Sunday, April 21, 2013

Crackin' Up

Cheese and crackers is probably my favorite appetizer. I love soft brie, firm chedder, I recently sampled and bought a sheep's milk gouda that was spectacular. Buttery and firm, delicious by itself, but even better with crackers. We usually have on hand a couple different kinds of crackers, we like the brand Milton's and there a couple of Trader Joe's crackers that are good. But recently, when facing a cracker shortage I decide to make some. It was much easier that I thought is was going to be, and fun too!
 After rolling out the dough, you can add seeds, herbs, salt (definetly salt) and roll them into the dough.Then you cut it into pieces and bake.
A dough scraper should always be at the ready when handling dough, and cracker dough is no exception. After cutting the thin pieces of dought into my cracker shapes, the dough scraper was key in transferring them to the sheet pan for baking.
 I made one batch of poppy seed and sea salt, and another with Herbs de Provence and sea salt. They were both delicious. I think next time I'l do one with parmesan cheese - how could that go wrong?
 Despite the ease of mixing and baking up these delcious snacks, the clean up is always there to snap you back to reality. The second bowl with the pastry blender in it is from my crust making - sweet potatoe pie was also made on the same day.

 There are plenty of cracker recipes out there - I used the one in a fabulous little cookbook called D.I.Y. Delicious by Vanessa Barrington. It's a great read and has many interesting techniques and recipes. Until the next food adventure!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Has Sprouted

Part of feeding a large family is always having food. We make the weekly and sometimes mid-week treks to Trader Joe's but the way I feel that I would rather feed my family would be to raise our food. The latest book I have checked out from the library is called "Backyard Homesteading: A Back-to-Basics Guide to Self Sufficiency." It has chapters on beekeeping, raising chickens, raising goats and 3 chapters devoted to raising your own food.  I already have the chickens, (we eat their delicious eggs) and I have 10 garden beds filled or soon to be filled with edibles. I enjoy working in the garden, I can spend hours out there, weeding, turning compost, replanting, whatever needs to be done is a joy for me, not a chore. Currently I have seedlings of tomatoes (some my Dad started and gave me,) squash, corn, kale, basil, dill, chervil and borage.

Lots of basil starting here!
In the garden my potatoes, sugar snap peas, lettuces and carrots are all coming up, all directly sown. I also have parsley that started coming up all over 2 of my beds, seed that had been laying dormant over the winter. I can't wait to turn all that parsley into delicious, pungent salsa verde!

It will have to come out so that all the tomatoes and squash can go in. I have also planted soybeans for the first time. For some reason I had made the assumption that it would be difficult to grow soybeans, but after reading up on it they are just another legume. This weekend I plan to direct sow my string beans. We'll see if that gets done amidst the soccer, softball and T-ball games. I hope you all have something edible growing in a spot of dirt, or on a windowsill! Happy growing and eating!