Monday, October 3, 2011

Daring Bakers-Croissants-Challenge #7

The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!

I'm late, I'm late, I'm late.  Boy, does going back to school after 20 plus years make you think how did I do it when I was so young.  Anyway, I enjoyed this challenge, even though it did take all day.  I impressed a lot of people for even attempting the challenge.  I do need to work on the rolling and forming of the croissants. I have had requests for chocolate croissants next time.  Juli sure made it look easy!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Daring Cooks- Stock Soup and Consome-Challenge #8

Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook's September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!

It was nice to make homemade chicken stock, something I had not done in awhile.  I ended up using the stock to make a staple dinner that I make at least once a month in the fall and winter.  I made meatball soup with carrots, potatoes, and celery.  I sometimes also throw in pasta.  It's a quick and easy soup.  I also made pepper drop biscuits to go with the soup.  Enjoy the picture!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Daring Cooks-Appam and Curry- Challenge #7

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread

I enjoyed making the curry for this dish, but had an awful time with the appam.  They just would not cook up right. I'm not sure if I did not have the pan hot enough or did something wrong with the batter.  I'll try and give it at try another time. I did love the green curry I made though. It was fantastic!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Daring Bakers- Fresh Frasiers - Challenge #6

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

I was initially going to skip this challenge because life got in the way, but then I was visiting a friend who encouraged me to pick some fresh raspberries and strawberries from her yard.  The fresh fruit made me think of this challenge.  I decided that the combination of both of these fruits would go great with the chocolate chiffon cake.  The making of all of the components was easy.  I learned that I am not a huge fan of pastry cream.  I can take it or leave it.  The challenging part was the assembly of the cake.  As you can see in the picture, the berries can be seen around the sides, but not as pretty and nice as I was hoping.

The taste of the cake was very nice; the pastry cream and cake still let the taste of the berries shine through.  The two other people that were lucky to have a piece, said it was very tasty.  I can see making this again, definitely for more practice on the assembly part.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Daring Cooks- Homemade Noodles- Challenge #6

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks‟ July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

I was excited to see this challenge, because a good friend had recently introduced me to Chinese hand-shaven noodles at a restaurant in Seattle's International District.  Initially, my goal was to attempt to make these at home. Then life got in the way, so I decided to attempt those at another time and decided to make German Spätzle.

It is a recipe I definitely will put in my rotation of things to make. It was quick and easy and quite tasty.  It made a great light dinner for me one night.  I mixed in thyme, oregano, basil, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. It was quite tasty.  Below is a picture of the dish.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Daring Cooks-Potato Salad-Challenge #5

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

I'm not a huge fan of potato salad.  If it is around I'll have a little but won't be disappointed if it is not on the table.  When I saw this table, I immediately thought of Sriracha Potato Salad.  I used a marinade recipe from a good friend has the base for the recipe.  The batch I made was way spicy so I had to adjust the amount of Sriracha back so normal people could eat it and live.  Below is a pic of it and the recipe!  Enjoy!

                                                      Sriracha Potato Salad

3 pounds red potatos
2 chopped green onion tops
1 tbsp parsley
½ tbsp fresh thyme
1/2 tbsp fresh sage
1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary
3 cloves chopped garlic

¼ cup  rice vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 tbsp Sriracha sauce depending on taste
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp parsley
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 Tbsp fresh sage
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
3 cloves chopped garlic
2 chopped green onion tops
salt and black pepper to taste

Wash and slice potatoes into quarter inch slices, then quarter each slice.  Boil potatoes 20 to 25 minutes til tender.  Drain well and allow to cool. 

Place potatoes in large bowl and drizzle rice vinegar over potatoes and toss to coat.

Mix remaining ingredients together in a small bowl.  Add the mayonnaise mixture to the potatoes and toss lightly to coat.  Add green onions toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper if needed.  Chill until ready to serve.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Daring Bakers-Chocolate Marquise- Challenge #5

The May 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.

Wow! and Wow! again.  This dessert is amazing.  I made this for a birthday party and it blew everyone away.  The presentation and the taste.  It was immediately put on the please make it again list.  I did follow the recipe as provided, but am exciting to try a few variations.  One is with balsamic vinegar, black pepper, and strawberries. The other is using a chili salted caramel as inspiration. The spiced candied almonds were such a hit, that my partner asked for a separate batch just to munch on.  Below is a picture of the finished product.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Daring Cooks-Gumbo-Challenge #4

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.

I was excited to see this month's challenge because it reminded me I had not made gumbo since I had returned from New Orleans last summer.  I've been making gumbo for years, so when I make it I almost go in to auto-pilot mode.  The gumbo is always a hit among friends and provides a few days of tasty lunches afterwards.  I especially enjoy now that I've been introduced to file powder. 

Below is a picture of my bowl of gumbo!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Daring Bakers-Maple Mousse Served in Edible Container- Challenge #4

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at the Daring Kitchen!

I had several ideas for the edible container for the mousse.  However, every idea I came up I saw that someone else had the same or similar idea.  After some more thought, I got inspiration from a Martha Stewart episode I saw a few years ago about meringue snowmen filled with chocolate mouuse.  Since it was close to Easter, I thought about eggs or bunny rabbits.  I decided to go with bunny rabbits.  I made the meringue bunnies and baked them for about an hour, then scooped out the soft meringue in the middle so I would have hollow bunnies.  I then baked the meringue bunnies til they were nice and crisp.  I used chocolate to make the eyes and whiskers. 

For the mousse, I decided to make maple bacon.  Bacon baked in the oven then brushed with maple syrup the last few minutes.  I then chopped the bacon into small pieces and added it to the maple mousse.  I'm glad I did, because for me the maple mousse was too sweet by itself.  So the saltiness of the bacon greatly helped.  I filled the bunnies with the mousse.  The meringue bunnies added a nice crunchy texture to the mouuse.

Here are some pictures of the meringue bunnies and the finished product.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Daring Cooks-Edible Containers (Savory)-Challenge #3

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 !

It was a busy month and the time to complete this challenge almost slipped away.  I was amazed by all of the containers that fellow cooks had created.  An idea finally came to me to use the quick quits I had in the pantry.  I made the grits and then poured them over an upside-down mini muffin tin that I placed in a bigger glass casserole dish.  I then chilled the grits for an hour in the refrigerator.  I then cut the grits into squares (each having a small circular indentation in the middle).  The next morning, I lightly fried the grit squares in butter.  Then, I made some scrambled eggs and filled the grit squares with the eggs.  Next, I may try a twist on the Southern shrimp and grits; filling the grit squares with shrimp instead of the eggs.  Below is a picture of the finished product. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Daring Bakers-Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake-Challenge #3

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

I almost forgot about this challenge, luckily I had some free time so decided to make the coffee cake. At first I was only going to half the recipe and make one cake, but then decided I would make 2, and I could keep one at home and send the 2nd one with my other half to a rehearsal he had to go to.

The recipe was quick and easy.  Next time I need to roll the dough a little tighter so the filling is throughout the bread a bit better.  I also may play around with the filling, thinking caramel, apple or both!!!

Here's a picture of one of the coffee cakes.  Let's say I definitely ate my fair share of the own that was left at home.  Ok more like my share plus half of my other half.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Daring Cooks-Ceviche and Papa Rellenas-Challenge #2

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenged 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 was my second Daring Cooks challenge.  Life suddenly got a little busy and hectic and I almost ran out of time for completing this challenge.  At first, I was only going to do the Papas Rellenas part since my other half does not not seafood, but then I decided I would just make a smaller batch of the ceviche.

The ceviche was ok for me, not outstanding. I do admit I did not use fresh fish, but had to resort to previously frozen.  For me, the ceviche was just ok, nothing that I find myself clamoring for more.

On the other hand, I loved the Papas Rellenas.  I did have a problem with them falling apart after the frying.  I think next time I may add a little cornstarch to the potatoes to see if that thickens them up a bit.  The filling was great tasting.  We had leftover filling and it made a great lunch the next day.  I can definitely see myself making them again.   Below is a picture of both the ceviche and papas rellenas. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Daring Bakers-Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies-Challenge #2

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

I loved this challenge.  The Florentine cookies were easy and so tasty.  I ate more than my fair share of the batch. I will be making them again and again, now that I know they are simple and easy to make.

For the panna cotta, I decided to make a coconut and lime variation.  So, I adapted the provided recipe.  I was quite happy with the results.  Nice coconut flavor with a subtle lime flavor.  So yummy!!  Below is the recipe I used for the coconut lime panna cotta.

1 packet of unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups Cream of Coconut
1 1/2 cups Coconut Milk
2 cups Heavy Cream
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
zest of two limes

Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over 3 tablespoons of cool water in a small bowl. Set aside to soften.  Heat the cream of coconut, coconut milk, and lime zest in a sauce pan until warm.  Remove from heat and stir in gelatin and heavy cream and stir until gelatin is dissolved.  Stir in fresh lime juice then pour into ramekins or glasses.  Chill until set 4 to 6 hours.

 Here are pictures of the finished panna cotta and Florentines.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Daring Cooks-Hiyashi Soba and Tempura-Challenge #1

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,, and

I was excited to see this challenge as my first official Daring Cooks challenge.  I love all sorts of Asian food. One of my favorite dishes during a trip to South Korea in the summer of 2002 was a cold buckwheat noodles with a spicy sauce.  This dish brought back memories.  Even better, I had received a small home deep fat fryer as a Christmas gift and now I had a good reason to put it to use.

 I decided to make the spicy dressing for the noodles.  Next time, I will have to add some chili flakes or something because I did not find it that spicy at all.  For the tempura, we had shrimp, peapods, carrots, sesame leaves, shitake mushrooms, and blue potatoes.  My and my other half's favorites were the carrots and the potatoes.  I loved the color the potatoes added to the dish.  This dish was good enough the other half asked for it to be put into the regular rotation of dinners that I make. 

The recipes for the both the noodles and tempura can be found here at the Daring Kitchen website. And finally here is a pic of the noodles and tempura.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daring Bakers-Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet-Challenge #1

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

As mentioned in a prior post, I became a member of the Daring Kitchen and joined both the Daring Bakers and the Daring Cooks groups.  This was my first official challenge as a member of the Daring Bakers.  I was exciting about the challenge and immediately thought of caramel and chocolate, caramel being one of my favorite things.

I must say the finished product was not exactly what I had in mind. I still ended up impressing my group of friends, The Steves.  The Steves (there are two of us named Steve, so everyone has a Steve name, I'm *Runner Steve and there is a Hostess Steve, Queen Steve, Hey Steve, and so on) are the group of friends I and my partner hang out with  almost every Friday  night.  A few weeks ago, I let them know I would bring dessert for the night. 

At first, I thought the dessert would take about 4 to 5 hours to prepare, that was including time for it to set up in the fridge.  Actually it took me almost 8 hours in total to get through everything.  The biscuit Joconde Imprime being the biggest challenge.  My sponge cake ended up being undercooked in the middle but overbaked around the edges.  Thankfully I had enough to line my springform pan.  Honestly, I'm happy I learned the technique for this, but do not think I will be trying again it anytime soon. 

However, I did enjoy learning how to make the Praline Feuillete and the Praline powder and butter (see the previous post), the caramel mouuse. Both of these were the favorite parts of all of the Steves.  I definitely will be adding both of these to my collection of recipes and will be making them again, especially the caramel mousse.  I've made homemade caramel many many times.  

Anyways, below is a few pictures of the final project.  The base was a Praline Feuillete (using rice krispies), then a chocolate mousse, ganache, salted caramel with toasted almonds, caramel mousse, and finally caramel sauce and toasted almonds on top.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Praline Powder and Paste

Tonight, I started to work on my the January Daring Bakers Challenge (for now the challenge is Top Secret, on the 27th all will be revealed).  Anyways, for a few parts of my project I needed praline paste.  After doing a lot of Google researches and finding out praline paste is expensive but rather easy to make, I decided to make my own. 

Praline paste, I learn is a common staple in a lot of pastries, especially French pastries.  Basically praline paste is ground up nuts (traditionally hazelnuts or a combination of hazelnuts and almonds) that have been coated in a caramelized syrup.  I decided to use all almonds to make my praline paste. After looking at many recipes, I decided on the following.

  • 1 cup almonds ( I used slivered)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar

First step was to toast the almonds in the oven.  An easy step, just have to pay attention and not get distracted.  I've had more than one mishap, not this time, with toasted almonds or other nuts a bit too far.

The next step was to melt sugar and make a simple caramel syrup.  Again rather easy, just takes some time, yet something you have to keep your eye on so it does caramelize too far.  Once the syrup is ready, you stir in the nuts and quickly coat them with the syrup. Once the nuts are coated, you spread the nuts out onto a Silpat mat or greased cookie sheet to cool.

Once the mixture cools for about 30 minutes to an hour, you break it into pieces and then grind the pieces into either a powder or paste.  The paste tastes like a sweet (very yummy) peanut butter, well in this case almond butter.  I did have to contain myself from tasting more.  I could have easily eaten a few heaping teaspoons.

Now, the next step is to prepare for the actually attempt of the January Bakers Challenge.  Stay tuned for that.