Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lavash Crackers & Toppings (Daring Bakers)

Another month; another Daring Baker's Challenage. This month I was a little disapointed in what was chosen. Mainly because I was hoping for a dessert of some kind. This month's challenage was vegan and/or gluten free. We had to make Lavash Crackers with some sorth of dip or sauce that was to be both vegan AND gluten free. The crackers had to vegan but didn't have to be gluten free. Surprising, making the dip vegan was harder than making it gluten free...mainly because some many recipes called for cheese or sour cream!

Making the crackers seemed simple enough at first. I chose whole wheat flour. I mixed all the ingredients and kneading the dough for 20 minutes. Then, I let it rise. I ended up letting it rise for a few hours, because with a toddler running around I got pretty distracted.

Then, I put a piece of plastic wrap over it......

And then rolled it really really thin.

I then added my spices. I chose half mixed spice, which was kind of like pumpkin pie spice and half I brushed with lime and sprinkled on some Lime Salt. I got the Lime Salt was a vendor at the farmer's market. I LOVE IT! It taste great on anything.

It didn't bake very well. Half of it got burnt. The unburnt part was very very very good.
For the dip I just made some plain old salsa. Nothing fancy, so I didn't include the recipe. I tried making a sun-dried tomato hummus but that didn't turn out.

I'm glad that I at least tried this recipe, but I differently won't be making this again. I'm not a big cracker fan and I could NEVER be vegan...I'm too much of a cheese girl. But I do have a new found respect for vegans, though! :-)

So, without further ado here is the recipe:

Heads Up :

* You can do so much to make this recipe your own – adding dried herbs or roasted garilic, etc., to the dough, using gourmet spices-salts-seasonings-seeds to sprinkle on top, etc.

* Read carefully ! The following recipe includes directions for both gluten-free crackers (à la Natalie !) and traditional AP flour crackers.

* The key to crispy crackers is rolling out the dough as thinly as possible. We noticed that the crackers turned out better if you divide the dough in half before rolling. You’ll roll out the dough as per the directions, decorate and cook the crackers in two batches.

* We’ve included some links with examples of the finished Lavash at the bottom of the post. JRECIPE - Recipe Reference: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. Copyright 2001. ISBN-10: 1-58008-268-8, ISBN-13: 978-158008-268-6.Here's a simple formula for making snappy Armenian-style crackers, perfect for breadbaskets, company and kids...It is similar to the many other Middle Eastern and Northern African flatbreads known by different names, such as mankoush or mannaeesh (Lebanese), barbari (Iranian), khoubiz or khobz (Arabian), aiysh (Egyptian), kesret and mella (Tunisian), pide or pita (Turkish), and pideh (Armenian). The main difference between these breads is either how thick or thin the dough is rolled out, or the type of oven in which they are baked (or on which they are baked, as many of these breads are cooked on stones or red-hot pans with a convex surface)...The key to a crisp lavash, to roll out the dough paper-thin. The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking. The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets.

Lavash Crackers

Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)

* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt

* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast

* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar

* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil

* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature

* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings1.

  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.
  2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see … ong-Enough for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  3. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  4. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).
  5. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.
  6. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Funny Music Video about Women and Eating

I recently went to a Women of Faith conference and saw Anita Renfroe among many other talented speakers and singers. It was so empowering to be surround by 15ooo women from all stages and ages of life all connected by one thing: We all worship the same God. How cool is that?

Anita Renfroe was my favorite. She gave a talk on body image which was both amusing and enlightening. She opened up with a music video with a song that she wrote. It was soooooooo funny. That song is definitely about me and apparently every woman in America! Check it out at the link below. I found it in on YouTube so the quality isn't that great but you'll still get the idea.

My First Blog Award--Wahoo!

Cristine from Cooking with Cristine: has awarded me with a I Love You This Much Award. Isn't that sweet!?!

I was so excited when she left a message for me letting me know. I'm proud to be one of the blog that she stalks. Now I have to get my butt in gear and post so more goodies! Thanks Cristine, you rock!

Mexican Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm not sure where I found this recipe, but I was recently "baking through the storm" on a stormy Saturday afternoon with Baby Bell and I found this recipe on one of my cards from years ago. I made a TON of cookies for my many sibling who are all still in college. (Yea for being the oldest and done with it all!) This one was my favorite so I thought I would share it.

These cookies are crunchy (but not too crunchy) on the outside and soft and gooewy on the inside. They are super rich and chocolately. You must use a good-quality dark chocolate bar. I used a candy bar that I got at Aldi's. I love their chocolate; they are made in Austria, which I think the store is orginially from. I think what makes it "Mexican" is that this cookie has cinnamon and black pepper in it. It has a nice warm spiciness to it. I thought it was a nice fall season cookie. I plan on making them again for Operation Baking Gal this month. These gals make cookies for soliders overseas. Check them out!

Mexican Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 C All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 C Unsweetened Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Coarse Salt
  • 1/8 Tsp Finely ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Lb Coarsely chopped good-quality DARK chocolate
  • 1/2 C (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter
  • 1 1/2 C Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 C Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

  2. Whish together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

  3. In a small heat proof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water, melt the DARK chocolate with butter. Let cool slightly.
  4. Combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  5. Slowly temper the eggs by added a few teaspoons of the butter/chocolate mixure at a time. You don't want to scramble the eggs.
  6. Add the rest of the butter/chocolate mixture to the egg mixture.
  7. Gradually add the flour mixture.
  8. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  9. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop 1 1/2 inch balls of the mixutre onto the cookie sheet and space them 2 inches apart.

10. Bake cookies for about 15 mintures or until they look flat and the surfaces crack.
Yum! Yum! Baby Bell LOVES cookies!!!!
**You should get about 3 dozen cookies!**

Gram's Crockpot Roast & Hunkie Soup

Gram's Crockpot Roast

When I got my first apartment while attending college my lovely parents, fearing that I was too lazy to cook for myself and fearing that I would starve, gave me a small crockpot. My favorite meal in the whole wide world is potroast with carrots and potatoes. I adapted my mom's recipe to be used in the crockpot that she gave me. Over the years I changed and tweeked the recipe (and the name since she is a grandma now!) and I finally feel satisfied with this recipe. I must warn you that I eyeball every ingredigent so it was difficult trying to figure out the measurements. You can change the measurements depending on your taste preferrence.

My husband and I make this all the time. There is always a ton leftover and there is a lot you can do with leftover potroast...such Shepard's Pie, Hunkie Soup, Beef Stew, or BBQ Beef. I've included a recipe for Hunkie Soup after the Potroast case your interested.

Gram's Crockpot Roast

  • 1 Beef Roast (The size depends on you)
  • 1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Small Onion, sliced (You can use any you like, I use red onions)
  • 1/2 C celery, diced
  • 1 C carrots, cut-up
  • 5-6 Red Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • Water
  1. Place the roast into crockpot and fill with enough water to almost but not quite cover the roast.
  2. Put two slits in the roast and fill with some of the garlic. Throw the rest on top.
  3. Add onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add onion slices making sure to place a few slices on top of the roast as well as to the water.
  5. If you want soft almost mushy veggies (which is what we do) add the rest of the veggies. Othewise add the veggies at the last 1/2 hour of cooking. They will be soft but not too mushy.
  6. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.

We use the leftovers to make Hunkie Soup, which yet another Czech recipe from my Grandma Trix. This is super easy and very yummy! This was the first soup that my Baby Bell had when she could start eating solid foods. She LOVES it! It is great on a cold wintery day!! (This can be made with or without the shredded potroast.)

Hunkie Soup

  • 2 Cans Beef Broth (or broth left over from the potroast)
  • Water
  • 1 Small Onion, sliced
  • 1/2 C Celery
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 C carrots, cut-up
  • 2 Medium Baking Potatoes--OR--4 Small Red Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 Package Egg Noodles
  • Potroast, cook and shredded, Optional
  1. Cook the Egg Noodles according to the directions. Drain and put aside.
  2. In a dutch oven add broth (either from the can or from leftover roast).
  3. Take the empty broth cans and fill with water and add to broth.
  4. Add the onion, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, tomatoes, carrotes, potatoes, and shredded potroast (optional).
  5. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until veggies are soft.
  6. Place noodles into each bowl and pour soup over top.**

**If you put the noodles into the soup and store it in the fridge the noodles will absorb all of the broth. It is better to pour the soup over the noodles in each bowl.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Asiago-September's Cheese of the Month

Well, September is here and I've finally chosen my cheese. After careful consideration and many shopping trips to the cheese case at the grocery store, I've chosen Asiago Cheese for this month. It has been a long time favorite of mine and I would love to find some new uses for it. So, far all I do with it is put it on salad or a sandwich and occasionally make a sauce from it. But now I'm on a quest for something a little different and I would love for you to join me....

To recap what the Cheese of the Month Challenge is:

Every month I'm going to select a cheese and make a dish with it. The purpose is to experiment with something that you wouldn’t normally make. Anyone is welcome to join me. Here are the rules:

1. Check my blog, Adventures in Gluttony, on the FIRST of every month to see what cheese I chose.

2. Everyone will use the Cheese of the Month Cheese in either a recipe they make up or one they find. They can be simple or advanced. The dishes can be anything your little heart desires.You have the ENTIRE month to make something. By the LAST day of the end of the month post on YOUR blog the recipe, a picture (if possible), and a summary of how it went and if you liked it. If you chose to use a recipe that isn’t your own make sure to include where the recipe came from.3. Send me an email with the link to your blog by no later than the LAST day of each month and I will post the links on my blog so that everyone can see how everyone else did. My email is:

You can make more than one dish if you like. Just make sure to indicate that to me in your email. If you recipe doesn’t turn out post it on your blog anyways. Just make sure to explain why you didn’t like the dish and/or what went wrong. Make sure to share your dish with your friends and family and get their reactions.I’m really excited about this and I hope to get as many people as possible to participate. It will be a neat way to collect some delicious recipes and try new things.

Smoked Gouda Recipe Results


This was my first Cheese of the Month Challenge and it looks like I was the only one to participate, which is fine. If you want to participate go here to read how:

Here are my results:

I chose Smoked Gouda because my daughter, Baby Bell, loves smoked cheeses. She may get her looks from her dad, but she gets her good taste in food from me! I chose two recipes to try out. The first was a muffin recipe and the second was a crockpot chicken recipe.

Well, I'm a HUGE fan of muffins, so when I found this random muffin recipe that included smoked gouda and tomatoes (which are Bell's favorite), I knew I had to try them out. The muffins were call Smoked Gouda and Scallion Muffins, and the recipe seemed simple enought.

I followed the directions and everything seemed to be going well...

I put them into the muffin pan. This recipe made 12 servings.
They looked like tasty muffins....
Baby Bell seemed to like them. She ate TWO whole muffins!!! She threw the third one on the ground, so I dusted it off and gave it to my husband to try. Yeah, I know that is mean but that's what he gets for taking a nap while I'm trying to bake with a screaming toddler at my leg!!!

I ended up eating three of them just to make sure that I DIDN'T like them. They ended up being very bland. It tasted like a muffin, but all of the good flavors of the cheese, tomatoe, and onion didn't seem to mix throughout the muffin. I will definitely make these again, but I will change it around to see if I get make it taste like something!

I give this recipe: One Smiling Cheese Guy out of a possible five.

I got the recipe here:,164,151165-242207,00.html

(Just in case you wanted to check it out.)

Next, I found a crockpot recipe. Being a mother of toddler, I am very busy. So, I love crockpot recipes. I think food taste better, too, when it has been slowly simmering all day. Don't you?

The recipe was called Crockpot Chicken Pasta with Smoked Gouda. It was very easy to throw together. My only complaint was you only threw half of the ingredients together and add the other half at the last 20 minutes of cooking. Besides that it was fairly good and everyone ate it. However, I think it was missing something. I thought that maybe it could have used some sort of kick to it. I'm thinking onions...maybe some spinach or peppers would have been nice. This will definitely go on the recipe card to be made in the future, but with some moderifications.I give this recipe Two Smiling Cheese Guys out of a possible five

I found the recipe here in case you're interested.