Archive for the ‘Dips and Spreads’ Category

Daring Bakers: Lavash

September 28, 2008

I decided to come out of blogging hiding to write about this month’s Daring Bakers challenge. When I saw that the challenge was making Lavash, an Armenian cracker, I was not so excited because I’m not a big cracker person. I was even less excited when I read that we had to make a vegan dip or spread to go with the crackers. VEGAN?!? I’m the furthest thing from a vegan you will ever find! I can’t live without my meat and I DEFINITELY can’t live with cheese or eggs!!!

Despite my reservations, I decided to suck it up and give it a shot. After all, being a Daring Baker is all about being challenged right? Well, I’m glad I didn’t pass on this month because it actually turned out to be a great experience! I really enjoyed the Lavash and I never would have thought it could be so easy to make your own crackers. Plus, I love the rustic look of the broken apart shards that you get. These would be great for a party!

I made my Lavash with whole wheat flour and I sprinkled Kosher salt, dried rosemary, and sesame or poppy seeds on top. I really loved this combination of toppings! The first batch of Lavash didn’t turn out as crispy as I wanted (parts of it were more like pita bread) so I learned my lesson with the second batch and rolled it out even thinner. The second batch turned out perfectly!

For the vegan spread I decided to improvise and make a very simple Sun Dried Tomato and Artichoke Spread. Basically it’s just a can of artichokes, a few sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, a splash of the sun dried tomato oil, juice from half a lemon, salt to taste, and about a tablespoon of olive oil. I just threw everything in a food processor and ground it up until it was pretty smooth. It turned out suprisingly good for being so simple and not have any dairy products in it!

Thanks to Natalie from Gluten A Go Go, and co-host Shel, of Musings From the Fishbowl for challenging me to step outside my non-vegan box!

Lavash

RECIPE – 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,…is 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.

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 toppings

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 http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bre … 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.

or

2.  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.

3. 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).

4.  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.

or

4.  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.

5. 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.

5.  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.

Hot Artichoke Dip

August 12, 2008

I refuse to post a picture of this dip for fear that it might make you NOT want to try it. It is, quite possibly, the least photogenic thing I ever make, but so worth the ugliness! This recipe is one that my mom pretty much always makes when she entertains and it has since become one of my go-to entertaining recipes. I have no idea where my mom originally got the recipe so I just call it “her” recipe.

The best thing about it is that it is oh so easy…three ingredients!! Unfortunately, two of those three ingredients are mayonnaise and cheese which makes it not exactly healthy. However, this most recent time I made it I used the new mayo made with olive oil which makes me feel better about eating it. :-)

So if you need a quick, easy, crowd-pleasing dip for your next get-together give this dip a try! I think you’ll like it. I’d love to hear if any of you out there have a similar easy, go-to entertaining recipe. Leave a comment and let me know if you do!

Hot Artichoke Dip

Source: My Mom!

  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 can of artichokes in water, chopped into bite-size pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl until well combined. Spread mix into a medium-sized, shallow baking dish (I use a glass pie pan). Bake for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on the top. Serve hot with crackers (like Wheat Thins, Ritz, or Triscuits).

Here it is! Smoked Salmon Spread

July 24, 2008

Well, my day trip got pushed back to tomorrow so I was able to make it to the grocery store after all! Yay!

I picked the Smoked Salmon Spread for the Barefoot Bloggers for a specific reason. You see, I used to think smoked salmon was the most disgusting thing in the world even though I had never tried it. I just assumed since in general I don’t like fish, I wouldn’t like smoked salmon. Well, one day someone ordered a Bagel and Lox and forced me to try a bite. I couldn’t believe what I had been missing out on all these years! I loved it and ever since then I always order Bagels and Lox whenever possible.

So, my goal in choosing this recipe was to get somebody out there who thinks they don’t like smoked salmon to give it a shot and maybe discover that they actually like it…like I did! I knew that this recipe wouldn’t please everyone but I was ok with that. Being a part of a blogging group like this is partially about being coerced into trying things that you would maybe never try otherwise. I hope that this recipe provided that push for someone out there, whether they ended up liking it or not!

And ok, ok….I guess I should admit that choosing this recipe was also partially out of pure selfishness because I just looooovvveeee smoked salmon (as mentioned above) but I had never used it in my home. Normally I just order it at restaurants and cafes so I wanted to try using it in a recipe.

I must say, this spread was soooooooooo good! I am definitely going to have to make this many times in the future. This was my favorite way to eat it:

See that? It’s like a mini bagels and lox! A couple of capers and a tiny piece of onion. Yum! Wouldn’t that be so cute to serve at a brunch too??

To learn more about the Barefoot Bloggers go here.

For the recipe go here.

Roasted Garlic Bruschetta with Crostini

July 23, 2008

This is an excellent appetizer to serve when you are doing your summer entertaining. Especially since it utilizes so many fresh herbs which many of us have growing in our gardens. Plus, you can make it ahead of time and chill it in the fridge until your guests come over. I actually recommend doing this because it lets the flavors combine better. If you don’t have the time to roast the garlic you could just sub regular minced garlic but the roasted adds such a nice depth of flavor.

Roasted Garlic Bruschetta with Crostini

Adapted from this recipe on Martha Stewart Living

  • 1 loaf baguette or French bread, cut on the diagonal
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves Roasted Garlic (see this recipe for method)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 large beefsteak tomatoes (each about 9 ounces), seeded and coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread slices flat on a baking sheet and drizzle (or brush) with olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until golden brown. If making ahead of time, place crostini in a plastic zip-top bag until ready to use.

2. Place roasted garlic in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Then add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix well. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator until ready to use. Serve with the crostini

Roasted Garlic

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.

2. Cut the top third of garlic heads off so tops of cloves are exposed. Place heads, unpeeled, in small ovenproof dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Cover with aluminum foil; bake 30 minutes.

3. Uncover and bake until the garlic cloves are soft and golden brown, another 30–40 minutes. (Make ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)

4. Once cooled, gently squeeze the cloves out of the peel.

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip

April 30, 2008

White Bean Dip

Alex and I are big garlic fans. Really, really, REALLY big garlic fans. There are very few recipes that we make/eat that don’t have garlic in them. There is really no such thing as too much garlic in our opinion. That being said, I really wanted to try this recipe for White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip when I saw it in The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger. It was really a delicious dip and very healthy. We ate it with Reduced Fat Wheat Thins but according to Ellie you should eat it with veggies. The garlic flavor wasn’t as powerful as we would have liked (probably because roasting it mellows the flavor) but we still enjoyed it. We will definitely make this again!

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip
Prep: 7 minutes Cook: 60 minutes
Makes 10 servings

Source: The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger

Ingredients
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 whole garlic heads
2 (16-ounce) cans canellini beans or other white beans
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnish

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375°.

2. Cut the top third of garlic heads off so tops of cloves are exposed. Place heads, unpeeled, in ovenproof dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Cover with aluminum foil; bake 30 minutes.

3. Uncover and bake until the garlic cloves are soft and golden brown, another 30–40 minutes. (Make ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)

4. In a food processor, combine the beans, roasted garlic, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, and lemon juice and process until smooth. Add the salt and white pepper. This will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

5. To serve, transfer to a bowl, garnish with the parsley leaves, and serve with vegetables. (Serving size: 1/4 cup)

Nutrition
Calories 145 (28% from fat); Fat 5g (sat 1g, mono 3g, poly 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 20g; Sugars 0g; Fiber 4g; Iron 3mg; Sodium 94mg; Calcium 69mg.

White Bean Dip


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