Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Night of From-Scratch Cooking

I am super excited!

We've been trying to cut back our grocery bill here at the Green H. January's bill was outrageous! But I don't want to cut back on the quality, I told Shinerman I refuse to compromise on that. That was essentially the end of that argument. But, we DO need to watch the amount we spend. Especially in these times when it seems the economy is falling down around our ears. No layoffs here, knock on wood, but I did just lose half my team. NO FUN. my solution? Make more from scratch. I made my first pot of dry beans last week, pretty good. We ate some that night and I froze the rest in a mason jar. I'll use them this week in some Taco Soup. I've also started making bread, but I did buy some organic frozen biscuits and whole-wheat rolls the last time I went grocery shopping. I think it'll be the last time, though; those frozen biscuits are YUMMY, but expensive. More than $4 for 7! I'll definitely be trying to make those before I buy the frozen ones again! The bread's another post for another day, though.

The reason I'm so excited is because I made CRACKERS! From Scratch! Did you know you could make your own crackers? It never occurred to me until I read my latest blog discovery. The internet black hole led me here to a Rosemary Garlic Crackers recipe. I mentioned to a woman at work that I was making some crackers tonight and she matched my surprise that you can do this on your own.

The recipe as I made it is below, but I recommend visiting her site. I really like it!

Rosemary Garlic Crackers
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp milled flax seed
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp rosemary, chopped
1 rounded tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper, optional
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
more salt for the tops

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a bowl or food processor, mix together the flours, milled flax seed, baking powder, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the water and oil, stirring until dough comes together. If dough is too dry to mix, add another tablespoon of water or as needed. Divide dough in half.
3. Roll the dough out very thin, cracker thin. They will puff and rise a bit while baking, but not a lot. Roll them thin. Transfer the dough to a
Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet. I used a pizza cutter to cut the crackers into squarish shapes. Sprinkle salt over the tops of the crackers and lightly press into dough.
4. Bake crackers in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and crackers look crisp. Check them at 12 minutes! They will crisp up a bit as they cool. If crackers are still soft after cooling, place back in oven and bake for another couple of minutes.

They turned out really well. Although, I will say it takes a lot of pressure to get them thin. I pushed as hard as I could and they were still not as thin as you'd expect. I think next time I'll roll them out in smaller batches. I only changed a little from the recipe I found. I didn't have the nutritional yeast or granulated garlic she used. I'm glad this called for rosemary, because we are always trying to find a way to use the rosemary we have in the herb garden. Two plants that never die back produce a ton of herbs! I think I'll try this with the thyme and sage from the garden, too. Oh, and I was cooking with the littlest man and accidentally doubled the recipe; I guess it's a good thing, now I have some dough in the fridge to make tomorrow.

This took about 15 minutes, even with the kid helping, plus the time in the oven. I came out with yummy crackers that I know what's in them and how they were made, saved money AND had a fun time with my son. And really, it doesn't get much better than that.

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