Anyone who warns you about the tumultuous process of undergoing a kitchen renovation should be listened to, and closely. Most likely they haven’t cautioned you enough since it is hard to convey the emotional upheaval that comes along with it. Sound dramatic? Chances are you haven’t experienced it.
This past September, after lots of planning, saving and extensive waiting, our fifties era kitchen was gutted and we rejoiced the day. The two months of reconstruction that ensued tested our patience in every possible way. Maybe it had something to do with me being a chef, and cooking my lifelong passion. My husband might attribute it to our then 15 month old toddler who happened to be at the stage of getting into everything. Of course there is the other small detail of me being in the first trimester of a second pregnancy, but that is a story for another day.
Without reliving it completely, especially considering how much I was able to mentally block out, suffice it to say we are just now coming up for air. Our new kitchen is in place, and is everything and more we hoped for. Fortunately the project was completed just on the heels of Thanksgiving, and I am more than ready to get cooking again.
Given the endless stories we shared with friends and neighbors during the arduous renovation, people were naturally curious to see how it turned out. Two months of waiting gave me plenty of time to stew over which recipes I would attempt first and what sort of niblles I might have on hand for a quick visit or two to see the new space. A recipe for savory shortbread has been on the back burner of my mind for quite awhile. One of my favorite tarts has a whole wheat crust flecked with freshly chopped rosemary. It has a nutty complexity to it that is both buttery and fragrant in flavor. I have imagined turning it into savory crackers, but the consistency does not stand up when rolled into a thicker shape.
Instead I adapted a savory shortbread recipe to include whole wheat flour and added a few heaping spoonfuls of Parmigiana Reggiano cheese to enhance the nuttyness and give another dimension of flavor. These are the perfect snack to go with cocktails or a glass of champagne, and because they are indeed rich, really need no additional accompaniments. The dough yields several dozen and the shortbread also makes a great holiday gift when packaged in a festive tin. Wrapped with an appropriate bottle of port or wine to pair alongside would make any food enthusiast quite happy.
3/4 C whole wheat flour
3/4 C all purpose flour
2 sticks of cold, salted butter cut into small cubes
3/4 C freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
Place both flours, cheese, rosemary and black pepper in a food processor and pulse once to combine. Add butter and pulse until the dough comes together. Add a few drops of cold water if necessary. Shape the dough into a 12 inch log and chill for at least one hour. Cut the dough into 1/2 inch rounds and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake the shortbread for about 20 minutes or until the bottoms start to turn golden brown.