Saturday, September 27, 2008

Crackerin' it Up - Daring Bakers September 2008

Hi folks,

Yes its been a while! My husband is off in Ohio-land working hard and enjoying the perks of civilization once again. I am here, in the Last Frontier, toiling away at packing up essential, trying to sell non-essentials, and working feverishly to get as much done for my department at work as I can!

I haven't had a lot of time to document my culinary adventures. However, lucky for you, as a committed DB-er, I present this month's challenge - Lavash Crackers and Hummus Dip. Shel of Musings From The Fishbowl and Natalie from Gluten A Go Go were this month's hosts!

You all have seen my Hummus previously. Its so easy to make, and since it helps me use up food from my pantry, I figured why not!

The lavash cracker recipe chosen was out of Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice - one of my all-time favorite cookbooks! I had been eyeing this recipe for some time! It turned out fabulous :D. You can find the recipe and other details of the challenge HERE.

If I hadn't been on the verge of moving back to the states, I would have tried out this challenge going gluten free. This is the perfect recipe for testing out 'alternative' ingredients. I certainly will try it when I get settled in back in Ohio! The best thing I LOVED about this recipe was playing with flavor combintations. The lavash is a blank canvas for flavors. On its own its a great cracker - crunchy, slightly sour (i left my to ferment over 24 hours in the fridge) - better than the mass produced unsalted saltines I buy! But MAN O MAN, playing with flavor combinations produces spectacular cracker unlimited potential!

The dough isn't too difficult ot work with. I mixed up a single batch by hand, as I had sent my KA mixer to its new home earlier in the week. I was sad to see it go, but my hubby has been trying to bribe me with a new one for years now - and put his foot down about shipping it back. How can I be mad at a man trying to buy me a new one - at least he was resourceful enough to use the move back to his advantage!

I decided on the following flavors:

Pesto/Garlic - Using some left over store-bought pesto (trust me its cheaper than paying through the nose for the basil and pinenuts!) and a tablespoon of chopped garlic, I slathered the pesto on the outside thirds of the dough, and slathered the garlic (with a little EVOO) in the middle third.

Black and White Sesame Seeds - I alternated black and white sesame seeds on the dough. I also sprinkled a wee bit of kosher salt to brighten up the sesame flavor a bit.

Salted Spicy Red Pepper - I mixed up a tbsp of cayenne pepper, 1 tsp of paprika and 1 tsp of kosher salt and sprinkled it over the top of the dough.

Italian-inspired - using dried italian herb seasoning, chopped garlic, and some parmesean cheese, springled each over prepared dough.

In each case - I sprayed the dough before and after the seasonings were placed. The first spray helps it stick, but I have found, after dealing with bread toppings in the past, that the spray after helps it stay put even better.

The crackers were great! I really loved the salted spicy pepper ones! Using the Hummus I made and a jar of spicy mediterranean eggplant spread I had in my pantry from a friend, I took the bounty to work. The comments were quite positive, along with many "who's going to bake for us when you go?" style comments, which made me kind of sad :*(.

Check out the DB Blogroll to see what the other DBers came up with this month! I am going to have a few more posts here before I end up a 'real' American again - I promise you. The local blueberry festival is tomorrow - and as of right now I am working on three entries! Stay tuned to see what I come up with!


Cindy Ruth said...

Amelia-Your crackers look great. I loved this recipe, and I guess it's time to buy the cookbook. I'll also have to try your recipe for hummus-sounds nice and simple.

Libby said...

Yum! I love your crackers. I think we were kind of on the same page- didn't you love how some got more brown than others?

Lauren said...

Ooo, your lavash looks wonderful, and your topping looks great!!

Amelia Bedielia said...

Cindy - Reinhart's book is one of my all time favorites!

Libby - I loved how the crackers browned AND how crispy they were - definitely not a wimpy cracker!

Thanks Lauren! The topping combination possibilities make this cracker infinitely versatile!

Sophie said...

ooo... i am an eggplant super fan! sigh. i want the spicy eggplant sooooo badly right now. with rice.

Here I bought a sauce pack so as to skip all the seasonings! and i will try this friday after work.