to make: a mother’s day appetizer.

May 5, 2015

appetizer en fleuri | reading my tea leaves I didn’t know what to call this post. Really, it doesn’t have much to do with Mother’s Day, but it would be an easy thing to make for a mother, and a pretty thing to serve in May, so there you have it.

Also, homemade crackers served with goat cheese coated in herbs is a mouthful. And not very poetic. And alas alack, my second choice—chevre en fleuri—is maybe too poetic and it’s written in another language and probably not exactly clear, even if you do happen to speak French.

Still, we’re talking about flowery goat cheese. And homemade crackers. Mostly, we’re talking about taking something super simple, dressing it up a little, and ending up with something that tastes good and satisfies a need for something special.

And so, I present you with goat cheese rolled in flowers and spice and everything nice. And homemade crackers.
appetizer en fleuri | reading my tea leaves The springtime appetizer was inspired by the recent arrival of a tiny package of the most beautiful spice blend from my friend Claire‘s Curio Spice Co. Just in time for spring, Claire introduced Fleur Spice, a beautiful blend of pink peppers, hibiscus, rose, et cetera. It was Claire’s suggestion that I take the spices for a little tumble with a log of fresh chevre. I’m here to give the idea a double thumbs up.
appetizer en fleuri | reading my tea leaves Because shoveling spoonfuls of goat cheese into one’s mouth may or may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I made a super simple batch of crackers for serving purposes, adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything.

For the crackers:

1 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup of water
seasame seeds, for sprinkling
sea salt, also for sprinkling

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Use a pastry cutter to combine the flour, salt, and butter. (I found the crackers to be a tad salty after I sprinkled them with salt, so I recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon salt to the dough instead of the teaspoon that Bittman uses.)

Next, slowly add the water, using a fork to pull the dough together until it forms a soft, squishy, and not-at-all sticky ball.

Dust a clean surface with flour and roll the dough into a thin sheet; about 1/4 inch thick.

Sprinkle with seasame seeds (I used already-toasted seeds because they were what I had) and sea salt, or whatever else your heart desires.

Use a cookie cutter to cut the dough into more-or-less-similarly-sized rectangles.

Transfer rectangles to a baking sheet lightly dusted in flour. (I used a metal spatula to make quick work of this step.) (The crackers won’t expand so you can bake them right up next to one another.)

Lightly prick each cracker with a fork and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. (I found I needed 15.)

Cool on a cookie rack. Store in an air-tight container.

appetizer en fleuri | reading my tea leaves I used a pizza cutter to cut the dough into slightly irregular rectangles.
appetizer en fleuri | reading my tea leaves Crackers, post-bake.

For the cheese:  

2 tablespoons dried herbs or spices (I used the Fleur Spice from Claire because it’s beautiful and delicious. You can use any herb—fresh or dried—that you desire. Fresh dill and finely chopped chives are both yummy alternatives.)
1 log goat cheese (Any kind you love’ll do.)

What to do:
Begin by popping the log of goat cheese into the freezer so it’s just a little firm and easier to handle. (Mine was in there for less than the time it took me to listen to The Longest Shortest Time while making those crackers. So, not too long.)    

Once the cheese is firmed up in the freezer, spread a thin layer of spice onto a sheet of parchment paper and roll your chilled goat cheese through the spices. It might take a few rolls and little sprinkling in the bare spots to fully coat.

When the cheese is fully coated, wrap it up in parchment paper to keep cool before serving. (If you use fresh herbs, you can do this as much as a day in advance, but I’d recommend not letting a powdery spice sit for too long on the fresh cheese to make sure it doesn’t have the chance to get too moist.)
appetizer en fleuri | reading my tea leaves Cheese, mid-roll.                                          
appetizer en fleuri | reading my tea leaves Et voila. Flowery goat cheese with a kick.

PPS. Next plan? Mixing the Fleur Spice with a little bit of salt and using it to coat the rim of a summery tequila cocktail. Cheers to motherhood!

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  • Reply Hannah S May 5, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Sounds delicious. We are going for a mothers day picnic so this will be a perfect add on.

  • Reply ariana May 5, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I have to say, I'm a little partial toward "chevre en fleuri" 😉 I adore goat cheese, and this looks so lovely–thanks for sharing, Erin!

  • Reply Dina May 6, 2015 at 12:29 am

    chèvre en fleur or chèvre fleuri would be more correct

  • Reply claire May 6, 2015 at 2:58 am

    what great photos of that Fleur spice wrapped goat log! (haha goat log is so unromantic, but it tastes so good!) You captured it beautifully. Thanks for the mention 😉 And your crackers look delightful, too.

  • Reply J.S. Oxford— The House of Muses May 6, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Somehow, it has NEVER occurred to me to make crackers. How amazing! 🙂 I must do this, as I also love goat cheese…. Away to the kitchen!

  • Reply Anonymous May 7, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    i just ordered some – thank you so much for the inspiration! i'm planning to do a spontaneous "toast to spring" next week for some friends and the chevre fleuri will be perfect. (i guess if i do too much planning it won't be so spontaneous, but….)

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