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1980s Infomercial Turned Superfood

Posted Jan 23 2013 11:49am

Chia Crisps

Anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats are all the rage, and rightly so — we could all benefit from less inflammation in our lives. Especially those of us who have any condition ending with -itis: arthritis, colitis, diverticulitis, bursitis, etc. That four-letter “itis” ending means “inflammation.” Experts agree that eating anti-inflammatory foods is one of the best ways to combat whatever health ailment plagues us. (Tip: sugar is inflammatory. Yet another reason to not go overboard on the sweet stuff.)

Fortunately, omega-3s are found in many foods, from pastured animal products to wild seafood to tender greens. Certain seeds like flax and chia are also great sources, as are leafy herbs like basil and mint. Of all the omega-3 sources, though, chia is one of my favorites. And now that Trader Joe’s has started carrying bags of chia seeds, it’s much easier to find them. (Yes, this is the same seed that was touted as a hair-like “plant pet” in the 80s. You can still buy those ch-ch-ch-chia pots online.)

Chia seeds are tasty sprinkled into and onto darn near everything — smoothies, baked goods, fruit — but I like to make them into crisps. Their unusual quality of making liquid sticky means that all you need to make these crisps is chia, water, and a flour of your choice. I like to use potato since then the crisps have a decided chip flavor, but any “savory” flour would work. (Savory flours are bean and root flours — along with potato flour, another good one is chickpea.) As long as you have some parchment paper handy, making these anti-inflammatory, chia-laden crisps is easy.

Chia Crisps

Preheat the oven to 300F and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Note that you really need parchment — aluminum foil will not work! Nor will simple greasing.) Stir together 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1 tablespoon potato flour OR chickpea flour OR brown rice flour and a dash of sea salt in a small bowl. Pour in 3/4 cup boiling water and stir well. Let stand at least 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to thicken the water. Pour/scoop batter onto parchment-covered baking sheet and use a spatula to spread the mixture out as thinly as you can. It’ll be round, but it should reach almost to the edges of the sheet. The goal here is to get it as thin as possible without creating any holes.

Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and very carefully peel the crisp away from the parchment. Flip it over and put it back in the oven. Bake another 25 minutes or until the crisp is light brown. Note: if the crisp is too sticky to easily peel away from the parchment when you first try to flip it, bake another 5 minutes and try again.

Break cooled crisp into pieces before serving. Leftover completely cooled crisps can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days.


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