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crackers-cut

When we were eating Matzo for Passover everyone in the family kind of hinted that maybe homemade crackers should be a regular deal. For some reason I had it in my head that this was much to laborious a process to become a common food in our home but really, it’s not.

crackers-after-poking

Especially since I mix up the dough in five minutes and walk away for 12-24 hours. Then, when a window of time in which I’ll be in the kitchen anyway (and not rushing to prepare a meal) presents itself, I roll and bake them. That’s actually one of the things I really like about sourdough: I can do it on my own time.

crackers-baked-overhead

Plus, with a long fermentation, the fibers and starches are broken down when the lactic acid bacteria go to work. Just like the breads in Traditionally Fermented Foods, I almost always shoot for at least a 12-24 hour fermentation period. Things like pancakes and crackers are especially easy to ferment for long periods since you don’t depend on the sourdough for leavening and the break down of gluten in the process is actually helpful.

And, with the tangy flavor sourdough imparts, these crackers are full of flavor.

Sourdough Crackers

Ingredients

Directions

Combine the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter, fork, or clean hands, cut the fat into the flour and salt mixture until it is about the size of peas. Make a well in the flour-fat mixture.

To the well, add the water, starter, and eggs. Beat together to break up the eggs and then incorporate into the dry ingredients. Add more water or flour, if needed, to form a firm but soft dough. Cover and leave to ferment for 8-24 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Generously grease two baking sheets and sprinkle them with salt. Uncover the fermented dough and divide it into eighths. Roll out the dough into a thin rectangle and transfer that to one of your baking sheets. Cut the dough into 1-2″ squares and move these apart slightly on your baking sheet. Prick crackers several times with a fork. Repeat with one more section of dough.

Place crackers in preheated oven and bake 12-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool before eating. Repeat process with remaining cracker dough.

morningharvest

The other morning I was in the garden, as you oft could find me most mornings this spring. It’s been cool and we’ve had rain and so the weeds are coming on thick now. Sometimes I walk past them on the way to harvest this or that. Usually I find myself lingering to pull a few, leaving me there much longer than the just-going-to-pick-something trips I intend.

Joshie is now up and running around so he either joins me on foot or in the stroller. He sings a lot; while we’re at the clothesline, while he sits in his high chair in the kitchen, and most especially while we’re in the garden. There is one tune in particular he seems to attach his bop bops to lately (you can find it here as the tune for 16B).

squash-blossom-saute

Back to the other morning… I had just picked a bowl of squash the previous day so decided to let them be. Instead, I picked the male squash blossoms. These are the blossoms with just a thin stem; no round squash forming. My understanding is that you can pick many of these and since the bees are happily buzzing from plant to plant, leaving just a couple on each plant seemed fine.

Fried (and often stuffed) squash blossoms are fairly well known but I knew that was a little more effort than I could lend time to for the midday meal. Instead, I poked around on the internet and looked up Mexican Squash Blossom. Well, there are many ways these little guys are used in traditional cuisines so I grabbed a few extra ingredients from the garden and got started on a simple saute.

Prepping Squash Blossoms

I like to pick the blossoms early in the day, when they are wide open and I can see if there are bees or any other bugs in there. I let the bees fly out and then bring them inside for a quick rinse as needed.

Then I remove these little leaves along the base of the blossom.

squashblossomprep1

And then remove what I believe is called the stamen.

squashblossomprep2

They are then ready to fry, saute, or slice into salads.

Squash Blossom Saute with Beans

Note: Feel free to omit the beans. I have and served it with scrambled eggs and it was delicious.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil or lard
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 large collard green or kale leaves, chopped
  • 15-20 squash blossoms, prepared as above
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cups prepared (precooked) beans
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed chopped fresh cilantro

squashblossombeans

Directions

Heat the coconut oil or lard over medium heat. Fry the onion for several minutes until it begins to soften and turn translucent. Add the garlic and chopped greens and saute until the greens begin to wilt, about 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the squash blossoms.

Add the squash blossoms and diced tomato and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the squash blossoms are tender. Add the beans, cayenne, and salt to taste. Cook just until the beans are warmed through.

Remove from the heat and sprinkle in cilantro. Serve warm.

Other Ways to Eat Squash and Their Blossoms: