There are few things in life more pleasurable than a great piece of writing.
Reading Dianne Jacob’s Will Write for Food for the second time, I can’t help but underline the incredibly useful phrases and quotes she has integrated in her food-writing manual.
One of the quotes I particularly gravitated towards was that by Elizabeth David, a British writer –
“Now there are signs of autumn on the leaves of some of the almond trees. They have turned a frail, transparent auburn, and this morning when I awoke I devoured two of the very first tangerines of the season. In the dawn their scent was piercing and their taste was sharp.”
Reading these few sensuous lines, I could practically smell the citrus aroma of tangerines, and could almost taste their plump sweet flesh, all because Elizabeth David used her words to transport me to the very scene she was describing.
Dianne then quotes Russ Parsons, editor of the Los Angeles Times’ food section, stating the following –
“The idea is not to be flashy but elegant. You want to use enough sensual language that you can get across your pleasure and your involvement with the topic, but don’t want to come across as overblown, which reads as cheap and unconvincing.Write it and keep going over it, taking out as much as you possibly can and leaving the essence.”
The secret of good writing – Leaving just the essence.
I think that’s how life should be as well.
Just like a good piece of writing, life has to be stripped of all the unnecessary fluff, leaving behind just the essentials. This will teach us to be selective, choosing and keeping only what is important.
So often we find our lives clogged with so many superfluous, flashy items and activities, we forget what our goals and beginnings are. Sometimes, we also lose sight of what we should be holding on to, and have been shaken with the waves of uncertainty, or what ever is trendy at the moment.
What we really need to do is a cleansing and re-prioritizing of our lives, setting aside time and effort for the most valuable goals, and cutting away whatever is just a temporary fad, whatever that does not add value to our lives.
And because the kitchen surrounds and envelopes so much of our lives, the same rule should also be applied when cooking.
Sometimes in cooking, less is more. A hint of a flavor which doesn’t overwhelm your senses is perhaps one of the best kept secrets in stirring up your appetite, keeping you desiring for more.
One ingredient which always does the trick, and has never failed, is garlic.
Oh glorious, heavenly garlic. The smell of garlic is mesmerizing. It transports me back to my Asian kitchen in Singapore, where the aroma of fresh garlic cooking in a wok wraps itself around the kitchen. It’s a smell that reminds me of home, of my childhood, and of all things full of flavor and life.
I’m an absolute fan of garlic. I love it fried, roasted, boiled, spread of bread or in dips and creams. In every possible imaginable way, I embrace garlic and the flavor it brings to food.
Precisely because garlic is so strong on its own, it has to be used in measured quantities, so its taste complements the food instead of overpowering the dish entirely – leaving just the essence.
I’m excited to share another way to bring garlic gently into your lives – garlic crackers!
In this case, dried garlic is embedded into a water cracker, so the taste of garlic is a very subtle hint, and is more of a background flavor than the main highlight.
These garlic crackers can be snacked on when you want something savory but not very heavy, or they can be eaten as a side dish with lunch or dinner (just like you would with bread).
And if they’re eaten fresh out of the oven, still slightly warm from the heat, they taste even better! (I strongly suggest that you eat them fresh – they taste best like that!)
GARLIC CRACKERS (Makes 20)
Adapted from Little House by the Dunes’ water crackers recipe
1) 2 1/2 cups of flour
2) 1 cup of warm water
3) 2 tablespoons of olive oil
4) 1 teaspoon of salt
5) 1 -2 teaspoons of chopped dry garlic (available in stores – add 2 teaspoons if you like the taste of garlic a lot)
1) Pour flour, 1/2 cup warm water, olive oil, salt and dried garlic in a mixing bowl
2) Mix ingredients together until they are combined
3) Pour dough on a cool, flat surface and knead well, adding more warm water as needed to get a soft but non-sticky texture
4) Flatten the dough as much as possible with a rolling pin (the flatter the better!)
5) Use the rim of a cup or wine glass to cut dough into medium sized circles
6) Arrange cut-out circles on a greased baking tray
7) Bake at 200 deg cel for 15 to 20 minutes (or until crackers turn slightly golden brown)
8) Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving
Mix flour, 1/2 cup warm water, olive oil, salt and dried garlic in a mixing bowl:
Once ingredients are combined, pour dough on a cool, flat surface and knead well:
Flatten the dough as much as possible with a rolling pin:
Use the rim of a cup or wine glass to cut dough into medium sized circles:
Arrange cut-out circles on a greased baking tray:
Bake at 200 deg cel for 15 to 20 minutes (or until crackers turn slightly golden brown):
Garlic crackers – great as a side dish or appetizer!
A closer look at the garlic crackers: