Crazy for Crackers-Daring Bakers Challenge July

Jul 27, 2012
This month Dana McFarlane hosted Daring Bakers July challenged us to get us cracking. ...whats not to love about crunchy, flavorful crackers right? The best part about this challenge was the flexibility of flavor combinations and variety of shapes we could do. 

The mandatory items were: two different crackers recipes prepared using two different methods of forming. I did hand rolling and icebox crackers!

Crackers bring back lot of good memories from my childhood because crackers or biscuits as we called it then was part of everyday snack.. I dunked the sweet ones with milk while the salty ones were frequently found in my lunch box & as after-school snack..

Health Crackers (Roll these by hand)



Servings: Approximately 80 crackers

Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats
2 cups  plain (all-purpose) flour
1 cup wheat germ ( i substituted flax meal)
3 tablespoons  sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup  vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 large egg white

Directions:

1. Mix the oats, flour, wheat germ sugar and salt together in a large bowl or bowl for the standup mixer.
2. Combine the water and oil and stir into the oat mixture until it comes together and a dough forms.
3. Form dough into a disk and allow to rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes but up to a day if you are making the ahead.
4. Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F.
5. Divide the dough into quarters and work with one piece at a time, allowing the remaining pieces to stay in the fridge as you proceed with rolling out the crackers.
6. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/16 inch (1½ mm) thick and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet by carefully wrapping the dough around the rolling pin.
7. Brush the dough with the egg white mixed briefly with a tablespoon of water and sprinkle with seeds (optional) and salt of your choice.
8. Cut the dough with a pizza wheel and bake for 25-30 minutes until browned. Crackers that are not crispy once cooled may be returned to the oven.
9. Store in an airtight container and eat within two weeks.



Mozarella & Basil Icebox Crackers (form into a log and slice)


Servings: Approximately 48 crackers

Ingredients

½ cup butter, well softened
2¼ cups grated mozarella (low-fat, part skim) cheese (the better the cheese, the better the cracker), firmly packed
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon salt

 2 tablespoon dried basil

Directions:

1. Combine butter, basil and cheese in a stand mixer and beat well (can also be done by hand)
2. Add the flour, salt & stir to combine
3. Form the dough into two tight logs and wrap with cling film
4. Chill for at least an hour and up to several days. The log can be frozen at this point for several months.
5. Heat the oven to moderate 325°F.
6. Slice a log into desired shape and place on a parchment lined baking sheet
7. Bake about 10 minutes until golden brown
8. Store in an airtight container and eat within few days



I personally enjoyed the health crackers as they turned out to be very crispy and light. Mozzarella and basil had more flavor but they were not as crunchy as I would have liked it to be! It was a fun challenge to be part of because I never thought about making my own crackers- something that is fairly easy and fun. 


 

...on being lazy with Minty Green Tea + Recipe

Jul 14, 2012
...I dedicated this weekend to laziness, sheer laziness, and for once I am not worrying about laundry, workout, and everything else that once mattered to me...

It involved How I Met Your Mother marathon in PJs, no makeup & staying-in 

followed by refreshing concoction of my favorite ingredients in a glass:  Chilled fresh brewed green tea + honey & fresh mint.. its only three ingredients but pure, simple & completely rejuvenating 


after one laid back Friday night & Saturday afternoon, i was ready for a break..break into my happy space! 

Kitchen is my happy space, outlet for my creativity..no rules..no judgements 

...I stuffed red bell peppers with couscous and sauteed vegetables, topped with grated parmesan to create something one flavorful & satisfying dish..

Ingredients
1 red bell pepper, seeded and halved
1/4 cup cooked couscous
sauteed veggies of your choice ( i used grated carrots, diced mushroom, chopped onions, garlic & black beans) 
salt
paprika
dried parsley
grated parmesan, for toppings

Directions
-Preheat oven to 350F
- Place the bell pepper in the oven for 15-20 minutes until slightly roasted
-In the meantime, saute the veggies with paprika & parsley
-In a small sauce pan, cook couscous and set it aside
-Stuff the pepper with couscous, layer veggies & top it off with cheese and bake for additional 15-20 minutes until the cheese melts


Lesson of the day: 
      it is totally okay to slack off 
      learn to relax (often)
      break-free &
      enjoy...

Tandoori Tofu

Jul 8, 2012

..sometimes all you need is only few ingredients to bring out the best in a dish, like  when you marinate a piece of  tofu (extra firm) with non-fat plain yogurt, tandoori masala, & ginger/garlic paste!



Allowed it to soak up the flavor for an hour or so in the refrigerator..

if you have a charcoal or electric grill- use it but sadly i don't so I pan fried it and it tasted pretty darn good..

Its great as an appetizer or



you can make a tandoori tofu wrap with yogurt-cilantro sauce

and add spinach if you like- I think spinach makes everything better


Wrap it up and enjoy


Tofu is pretty bland by itself but very versatile- great substitute for meat in stir fries, soups, grilled dishes, and curries to name a few but it is really important to choose the right kind of tofu to serve its purpose..it's generally available from soft to extra firm..Also, I like how it happily soaks up flavor quickly.


Tandoori Tofu
Makes: 3-4 servings

Ingredients:
1 package, tofu (extra firm)
¾ cup non-fat plain yogurt
2 tablespoon tandoori masala
 1 tablespoon ginger/garlic paste
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooking oil spray (may use canola oil for pan frying too)

Directions:
  1. Drain the tofu and squeeze out as much liquid as possible
  2. Dice tofu into bite-size pieces
  3. In a small bowl, combine all the above ingredients (except the cooking oil) and make into a paste, stir it tofu. Cover the bowl and let it marinade for couple hours in the refrigerator
  4. In a skillet over medium heat, spray cooking oil or cooking oil and pan-fry tofu pieces for few minutes on each side
  5. Remove from the skillet and serve them hot as an appetizer or assemble them into tofu wraps
  6. For tofu wraps, heat tortilla (preferably 100% whole wheat), yogurt-cilantro sauce (or the one you prefer), with veggies such baby spinach, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, onions etc and roll them into wraps.
For yogurt-cilantro sauce
-          In a food processor, blend ½ cup non-fat plain yogurt, 1 bunch of chopped cilantro leaves, 1 chopped green chili salt, and pepper until they turn into a smooth paste. Add water if you want thinner consistency sauce.