Today we’d like to share a few recipes for fresh, seasonal snacks. Crackers and spread are such friendly, unpretentious food – they allow everyone to customize and create their perfect bite. These crackers are crunchy, nutty, and subtle enough to accept a variety of toppings. The two spreads are created with eggplant, peas, and cauliflower, which are abundant during these hot months of the year. We have a nostalgic attachment to green peas – to us they symbolize the barefoot freedom of childhood summers. Combined with the cauliflower and Indian spice blends, which we got during our recent trip to Toronto, the peas take on a new aromatic quality. Toronto is a true mecca of Indian food and these spices can be found in any of the numerous Indian markets in the area. When there, we ate Indian for nearly every breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
These crackers and spreads will do well for an afternoon nibble or a light meal together with a tossed salad.
Beautiful Japanese Eggplants
Nut and Zucchini Crackers
1/2 cup golden flax seeds – ground
3/4 cup purified water
1 medium zucchini – roughly chopped
2 cups walnuts or pecans – soaked in purified water for 4 hours
handful of fresh mint (optional) – chopped
poppy seeds for sprinkling
In a bowl, combine the ground flax and water and let sit until the water is absorbed. In a food processor, pulse the zucchini into small pieces and add to the flax. Chop the nuts in a food processor until finely ground and add to the bowl. Add the chopped mint and mix thoroughly with your hands. Spread on Teflex sheets. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and embed them into the cracker with wet hands. Dehydrate at 115F for 6 hours. Remove the teflex sheets, flip, and dehydrate for three more hours. Cut into desired cracker size, and dehydrate for 11 hours or until crisp. Keep refrigerated in an air tight container.
Cauliflower Green Pea Spread
1 head cauliflower – florets only
1/2 cup cashew or macadamia nuts
1/2 tablespoon garam masala (a spice blend that can be found at any Indian market)
2 teaspoons chunky chat masala (a spice blend that can be found at any Indian market)
1/2 tablespoon chopped ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup filtered water
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
handful of fresh mint or cilantro – chopped
In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower to make small pieces. Put the nuts, spices, ginger, lime juice, and water into a blender and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper. In a shallow dish, combine the cauliflower, peas, and the blended nut creme. Dehydrate at 115F for 2 hours, mix occasionally. Place the mixture into a food processor and blend until spreadable but with texture. Place into a bowl and mix in the mint or cilantro. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
5 tablespoons nama shoyu
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons agave syrup
1 clove of garlic – chopped
2 Japanese eggplants or 1 peeled large conventional eggplant – sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1 red or yellow bell pepper – thinly sliced
10 cherry tomatoes (optional) – cut in half
2 tablespoons sesame tahini
black pepper and salt to taste
1 bunch of dill or parsley
1/2 cup walnuts (optional) – chopped
2 cloves of garlic – chopped
Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Put the sliced eggplant into a bowl, mix with 2 teaspoons of salt, and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse with water and gently squeeze out the extra liquid. Place the eggplant into a shallow dish and pour about 2/3 of the marinade over it. Mix thoroughly. Place the dish in a dehydrator at 115F for 6 hours, mix occasionally. Pour the rest of the marinade over the sliced bell pepper, mix, and place in a dehydrator at 115F for 2 hours, mix occasionally. To intensify the flavour of the tomatoes, dehydrate them 115F until they shrink a little. After dehydration, drain the excess liquid and put the eggplant, bell pepper, and tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add the tahini, pepper and salt (if needed), and blend until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add the dill, walnuts, and the remaining garlic. Mix and store in a refrigerator in a glass container.