Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Crackers and Dip

Party season is just around the corner.  For me there will be a party on Halloween.  I will be making these two items to share and impress my friends.  Give it try.

Almond Flour Saltines
 2 C blanched almond flour (this doesn't work as well if not blanched, but still good)
1/2 tsp salt (I like fine grind sea salt myself)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 Tbs oil of choice (I use grape seed a lot, but could do olive, coconut or even butter)
large grain salt to sprinkle on top (again, sea salt, but course grind this time)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.  This breaks up any lumps in your almond flour and mixes the 2 ingredients well.  Add egg and oil and blend until combined.  Your dough will easily form a ball at this point.  Place dough ball on silpat mat or a parchment paper (I have used plastic wrap or waxed paper in a pinch, but don't bake with these!).  Using a sheet of parchment (or whatever) to cover the dough ball and roll it out nice and thin.  Go for as thin as you can but still be able to fit on a cookie sheet.  I fine I have to do a little dough remodeling if I go off the edges.  That's okay, this is a very forgiving dough.  I like to score the dough with a knife or pizza cutter before I bake; makes it super easy to break the crackers apart after they are done baking.  Sprinkle the coarse salt over the top of the crackers just before you put them in the oven.  Bake for about 15 min.  Check them to be certain they are lightly browned.  You want them crunchy, but not burnt.  The longer you can bake them without burning them, the crunchier they will be.  Allow the crackers to cool and then break them apart.  Store in a tightly sealed container to keep them from getting stale. 

These are easily adaptable.  You can add herbs and spices to the mix and on top.  Experiment and enjoy. 

Or have them with this awesome dip I adapted from Joyful Abode.

A-Freaking-Mazing Artichoke Dip
8 oz cream cheese, softened (either at room temp or in the microwave)
1/3 C sour cream
1/4 C mayonnaise
1 C chopped spinach (fresh or 3/4 C frozen, thawed and drained is fine)
2 small cans or jars of artichoke hearts, chopped (you want the plain old, non-marinated kind)
1/2 tsp garlic salt (or more depending upon your taste)
1/2-1 tsp chili powder (or if you want it spicy hot, add 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne)
1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese (cheddar is good too), plus more to sprinkle on top

Mix all ingredients in a baking dish, sprinkle some cheese on top.  Broil until cheese is brown and dip is bubbly on the sides.  Try to control yourself.  This is good.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hello Again, and a recipe

You gave up on me, didn't you?

Well, I haven't given up. I was just changing my diet. I am a big girl that used to be a bigger girl. I have lost 45 lbs this year! I did it using the HCG protocol and by giving up most grains. You could almost say I have gone over to a Primal or Paleo diet, but not quite all the way. My family is eating less grains at home too, but this has been a slow transition. It is not easy to take morning cereal away from your kids.  But when you consider how much carbs, simple or otherwise, they get fed in the course of a day, it is shocking.  My answer is to limit them at home to balance things out.

Anyway, here is a little grain-free, gluten-free biscuit that I adapted from Comfy Belly.  I made quite a few changes and came up with something that my husband and 8 year old really like.  My 3 year old wasn't a big fan.   They are rich and filling and I don't think he was fond of the texture.  The texture reminds me of corn muffins.  Not a bad thing in my mind.  The taste is like those biscuits from Red Lobster that I haven't been able to eat in years.

Grain Free Onion Cheddar Biscuits

  • 1 1/2 cups of almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of gf baking powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbs dried, minced onion or onion flakes or 1/4 C fresh onion, minced.
  • 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons of softened butter
  • 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 330 degrees F.  Place a baking dish, with water in it, at the bottom of the oven to create a crunchy crust on the biscuits.  Combine all the dry ingredients and blend well.  Whisk all the wet ingredients until frothy (has bubbles), and then combine it with the dry mixture.  Blend the dough mixture well and allow to sit for 5 mine (to reconstitute the dry onion flakes).  Spoon dough out into 6 balls on a stick-free or lined baking sheet. I use a stick-free backing mat or parchment paper.  Bake for 15 minutes, and then lower the heat to 300 degrees F and bake for another 5-15 minutes.  Check after 5 minutes as mine were done early.  They end up looking like large cornmeal cookies.

These can be stored in the refrigerator and warmed up later. Reheat at 300 degrees F for about 6 minutes.

I loved these things and they are filling.  You could easily get away with making 8-10 smaller biscuits.  They were delightful as prepared, but I will make a couple of additional changes next time.   I don't think they need the pan of water in the oven.  Given the recipe ingredients, I think they will have a nice crust on their own.  They were nice and moist, but pretty oily.  I am going to try these without the addition of the butter.  If they need more moisture I will add more water or maybe an egg.  They were a little crumbly, so I am more likely to try adding an egg next time.  I would also like to try them with fresh onion and maybe a little garlic.