Friday, March 26, 2010

WELLLLL HOWDY

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Well man, a lot has been going on in the last few days and the vast majority of it is awesome stuff, like transitioning out of a job that stressed me out into a job that rules, putting my son into a preschool/daycare type of situation that he really loves for 2 days a week, and the beginning of my kitchen remodel. This is pretty Big Stuff for us, but I'm fighting as hard as I can against my doomsday nature and trying to just roll with how awesome it is, and enjoy myself, instead of stressing out about everything going wrong at the last minute (BECAUSE IT ALWAYS DOES!!!! PICTURE ME ALL CLENCHED UP! THIS IS HOW I FEEL!!!)

But, the other day I was visiting my dear friend Alia, you remember Alia, from Darling Press? And she handed me a homemade graham cracker, and it was tasty. And then she said, "It has whole wheat flour! I'll email you the recipe!" And then she did. Pretty cool story, right?

Here is the recipe as she emailed it to me (I like imagining that the name of the recipe is "Makes About 3 Dozen 3-inch Crackers):

"makes about 3 dozen 3-inch crackers"
Time commitment: about 1 hour
From "jam it, pickle it, cure it and other cooking projects" by Karen Solomon

Ing:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup honey
1/4 blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Inst.
In a bowl or food processor (food processor worked like magic for me), mix or pulse the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the butter or, if using a food processor, add the butter and pulse until the dough is the consistency of course crumbs. Add the honey, molasses, and the 1/3 cup sugar and combine. Then add the milk and vanilla, bringing it all together into a stiff dough

Lightly oil 2 baking sheets. On a work surface, cut the dough in half. Shape the first half into a rectangle and place in the center of a sheet of parchment paper. Lay another sheet of parchment paper over the dough. Roll, trying to keep the dough as rectangular as possible. The dough should be 1/4 inch thick, and about 12 by 15 inches. Lightly prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle evenly with 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and roll the sugar gently onto the top of the dough with a floured pin. Using a knife or a fluted pastry cutter (for the cute wavy edges), trim the edges of the dough rectangle to yield neat crackers (next time I make these, I'm going to use cookie cutters). Cut into approximately 3-inch squares. Using a spatula, carefully transfer the crackers to the prepared baking sheets, leaving a little space between them. Repeat the process with the second half of the dough. Freeze the crackers for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F.

Bake the chilled dough for 18 to 22 minutes, until just a little browned at the edges. Coll completely and enjoy.

Storing: Store an an airtight container, up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze the crackers for 2 months, allowing 2 hours to thaw before eating.
Variation: Add 2 teaspoons cinnamon to the 4 tablespoons sugar, and sprinkle evenly over the dough before cutting the crackers.



WOO HOO!

These were REALLY GOOD, by the way- hence the bite taken BEFORE I managed to get a good picture.

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Drawing by Alia Hoffman

Anyway, after you make these crackers (well, cookies, let's be honest) you should seriously check out Alia and her husband's blog, where I will occasionally be writing posts. I spend a lot of time at her house, where we work together on different art projects (we met in art school, actually!)- me for my 10 Dollar Drawings blog (which you should go check out to see details about my upcoming art show, opening Friday April 2nd, at Skeleton Key tattoo here in Portland!) and her for her burgeoning letterpress company, Darling Press. Our kids play trains and dolls and whatever else they feel like doing, and we hang out and draw, and sometimes cook. I showed her how to make no-knead bread, chicken stock from scratch, and she's giving me lessons on how to raise chickens and grow plants. It's a pretty good arrangement.

OH! And, so- since we are beginning our kitchen remodel, we're about to live without an oven for, well, just about as long as it takes for us to get the new oven installed. Considering we have to rip up the old floors and remove some water-damaged drywall (mmm, mold. and lead paint. wish us luck with that.) and replace those before we can even put in the new stove, not to mention moving some plumbing for a new sink- it's probably going to be a month or two. It's not a huge deal in the scheme of things, but we cook almost every meal at home, so we're planning to use our crock pot and we might even break down and buy a cheap microwave at the goodwill. I'll keep you updated on the progress and hopefully soon I'll get to unveil a lovely new kitchen. And yes, we are on a super limited budget, so it's basically going to be an Ikea model kitchen. Don't make fun of us.

23 comments:

beastmomma said...

Those sound like exciting and anxiety inducing life changes. Sending good thoughts for a successful kitchen remodel and looking forward to more posts.

julie said...

jam it, pickle it, cure it is such a gooooood little cookbook!

Valen said...

I have tried to make graham crackers so many times, but they come out not tasting like how graham crackers should taste. I want my crackers to have that same flavor as store bought. Your graham crackers look great!

Bgstoner said...

Yay for homemade graham crackers!
I like some of the Ikea kitchen stuff so there will be no laughing coming from my house.

Bossy Chef said...

Our oven broke on Thanksgiving so I ended up posting several recipes while we were ovenless. We still have a stovetop but that could be done with a hotplate. A couple good crocpot meals... and not... oh it's good for a gray meal out of the crockpot.. just good. None microwave dependent. I'm sure you have plenty in mind (as my blog is a personal little thing visit by friend and comment via facebook not on the blog, not super impressive) but if you get bored stop on by. :)

Congrats on all the exciting changes and redmodel. I wish.

on the p[a]late said...

I bought that cookbook for my sister-in-law for Christmas and secretly wanted to keep it for that recipe! (and also the homemade marshamallows) Thanks!

Bacso said...

Technically, graham flour IS whole wheat flour (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_flour) so I guess all graham crackers SHOULD have whole wheat in them, but knowing today's store bought foods made with cheapened ingredients, maybe they dont! EIther way, I bet yours were YUMMY! Hope life calms down soon, despite all the goodness!

K said...

Those look super-tasty. And good luck with the remodeling! Maybe it's because I'm young and have never owned a home (or anything more substantial than a laptop, really), but I just don't get all the IKEA hate. Is it because people think their products are cheap? Or that they just don't like minimalism? If the hate is fueled by what I think it's fueled by (the fact that IKEA isn't break-the-bank expensive), well then that's just dumb.

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

k, i think people hate ikea because it's so ubiquitous. i happen to like it and it's nice to have furniture designed in a style that i like that is within my price range, but i can understand why people would be annoyed that it is basically watered-down copies of designer furniture at discount prices. if i could afford to buy direct from furniture designers, i would. and we looked into having local cabinetmakers do our cabinets, but for us right now making our kitchen livable and healthy is our top priority, so we had to cut some corners. (our kitchen was REEAALLY moldy. we could have waited a year and combined 2 years worth of tax returns to do a really good kitchen remodel, but it was really disgusting.)

K said...

Oh, so basically the IKEA vitriol is the same kind of vitriol aimed at girls who buy knock-off Louis Vuitton purses or whatever? Huh. Well, that is just super-obnoxious. Regardless of who does your kitchen Alicia, with your sense of design I'm sure it will turn out lovely.

Kate said...

Fingers are crossed for you kids. Living in the middle of a remodel is never fun. You can do it!!!

Elizabeth said...

After moving into our house last year we remodeled our smallish master bedroom closet with mostly Ikea components for about $1000, flooring and all. There was one week where we were at Ikea four times in four days. We never could have done it for that price using the closet stuff at the pricey places. It looks great and will serve us well for years to come. Good luck on the remodel, have fun and when you find yourself at Ikea all the time, their smoked salmon salad is quite tasty.

Miss Kate said...

What happened to yesterday's lovely rant? I kind of liked it.

Christina said...

I hope the remodeling is going as well as it can. My parents recently put in new flooring+carpet and it was not a fun place to be during that time.

These grahams are lovely! I like the sound of this recipe better than others I've read.

{lauryl} said...

did you delete the rant post? because i fucking loved it, and came all the way over here from the RSS feed just to tell you.

Melynda said...

New kitchen, YEAH! Relax, have another cracker/cookie (they look delish) and yeah, just go with it.

Mary Beth said...

I want to try these graham crackers with my little boys. Do you think we could roll out the dough and cut it with cookie cutters? I'd love to make some *healthy* roll and cut cookies since I have cut back drastically on my sugar intake (and since I have the boys have too). I think your new Ikea kitchen will be lovely! Best wishes to you and your sweet family--I hope the transition goes smoothly.

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

mary beth, i think they only work in square shapes. sorry.

Teri Lyn Fisher said...

YES! Graham crakers! S'mores!

folkstories said...

Mm homemade graham cracker!
That drawing is amazing. I think anything from Ikea is wonderful, so I'm not laughing about the ikea kitchen idea. ha

www.teenvegetariansoul.blogspot.com

Ciao Bella! said...

My brother is getting an Ikea kitchen and they are awesome! No shame.

Sweeti said...

love your drawings!

Cole and Amanda said...

Ok I have made the Grahms 4x since I read this post. Effing delicious. I took it a little further and made a crust from them for some homemade key lime pie. I took the pie to a family dinner. I will forever be making pie at all fam gatherings. Thanks for posting such delicious goodness.