They are my heroes and my inspiration – a kid (or a ravenous family) in one hand, a laptop and Blackberry in the other, a rolling pin and a spatula somewhere in between, and the checkbook’s on her (or his!) head. In stilettos (or those long, narrow man-shoes…I love those, boys!) or sneakers. The guys and gals of the Daring Bakers 🙂
They are the reason I am here doing this month’s challenge…because who wouldn’t want to be part of that fantastic bunch of people? Well, that and the fact that I love bread. And I know this challenge is not laminated nor is it dauntingly multi-step, but it’s a challenge even so, especially for someone like me: It’s vegan. And gluten-free.
The powers that be have blessed (cursed) me with the ability to eat anything that is not locked up in a vault. Animal, vegetable, mineral…I love it all! Vegetarian food has always been, to me, like some exotic cuisine…delicious to eat, a challenge to cook well, but not something I eat every day. Gluten-free is more a mystery…as I am only just learning about it, so I still get confused what is and what’s not.
That being said I did have a point in my favor…remember my hot as a sauna kitchen? Perfect for anything yeasted and in need of proofing!
“You have so much freedom! You can make the Lavash Crackers either with all purpose wheat flour or you can try making them gluten free. You may use any variety of spices/seeds/salt to top the crackers. All dips/spreads/relishes/salsas must be vegan and gluten free.”
Ok…so I could use all purpose wheat flour…not gluten-free, but something that I’ve definitely got stashed in the pantry. I used sesame seeds to top the bread. For the rest of the steps, I followed the Gluten Free dough process because it worked better for me – you see, the gluten free version had you rolling the dough between two sheets of parchment (which is how I like to roll dough) instead of misting the counter with spray oil (which I find too messy). I didn’t get to roll my dough as thin as I’d wanted though, so my crackers were not as paper-thin and “snap-able” as I’d wished. They were not bad for an initial attempt however, and went well with the dip which we served to some friends we had over for dinner.
Oh! Didn’t I mention the dip? Part of the challenge was making a gluten-free, vegan dip to go with the lavash. Now this was more of a challenge for me because I was doing this from scratch – no friendly vegan/gluten-free recipe telling me if I was on the right track. So if something is amiss please let me know!
Chickpea and Roasted Capsicum Dip
1 400-gram can chickpeas, drained
2 red bell peppers, de-seeded, roasted and peeled
4 cloves garlic, roasted and peeled
1/4 cup parsley leaves
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon baharat (an Arabic spice mix, there are many blends depending on country or region…use any you like or make your own), or to taste
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
– Drain chickpeas and set aside. You may want to save some of the chickpea water to thin out the dip if needed….though I didn’t.
– Roast the peppers and garlic. I cut them in quarters, remove all the seeds, and then lay them skin side up on a baking tray lined with parchment. Place the garlic cloves (remove most the outer peel but leave the last layers on) in a square of foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt, close foil over garlic to make a little pouch, and place on the baking tray with the peppers. Place in a 200C oven until the pepper’s skin is black and blistered in place. Take the peppers out, place in a bowl, and cover with cling wrap. Leave to cool slightly. Take your garlic our and poke with the tip of a knife to see if it’s soft. If it’s not, return to the oven to roast some more until soft. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, gently peel off skin (it will come off easily at this point) and set aside. When the garlic is soft, squeeze out of skins and set aside. This can both be done ahead of time.
– In a food processor place chickpeas, roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, parsley, lemon juice, baharat, salt and pepper, and pulse until chopped up finely and mixed thoroughly. Add a couple of glugs of olive oil (depends on your taste and how smooth or chunky you like the dip) and pulse again. Taste and adjust seasoning, and pulse until you reach your desired consistency. If it’s still too thick you can add some of the chickpea liquid, although I didn’t.
– Spread on a shallow bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to serve.
I loved the challenge of cooking vegan and gluten-free. A different challenge from the usual, but a challenge still…and one that gives us a little glimpse into the lives of our friends who enjoy different eating habits, which makes it even more meaningful and fun in my book 🙂Note: In case you are wondering why there are only three crackers in the photo, it’s because we finished pretty much everything the night before and it was too dark to take a picture then!