Today we’re straying slightly off The Month of Chocolate theme to whip up a tasty appetizer because let’s face it, the Mother of All Awards Shows (aka The Academy Awards) is Sunday night and you need some eats to make it through the evening. Despite what you may believe, one cannot survive on chocolate alone (shocking!) I think I might actually tune this year if for no other reason than to see Clooney in a tux. Again. Nobody wears Armani better than that man. Admit it.
Here’s the thing: I am a snacker, tried and true and for some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about the hors d’ouevres my mom made when I was a kid. Retro kinds of things like rumaki, deviled eggs and fondue. Perhaps I should call these dishes “Classic Americana” as she might be slightly horrified to read that her recipes are now called “retro” but it was the seventies after all. I have very clear memories of caftans and mutton chops, things very indicative of a time and place. So “retro” it is. But of all these old family favorites, one in particular has stuck with me – Baked Cheese Olives. Salty, briny olives wrapped in a cheddar dough and baked. Uh, yum.
While at my mom’s house a while ago, I asked her about this recipe and she gave me the “I made what?” kind of look. No luck there. I thumbed through a cookbook on her shelf – one of those big brand name recipe type books – thinking an olive company might have a recipe inside. Nope. Ten minutes with google and I had a good idea of what I needed to do. This is why the internet is so fantastic. Turns out I had a good recipe all along in my New York Times Cookbook. I changed it up a bit, making the dough in a food processor which is much easier and what I do with a lot of my cracker recipes. I used good old yellow grocery store sharp cheddar. No fancy stuff here, it seems wrong. All in all, it couldn’t be easier.
If you’re into award shows, invite some people over and make a batch of these as part of a whole spread of retro appetizers. If sitting around in your PJs gobbling tasty little snacks doesn’t say Old Hollywood Glamour, then I don’t know what does.
on this blog one year ago: chocolate cabernet sauce
STRESS BAKING THERAPY FACTOR: LOUIS B. MAYER WORTHY! You know, I bet he even ate these at one time or another. I might even bet a gold statuette on it. Oscar party or casual get together, they’re great for any occasion. Even better – they can be frozen so the ease and do-ahead potential increases exponentially. Fair warning – they’re highly addictive so there’s a reason the recipe makes 50. I don’t calculate lightly.
BAKED CHEDDAR OLIVES – based on a recipe in the New York Times Cookbook
Makes 50 olives
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (1 ½ sticks)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg, beaten with 1 Tablespoons cold water
10 ounce jar pimento-stuffed cocktail olives, drained and patted dry
- For the dough: In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, cayenne and cheddar until well combined.
- Add the butter in Tablespoon sized pieces, Worcestershire, egg/water and process until a ball is formed.
- Assemble: Take about 2 teaspoons of dough and pat/press into a flat disc in your hand.
- Place an olive in the center of the disc and wrap the excess dough around the olive to fully enclose, pinching to seal.
- Between the palms of your hands, roll into a firm ball.
- Place on a parchment paper lined sheet pan and continue with the remaining olives.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour, covered, or freeze for longer storage.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bake: Place chilled olives on a parchment paper or Silpat lined sheet pan about 1” apart.
- Bake on the bottom rack for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden and dough is set.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.