Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Years Cheeses

Every December 31st we have a savory respite from the sweet with crackers and cheeses. Here is this year's cheese plate (clockwise from the twelve-o-clock position): blue, queso fresco, sharp cheddar, brie, goat milk feta, myzzithra, camembert, babybels, camembert.

Also in the spread are nuts, fruitcake, chocolates, cookies, and smokies in puff pastry.


Mom's lovely homemade pizza.

To make 2 14-inch pizzas:
Make a nice simple dough from:
3 c flour
1 t salt
2 T olive oil
1 T yeast
There is an earlier post about basic bread; the directions are like that.
Let the dough raise once, and after it has done so, divide it in two and pat it out into greased 14-inch pizza pans. Brush them with olive oil and sprinkle them with parmesan cheese.

Turn the oven on to 400. When it has heated up, put the pizzas in it. Bake them for 10 minutes, switching their positions halfway through. During that time, mix:

8 oz can tomato sauce
herbs of your choice: Mom uses thyme, oregano (sometimes marjoram instead), basil, and sometimes parsley.

When the crusts are out, spread the sauce evenly over the two of them. Sprinkle on grated cheese (1 pound of mozzerella, 1/4 pound cheddar, mixed). Put on pepperonis or peppers and onions or whatnot.

Put them back in the oven for about 15 minutes (depending on how you like your cheese on the merely melted --> cooked spectrum; this is for cheese that's cooked on the edges). Switch their positions halfway through.

Three Kings Day Feast

This year our Three Kings Day feast was inspired by medieval recipes. Mom has created medieval feasts in the past, the past being when I was one year old. That feast involved mummers, colored chargers, and wassailing the trees; this version was simpler but also exciting and delicious. We began with an appetizer of beef stew, which was spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and the like, but included only onions as vegetable. The menu also included baked chicken, carrots, spinach with bacon, and my favorite: whole wheat/rye pita! A side dish of macaroni and cheese comes from source recipes of the time called "makerouns." This word is the source of macaroni, but perhaps also macaroon?