Sunday, January 25, 2009

A cracking good time

Today I rebelled and didn't make any bread! Okay, that's actually a lie. I did make a loaf of bread, but I hid it under a towel because it is our daily bread and wasn't intended for Sunday Soup. Instead, I made crackers! Yes, crackers!

The Southerner and I periodically take a hard look at our diet and try to change a few things to improve it. The truth is, we probably eat healthier than most people, but there's always room for improvement. We do cook almost all our own food and we're vegetarian so even if we do eat out, we haven't had fast food in like...well, since the last time we drove cross country and had to get pizza slices at a rest stop in Wyoming (which I don't recommend). We also hope to never eat another cheese sandwich from Subway, but I digress. Anyway, recently we talked about what we eat and the whole processed food thing came up again. I am not ready to give up on my faux hotdogs, but when The Southerner suggested I try making crackers, I jumped on it.

He thought the dough I use for pizza crust would be good. It's not. I tried it, thinking he might be right, but yeast does not belong in crackers. So I got out my handy How to Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook (a fave!) and found the recipe for crackers. Soooooo easy!!! And so much fun to make I couldn't stop. After six batches The Southerner finally had to stop me.

"Just because you can make them, doesn't mean you need to supply the whole island!"

Okay, he didn't really say that, but when I suggested making just one more batch, he did roll his eyes. Here are my flavour combos: plain (like an English water cracker), whole wheat and cumin (my least favourite), Parmesan and Italian herb (the best one - made two batches), Aleppo peppers with cornmeal subbed for part of the flour (spicey and yummy), and rosemary and black pepper (a good idea, but it needed more of both seasonings). I highly recommend checking out both this cookbook and this recipe. Or drop by my Facebook page because I wrote it all up there.

In addition to cutting back on our processed food (goodbye potato chips, so long bottled dressing, see ya later Barbara's jalepeno and blue cheese cheet-o-like thingies), we have chosen a few veggies to add to our diet. Being vegetarians, we naturally eat a lot of veggies, but there are some we have avoided because they don't really appeal to us. Bell peppers, eggplant, beets, and sweet potatoes are a few foods that neither of us have ever really wanted to eat, so we didn't.

I can safely say we probably won't voluntarily eat eggplant because it makes my throat itch and The Southerner's not that fond of it. However, lately we've added red, yellow, and orange peppers into our diet, last summer we ate beets from The Fix-it Guy and The Fleece Lady's garden, and today I made Sweet Potato Soup for SS. It was FABULOUS! I may not take any sweet potatoes with marshmallows on Thanksgiving, but I will make this soup again.

It came from The Ultimate Soup Cookbook (Reader's Digest) and let me tell you that this is probably the best soup cookbook I have found. I think I've made about ten soups from it and every one of them was great. I often make alterations, but several of these I've made really close to the actual recipe and they have turned out fantastic. This book is certainly making me look like a better cook than I am. And here's a tip, if you want a copy, try ebay. I got a brand new copy there for $13 plus shipping.

It was a little quieter here this week than last week at Mum & Dad's! The Neighbour informed me that up until last week, we were the only two with perfect attendance, and now I've missed a SS and she's the only one who's been here every single Sunday since May! I said, "Hey! Last week at Mum's, I made four soups and five kinds of bread, plus the soup y'all had here! That's got to count for something!" but she's sticking to her story. So alas, I am no longer perfect. I know, that's a shock to all who know me.

Until next lots of soup!


Trackella said...

If you guys are trying to add sweet potatoes to your diet, may I recommend roasting them? Terry & I are in love with them. Just cut the potatoes up, toss them with some olive oil (3 Tbls. or so), salt & pepper, then roast them at 450° until done. The darker you get them, the yummier they are!

Trackella said...

P.S. My soup this week was Molly Katzen's Brazilian Black Bean soup - from The Moosewood Cookbook. Highly recommend!

Gabriolan said...

You might be interested in this cracker recipe:
I bookmarked it a while ago and have been meaning to try it out.

Gabriolan said...

Thanks for mentioning the How to Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook. You said it's a fave, and so I went off to read more about it at Looks great! I ordered a copy.

And Trackella, thanks for the sweet potato idea. That sounds yummy.

Snapper said...

Those crackers were mighty fine!

Joelle said...
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Gabriolan said...

You're trying the crackers? Excellent! I'll look forward to your report.

I've been meaning to make pizza for a while now, especially since Underground Pizza is no more. I'll try that cornmeal pizza dough recipe - thanks!

Right now I'm in the middle of a major sourdough baking addiction, so I might have to try sourdough pizza dough first. Maybe I'll do that while waiting for Amazon to send Cook Everything Vegetarian to me.

Joelle said...
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Gabriolan said...

So, do you have any buttermilk left over? If you've got 1L of milk, 1c active culture buttermilk, 2 tsp lemon juice, and a bit of salt, then you can make this spreadable cheese:

It's really easy. Oh, you'll need cheesecloth, too, and a thermometer helps. Making both cheese AND crackers would probably qualify you for some kind of gourmet chef award!

I haven't a clue where you live, Joelle, and I only recognize you from photos on your blog. See how a blog can make you famous? ;-)

Thanks very much for the Sunday Soup invitation! That's very generous of you. The Sunday Soups sound amazing.

Now I have to go make some cheese. Maybe I'll add dill this time.