Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers: Lavash Crackers and Vegan/Gluten Free Dip

I've been wanting to try my hand at crackers for a while now. And along came another Daring Bakers challenge to make me do just that!

Natalie from Gluten A Go Go, and co-host Shel, of Musings From the Fishbowl chose Lavash Crackers from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. The Challenge: You can make the Lavash Crackers either with all purpose wheat flour or you can try making them gluten free. You may use any variety of spices/seeds/salt to top the crackers. All dips/spreads/relishes/salsas must be vegan and gluten free. I went with all-purpose flour and did a simple sesame seed and kosher salt topping on the crackers. My spread for them was hummus. I chose David Lebovitz's Cabbagetown Hummus Recipe and it was wonderful (recipe linked). Once again, my 4 year-old declared my efforts as "dee-yi-cious" and this time, my 7-month-old was able to partake (both crackers and hummus). I am definitely going to make these crackers again for Harrison's snacking enjoyment. And for the adults, I'm going to make some "Razorback Caviar" to serve with the crackers when I make them again. (recipe below)

Razorback Caviar with black-eye peas
2 cans (14-15 oz) black-eye peas without bacon, drained
1 can (14-15 oz) white hominy, drained
1 can (14-15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 8oz bottle Italian salad dressing
1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained

Mix, refrigerate, serve.
This is a great recipe to use fat-free salad dressing in because there are so many other flavors going on you won't miss the fat in the dressing. :)

The Crackers:
I had to keep a close eye on the crackers once I put them in the oven - they browned very quickly but that's an issue with my oven not the recipe.

Ready to go into the oven

And here they are out of the oven:
You can check out other Daring Bakers' Lavash Cracker and Vegan Dip (and I would if I were you - there were so many wonderful ideas and combinations). Many thanks to Natalie and Shel for a wonderful challenge!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Amazon Grocery Sale

So, Amazon is having a grocery clearance sale - up to 55% off selected items.  I was checking it out - if you need three pounds of decorating/sprinkling/sanding sugar, non-pareils or candied rose petals, check out the sale stuff from India Tree.  I'm thinking I'd dig one of those *jars* and I really like that spring green sugar...but not enough to spend my entire $30 Amazon gift certificate on it.  ;)   I could go crazy buying stuff like that.  I actually salivated when I read Joy, the Bakers' entry about Surfas.  And I think I turned spring green with envy that she roamed the aisles there.  ;)

My love of wandering through Williams-Sonoma and Kitchen Co. (a local kitchen store and cooking school) and The Rolling Pin (may it rest in peace) and a local restaurant supply store is what made me so giddy about my birthday gift from a friend last week.  She gave me a new whisk (much needed), two sets of prep bowls (1 oz and 4oz sizes - love them), a bottle of vanilla beans and a wonderful book The Pastry Chef's Companion.  

 I'm alternating reading the birthday gift book and a book I've borrowed from the library: Vanilla : the cultural history of the world's most popular flavor and fragrance.  The Vanilla book is absolutely fascinating.  I've only finished the first chapter of Vanilla and have flipped through Pastry Chef's Companion, but can tell I'll be blogging from *both* of these books.  The Pastry Chef's Companion has an entire section of classic and contemporary flavor combinations that I can't wait to comb through. 

I have a batch of Lactation Boosting Cookies cookie dough in the fridge.  I had pecan pieces left over from making cinnamon rolls a couple of weeks ago, so I threw them in.  Yummy.  I'm being a good girl and actually baking these cookies rather than just eating the dough.

We're making butter this afternoon.  I'll blog about it later.  It's a stunningly beautiful day today.  After days of horribly high heat and then days upon days of Gustav hanging out over Arkansas (I think we had him longer than Louisiana did!) - I'm ready for sunshine and low temperatures and only 50% humidity.  It is a glorious day!!!