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Daring Cooks: Gumbo May 14, 2011

Filed under: Soup,The Daring Cooks' — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

The only mandatory item of this challenge was to make a gumbo recipe.  I used one of the recipes provided and the changed somethings to make it less time consuming 🙂 (more…)

 

Daring Cooks: Savory Edible Container April 14, 2011

Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

The rules for this challenge are as follows:

Mandatory Items: To make a SAVORY edible container and fill it with something appropriate.

Variations allowed:

  • You may want to use one of the ideas provided here as described, or give them your own twists and your own recipes for the content.
  • Or, you can choose to create something totally new, from scratch.
  • As long as it is a container, it is edible, and has a content suitable for it, I want you all to have a lot of fun challenging your creativity!

For this challenge I decided to go with a recipe that I have wanted to bake for awhile now, but just ended up putting it on the back burner, Bacon and Egg Pastries w/Spinach and Roasted Red Peppers.  The edible containers is actually puff pastry, something that is very yummy, and something that I have made for a Daring Bakers’ Challenge.

These pastries were very yummy, and can be eaten anytime of the day.  We actually had them for dinner, and they were fantastic.

Bacon and Egg Pastries

with spinach and roasted red peppers

Source: Cuisine at Home, April 2008, Issue 68, page 32-33

Makes 4 pastries

Total Time: about 1 hour

Fry; Add and Saute:

2 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced

2/3 cup white or red-skinned potatoes

1/2 cup onion, diced

1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced

1/2 t. minced fresh rosemary (I omitted this)

1 1/2 cups fresh spinach

Salt and pepper to taste

Beat; Add:

2 oz cream cheese, sofened

3 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup Gruyere or Swiss Cheese, shredded

1 T. all-purpose flour

1/2 t. zosher salt

1/8 t. cayenne

Roll out; Brush Pastries with:

1 sheet purchased puff pastry, slightly thawed

1 egg beaten with 1 T. water

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Coast four 4″ quiche pans with removable bottoms with nonstick spray and arrange on a baking sheet (I used 4″ round springform pans because I didn’t have quiche pans.  They turned out great, but just not as pretty).

1) FRY bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat until crisp; drain on a paper towel-lined plate.  Pour off all but 1 T. drippings and return pan to burner.  add potatoes, onion, peppers, and rosemary; cook covered, until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes.  Stir in spinach, reserved bacon, salt, and pepper; set filling aside.

2) Beat cream cheese in a bowl with a hand mixer, then blend in eggs.  Add milk, cheese, four, and seasonings; beat to blend.

3) Roll pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 12″ square.  Cut into four 6″ squares, then lightly press 1 square into each prepared pan.  Spoon about 1/3 cup potato mixture into each pan, then pour about 1/3 cup egg mixture on top.

4) Fold corners of sough onto filling, brush with egg wash, and bake until crust is browned and filling is set, 20-25 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before unmolding.

 

Daring Cooks: Papas Rellenas March 14, 2011

Filed under: Main Courses,The Daring Cooks' — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

This months we were given a choice to make Ceviche or Papas Rellenas because of my currently state (pregnant) I cannot have Ceviche so that narrowed it down for me.  Mike and I enjoyed the Papas Rellenas with Salsa Criolla for dinner.  I essentially spent most of the day prepping all of the items so that I was able to cook up dinner as soon as he came home from work.  It actually worked out really well for us.  Good thing I actually thought ahead instead of trying to fly by the seat of my pants. (more…)

 

Daring Cooks: Hiyashi Soba and Tempura February 15, 2011

Filed under: Main Courses,The Daring Cooks' — pastrybrush @ 11:35 am
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Sorry, this is a day late.  I made everything this weekend, and then never had time to post yesterday since it was my birthday and then we went to the doctor to find out that we are having a baby girl 🙂

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com

I have actually made Vegetable and Shrimp Tempura a number of times.  I actually think the first time was in my teens, and we fried everything up outside in my Dad’s huge deep fryer. This time around there is no huge deep fryer just me using a pretty big Flaming Orange Dutch Oven 🙂  When I compared the recipe for this challenge with my go to Tempura recipe the only huge difference that I noticed was that this recipe had 1/2 cup less flour, but I decided to go with it.  Everything turned out great.  We fried up sliced sweet potato (one of my FAVORITES), sweet onion rings, whole mushrooms, and a bunch of shrimp.  Instead of the usually thick coating of batter it was a nice thin crispy layer that was a nice change.

For the Hiyashi Soba aka Cold Soba Salad, I decided to change the noodles up a bit because Mike wasn’t sure if he would like Soba Noodles and I was feeling that Udon would be better.  I ended up cooking up some Udon Noodles, we served it with the Spicy Dipping Sauce and julienne slices of Orange and Red Pepper.  This was also very yummy.  Mike liked the sauce with the vegetables but he wasn’t sure about it with noodles.   I think that is because we decided to toss the noodles in the sauce and he used WAY too much in his bowl 🙂

Hiyashi Soba:

Recipes courtesy of Globetrotter Diaries and About.com-Japanese Food
Serves 4

Soba Noodles:

Ingredients
2 quarts (2 Liters) water + 1 cup cold water, separate
12 oz (340 g) dried soba (buckwheat) noodles (or any Asian thin noodle)

Directions:

Cooking the noodles:

  1. Heat 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the noodles a small bundle at a time, stirring gently to separate. When the water returns to a full boil, add 1 cup of cold water. Repeat this twice. When the water returns to a full boil, check the noodles for doneness. You want to cook them until they are firm-tender. Do not overcook them.
  2. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse well under cold running water until the noodles are cool. This not only stops the cooking process, but also removes the starch from the noodles. This is an essential part of soba noodle making. Once the noodles are cool, drain them and cover them with a damp kitchen towel and set them aside allowing them to cool completely.

Mentsuyu – Traditional dipping sauce:

Ingredients
2 cups (480ml) Kombu and Katsuobushi dashi (This can be bought in many forms from most Asian stores and you can make your own. Recipe is HERE.) Or a basic vegetable stock.
1/3 cup (80 ml) soy sauce or a low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup (80 ml) mirin (sweet rice wine)

*Note: If you can’t find Mirin, a substitute recipe can be found HERE

Directions:

  1. Put mirin in a sauce pan and heat gently. Add soy sauce and dashi soup stock in the pan and bring to a boil. Take off the heat and cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Spicy Dipping Sauce:

Ingredients
¾ cup 70gm/2½ oz spring onions/green onions/scallions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons (45 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (4 ⅔ gm) (0.16 oz) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1/8 gm) (0.005 oz) English mustard powder
1 tablespoon (15 ml) grape-seed oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil (if you can’t find this just omit from recipe.)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste – roughly 1/3 a teaspoon of each

Directions:

1. Shake all the ingredients together in a covered container. Once the salt has dissolved, add and shake in 2 tablespoons of water and season again if needed.

Common Hiyashi Soba Toppings:

  • Thin omelet strips
  • Ham
  • Boiled chicken breasts
  • Cucumber
  • Boiled bean sprouts
  • Tomatoes
  • Toasted nori (Dried Seaweed)
  • Green onions
  • Wasabi powder
  • Finely grated daikon (Japanese radish)
  • Beni Shoga (Pickled Ginger)

All toppings should be julienne, finely diced or grated. Prepare and refrigerate covered until needed.

Serving:

Traditionally soba is served on a bamboo basket tray, but if you don’t have these, you can simply serve them on a plate or in a bowl. Divide up the noodles, laying them on your serving dishes. Sprinkle each one with nori. In small side bowl or cup, place 1/2 cup (120 ml) of dipping sauce into each. In separate small side dishes, serve each person a small amount of wasabi, grated daikon, and green onions.
The noodles are eaten by sprinkling the desired garnishes into the dipping sauce and eating the noodles by first dipping them into the sauce. Feel free to slurp away! Oishii!

Tempura

Recipes courtesy of pink bites and itsy bitsy foodies
Serves 4

ngredients
1 egg yolk from a large egg
1 cup (240 ml) iced water
½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) plain (all purpose) flour, plus extra for dredging
½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) cornflour (also called cornstarch)
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (2½ gm) (0.09 oz) baking powder
oil, for deep frying preferably vegetable
ice water bath, for the tempura batter (a larger bowl than what will be used for the tempura should be used. Fill the large bowl with ice and some water, set aside)

Very cold vegetables and seafood of your choice ie:

  • Sweet potato, peeled, thinly sliced, blanched
  • Carrot, peeled, thinly sliced diagonally
  • Pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed, thinly sliced blanched
  • Green beans, trimmed
  • Green bell pepper/capsicum, seeds removed, cut into 2cm (¾ inch)-wide strips
  • Assorted fresh mushrooms
  • Eggplant cut into strips (traditionally it’s fanned)
  • Onions sliced

Directions:

  1. Place the iced water into a mixing bowl. Lightly beat the egg yolk and gradually pour into the iced water, stirring (preferably with chopsticks) and blending well. Add flours and baking powder all at once, stroke a few times with chopsticks until the ingredients are loosely combined. The batter should be runny and lumpy. Place the bowl of batter in an ice water bath to keep it cold while you are frying the tempura. The batter as well as the vegetables and seafood have to be very cold. The temperature shock between the hot oil and the cold veggies help create a crispy tempura.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan or a wok. For vegetables, the oil should be 320°F/160°C; for seafood it should be 340°F/170°C. It is more difficult to maintain a steady temperature and produce consistent tempura if you don’t have a thermometer, but it can be done. You can test the oil by dropping a piece of batter into the hot oil. If it sinks a little bit and then immediately rises to the top, the oil is ready.
  3. Start with the vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, that won’t leave a strong odor in the oil. Dip them in a shallow bowl of flour to lightly coat them and then dip them into the batter. Slide them into the hot oil, deep frying only a couple of pieces at a time so that the temperature of the oil does not drop.
  4. Place finished tempura pieces on a wire rack so that excess oil can drip off. Continue frying the other items, frequently scooping out any bits of batter to keep the oil clean and prevent the oil (and the remaining tempura) from getting a burned flavor.
  5. Serve immediately for the best flavor, but they can also be eaten cold.


 

Daring Cooks’ Challenge: Poaching December 15, 2010

Filed under: Main Courses,The Daring Cooks',Vegan — pastrybrush @ 9:38 pm
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Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

As soon as I saw this challenge, my heart went YAY!!!!, and then I realized that I currently can’t eat my eggs poached or over-easy.  Which is my preferred method of making and eating them.  Then my heart went, sads 😦   But I was happy that Jenn and Jill also provided another poaching recipe that involved no eggs.  I have actually made Seitan before, but I have been wanting to make Seitan Sausages for awhile now and I have never gotten the time to do it. (more…)

 

Daring Cooks Challenge: Soufflés November 14, 2010

Filed under: Baking,Breakfast,The Daring Cooks' — pastrybrush @ 11:43 am
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Yes, Yes, Yes.

You have entered the zone of procrastination station, and I was suppose to post this on November 14th.  The whole stomach bug thing, put me out of commission for awhile and I said I would make this and I DID!!!! YAY!!!

Because I was the only person eating this, for breakfast, I decided to only make half a recipe.  I also substituted spinach because I was unable to find watercress.  As you will see from the picture, I didn’t use a souffle dish when I baked it so it flared out a little and essentially looks like it is wearing a brown hat 🙂  My bad, I had a few dishes handed but I figured the big one was too big and the tiny ones WAY too small.  I opted for another dish that of course didn’t have straight sides.  The Souffle turned out great.  It was very yummy and perfect for breakfast. (more…)

 

Daring Cooks’ Challenge: Food Preservation aka Canning Apple Butter September 14, 2010

Filed under: Boiling Water Bath,Canning,The Daring Cooks' — pastrybrush @ 4:11 pm
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The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Okay, so I almost forgot to post this.

It actually had nothing to do with procrastinating this time around, surprisingly 🙂  It just slipped my mind after I had made the Apple Butter.  It probably has to do with the fact that I just went on a canning spree and canned apple butter, dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, and tomato sauce.  I was using the cucumbers and tomatoes from my garden.  I am probably going to have to do one more round of tomato sauce very soon 🙂 (more…)