[They work both as a cracker–or a snack! Angela’s elegant Sundried Tomato and Garlic Superseed Crackers are vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut-free, yeast-free, and low glycemic. Suitable for Stage 2 and beyond on an anti-candida diet.]
[photo: Ashley McGlaughlin]
It wasn’t until I moved to Toronto in my late 20s that the infinite possibilities of food really began to open up to me. After all, Toronto is the most multi-cultural city in the world, and you can find cuisines of virtually every other country here. But for me, it was the Graduate Student Dinner Party that made the biggest difference.
While I was studying at University of Toronto, my friends and I used to throw dinner parties almost weekly as a venue to showcase our best new recipes. Sometimes we’d combine efforts and co-host, sharing the culinary duties.
At one such event, my bestie Gemini I had invited a colleague from her MBA program (let’s call him “Pierre”). Pierre was tall, suave, prematurely gray (which just gave him even more élan), a true gourmet, and–most engaging of all–he spoke with a French accent. So I was thrilled when he offered to create the hors d’oeuves for our party.
So, what did Monsieur Français Cheveux Gris Très Suave Pierre whip up, you may wonder? Was it soup à l’oignon? Escargots? Poutine?
Nope. What Pierre created was so magical, so delectable, so deceptively simple that it became our staple appetizer for decades to come.
The recipe? One fresh lemon, thinly sliced, with each slice then cut into tiny pie-shaped wedges (be sure to leave the skin on); one tub processed Philadelphia soft cream cheese; one box of original Triscuit crackers; and one can of smoked oysters. (I know, quite the gourmet, mais non?)
Assemble as follows: smear some cheese on a Triscuit; top with a smoked oyster; and place a lemon wedge on top. Pop the entire shebang in your mouth at once and get ready for a flavor bomb.
They were uncannily delicious, and we’d invariably go through dozens of these little taste sensations at every party.
Well, I’ve gotta admit, those hors d’oeuvres really opened my eyes to the possibility of crackers as “gourmet food.” Before that, I’d only ever eaten saltines (mostly on Saturday mornings, slathered in Kraft peanut butter, with a side of chocolate milk while the CEO and I watched Skooby-Doo or The Jetsons on TV).
That’s why I’m so happy to share today’s recipe from Angela Liddon (Oh She Glows)’s new cookbook, Sundried Tomato and Garlic Super-Seed Crackers. Many of you are already familiar with Angela and her New York Times best-selling inaugural cookbook, The Oh She Glows Cookbook.
This book, Oh She Glows Everyday, offers more of Angela’s signature foolproof, homey recipes, with the added bonus of ease and speed of preparation for those with busy lifestyles (which, let’s face it, is all of us!). And the recipes can be made with regular ingredients we’d all find at our local grocers.
These little gems are, like the best cracker-based appetizers, flavor bombs in their own right. Top with a little cream cheese (please use something better than what we used in those Triscuit appetizers of yore!) and you’ve got a fantastic snack or appetizer. While I no longer eat smoked oysters, dairy cream cheese OR Triscuits, these crackers give me hope for even better hors d’oeuvres to come.
Sundried Tomato and Garlic Super-Seed Crackers
from Oh She Glows Everyday by Angela Liddon
Angela says: “These elegant, chewy crackers are fit for a high-end bakery! Infused with sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, garlic, oats, and a slew of nutritious seeds, they taste like pizza, but they’re full of health benefits. The combination of seeds is rich in healthy fatty acids and antioxidants, and the recipe is both gluten-free and tree nut-free. They may look intimidating to make, but they come together incredibly fast and easily. If you’ve ever been intimidated by rolling out cracker dough, you have to try this recipe; the dough doesn’t even require a rolling pin. Simply spread it out with your hands!”
1/3 cup (75 ml) sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not oil-packed)
1-1/2 cups (375 ml) boiling water
1 cup (250 ml) raw hulled sunflower seeds
1 cup (250 ml) gluten-free rolled oats
1/4 cup (60 ml) hemp hearts
1/4 cup (60 ml) raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup (60 ml) white sesame seeds
2 Tbsp (30 ml) black sesame seeds or more white sesame seeds
2 Tbsp (30 ml) whole chia seeds
3 Tbsp (45 ml) ground chia seeds
1-1/4 tsp (6 ml) garlic powder
1 large clove garlic, grated on a Microplane
2 tsp (10 ml) dried oregano
1 tsp (5 ml) coconut sugar or natural cane sugar [I used Lakanto]
1 tsp (5 ml dried basil
3/4 tsp (4 ml) fine sea salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Line two standard baking sheets (13 × 18 inches/32 × 40 cm) or one extra-large baking sheet (15 × 21 inches/38 × 53 cm) with parchment paper.
2. Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Set aside to soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients.
4. With a slotted spoon, scoop the softened sun-dried tomatoes out of the soaking water and transfer to a mini food processor, reserving the soaking water. Process the tomatoes until minced. Alternatively, you can chop the tomatoes by hand—just be sure to chop them very fine so the crackers are easy to slice. Scoop the tomatoes into the bowl with the seed mixture.
5. Add the tomato soaking water to the bowl with the seed mixture. Stir for about a minute, until the water has been mostly absorbed by the seed mixture and is no longer pooling on the bottom of the bowl.
6. Transfer half the seed mixture to each baking sheet (or if using one extra-large baking sheet, spoon all of it onto the sheet). With your hands, spread the mixture starting in the center and pushing outward, until you form a large, misshapen rectangle, no more than 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick. The mixture will be very wet, but this is normal. Be sure that the dough is uniform in thickness and the corners aren’t too thick.
7. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet(s) and using a pizza slicer, carefully slice the dough into large crackers. Carefully flip each cracker using a spatula or your hands. Don’t worry if a couple break here and there! If for some reason the crackers are sticking to the parchment paper, just leave them as is and remove them after the second bake.
8. Return the baking sheet(s) to the oven and bake for 23 to 25 minutes more, until the crackers are golden. Watch closely during the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking to ensure they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet(s) for 5 minutes. Transfer the crackers to a couple of cooling racks and let cool completely. Store the cooled crackers in a paper bag on the counter for up to 1 week. You can also store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in a freezer-safe zip-top bag in the freezer for 3 to 4 weeks. If the crackers soften while storing (this can happen in humid environments), toast in the oven at 300°F (150°C) for 5 to 7 minutes, then let cool completely. This is usually enough to return their former crispness!
Tip: To make ground chia seed, in a high-speed blender, grind 1/2 cup (125 mL) chia seeds on high until a fine powder forms. Store any unused ground chia seed in the fridge in an airtight container.
Reprinted from Oh She Glows Every Day by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016, Glo Bakery Corporation.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 and beyond; refined sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, yeast-free, vegan, low glycemic.
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