awesome allium crackers

Looking for a new flavor to fill the void of mid-spring, when the previous fall’s stored butternut wanes and we don’t yet have local broccoli for croccolis, I started playing around with what is abundant and nutritionally so important this time of year– Alliums!  Spring’s rainy weather and temperature swings can make us all vulnerable to colds, and alliums like onions and garlic offer proven immune-boosting properties, helping inhibit inflammation. I won’t bore you with the details of why alliums are awesome here, but you can read more about the benefits of onions in a quick summary by Care2.

I use spring onions and green garlic (currently from Bellair Farm) in this recipe, roasting them lightly to enrich the flavors. I suspect I’ll probably continue to tweak the spices this season to find the perfect flavor combination, but here is the present ingredient list:

golden flax seeds*, millet*, sunflower seeds*, locally grown spring onions (Allium x proliferum), green garlic, water, dates*, unfiltered apple cider vinegar*, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, cumin*, black pepper*, turmeric*,  brown mustard*

           (*certified organic)

“the croccoli” cracker with fresh ginger & roasted garlic

Maybe it’s the obligatory recovery period after the Christmas and New Year holiday that’s made me crave green stuff lately, even more than usual. But cold raw salads are not exactly compelling when the temperatures finally start feeling wintry.  I want huge platters of steamed green stuff slathered in some kind of goopy brown garlic sauce a la American Chinese food, in the excessive quantity only an American can appreciate.

Thus, the croccoli was born– a crunchy cracker not shy on nutty broccoli flavor, but matched with fresh ginger and some roasted garlic.

Broccoli is a “no-brainer” health food, packed with compounds found to fight cancer, and in combination particularly effective at detoxifying the body. Read more about that at one of my favorite no-frills nutrition sites, World’s Healthiest Foods.  The croccoli will be available at City Market, The Juice Laundry, and other select retail locations throughout the spring (May-June), and late fall.

ingredients: organic golden flax, locally grown broccoli, organic millet, organic raw sunflower seeds, filtered water, organic dates, Braggs raw apple cider vinegar,  roasted locally grown garlic, fresh ginger, himalayan pink salt

Savory Spinach & Seed Crackers

For the second day of this week’s snack duty, I was infected with both a premature preoccupation with St. Patrick’s Day and a craving for greenness. I can only chalk these urges up to cumulative Vitamin D deficiency. Thus, spinach and shamrocks were nonnegotiable. In researching other spinach crackers, I was disappointed with the dull spectrum of greens characterizing the final products, so I tried a couple tricks- blanching the spinach (which sort of “locks in” nutrients and mitigates color fade by stopping enzymatic action) and combining sunflower seeds with a tiny bit of baking soda, which leverages the same reaction as the Oscar the Grouch Cookies.

"Raw" shamrocks, before baking
“Raw” shamrocks, before baking

Since the Butterfly Beet Crackers made previously this week were a little sweet (but not sweet enough, actually, since I think kids expecting a butterfly shaped cookie felt duped), I risked full-on savory with these shamrocks, playing with cumin and paprika. Olive oil is the only thing making these nonpaleo, technically, so the purists out there can sub lard or coconut oil. Of course, they are much easier to make into squares or triangles (which makes them look like chips), so I would only go the shamrock route if you have plenty of time and an acute need to woo an Irishman. Feel free to adjust the spices and use some different herbs to suit your (or your favorite Irishperson’s) fancy.

Savory Spinach & Seed Crackers
Serves 20
A deep green, grain-free cracker that pairs well with fresh salsa or a creamy cheese dip. Packed with spinach and essential fatty acids.
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108 calories
5 g
0 g
9 g
3 g
1 g
33 g
220 g
1 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
33g
Servings
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 108
Calories from Fat 78
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 220mg
9%
Total Carbohydrates 5g
2%
Dietary Fiber 3g
14%
Sugars 1g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
22%
Vitamin C
8%
Calcium
4%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup ground golden flax seed
  2. 1 cup sunflower seeds
  3. 1/4 cup chia seeds
  4. 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  6. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 4 tablespoons olive oil
  10. 8 ounces fresh spinach leaves (about 8 cups coarsely chopped). You can also use 1+ cup frozen spinach, as it is already blanched. You want to end up with 1 cup pureed spinach.
  11. 1/2 peeled orange
Instructions
  1. Combine sunflower seeds, flax seeds in a food processor (I used a Nutribullet) until crumbly but not super fine. Put the contents into a medium bowl, and set aside the food processor as you will use it again and don't need to clean it out.
  2. Add garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and baking soda to the ground seeds, and whisk thoroughly to combine.
  3. Add an inch of water to a steaming pot and put the fresh spinach in a steaming basket. It will look like a lot, but cook down. Turn the stove eye on to medium heat, add the lid, and let the spinach steam until just wilted and bright green, about 5 minutes. Do not let it turn to mush. As soon as it's hot, green, and wilted, remove the basket and plunge it into a bowl of ice water for 1 minute.
  4. Retrieve the cooked leaves from the water and put them in the food processor with the half of an orange and olive oil. Purée until very smooth.
  5. Add the green purée to the seed/spice mixture, using a little spatula to get it all out of the processor and off the blades.
  6. Combine thoroughly, kneading any remaining bits into the dough by hand, making sure to work in any clumps of seeds. You want a thick ball of dough, so only add 1 teaspoon or so of water (preferably the water remaining from the steaming) if necessary.
  7. Divide dough in half and shape each into a ball. Place both balls on a large sheet of parchment paper (big enough to cover a cookie sheet) and flatten each into 1 inch-thick square. You may find it helpful to refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow dough to firm up before rolling. Once dough has chilled, heat oven to 350°F.
  8. Working with one ball at a time, roll out one ball of dough on the parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness (but no thinner!) and, using a knife or pizza wheel, cut into whatever shape you like, as long as it's consistent. Squares or triangles would work fine, but I used a shamrock cookie cutter for the sake of St. Patrick's Day, which required using a spatula to transfer to another lined sheet. Uniformity is important to assure even baking, so just make sure each baking sheet contains only squares, or only shamrocks, etc.
  9. Once cut, separate the pieces on the parchment-lined baking sheet so that they are at least 1/2 inch apart.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes and turn the oven off. Flip the pieces upside down on the sheet so that the bottoms don't brown too much, and return to the warm oven for another 8-10 minutes until they are crisp but not browning. Remove from oven and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. Makes about 75-80 1.5 by 1.5 inch crackers, approximately 4-5 cups.
beta
calories
108
fat
9g
protein
3g
carbs
5g
more
http://goodphytefoods.com/

‘Love Train’ Beet & Rosemary Crackers

Remember those flimsy baseball card-sized paper valentines kids used to bring to everyone in your elementary school class out of obligatory, parent-enforced egalitarianism? In fact, do you remember Lisa Simpson’s regrettable decision to give Ralph Wiggum an “I Choo-Choo Choose You” card? If not, here is a 5 second clip on YouTube that was obviously recorded by someone standing in front of their television screen. Ah, the 90s!

In keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme this week, I wanted to use beets in a more savory finger-friendly context than the might-as-well-be-cupcakes ‘Love Bites’ Beet Muffins I posted a few days ago. Inspired by Daily Bites’ Beet & Rosemary crackers, I gladly nabbed some sprigs from our monster rosemary bush and played around with a nut-free version that also beefed up the beet content. Consequently, the result is darker in color and rich in sunflower and flax seed goodness. It’s grain and sweetener free, and would pair well with hummus or any dip that your little one fancies. You could use coconut oil instead of olive oil if you want a purely paleo version.

I had recently acquired a few new cookie cutters from a thrift store, so made both regaular rectangular crackers with this recipe as well as some choo-choos, just to see if it made a difference in toddler-receptivity. The recipe below is the simpler, standard rectangle version. You’re welcome!

Of course, without the train, you’ll need to make a new name for them, like “Flamingo Biscuits,” or “Vampire Blood Crackers,” or “Purple Princess Crackers,” depending on the interests of your little one at the moment.

 

'Love Train' Beet and Rosemary Crackers
Yields 20
This recipe yields about 80 1 inch by 1.5 inch crackers.
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
110 calories
6 g
0 g
9 g
4 g
1 g
29 g
185 g
1 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
29g
Yields
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 110
Calories from Fat 76
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 185mg
8%
Total Carbohydrates 6g
2%
Dietary Fiber 4g
14%
Sugars 1g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
3%
Iron
5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup steamed chopped beets
  2. 4 tablespoons water remaining from steaming beets
  3. 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. 1 cup golden flax seed
  6. 1 1/2 cups sunflower seeds
  7. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  8. 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder (optional)
  9. 1 teaspoon sea salt (fine)
  10. 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  11. 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (for decorating)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the sunflower seeds and flax seeds. Pulse until a coarse meal forms.
  3. Add the rosemary, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Pulse until everything is a fine meal. Remove mixture and place into a medium sized bowl. Do not wash the processor bowl.
  4. Drain the beets, reserving any liquid, which should be a deep magenta. Add the drained beets
  5. the to the food processor, along with the 4 tablespoons of the reserved beet cooking liquid, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil to the food processor. Process until the beets are pretty thoroughly pureed.
  6. Use a spatula to scoop out the beet mixture, adding it to the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until everything is combined, and a ball of dough begins to form.
  7. Pat the dough into a rectangular shape on a large piece of parchment paper, using generously oiled hands. Top with another sheet of parchment paper and roll out to about 1/8-inch thick rectangular shape. Transfer the dough, parchment paper and all, to a baking sheet. Remove the top piece of parchment and sprinkle a tiny bit of coarse sea salt on top (if salt's your fancy). Trim any jagged edges off with a knife or pizza cutter and save it for another round of rolling. Using the knife or pizza cutter, score the dough into cracker shapes, depending on whether you prefer a square or rectangle.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until firm to the touch and light brown around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven off. Separate the crackers along the pre-cut lines and space them out a little bit on the baking sheet so the air can circulate around them. Place the pan back in the hot oven for 5 minutes (longer if, like me, you only managed to roll them to somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inch). This step helps to crisp up the crackers a little more.
  9. After 5 minutes, remove the crackers from the oven and cool completely. I wait at least a couple hours and preferably overnight just to be safe.Crackers will continue to crisp up as they cool.
  10. Store in an airtight container after they are completely cooled.
Notes
  1. Nutritional information assumes a toddler serving of about 4 crackers.
Adapted from Daily Bites Blog
beta
calories
110
fat
9g
protein
4g
carbs
6g
more
Adapted from Daily Bites Blog
http://goodphytefoods.com/

Sweet Potato Sesame Sticks

Convinced that those addictive sesame sticks in the bulk bins can’t be thaaaat hard to make (the ingredients are simple), I tried my hand at a whole wheat version from Serious Eats, trying to emulate the real thing. I subbed beet water (the magenta liquid left over from steaming beets) for the water, and added cayenne.

They were good, and Fionn loved them, but I needed to kick them up a notch: they needed more vegetable content, more seed fat/fiber. So I made this grain-free, paleo version with sweet potato. I look forward to making versions with other pureed vegetables. NOTE: Cumin is KEY!

Sweet Potato Sesame Sticks
Yields 16
Savory, crunchy, and full of omega 3s and beta carotene.
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141 calories
7 g
0 g
12 g
4 g
1 g
31 g
231 g
1 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
31g
Yields
16
Amount Per Serving
Calories 141
Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
18%
Saturated Fat 1g
7%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 231mg
10%
Total Carbohydrates 7g
2%
Dietary Fiber 5g
19%
Sugars 1g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
24%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
8%
Iron
9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 cup ground golden flax seed
  2. 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
  3. 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  4. 1/4 teaspoon dried turmeric
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  6. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  8. 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  9. 1 cup puréed sweet potato or pumpkin
Instructions
  1. Combine sesame seeds, hemp seeds,ground flax, turmeric, garlic powder, cumin, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, combine pureed sweet potato/pumpkin and oil. Stir these wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Combine thoroughly, kneading any remaining bits into the dough by hand. If too dry, add a teaspoon or so of water.
  3. Divide dough in half and shape each into a ball. Place both balls on a large sheet of parchment paper (big enough to cover a cookie sheet) and flatten each into 1 inch-thick square. You may find it helpful to refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow dough to firm up before rolling. Once dough has chilled, heat oven to 350°F.
  4. Working with one ball at a time, roll out one ball of dough on the parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness and, using a knife or pizza wheel, cut into small rectangles (I made mine approximately 1/4-inch by 1-inch, but you can go with a narrower rectangle more akin to the store-bought version). Uniformity is important to assure even baking.
  5. Once cut, separate the pieces on the parchment-lined baking sheet so that they are at least 1/2 inch apart.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip the pieces around on the sheet so that the bottoms don't brown. Continue baking for 8 minutes more, until sticks are crisp but not browning. Remove from oven and cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. Yields 4 cups, or about 150 1 x 1.5 inch crackers.
beta
calories
141
fat
12g
protein
4g
carbs
7g
more
http://goodphytefoods.com/