I have very few food-related memories of my Dad growing up. Mom was a wiz in the kitchen. Dad, not so much! There were the adventures in clam digging, when he would take me, my sister, and our cousins out fishing and clamming for the day. There was also the bi-annual can of hash he would get a craving for, or fried bologna. You always had to be careful around him when there was balogna involved ... or slices of American cheese ... or wet sponges for that matter. If you were within arm's length, you were likely to get smacked across the face with one. Yup, we got our strange sense of humor from Dad. That's actually a good thing though, since we question whether Mom has a sense of humor! I can't tell you how many cards I've sent her over the years, or comic strips I've laughed over, movies, you name it -- she just doesn't get it. I try to explain, but it's no use. What can I say? 😩
So anyhow, aside from the clams, hash, and fried bologna, the only other "food" item I can associate my Dad with is Pumpernickel toast topped with butter and slices of Kasseri cheese. It's amazing that something so simple can taste so good! Growing up in the Boston area, we used to head to an Italian market in the North End for beautiful breads and anisette toast, the cheese, etc. If I was old enough to drink wine back then, I would have been in heaven!
Having made Cheddar Crackers a while back, I started wondering if I could make a Pumpernickel/Kasseri version. Truth be told, this was kind of a bust. Don't get me wrong, we really like the crackers, but the Kasseri didn't shine though at all! I'll be going back to the drawing board with this one, but I'm sharing this version for now, since we really do like them, and it was super easy!
1 c Kasseri, shredded
1/2 c rye flour
1/4 c rice flour
1 T cocoa powder
1/4 t salt
1 t sugar
2 T butter
1 T canola oil
2 T molasses
1/4 c warm water
Whisk together the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter with a fork (or just rub it in with your hand like I did), then mix in the molasses and warm water. The dough had a slightly loose, grainy texture.
Roll it very thin, between sheets of waxed paper, cut into desired shape and transfer to trays. The first time I made crackers, I baked them on parchment. Apparently, the parchment retains too much moisture, and since the crackers are on the parchment, the moisture affects their crisp. This time, I opted to line the tray with foil and give it a light spray of PAM Baking.
Bake at 350 for 12-15". They felt too soft to me, but if I kept them in any longer, they would have burned, so I turned off the oven, let it cool down significantly, then put the tray back in so the residual heat would finish drying them out.
I should have waited and made them after dinner. We practically ate through the whole tray while dinner was in the works, so now we have leftovers! ;)