Road trips are one of my favorite vacations. It is so awesome to be able to be in total control of your time and itinerary. We just got home after spending 10 days on the road in North Carolina. Mind you, I was a bit nervous about spending so many hours in the car with this little cutie pie, but in the end he really behaved (and watched so much TV). We had a phenomenal time together as a family, we got a chance to reconnect with nature, and with old friends.
We started our trip in Asheville where we were lucky to stay at our friend’s mom’s home. She has this beautiful and cozy home near a small lake and a very comfortable basement apartment with its own private entrance. She was a wonderful host and pointed us in the right direction when it came to food and beer. Adam and I have been enjoying discovering the world of beer (even though I am a big fan of IPAs and IPAs only) and as Asheville being a craft beer capital, and the fresh and delicious vegetarian food, was a perfect destination. We visited Camp Judaea where I spent 7 summers of my life and hiked in the Blue Ridge Mountains, drank some amazing beer, ate delicious food, spend the afternoon by Lake Lure, and danced at the Bele Chere music and arts festival.
After Asheville, we were lucky to spend a night up on Beech Mt. with some Miami friends but due to the rain we headed over to Raleigh a day early to spend some time with Adam’s Year Course friends.
A few weeks back you read about a morning I spend with my Nona Shula making Marzipan and I promised that I would be back with the famous ‘Baton Salé.’ After a wonderful vacation, I got home to be invited by my grandmother to cook and bake with her again this week. During our trip, Adam and I talked a lot about what we don’t love about Miami because when you travel to such wonderful places you envision your life there as well. We also talked about what we would miss if we were to move away and we always come back to how important living near family is for us and how much luck our little man has to be able to spend time with grandparents, great grandparents, his aunt, and my aunts. We are really lucky to be able to have this experience and to form and strengthen these relationships in ways that can only happen when you live so close by.
This time around we made Baton Salé, Bazargan (Syrian Tabouleh-bulgur parsley salad), and meat Bourekas. Baton Salé are pretty famous in my family and within those friends that have been lucky enough to try them. To me they translate as salty cheese sticks and I am really unsure as to where they are from. I recall my great grandmother Yvette was the one to bring them to our family but I sometimes get the stories mixed up. They are scrumptious cheese crackers that once you eat one you cannot stop and eat them all. As other family recipes, the instructions are a little bit of this and a little bit of that and “you will see when you make them” but I am sure that there is no wrong way.
Yield: 160-180 sticks
- 3 1/3 sticks of salted butter
- 2 lbs of flour
- 2 cups of Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp of Baking powder
- 1 cup of cold water
- 1 egg, beaten and with a drop of water
1. Preheat the oven to 340°F and mix the flour, baking powder, and butter in a big bowl and break down the butter until it forms little balls with the flour. Do not over knead as you want your Baton Sale to be flaky.
2. Add the Parmesan cheese and mix
3. Add the cup of cold water and mix until the dough comes together.
4. Make dough into 3 inch balls and refrigerate while you begin to extend and cut your cheese sticks
5. Extend the dough into a 4″ wide rectangle until it is about 1/4″ thick and using a zigzag or a crinkle cut knife cut the top and the bottom to make it even. Using a knife, trim the borders of the extended dough to make them even, as you want your rectangle to be about 3 1/2″ wide.
6. Begin cutting the cheese sticks with the Crinkle Cut Knife so that they are 1/2″ wide. You can use your first one as a sample for each one you do.
9. Once you are done baking them all, turn off the oven, place them all together onto one or two cookies sheets, and place them back in the oven so that they toast a little bit more.
* You can easily halve the recipe to have a smaller yield