Cracker recipe courtesy of joepastry.com
Cucumber Salad recipe courtesy of Bob Whitaker
Bruschetta recipe courtesy of Elizabeth Levesque
Using Joe’s recipe, I made five different crackers; parmesan herb, garlic and herb, butter and salt, whole wheat sesame seed, and whole wheat butter and salt. I made two separate batches of dough using the food processor; the basic white dough, and a part whole wheat flour dough. The first ones I made were the garlic and herb crackers. I was afraid of overbaking them and they turned out kinda soft, a little like bread. That’s okay though, because I made some bruschetta and we ate them that way. All the rest of the crackers turned out light and crispy, yet very filling.
These crackers were served as part of a cold-plate dinner because it was in the 90’s and I could not bear to turn on the oven to cook that night. I bought a rotisserie chicken in the morning, and put it in the fridge to get nice and cold. The menu included chicken, Joe’s crackers served with various cheeses and bruschetta, Grandpa Bob’s cucumber salad, grapes, and cherries. I’ve included the recipes for all the cracker variations, the bruschetta and my Dad’s cucumber salad. So go throw a blanket on the floor and have a picnic. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups flour ( I used half all-purpose and half white whole wheat flour for the second batch)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup water
4 Tablespoons softened butter
Toppings: melted butter, fresh herbs, fresh minced garlic, grated parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, and fleur de sel (or coarse salt).
1. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, water and soft butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and even. The dough should be very moist and soft.
2. Put the dough in a bowl and refrigerate it for at least two hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Working with one-third of the dough at a time (and keeping the remaining dough refrigerated until time to use it), roll the dough out on a floured surface (use lots of flour) to about 1/16th inch-so thin you can almost see through it. Fold the dough in thirds, letter-style, and re-roll the dough back out to about 1/16 inch. Joe says that the fold helps to make the cracker flaky.
4. Cut out the dough. A pizza cutter works great for this, I used a ravioli cutter, it gave the crackers a cool wavy edge. Or you can use cookie/biscuit cutters. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined (or Silpat lined) baking sheet. Using a fork, pierce the dough several times.
5. Now the fun part; brush the melted butter on the dough and put your favorite toppings on right away. The butter helps to hold seeds, herbs, cheese and coarse salt in place.
I used melted butter on all the crackers and topped the white dough with:
- fresh minced garlic and thyme leaves
- grated parmesan cheese and thyme leaves
- fleur de sel.
I topped the whole wheat dough with:
- sesame seeds
- fleur de sel
6. Bake at 375°F. for 15-20 minutes (mine took around 18 minutes). Cool and top with your favorite cheeses, bruschetta, etc. or just munch on them like they are.
Bob’s Cucumber Salad
4 large cucumbers (I used 6 pickling cucumbers), sliced
1 plum tomato, diced
1/2 onion, diced
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1. Put tomatoes and veggies in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar, and oil; stir to combine. Taste and add more sugar or vinegar if necessary. Refrigerate. Serve chilled.
Elizabeth’s Quick and Easy Bruschetta
2 large plum tomatoes
minced onion, about 2 Tablespoons
minced fresh garlic, about 2 Tablespoons
fresh cilantro or parsley, snipped
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
a few splashes of a good Balsamic vinegar
olive oil, about 1 Tablespoon
1. In a bowl, place tomatoes, onions and garlic. Add salt, pepper, cilantro, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate for at least an hour so that the flavors can mingle.