Friday, July 19, 2013

More Market Munchies...

Today is my final post extolling the virtues of The Third Place Commons Farmer's Market in Lake Forest Park, WA.  It has been a small sample of the bounty that is the market.  There are many more vendors I can't get by to visit every week but I am very grateful for them all.

Linda Khandro giving the boys a little harp lesson.
     Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards sells DuChilly hazelnuts, which I mention here often.  They are huge like almonds and taste sweeter and crunchier than the average hazelnut you'll find in a grocery store.  I love the sugar coated ones frozen as a little sweet snack after the boys have gone to bed (shhh... don't tell!)

     Uncle Eyal's is in its second year at my market.  They make the delicious mint garlic sauce I've told you about, as well as a super spicy version, beet hummus, and lots of other tasty sauces.  This year, they have added falafel to the menu.  Place your order, and you've got a hot falafel patty or two sitting on a delicious salad or wrapped in a tasty flat bread in a matter of moments and topped with one of their super fab sauces.  It's a huge meal and it's delicious.

     Social Ice Cream is the closest to home-made ice cream I've ever had.  Tracy comes up with some unusual flavors that are beside themselves with awesomeness.  Pictured above, is Roasted Strawberry.  It makes the berries even more "strawberry" if that's possible.  She uses products she sources locally as much as possible, including milk and berries from farmers at the Third Place Commons market.  Her vanilla ice cream needed nothing to make it perfect, but I gilded the lily a tiny bit with a sprinkle of wild berries from my yard.  Nothing beats a dish of cold ice cream on a hot afternoon.

Vanilla Ice Cream and Wild Black Raspberries

     I'll be honest.  When I got down to these last three, I wasn't sure how I was going to pull this off.  How do hazelnuts, baba ghanoush and ice cream go together?  That's a bit of a trick question because ice cream doesn't really go with baba ghanoush and it's kinda awesome on its own, but I did find a fantastic way to combine hazelnuts and baba ghanoush.

     I had many, many ideas, but finally this morning, I stumbled upon a cracker recipe in a book my husband bought me for Mother's Day.  Brown Butter-Hazelnut Crackers from Crackers and Dips: More than 50 Handmade Snacks by Ivy Manning pp 36-65.  Gluten-free and pretty darn delicious with savory or sweet dips.

 Brown Butter-Hazelnut Crackers and Baba Ghanoush with a sprinkle of Sage

Brown Butter-Hazelnut Crackers
2 1/4 C/295g Hazelnuts
3 Tbs unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C/gas 4.  Cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit your baking sheets.  Place the nuts on an unlined baking sheet and bake until they are light brown, their skins have cracked, and they smell nutty, 10 to 15 minutes.  Set the nuts aside to cool and maintain the oven temperature.

In a small saut√© pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Once the foaming subsides, the butter will begin to brown.  Continue to cook the butter, swirling the pan frequently, until the butter is light brown (the color of light brown sugar), about 45 seconds. Do not overcook the butter or it will give the crackers a burned flavor.  Pour the butter into a small glass bowl and chill it for 10 minutes.  Collect enough of the clear liquid fat to measure 2 T and discard the dark solids.  Whisk together the brown butter and the eggs in a small bowl and set aside.

Rub the nuts together in a clean dish towel to remove their papery skins; discard the skins.  Place the hazelnuts, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the nuts look like fine cornmeal, about 45 one-second pulses. (Be careful not to overprocess the nuts or they will begin to turn into nut butter.)  With the machine running, gradually add the butter and egg mixture through the feed tube until the mixture comes together into a moist ball of dough.  (You may not need all of the egg mixture.)

Divide the dough into two portions.  Center one portion of the dough on a piece of parchment paper.  With moistened fingers, form the dough into a rectangle measuring 4 by 6 in/10 by 15 cm, cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and roll the dough out until it is 1/16 in/2 mm thick, lifting up the plastic now and then to make sure there are no creases in the dough.

Remove the plastic wrap and transfer the dough on the parchment paper to a baking sheet.  Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 2-in/5-cm squares.  Any unattractive or partial segments of the dough can be scraped up with a bench scraper and added to the second ball of dough.  Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the second ball of dough.

Bake the crackers until they are light brown around the edges and firm when poked, 12 to 15 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets once from top to bottom and from back to front while baking, and watch carefully the last few minutes-they can go from perfectly cooked to burned in a matter of seconds.  If some of the crackers are done before the others, transfer them to a cooling rack and return the undone crackers to the oven for a few more minutes.  Cool the crackers on a rack and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Cracker Tip:  Don't panic if you spy a layer of white foam forming on the crackers as they bake-this is from the natural fats in the hazelnuts heating up.  The foam will settle back into the crackers as they finish baking.

  • I used Sucanat instead of white sugar in these.  
  • I baked these DuChilly nuts for 25 minutes and never did get the skins to come off.  I started with frozen ones, so that may be why, but at any rate, I ground them up and used them anyway, and the flavor is totally fine. 
  • The book recommends serving these with blue cheese and fig preserves or a slice of pear, which would be gorgeous, but they would be just as welcome with hummus or a savory dip, a little cream cheese with a drop of honey, or dare I say it?  A little homemade Nutella.  
I hope you have enjoyed the posts this week!  On your next visit to the farmer's market take a moment to let your farmers know you appreciate what they do!

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