Capital Capitol soup + Seeded Buttermilk Crackers
I’m in DC! Until May!
And it’s wonderful so far.
After a brief work-jaunt to Santa Fe, I’ve settled into a lovely house with awesome housemates, gotten down into work at the office, hung out with old friends and made a few new ones.
Introducing, Marcie, a friend of a friend from the islands. We met for first time at the farmer’s market (where else) last weekend for squash and coffee; it was, needless to say, an encounter of kindred spirits.
This Wednesday we inaugurated what I think’ll be an especially fruitful cooking partnership.
I didn’t feel like trekking to the market and the pickings were slim. Since I just arrived a week ago, I was lacking some of my usual stockpile of goodies, but I figured a little bit of creativity and some love could yield something good. On hand: rapini on sale at Whole Paycheck, a jar of white beans, yukon golds, chicken broth, and some hot Italian sausage from Cibola Farms out in Virginia. It had been a grey day, so I was thinking soup. Marcie was in agreement.
Sausages in soup
The sausage made the meal.
Cibola Farms raises free-range heritage Tamworth pigs and grassfed bison. Buffalo-pork cranberry sausage? Buffalo summer sausage? Yum! I’m curious how they process their buffalo because a source in New Mexico mentioned that the USDA inspector charges some ridiculous hourly rate to inspect “exotic animals” like bison at their mobile slaughter facility. A question for the next market.
The sausage is made by Simply Sausage, a company out in Landover, MD that packages sausages for a number of different farmers. They’ve featured recently on Smithsonian.com in this sausage-making video
Plus their website has a friendly page on storing extra sausage.
So the soup was a success: sauteing the onions and garlic until the smell wafted upstairs into my bedroom where I could smell it 3 hours later, throwing in the harder stem ends of the rapini and the potatoes, then the broth, then the sausage as an afterthought (may have been even better if we had thought to brown it with the onions). Last the leafy bits of the veg, the beans (canned and already cooked), and a healthy dose of chili powder — not an entirely intentional pour, but an entirely welcomed one.
And to go along, I made a batch of the buttermilk crackers that’ve been a table staple recently. So so simple, and so so delicious, although in this case they were slightly more difficult to make since our kitchen lacks a proper baking tray. I flipped over a smallish roasting pan and used the bottom. The crackers got mostly crispy, but I definitely need to invest in a proper pan.
Seeded Buttermilk Crackers
Adapted from Raley’s Store Website
I generally only bake half the batch at a time. It makes quite a few crackers. To store the rest of the dough, keep in an air-tight plastic baggie in the freezer and remove a couple of hours before you’re ready to bake.
3 cups flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup buttermilk plus 2 tbsp for brushing
1 tablespoon each, sesame, poppy, cumin, and caraway seeds
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 400F.
1) Sift together flour, baking soda, table salt and pepper. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or fork until well-distributed and the flour ends up in little peas.
2) Stir in buttermilk until the mixture turns to a soft dough. Knead several times on a lightly floured board until the flour is worked in, but don’t overdo it or your crackers will get tough.
3) Separate a walnut-sized chunk and roll out on a floured board as thinly as possible — I keep rolling until I can see the table underneath.
4) Carefully transfer to a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper or sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Brush the cracker with buttermilk and sprinke with seeds and sea salt. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool, then break into large pieces.