Monday, May 25, 2009

The Designer Jeans of Appetizers

I was trying to decide what recipe would start me off and get you to come back. Let's start with an appetizer.  I mean, first impressions are hard to shake.  It's like trying to decide what to wear to a party full of beautiful people. Well this recipe is the little black dress of appetizers.  Actually that sounds entirely too fussy for this little tidbit.  This recipe is really the designer jeans of appetizers. Jeans can go anywhere nowadays, just like this tasty combination.  It can be offered at the start of an elegant dinner party, or be thrown together for an impromptu cocktail in the early evening.  It has only six ingredients and there really isn't any cooking involved.  It's dead simple and really tasty. 

This recipe is simply a variation of the cheese-on-crackers theme.  In this case the cheese is a creamy, tangy goat cheese topped with the lemony-licorousy herbal taste of fresh basil, crunchy, buttery toasted pine nuts, the fresh zip of lemon zest, all adorned with a drizzle of sun-kissed extra virgin olive oil.  Although you could serve the cheese with its topping on slices of fresh baguette, I prefer the crisp snap of water crackers laced with just a hint of black pepper.

Goat Cheese with Pine Nuts and Basil on Black Pepper Crackers
Serves 4 (can easily be increased or decreased)

4 oz. log soft goat cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons fresh basil, shredded
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
A small stack of store bought water crackers with black pepper, Carr's brand preferred

Heat a small, dry skillet over medium-high heat for one minute.  Add the pine nuts and brown them by shaking the pan occasionally for about two minutes.  Don't walk away as this goes very quickly.  Remove the pine nuts from the skillet immediately once they are spotty brown as they will continue to cook and can easily burn.

Place the goat cheese on a small platter, top with shredded basil, pine nuts, and lemon zest.  Pour the olive oil over all and serve with the crackers on the side.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Jumpin' In

Have you ever been shocked when you've listened to your recorded voice and thought it didn't sound a bit like you?  Or been slightly embarrassed that you sound that way?  Well, I'm sure that's how I'll feel when I re-read this first post someday.   I can already feel the cringes as I realize that someone else has actually read this.  I'm not one to take too many chances.  I have a tendency to stay in the observer chair rather than jumping in to participate even when it looks like an awful lot of fun.  Flailing around in public is rather terrifying for me.  I know what holds me back is the desire to be good at something before I even try it.  The problem is that in order to get good, you have to start.  So this is me, jumpin' in to the crowded and talented food blogging pool.

I've loved to cook for as long as I remember.  When I had a "real" job I always returned to food and cooking as my creative outlet and source of inspiration.  This blog will be my attempt to follow my passion, to provide some focus to my cooking now, to try some new things, to get outside my comfort zone.  I'm pretty sure that my family and friends will recognize me in these pages, and and maybe see some things  they didn't know about me.  I also hope to connect with others who I haven't yet met but share a passion for great food and cooking.  It's an odd notion that one can create a sense of intimacy from an impersonal computer screen but every food blogger that I love to read does that brilliantly by inviting you in to their life, their point of view, their kitchen.  Perhaps no one will visit here.  That's okay as I can already tell that in the act of writing my reasons for starting this, I feel excited.  And I haven't felt that way for a while.  

And so it begins!