Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Crackers and breadsticks and chicken, oh my!

Here's what I did with my snowy Sunday...

I made whole wheat cumin seed crackers, topped with sesame seeds and kosher salt:
Whole wheat cumin seed crackers

I experimented with an apricot chicken and rice dish:
Apricot glazed chicken and rice

I made a batch of crunchy herbed breadsticks (this batch had oregano and parsley, and romano cheese instead of parmesan):
Homemade crunchy breadsticks

To explain 2/3rds of what I did: I'm not buying any store-bought snack foods during Lent this year, so I'm hauling out various cracker and snack recipes to make in the meantime.

The whole wheat cumin seed crackers are part of a larger Charlie Trotter recipe for a seared tuna something-or-other... I thought the cracker part looked good (fish allergy, blah blah). The cumin seed flavor is actually a bit much in the crackers. I say that as someone who LOVES Indian food and is a fan of cumin seed in general. But, in these crackers, it's kind of overpowering. They're not BAD (half of them are gone already)... just not quite what I was expecting. Happily, I got a chance to test out a substitute "egg" wash that I thought would work nicely for these. Instead of using an egg + water, I mixed equal parts of honey and water, and brushed it on the crackers to adhere the sesame seeds and kosher salt. It worked very well. The honey gives a nice little touch of sweetness that works well with the whole wheat flour in these.

I've made the breadsticks before, and have talked about them here before... they're a nice snacking option, and I figured that I might as well make additional snack stuff while I had the time. :)

The apricot chicken and rice... let's just say that, when it snows around here, other people's driving gets incredibly scary. I decided to stay home and make dinner with what I had on hand. I don't normally make up recipes from scratch; I'll take an existing recipe and change half the ingredients around, but I don't usually just plop down a bunch of ingredients and say, "What can I make with this?" The fact that I came up with something that I actually want to make again... yay! I'll play around with it, and once I get a recipe for it, I'll pass it along.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I have wanted to make homemade bagels since I started getting into baking a couple of years ago, and this past Sunday was the day to finally do it.

For a first attempt, they came out nicely. I have several notes for the next time I try this. Knead for longer than I think I have to; make bigger holes; check them halfway through the baking time to see if they're browning too quickly.

This is what I had before baking:
Plain bagel, pre-baking

And here's what I had after baking:
Finished bagels

They got a lot browner than I meant for them to be, and the holes on all but one of them closed up from the amount of puffing that took place during baking.

Here's the one that retained its hole:
Homemade bagel

Once I get the recipe down perfectly, the folks at work are definitely getting a batch of these and English muffins some morning...

However, definitely acceptable for a first try.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Potato, Sage, and Rosemary Pizza

I made this recipe for a party I went to last weekend:

Potato, Rosemary, and Sage pizza

And the more food-porn-y shot:
Potato, Rosemary, and Sage pizza

I grilled the potatoes on my countertop grill, rather than sautéing them. I'm using every excuse possible to use this grill... I love it.

I switched out Romano cheese for the Parmesan cheese that the recipe calls for, mainly because I have a hunk of Romano cheese that I'm trying to use up before anything fuzzy happens to it.
My only complaint was that the rosemary ended up being a bit overpowering and bitter. I would definitely cut back both the rosemary and sage by half if I were to make this again.