  Go and Google them.) Raw they are super pungent, but when roasted the flavor softens and mellows like nothing else.  To the mix we add tahini to help mirror the flavor of hummus along with spices galore (Aleppo pepper! Hot smoked Spanish paprika!) The resulting dip is thick and flavorful and best served as part of mezze platter with feta and olives because everyone knows summer calls for meals made up of little bites of things.  

Garlic Scape Hummus

The garlic scapes can be replaced with 6 cloves of roasted garlic or even young garlic but if you can get your hands on some scapes, I highly suggest you use them.  

2 15 ounce cans of chickpeas (or 3 cups of chickpeas)
6 roasted garlic scapes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tahini
6 tablespoons water plus more as needed.  
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1/2 teaspoon Hot smoked Spanish paprika (if you don't have hot add a 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
Juice of 1 lemon

In a food processor combine the chickpeas and garlic scapes.  Pulse to break up the chickpeas and garlic scapes.  With the machine running add the olive oil, tahini, and water.  If the mixture seems too thick, add more water one tablespoon at a time until the desired texture is achieved (I prefer a thicker dip).  Add the salt, Aleppo pepper, paprika, and lemon.  Pulse to combine.  Serve drizzled with additional olive oil and chopped chives if desired.  

Serve with pita, crackers, or toasted baguette.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


When living in an urban environment there is nothing like an oversized nature print to bring a little bit of the great outdoors indoors.  (Especially when coupled with linen and teak in calming earth tone shades.)  

Dreaming of eating eggs and drinking coffee at this table while it rains.  

nature in the dining room /

Image via Pinterest

Monday, June 9, 2014

rye strawberry shortcakes.

Not long ago I read an article about a woman who when growing up was allowed to eat strawberry shortcake for dinner the day the first strawberries appeared in their backyard.  Something about that struck a cord with me because strawberry shortcake always feels like such a nostalgia inducing food (not to mention I can always get behind any excuse to eat dessert for dinner). It's homey. The kind of thing grandmothers would make their grandchildren.  The kind of thing that makes you look forward to warm weather, open windows, and cut-off shorts.

I took inspiration from this story and decided to whip up my own batch of shortcakes to celebrate our first three quarts of strawberries (yes three!).  This shortcake recipe is a little more substantial then most due to the addition of rye flour which makes it perfectly appropriate for dinner.  The addition of perfectly ripe strawberries and barely sweetened whipped cream ensures this dinner is magical.  

Rye Strawberry Shortcakes
Shortcake recipe from Food 52

The only change I made was to drop heaping rounds of dough onto the baking sheet instead of rolling and cutting them out because sometimes laziness wins.  This can be halved if necessary (but why would you do such a foolish thing). 

Makes 8

For the Shortcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rye flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/2 cup buttermilk, chilled
2 tablespoons crunchy sugar (such as turbinado), for sprinkling
Heavy cream to brush the tops of the shortcakes 

Preheat oven to 400ยบ F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender (or two knives) until it is the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the ingredients, then add in the buttermilk and heavy cream. Stir gently until just combined. It is okay if there are a few dry spots. If it seems very dry, add more heavy cream or buttermilk, one tablespoon at a time.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a square about 1 inch thick. Fold the dough in half over itself and pat it into a square about 1 inch thick. Repeat this process one more time. Then, use a floured 2 1/2-inch round cutter to cut the dough. Place the cut shortcakes onto the prepared baking sheet. Gently re-roll scraps and cut again. Put the whole baking sheet into the freezer for 10 minutes.

Brush the tops of the shortcakes with heavy cream and sprinkle with crunchy sugar. Bake until the tops are browned and the shortcakes are cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

For Serving

2 pounds of strawberries, halved or quartered (about 7 cups)
3 tablespoons sugar + 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or 5 tablespoons sugar if you want to omit the maple syrup)
1 cup chilled whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the strawberries and 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons maple syrup in a large bowl (or 4 tablespoons sugar if only using sugar).  Toss to coat.  Let stand until a syrup begins to form, about an hour. This can be done ahead by 24 hours, just keep the berries in the fridge. 

Beat chilled whipping cream, vanilla extract and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another large bowl until stiff peaks form. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover separately and chill.)

Cut rye biscuits in half. Place each biscuit bottom in shallow bowl (or on a plate). Top each generously with strawberries and whipped cream. Cover fruit and cream with biscuit tops. Eat immediately.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

sugar steak with bourbon.

This steak.  Oh this steak. (It. Is. So. Good.)

I don't eat much red meat, instead I try and treat it as special occasion food, but when the weather heats up and the scent of grilled meats can be picked up on each and every block I walk, my cravings kick in.  

As a bourbon lover (I adore a good Old Fashioned more then one should), this recipe caught my eye almost immediately. The fact that the whole recipe consisted of about 5 ingredients (5!) and involved the most minimal amount of effort is what sold me on it.  The combination of smoky bourbon, sweet sugar, and hot and smoky paprika is a match made in grilled steak heaven.  The flavors manage to permeate the meat without overpowering it.  I found myself eating strips of steak plain (I swear it's that good), but it would be stellar with mashed potatoes and braised spinach.  And if you are fortunate enough to have leftovers might I suggest a steak sandwich with paprika mayo, arugula, and roasted red peppers.  Because everyone knows leftover steak begs to be eaten in a sandwich. (With chips! Lots of wonderfully crunchy potato chips.)

Sugar Steak with Bourbon
Recipe adapted from Food 52

1 flank steak (about 1 – 1 ½ pounds)
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup bourbon
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika (or if you don’t have this ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon regular paprika)
Flaky salt for sprinkling
Pepper for sprinkling

Put the steak in a 1-gallon plastic bag or in a dish large enough to fit the steak.  Add in the bourbon, sugar, and smoked paprika.  Add the steak to the bag and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.

Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat for about 5 minutes, place the steak in the pan and cook for 3 minutes.  Flip and cook the other side for 3 minutes, this will get you a medium-rare steak. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into 1/4-inch slices.  Season the sliced steak with flaky sea salt and pepper.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

where in the u.s.a.?

 Tyler and I are currently discussing honeymoon destinations/ideas which is proving to be almost as difficult as choosing the menu for the wedding (which let's be honest, is still not finalized).

If you have any thoughts on domestic destinations, please share.  I have looked at everywhere from Napa to New Orleans and just about everything in between.  

(This fireplace is what I want to say my vows in front of. Swooning so hard.)

Image via Pinterest.

Monday, June 2, 2014

cream crackers.

When the warm weather arrives, I find myself eating less meals and more bites of assorted things. A handful of berries, a wedge of cheese, pea pesto, sliced avocado, and of course crackers to round out the whole thing.  (Because what's a meal with out some kind of bread?)

A cracker, a good cracker is a terribly difficult thing to find.  They aren't located in the supermarket (at least I haven't found one in my never ending search) and they aren't found in fancy gourmet markets (I've checked there as well and all they sell is more expensive crappy crackers).  But good crackers can be found! They can be found in your kitchen and made with a handful of pantry staples. These crackers are kind of awesome.  They are tender and flaky and come to together in less time then it takes to go to the store to buy crackers (no really). They are perfect for any variety of toppings including, but not limited too, pesto, pimento cheese, jam, and serrano ham.  They are made for summer meals.  

Cream Crackers
Recipe from Mark Bittman

Depending on what I am serving these with, I sometimes omit the parmesan (they are devine with or without cheese) or if I am feeling particularly crazy I try some other type of cheese (Gruyere!).

1 cup all-purpose flour, more as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup cream or half-and-half, more as needed
Coarse salt, pepper, sesame or poppy seeds, minced garlic or whatever you like for sprinkling (optional).

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly dust with flour. Put flour, salt, cheese and butter in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until flour and butter are combined. Add about 1/4 cup cream or half-and-half and let machine run for a bit; continue to add liquid a teaspoon at a time, until mixture holds together but is not sticky.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/2-inch thick or even thinner, adding flour as needed. Transfer sheet of dough to prepared baking sheet (drape it over rolling pin to make it easier). Score lightly with a sharp knife, pizza cutter or a pastry wheel if you want to break crackers into squares or rectangles later on. Sprinkle with salt or other topping if you like.

Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack; serve warm or at room temperature or store in a tin for a few days.