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Monday, October 27, 2014

Whole Wheat Peanut Crackers inspired by The Terminal

Whole Wheat Peanut Crackers inspired by The Terminal for Food 'n Flix
I first (and last) watched The Terminal all the way back in 2004, when it was just released. I remembered liking it, but I hadn't really thought much about it since. Then Evelyne came along as this month's Food 'n Flix host, and challenged (invited) us to watch it, draw inspiration, and head into the kitchen. But as things always seem to go, when I went to check it out from the library, they didn't have it. Like—at all; system-wide! It wasn't on Netflix, either. Of course this only happens to me when I proscrastinate. And procrastinator just so happens to be in my unwritten job description. So, I ordered it from Amazon.

It's the story of Viktor Navorski (played by Tom Hanks), a man without a country—temporarily, at least. As his plane lands at JFK, he is pulled aside by security and informed that a war has broken out in his homeland (invented for this movie), Krakozhia. The United States no longer recognizes it as a country, therefore, they cannot accept his passport (and subsequently confiscate it). And without a passport, they can't allow him onto US soil. So, they give him some food vouchers and a phone card, and encourage him to wait it out in the International terminal.

Well, there's a language barrier, and Viktor is a bit dazed and confused by the turn of events. Let's just say that he winds up staying in the airport terminal for longer than anybody expected. He makes it his temporary home. He works. He makes friends. He goes on a date. He enters the heart of people living normal lives around him. People root for him; well, all but one...Frank Dixon (played by the amazing Stanley Tucci, who I believe has been in about 7 of our food 'n flix movie picks!). But you'll have to watch to find out why!

So, on to the food. This isn't a typical (or obvious) "foodie movie", but when you go in with a watchful eye, there is inspiration to be had. Remember those meal vouchers that I mentioned earlier? Well, they were blown away and swept up early on, which meant that Viktor had to get creative. It was saltine stacks with alternating ketchup and mustard layers for a while. Until he discovered that returning a luggage cart rewarded you with a quarter. Let's just say that he became pretty familiar with the value menu at Burger King after that.
Whole Wheat Peanut Crackers inspired by The Terminal for Food 'n Flix
Cannelloni comes into play twice in the movie, first at a mention by Amelia (played by Catherine Zeta Jones), and second during Amelia and Viktor's "date". Enrique Cruz (played by Diego Luna), who befriends Viktor after becoming aware of his plight, actually drives a large food cart in the terminal dispensing food as basic as sandwiches, and as swanky as lobster ravioli and caviar.

But perhaps my favorite obscure reference to food was the old peanut tin that Viktor carries around. When asked what's inside, he says "a promise". That promise winds up being one of the most touching aspects of this story, and I knew that I needed to make something that included peanuts.

So, I thought back to those crackers that Viktor ate when he didn't have any money, and combined them with peanuts—and I wound up with PEANUT CRACKERS! Yes, that is exactly how my brain works.

As farfetched as this story may sound, it was actually inspired by the true story of Iranian refugee Mehran Nasseri, who spent almost 18 years living in Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris after landing and being denied entry into England because his passort and UN refugee certificate had been stolen.

Whole Wheat Peanut Crackers
These savory peanut crackers made with whole wheat flour make an addictive little snack alongside crisp apples (or a great bar snack).
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Whole Wheat Peanut Crackers
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12-14 minutes
Keywords: bake snack dairy-free vegan peanut butter peanuts

Ingredients (120 crackers (10 dozen))
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cocktail or Spanish peanuts (with or without skins)
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place peanuts in a zippered baggie and zip them up. Use a small heavy pot or meat mallet to crush them, leaving some chunks large and some small.

Combine the peanut butter, water, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, and whisk until well blended. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the chopped peanuts; mix well (switch to a spoon for this step). Dough will look sort of like peanut butter cookie dough.
Whole Wheat Peanut Cracker dough
Set it on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a thickness between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch.

Use a cutter to cut into 1-inch crackers (or a knife), transfer to prepared baking sheet. Score the tops with a fork or toothpick. I fit about 60 per baking sheet.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, turning the trays halfway through, or until the crackers feel firm and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool before storing in an airtight container.

Whole Wheat Peanut Crackers inspired by The Terminal for Food 'n Flix
Food 'n Flix club logo
This month's edition of Food 'n Flix is being hosted by Evelyne at Cheap Ethnic Eatz, with her pick, The Terminal. Submissions are due today, so you may not have time to join in (unless you've already seen it and can run into the kitchen and write a blog post before the end of the day). But no worries, there's always next month. Everybody is always welcome join in the fun! Deb at Kahakai Kitchen will be our November host with her pick, Pieces of April.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like...
Salted Peanut Swirl Peanut Butter Ice Cream (inspired by Salt Peanuts)
Salted Peanut Swirl Peanut Butter Ice Cream inspired by Salt Peanuts