Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cracker fail!

Sometimes things just don't work out the way you plan. Such was the case when I tried to make the Spicy Whole Grain Crackers for HBin5 this week. After reading some of the tips from other group members before I started, I decided to start with a piece of dough about the size of my fist. I floured it, put it between two pieces of parchment and rolled. Then I gave it a quarter turn and rolled some more. I rolled more. And more. And more. I was left with a sheet of dough so thin I could have fed it through my printer, so I figured it was all good. I figured wrong.

After cutting small squares and brushing the tops with a little olive oil, I sprinkled them with my own seasoning mixture. I thought the mixture called for in the book was a little bland (Salt and cayenne? Snore!), so I went with a little Indian inspiration instead. I mixed 1/2 tsp. each of cumin, curry powder, cayenne, chili powder, and kosher salt to punch things up a bit (did you think I'd say kick it up a notch? Come on now.). Then I popped the sheet pan in the oven and waited.

Failure. Every square puffed up into a tiny spiced pillow. Sure they were cute, but WTF? I seriously could not have rolled that dough into submission for any longer. I was irritated. They tasted good, but were chewy instead of crispy and not what I wanted at all. I was making soup for dinner and these friggin' crackers were meant to work with it, adding the necessary crunch to round out the meal. Foiled again! So I stretched the last of my dough into bread sticks, topped them with the remaining seasoning mixture and let it go. Deep breath.

As usual, E didn't notice anything wrong with anything I put on the table. He ate the breadsticks, the crackers, and the soup, which we both agreed came out well enough to cancel out any of my previous disappointment. We both love Indian dishes, but I was in the mood for soup, so I used Chicken Biryani as inpiration. It was quick and simple; I highly recommend it :)

Chicken Biryani Soup


2 Tbls. olive oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ginger
1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 32 oz. carton, plus 1 14.5 oz. can chicken broth
2/3 c. raisins
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro (or 2 cilantro cubes)
1/4 c. almonds, chopped
lime wedges
1 c. basmati rice

Heat oil in a dutch oven or large soup pot over medium high heat. Add chicken to pan and brown well on both sides, about 5-7 minutes a side. Add onion and cook until tender. Add jalapeno and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ginger, garam masala, cumin, and salt and stir. Add tomato and broth and bring to a boil. Add rice and wimmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove chicken and shred with a fork, return to pot. Stir in raisins and cilantro. Serve sprinkled with almonds and a squeeze of lime juice.

p.s. I did succeed in making a pretty nice epi this week when my parents came to visit. My mom is so impressed with my new bread skills (ha!) that she's going to buy the book. At least something worked!
Don't forget to visit the Bread Braid at Michelle's blog to see how nicely everyone else's crackers and epis turned out :P

1 comment:

Michelle said...

" sheet of dough so thin I could have fed it through my printer"

LOLLOLLOL! That's pretty thin! But I'm surprised the crackers puffed up so much!

Homemade crackers are so good though and can be make with just about any dough I hope you try again!

Your Epi looks great!