I made these cheese crackers a while ago, inspired by Hannah’s version at Honey & Jam, looking for something to snack on one night. And the fact that I’ve waited so long to tell you about them has nothing to do with how savory and soft they were, like Cheese Nips but better!, and much more to do with how short my attention span is becoming.
Like, right now: as this post publishes, while you’re reading about these cheese crackers, I am either on my way to or at the airport, headed to Florida, not two weeks after returning from Nashville. I’m going to see some friends and their families, as well as attend (at least if the weather cooperates) the Kumquat Festival in Dade City.
I mean, really. The Kumquat Festival?
I don’t even know how this all happened except that my friends Elizabeth and Rachel, both of whom I lived with in college but at different colleges in different states, now live in the same place and that place is Florida and, I don’t know if you’re aware, but it’s freezing cold and snowy here, so Florida is definitely the place to go to for the weekend.
By the time my friend Michele mentioned the Chicago French Market to me last Friday, there’d already been a lot of buzz on it (plus more specific calls to us as individuals: an e-mail to me and a handed-out-on-the-street coupon to Michele) but neither of us had yet been to visit, so we declared 9 AM on Saturday morning the perfect time to do something about that.
Part of the MetraMarket at Ogilvie Train Station in the West Loop, this market dubs itself as a European-inspired marketplace, filled with products from local farmers and artisans—sort of a year-round indoor farmers’ market that’s easily accessible for commuters.
And while it turns out to be more like an upscale version of a shopping mall food court than an indoor version of a street in France (think fluorescent lighting and shiny grocery-store floors), it does have some notable features.
Like, for example, bakery:
Can I just say I think it’s the best thing ever that I live close enough to my brother that, on a random Monday night before he leaves for a business trip, I can head over to his apartment after work and he can grab some groceries and we can cook together and then eat on his vintage chairs while we watch the latest episode of Friday Night Lights that he saved on his Direct TV for me?
I mean, really, beyond the unusual privilege of being so geographically close to all my family that I can see them—any one of them—any time I want to, how awesome is it that when I text my brother and say, How ’bout I come over tonight?, he responds by saying he’ll buy chicken. That, even more than his ability to laugh at the right part of stories, calm me down in near-death situations like that crazy car accident on the way to Nashville or willingly let me photograph him while he works in the kitchen, shows how well he gets me and, that we’re family.
The chicken we made last Monday is nothing fancy. It’s the kind of thing you can assemble while you’re talking and munching on leftovers, marinating the meat for 20 minutes and cooking it on the stove. But it’s also the kind of thing that you could marinate overnight and cook the next day.
The night before we left for Nashville, just as I was throwing clothes into my suitcase and packing up a bag of snacks that included carrot sticks, blueberries, strawberries and granola (I know, right? party animal that I am), I got a hankering for graham crackers and then, when I clicked over to Twitter just to check in for a second, there was a link to a new post at Roost for, what else, exactly that.
I enjoy that kind of serendipity in life. It’s like when Becky and I went to Margot Saturday night after being told on the phone there were no openings and then, wouldn’t you know it, someone canceled and we got seated in 10 minutes. Or like a year ago when my car kept putting out smoke and smelling like burnt metal but finally the mechanics saw it was the catalytic converter! all along!, just weeks before my warranty expired, which paid for the entire replacement.
You have to embrace these things, these providences, so that’s what I did last Thursday. Read more…