My kids have been off of school for at least a day each week for the past few weeks, and we're starting to get a little bored. Today I decided to pull out a project that I'd long wanted to do, and had never found the time.
I promise not to become a blog all about cookbooks, but we made a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It (shown on my sidebar). I'd truly have to say that I reach for this book and Mad Hungry (the one I reviewed last week) more than any others. I bought this book for myself last year, and quickly bought another one as a gift for my best friend.
I would recommend it for the more seasoned cook who is looking to go beyond cooking the basic meal into more specialty foods. One thing I like about it is that it gives you a few basic recipes for many kinds of foods that we're typically all reliant on large companies to produce for us (marshmallows, bacon, jam) and then gives you a taste of what it is like to make these foods. If a person were to really enjoy making, say, cheese, then you could move on to a book more focused on that topic in particular. The photos are simple and inspiring and illustrate how you could turn these foods into very special gifts.
I'd often turned past the recipe for basic crackers, breadsticks and flatbread thinking that some day I'd like to try it and wondering if homemade crackers could possibly be worth the effort. Today I was looking to cook something with my kids that would distract them from the last few pieces of Halloween candy remaining in the house, but obviously baking something like cookies wouldn't be sensible-- we needed a savory treat.
We settled on the cracker recipe (found online here) and after chilling the dough briefly I pulled out one half to roll out with Lucie. At the last minute, I offered her the animal cracker cookie cutters that I've had for two years and never used, telling her that they may not work with the dough. I was surprised to find that the dough was very forgiving and that the cookie cutters actually worked quite well. We continued to cut them out, then she brushed with water and sprinkled them with salt.
The dough is springy and pliable from the egg and oil, so rolling and re-rolling was no problem. Our Rollpat made things much easier, we didn't really need to flour the surface. I think it would be fun to have a rolling cutter to put a nice edge on the basic crackers. I didn't want to use a pizza cutter for fear of cutting the Rollpat.
The animal crackers would be so cute for a kids party, and that the crackers with regular shapes would make fun little hostess gifts during the holidays. I'm already dreaming of interesting flavor combinations. I also know that my kids would always be thrilled to find little treats like these in their lunchboxes, which helps at this time of year when the old standards are getting a little, well, old.