This is a fabulous recipe for using up your extra sourdough starter. I don’t tend to make a ton of bread because we have so many excellent artisan bakeries in town, but I like to keep my sourdough starter fresh which means I either throw out the majority of my old starter or try to find ways to incorporate it into other recipes. I’m not a huge fan of the usual suspects – sourdough pancakes or waffles – so I’ve been making variations on a theme of these crackers for over a year now. Sometimes I use rosemary, sometimes thyme or even a pinch of smoked paprika. I brush with a little water prior to baking or sometimes a little olive oil and sprinkle on top a little more herb, salt or cracked pepper. The recipe below is really a base for your imagination and taste buds!
This deeply satisfying soup is super simple to make. Please use the full-fat coconut milk — don’t use the “light/lite” unless you want this to taste meh. I also love this recipe because I nearly always have every ingredient on hand, especially in the fall when the butternut squash are in season. The curry powder is from Savory Spice — it’s called Mild Curry Powder (link below). But I call it the “Hippy Curry Powder” because it tastes like every curry I ever had from “vegetarian restaurants” versus actual Indian restaurants. It’s just pretty much a generic, run of the mill Americanized curry powder.
I’ve messed around with making a variety of alternative cheeses, but I’m just not a fan of ingredients like tapioca flour or agar agar powder, etc. This recipe is my latest obsession because it’s so simple and incredibly delicious. Adding a bit of brine from your favorite fermented vegetable gives it a dose of healthy probiotics, too. To get the super creamy texture, however, you will need a bad ass blender like BlendTec or a VitaMix. If you try making it in a food processor or a normal blender, the result will still be tasty, but the texture will be a bit grainy.
Growing up in Missouri in the 1970s I went to a lot of potlucks. A lot. Most were filled with things like Swedish Meatballs, Three-Bean Salad, Macaroni Casserole, Watergate Salad, Jello Everything, and of course, buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken. My mother would get so annoyed at those who brought KFC. She would mutter under her breath, “Why the hell did I go to all the trouble to make something from scratch if others are just buying fast-food?” And people wonder where I get my attitude…
All of this to say somewhere embedded in my taste memory is a fondness for another 1970s favorite: Artichoke Dip. A dollop on a Triscuit was my favorite snacking comfort food. While I still think Triscuits are the greatest cracker ever invented (no judgement, please), I have outgrown the mayo-heavy, bland artichoke dip of my youth. Below is a recipe I started making nearly ten years ago. It’s a tiny bit more sophisticated but still pretty comfort food-y. The other day I also realized that if you pick up a can of artichoke hearts (in water, not oil) on your next COVID-19 grocery run, chances are you might have all the ingredients on hand for that night when your neighbors wanna come over for some Driveway Drinking. This also makes a wonderful spread for a sandwich or wrap filled with avocado, cucumbers and a slice of sharp cheddar…
If you’re cooking and adding beans to everything these days like minestrone, soup, stews, etc., this is a great way to use up the extras. If you don’t have tahini, just use a tiny bit more olive oil. The fat from the olive oil and/or tahini is what makes the dip a little more decadent. Specific quantities are listed below, but just adjust to what you have on hand and your taste. FYI: this also works with canned beans.
Although some in my family guard this recipe like the Crown Jewels, the truth is that my grandmother, Carrie Lee Mathers Schwartz, found it on the back of a bag of Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate chips likely sometime in the 1950s. Carrie Lee was a formidable woman from the Texas Panhandle who often was stern and controlling, but luckily happened to have an intense love of sweets. She made this every time we visited her in her adopted state of Colorado. And from an early age, I secretly thought of this chocolate sauce as my prize for enduring often painful, tense, mostly quiet, dare I say, utterly WASPy, family meals. It’s not fancy or refined, but it is most definitely the essence of sweet comfort food. So, while we are all “sheltering in place” and perhaps some of us are indulging in a little emotional eating (no judgment!), I thought that this “prize” of mine might be worth sharing. The only thing I have changed in the recipe is adding a pinch of salt which I believe just makes the sauce all the better.