Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Daring to do it: Crispy Flatbreads

Was there some sort of secret meeting I should have known about for bking adventures thi month?  First Sourdough Surprises, then the Daring Bakers!!  :)

Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie was our February 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to use our creativity in making our own Crisp Flatbreads and Crackers! Smile

When I fist saw this challenge I was almost let down.  I was already planning flatbread for Sourdough Surprises, and we had so recently done a crackers challenge for Daring Bakers.  How was this going to manage to be different? 
Well, it might now have been terribly different, but it certainly was yummy and fun!As I have said before, I love bread, and flatbreads especially.  Sarah provided us with some fabulous recipes to choose from, but I chose this one for quick crisp flatbreads, since it sounded like a yummy accompaniment for the planned dinner of salad.

The dry ingredients, with dried herbs: basil, marjoram and sage:
Adding the liquid to the well: (Big Girl was very interested in the idea of  well there...!)
The kneaded dough, divided in four parts:
Rolling the dough as thinly as I could.  I loved the tip of rolling directly on the parchment paper.  Amazing how much hassle it alleviated!
Pre-cut, brushed with olive oil, sprinkles with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper:
Straight from the oven:
Salad toppers:
Big Girl just wanted to dip hers!
Thank you, Sarah, for a fun challenge with such tasty treats!  My biggest problem is that these are highly addictive - I just keep going back to the container and snacking on them!
Please treat yourself by seeing what my fellow Daring Bakers created this month.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Surprise! Flatbreads

I love bread.  This really isn't a secret.  And I really love flatbreads.  Especially fresh, warm, crispy on the outside flatbreads...  Mmmm...  I remember, growing up, making simple flatbreads with a friend using flour, water and butter (or margarine).  That was the start of my love affair.  So this month's Sourdough Surprise was super exciting for me.  Why, then, did it take me so long to get my act together to make these? I don't rightly know.  But I am so glad I did this, and I know I will be making them again.
I used this recipe for the breads, and it is one I would happily make again.  It isn't quite as quick to make as a typical flatbread, as it does call for time to rise, but I was still able to have these ready, start to finish, between coming home from school and our six o'clock dinner time.
The dough, ready to rock and roll:
Rolling the dough.  Not really well shaped, but that's not what counts, right?
Baking bread on the griddle:
Ready for dinner:
This is a great little accompaniment for pretty much any meal.  They also make a great base for a snack dipped in hummus.  Or a yummy sandwich with cheese, as Big Gil asked to have for lunch the following day...  All in all, a big hit!
Don't forget to check out what other flatbreads were made to Surprise us this month!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Daring to do it: Sausages

For the January-February 2013 Daring Cooks’ Challenge, Carol, one of our talented non-blogging members and Jenni, one of our talented bloggers who writes The Gingered Whisk, have challenged us to make homemade sausage and/or cured, dried meats in celebration of the release of the book Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn! We were given two months for this challenge and the opportunity to make delicious Salumi in our own kitchens!

Yup.  Salami, salumi, however you say it, I say meat!  Part of me wanted to sit this challenge out.  I mean, vegetarian sausage I kind of understand, but...  I don't know.  I guess I just kind of felt like I wouldn't be doing the spirit of the challenge justice or something.  But I decided that I should do something, if for no other reason than to keep up with the flow!!  (That, and I really didn't want to leave my hostesses hanging...!)

So I made a vegetarian sausage. True, I sort of cheated...  but it still counts, right?!
I made vegetarian stuffed peppers for dinner one night, bat made far more filling than I had peppers for.  The filling was lentils, quinoa, carrots, onions, celery, parsnips, fake meat crumbles, tomato paste, garlic and seasonings.  Sounds like sausage to me!
I added a couple of eggs for a binder:
I then shaped the "sausages" as best as I could:
Since traditional sausage casings are both very not Kosher and kinda gross me out, I used waxed paper to "case" my sausages:
After a soothing sauna/steam bath, the sausages were ready.  And they held together well, too!
I can totally see how this challenge, and the recipes Jenni and Carol provided, would be a lot of fun for carnivores.  I can even say that my vegetarian version was pretty good, and I would kind of like to play with the idea more in the future!  I mean, if nothing else, what a great way to re-purpose leftovers, right?!  So thank you, Jenni and Carol, for challenging me to do something I would never have thought to do!
My fellow Daring Cooks, especially the meat eaters, really did some great work with this challenge.  Please take a look for yourself!