Monday, September 29, 2008

Parmesan Crisps: Good Things

As I write this, the economy is collapsing, our presidential hopefuls are becoming increasingly venomous, the 2008 New York Mets are embarking on a not-entirely unexpected early vacation, and Earth is getting used to the absence of one Mr. Paul Newman, who will henceforth be lighting up the Great Beyond with those beautiful baby blues.

How was everyone else’s weekend?

In all seriousness, mine was good, but it’s getting a little tougher to remain optimistic in the face of bigger, badder issues. Between 24-hour news channels and the internet’s constant flow of depressing information, catastrophes are being hurtled at us more frequently, and the accompanying commentary is louder and nastier than ever before. Good times.

Howevah, sweet readers, to quote Martha, there’re bunches of good things out there, too. Like:
  • Fall!
  • Apples!
  • Sweet Potatoes!
  • The Office is back, with no writers’ strike looming.
  • Between Brady/Vicky’s thoroughly unlikeable brown team and Jerry/Coleen’s there-are-lives-at-stake-here yellow team, The Biggest Loser has suddenly become strangely compelling.
  • Football has returned, and in a stunning turn of events, the Bills are 4-0.
  • For the first time in a century, the Cubs have an honest-to-god shot at winning the World Series.
  • You’re pretty!
  • Americans have united over money: we don’t want Wall Street to get any more.
  • The Comics Curmudgeon!
  • Money origami animals!
  • The Pope likes the environment!
  • Hilariously, 27-year-old Christina Aguilera is releasing a “Greatest Hits” CD.
  • Ludicrously, 15-year-old Miley Cyrus is publishing an autobiography.
  • Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist actually looks pretty good.
  • Tina Fey is sparking SNL to their best-rated season in years.
  • Facebook’s new layout is growing on me.
  • Everyone I know is pregnant. (You should check, just to make sure.)
  • Polar bears remain awesome.
  • Parmesan Crisps!
About that last one: if you’re making soup (particularly a tomato-based one), you’re gonna wanna eat these. The recipe is ridiculously simple, and the results are akin to a giant, all-natural parmesan cracker. Plus, for a measly 22 calories a shot, they’ll sate your cheese craving without you having to resort to gobs of cheddar.

One note: for this particular recipe, I used mid-range pre-grated cheese. Freshly-grated will probably cook differently, because of its density and thickness. If you go that route, I might start at a lower temperature and check the crisps’ progress every few minutes.

In the meantime – enjoy. In times like these, you gotta somehow.

Parmesan Crisps
Makes 1 parmesan crisp

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Empty the parmesan on the paper in a small mound. Then, flatten the cheese until it forms a disc about ¼” thick. Place in oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, checking once at 8 minutes (just in case).

3) Remove from oven and let cool. Serve with soup, or eat on its own.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
22 calories, 1.4 g fat, $0.17

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese: 22 calories, 1.4 g fat, $0.17

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Aryn said...

My mom puts a round cookie cutter down and then dumps the cheese inside to make a nice uniform shape. Mmm, yumm.

I also suggest adding a dollop of chevre cream to the top for true decadence.

Ms Meghan said...

Nick and Nora was co-written by Rachel Cohn who wrote the amazingly excellent Gingerbread trilogy, Gingerbread, Shrimp and Cupcake. They are funny, quirky, interesting and generally wonderful. The main character Cyd Charisse (not the actress but that's still her name) is my hero.

Jaime said...

That sounds awesome. (And you're pretty, too!) Is this parmesan from a shakey can?

Kris said...

Jaime! It is not. It's from the Key Food deli, grated by the fine operators of many scary-looking machines.

Aryn! Good call.

Ms. Meghan! The real Cyd juuuust passed away, I think. Lady could dance.

Christine in Iowa said...

My kids love to make these parmesan crisps. They can use a whole container of parmesan if I don't watch it! :)

Maggie said...

This entry really did make me smile, so thanks! A lot of the same things seem to make us happy :)

carrie said...

Hey there,

I'm a first time poster, but I've been reading for a while now, and I always your posts and recipes. I've tried out a few different recipes you've posted in the past (the lentil soup/stew from last winter became a standard).
Anyway, I enjoy that your blog has the frugal aspect as well. This post caught my attention though. How can it be frugal to heat up your oven to cook one tablespoon of cheese?
I'm not trying to be snarky, just politely curious. :-) I live in Germany, and have never paid an electricity bill of my own in the states, so I don't know what it costs. Here I often think twice before turning on my oven, since it could well be the biggest electricity eater in my apartment. Though of course I still use it and enjoy it. For all I know, your oven isn't electric. And one could cook something big in there while making the parm crisp (which look lovely, btw). Or maybe use a toaster oven?
So I guess what I'm wondering – any thoughts or considerations about the associated (energy) costs of preparing the food, along with the ingredients?


Kris said...

Carrie, that's a great question, and I agree that it's not exactly cost efficient to cook a single crisp. In fact, for this post, I made a few at once (for experimentation's sake), and would suggest that readers do so, as well.

As far as the toaster oven, if it has a temperature gauge, I'd definitely give it a shot. The process is so simple and inexpensive, that it's worth a try.