Somewhere along the line I lost my rolling-pin. Well, I don’t imagine I really lost it, I suspect it was a deliberate choice on my part to part company around the same time I decided to pass the baton for baking and decorating Christmas sugar cookies to my daughter. I know I gave her my entire assortment of cookie cutters; the rolling-pin may have been part of the endowment too.

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Having been sans rolling-pin for a few years my plan to learn how to make crackers fell by the wayside. Instead, I collected recipes on my Pinterest board and kept the idea in the back of my mind for a post-retirement project. This week I decided it was time to break into the cracker-making mode and so I popped over to my favourite online shopping site–Amazon.ca–and ordered a rolling-pin that arrived on my doorstep like magic two days later.

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There were two factors in my choice of cracker to make this week. First, my obsession with cheesy rice cakes that I partake in almost nightly; and second, a fridge that is chock-full of cheese due to recent stellar sales on cheese at the grocery story. Cheese crackers it was!

I’ve had a recipe stored on my Pinterest board from In The Kitchen With Kath for a while. There are many similar recipes floating around cyberspace; this is the one I chose to follow. It couldn’t be easier.

Yield: I got two large cookie sheets of 1 inch crackers.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) of grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. milk. (I actually ended up using closer to 3 Tbsp.)

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the cheese, butter, salt, and red pepper flakes in the food processor and pulse a few times until the dough is crumbly.

Add the milk and process until the dough forms a ball. I added the 1 Tbsp. of milk the recipe called for and processed the dough. It was nowhere near close to forming a ball and so I just added a bit more a few times until it was the right consistence. Guessing the difference in what I needed to use has something to do with altitude. Who knows.

Roll the dough on a floured counter (with your brand new rolling-pin!) to about 1/8 inch thickness.

Cut the dough into 1 inch squares with a sharp knife.

Use the flat end of a skewer (I used a chopstick) to poke a hole in the middle of each cracker.

Put the crackers on a parchment-lined baking sheet allowing about 1/4 inch between each one. (Parchment paper is my new best friend. I can’t believe it’s taken me so many years to discover it!)

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are just starting to brown.

And that’s it! Couldn’t be easier, right? The recipe says to store in a covered container to be eaten within a couple of days. There’s no way we’ll eat all of these crackers within a couple of days–well, we could, but we won’t–and so I’m going to freeze some of them.

These are absolutely delicious! Cheesy and with just a little bit of a bite. If the quality is still good after freezing I am going to make a lot of these to have on hand around the holidays. Much better than those store-bought preservative-laden crackers that we love to hate.

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The signs are everywhere. Change is in the soon-to-be-frosty air. Winter is coming.

We’ve started putting to rest the garden. The last of the tomatoes are either eaten, canned, or in the dehydrator; the spaghetti and butternut squash has all been harvested and the gourds are sitting on my deck; all that remains are a few carrots, beets, and some rainbow chard. I’ll leave the root veggies for a few more weeks unless we get a hard freeze. The chard will likely come out in the next few days.

harvest

The pantry shelves are full of over two hundred jars of assorted preserves and the freezer is filled with salmon, halibut, and assorted fruits and vegetables. I get a little thrill–and a huge sense of accomplishment–every time I go into the storage room. More than once over the summer as I sat down at the end of the day to rest my aching back I thought ahead to the coming winter and felt a bit like the ant in the Aesop fable about the Ant and the Grasshopper.

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Gerry donned his vest when he went out early this morning for a men’s meeting and I’m sitting here wearing a long-sleeved shirt because there is a bit of a chill in the house. We just enjoyed a lunch of smooth and freshly made butternut squash soup, I’m burning a pumpkin scented candle, and considering if I should start packing away my Capri pants. There is a low hum coming from outside as the landscapers are blowing out the sprinkler lines. Maya has begun sporting her dog-jamas as the nights get cooler. Yesterday Gerry had the snow tires put on the car.

maya jammas

As much as I enjoyed the summer–Oh the glorious heat of a Kamloops summer!–I’m embracing autumn. I’m anticipating Gerry and I taking day trips to capture images of the fall foliage with our cameras. We’re looking forward to going to see the spawning of the salmon in this, a dominant year of the run. I’m already appreciating making nourishing homemade soups and stews and spending cozy afternoons with my knitting projects.

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I’m even looking forward to Old Man Winter showing up eventually–though I do hope he chooses to make a late appearance this year. This will be the first Canadian winter for us since we moved to Washington State in 2007 where we rarely had snow and I kept flowers in the yard all year round. There’s something comforting about knowing that this year when the arctic winds blow, as they’re bound to, we’ll be cozy at home watching the slow fall with a larder filled with food and no need to venture outside if we don’t want to.

I’m not Pollyanna-ish to believe that I won’t get sick of winter long before he loosens his tenacious grip though. I know I’ll join the multitudes bemoaning the cold weather and longing for the first signs of spring early in the new year. But for now, I’m remembering the summer fondly, appreciating autumn, anticipating winter, and remembering that spring will come again.

 “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Flower Cheese

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Saturday About three years ago I read a post about a beautiful flower cheese on author, illustrator, gardener, and all-around inspirational woman, Sharon Lovejoy’s blog. I filed that post away in the recesses of my mind with a plan to make a flower cheese of my own one day. At the time I was a novice […]

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