Sunday, December 21, 2014

Homemade Savory Crackers

I needed something snacky to take for a Christmas party that we were going to attend.
I remember watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa one time when she was making homemade crackers.  I have one of her cookbooks and thankfully the recipe was in the book that I have.  Fortunately, the recipe is also online so I'll place the link below if you'd like to try to make these homemade savory crackers.

Ina Garten's Parmesan Black Pepper Crackers   

I believe she calls them Parmesan Thyme crackers in the cookbook, but the recipe looks the same except the amount of salt.

I don't have a stand mixer, so I mixed everything by hand with a wooden spoon.

I don't know if it's because I used the bottled parmesan instead of grating fresh parmesan, but the dough was really dry for me.  I ended up adding 5 teaspoons of water and I still found it a little hard to work with.  It was still a little too crumbly for me.

I also added a little onion powder to the recipe and I had to use dried thyme instead of fresh since I didn't have any.

My opinion of these crackers is that I would have liked a thinner cracker.  She said that these were like a shortbread cracker.  I think the taste was really, really good.  I loved the taste, but I would prefer a thinner, crisper cracker.  These were dry and crumbly. . . . probably like a shortbread.  If I could find a way to make them thin and crispy I would definitely make them again because of the flavoring.

Note:  If you do in fact have one of her cookbooks with this recipe, the recipe in the book calls for twice as much salt as the recipe at the link above.  I found the salt in the cookbook to be too much.  The amount listed in the recipe above is probably the perfect amount.  I imagine that they realized the amount listed in the cookbook was too much and they were able to correct it in the online versions.

Have you ever tried to make homemade crackers?

 I've made homemade soda crackers before and they turned out really good.  I might give these another try adding a little more water and rolling them out like I did my soda crackers.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

The Big Tortilla Fail | When Bad Tortillas Happen to Good People

I found myself in need of tortillas today.  Instead of going to the store for that one thing, I decided to try to find a recipe to make them homemade.  I have made homemade tortillas in the past.  I can't remember how I made them last time, but they weren't very pliable.  When I needed a recipe today, I just typed in 
"Homemade Tortillas without shortening"

I clicked on the first link and decided that it looked good enough.  . . . . .  I'll give it a try!

Now, the man who wrote the recipe that I was using recommended 2/3 cup of olive oil and said, "Yes!  I said 2/3 cups of Olive Oil."  

I thought to myself, "Okay random blog dude, you seem nice enough.  I'll give it a try!"

Wow!  2/3 cup of olive oil is a lot of olive oil.  My dough was so nice and greasy.  I actually won't need any moisturizer on my hands for a while.  For that I'm thankful.  They have been so dry lately.  And none of us will probably have any problems pooping tomorrow if we eat these things.  Can you see the oil that was left in the bowl . . . . . . from the dough? 

 The oil was oozing out of the dough.  

Yet, I pressed on.  Well, not literally pressed. . . . I don't have a tortilla press, so I had to roll them out by hand.  For some reason I can not roll dough into a round circle without making the center so thin that it sometimes actually becomes a hole.  The same thing happens to me when I roll out dough for pita bread.  I'm always experimenting.  . . . . .and obviously I'm not afraid to fail.  Over and over again.  At least in the kitchen.

I'm still gonna try to use these things, but I'm going to see how much grease I can sop off of them before I stuff them!  They are seriously so greasy they are practically see-through!

This is the grease on the towels from trying to de-grease them.   Really?!?!?

 Blog dude recommended putting wax paper between each layer so that they don't stick.  I don't see having that problem!
The moral of the story is. . . . . . it is easier, healthier, less greasy and less time-consuming to just put your makeup on and drive to the store to get tortillas.  Or don't put makeup on.  Whatever.

Do any of you have a good recipe for non-greasy, pliable homemade tortillas made without shortening?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Run Out of Dishwasher Tabs? No Problem!

I saw this nifty little tip on Facebook.   Thanks to Real Simple who forwarded it from Huffington Post.

I wasn't out of dishwasher tabs, but curiosity got the best of me.  I had to see if it would work.
My sister has tried to make the homemade dishwasher tabs before, but she said it was a waste of time.  She said they didn't clean as well and that she ended up having to wash everything by hand anyway. So, could I find something that would work if  I absolutely needed it?

All it takes is regular dish soap, baking soda and salt.  You can find the complete instructions at the link below.

I was worried when some people claimed that they had used regular dish soap in dishwashers before and ended up with bubbly messes.  I kept opening the door to make sure that wasn't going to happen to me.  Luckily, I use Seventh Generation dish soap.  It doesn't seem to bubble as much as the more chemical-laden dish soaps.  I used only the three drops like the Huffington Post article suggested and I had no problems.

The dishes came out sparkly-clean.  

The only issue that  I could see is that they might not have dried as quickly as they would have with a normal dishwasher detergent.  I also don't know how the salt might affect different parts of my dishwasher.   BUT if I ever run out of dishwasher detergent, it is a viable solution.

UPDATE:  I tried it again a second time.  This time I don't know if I put too much salt in???
The dishes seemed like they had a little bit of a baking soda/salt residue.
But, it wasn't all of the dishes though.
The glass and ceramic dishes came out perfectly.
It was the plastic and stainless steel items that seemed like they had a little residue on them.  That might be because I don't have the rinse agent compartment filled.

I still think it's worth doing if you run out of dish detergent, though.  Good enough for one night until you can get to the store.

Have you ever tried any alternatives to pre-bought dishwasher detergent?