in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Quinoa and Almond Crackers (Q & A)

I like crackers but, only certain kinds. Triscuits but not Wheat Thins. Sociables but not Ritz. Really enjoy water biscuits with a wonderful topping: pear and blue cheese. I created this cracker recipe because I wanted to have another way use leftover quinoa and because I was hoping to come up with a new cracker favorite for snacking. It worked! These are inexpensive to make, take just a few working minutes (besides chilling and baking time), are loaded with protein, have no added chemical preservatives, and taste amazing. Try them with the cheese spread recipe included in this post.
Quinoa Almond Crackers
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats (certified gluten free if desired)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dehydrated onion
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (cooked in plain water with salt as directed on package)
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Place almonds in boiling water and allow to sit for 60 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel. Reserve water. Slip skins off almonds and discard. Set almonds aside. Place oatmeal in a food processor bowl (or use a blender). Process until oats become powdery. Add blanched almonds and process until mealy. Add rosemary, onion and salt and process again until all ingredients are very well combined. Add in quinoa and process until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. With machine running, pour in vinegar and olive oil. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the reserved water at a time until the dough forms a ball, scrapping sides between each addition. Using parchment paper as a base, roll dough into a log about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll parchment paper around log and freeze for 1hour or until thoroughly chilled. Heat oven to 350 degrees and remove log from freezer. Cut crackers from log into 1/8 inch or less rounds. Place the parchment paper on a 12 x 17 inch baking sheet and then press the crackers a bit to thin them out as you place them on the baking sheet. Bake until they begin to brown on top, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and place crackers on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely. Store short term (up to three days) in an open container at room temperature. Long term, store in an air tight container in the freezer.
Hints: These crackers are gluten free if you choose certified gluten free oats. Other oats may have some cross contamination but still be very low in gluten. You can use blanched almonds that you purchase if you like, in that case just use plain water at the end as needed. Make sure the quinoa is cool or room temperature, not hot when you add it in. You could make these crackers square or another shape very easily by shaping the log differently.

Apricot Rosemary Cheese Spread
3 ounces cream cheese, room remperature
2 tablespoons finely grated Balsamic Bellavitano Cheese (or Romano)
1 tablespoon finely chopped pepitas
1 tablespoon finely diced dried apricots
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
1 to 2 tablespoon balsamic glaze
Mix all ingredients but the glaze together in a bowl. Form into a log and place on a serving platter or in a serving bowl. Drizzle with glaze before serving.

Hints: This mixture could be formed into a cheese ball and rolled in pepitas and rosemary. Use commercial balsamic glaze or check this recipe out for an excellent option you can make at home.

Who doesn't love cheese and crackers? This is a very easy make ahead party idea but is also an excellent snack for yourself and family. These are headed to family favorite status already!

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