* Or use another favorite herb.
[I thought it would be fun to run a little series over here at DDD: I’ll profile one one of my favorite foods, or a food that I’ve recently discovered and enjoyed, over several days. For this fifth edition, I’m focusing on cilantro. The series is presented on an occasional (and entirely arbitrary) basis, before I move on to the next lucky comestible. This is the fourth entry on cilantro.]
My mom was many things: a sweet person, a sentimental person, a docile person, a loyal person; but one thing she most definitely was not, was a morning person. Because of my dad’s unique hours (he didn’t drive a car for the first 38 years of his life, so he would take the bus to his butcher shop** each day, a ride of about an hour–necessitating a 5:30 AM wakeup six days a week), this meant my Mom, too, was required to arise at the same ungodly hour each day. Her responsibility was to grill Dad’s breakfast toast, pour his tea, and pack his lunch.
The second he was out the door, my mother would retreat to the bedroom and fall back on the bed, unconscious within seconds, only to emerge about three hours later looking–well, as if she needed some sleep. My sisters and I learned at a tender age that we were on our own when it came to breakfast.
Like most of my friends at the time, I fancied cold cereal and milk above all else in the morning. Cap’n Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, _______ [insert your own sugar-filled, wheat-based choice here], but on Saturdays, the CFO and I allowed ourselves a supreme treat: saltine crackers slathered with peanut butter, and a tall glass of chocolate milk, which we made ourselves while my mother slept. We’d tiptoe down to the basement (where my parents had installed a second TV) and sit on the olive green vinyl hide-a-bed watching Saturday morning cartoons for hours (well, about three hours, that is, until Mom woke up) while we munched happily, leaving a trail of crumbs in our wake like the famous Grimm siblings.
When I got older and eventually had my own kitchen to run, I lost interest in saltines, and any other crackers. Crackers were one of those foods I never really thought about in the “SAD [ie, Standard American Diet] old days,” when I still consumed wheat, meat, sugar and aspartame. I can recall serving appetizers of smoked oysters, cream cheese and a wedge of lemon on Triscuits when I threw dinner parties in my 20s, or setting out a tray of Ritz, Stoned Wheat Thins and Water Crackers next to a hunk of cheese. But otherwise, crackers were off my radar. I mean, why would you choose dry, flavorless crackers when you could be scarfing muffins, scones or biscuits? You see my point.
[Slathered here with some raw Almond-Veggie Pâté]
So I surprised even myself by how much I enjoyed these thin, crispy wafers. Perhaps it’s the fact that I haven’t had a “true” baked good (ie, something made with flour, sweetener and, ideally, some form of chocolate) in 5 months, since I started the ACD. Or maybe my tastes are just evolving.
In any case, these were even a hit with the HH , who pronounced them “really tasty” (not a man of many words, that HH). The texture, while crispy and slightly crumbly, is nevertheless rich, like a butter cracker or shortbread; yet they stand up well to toppings and spreads.
I enjoyed them with a slather of raw almond-veggie pâté, but because the cilantro isn’t very pronounced (great for you cilantro-phobes out there), they’d even work with nut butter for breakfast. You could easily eat some while watching cartoons–but I wouldn’t recommend pairing them with chocolate milk.
** Yes, the irony is palpable. I talk about his occupation vis-à-vis my dietary choices here.
Grain Free Hazelnut-Cilantro* Crackers
These work equally well for appetizers or as a snack on their own. You can use any herb you like if you’re not a fan of cilantro.
3/4 cup (115 g) hazelnuts (filberts)
1/4 cup (30 g) finely ground flax seeds
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cup (40 g) whole bean or chickpea flour
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
1/4 tsp (1 ml) baking soda
1/2-2/3 cup (120-160 ml) fresh cilantro, parsley or basil leaves, or a combination
2 Tbsp (30 ml) organic coconut oil, melted, or extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp (45 ml) water
Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (this recipe requires the parchment; greasing won’t do). Lightly flour the parchment with more bean flour.
In the bowl of a food processor, process the nuts and flax seeds to a fine meal; it should have the appearance of coarse cornmeal, with no visible pieces of nuts. Add the flour, salt and soda and process again until mixture is combined.
Add the cilantro, oil, and water to the processor and blend until the cilantro is well chopped and the mixture comes together in a moist dough.
Place the dough directly on the parchment, and roll it out to a rectangle about 7 x 10 inches (17.5 x 25 cm) big . You can make it smaller or slightly larger, depending on how thick you want your crackers. (I rolled mine out to a thickness of about 1/8″ or 2 mm).
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut the large rectangle into smaller crackers (I cut about 25 crackers). Turn each cracker over by hand (be careful–these are hot!). Return the crackers to the oven and bake another 10-15 minutes, until they are golden brown throughout. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Makes about 25 crackers. These will keep, covered at room temperature, for up to a week.
Other posts in this series:
- Lucky Comestible 5(1): Spicy Cilantro Sauce
- Lucky Comestible 5(2): Lemony Baked Tofu
- Lucky Comestible 5(3): Confetti Quinoa and Wild Rice Salad
- Lucky Comestible 5(5): “Ground” Tempeh in a Cilantro-Curry Sauce
Other Lucky Comestibles:
- Lucky Comestible 1: Sweet Potato
- Lucky Comestible 2: Quinoa
- Lucky Comestible 3: Avocado
- Lucky Comestible 4: Coconut
Last Year at this Time: Zucchini and Pineapple Mini Loaves (featuring a now-cringe-inducing Michael Jackson reference!)
© 2009 Ricki Heller
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