Most of you have probably seen or least heard of the movie – “Meet the Parents”. Last weekend, hubby and I had a “meet the parents” night at our house. Not quite like the actual movie. Let me explain. A good friend of ours is single. He doesn’t have a hard time meeting girls, just meeting the right girl for him. Over the years, he has brought over various girlfriends to meet us. Many we have actually become friends with despite their relationship did not move forward.
After several months of dating along with things moving into the next stage is when he will typically bring them over to our house to “meet the parents”. I am actually flattered that he respects my hubby and me so much, that he wants us to give him the “stamp of approval”. Last weekend, we had the pleasure of meeting his current girlfriend. We had been hearing about her for a while and now it was the official “unveiling”.
As you know by now, any reason to entertain, I am there. And of course, whipping up an appetizer feast is right in my wheel house. I wanted to make it a special evening along with making both of them feel as comfortable as possible. I love, love, love making homemade crackers. I had been on a kick lately by making the Cheddar Jalapeno Crackers all during the holiday season but now it was time to mix it up.
A while ago, my good friend Jean from Lemon and Anchovies posted her recipe for Cheddar, Feta and Caramelized Shallot Crackers. My mouth salivated when I read her post and drooled over the photos. She had me at the caramelized shallots. I wanted to put my own spin on her recipe, so I used Grana Padano. Though it is similar to Parmigiano Reggiano, it is less crumbly, milder and has less complex flavor but equally delicious.
I created the handmade cracker to go along side the individual cheese plates that I designed. On Thursday, I jaunted to the cheese counter at whole foods to select some proven favorites along with a few new selections for the cheese plates. The accoutrements I paired with each cheese complimented the flavor profiles and added interest to the plate. To kick it over the top, I designed a “cheese plate guide” for everyone to use to reference the type of cheese and accompaniments.
I know you are dying to know, how did the “parents” like the new girlfriend? We liked her very much and think they are a wonderful match. We wish them all the best!
Parmesan and Caramelized Shallot Crackers
8 Tablespoons Butter, room temperature
4.5 Ounces Parmesan Cheese or Grana Padano, grated
2 Shallots, sliced thin
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ Cup Flour
1 to 2 teaspoon water
Peel and slice thinly the two shallots. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium and then add the shallots. Sauté until caramelized and golden brown, which should be about 10 minutes. Take off the heat and let cool.
Use a food processor to make the dough. Add all of the ingredients except the water and pulse until combined. Add one teaspoon at a time of the water until the dough forms. You should not need more than two teaspoons of water. Take the dough out of the processor and form into a ball. Next roll into a log with a diameter of 2 inches. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice the log into roughly 3/8th inch rounds and lay them on a sheet pan. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until very lightly browned. Cool and serve at room temperature.
Adapted from Jean at Lemons and Anchovies