Category Archives: flax seeds

Flaxseed flour tortillas

Biiig tortillas

Tortilla making is a satisfying, all-consuming, sweaty endeavor. It isn’t meant for humid days like these, unless you want to feel your hands grow swift as you find your rhythm, rolling each and every paper-thin expanse of soft, pliable dough into something worth tasting, worth talking about.

Roll away

You start with flour, butter (or olive oil), salt, water, and maybe a little something extra, for flavor, and you end up with a pile so high it barely fits under the massive bowl you use to try to keep in the moisture as they cool. Then you fill them with something — anything — delicious, and laugh as it crumbles into a beautiful mess in your hands. No, these are not store-bought tortillas. No dough conditioners or mystery ingredients to keep these babies together. Just the gluten you build up with your hands as you knead and roll.

Tortilla dough

These are from Peter Reinhart’s Crust and Crumb, which has the most reliable tortilla recipe I’ve found thus far. Yes, it uses a stick of butter for every 8 large tortillas, but that’s not so bad, really. Not when they’re this delicious. You can substitute other oils (safflower, canola, etc) if you like, but the tortillas will be a bit more brittle, and not quite as worth the hot oven and hard work. Besides, I made these a bit more virtuous, with the simple substitution of half whole wheat flour and the addition of whole and ground flax seed (which have the added benefit of contributing an amazing roasted flavor to the final product). You can go a bit further and use water from cooked greens for, say, spinach and flax seed tortillas, if you prefer. So they’re healthy, right?

Tortillas - final

In other words, run with this recipe. It’s a good, solid base to start with, and puts up with tinkering without much fuss. If you don’t do anything too crazy, I think it’ll give you consistent, delicious results every time. Oh, and it’ll save you a ton of cash, which is a nice side benefit, don’t you think? I think the double recipe (including expensive flax seeds) probably cost me about $5. Given that my local grocery store charges ~$4 for 4 large “healthy” wraps, I just saved myself ~$11. AND I got to throw flour all over the kitchen, which is free entertainment as far as I’m concerned.

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Filed under baking, flax seeds, vegetarian

Prickly pasta

Nettle pasta

The local farmer’s market is always full of pleasant surprises, but I think early Springtime, when everyone wants something — anything — fresh and local to eat, is when I find the most unusual ingredients offered up. It’s funny, because sometimes those running the stands are almost apologetic about their wares. I always try and make a point to go and find something new on these occasions, searching for signs advertising strange, exotic (but somehow local?) ingredients. This week, I came across a bag of incredibly fresh nettles, picked just that morning. See how pretty they are?

Nettles

Nettles don’t exactly sound appetizing. When they get older, they remind you not to go near them if you happen to brush their skin. As I found, the little ones still manage to do the same; pulling them out of their careful wrapping sent little tingles of pain across my fingers, like a thousand tiny splinters. I suppose I’ve done worse when cooking before (and after the aloe vera leaf we brought back with us from the store today, these little prickles were child’s play). I had no idea what to do with them. The girl at the stand just said they tasted incredibly green, like springtime, and so I figured I’d just do something simple. A little lemon, and crushed coriander would make for a subtle and delicious flavor, coupled with paprika, garlic, shallots, and olive oil. Add a bit of pasta, and you have the kind of meal you should be eating after cracking open an amazing triple creme brie in the afternoon, after planting still more vegetables in the garden.

Spices

The pairing was quite good, in fact, and as for the nettles? They cook down into fresh, slightly firm, soft greens, which go nicely with the tang and slightly spicy aftertaste of the lemon and coriander pairing. The girl who sold them to me? She was right on. They taste of spring, just around the corner. And for the skeptics out there, James says they’re better than Brussels sprouts.

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Filed under firsts, flax seeds, lemon, local, main, olive oil, pasta, quick meals, vegan, vegetarian

Baking for a hectic week

Power Bar

This weekend was supposed to be filled with all sorts of fun projects: a new loaf of bread, a wonderful meal, the start of a new gardening season, and perhaps a bit of relaxation on the side. But these idyllic pictures of what I might do with my “spare time” must have deluded me into thinking that Spring Break would bring anything but trouble.

Prep 1

Yesterday, we took the car out to pick up supplies for our garden, and do a bit of grocery shopping in preparation for all the gorgeous dishes I had planned. We had a trunk full of all sorts of good stuff — organic soil, seeds, fruit, vegetables, milk, and the like — and were on our way back from a neighboring town, making our way on the rain-streaked monstrosity otherwise known as I-95.  Things were clearly going a bit too smoothly.  We had barely stood in a line, despite making our way through four different shops, and eerily enough, traffic had slowed to a decent pace for the weather. People were being polite for once.  This never happens, unless 1) someone’s already been pulled over or 2) you’re starring in an episode of The Twilight Zone.

Prep 2

I think option 2 was more appropriate, given what happened next. My car (a classy Ford Escort) decided it was high time I recognized it was nearing 100,000 miles and started acting like it had been possessed by some sort of alien force.  And so, one tow truck ride from the Better World Club later, with mechanic visits and potentially large bills looming, I decided to cut down my long list of complicated recipes and just make something that might get me through the next week in one piece.

Prep 3

Energy bars have been on my list of things to try making from scratch for a while, since James and I are both total bitches when we get hungry and nevertheless tend to pack too lightly for some of our biking / hiking treks. These bars pretty much meet all my criteria for yummy energy food: they’re compact, delicious, and not greasy at all. If you’re looking for something to take on a hike, or just want to get through a long day at work, these little bars will quickly become a weekly habit.

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Filed under baking, dried fig, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, quick meals, raisins