Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday's Feast: Appetizers to Die For

This appetizer is my favorite go-to recipe for cocktail parties: it travels easily and you can make it ahead. The recipe is from Fine Cooking (my favorite cooking magazines, along with Cooks Illustrated). I have adjusted the amount of rosemary in the flatbread to less than what they call for, because I’m not crazy about rosemary, so you can add more if you are a rosemary-lover. I haven’t tried it yet, but I bet it would be good with a mixture of fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano, too, but only if you were serving with plain goat cheese or other cheeses. I took a ton of pictures because they are such beautiful dishes and because I know not everyone is comfortable with making a dough that requires kneading. Don’t be scared! It is incredibly easy once you start and get a feel for it. ☺ And, you can always just buy some French bread, flatbread crackers or, a personal favorite of mine, the Trader Joe’s Pita Bite Crackers, to serve with the goat cheese. I guarantee that all the cheese (and the oil) will be gone by the end of the night if you serve it with anything it can be spread on. If you are lucky enough to have any oil leftover, just pour it into a little plastic container (throwaway the rosemary sprigs) and it will keep in the fridge for a week or so. It is a dangerous snack to have on hand, as my waistline will be only too willing to show you.

Marinated Goat Cheese with Lemon and Herbs

4 oz. log of fresh goat cheese, plain, sliced into 6 equal rounds
2 tsp. (loosely packed) lemon zest
2 Tbsp. oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, finely chopped
2 tsp. capers, drained & rinsed, minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
Sea salt or kosher salt (fleur de sel is best, if you have it)
3 rosemary sprigs
½ cup (or more) extra-virgin olive oil
Crostini, good-quality crackers or flatbread for serving

In a small, shallow dish (like a cazuela), arrange the six rounds of goat cheese in one layer. (Just press the pieces back together if they crumble or crack.) Sprinkle the lemon zest, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and thyme over the cheese. Sprinkle a little of the sea salt over the cheese and then slip the rosemary sprigs between the cheese rounds. Pour the olive oil over the cheese and herbs until it just covers everything. Cover loosely and then marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 6 hours. Bring the dish to room temperature (about 45 minutes) before serving.

Rosemary Flatbread

18 oz. (3 cups) Semolina flour (available at specialty Italian grocers)
13-1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1-2/3 cups water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for finished bread

Whisk the dry ingredients with the rosemary, make a well in the center. Add the water and oil into the well and, using a fork in the same motion you would use to scramble eggs, pull the flour mixture into the water mixture until a mass forms. and mix by hand to form a smooth dough. Knead about 2 minutes; do not overmix. Wrap in plastic and let rest about 1 hour.

Cut dough balls about 2 oz each and roll cracker thin. Bake on a baking stone at 475 degrees F until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

I am in New York City this weekend, attending my favorite cousin’s wedding. Wish me luck with the reading –a tough Wallace poem!- and I’ll be back next Tuesday.

In the meantime, please go check out Pauline’s great video that she submitted for a tourism contest in Cleveland, Ohio. Truly, with OHmommy around: Cleveland Rocks!!!

There’s one catch to the video viewing: Please watch it IN YouTube and then rate it by hitting the 5-stars below it (you need to have a YouTube account to rate videos, as if you need to be told that—of course you have an account!. The video with the most views and ratings wins! I’m all for showing the world that Mommy Bloggers are a force to be reckoned with, so go watch it and rate it now! Thanks!!!

And.... I am still trying to figure out how to nicely lay out photos when there are tons of them, so please forgive me if they are scattered all over! If you want to see the pictures bigger, justclick on them.


  1. I;m not a huge fan of rosemary either, but I do like it in breads.

  2. I'm learning plenty of new words today. . . cazuela. . .

    I like it!

  3. Ohhhhhh, I LOVE goat cheese. Those both look gorgeous. I've bookmarked them for the next time I need to bring an appetizer. I hope it's soon!

  4. My darling girl, i LOVE this...I never follow people's recipes but this one is gettin' done :) I knead dough almost daily due to how i live, where I live, the way I eat, and that I'm a vegetarian...and that's one thing I have no trouble with. And I lOVE that your recipes are considerate of you to cover everyone's tastes, you precious delicious thing :) xxx

  5. MMMMM. And beautiful. Have a great time in NYC!

  6. OMG I love rosemary! This does look yumilicious! Have a fun weekend!

  7. I like pretty much everything that involves Rosemary. I will have to send that recipe to my husband since he's the self appointed chef in the family.

  8. Yum! I will make/bake this tomorrow, despite my lactose intolerance, I just *have* to try a tinsy, winsy bit...looks worthy of a few days of,, you know!

  9. Looks delicious, bit worried about the size of that knife. What's wrong with rosemary anyway?

  10. My, you are becoming a domestic goddess as well as professional photographer! We've been growing Rosemary in our spice garden...I'll need to try making the flatbread...Didn't realize there were so many Rosemary haters lurking about!
    Did you say you'll be in NYC? I am sooo jealous now ;-)

  11. You know what? I'm looking at all these pictures and reading all of these words...and you know how my brain is working? It's saying to me "She's got a really expensive camera...those are really professional shots..." ha ha ha ha aha hah a hah ah ! Oh dear!

  12. Delish! I do like rosemary and our whole yard is full of it. I put it in alot of breads I make.

  13. Oh my goodness -- that looks gorgeous! Will definitely make that next time I have to bring a dish somewhere . . . that is, if I can remember. Just discovered your blog and really enjoyed it. I'm also married to a man-child and have three boys! Aargh! Anyway, nice to meet you!

  14. These look wonderful! I'm going to give them a try. Thanks for sharing!

  15. yummo !!! could I leave rosemary out all together ? maybe basil instead ?? I deplore rosemary . I find that it overpowers all other herbs in your photos are excellent !! why are you wasting time and talents on blogs? x P

  16. Omg, yum! I wish I could make bread...I fail dismally every time :0(


Thoughts appreciated. Advice welcome. Douche-baggery scoffed at then deleted.