Italian Herb Sourdough Crackers

The trick to making crispy sourdough crackers is baking them long enough that they become crispy and golden.

Little Spoon Farm has a terrific sourdough cracker using sourdough discard. I adapted the recipe creating a salty-herb cracker with wonderful Italian flavors. The olive oil replacement for butter contributed to a nice crispy cracker that may be healthier too. See my substitutions below. See Sourdough Discard Crackers for directions.

So simple, so good, and no preservatives or additives! — Carole

My Ingredients

3/4 cup of sourdough discard

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1 teaspoon of dried basil

1/2 teaspoon of dried garlic

1/2 teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of flavorful olive oil

Holy Hot Cross Buns

Before Easter, Deb @everything.sourdough posted photos of her Sourdough Hot Cross Buns on Instagram. She mentioned that they are “traditionally eaten on Good Friday”. This piqued my interest. So I decided to do a bit of online research about the history of hot cross buns. Not surprisingly, there were numerous and fascinating websites to explore regarding these cross-laced buns and their relationship with Easter. Better Homes and Garden had a fun-to-read section titled, Why We Eat Hot Cross Buns at Easter.

If you are interested in trying this recipe, Deb’s Instragam post @everything.sourdough lists the ingredients as well as provides clear directions for making them. With her permission, I posted her recipe below. These hot cross buns are delicious. As is true for most pastries, they were the most delicious on the day they were when freshly baked. (My husband enjoyed 4 of them warm from the oven!)

Actually, hot cross buns are great any time of the year! — Carole

Deb’s Sourdough Hot Cross Buns @everything.sourdough

Ingredients
* 3/4 cup fresh juice (from about 3 oranges)
* 1/2 cup golden raisins
* 1/2 cup dried currants (or dark raisins)
* 456g (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1 1/2 tsp salt
* 3/4 cup whole milk, warm (105°F)
* 220g (1 cup) active sourdough starter
* 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
* 1 large egg, room temperature

Glaze: 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 TBSP reserved OJ
Cross icing (optional) 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 TBSP milk

Instructions
1. Combine orange juice, raisins, and currants in a small bowl or saucepan, and heat until just warm. Cool completely. Reserve 1 TBSP orange juice for the glaze, drain and set aside.
2. Combine dry ingredients: flour, sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix until combined, about 15 seconds. Add warm milk, starter, butter, and egg; mix until a shaggy dough forms.
3. Switch to the dough hook and knead at medium-low speed until the dough is quite elastic about 7-10 minutes.
4. Add drained raisins and currants and mix until evenly incorporated for 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Transfer the dough to a large, buttered bowl. Cover and allow to rise at room temperature for 8-12 hours, or until doubled in size.
6. Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll into balls and place in a buttered 13×9-inch baking pan.
7. Cover the pan and allow it to rise at room temperature for 4-6 hours, or until the rolls rise and fill the pan.
8. 30 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes, or until they’re deeply golden brown, and register 200° F using an instant-read thermometer.
9. Remove from oven and glaze warm and pipe cooled buns with crosses if desired. Enjoy!

Since I didn’t have golden raisins, I substituted cranberries. I also substituted 120 grams of Vermont’s Nitty Gritty whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the white flour.

Eat a Peach, A Memoir

“The greatest forms of creativity are born of paradox” — David Chang

I was shopping at the nearest food co-op and noticed the cashier with a closed book on the counter. Always curious about what others are reading, I asked her about it. The book had an interesting cover. DAVID CHANG’s name was in large white letters across the top and a small figure was pushing a huge orange peach up an incline. At the bottom, the title, EAT A PEACH A Memoir was nestled in a sea of black ink swirls. The cashier explained that it was celebrity David Chang’s memoir and it was about much more than food or becoming a chef.

David Chang’s New Cookbook

As it turned out, David Chang’s story is complex, intense, and extraordinarily adventurous. Diagnosed with bipolar, his life has manic highs, and downward spirals of suicidal ideation. A passionate and inventive chef, David uses cooking and ambition as an outlet for coping with his low self-esteem. The memoir shares childhood memories, his culinary background, business relationships, and entrepreneurial drive. David has opened over 14 very successful restaurants around the country under the Momofuku brand.

Chang’s final pages list his 33 guiding principles for becoming a chef or a cook. These rules are practical. Take, for example, his rule #13, Embrace paradox. He challenges us to reconsider our traditional idea of flavor. Food combinations that may seemingly contradict our idea of what tastes good, will often balance each other and create food that is “both delicious and unpredictable”.

Shrimp inspired by the flavors in escabeche

I recently made a shrimp dish from David Chang’s new cookbook, Cooking at Home, Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Recipes (and Love my Microwave). It was a SUPER easy recipe to make with unusual flavors! The interesting selection of herbs in Chang’s “killer sauce” recipe made it fun. My husband raved about the great taste of this shrimp dish. It was exciting that something so delicious took just minutes to make.

I’m sold on the David Chang paradox technique! — Carole