Category Archives: Soup

Olive Oil Sesame Crackers

I really enjoy the challenge of making every part of a meal from scratch:  homemade crackers and freshly blended hummus are some of my favorites because they are such a simple standby snack–but knowing I did everything aside from picking the beans and grinding the flour (no gardening here in New York City!) is a cool feeling whenever I sit down to eat.  The experience means so much more.  I love baking all sorts of crackers, but this is my favorite standby.

INGREDIENTS:

2 1/4 C whole wheat flour
1 C all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 C olive oil, plus extra for pan coating
1 C room temperature water
1/2 T garlic powder
1 T mixed italian herbs (I like to use rosemary and thyme)
2 T sesame seeds (for sprinkling)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat a baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil.

Combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, garlic powder, italian herbs) in a large mixing bowl.   Stir lightly to distribute ingredients within the mix.  Add water and oil.  Mix with spoon until absorbed.

Move dough to a clean surface–no need to flour.  Knead until wet ingredients are completely combined and distributed.  Break dough in to 3 or 4 sections.  You can bake all sections at once, or store dough in fridge for 2-3 days.  (They also keep in the freezer for about a month).

Roll out one section of dough to no thicker than 1/8 inch.  It is important to roll as thinly as possible, as this will ensure a crispier cracker.  Sprinkle a layer of sesame seeds and light sea salt over the rolled out dough.  Run a rolling pin over the dough once more to press the seeds and salt into the dough.

Using a pizza cutter, slice dough into 1×1 or 2×2 inch squares, depending on your preferred size.  One at a time, place squares on olive oil coated baking sheet.  Bake 15-20 minutes, flipping the squares at least once when they begin to brown on the bottom to ensure an even crispiness.  I also rotate the pan when I flip the crackers.

Serve with hummus, cheese, Vegetarian Chili, olives, fruit–whatever you use crackers for!  Store  in an airtight container for up to a week.

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Vegetarian Chili

I’m a fan of spicy chili, so this recipe tends to be on the spicier side (according to my roommate).  If you’d like to tone it down, halve (or omit) the crushed red pepper.  Additionally, you can stir in a spoonful of sugar at a time until the spiciness is adjusted to your liking.

INGREDIENTS:

1 15 oz. can black beans (with sauce)
1 15 oz. can kidney beans (rinsed)
1 15 oz. can chick peas (rinsed)
1 C uncooked lentils
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 medium yellow squash (grated or chopped)
1 medium zucchini (grated or chopped)
1 medium onion (grated or chopped)
2 T minced garlic
2 T chili powder
1 T crushed red peppers
1 T ground cumin
1 T oregano
1 tsp sea salt
3 T olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare vegetables and set aside.  I like to use the grating plate on my food processor, but if you like a chunkier texture in your chili, then you might like your vegetables chopped or slivered.  A grated texture tends to mask the vegetable flavor, if you are cooking for someone who prefers a meatier chili.

In a large stovetop pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, squash, and garlic.  Sautee 4-5 minutes, until vegetables are soft, but not browned.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Add chili powder, crushed red pepper, cumin, sea salt, and oregano.  Stir into mix, and continue to heat until fragrant.  Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and lentils.  Cook for 30 minutes.  If chili begins to wildly sputter, then turn the heat down a bit.

Add kidney beans, chick peas, and black beans (remember to include the liquid from the black beans can).  Stir, and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

Taste, and adjust spices to your liking.  Garnish with sour cream, chives, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, or all of the above!