February 25, 2013

Boats with crackers for sails {GAPS}

Posted in appetizers, child-friendly, GAPS friendly, side, snacks tagged , , , , at 8:17 pm by Jordan

cracker boat

A slice of stuffed pepper – recipe here – with triangular crackers for sails.

A couple days ago, I decided to take inspiration from this recipe and make some GAPS crackers. Mom sprouted some sunflower and pumpkin seeds, then dehydrated them, so that was my base.

The first batch:
I put a cup of sunflower seeds into the food processor with a half teaspoon salt and blended until it was a dense flour (as per the recipe above…). While the processor was running, I drizzled in some water – probably about 2-3 Tablespoons – until it seized up in a ball. I skipped the sesame seeds, because we’re not ready for the added texture yet. I tasted the dough, and it seemed very salty. I figured, they’re crackers, and the majority of my family likes salt a lot, so I left the dough as it was.
I took the ball out of the machine and put it on an Excalibur (dehydrator) Teflex sheet. I flattened it some, then topped it with another Teflex sheet and rolled it thin (1/8″ or thinner).
I decided that since the dehydrator was still running for the coconut yogurt we were making, I would try dehydrating the crackers rather than baking them. So I scored the crackers right on the Teflex sheet and put them into the dehydrator (110°F). After about an hour, I flipped them over onto a mesh sheet to speed the drying process. (Sorry, I didn’t really take note of how long they were in before they were done – we just checked periodically and pulled them out once they seemed completely dry,)

Verdict on first batch:
The crackers did not taste as salty as the dough – so these were great! Dehydrating makes them dense and hard, as opposed to crispy, so they kinda stick in your teeth. The whole family loves them though!

The second batch:
I decided to make some more, this time with pumpkin seeds added to the mix. I used exactly the same method as above, except that I added 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds at the beginning, and consequently had to use a little more water. The pumpkin seeds gave the mixture an interesting texture, but it held together and rolled out fine. These also went into the dehydrator.

Verdict on second batch:
Just as tasty (and with the same texture) as the first!

The best batch (IMO):
A little later in the afternoon, I was doing some baking, so I decided to whip up another batch to try in the oven. I used a mixture of sunflower and pumpkin (I didn’t measure this time), and added some fresh rosemary and a tiny sprig of sage at the very beginning. The flour blended up beautifully even with the added moisture from the fresh herbs. I drizzled in the water a little faster this time (which meant more water went into the flour before it seized up), since the first two batches of dough seemed a bit too stiff to me. It worked well, and I rolled out the dough between two Teflex sheets again. Then I realized that I couldn’t simply slide the Teflex sheet onto the pan and into the oven like I had with the dehydrator. I took a chance and quickly flipped the sheet onto a stoneware baking sheet – it worked! the crackers stuck just enough to successfully make it onto the stone, and I was able to peel off the Teflex easily. I then scored the crackers and baked them for about 20 minutes at 350° – until they began to turn golden brown (or, at least what would have been golden brown if they hadn’t have been green from the pumpkin seeds and herbs!)

The verdict?
Super tasty crackers – especially great with avocado and sour cream 😉 The baked variety are much lighter and crispier. They don’t stick in your teeth!

February 16, 2013

Filled Burgers {GAPS}

Posted in child-friendly, GAPS friendly, main dish, side tagged , , , , , , at 9:09 am by Jordan

filled burger

As promised, here is the GAPS burger recipe! These aren’t just burgers…

burger filled with tomato paste mixture

They’re filled burgers! The herbed tomato paste reminded us of ketchup.
These are especially child-friendly because the messy “ketchup” is inside – not all over the child’s face and fingers and… 😉

filled burger ingredients

Just three ingredients:
ground beef (turkey won’t hold together)
tomato paste (we used about 3/4 of this can for 2 lbs of beef)
fresh herbs (sage and rosemary from the yard – we used the pictured amount for 2 lbs of beef)

filled burgers

Chop the herbs and mix into the tomato paste.
Form the beef into patties a little smaller than your palm. Put a little of the tomato/herb paste into the middle of one, and top with a second, pressing the edges together to enclose the filling.

tomato/herb filled burgers

Bethany found that forming the bottom patty into a sort of bowl helped keep the filling in. Experiment to figure out what works for you!

cooking the filled burgers

Bring the stock to a boil, reduce to med-low. Lower hamburger in with a spatula. The stock should come at least half-way up the burgers. Cover, and cook for 7 minutes. Flip burgers and cook covered another 7 minutes.


January 31, 2011

Vita-mix pesto

Posted in appetizers, sauces tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:30 pm by Jordan

I originally learned to make pesto using the recipe in the Vita-mix cookbook (a Vita-mix is I high-power blender, seen in the picture above). I read more about it in a book titled Pesto, and found that it’s not a science in the least. So now I make it like this…

1-2 cups of herbs – whatever is available! Basil is thought of first, parsley is a good filler, use about 1/4 cup with basil. I’ve used a mixture of Cilantro and Parsley, and my sister’s favorite is basil with a couple Tablespoons of Rosemary. You can also add other greens (lettuce, chard, etc) as filler, particularly when using very strong tasting herbs that need to be mellowed (cilantro, Rosemary, etc.) Oregano is a wonderful addition to Basil pesto.

1 cup of nuts. Pine nuts are traditional, and work best because of their high oil content. Walnuts (my personal favorite) are a close second for the same reason. You can also use pecans, almonds, or any other nuts, really. Just be aware that ‘crispy nuts’ (roasted or Nourishing Traditions recipe) will be chunky, rather than adding to the creaminess of the sauce.

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese or sesame seeds. The seeds are a great substitute for Parmesan cheese (ground in a coffee grinder, you can use it just like the powdered cheese – for pesto, you can use whole seeds). The only difference we’ve noticed in the pesto is that when we use real cheese, we don’t add as much salt as we do with the seeds.

Garlic to taste! The batch pictured above uses 3-4 cloves of a native variety. It was SO good!

A couple Tablespoons of lemon juice (optional because I often forget!)

Place all of the above ingredients into the Vita-mix, roughly in order (greens first, nuts next, everything else after that). Pour olive oil over that until you can see that it’s made it way to the bottom (about 1/2 cup, maybe?). Put the black part of the lid on, leaving off the clear part so you can continue to add oil. Start the Vita-mix on Variable 1 and slowly turn up to about five. Add olive oil as needed to keep things moving. When it’s moving nicely, you can stop adding for a thicker consistency, but I usually add more if we’re not planning on using it as a spread (thinner is better for uses like pasta sauce). Continue blending on a medium Variable speed until it looks good to you! (some people like it creamier than others).