Tuesday, 15 January 2008
Once more, even though it isn’t the weekend, here is my post for
Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB #116) – Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
(click on image for larger view)
Two summers ago, along with a selection of fabulous cheeses, I was given a box of the most wonderful crackers, Lesley Stowe’s Raincoast Crisps. The crackers are available throughout Canada and the USA. And they are delicious. But at their price, they really are only for special occasions.
Or so I thought.
This past summer, one of my sisters-in-law brought faux stowes as part of her offering for the family dinner. They were just as fabulous as the real thing and she claimed they weren’t all that difficult to make.
It turns out she’s right. Even though they require double baking, they’re dead easy. And they’re delicious! And being home made, MUCH less expensive so they can be for every day rather than just special occasions.
I made a few changes to the recipe my sister-in-law copied out for me. I used dried rosemary instead of fresh.
I had to use dried rosemary. Unlike my lucky western relatives’ rosemary, our rosemary does not survive outdoors in the winter. I have a small rosemary plant in the basement but it’s so spindly that removing even a teaspoon, let alone a tablespoon of leaves would render the poor little plant leafless.
And I omitted the fruit (I forgot to put it in…) I also added the left over sludge from building up my wild yeast to the batter. I’m positive that this is not a necessary addition. It’s a great way to use up the discards though!
Here’s what I did to make the crackers:
double the recipe to make twice the amount
- 1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 Tbsp flax seeds
- ½ tsp seasalt
- ½ tsp dried rosemary (or ½ Tbsp fresh)
- discarded sludge from wild yeast buildup, optional*
- 1 c buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar (demerrara)
- 1 Tbsp molasses
- ¼ c pecans, chopped
- ¼ c pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 2 Tbsp brown sesame seeds
- ¼ c raisins or dried cranberries, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Stir flour and baking soda in a medium sized bowl.
- Use a pestle and mortar to coarsely grind the flaxseeds, salt and rosemary. Set aside.
- Stir in buttermilk, sugar and molasses. Also add the left over sludge from building up wild yeast, if using.
- Stir in nuts, seeds, salt and rosemary. Also add the fruit, if using.
- first baking:Pour the batter into the parchment lined loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean.
- Place on a wire rack to cool completely. (The bread can be eaten at this stage – it is delicious!)
- making the crackers: Preheat oven to 300F. Slice the bread as thinly as possible.
- second baking: Place the bread slices on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for a total of 30 minutes – 15 minutes per side.
Allow to cool on a rack before eating or storing in a tin.Notes:
* Please note that the wild yeast sludge is my addition to my sister-in-law’s recipe. I’m certain that it is completely unnecessary. It’s just a great way to use what would normally be discarded from the wild yeast buildup. Waste not, want not….
It also leads me to believe that any muffin recipe could be baked in a loaf pan, sliced and turned into Faux Stowes.
Sadly, the rosemary flavour got lost – but I suspect we would have found something lacking if I had left out the rosemary. When we have an abundanced of fresh rosemary, I’ll have to try these again. Maybe I’ll remember to add the raisins too!
And next time, to get our crackers to look even more like Lesley Stowes’ crisps, I’m going to put a fold of parchment paper lengthwise down the middle of the loaf pan so that the finished bread will create square slices.
Admittedly, fresh rosemary really is preferable to dried. Dried rosemary is quite brittle and can have a bitter taste. It also loses its beautiful green colour and turns to a quite dusty grey green. Not exactly the most appetizing colour.
However, it is very easy to grind and because it is so strong tasting, it is one of the herbs that retains a lot of its flavour and aroma.
Please read more about rosemary:
- other WHB posts featuring rosemary:
* stock making (WHB#113) – includes instructions for overwintering indoors
* focaccia again (WHB#91)
* Cherry’s Claypot Chicken is a Keeper (WHB#60)
* waffles with rosemary honey (WHB#22)
- growing rosemary
- wikipedia – Rosemary
- Plants for a Future – Rosmarinus officinalis
- Spice Pages: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
This week’s host for the wonderful weekly event, WHB, is Rinku (Cooking in Westchester).
For complete details on how to participate in Weekend Herb Blogging, please see the following:
This post is partially mirrored on The Fresh Loaf: Faux Stowe Crackers