Monday, September 20, 2010

Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps

A few months ago my boss brought some Raincoast Crisps to the office.  They are crisp, tasty and have the perfect balance of sweet and savory.  Everyone one of us loved them but when we found out they are about $8 for a small box it was decided I needed to find a way to make them.

Fast forward a few months and I finally have a recipe that tastes just like the originals.  They take a little time to make but are not difficult and definitely worth the wait.  These are great all on their own and the bread is really good even before turning it into crisps.  Serve with some cheese and fruit and you will impress everyone.

Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps

Makes 6-8 dozen crackers

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup flax seed, ground
1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar and honey and stir a few strokes. Add the raisins, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed and rosemary and stir just until blended.

3. Pour the batter into two 8″x4″ loaf pans that have been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch (Note: For mini loafs bake for 30 minutes).

Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

4. The cooler the bread, the easier it is to slice really thin. You can leave it until the next day or pop it in the freezer (I froze my mini loaves for about two hours). Slice the loaves as thin as you can (I slided them about 1/8th of an inch thick)and place the slices in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake them for 15 minutes.

5. Flip them over and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until crisp and deep golden brown, adding more time if needed. Remove from the sheets to a cooling rack. They will continue to crisp as they cool.

Adapted from Dana Treat

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And the Palms have it!

I recently became aware of a product that intrigued me, palm plates.  These are plates are made of  palm leaves that have naturally fallen and been cleaned, dried, stretched and flattened into various plate sizes and shapes.  And cutlery is also available.  These items are all biodegradable and compostable making them the most green disposable plates and cutlery available.

When I first received the package I was pleased to find that the plates where not only beautiful but appeared to be fairly sturdy.

I was excited to put them to use and decided that the first thing I would use the plates for was to serve my Rosemary Raisin Pecan crisps. The natural beauty of the crisps looked perfect against the plate, almost as if they belonged together.

I then decided to test the plates to see how they would hold up to foods with a lot of liquid.  I placed some colored water in one of the small plates and allowed it to sit on the counter for an hour.  I was surprised that although some of the water seeped through to the counter it really was not much at all and the plate still held together.

Moving on, I placed five large cucumbers on one of the larger plates and lifted it  holding it only by the edges.  The plate held the weight without any problems. 

After removing the cucumbers I had my daughter hold the same plate while I placed a five pound bag of flour in the center.  There was no sign of breakage.
I began to wonder if these plates could be used several times over.  I decided to use one plate for different meals or snacks and try washing it between each.  I started with hummus (with olive oil and paprika) and pita, washing to plate when I was done.
On to dinner, a little jasmine rice, chicken, broccoli and cauliflower.....and another wash.
And of course.....dessert.....
Although the plate began to show slight wear....
The plate was mostly intact other than a small break in one edge while applying medium pressure....
In the end I decided that these plates are not only beautiful but very sturdy. They are pricey though.  The natural grain shows...
and would be a beautiful addition to any event.

There is one thing my children found these plates were not good for......Frisbee.....they crack when you catch them against your hip.........

Plates were provided by Marx Foods for review.