Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dr. Kracker Giveaway !!!

I've heard about Dr. Kracker from my friends.  They say it's the crunchiest cracker around....never soggy .... and great with your favorite dips.  Well, I just got to try it!!!  Here's what I can say: IT'S TRUE....the crackers and flatbreads are super crunchy, loaded with seeds galore and they come in a whole variety of flavors...sweet apple crisps, pumpkin cheddar, fire-roasted crisps....and more.  And these European-style artisanal crackers are so healthy too...with lots of grains and seeds-----organically grown wheat, spelt, oats,  bran and flaxseed for texture and crunch.

Personally, the flat breads are my favorite---they were absolutely fantastic!  See the  pumpkin seeds and cheddar cheese in the photos above? They load their crackers and flat breads with all varieties of seeds.  One day I brought Cherry Semolina and Hummus Maximus crackers  to coffee klatch but I did not bring a dip and my friends (I just love their honesty) said they think the crackers needed a dip to go with it.  I think so too.  The crackers are neutral and so crunchy and sturdy--- the type that are best with warm spinach artichoke dip, hummus, caramelized onion and gorgonzola mushroom dip!

I wanted to test how sturdy they really were so before coming to work I loaded the Pumpkin Cheddar Flat Breads with strawberries, kiwi, cheese, fresh tomatoes and chipotle shredded beef.  Four hours later, I took them out of my lunch box and to my surprise..... they were amazingly crunchy!!! The middle part (where I laid the cheese and tomatoes) were a little soft BUT not soggy at all.  I hate it when flat breads "wilt"  but Dr. Kracker Pumpkin Cheddar flatbreads did not wilt--- they were still very crunchy. I think they are perfect party appetizers ---they keep their shape and stay delicious at room temp for hours.

Would you like to try them yourself?  Dr. Kracker is giving away 2 prizes to my readers, each prize has four Dr. Kracker Flavors.  To enter the giveaway, please follow carefully the instructions below:
1. Choose which four flavors you wish to try from their Flavors page AND tell me your choices on the comment section
2.  If you want an additional entry to the giveaway, answer this trivia question (the answer can be found here): 
"Where in Europe did these flat breads and crackers originate and who brought them here to the U.S.?"
I will randomly pick winners on June 1, 2010.  Again, if you don't have a blog and prefer to keep your email private, email me (momgateway@gmail.com) with your comment (4 flavors) and answer to the trivia question.  Good luck to all!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Garlic Porcini Mushroom Pasta

Sometime ago, I received dried porcini mushrooms from MarxFoods and tried it with bow tie pasta.  I like bow tie pasta for it's pretty shape and texture when cooked al dente.  Porcini mushroom is often used in risotto and soups but I prefer it sauteed in butter, garlic and shallots then added to pasta.  It's meaty, nutty flavor blends well with these ingredients. For me lemon juice and fresh cilantro adds a brightness to the dish but if you are partial to parsley, you can use that too. So, here is my jazzed up version of olive oil-garlic pasta. If you opt to add cream or cheese, make sure you adjust your seasonings.

1 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp salted butter
1 Tbsp minced garlic
¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in warm water, strained, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro (parsley or another herb, if you prefer)
a squeeze of lemon (depends on how acidic you want it)
salt and pepper to taste
1- 2 cups cooked bow tie pasta

Heat the canola oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook till golden brown.  Add the mushrooms, the water it was soaked in and shallots. Cook about 5 minutes then add the cilantro and turn off heat.  Squeeze some lemon juice and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Mix in cooked bow tie pasta and serve. Grated cheese on top is delicious too.

Did you know?
1. Mushrooms are rich in dietary fiber, antioxidant, vitamins and minerals.

2. All parts of the cilantro plant can be used for cooking. The fresh leaves are used in soups and are indispensable in salsa. The roots have an intense flavor and are used in Thai cuisine.The dry seeds of cilantro are known as coriander seeds.

3. Although I love cilantro in my food, some people dislike its taste.  Cilantro is very popular in American Southwest cuisine but not in Europe and in some part of Asia.  Some people seem to detect a "soapy" flavor or an faint odor, similar to "bedbugs".  What do you think?  Some say there is a genetic basis for this perception, but there is no firm evidence. In my family, my son and hubby don't care for cilantro.  Do you use cilantro in your dishes?  What flavors goes well it?