Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cracker Time!

Sourdough Freekeh Cracker Recipe with Pics!

Taking a Leek!

Inspecting the upstate NY woods in mid April...
upon closer inspection, I see some leeks!

and some more ramps.

Ramps like to grow on slopes by the sides of creeks, streams, and rivers....

Radiating green!

Ascending the green slope...
reptile brain connected...
reptilian guardian of the woods..."please harvest sustainably" snake

Continuing up the slope...
fungal distraction or...
mycelium presenting a fruiting body for a photo op.

The black cohosh...

a reminder that the ever elusive morel might be popping up soon.

Back at the top!

Fungus and ramps...the dynamic duo!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Still Freekin' Out...

I got some inspiration from Chef Jessica Botta, from the Italian Culinary Academy (The International Culinary Center of NY); it came in the form of an email inquiry about whether or not CPO freekeh could be milled into flour and used for making a lightly smoked pasta, kind of like an Italian "grano arso" (burnt grain) pasta.

I had already worked my way through most of a 5# sack of freekeh flour...but I had enough to whip up a batch of freekeh pasta! (the freekeh brownie and cracker recipes are still coming...I just got a little sidetracked)
Freekeh Pasta
By Hans Butler

2 cups freekeh flour (10oz)
4 whole eggs (8oz)
½ tsp sea salt
2 tbsp sunflower oil (1oz)
2-4 tbs cold water (1-2oz)

Pulse all ingredients (except water) in a food processor (or mix by hand, using the well method)

Slowly add cold water a little at a time (you may need more or less than the recipe calls for) and keep pulsing the food processor, until it comes together in a ball

Knead the freekeh ball until it becomes soft and it can form a smooth ball that isn’t sticky; wrap it in plastic and let it rest for 1 hour in a cool spot

Bring it to room temperature (about 15 minutes) and separate into 4 smaller dough balls

Use cornmeal or freekeh flour to dust rolling surfaces; using a pasta machine (setting 4-5) or rolling pin, roll to about 1mm thickness.  Cut into desired shapes; I like pappardelle because it looks rustic and works well with this kind of pasta

Make sure to coat the pieces in cornmeal or freekeh flour so they don’t stick together; let chill in a cool place for a ½ hour while you get a pot of salted water to a nice boil.  Cook in small batches (so you don’t lower the water temperature too much), it only takes a couple of minutes for it to cook (it’s done after it floats to the top) 

Enjoy immediately with your topping of choice!

Feeds 4-6 humans!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Freakin' out with CPO Freekeh Flour

First a quick description of CPO freekeh:  It is young green spelt berry that has been roasted to produce a slightly smoky tasting grain; I have used it in salads, as a side dish, in risotto, as a hot cereal, pudding...the possibilities are only limited by your palates' imagination.

Erick Smith, the bearded ring-leader of Cayuga Pure Organics, was able to hook me up with a 5 # bag of freshly ground freekeh flour.  Now it was time for me to decipher the code (aka figure out what the hell I was going to do with it).  Erick told me that it is used to thicken soups in Eastern Europe, but other than that I didn't have much of a lead.  The trick when dealing with these fancy flours and grains is not to be intimidated by them;  it's only roasted green spelt that has been milled into flour.  There is the key...spelt!   So I did some research on spelt flour and decided to apply the findings to the freekeh flour.  One important note on freekeh flour:  the gluten levels are low because it is harvested before they have a chance to mature; it is not going to hold together like a high gluten bread flour.  Armed with this information, I developed recipes for freekeh brownies and sourdough freekeh crackers (using whole grain sourdough starter produced from wild i-town yeast); both turned out great and recipes will be arriving here shortly!