Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Snacks for the Superbowl

Maybe I should have called this post "What does a dietitian bring to a Super Bowl party?" Yummy snacks, of course! Yes, I confess, they were healthy, too, but isn't healthy and delicious considered a "double-dip"? :-)

I had fun putting all these together. Nothing was difficult, plus not too time-consuming either. I brought the following:
• Spicy Edamame
• Hummus (homemade)
• Rosemary Flatbread (my first attempt to make my own crackers!) 

Here are my recipes:

(1) Spicy Edamame
I have always been content to just cook the edamame (young immature green soybeans commonly eaten in Japan) in their pods and then pop out the beans eating them plain. Never again! Just adding a little spice (plus just a teensy bit of salt) after they are cooked gave them a "wow factor" that was the perfect pairing with sipping a cold beer while watching the game. I have read that eating salted edamame is common in Japanese bars, with the pods being thrown on the floor like peanut shells. Adding a spiced seasoning to them gave them a mouthful of flavor that only needed the smallest amount of salt to perfect the taste. 


Ingredients:
• Frozen edamame in the pods. I only used half of a 1 # bag from Locavorius.
• Seasoning - I used ~1 teaspoon of Zatar (a common Middle Eastern combination of spices, use anything you have on your pantry shelf like a cajun seasoning, chili seasoning, Italian seasoning)
• Salt - I used about 1/8 of a teaspoon

Method:
1) Heat a pot of water to boiling
2) Drop in the frozen edamame pods
3) Heat until fully cooked, which will only be a few minutes if they are already steamed before freezing
4) Drain well in a colander
5) Place in serving bowl and sprinkle with seasonings and salt

(2) Homemade Hummus - for space considerations, I will just link to a previous posting for the recipe I use instead of  reposting it here. I made the plain hummus this time instead of being fancy and making the carrot or beet hummus, both of which would also be an outstanding combination with the following flatbread/cracker recipe.

(3) Rosemary Flatbread/Crackers
I started looking at the ingredients in the crackers and bread I bought years ago and limited myself to only those products that had no trans (partially hydrogenated) fats, no high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), used whole grains as a primary ingredient, were low in fat content or used only a healthy fat (olive oil or canola oil), used (mostly) organic ingredients, were low in sodium, etc, etc, you get the idea. Those products are available but are almost always expensive. My husband is also a pretty good label reader and recently found a great-tasting cracker that fit all those criteria. However, I admit that I gulp each time he brings home a box. Why? You guessed it......$$$$.....the cost of these tasty crackers. We bought them anyway until I was inspired by a recipe for Rosemary Flatbread on a local blog Dandelion Haven.

So what did I get with this easy and tasty recipe? Whole grain flour as the only ingredient, no HFCS, low-salt, low-fat and healthy fat, mostly organic ingredients, fresh herbs, no undecipherable ingredients/additives, and cost?, maybe 50¢ since I used extra-virgin olive oil, likely less. Yes, I used my time and my electricity, which are both worth something, but while I was baking these crackers in the oven, I also made the edamame and hummus, got the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded, kitchen counters cleaned up, kitchen floor swept, rugs shaken outside, stuff generally picked up on the main floor of the house, you get the idea. All together this entire recipe with baking did take me an hour, but next time I won't have to read directions quite so carefully and figure out just what I am doing. I'll fly though it!

This recipe made almost 1# of crackers. Some of the boxes of fancy crackers are $3.99 (or more!) for 8 ounces, so I think I got a lot of high quality food and fun (fun is also important!) for my time.

Ingredients:

• 1-3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary plus 2 (6-inch) sprigs to put on top of crackers
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt plus a tiny bit more for sprinkling on top of crackers
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/4 cup olive oil plus more for brushing or spraying top of crackers
• Sea salt

Method:
1) Preheat oven to 450°F with a heavy baking sheet or pizza stone on rack in middle.
2) Stir together flour, chopped rosemary, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. 
3) Make a well in center, then add water and oil and gradually stir into flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. 
4) Knead dough gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times.
5) Divide dough into 3 pieces and roll each piece out on a sheet of parchment paper into a 10-inch round (shape can be rustic; dough should be thin).


6) Lightly brush top with additional oil and scatter small clusters of rosemary leaves on top, pressing in slightly. 
7) Sprinkle with sea salt.
8) Slide round (still on parchment) onto preheated baking sheet or pizza stone and bake until pale golden, crisp, and browned in spots, 8 to 10 minutes. 


9) Transfer flatbread (discard parchment) to a rack to cool. Break into pieces.
10) Leaving the flatbread to cool overnight will also help to dry it out and make thicker sections become more crispy and cracker-like when broken into pieces. 


Serve this flatbread/crackers with the hummus. My husband likes to eat his sardines on those other fancy crackers for lunch. The test will be to see if this recipe will be tasty enough with the sardines to win him over. :-)

I didn't really have a favorite team until our friends (where we went to watch the game) said that President Obama was rooting for Pittsburgh. Since my friend and I call ourselves "Obama Mamas", we rooted for the "Obama Boys" from Pittsburgh. Even I, someone who knows next to nothing about football, could understand that it was an exciting game. :-)

Enjoy the fun (what is life without fun?) of making your delicious and healthy foods!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD

5 comments:

Kim said...

This sounds so yummy.

Kateri said...

Your rosemary plant looks so healthy. Mine is starting to get the midwinter blues (it always looks very ragged by spring.)

Maggie said...

The zatar on the edamame sounds great. I have to try that soon.
I really like making homemade crackers so that I can make a half or quarter batch and not have a tempting box open.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

These all look wonderful, Diana!

Rumela said...

Yum,Yum and YUM!!!!! I love bread so much. How nice your rosemary flatbread recipes. this is such a nice and interesting recipe. I ve never heard of it before but sounds delicious. ooooooooh! my mouth is watering. Can't wait to try it. i ll make this weekend when my hubby will be at home. thank you for shearing your post.