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Recipes

This recipe is from Sunset’s upcoming book, loosely titled The One-Block Feast about how we’ve tried to cook entirely from our back yard here at the magazine. (To read about it, see oneblockdiet.sunset.com.) Milk was an “import” that we turned into ricotta under the guidance of Liam Callahan of Bellwether Farms. We made everything else, including the salt and the olive oil.

Favas and Ricotta on Buttermilk Crackers
Margo True, Sunset Magazine
Serves 8 (16 crackers)

About 2 tsp   sea salt, plus more for salting water
3 lbs             fava beans in the pod
16 (2”x4”)      homemade Buttermilk crackers (recipe below) or storebought
1 cup            ricotta, homemade or storebought
About ½ cup thinly sliced peppermint leaves
About ¼ cup  extra-virgin olive oil

1. Bring a small pot of salted water to boil.  Meanwhile, shell favas (you will have about 2 cups beans).  Boil beans 2 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water until cool. 

2. Peel rubbery outer skin from beans by tearing round end with your fingernail or a paring knife and popping the bean out.

3. Spread crackers with a thin layer of ricotta and top with mint and favas.  Sprinkle with salt and olive oil.

Make ahead:  Peeled favas, up to 1 day, chilled and airtight.

Buttermilk Crackers
Makes 16 crackers

2 cups            whole wheat flour*, plus more for rolling
1 Tbsp            sea salt
1½ tsp            crushed dried red serrano or arbol chiles (about 2)
¼ cup              butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
⅔ cup             buttermilk
1 Tbsp            honey
About ¼ cup  extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a food processor, pulse flour, salt, and chile to combine.  Add butter and pulse until the mixture looks like fine cornmeal. Pour in buttermilk and honey; pulse just until incorporated. 

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and form into a ball. Dust a rolling pin with flour. Divide dough in half; set one half aside and cover with a damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying out. 

3. Pat remaining dough half into a rough rectangle and roll out paper-thin. Trim off ragged edges, or save scraps to re-roll (they will be a little bit tough when baked, though).  Roll dough up gently around rolling pin and then unroll it onto a baking sheet.  Score dough into 2-by-4 in. rectangles.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with more salt if you like.  Repeat with remaining dough half. Poke both halves all over with a fork.

4. Bake dough 10 minutes.  Switch position of sheets and continue baking until dough is pale brown with some darker edges, about 5 minutes.  Let cool on pans. Break into crackers and serve.

* Whole wheat pastry flour comes from soft, low-protein wheat. We grew soft white winter wheat at Sunset, but used up our supply rather quickly—and now turn to Sonora wheat flour, a variety that grows in the San Francisco Bay area. It's typically finely milled with a protein content of about 12%. Each farm's flour is slightly different and for this recipe we liked the Sonora wheat flour from Pie Ranch in in Pescadero (650/879-0995; call for buying information.) Regular whole wheat flour works just fine, too.

Make ahead: Up to 1 week, at room temperature in an airtight container.

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