Saturday, 9 March 2013

A Toasty Crispy Kind of Day

Have you ever seen an interesting food product in the store and thought, "I wonder how they made those?" or "I'd like to make some at home!" I tend to do that quite often.

Last week, I had a chance to peruse through my local supermarket aisles, and I found a lot of new crisp cracker- or chip-like snacks. Perhaps they're not really new, just that I haven't had time to visit the supermarket in the midst of all my school work. Actually, I'm still in the midst of my school work because it's nearing the end of term, but a visit to the supermarket was a much needed break. Anyway, I noticed these cheese crisps, these savoury wafers, and these cracker chips. And then I saw kale chips similar to these and toasted nori like these that my mom used to pack in my lunch (and then it'd get stuck in my teeth for the rest of the afternoon) when I was little. I'd wanted to try some of those, but found myself walking out of the store empty-handed and thinking how much fun it'd be to attempt making these products at home instead...

I feel the need to put a disclaimer here: I don't think my recipes here make the exact same products as the ones mentioned above, but they sure are a tasty enough substitute!

Cheese crisps: The Recipe
  • 1 cup milk (I used skim, because it was the only kind I had today)
  • 4 slices of processed cheese (I used Kraft Singles, but an equivalent weight chunk of Velveeta or some Cheese Whiz would probably do just as well)
  • 4 tbsp garlic cream cheese 
  • 4 tbsp soy flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
Heat the milk on low and add in the cheese slices and cream cheese. Stir until cheeses are melted. Remove milk and cheese mixture from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir together soy flour and baking powder, and sift and whisk into milk mixture. Batter should be consistency of pancake batter. Using a spatula, spread into an even thin layer (just enough so you can't see the non-stick sheet underneath) on a non-stick silicone or teflon lined baking sheet and bake at 300°F (~150°C) for 8 to 12 minutes or until surface just begins to turn golden. Remove from oven and try to peel off non-stick sheet. If it sticks, return it in the oven for a few more minutes (it's like making waffles with the press – if they're not completely cooked, they'll stick). Allow to cool, break into pieces and enjoy! Store leftovers in an air-tight container.

Note: Silicone or teflon sheets are necessary because parchment paper shrivels up when the wet batter is poured over, which makes it prone to burning.

Lettuce crisps: The Recipe
  • half a head of lettuce
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt (optional)
Cut out the crunchy "ribs" of the lettuce, and cut leaves into bite-size pieces. Drizzle olive oil over the leaves and throw in a pinch of salt if you want. Toss. If you're looking for easy clean up, you can throw all ingredients in a large, clean, plastic bag, tie it close but leave lots of air inside (like a balloon) and shake. This helps get the oil and seasonings very evenly distributed. Spread on a lined baking sheet in a single layer (little overlap is okay), and bake at 400°F (~205°C) for 2 to 6 minutes, or until lettuce becomes crisp. Remove lettuce crisps from baking sheet and allow to cool on a paper towel to help them crisp up. Enjoy!

Note: These are much more delicate than those kale chips looked and probably resemble the toasted nori more.

Cheese slices - I only used the four orange slices; the first slice was for my breakfast :)

Baked cheese crisps

Lettuce leaves before tossing

Baked lettuce crisps

Products from this morning's baking

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