My brother, his girlfriend, Kramer, and I had a pretty fantastic weekend! I haven’t had a chance to go through the photos that I took on my real camera, so for now, I can share some quick snapshots that I took with my phone. We went to a bar and played some games with Morgan, saw the newest Harry Potter movie, Dane showed off his mojito making skills, enjoyed some beers and dumplings from the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck at the Lot on Tap underneath the Highline, went to the Museum of the Moving Image to see the new Jim Henson exhibit, as well as a Chewbacca mask, relaxed with some drinks on our balcony, and, of course, I annoyed Kramer by having a camera in his face the entire time. Today, Dane and Erica are going to Coney Island, and I’m jealous that they get to go ride the Cyclone while Kramer and I have to go to work! I suppose it’s alright though, because we have one more fantastic dinner ahead of us tonight, and I’m really looking forward to it!
I was contacted by Di Palo Selects a week or so ago, and I was immediately interested in working with them, as they are a small specialty Italian foods shop actually located in Little Italy, which, believe it or not, is quite rare these days. You can read about their journey here, but it’s really great to see that a place like Di Palo can still exist in the age of sterile supermarket chains. They asked if I would be interested in trying out some of their Grana Padno cheese, and if I would also like to give a big block of it away to one of my readers. Cheese, especially nice cheese, doesn’t come cheap, so I’m so happy that I get to give some of it away. Grana Padano is a lot like Parmigiano-Reggiano, but it’s a bit creamier, and honestly, less expensive than Parmigiano-Reggiano, so it’s the perfect authentic substitute if you’re trying to stay on a budget. I love the grainy texture of this cheese, and it really lends itself well to these buttery little crackers. I had to add bacon, of course, along with some fresh thyme and scallions for lots of flavor. If you’ve never made crackers yourself before, I really hope that these will convince you to give it a try! They are so simple to make and your guests will be quite impressed when you tell them that you made the crackers that look like they were purchased in a store. They are the perfect snack to put out among some charcuterie, bread, and olive oil.
Now, on to the fun stuff: to enter to win a block of Grana Padano cheese from Di Palo Selects, simply leave a comment here on this post, being sure to leave your email address so that I am able to contact you! You can help to spread the word about local businesses like Di Palo Selects and enjoy some Italian cheese at the same time; what’s better than that? This give away will run until Friday, July 22nd and is open to all US residents.
Update: Congrats to Jenn from Indiana on winning the Grana Padano!
Your Grana Padano.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- ⅓ cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 5 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped finely
- 3 scallions, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, leaves only
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- fleur de sel or sea salt, for sprinkling
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, grated cheese, cubed butter, bacon, scallions, thyme, and salt until coarse crumbs form. Gradually add in the heavy cream, until the dough comes together (you may not need to use all of the cream). Alternatively, you can do all of this with clean hands or a pastry cutter if you don’t have a food processor.
- Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface until it’s ½-inch thick or ¼-inch thick, completely depending upon your preference and how many crackers you want to make. Cut out the crackers with a cookie cutter, a shot glass, or whatever else you like. Sprinkle them with fleur de sel or sea salt and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until golden and firm. Allow to cool completely before serving.