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Sunday, May 18, 2014

More Crackers.... Karrot Krackers

This may be my Cracker version 10.0 or 11.0, have lost track of how many attempts I've made to get a nice cracker, but this is my best effort yet.... Karrot Krackers (yes, with a K...just kause....).

It's been rainy and stormy and a bit dreary here in Ohio, even if temps are no longer sub-zero.  I think we are still craving sun...really REALLY craving sun.  Yesterday's chill made me think I could squeeze one more pot of my favorite soup out of this season.

And, when I think of soup, I bemoan the fact that there aren't any really good (and affordable) vegan low-no fat cracker options.

So I tried again to concoct one, just from scratch.

Karrot Krackers:

1/4 - 1/2 C sunflower seed milk
1/2 - 3/4 C whole wheat flour
1/4 - 1/2 C cornmeal
2 T ground golden flaxseed
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/4 C shredded carrots
1/4 t celtic salt
1/2 T safflower oil*

Mix dry ingredients and then shred the carrots into the mix (I used my microplane so they were more minced than shredded).  Soak raw sunflower seeds in water in the Vitamix and blend up for seed milk.  Add milk in slowly to mix a consistency somewhere in between bread dough and cookie dough.  I had to adjust between dry ingredients and then more wet to get this to a nice pliable consistency....not too dry and not too sticky.

(*Normally I cook nearly 100% without oil, but decided to add just a bit to this recipe.  I don't think it really made much of a difference though).

Roll out dough very thin on pizza stone with floured rolling pin.  (I ended up with a bit of extra dough and flattened with my hand and baked on a cookie sheet. It came out fine).

Bake at 375 until edges are browned (mine took about 20-25 mins).  I thought the dough still felt a bit spongy in the middle so turned the oven off and left the crackers in the oven until it cooled.  I think this really helped to give a nicer crunchy texture to the crackers.  I didn't score the dough with a cutter so ended up breaking them into chunks by hand, which worked out fine.

This cracker tastes a little bit like a wheat thin, something I was going for, but is more bland.  I would definitely add more salt and maybe a spice or just up the carrot content to get a little bit more sweetness.  Red pepper flakes and some chili spice would make a nice companion for chili soup or even salads.

This cracker is sturdy enough to stand up to a layer of peanut butter on top or could be used as a dipper for hummus.

Sue, still searching for the perfect Kracker and waiting for sun, in Ohio

Barn cats with the right idea on this rainy dreary day

Friday, May 9, 2014

Chef Del's Better Than Vegan Cookbook

Because I simply do NOT have enough vegan cookbooks,

really, not nearly enough....

when I saw that Chef Del had released his first cookbook, of course I had to get it.

I've actually seen Del in person and sampled some of his cooking when I was at The Wellness Center in Columbus to hear Rip Esselstyn speak, just two weeks into my vegan/whole food plant-based adventure, coming up on four years ago.  I knew a little bit about Del's personal story and struggle with health/weight issues, and he shares that history in the opening pages of his book, Better Than Vegan.

I always enjoy a personal saga and admire it when people are brave enough to bare their soul and share what has worked for them.  Del also educates in the book with a lot of good, basic data about nutrients, cooking without oils and unprocessed (for the most part) foods, as well as how to stock your vegan pantry, etc.

I've only made a couple of recipes from the book, but I believe it is one that I will come back to and will be the source of several new 'go-to', tried and true favorite recipes for me.

His black bean veggie burger recipe is now my favorite and I've made it half a dozen or more times.  (I did change the recipe though as I found the amount of spices he used too much for my palate---I also used Northern beans and Kidney beans in place of the black beans and prefer that variation).

Bean burgers from Chef Del's Better Than Vegan Cookbook

Del has several strategies for cooking that he utilizes in different ways throughout the book, for example, using a cauliflower puree in place of nuts/tahini in sauces, soups and other applications.  I am tweaking some of those sauces to suit my tastes.  In doing this, the book seems a bit repetitive and maybe over-simplified, but then again, I do like the short list of ingredients in the recipes, the fact that most go together quite quickly and especially the fact that I don't have to sub out things like oil  (note: Del does use stevia, which I am not a fan of, as well as rice syrup, wine and sherry, none of which I use, but those are mostly easily substituted with soaked or blended Medjool dates).

I'll share more thoughts about the book as I continue to cook from it.  It is nice to see that books which align with Dr's. Campbell and Esselstyn's approach are being published, and I am happy to support that effort.

Amazon link to Del's book:

Sue, loving my veggie burgers, in Ohio