Monday, September 29, 2008

Daring Bakers - September ~ Lavash Crackers & Toppings

I am late posting my Daring Bakers challenge. I swear I have a good excuse. I had surgery last Weds. and I am just now feeling up to being on the computer. Anyhoo, on to the goodness...

This months challenge was vegan lavash crackers & toppings hosted by Natalie from Gluten A Go Go. Agnes and I had a blast making these.

Agnes helped roll out the crackers and used cookie cutters to make the crackers.

Some of the shapes look better than others. But considering I had a broken arm (it has been a rough month lol) and a she has two little 3 year old ones I think we did pretty good.

We sprinkled the crackers with cinnamon and sugar. Instead of a dip (my arm was killing me so I just couldn't cook anything else) I made a glaze out of the leftover cinnamon and sugar. Agnes now has iced vegan animal crackers. YUM!

Lavash Crackers ~ the recipe includes instructions for a gluten-free version

Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see … ong-Enough for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.


2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.


4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).

6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

I am throwing a birthday party for Sean at the end of October and I will be making the crackers to serve. Only I will probably sprinkle with granulated garlic and onion to serve with hummus.

I just have to say being a Daring Baker is so cool. I love all the new recipes and techniques I am learning!

Thanks Natalie! These crackers are so easy and delish!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Kitchen, My World - Have to skip this week

I would like to apologize to Andrea of for having to miss this week.

I was so excited to see Lithuania picked for our country this week. I had a lot of fun researching the culture and food.

But after I found out I am having surgery on Wednesday I didn't have time to get stuff together well trying to prepare for Weds.

All I know is when I recover I am making some grybas cepilinai! Yum!

Friday, September 5, 2008

My Kitchen, My World - Indonesia

I was honored to be chosen to host this week over at My Kitchen, My World. The country I chose is Indonesia. I have been to Indonesia a couple of times. Once with my best friend Jody and the other with Sean on our honeymoon. Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 island so it saddens me I have seen so little of the county.

Jody and I went in 2000 to Bali. The day after we arrived we thought it would be great if we rented a Jeep and toured the island on our own. That day is one of the best days of my life. I don't think Jody and I will ever laugh that hard again. One of our first stops was the monkey sanctuary in Ubud. When we were getting out of the car I told Jody don't lock the keys in the car. Guess what? OMG. I think the entire village of Ubud tried to open our car with every tool available. Nothing was working. Then a very, very old man walked up, stuck his car key in the door, and unlocked our car door!!! I wish I had a picture of him but as soon as he unlocked the car, he turned, and walked away.

A few of our saviors.

There are so many beautiful things to see in Bali. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking.

This kind of scenery wasn't too bad to look at either! Oh, how I love those little blond surfer boys!

We did all the touristy things. Here we are at Ulu Watu. Seriously, so beautiful.

Jody and Michelle - 2000

Sean and Michelle - 2001

We went to a Kecak dance that totally blew us away. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. It puts you into a complete trance. But of all the things Jody and I and Sean and I did we ate good food. I mean really, really, really good food.

The places I preferred to eat at were the small family run warungs that you can find while wandering down a gang (alley). I crave the food I ate in Indonesia. The smell of the spice market, the beauty of the open kitchens, the smiling faces of the proprietors.

The owner of my favorite warung putting giving an offering. This woman made killer Nasi Goreng. I can't even think about it without drooling.

Tonight I made my dinner in honor of all of those fantastic meals I have eaten and all the wonderful people I have met on my travels in Indonesia.

We were lucky enough to be able to get a few of the ingredients out of our backyard.

We made Lumpia, Udang Goreng, Sambal Udang, Mie Goreng, and Chicken Satay with peanut sauce**. Since I have a broken arm Sean helped me out a lot!

Lumpia Semarang and Udang Goreng (Indonesian spring roll and fried shrimp)-

Sambal Udang (Prawns in chili sauce) -

Mie Goreng - (Fried Noodles)

Chicken Satay and peanut sauce -

The only things missing were some ice cold Bintangs and the sound of the ocean crashing to the shore. Dinner made me so happy tonight. It made me almost as happy as this...almost.

**I didn't post recipes this week because it was hard enough getting this all typed up with my arm. If there is a recipe you would like I would be more than happy to send it to you.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Something to think about

It is no secret that I am a huge Obama supporter. I have donated time, money, and cupcakes to his campaign. That said, I am not going to have a political debate with anyone. I believe everyone has the right to vote for whomever they think is the best candidate. I am only posting this as "Something to think about".

My friend Matt posted this in his journal and I think more people need to see it. Here is just a bit of what Matt had to say:

(Note: I'm not saying vote for Obama, just that Republicans have become the stain of the shit that was nixon. If McCain had the balls to call these festering canker sores out for their douchebagery, he might even earn my vote.)

Thinking about it, perhaps that's what Fox news means about Fair and Balanced. They talk out both sides of their asses when it suits their needs.

Here is the video:

I love the Daily Show.