Goodbye, Old Friend

12 08 2009


Just yesterday, I finally got around to posting my TasteCasting review of Morton’s bar bites. That will teach me to be a lazy-ass. 614 Magazine broke the news today on twitter that Morton’s has shuttered their downtown Columbus location, which strikes me as odd – I was just there and business seemed to be thriving. I don’t think the employees had much notice, either – our host for the evening mentioned that they were about to open a patio, she also mentioned a scotch tasting they were holding next month, plus they had just debuted bar bites. I have fond memories of the place and spent many happy hours in their dining room with former colleagues and clients, so it makes me sad to see Morton’s close, despite the fact that I couldn’t have ever afforded to dine there as a paying customer. Le sigh!

Meanwhile, bunnies have ravaged my beloved garden and turned it into their personal salad bar. Needless to say, I can’t pass by the Big Kid’s room without flipping off her rabbits. Childish, I know!

On the career front, things are looking up. I have a new client, as well as a meeting (purpose TBD) Monday, so I’m hoping that a job will be forthcoming. Unemployment is such a buzzkill.


Interesting Weekend

28 09 2008

This weekend started like any other – trying to sleep in, but started by being rudely awakened by the alarm clock, reminding us to hurry up and get the girls ready for gymnastics. So, we woke up at 7:45 to get the ladies ready. The Baby, however, wasn’t having it. She wasn’t especially hungry and started the day by throwing her stuffed dog across the table and into her sister’s pancakes (I’m a big fan of pancakes on the weekend. They’re quick and easy to make and they fill those little tummies, but I digress…). A few additional factors made us run a little late today and made things extra-stressful, but we made it.

On a total AW note, I weighed myself today and I have lost 13 pounds in three weeks. No idea how idea how I did it, but I’m totally okay with it!

We went to my friend L’s engagement party tonight. Surprise! It ended up being her wedding, instead! You could have knocked me over with a feather! And my church lady friends are on a retreat this weekend (which I skipped to go to the engagement party/wedding), so I have no one to discuss this with tomorrow morning over coffee!

Despite all of that, this weekend was the September challenge for the Daring Bakers – lavasch crackers, with my choice of spread/dip. The recipe is as follows and, might I say that I was quite excited for a savory challenge, instead of the usual sweet one!

Lavasch Crackers

RECIPE – Recipe Reference: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. Copyright 2001. ISBN-10: 1-58008-268-8, ISBN-13: 978-158008-268-6.

Here’s a simple formula for making snappy Armenian-style crackers, perfect for breadbaskets, company and kids…It is similar to the many other Middle Eastern and Northern African flatbreads known by different names, such as mankoush or mannaeesh (Lebanese), barbari (Iranian), khoubiz or khobz (Arabian), aiysh (Egyptian), kesret and mella (Tunisian), pide or pita (Turkish), and pideh (Armenian). The main difference between these breads is either how thick or thin the dough is rolled out, or the type of oven in which they are baked (or on which they are baked, as many of these breads are cooked on stones or red-hot pans with a convex surface)…

The key to a crisp lavash,…is to roll out the dough paper-thin. The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking. The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets.

Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see … ong-Enough for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.


2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.


4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt – a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).

6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

Note: I topped mine with rosemary, sage, and a touch of kosher salt.

Options for toppings

You may use your choice of topping/dip/salsa/relish/spread for your lavash crackers as long as it is vegan and gluten free.

We had a couple of favorites that you might want to try along with your own creations:

Honeydew – Peach Salsa from The Splended Table ( … eydew.html)

Try the salsa with grilled seafoods and poultry, or over rice noodles. Chile could be added to taste. Is best eaten within several hours of preparation. Use organic ingredients if at all possible.

* juice of 1 lime
* 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
* 1/4 to 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
* 1 Red Fresno and 1 Hot Yellow minced chile (seeds removed)
* 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar,
* 1/2 ripe sweet honeydew melon, cubed into bite-sized pieces
* 4 small, ripe peaches, peeled and cubed into bite-sized pieces
* salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1/3 cup minced fresh coriander, or coriander and mint combined

In a medium bowl blend the lime juice, garlic, onion and chilies. Let stand 20 minutes, then blend in sugar and fruits with salt (a generous pinch) and pepper (to make piquant) to taste. Refrigerate up to 3 hours. Fold in fresh herbs just before serving.

Copyright 1997 Lynne Rossetto Kasper, all rights reserved.

Tahitian Almond Dipping Sauce by Robert Yarosh and Lisa Soto, from The Complete Book of Raw Food, Lori Baird, Editor.

* 1 1/2 cups almond butter
* 1/2 cup pine nuts
* 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
* 1 clove garlic
* 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (you may want to add more juice or add some water, depending on the consistancy you like).
* 1 1/2 tablespoons agave syrup or honey

Blend all ingredients together until smooth (in your blender or food processor). Serve with your favorite crackers and fresh fruit.

Not thrilled with a sweet opping, I did some digging online and here is what I ended up making as a topping, instead (note: I am NOT an olive fan, by any means, and ended up digging the olives out of my serving, but I have friends who love olives, so I made this for them. See? The sacrifices I make for my capadres?! Next time, I’d like to add some sauteed onion to add some depth to the flavor).


1 can tomato sauce (8oz)

2T chopped black olives

3 large mushrooms, chopped

3/4c frozen spinach

1oz feta cheese

1t olive oil

Pepper to taste

1. Put Olive Oil in a small pot or deep sided pan. Heat over medium.
2. Add mushrooms and sautee until their juice as released.
3. Add the spinach and cover the pan until the whole mix loosely incorporates.
4. Add the tomato sauce, cheese and olives, stirring to mix and let the cheese melt.
**If you don’t have feta : riccotta salata and a creamy cheese are an excellent substitution.

Use by topping lavash and baking or store and add to crisped slice of bread and bake.

Next time I make these, I’d like to treat them like gourmet pizzas and top one with turkey, swiss cheese, and crushed tomatoes, another with ham and swiss, and the last one with pepperoni, mozerella and crushed tomatoes, just to appease Hubs. I’ll let you know how that works out!

Let the Games Begin!

8 04 2008

Yep, it’s that time of year. The lesbian neighbors have dragged out their cornhole boards and have already held the first tournament, so chances are good that if you’re gay and like beer and/or cornhole, you’ve probably partied in my backyard. Holla! (oh, that didn’t sound right, did it?)

Speaking of things that don’t sound right, I was in one of the kids’ rooms yesterday, mopping and I look over toward the bunny cage and saw the strangest thing (allow me to give some background. Our bunnies are gay. As in there needs to be a disco ball hanging in their cage. Yes, they’re that gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with it). Now, I have seen the two of them humping each other in every way possible for two furry rodents in a small cage, but I was not at all prepared to see the one bunny humping the beejeezus out of the ball they have in their cage. And when I say humping, I don’t mean a gentle nudge. I mean he was makin’ sweet bunny-lovin’ to the thing! I was so stunned by what I saw that I had to hurry out of the room and make several phone calls!

It is spring, right?