Why is Ocktoberfest not a national holiday? Its happy harvest of craft beer, bratwurst, applesauce and homemade blue cheese crackers turned me into an appetizer champion this year. Driven by Christian’s sailing prowess (he sailed solo from Los Angeles to Hawaii and back last summer; won racing championships; worked the Washington Post; writes screenplays & books; you get the picture), we also had a little wind and a daunting appetizer competition on Catalina Island (a 6 hour sail on the Pacific from Los Angeles). Our toughest competitors: a three-tiered brat-in-a-mug display and a just-pulled-out-of-the-sea Yellowtail Ceviche. Formidable. But our crew prevailed with handmade Blue Cheese Crackers topped with Horseradish Sour Cream, Filet Mignon and Chive. The prize: a very special pocket knife in the shape of a fish and due respect on the outdoor wooden dance floor as early ’70’s classics known as “yacht rock” rolled. I move to create a campaign for Ocktoberfest virtues to officially hit the the holiday schedule. Who’s with me?
Sturdy Deck of our vessel, Thelonius:
Fujis, the perfect snacking and baking apple
sailing in to Two Harbors
harvest apples in tarte tatin
Bleu* Cheese & Pecan Crackers Recipe:
The secret to this recipe, and indeed most recipes that contain bleu cheese, is to include a few shakes of Worcestershire Sauce. What is Worcestershire Sauce, in case anyone ever asks you? It is fermented, brewed sauce made with molasses, vinegar, chili peppers, soy sauce, fish sauce and a few other zingers. If you don’t have a bottle of Lea & Perrins around, try Annie’s Naturals Organic Worcestershire Sauce; Edward & Sons Organic Vegan Worcestershire Sauce, or toss the above ingredients together for a close approximation. Otherwise, this recipe is a very simple short dough with cheese and crushed pecans and a lot of flavor.
6 oz. blue cheese
6 oz. pecan halves (broken;about 1 cup)
4 oz. butter
12 oz. flour (all purpose; about 1 1/2 cups)
1 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. white vinegar (such as rice wine vinegar)
1 tsp. salt
Place all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low for about 1 minute or until the dough comes together. Remove the dough from the mixer and shape it into a log rolled in parchment paper. Chill the log for about 1/2 hour. Slice the dough into 1/4″ slices and bake for about 6-8 minutes. Flip the crackers and bake for 2 more minutes just until brown around the edges. Adapted from Martha Stewart
Salty Dog Jake
The Prize Fish!
* “blue” in English; “Bleu” in French – both correct 🙂