Saturday, October 17, 2009

Two Nuts Who Are Completely Crackers For Each Other

The Farmgirl Wannabe, whizbang super organizer at Local Roots, she of the fields of my grains, is something of a nerd. She's totally "with it" when it comes to business and computers, but she's more than a little offbeat outside of that milieu. (Guess that's why we get along so well.)

She also has a goofy, sweet fiancé of five years -- who is soon to become her husband.

As the story goes, apparently the FW just didn't ever really feel like setting a date and thus feeling the pressure to organize a big wedding. So this fall, when thinking about how she wanted to celebrate her 30th birthday, she decided it was time to tie the knot.

Mind you, her birthday is October 24. And she decided this around, oh, say, Labor Day.

Any other bride would likely give herself a year or more to plan and to line everything up and to get the biggest case of stress ever. Not so the Farmgirl Wannabe. Her main concern was the food -- as much good local food as possible -- and beyond that, eh!

Needless to say, she soon got my mental juices flowing as we talked about possible dishes for the wedding buffet. And in the midst of that discussion, I offered to help with the appetizers -- specifically, on the baking side of the appetizers as she mainly wanted cheese and a few nibbles to go with drinks.

So, I came up with a list of ideas, ran them by her for approval, and started planning. I arranged to take off the two days before the wedding so that I could plow through the baking, but a week or so ago I thought, I'd better start the baking this weekend, in case I needed to make more than I expected.

Well done, me.

I started last night by whipping up two double batches of spiced nuts: rosemary walnuts (left), with local butter, rosemary, and sage; and Indian spiced pecans, with local egg whites (and everything else from elsewhere). I ended up with a little over two quarts each, with just enough left for me to do a bit of taste testing.

Today I got crackin' on the crackers. First up: my favorite sesame thins, with local spelt flour (from the Spelt Baker, of course!). They are so fragrant when they bake, and they make me hungry for a combination of spicy peanut sauce and Uzbek carrot salad. (Now there would be a thought for a dip!)

After lunch, I tried a basic cracker recipe, using the rest of my local spelt flour and some homemade parsley salt (plus local butter and milk). The first batch puffed up like little pillows while the second batch remained a little flat, but they all had a buttery flakiness and a nice edge of salt to them.

Next week, I'll bake some mini scones and probably a couple kinds of bread for crostini, and then I might whip up a dip or two. With any luck, that will give a number of people (if not all 150 invited guests) a tasty snack before the main event.

And here's hoping those two lovable nutcases approve!

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