(First, ahem. I’d like to interrupt this post with some crazy awesome news: this site is a finalist in Saveur’s Food Blog Awards! I am so ridiculously excited and honored! I’d be thrilled if you took a moment to cast a vote for The Year in Food.)
Last week I was in New York. I was there for IACP mostly, but I was also there for impromptu lunches, meetings, quick coffees with friends, long walks through huge cross-sections of Manhattan while listening to Paul Simon on repeat, epic springtime blossoms, and a moment away from my day to day.
The morning that I departed for NYC, I decided to leave my laptop and camera behind. They’re beasts. It was liberating. It meant that I would spend less time on the internet, and more time being present, engaged, wrapped up, a little lost but in a totally okay way. Any photos that week would be on my phone. I love being a free agent.
On the plane ride home, I was exhausted. The first half was spent watching regrettable reality TV, but the second half I gave over to music and gazing out a dark, foggy plane window with occasional starburst patterns of tiny cities below. And my mind just wandered. I thought about a big project I’m working on right now and all of these stray pieces just fell into place. Things started to make sense in a way that they hadn’t before, and a whole bunch of new ideas materialized. It was awesome. It was surprisingly productive, even though that wasn’t my intent. My point is, had my laptop been with me, I might not have let myself daydream like that – I would have felt obligated to dig in to the neverending to-do list.
So yesterday morning when I heard Jonah Lehrer on the radio speaking about the value of daydreaming – of having nothing to do but let your thoughts wander, and how essential that is to creativity, I felt so validated. He also spoke about how we are often most creative when we’re very tired and that made me feel doubly validated. I always come up with the best ideas when flying, and I get it now: it’s uninterrupted time to let my mind wander, without distraction. It’s an in between space, one where some of the rules that guide our everyday lives are temporarily on hold. I guess this is why I like flying. I love daydreaming but under many circumstances it feels so self-indulgent.
This has nothing to do with these rice crackers, of course, except that healthy snacks for long travels are a must. And rice crackers not only travel well but are great vehicles for all sorts of delicious things that need an edible spoon. Most recipes call for white rice and sweet rice flour but I made these fellows with sweet brown rice and brown rice flour and guess what? They still taste great. I’ve had my eye on them since spying them over at Spoon Fork Bacon and am so happy that I finally got around to making them.
2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup cooked sweet brown rice (or short grain brown rice, or sushi rice – just use a short-grained, glutinous rice)
2 tablespoons neutral oil (I used olive oil, no probs!)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
sesame seeds for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor, combine the brown rice flour and sweet brown rice, sea salt and oil. Pulse until combined. While processor is running, slowly drizzle water into dough.
Roll the dough into a ball the size of 1/2 teaspoon (or a hazelnut.) Place between two ziploc bags and roll extremely thin, using either a small rolling pin, the size of a glass jar, or your hands.
Place the thin, delicate crackers onto a greased baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes. Flip and bake for another 3-5 minutes, making sure they’re cooked through but not too tough. While the crackers are finishing up, whisk together the honey and soy sauce with a fork in a small bowl.
Remove crackers from oven and turn off heat. Brush with the soy sauce honey dressing, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Return the crackers to the oven to let sit and dry for about another 10 minutes.