Cornmeal Sourdough Crackers & Beet Sunflower Seed Dip

With three potlucks squeezed into the past four days, I ended up falling back on the old stand-by of crackers and cheese. But of course, I couldn’t help but play around some more with sourdough, and add an experimental beet dip to the mix. Wasn’t sure how well it would turn out, since I had a blender rather than a food processor to work with. Also forgot to write down the recipe before I started and threw it together from memory, completely forgetting the oil and just adding additional cooking liquid until I thinned it enough to blend. It probably would have been even better with oil, but was still pretty darn delicious, especially the second day! And I couldn’t believe how easy it was to mix together and roll out the cracker dough, and how absolutely out of this world they tasted! Thanks to Kitchen Stewardship for such a stellar recipe, and to The Gingered Whisk, where I gleaned a few more tricks of the cracker trade.

Beet Sunflower Seed Dip

2 cups sunflower seeds
1 cup liquid (I used beet cooking water)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil (or additional liquid)
1/4 cup cubed cooked beet (I used two large beets, probably closer to a cup or so)
1 teaspoon salt
A few sprigs herbs (I ended up using lavender, thyme, and lemon balm, but I imagine cilantro, parsley, or just about any herb you fancy would be just as great)

Soak sunflower seeds in water at least 4-6 hours, or overnight. Blend with the beet cooking water, apple cider vinegar, and oil, then stir in beets, salt, and herbs and blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste and enjoy!

Cornmeal Sourdough Crackers
(Made about 22 crackers for me, depends how thin you roll and the shape and size you cut)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sourdough starter
Additional water or flour as needed

2 tablespoons small seeds such as sesame or poppy (optional)
Finely minced or crushed herbs or other desired seasonings (optional)
Olive oil for brushing (optional)

Combine together flour, cornmeal and salt, then incorporate oil. Stir in sourdough starter, and a little additional flour or water if necessary, to form a stiff dough. Cover and let rest 7-24 hours. Knead briefly to form a smooth dough. Divide in half. Mix together topping, if using, and sprinkle a tablespoon or so on an upside down baking sheet. (Not having the raised edge makes it much easier to roll out the dough). Place a piece of dough over the topping and roll out as thin as possible, about 1/8″. If it tears a little, simply press back together. Brush top with oil, if desired. Cut into squares with a pizza cutter or sharp knife and bake at 350F for 7-12 minutes, until golden and crispy but not burnt! (My edges did get much darker brown. I just snapped off the borderline edges and enjoyed my “baker’s tax.”) While the first batch is baking, roll out the next batch and repeat.

Posted in Breads and Baked Goods, Fermentation, Garden Originals, Gluten Free, Low Carb, Sauces, Condiments, and Dips, Snacks and Sweets, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rhubarb & Sweet Potato Curry with Sourdough Flatbread

Searching for inspiration on how to incorporate rhubarb into savory meals, I was excited to find a recipe for a rhubarb curry, from Lynn of Scissors and Spice. Of course, I couldn’t help playing around a fair amount to adapt to what I had on hand. I was very pleased with how it turned out, intensely flavorful, the strong tang of rhubarb the perfect counterbalance to the pungent blend of spices, the sweet tenderness of onions and sweet potatoes, and the earthiness of spinach. If you aren’t quite as in love with intense sour, using just a couple stalks of rhubarb should tone it down to a more subtle twang.

The sourdough flatbread, from Kristen of Smithspirations, was delicious straight off the pan and perfect for scooping up the curry — though sourdough with a tart curry was pushing even my love for sour a bit far. Ridiculously simple and easy to throw together the dough, let rise overnight, and cook on the skillet. I did find it a bit challenging to stretch each ball out. They were quite uneven and prone to tearing. It also takes quite a while to get through cooking the batch, even using two burners. I wonder if kneading the dough a tad before the second rise would make a difference, and I suspect that leaving them close to four hours during the second rise resulted in over-proofing that contributed to some of the textural challenges. I also wonder whether it might be possible to bake them in the oven rather than in a pan, to streamline the process a bit. Sounds like I’ll have to experiment more with this recipe soon. It’s great to know that even casually stirred together and neglected, this still makes a tasty and versatile bread, even if there is room for improvement.

UPDATE (5/1/17): Chopped two stalks of rhubarb and threw it into a pot of leftover alicha, along with a pinch of cardamom and some beet greens, for a ridiculously easy and delicious version of rhubarb curry. Surprised how easy it is to throw a little rhubarb into all kinds of stir-fries, stews, and curries.

Rhubarb & Sweet Potato Curry
1 chopped onion
2-6 stalks rhubarb (to taste, six was rather sour), coarsely chopped
1 sweet potato, cubed
A teaspoon or two minced fresh ginger
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cumin, cardamom, salt, and ground chilies (to taste)
A few cups coarsely chopped spinach (or whatever greens you have available)
1 small can (or equivalent) cooked garbanzo beans

Saute onion for a few minutes in oil, until soft and translucent. Stir in sweet potatoes, then cover after a couple minutes and let steam, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes, until just begins to soften. Stir in rhubarb and cover again, stirring occasionally, for a few more minutes until begins to soften, then stir in ginger, spices, and spinach. Let simmer a few minutes and spinach wilt, then stir in garbanzos and cook until flavors melded and heated through. Enjoy!

Sourdough Flatbread
Makes 16 small flatbreads

3 1/2 – 4 cups whole wheat flour (I ended up needing only 3, and still having to add water, perhaps because I was a little short on starter)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup water
2 tablespoons oil

Combine 3 cups flour and the salt, then separately mix together starter, water, and oil in a small bowl. Gradually pour the slurry into a well in the center of the flour mix, stirring into a moist dough. Work in additional flour or water as necessary, a little at a time, to form a moist, slightly sticky dough. Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl to rise, overnight or for 8-12 hours. Gently deflate dough, turn out onto a greased baking sheet, divide into 16, shape each piece it a ball, and leave to rise 30 minutes to 2 hours. Heat an un-greased skillet or two over medium heat. Press and stretch each ball into a round disc, cook for a couple minutes until top no longer looks moist, then flip and cook the other side for a minute or two. Then stretch and cook the next flatbreads in the same way, and so on. I imagine herbs, seeds, or sides could make for countless delicious variations on this theme!

Posted in Breads and Baked Goods, Flops with Promise, Garden Originals, Out of the Frypan, Quick and easy, Stews and curries, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sage Sourdough Cornbread

Yes, another cornbread recipe. A great way to keep my sourdough starter vigorous and transform some delicious local cornmeal into what might well be my favorite cornbread yet. This is my second time playing around with Emeril Lagasse’s recipe, this time inspired by the garden manager’s suggestion of using sage to add complexity and elegance to a simple pan of cornbread. My life will never be the same again.

Sage Sourdough Cornbread

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter or oil (2-3 tablespoons works as well)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, or liquid of your choice (I mix about 1/2 cup yogurt with a cup of water.)
1 cup sourdough starter
2 eggs (optional, I forgot them completely the first time and it still turned out pretty nice)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Fresh sage leaves (optional)

Combine together cornmeal and salt in a medium bowl, then gradually incorporate the wet ingredients to form a relatively smooth batter. Place in the fridge overnight or for several hours to soak until ready to bake. (Can skip the soak if needed.) Preheat oven to 400F, grease a small baking pan or cast iron skillet, and decorate with sage leaves (optional). Mix baking soda into the batter and pour into the pan, decorate surface with sage leaves (optional), and bake for 25-30 minutes. Yum!

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