Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Homemade crackers with a veggie dinner...

When I was preparing the menu this week, I didn't put down a side for tonight's dinner, thinking we would just have some baked tortilla chips. But since I had a little bit of extra time before I had to start making dinner, I thought we could make some homemade crackers instead!

I chose crackers as you don't need to wait on rising times for the dough and they are fairly quick to bake. This recipe, Crispy Rye Crackers, is once again from what is quickly becoming our most used cookbook lately -the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book. As I've mentioned before, Jeff loves rye bread, so this is one recipe I've been anxious to make since I went through the book. With ingredients such as whole rye flour, cocoa power, caraway seeds and molasses in these crackers, it's no wonder that Jeff immediately said "Woah, they taste just like rye bread!" as soon as he took his first bite. Cutting cold butter into the flour gives the crackers an amazing light texture while allowing them to crisp up as they baked. The dough was relaxed enough to roll out thinly, without having to wait for it to rest - do be sure to keep it moving and floured underneath so it doesn't stick. If desired, feel free to sprinkle a few grains of coarse on the crackers before baking them.

The dough is pretty dark, so it was a little hard to tell when they had sufficiently browned - when they are close to being done they will emit that classic rye bread aroma and be fairly firm. They will have some bend to them as they come out of the oven, but they will acquire that cracker-like consistency as they cool.

For tonight's dinner, we got to use one of our new favorite ingredients in this Quinoa Curry. In previous recipes we have toasted the quinoa to bring out its nutty flavor, but this time we just rinsed them to remove the bitter coating so the rest of the ingredients could stand out. The quinoa was meant to be a mild background like white rice would be in this dish. We cooked this seed/grain like we would pasta; this way you don't have to fuss with how much liquid to quinoa you need and we could heat up the baby frozen peas by simply draining the boiling mixture over them. As the quinoa cooks, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, curry powder and hot madras curry powder are quickly toasted in a touch of shimmering peanut oil. The sweet fragrance quickly filled the kitchen - we then added vegetable broth and turmeric followed by an abundance of ivory cauliflower florets. Left to cook just until crisp-tender, the cauliflower is assimilated by the lustrous golden tone given off from the turmeric.

Plain yogurt is tempered with a couple tablespoons of the well-seasoned broth and then added back into the cauliflower mixture to cream out the sauce. The cooked quinoa, warmed peas, chunky cashews and fresh cilantro are all tossed with the cauliflower mixture to serve. I think Jeff was a little hesitant to try this dish, but that faded after his first few bites... he hastily finished his plate and tried unsuccessfully to take a couple forkfuls from mine! The spices made this dish, though I thought it would have a bit more heat to it than it did. The quiona absorbed much of the tangy sauce so the mixture was pretty thick... I thought that the salty pieces of cashews were the right choice for nuts and the amount was very liberal per plate.


  1. Yay, I am so glad to see a good review for the quinoa curry! I marked that recipe to try in my VT too and can't wait to make it, looks and sounds so good! I am in a curry kick lately and quinoa is so good!
    Thanks Joe!!
    Oh, and the crackers look great too! (although I am not a rye fan...)

  2. I am so excited to see the cracker recipe. I just bought whole wheat flour and was beginning to think of recipes to whip up. Thanks!

  3. Ana - the leftovers were good too! I just reheated them enough to take the chill off and not too much so the veggies would get mushy.

    Chris - I love making our own crackers - they are too easy!

  4. Hello! I have made this dish several times since Februrary and I really enjoy it. I post comments about the recipes that I try from the VT magazine on my blog, and I had mentioned this recipe. But, I didn't write out the recipe, nor did I have a photo of the dish. So, I linked to this and your lovely photo and great description of how to make it. Thanks!