Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Growing and Pleasures: Crackers and Jam

Tomorrow I celebrate the birthday of a very special woman.  She is someone who has been in my life since I was 16 (now 35).  I have grown up with her and I respect and love her wholly for the time we have spent together.  I have always looked up to her for strength and knowledge in the true power of being a woman.

When I was younger, she worked at the Women's Center at Princeton University.  She offered me the opportunity to help out occasionally stuffing envelopes and such, meanwhile inviting me to the enlivened world of progressive women's college events.  I attended "Take Back the Night" rallies where I learned that women could have a voice and they could make statements by simply joining together.  During one of these rallies I learned about Ruth Gerson, a most amazing and talented singer/songwriter who I still listen to today.  I was invited to a viewing of "Girls Town" where Anna Grace, one of the main actresses, spoke on the life of growing up female in a hard pressed environment, a world I was not brought up to see or understand.  I even drove her back to the train in my little red Honda Civic and had a chance to grill her on all I had just learned!  This is also the woman who invited me to the talk by Marianne Apostolides on her book "Inner Hunger"   while I was having trouble with body image and hunger disorders.  This is a woman who has propped me up and given me the strength, information and love I needed at every turn.

Last year I was lucky enough to return the gift and took her to an Ani DiFranco and Melissa Ferrick show in NYC.  It's the least I could do.  There is not a lot I could do to top that this year.  I fall back on what I know best for showing love.  Food.

Here is a recipe I constructed with her tastes in mind.  We have shared food, and the creation of food excites us both.  I can only hope this recipe stands up to her extraordinary taste and she enjoys it as much as I do!

 Sprouted Wheat Walnut Rosemary Raisin Crackers

  • 2 -1/2 cups sprouted flour
  • 1 cup yogurt (homemade preferred)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (or butter), softened

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • extra sprouted flour for dusting

Whip the coconut oil or butter, with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer, until fluffy (if using coconut oil, it must be solid/cold to whip). Once the oil is fluffy, add the sprouted flour, yogurt, sea salt, and baking powder into the coconut oil. Mix well until a soft dough ball forms.

Combine the raisins, rosemary, and walnuts in a food processor and process until combined and pebble sized. Add to the dough and mix until well combined throughout. Remove the dough and form into a ball.

Sprinkle a large surface with more sprouted flour and place the dough ball on it. Push it down with your hands to flatten. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough and roll out to 1/8 – ¼ inch. The thinner they are, the crispier they will be. Cut into any shape you wish, I made rough rectangles, and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet or parchment paper on cookie sheet.

Cook for 20 minutes, until browned. Flip and cook for another 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them in the last five minutes to avoid over darkening.

Let cool on a rack and place in an air-tight container. These will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Quick Fig Spread
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1 ¼ cup filtered water
  • Squeeze or two of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)
  • ½ tsp black pepper, may use a few cloves, a few cardomom pods, or a few sprinkles cinnamon

Combine the figs and water in a saucepan. Simmer 15 minutes. Add the black pepper or other spices and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Pour into a food processor and add lemon juice and honey (remove any whole spices used). Blend until combined and thick.

Keep in an air-tight container 3-5 days.

These would be delicious served with a good brie or goat cheese.  Enjoy!

Cheri, you have helped to shape the person I am today and that is a person I am proud to be and excited to share with you, and the world, for all the days to come.  Thank you for being in my life.

-And I didn't use sweet spices cause I know you don't like them!

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