Herbed Crackers

Newsflash: Making your own crackers is ridiculously easy!

The question, then, becomes “why would I want to make my own crackers when I can get, like, a bazillion crackers in a box for, like, 3 quid?” The answer would be, of course, “because, like, it’s fun and there’s less unpronounceable crap in homemade crackers, yo.”

Here ya go: the basic Do-It-Yourself-and-Impress-the-Boss recipe for crackers.

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200g (about 2c) unbleached almond flour, plus another 1/2c on stand-by
71g (about 2) egg whites
sea salt and herbs, to taste
olive oil… you’ll have to eye ball this…

**preheat your oven to 325F**

1) in a large-ish bowl, combine the almond flour and egg whites with a fork.

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BEHOLD! the mighty fork!

…you’re going for the consistency of graham cracker crust: crumbly, not too sticky. This is why you need the other 1/2c almond flour on stand-by. Everyone buys their eggs at different markets and everyone is preparing these crackers in varying humidities. Add some more flour if you need to. Also, this would be a good time to add some salt, if you like really salty crackers.

2) dump your cracker dough onto a cookie sheet prepared with parchment paper, then make a parchment paper sammich thusly:

BEHOLD! the parchment paper/dough sammich

BEHOLD! the parchment paper/dough sammich

…roll/flatten/hold one side with your hand/swear at/level the dough between the parchment paper with a rolling pin.

FLATTEN!

FLATTEN!

3) remove the top layer of parchment paper and sprinkle the flattened dough with as many herbs and as much salt as you’d like. …you should probably not exceed your doctor’s prescribed salt intake here, although, who am I to talk? I love a good salt-lick.
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HERBS! ...and also, there's no way to attractively photograph pudgy fingers.

HERBS! …and also, there’s no way to attractively photograph pudgy fingers.

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…replace the top layer of parchment paper and use your hand to lightly rub the salt and herbs into the dough.

4) remove the top layer of parchment paper again, poke the dough with the fork in random spots for ventilation so that you don’t end up with a Cracker Tent, and bake your crackers for about 12 minutes. Depending on your oven (convection, etc) you may need to lessen the time.

5) as soon as you remove the crackers from the oven, slice them up. I used a pizza cutter, but you do whatever paints your fence. Drizzle with olive oil from Green Gate Olive Oils (I used roasted red onion and cilantro flavored), sprinkle with more salt as long as you promise not to have a heart attack, and enjoy!
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…these crackers go great with all sorts of cheeses and dips. I made some Veggie Buffalo Dip; you can find the recipe for that here.

NOSH!

NOSH!

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Pumpkin Spice Bread

If you’re anything like me, you went absolutely apey this past fall and winter buying cans of pumpkin (or preserving it, if you’re handy). While cleaning my pantry last week, I discovered far too many cans of the stuff and decided to shirk the traditional January treats and make some pumpkin bread.

…nobody in the house uttered a word about the inappropriateness of pumpkin after Christmas. Their mouths were too full of pumpkin bread to talk. 🙂

Grandma’s Pumpkin Bread

I'm sure Grandma won't mind if I share this with you...good food makes the world a happier place!

I’m sure Grandma won’t mind if I share this with you…good food makes the world a happier place!

Cream the eggs and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then add the oil. I used the Butter olive oil from Green Gate for that, then added a Tbsp of Pumpkin Spice balsmic from Green Gate, just for fun.
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Mix all the wet ingredients thoroughly, including the pumpkin.

Sift the dry ingredients together, then slowly mix them into the wet ingredient mixture. If you have one of these:

found at Target. Williams Sonoma, and Bed, Bath, & Beyond

found at Target. Williams Sonoma, and Bed, Bath, & Beyond

they make life much easier for mixing cakes and wet breads. They scrape the bowl as they mix in your stand mixer so you don’t have to:

it says, "scrapey, scrapey, scrapey" as it goes "mix-y, mix-y, mix-y"

it says, “scrapey, scrapey, scrapey” as it goes “mix-y, mix-y, mix-y”

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Make sure you let the breads rest for at least twenty minutes before you try to dump them out of their pans. I usually try to let them rest long enough to be completely cool, but the family always wants warm bread and butter, so…you know how that goes.

…aaaaaaaaaand I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. There’s none left, so all I have to remember this batch by is the pestering from my kids to make some more… 🙂

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Try any of our specialty oils and vinegars in your favorite recipes! Visit our website at
http://www.greengateoliveoils.com/ and come in for a taste of gourmet!

Blogging Molly

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My great-grandfather was a hoot. He could tell a story and a joke only about half-way through, because after that he was cracking himself up and had a hard time continuing. He was a small, slight man…bent with age, farm work, construction labor, and loading of the great guns of the USS Idaho during World War II. Ever present were his cane, a cigarette, and his smile. My daughter is named after him.

This is the recipe Grandpa’s daughter, my grandmother, passed along to me. These cookies were Grandpa’s favorites…however, I’ve tweaked the recipe because it’s February and I’m sick of winter. The temperature won’t behave as though Old Man Winter is going on holiday, however, so in the baking, I added coconut flavoring. Coconut makes everything better, even February.

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Grandma’s Sugar Cookies

(makes approx. 24 small-ish cookies are about 16 palm-sized cookies. I usually double this recipe.)

1) Sift…

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Monday Night Veg: Brussels Sprouts

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Roast some Brussels sprouts (rolled in your favorite cooking olive oil, salt, and pepper) in a shallow pan for about 10 minutes on 400F.

After placing them in a serving dish, drizzle with 18year Aged Balsamic vinegar and Roasted Red Onion & Cilantro olive oil. Top with minced shallots and fresh parsley.

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Serve alongside steak, pasta, or a grilled slice of eggplant. Yum!

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Healthier, Richer Brownies

Enjoy these rich brownies without the guilt! You could also substitute the Butter olive oil for our Blood Orange oil to add another rich, dark dimension. Happy Snacking!

Blogging Molly

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Runner’s World published some ideas for healthier foods this month, one of which was to replace half the called-for butter in your favorite brownie recipe with puréed black beans.

“Gross”, I thought.

“Give it a try!”, said I.

So I did. And it’s pretty good! 🙂

Here’s the recipe, adapted from Thomas Keller’s Bouchons recipe.

Beanie Bouchons

1c + 2Tbsp sugar
3/4c flour (wheat or other wise works well)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs, room temp

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3/4c cooked, drained black beans
1tsp salt
2tsp vanilla extract
1c high quality cocoa powder

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2Tbsp apple sauce
1tsp Butter olive oil from Green Gate Olive Oils

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2c chocolate chips

1) heat oven to 350F. Prepare a muffin tin however you’d like. (spray, cups, whatever)
2) In a food processor with a small bowl, process the beans, applesauce, butter, and olive oil until completely smooth.

3) using the bowl of…

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Appetizers for the Busy Host

Hello, All!

I have to say…I had an insane and probably illegal amount of fun this past weekend at Green Gate Gourmet. Cooking and demonstrating “Appetizers for the Busy Host” was truly one of the highlights of my cooking life. The guests who attended quickly became like family (the fun, rowdy kind); laughter and smiles and food…it was a great time. I hope to be able to do that again for Green Gate.

During the course of the demo, several guests asked for the recipes. Sadly, I was completely disorganized and didn’t have any printed out. Well my dears, here are the links and the recipes from this weekend.

Please note that I am keeping my promise. Don’t go running over me with a Buggy. 😉 …you know who you are.

Bruschetta (served on toasted bread brushed with the compound butter)

Compound Butter

Potato Soup

Hot Cocoa

for the Grown-Up Grilled Cheese: Gruyere, Cheddar, & Provolone cheeses, bacon, hot peppers (optional). In the pan to toast the bread: compound butter and Green Gate’s roasted red onion & cilantro olive oil.

for the goat cheese: started with Goat Lady goat cheese from Green Gate Gourmet. The night before serving, combine cheese with shallots, herbs of Provence, salt, and pepper. Cover tightly, using plastic wrap; make sure wrap makes contact with the top of the cheese to avoid condensation. Serve room temperature with either crackers or backed phyllo cups.

for the Brie toppings:

1) canned cranberries (Ocean Spray, whole berries), mandarin oranges (drain if you’d like), and 2 Tbsp ground cloves. Combine in a sauce pan and simmer until the liquid is your desired consistency. Can be prepared and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance.

2) wine syrup- 2 cups of your preferred wine (I used Moscato), 2c sugar, 1/2 a seeded vanilla bean. Combine all these in a heavy-bottomed pot and simmer until soft-ball stage is reached on a candy thermometer. Can be served warm, room temp, or chilled.

Since I don’t have any photos of our time together on Saturday, here’s a random photo sure to make you smile. Thanks for visiting the blog! I hope to hug your neck soon!

-Amy

I photographed this little man and his family last weekend. He clomped around in his dad's Jump Boots for a while and announced, "Gee, Daddy, you have vewy big feet." (see...I told you it would make you smile.)

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Coffee Syrup

Some of the best things in life are caffeinated and sugared.  🙂  Here’s a fun little recipe that is easy and delicious…for those who enjoy a little coffee with their sugar. (shout out to my husband who dreamt up this fabulous emulsion!)

Coffee Syrup

2c coffee (fresh or from yesterday…doesn’t matter)

2c granulated sugar

2Tbsp Blueberry or Espresso Balsamic vinegar from Green Gate

1tsp finely grated crystalized ginger

1/2tsp finely grated nutmeg

1/2tsp finely ground cinnamon

In a double boiler over very low heat, combine all the ingredients. Use a whisk to ensure complete incorporation of the dry ingredients.  Over the course of about two hours, reduce, reduce, reduce.  (don’t scorch! this is why very low heat is vital!) The reduction should be half, to 2/3 the original volume you started with.  Resist the temptation to make this bubble as you would for making candy.  The coffee will turn horribly bitter.

Let this cool completely before you move it.

This reheats easily in the microwave and goes divinely! on ice cream or other sweet, sweet treats that could use a little contrasting flavor.

(alternative recipe: 1c coffee, 1/4c molasses, 1Tbsp flavored balsamic. omit spices. follow directions as above.)

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