California Poppies & Parmesean Poppy Seed Crackers
This travel story and recipe was originally published in 2008.
Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve
Waiting was the hard part. We’ve been anticipating the explosion of poppy flowers in Antelope Valley since the first down pour of rain back in December. As more rain fell in Southern California, the potential of these flowers to burst and proliferate increased. Our greed for maximum flower power kept us from hastily jumping at the chance to head over the the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve right away. The suspense was killing us! We kept checking the poppy reserves website for the moment of floral truth. The final two words to make us drop everything and race over there like hungry wildflower hounds….PEAK TIME!!
The California Poppy, our state flower, grows wildly all throughout the state. But no where near the density and floral consistency than at the Poppy Reserve. This 1,700 acre preserve of wildflower oasis is nestled unassumingly in the high desert valley of Lancaster, CA. The Mojave desert climate of this region describes the weather perfectly. Summers are hot, but springtime is PERFECT for hiking and photographing desert flowers. These moments are few and far between and only occur between Mid March through Mid May. Seeing the flowers happens only if there’s been a good amount of rainfall.
Today’s visit to the poppies just blew us away! Hah! Watch the video and you’ll experience the full effects of how extreme the weather can get at the Reserve. Regardless of a little breeze, curled poppies, and a bad hair day, the hills were exploding with orange poppies. Other wildflowers were blooming up the hillsides as well. The rising hills and valleys below were blanketed in poppy glory. All the months of waiting and the long drive to the Reserve was worth all the effort. Especially lucky were we because we were one of the few visitors of the day and had all the poppies to enjoy all to ourselves!
Parmesan Poppy Seed Crackers
Experiencing poppy saturated scenes like these, it was only appropriate to create a poppy seed dish. With some fantastic Spanish Blue Queso de Valdeon ripening in the fridge, fresh tropical Jackfruit and two bottles of 2004 Chateauneuf du Pape (Perrin, Les Sinards & Domaine du Dieux Telegraphe), the thought of making poppy seed crackers satisfied our mood perfectly! The flavors of the baked Parmesan cheese still make the crackers so crispy, flaky and delicious!
Parmesan Poppy Seed Crackers
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup white flour
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup grapeseed/vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon ice water (or more as needed)
- In bowl, add the two types of flours, poppy seeds and cheese. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly together.
- In separate larger bowl, whisk together oil, soy sauce and garlic powder. Then add the dry ingredients to the oil mixture. Stir the mixture.
- Continue adding ice water a little at a time as needed until the dry mixture becomes a moist dough ball.
- Wrap dough ball in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
- Oil cookie sheet and preheat oven to 325ºF.
- Break off piece of dough and lay between two plastic wraps. Roll out dough flat or until desired cracker thin-ness. Using plastic wrap will keep the dough from sticking to your rolling pin and your work surface. Occasionally, the plastic wrap will wrinkle in the dough. Remove one of the plastic wrap sheets from the dough and straighten it out again to remove wrinkles.
- Once dough is rolled out, remove top layer of plastic wrap and cut dough to desired size with a sharp knife or pasta cutter.
- Grab the plastic wrap on the bottom of the dough and flip it over on to cookie sheet. Remove last plastic wrap. Carefully separate the cut pieces of dough so that the crackers can have a crispy edge when baked.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. DO NOT OVER BAKE because the Parmesan cheese will burn and become bitter.
- Serve with cheese or your favorite dip!