December 26, 2012 10:10:30 AM
When it comes to entertaining, I often find that the casual gatherings and impromptu parties outshine more elaborate affairs. I think it's the combination of a relaxed atmosphere and last minute inspiration.
This summer, for example, I was visiting friends when one of the hosts spontaneously began making homemade crackers from corn and flour tortillas. It wasn't planned, but it was delicious. They were positively addictive and I've since started making them myself.
BUTTERMILK RICOTTA CHEESE DIP
Start to finish: 2 hours
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Fleur de sel or pink sea salt, about 1/8 teaspoon
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh herbs, such as thyme, oregano or basil
Zest of 1/2 lemon or orange
Start to finish: 30 minutes
12 round fresh flour or corn tortillas, at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
Seasonings (such as fleur de sel, truffle salt, dehydrated minced garlic, minced dried onion, sesame seeds, etc.)
EDITOR'S NOTE: Elizabeth Karmel is a grilling and Southern foods expert and executive chef at Hill Country Barbecue Market restaurants in New York and Washington, as well as Hill Country Chicken in New York. She is the author of three cookbooks, including "Soaked, Slathered and Seasoned."