The last hour of sunlight slipped away far too quickly tonight, leaving our evening dog walk destined for darkness. While we’re creatures of habit for the most part, and while walks signify the start and near-end of each day, we aren’t bound to the same daily routes around here, and instead I like to take Gunner to different parts of town so he can smell the smells and meet new puppies. I also do this for me; to remind myself that Boulder isn’t just the tiny bubble I grew up in, the alter-universe that I imagine it to be. I want to feel there are secrets and experiences it keeps that I don’t yet know. Lately I’ve been asking myself, if I were ever to leave here again, where would I go? What would be my reasons? I hope the small-town feeling of this place never becomes a negative quality.
As the last glimmer of twilight sank behind the mountains, I was on Pearl Street running my usual errands, and so Little G and I decided (yes – we discussed it) to have our walk in the neighborhood immediately surrounding the place where the street ends, and the canyon begins.
I had figured that we’d end up walking on the bike path that winds its way along the river, and that our route would be illuminated by street lamps. A route I know well having grown up not far from there. Having gone fishing with my father in the tiny little pond on the south side of the path, having whizzed along the same route on my rollerblades in high school. But Gunner took off in the direction of his nose, and we soon found ourselves in a part of town that I had never been in, among houses I had never seen; a little corner of Boulder that I didn’t even know existed. Instead of street lamps, the sidewalks were illuminated by the porch lights of row upon row of beautiful historic homes, glowing golden. Some of the houses had proper pillars and porch swings, others big bay windows that revealed elderly couples reading together on the couch, families sitting down to dinner, a single woman drinking a glass of wine and studying a glowing computer screen intensely. Others had broad wrap-around porches where rocking chairs rocked themselves in the night breeze. Still others were simple and small, with welcoming wreaths hanging on the doors and big, old growth trees shading their windows. The lights were low enough I could see the stars poking through the jet black sky above the rooftops, but they still burned brilliantly enough to convey a warmth and grounding; the homes in this idyllic, cozy little pocket of my own hometown depicted the feeling I have always had for this place, that it was just like everywhere and like no where else, all at the same time. I felt foolish for feeling for purporting to know every nook and cranny of this town, for longing for any more easy magic than this place has to offer.
Wherever you are, you always have more than you think you do. Whatever you have, is enough.
This whole “always-having-more-than-I-think” policy also happens to apply to the freezer full of special flours that moved with me into the apartment. The freezer is not large, but there are so. Many. Types. Of flour. I’ve been working on whittling them all down (even though stored that way they’ll hypothetically keep forever,) because like a closet left cluttered, (and strangely,) it’s annoying to have more than you need. And, I’ve been meaning to nail down my favorites for some time anyway. (AND, I have to make room for some pie crusts because of this.) Which is how I found myself making homemade crackers on a recent Sunday morning.
Making these crackers is a perfect weekend activity. The process to make the dough is way more straightforward than you would expect, but you do have to monitor the crackers every few minutes while they bake, so its the perfect warm-oven project during which to drink mimosas, extra coffee, or just to laze around in your pajamas. Once the crackers are baked, they’re the perfect accompaniment to cheeses, to serve with soup, to slather with jam or greek yogurt; wherever you would ordinarily employ a cracker, really.
I probably don’t need to tell you that it’s awfully satisfying to have “homemade crackers” on hand, and even more impressive when you show up at a dinner party or little soirée with them. As for these Walnut + Pepita Buckwheat Crackers; by default the crackers are gluten-free. If you’ve ever had buckwheat pancakes, you know that buckwheat flour has a lovely, toasted, nutty flavor. I like to use a mixture of walnuts and pumpkin seeds (as I’ve done in the recipe below,) but you could use straight walnuts, or a nice mixture of seeds if you prefer. Using olive oil will work over a tasteless vegetable or grapeseed oil, but know that whatever olive oil you use will impart it’s own unique flavor so choose a good one! Lastly, roll the crackers no more than 1/8’inch thick. The delicate texture paired with the toasted, nutty flavor of the grain is really divine.
I hope you like these; I certainly have. They’re the perfect reason to have crackers, fine cheese and pears for dinner (and by that I mean WINE…) xo L
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
- 3/4 cup white rice flour or 1 1/4 cups Thai white rice flour
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/2 cup chopped walnut pieces
- 1/2 cup raw pepitas
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or other flavorless vegetable oil)
- Preheat your oven to 450F degrees. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
- Mix the flours, walnuts, flaxseed meal, turbinado sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the water and cider vinegar and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed to form a very thick, sticky dough. Stop the mixer, sprinkle the baking powder over the dough, add the oil and continue mixing for 1 minute on medium speed to completely incorporate the oil.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Cut four pieces of parchment paper the same size as a baking sheet. Drop three 2-tablespoon lumps of the dough evenly spaced down the length of a parchment sheet. Cover with another piece of parchment and flatten each lump with the palm of your hand. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into oblongs about 3-4 inches in width, and 5-8 inches long (depending on how thick you would like your crackers.) You're looking for a very thin cracker, about 1/8 thick. Peel the top piece of parchment (save for reuse) and place the parchment with the crackers dough side down on a baking sheet. Repeat with another three lumps of dough.
- Bake the crackers for 5-6 minutes, two pans at a time, rotating them from upper to lower and front to back to ensure even baking, until the crackers are browned at the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully peel off the parchment (again, saving for reuse.) Flip the crackers over with a spatula and return them to the oven for another 2-3 minutes, or until well browned at the edges. Repeat with the remaining dough: while the crackers are baking, continue rolling out the dough and as soon as the pans of crackers are done, flip the next batch onto the baking sheets. (It's ok if the pans are still hot as long as you put the unbaked crackers in the oven immediately!) You're like a little cracker making factory now!
- Cool the crackers completely on parchment paper or a rack before storing in an airtight container for up to 10 days. Crackers may be refreshed before serving by baking them at 400F degrees for 5 minutes.