Weekend Snack: The Ultimate Mediterranean Snack

Guest Post from Shaily, Danya and Deanna of Matkonation

Looking for a something to munch on, a snack for a party or an appetizer for a meal? This is the recipe for you — crispy cheese sticks made with ground cayenne pepper and fresh thyme leaves.

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The crispy texture of these cheese sticks comes from minimal working of the dough in a food processor, just until all the ingredients form a ball. If you want to cool down the spiciness you can cut the amount of cayenne pepper in half and add a 1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika. You can even play around using your favorite spice (try turmeric, cumin, ground caraway, etc.) and you can switch the thyme leaves with fresh rosemary leaves, basil, etc.

I'm going for the total Mediterranean vibe here and serving these cheese sticks with sun-dried tomato hummus and green olive tapenade, but you can also go Mexican style and serve them with salsa and guacamole (or whichever style floats your boat). No worries though, these cheese sticks go great when flying solo as well — as the perfect snack to satisfy that munch hunger.

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Spicy Cheese Sticks Served with Sun Dried Tomato Hummus and Green Olive Tapenade

Ingredients for 10 cheese sticks:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 stick (2 oz.) cold butter, cubed
3 oz. Kashkaval cheese, cubed (you can substitute Kashkaval with any other semi firm cheese such as Provolone, Sharp Cheddar, Mozzarella, etc.)
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper + 1/2 teaspoon paprika)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt

Preparation:
Place all ingredients in a food processor and mix until the ingredients have formed a ball of dough.
Divide the dough into 10 and roll out each piece to an 8 inch stick. Place all ten sticks on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about a half hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush the sticks with a bit of water and evenly sprinkle on sea salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.

Allow to chill to room temperature before eating. May be stored in an air-tight container (no need for refrigeration) for up to 3 days.

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
It is very important that the garbanzo beans are very soft before making this recipe.

Ingredients for 2 cups of hummus:
11/2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked and drained (you can use canned garbanzo beans)
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, well drained
3/4 cup water (filtered or bottled)
2 tablespoons raw tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Preparation:
Place all ingredients in a food processor and mix until all ingredients are combined and mixture is smooth. If the hummus is too thick, add a bit of water. Taste and season accordingly.
Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two days.

Green Olive Tapenade
Any type of green olive will work here but I like to use either Manzanilla or Picholine.

Ingredients for 2 cups of tapenade:
2 cups green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup almonds (not toasted)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped

Preparation:
Place all ingredients in a food processor and mix until all ingredients are combined and mixture is smooth
Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to one week.

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Thank you for sharing, Shaily, Danya and Deanna!
Visit Shaily, Danya and Deanna's weblog:
Matkonation
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(Images: Matkonation)

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