Saturday, December 7, 2013
First World Problems: Help the Oven Is OVERFLOWING
It's true that our job as food bloggers means quite a lot of time spent in our kitchen. We are cooking and then baking and mixing. All for the sake of those few perfect shots and of course the excellent taste.
As such we have found ourselves on a winding path of food. We recently started attending the Chicago Food Swap. We'd been considering going for months but never had the time. Since we finally went last month, we decided from our good haul that we would go again. Only we didn't learn from experience quite yet. Never ever plan an event the day before a food swap. Even if we have our recipes selected, generally they are new and untested.
Not that they are going to go horribly wrong, just that sometimes we don't realize just how ambitious making seven different flavors of cheddar crackers by hand is. It is a lot of work. A lot of hours in the kitchen with lots of slicing and rolling and peeling and placing. Detailed work, which while the recipe is extremely simple in terms of ingredients: flour, butter, water and cheese; the process is time consuming. Especially when your plan falls through and you don't find your electric cookie press and the handheld one turns out to be unreliable crafting giant cookie crackers. We opted to do them by hand.
This was better in terms of sizing our crackers. For the most part they are squares or you can tell that they were the sad corners which just got the short end of the dough. The next fiasco was in cooking all of these. We had our oven on for hours non-stop. We'd mix a batch, roll and cut and just manage to get all of the little squares peeled off the wax paper and onto the waiting pan. Which meant that we were going on pan at a time in our oven. The crackers would cool perfectly on the rack in the time it took to make a new batch, by then we were finally fast enough to keep with our pan rotations.
Only by this time, we were hysterical. Two of us in the kitchen, dashing from oven to counter to slicer. It was madness as we tried to peel without breaking the pieces even smaller. We were just saying words in front of cheese or crackers and laughing out of control. Our sanity was pushed to the limits as the crackers took control of all we thought we knew about the world. We had an oven which overflowed with cracker bounty. Granted, they are delicious and cheesy. Truly, they have more cheese than your average cheese cracker, but there were too many. It was as if they multiplied in the oven as we moved them to the rack to cool. For the longest time it seemed as if the amount of cheese we had yet to use was not changing. We had a stack of cheese to use and the hours just ticked away and we despaired. We were going to be cracker bakers. Our family business had taken hold and I could see my children apprenticing in the cracker arts. How to peel perfectly with your fingers. How the spacing was necessary and precise. How the timing was immaculate. Everything flashed before our eyes as the crackers kept baking.
Then, this morning to our horror, we realized that our crackers had lost their crisp. We had to start again the cracker baking. We had to recrisp our crackers, this was much easier than an initial baking process, but it was still time consuming. As our thousands of tiny crackers went back into the oven. Finally, we were done and could manage to parcel them out into bags. Hoping with all of our might that someone would want our cracker wares in seven different flavors in exchange for anything else because we are all cracked up. No more crackers for us. Too much of a good thing is enough to last us through the holidays.