Tag: Cheese

Deeper ‘n Ever Pie

Deeper 'n Ever Pie | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Deeper 'n Ever Pie | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Deeper 'n Ever Pie | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Deeper 'n Ever Pie | Serious Crust by Annie FasslerDeeper 'n Ever Pie | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

We are back. Back in the U.S. Back on the west coast. Back in gray and rainy Portland. This past weekend we had a taste of spring, but otherwise it has been wet. And between the weather and having a bit more time on my hands and a fully functional kitchen again, I have been cooking some of my favorite warming meals. (Big shout out to friends Mac and Carmelle who are letting us room with them while we look for a place to live!) This recipe is one of those dishes. You may have heard of this pie, or at least the book series it is inspired by, Redwall. When I was younger, my older sister Emily was obsessed with the series, which focuses on a series of woodland creatures who live in mostly an abbey. If I recall correctly, there are castles and ghosts, banquets and wizards. I think of it as Camelot meets the Borrowers. My mother, being the amazing woman she is, somehow found a recipe for this pie, Deeper ‘n Ever Turnip ‘n Tater ‘n Beetroot Pie, and would make it for us, making us feel as if we were at the table during those banquets, eating alongside otters, squirrels, and birds.

This pie screams cozy to me. You start with a buttery, savory pie dough, layer the filling with cheese, mashed vegetables, beets, caramelized onions, and more cheese, and bake until the crust is golden. As an adult, I realize the amount of work that goes into this, and how long my mom must have spent in the kitchen making it: caramelizing onions, mashing potatoes and turnips, boiling beets, shredding cheese. It also is a great base for something that is easy to riff on – you could add squash, greens, mushrooms, peppers.

Continue reading “Deeper ‘n Ever Pie”

Cheese Crackers

Cheese Crackers | Serious CrustCheese Crackers | Serious Crust

A while back, I went to the Oregon coast, which obviously meant a stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory for a few trips through the tasting line and being entranced by the packaging of cheese. You wouldn’t think it would be so interesting, but I totally zone out on those machines trimming, wrapping, vacuuming, and sending off a zillion pounds of cheese.

The other great thing about the cheese factory is that not only do they have EVERY kind of Tillamook Cheese you could want, but they also have basically half-priced packages of the little ends and bits that they trim when they’re packaging the cheese. So when I saw a pound of Garlic White Cheddar for cheap, I said, “Yes, please,” and brought it home with me. I used almost all of it for some macaroni and cheese, and the rest went into these very (cheesy) crackers.

I’ve had a weakness for Cheez-its ever since I was a young child (seriously, if you every need to bribe me for any reason, Cheez-its will do the trick), and I love baking my own at home every once in a while. I figured the garlic in this cheese would add a great flavor to these cheese crackers, and it did. If you can, I highly recommend getting your hands on some garlic cheddar for these bad boys, but if you can’t, any sharp (or extra sharp) cheddar will do.

Cheese Crackers

Ingredients

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
4 oz Tillamook garlic white cheddar (or any other garlic cheddar), finely grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chili powder, optional (if you’re down to have your crackers on the slightly spicier side, I recommend it)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup AP flour
1-4 Tbsp cold milk
salt for dusting

Instructions

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and grated cheese. While that is mixing, in a small bowl sift together the flour, salt, chili powder, and paprika. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and cheese mixture and mix until combined. Yes, it’ll be crumbly!

A tablespoon at a time, add the milk, mixing after each addition, until the dough comes together. Form the dough into two discs, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8 of an inch (or slightly thinner). Cut into squares, and using the tine of a fork or end of a skewer, make a hole in the center of each square. Sprinkle with salt, and transfer to the baking sheet. Bake for 8-11 minutes, until the edges are just golden brown (they can burn quickly, so if you want to go darker, keep a close eye on them). Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes before enjoying.

Feast 2014 Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting

Feast 2014 Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting // Serious Crust
Feast 2014 Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting // Serious Crust
Feast 2014 Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting // Serious Crust
Feast 2014 Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting // Serious Crust

Please tell me you’ve heard of Feast. The three-year-old food festival that now takes over Portland for a weekend in late September? The one with so many incredibly opportunities to eat, drink, and be merry? The one where you can easily spot your 5 favorite foodie celebrities in a single day?

This was my first year attending Feast, and I was (unfortunately) only able to hit up one event due to some scheduling conflicts with the band. But the event I did get to go to, the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting, was 5 hours of tastebud extravaganza, meeting lots of people, and watching cooking demos. My dad and Darla came down for the weekend (they drove out to our gig with us over the weekend), and the three of us went to Pioneer Square to enjoy all that Oregon has to offer.

We made it to the tents in time to grab a couple wine pours and food samples before sitting down to watch Chef Naomi Pomeroy whip up a pork loin with romesco sauce (which, after sampling, inspired me to finally make some romesco sauce of my own). Afterwards, as we moved from some pâté panna cotta with Oregon berries and a parmesan tuile from Uptown Billiards Club, to Eliot’s Adult Nut Butters, to kale salad with smoked salmon (from I’m not every sure who), to crazy delicious bites from Three Little Figs, to some awesome bloody mary shooters from Face Rock Creamery, to tomatoes sprinkled with varied salts from Jacobsen Salt, to of course incredible ice cream from Salt & Straw (served by the one and only Jon Wash), and possibly my favorite dessert: Salt & Straw Olive Oil ice cream topped with Cacao drinking chocolate and candied cocoa nibs. I realized something. I am so unvelievably lucky to live in a city that not only has food like this at every turn, but to live in a city that creates a festival like this, that brings all these artisans and chefs and wineries and breweries together, and has this community around food. I think it’s pretty cool, don’t you?

Feast 2014 Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting // Serious Crust
Feast 2014 Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting // Serious Crust
Feast 2014 Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting // Serious Crust
Feast 2014 Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting // Serious Crust

Let it be known that we also enjoyed some beautiful wines poured by some beautiful people. The wineries that were pouring were some of the best in Oregon, and they were pouring wines that range from $20-70 a bottle. It was a chance for me to try some wines that, let’s face it, I would otherwise not have been able to. Some favorite wineries included Elk CoveAdelsheim VineyardsChehalem, and Penner-Ash Wine Cellars.

Overall, it was a beautiful day spent eating and drinking with some of my favorite people. I met some new friends (like Ian and Mike from Pfriem Brewery), bumped into some old ones (Erin from Bakery Bingo, Rachel from Love, Rachel, and, from afar, Bee from The Spicy Bee), and truly enjoyed discovering all the wonderful food and drink coming from the wonderful Pacific Northwest. Lucky girl, indeed.

Shaved Asparagus Salad

Shaved Asparagus Salad // Serious Crust

Sometimes,  you make a meal, thinking one dish will be the star. Especially when you lay down a hefty chunk of change on a cut of meat. But things happen – you run out of time and you don’t season the meat properly or sear it the way you’d like, and then maybe you leave it in the slow cooker a little bit longer than you should have. And when that happens, there are side dishes that sneak up and surprise you. Like this shaved asparagus salad did.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew this salad would be good. I love asparagus, and there are seemingly a million shaved asparagus salad recipes out there (like this one, and this one, and this one). And yeah, they’re all relatively the same. But man, something about the freshness of this salad – crunchy, sour, salty – just got me. It was exactly what I needed after a long day of work. And it certainly was better than an underseasoned, overcooked (only slightly) piece of meat.

Shaved Asparagus Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 bunch of asparagus
juice from half of a lemon
olive oil
salt (course is good, if you’ve got it)
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup, roughly, of toasted pine nuts, sliced and toasted almonds, or shelled pistachios
parmesan cheese, though crumbled feta would work nicely too

Instructions

Don’t snap the tough ends off your asparagus just yet! Leave them on and use them as a handle. Lay the asparagus on a cutting board, and use a peeler to shave off wide strips, shaving away from you. You’ll have some thick pieces at the end, but do the best you can. Apparently the consensus is that y-shaped peelers are better for this, but I don’t have one of those. Make do with what you’ve got. Discard the woody ends. Put the peeled pieces into a bowl or on a platter or whatever you’re planning on serving on/in. Pour the lemon juice over top of the asparagus, and drizzle with olive oil. I can’t tell you how much olive oil, because I didn’t measure. A good glug should suffice. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the top, as well as the toasted nuts. Rinse your peeler and use it to shave some thin pieces of parmesan to top the salad (or use a fork and crumble the feta over top). We’re big cheese fans, so we did more cheese instead of less.

Enjoy on a spring or summer day, preferably with a glass of refreshing white or rosé wine. I think this salad would be perfect alongside some grilled fish or chicken for a summer soirée.