"I wish bones tasted like this. Like tiny people bones."
"So you mean baby bones?"
It has been broiling hot lately. Rolling heat, which flees the east and smothers the west. Last night, I kicked off my down comforter for the sheet, then tore that off too. My dog slept at the foot of the bed, and just as the air lifted and flew through the slats of my wooden blinds, the east wind blew in, with it the heavy temperature that has stuck to us all week.
What to do, besides wear a turquoise terrycloth bathing suit cover-up as clothing, all day. Like, this is my outfit, all day. I'm in the backyard, shooting squirrels. I'm in the front yard, wrasslin' with my husband and cousin, and they are the same person.
I guess some people are ladylike in boiling heat. I guess I am not a lady, but a dude, because I become straight up raunchy. The aforementioned "outfit", which I wear to answer the door, and the hair that makes no sense to anyone at all, not even the dog, because it isn't so much dealing with my hair as winding it up around various sticks and pulling it through bands. "Do you want to see a movie?"
"I think the real question is, do you want to see a movie with me? Because right now, this is me."
"Don't you dare underestimate my potential. This is so bland. I could be full Technicolor raunch, within five seconds. Let the temperature rise another two degrees, and you'll wish you had this again. You'll crave this."
Yesterday there were supposed to be guests, for cold wine and marinated vegetables, sharp cheese but they canceled and I had already made one component of the cheese tray, a recipe and idea ganked from Ina Garten. These tiny, pungent savory discs are crazy. They are small, so you eat like five and think you've had one actual cracker. They pack the same gut-punch as sweet shortbread, but somehow remain dynamic (taste-wise) in a way the others don't. Some seem a bit more herbaceous, others have the coarse, salty tang of Parmesan and others crack with black pepper. Their original christening of 'Cracker' misleading, these are absolutely a savory shortbread. Not crisp and flaky, but sandy and crumbly.
I ate almost all of them over a 48-hour period. Which when you break it down, is like half a stick of butter a day.
Which is so much better than my usual three.
Savory Herb, Black Pepper and Parmesan Shortbread
Adapted from Ina Garten
1 (1/2 cup) stick salted butter, softened
1/4 (heaping) cup of ground parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon freshly cracked/ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried basil (or thyme, etc.)
1 1/4 cups AP flour
Line a light-colored baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the butter, salt, parmesan, black pepper and basil until creamy and speckled. Slowly add the flour, and mix until dough holds together when pinched. If dough is still too crumbly, add up to 1 tablespoon of ice water. Turn out onto a floured counter top, roll into a ball and then into an elongated log, around 12 to 14 inches long, depending on how large you want your crackers. Try to make sure the log is an even length, and wrap in tinfoil or plastic and freeze for at least half an hour, or longer if you don't want to serve them today. If you do, preheat your oven to 350 F.
Remove from the freezer, and slice into rounds. I got 24 or so from mine, while Ina says you should be able to get nearly 36. Arrange in rows on the baking sheet, with at least a little space between them -- they won't spread like normal cookies or biscuits. Bake for 15-25 minutes, checking after 15, until golden brown around the edges and smelling delicious. Remove and cool completely, or serve slightly warm.