DC Challenges




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DARING COOKS FEBRUARY 2012: CHALLENGE: PATTIES

Hi it is Lisa and Audax and we are hosting this month's Daring Cooks' challenge we have chosen a basic kitchen recipe and a basic cooking technique which can be adapted to suit any ingredient that you have to hand and are beloved by children and adults alike … of course we are talking about patties.
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Technically patties are flatten discs of ingredients held together by (added) binders (usually eggs, flour or breadcrumbs) usually coated in breadcrumbs (or flour) then fried (and sometime baked). Burgers, rissoles, croquettes, fritters, and rösti are types of patties as well.
Irish chef Patrick "Patty" Seedhouse is said to have come up with the original concept and term as we know it today with his first production of burgers utilizing steamed meat pattys - the pattys were "packed and patted down" (and called pattys for short) in order to shape a flattened disc that would enflame with juices once steamed.
The binding of the ingredients in patties follows a couple of simple recipes (there is some overlap in the categories below)
Patties – patties are ingredients bound together and shaped as a disc.
Rissoles and croquettes – use egg with breadcrumbs as the binder, typical usage for 500 grams (1 lb) of filling ingredients is 1 egg with ½ cup of breadcrumbs (sometimes flour, cooked grains, nuts and bran can be used instead of the breadcrumbs). Some meat patties use no added binders in them they rely on the protein strands within the meat to bind the patty together. Vegetarian and vegan patties may use mashed vegetables, mashed beans, grains, nuts and seeds to bind the patty. Generally croquettes are crumbed (breaded) patties which are shallow- or deep-fried. Rissoles are not usually crumbed (but can be) and are pan- or shallow-fried. Most rissoles and croquettes can be baked. (Examples are all-meat patties, hamburgers, meat rissoles, meatloaves, meatballs, tuna fish and rice patties, salmon and potato rissoles, most vegetable patties.)
Wet Fritters – use flour, eggs and milk as the binder, typical usage for 500 grams (1 lb) of filling ingredients is 2 cups flour, 1 egg with 1 cup of milk and are usually deep-fried and sometimes pan-fried (examples deep fried apple fritters, potato fritters, some vegetable fritters, hushpuppies)
Dry Fritters – use eggs and (some) flour as the binder, typical usage for 500 grams (1 lb) of filling ingredients is 1 to 2 eggs and (usually) some 2 to 8 tablespoons of flour (but sometimes no flour) and are pan- or shallow- fried. (examples most vegetable patties like zucchini fritters, Thai fish cakes, crab cakes, NZ whitebait fritters)
Röstis – use eggs (sometimes with a little flour) as the binder for the grated potato, carrot and other root vegetables, typical usage for 500 grams (1 lb) of filling ingredients is one egg yolk (potato rösti).
Sautéing, stir frying, pan frying, shallow frying, and deep frying use different amounts fat to cook the food. Sautéing uses the least amount of oil (a few teaspoons) while deep frying uses (many many cups) the most oil. The oil helps lubricate (sometimes adds flavour) the food being fried so it will not stick to the pan and helps transfer heat to the food being cooked.
In particular, as a form of cooking patties, pan- and shallow-frying relies on oil of the correct temperature to seal the surface (so retaining moisture) and to heat the interior ingredients (so binding them together) so cooking the patty. The exposed topside of the patty while cooking allows, unlike deep frying, some moisture loss and contact with the pan bottom with the patty creates greater browning on the contact surface that is the crust of the patty is browned and the interior is cooked by pan- and shallow-frying. Because the food is only being cooked on one side while being pan- or shallow-fried, the food must be flipped at least once to totally cook the patty.
So this month's challenge is to pan- or shallow-fry a patty, so giving us the title for this challenge “flipping fried patties”.
This challenge will help you understand how to form, what binders to use, and how to fry a patty so that it is cooked to picture perfect perfection.
Recipe Source: Audax adapted a number of popular recipes to come up with the challenge patty recipes and Lisa has chosen to share two recipes – California Turkey Burger adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, and French Onion Salisbury Steak adapted from Cuisine at Home magazine.
Blog-checking lines: The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax & Lis and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties!
Posting Date: February 14th, 2012

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

Notes:
  • Binders
  • Eggs – are found in most patty recipes it acts as a binder, use cold eggs and lightly beat them before using If you cannot use eggs try this tip "1/4 cup of silken tofu, blended, or a commercial egg re-placer powder mixed with warm water."
  • Flour – normal plain (all-purpose) flour is used in most fritter recipes it can be replaced with rice, corn or potato flours (in smaller quantities) in some recipes. If you want some rise in your patties then use self-raising flour or add some baking powder to the flour.
  • Breadcrumb Preparation – breadcrumbs are a common ingredient in patties, burgers and fritters they act as a binding agent, ensuring the patty keeps it shape during the cooking process.
    • Fresh breadcrumbs – these crumbs are made at home with stale bread simply remove the crusts from one- or two-day old bread, break bread into pieces, place pieces in a blender or food processor then blend or process until fine. Store any excess in a plastic bag in the freezer. 1 cup of fresh crumbs = 3 slices of bread.
    • Packaged breadcrumbs – often called dry breadcrumbs, these are used to make a crisp coating on the burgers, patties and fritters they are easily found in the supermarket, You can make them at home. Place slices of one- or two-day bread on baking trays, bake in the oven on the lowest setting until slices are crisp and pale brown. Cool bread, break pieces in a blender or food processor then blend or process until fine. 1 cup fine dry breadcrumbs = 4 slices of bread.
  • Alternate binders – bran (oat, wheat, rice, barley etc) can be used instead of breadcrumbs in most recipes. Tofu (silken) can replace the egg. Also using mashed potato (or sweet potato, carrots, most root vegetables) and/or mashed beans can help bind most patties. Of course chickpea flour and most other flours can be used to help bind patties. Seeds, nuts and grains can help bind a patty especially when the patty has cooled after cooking. These binders are used in vegan recipes.
  • Moisteners – Mayonnaise and other sauces, pesto and mustard are used in some meat patty recipes mainly for moisture and flavour but they can act as binders as well. For vegetable patties you can use chopped frozen spinach, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, shredded apple and cooked grains to add extra moisture. Also sour cream and other milk products are used to increase the tenderness of patties.
  • Patty Perfection
  • When making meat patties the higher the fat content of the meat, the more the patties shrink during cooking this is especially true for ground (minced) red meat. Make patties larger than the bun they are to be served on to allow for shrinkage.
  • For hamburgers keep the fat content to about 20 - 30% (don't use lean meat) this ensures juicy patties when cooked. Also use coarse freshly ground meat (if possible) to make patties, if the mixture is ground too fine the large patties will break apart since the protein strands are too short and are covered in fat and can only bind to nearby ingredients so when the large patty is cooked it will fall apart or be too dense. Compare this behaviour with small amounts of finely ground lean meat (almost a paste) where the protein can adhere to itself (since the protein chains are short, not covered in fat and all the ingredients are nearby) hence forming a small stable patty (lamb kofta, Asian chicken balls, prawn balls).
  • Patty mixtures should be kept cold as possible when preparing them and kept cold until you cook them the cold helps bind the ingredients together.
  • Don't over-mix the ingredients the resultant mixture will be heavy and dense.
  • For meat patties chop, mince, grate the vegetable ingredients fairly finely, if too coarse the patties will break apart.
  • Patties made mostly of meat (good quality hamburgers and rissoles) should be seasoned just before the cooking process, if salted too early liquid can be drawn out of the patty.
  • Make all the patties the same size so they will cook at the same rate. To get even-sized patties, use measuring cups or spoons to measure out your mixture.
  • For patties use your hands to combine the ingredients with the binders, mix gently until the mixture comes cleanly from the sides of the mixing bowl. Test that the final mixture forms a good patty (take a small amount in your palm and form into a ball it should hold together) before making the whole batch. Add extra liquid or dry binder as needed. Cook the test patty to check for seasoning, add extra if needed then cook the rest of the batch.
  • Usually patties should be rested (about an hour) before cooking they “firm” up during this time, a good technique to use if your patty is soft. Always wrap patties they can dry out if left in the fridge uncovered.
  • Dampen your hands when shaping patties so the mixture won't stick to your fingers.
  • If making vegetable patties it is best to squeeze the grated/chopped/minced vegetables to remove any excess liquid this is most important for these types of patties.
  • When making fritters shred your vegetables because it makes long strands that gives a strong lattice for the patties. A food processor or a box grater is great to use here.
  • For veggie patties make sure your ingredients are free of extra water. Drain and dry your beans or other ingredients thoroughly before mashing. You can even pat them gently dry with a kitchen cloth or paper towel.
  • Vegetable patties lack the fat of meat patties so oil the grill when BBQing them so the patty will not stick.
  • Oil all-meat burgers rather than oiling the barbecue or grill pan – this ensures the burgers don’t stick to the grill allowing them to sear well. If they sear well in the first few minutes of cooking they’ll be golden brown and juicy. To make it easy brush the burgers with a brush dipped in oil or easier still use a spray can of oil.
  • If you only have very lean ground beef try this tip from the Chicago Tribune newspaper “To each 1 lb (½ kg) of ground beef add 2 tablespoons of cold water (with added salt and pepper) and 2 crushed ice cubs, form patties.” it really does work.
  • A panade, or mixture of bread crumbs and milk, will add moisture and tenderness to meat patties when the burgers are cooked well-done.
  • For vegetable patties it is best to focus on one main ingredient then add some interesting flavour notes to that major taste (examples carrot and caraway patties, beetroot, feta and chickpea fritters etc) this gives a much bolder flavour profile than a patty of mashed “mixed” vegetables which can be bland.
  • Most vegetable and meat/vegetable patties just need a light coating of seasoned breadcrumbs. Lightly pat breadcrumbs onto the surface of the patty there is enough moisture and binders on the surface of the patty to bind the breadcrumbs to the patty while it is cooking. You can use wheatgerm, bran flakes, crushed breakfast cereals, nuts and seeds to coat the patty.
  • Use fine packet breadcrumbs as the coating if you want a fine smooth crust on your patties use coarser fresh breadcrumbs as the coating if you want a rougher crisper crust on your patty.
  • Flip patties once and only once, over-flipping the patty results in uneven cooking of the interior and allows the juices to escape.
  • Don't press the patties when they are cooking you'll squeeze out all of the succulent juices.
  • Rest patties a while before consuming.
  • Shaping the patty
  • Shaping – Shape the patty by pressing a ball of mixture with your clean hands it will form a disc shape which will crack and break up around the edges. What you want to do is press down in the middle and in from the sides, turning the patty around in your hand until it is even and uniform. It should be a solid disc that is firm. Handle the mixture gently, use a light touch and don’t make them too compacted. Rather than a dense burger, which is difficult to cook well, aim for a loosely formed patty that holds together but is not too compressed.
  • Depressing the centre – When patties cook, they shrink (especially red meat burgers). As they shrink the edges tend to break apart causing deep cracks to form in the patty. To combat this you want the burger patty to be thinner in the middle than it is around the edges. Slightly depress the center of the patty to push a little extra mixture towards the edges. This will give you an even patty once it is cooked.
  • Shallow- and pan-frying
  • Preheat the pan or BBQ.
  • Generally when shallow-frying patties use enough oil that it comes halfway up the sides of the food. Best for most meat and vegetable patties and where the ingredients in the patty are uncooked.
  • Generally when pan-frying use enough oil to cover the surface of the pan best for most vegetable patties where all the ingredients are precooked (or cook very quickly) and all-meat rissoles and hamburgers.
  • Most oils are suitable for shallow- and pan-frying but butter is not it tends to burn. Butter can be used in combination with oil. Low-fat spreads cannot be used to shallow fry as they contain a high proportion of water. Rice bran oil is a great choice since it is almost tasteless and has a very high smoke point of 490°F/254°C. The smoke point is when the oil starts to break down into bitter fatty acids and produces a bluish smoke, Canola (smoke point 400°F/204°C) is also a great choice. Butter has a smoke point of 250–300°F/121–149°C. Olive oil Extra light 468°F/242°C. Olive oil Extra virgin 375°F/191°C. Ghee (Clarified Butter) 485°F/252°C.
  • Do not overload the frying pan which allows steam to be trapped near the cooking food which might lead to the patties being steamed instead of fried. If you place too many patties at once into the preheated pan this reduces the heat and the patties will then release juices and begin to stew. Leave some space between each when you place them in the pan.
  • For most patties preheat the oil or fat until the oil seems to shimmer or a faint haze rises from it, but take care not to let it get so hot it smokes. If the oil is too cool before adding the patties, it will be absorbed by the food making the patty soggy. If the oil is too hot then the crumb coating will burn before the interior ingredients are cooked and/or warmed through. For vegetable and meat/vegetable patties start off cooking in a medium hot skillet and then reduce the heat to medium. For all-meat patties start off cooking in a very hot skillet and then reduce the heat to hot, as celebrity chef Bobby Flay says that “the perfect [meat] burger should be a contrast in textures, which means a tender, juicy interior and a crusty, slightly charred exterior. This is achieved by cooking the meat [patty] directly over very hot heat, rather than the indirect method preferred for slow barbecues”. All patties should sizzle when they are placed onto the preheated pan.
  • Cast iron pans are best to fry patties.
  • When the raw patty hits the hot cooking surface it will stick. And will stay so until the patty crust forms so causing a non-stick surface on the patty at this point you can lift the patty easily without sticking. So wait until the patties (with a gentle shaking of the pan or a light finger-twist of the patty) release themselves naturally from the frying pan surface (maybe a minute or two for meat patties maybe 3-6 minutes for a vegetable patty). If you try to flip it too early the burger will fall apart. The secret is to wait for the the patty to naturally release itself from the pan surface then flip it over once.
  • Veggie burgers will firm up significantly as they cool.
  • Most vegetable patties can be baked in the oven.
  • Check the temperature of the oil by placing a few breadcrumbs into the pan they should take 30 seconds to brown.
  • If you need to soak up excess oil place the patties on a rack to drain, do not place onto paper towels since steam will be trapped which can make the patty soggy, if you need to just press off the excess oil with paper towels then place onto a rack.
Mandatory Items: Make a batch of pan- or shallow-fried (or baked) patties.
Variations allowed: Any variation on a patty is allowed. You can use the recipes provided or make your own recipe.
Preparation time:
Patties: Preparation time less than 60 minutes. Cooking time less than 20 minutes.
Equipment required:
Large mixing bowl
Large stirring spoon
Measuring cup
Frying pan

Basic Canned Fish and Rice Patties

Servings: makes about ten ½ cup patties
Recipe can be doubled
adapted from http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/17181/tuna+rissoles
This is one my favourite patty recipes I make it once a week during the holidays. It is most important that you really mix and mash the patty ingredients well since the slightly mashed rice helps bind the patty together.
Ingredients:
1 can (415 gm/15 oz) pink salmon or tuna or sardines, (not packed in oil) drained well
1 can (340 gm/13 oz) corn kernels, drained well
1 bunch spinach, cooked, chopped & squeezed dry or 60 gm/2 oz thawed frozen spinach squeezed dry
2 cups (300 gm/7 oz) cooked white rice (made from 2/3 cups of uncooked rice)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
about 3 tablespoons (20 gm/2/3 oz) fine packet breadcrumbs for binding
3 tablespoons (45 ml) oil, for frying
2 spring (green) onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (15 ml) tomato paste or 1 tablespoon (15 ml) hot chilli sauce
1 tablespoon (15 ml) oyster sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) sweet chilli sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup (60 gm/2 oz) seasoned fine packet bread crumbs to cover patties
Directions:
1) Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl.
2) Mix and mash using your hands or a strong spoon the ingredients with much force (while slowly adding tablespoons of breadcrumbs to the patty mixture) until the mixture starts to cling to itself about 4 minutes the longer you mix and mash the more compacted the final patty. Day-old cold rice works best (only needs a tablespoon of breadcrumbs or less) but if the rice is hot or warm you will need more breadcrumbs to bind the mixture. Test the mixture by forming a small ball it should hold together. Cook the test ball adjust the seasoning (salt and pepper) of the mixture to taste.
3) Form patties using a ½ cup measuring cup.
4) Cover in seasoned breadcrumbs.
5) Use immediately or can be refrigerated covered for a few hours.
6) Preheat fry pan (cast iron is best) to medium hot add 1½ tablespoons of oil and heat until the oil shimmers place the patties well spaced out onto the fry pan lower heat to medium.
7) Pan fry for about 3 minutes each side for a thin lightly browned crust about 10 minutes for a darker thicker crisper crust. Wait until the patties can be released from the pan with a shake of the pan or a light turning of the patty using your fingers before flipping over to cook the other side of the patty add the remaining 1½ tablespoons of oil when you flip the patties. Flip only once. You can fry the sides of the patty if you want brown sides on your patty.
Pictorial Guide
Some of the ingredients
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Starting to mix the patty mixture
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About ready to be tested
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The test ball to check if the mixture will hold together
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Form patties using a ½ cup measuring cup
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Crumb (bread) the patties
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Cover and refrigerate
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Preheat frying pan add oil wait until the oil shimmers add patties well spaced out onto the pan
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Wait until the patties can be released by a light shaking of the pan or by finger-turning the patty and then flip the patties over add some extra oil (these were fried for 10 minutes)
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Enjoy picture perfect patties
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This patty was pan-fried on my cast iron fry pan notice the shiny very crisp crust as compared to the patty above
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Zucchini, prosciutto & cheese fritters

Servings: makes about 8-10 two inch (five cm) fritters
Recipe can be doubled
adapted from http://smittenkitchen.com/2011/08/zucchini-fritters/
This makes a great light lunch or a lovely side dish for dinner.
Ingredients:
500 gm (½ lb) zucchini (two medium)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (7 gm) salt
½ cup (120 ml) (60 g/2 oz) grated cheese, a strong bitty cheese is best
5 slices (30 gm/1 oz) prosciutto, cut into small pieces
½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm/2½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour plus ½ teaspoon baking powder, sifted together
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (15 ml) chilli paste
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) black pepper, freshly cracked
2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil, for frying
Directions:
  • Grate the zucchini with a box grater or food processor. Place into large bowl, add salt, wait 10 minutes.
  • While waiting for the zucchini, pan fry the prosciutto pieces until cooked. Remove from pan and place prosciutto onto rack this will crisp up the prosciutto when it cools. Paper towels tend to make prosciutto soggy if left on them.
  • When zucchini is ready wrap in a cloth and squeeze dry with as much force as you can you will get a lot of liquid over ½ cup, discard liquid it will be too salty to use.
  • Return dried zucchini to bowl add prosciutto, cheese, pepper, sifted flour and baking powder, chilli paste, pepper, a little salt and the lightly beaten eggs.
  • Mix until combined if the batter is too thick you can add water or milk or another egg, if too wet add some more flour. It should be thick and should not flow when placed onto the frying pan.
  • Preheat a frying pan (cast iron is best) until medium hot, add 1/3 of the oil wait until it shimmers.
  • Place dollops of batter (about 2 tablespoons each) onto the fry pan widely spaced out, with the back of a spoon smooth out each dollop to about 2 inches (5 cm) wide, do not make the fritters too thick. You should get three or four fritters in the average-sized fry pan. Lower heat to medium
  • Fry for 3-4 minutes the first side, flip, then fry the other side about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Repeat for the remaining batter. Adding extra oil as needed.
  • Place cooked fritters into a moderate oven on a baking dish for 10 minutes if you want extra crispy fritters.
Pictures of process – fresh zucchini, grated zucchini, liquid released from salted and squeezed dry zucchini, ingredients for the fritters, fritter batter and frying the fritters.
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Cooked fritters
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California Turkey Burger

Servings: makes about 10 burgers
Recipe can be doubled
adapted from Cooking Light Magazine September 2005:
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/california-burgers-10000001097016/
Sauce:
½ cup (120 ml) ketchup
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fat-free mayonnaise
Patties:
½ cup (120 ml) (60 gm/2 oz) finely chopped shallots
¼ cup (60 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) dry breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon (¾ gm) freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1¼ lbs (600 gm) ground turkey
1¼ lbs (600 gm) ground turkey breast
Cooking spray
Remaining ingredients:
10 (2-ounce/60 gm) hamburger buns
10 red leaf lettuce leaves
20 bread-and-butter pickles
10 (1/4-inch thick/5 mm thick) slices red onion, separated into rings
2 peeled avocados, each cut into 10 slices
3 cups (750 ml) (60 gm/2 oz) alfalfa sprouts
Directions:
1. Prepare the grill to medium-high heat.
2. To prepare sauce, combine first 3 ingredients; set aside.
3. To prepare patties, combine shallots and the next 7 ingredients (through turkey breast), mixing well. Divide mixture into 10 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick (1¼ cm thick) patty. Place patties on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side or until done.
4. Spread 1 tablespoon sauce on top half of each bun. Layer bottom half of each bun with 1 lettuce leaf, 1 patty, 2 pickles, 1 onion slice, 2 avocado slices, and about 1/3 cup of sprouts. Cover with top halves of buns.
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Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 1 burger) - Nutritional Information – CALORIES 384(29% from fat); FAT 12.4g (sat 2.6g,mono 5.1g,poly 2.8g); PROTEIN 31.4g; CHOLESTEROL 68mg; CALCIUM 94mg; SODIUM 828mg; FIBER 3.9g; IRON 4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 37.5g
Lisa’s Notes:
Nutritional information provided above is correct for the recipe as written. When I make these burgers, the only ingredients I change are using regular mayo, and dill pickles. My red lettuce of choice is radicchio. I’ve both grilled and pan fried these burgers and both are delicious. If you decide to pan fry, you’ll need a little extra fat in the pan – so use about 2 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil, or canola oil before laying your patties on the pan. Cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side, or until done. Do not overcook as the patties will dry out and not be as juicy and tasty! Smile

French Onion Salisbury Steak

Courtesy of Cuisine at Home April 2005 edition
Makes 4 Steaks; Total Time: 45 Minutes
Ingredients:
1 1/4 lb (600 gm) ground chuck
1/4 cup (60 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) fresh parsley, minced
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (⅓ oz/10 gm) scallion (spring onions), minced
1 teaspoon (5ml) (3 gm) kosher salt or ½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) table salt
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (1½ gm) black pepper
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (½ oz/18 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
2 cups (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) onions, sliced
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (⅓ oz/10 gm) garlic, minced
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (½ oz/15 gm) tomato paste
2 cups (240 ml) beef broth
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry red wine
3/4 teaspoon (2 gm) kosher salt or a little less than ½ teaspoon (2 gm) table salt
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (1½ gm) dried thyme leaves
4 teaspoons (20 ml) (⅓ oz/10 gm) fresh parsley, minced
4 teaspoons (20 ml) (2/3 oz/20 gm) Parmesan cheese, shredded
Cheese Toasts
4 slices French bread or baguette, cut diagonally (1/2" thick) (15 mm thick)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 ml/1 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (2 gm) garlic, minced
Pinch of paprika
1/4 cup (60 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) Swiss cheese, grated (I used 4 Italian cheese blend, shredded)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (⅓ oz/10 gm) Parmesan cheese, grated
Directions:
1. Combine chuck, parsley, scallion, salt and pepper. Divide evenly into 4 portions and shape each into 3/4"-1" (20-25 mm) thick oval patties. Place 2 tablespoons flour in a shallow dish; dredge each patty in flour. Reserve 1 teaspoon flour.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add patties and sauté 3 minutes on each side, or until browned. Remove from pan.
3. Add onions and sugar to pan; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste; sauté 1 minute, or until paste begins to brown. Sprinkle onions with reserved flour; cook 1 minute. Stir in broth and wine, then add the salt and thyme.
4. Return meat to pan and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 20 minutes.
5. Serve steaks on Cheese Toasts with onion soup ladled over. Garnish with parsley and Parmesan.
For the Cheese Toasts
6. Preheat oven to moderately hot 200°/400ºF/gas mark 6.
7. Place bread on baking sheet.
8. Combine butter, garlic and paprika and spread on one side of each slice of bread. Combine cheeses and sprinkle evenly over butter. Bake until bread is crisp and cheese is bubbly, 10-15 minutes.
French Onion Salisbury Steak
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Potato Rösti

Servings: makes two large rösti
adapted from a family recipe
The classic rösti; cheap, easy and so tasty.
Ingredients:
1 kg (2½ lb) potatoes
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (6 gm) black pepper, freshly milled
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (½ oz/15 gm) cornflour (cornstarch) or use all-propose flour
3 tablespoons (45 ml) oil, for frying
Directions:
  1. Grate lengthwise the peeled potatoes with a box grater or a food processor.
  2. Wrap the grated potato in a cloth and squeeze dry, you will get a lot of liquid over ½ cup, discard liquid since it is full of potato starch.
  3. Return dried potato to bowl add the egg, cornflour, pepper, and salt.
  4. Mix until combined.
  5. Preheat a frying pan (cast iron is best) until medium hot, add 2 teaspoons of oil wait until oil shimmers.
  6. Place half of mixture into the pan, flatten with a spoon until you get a smooth flat surface. Lower heat to medium.
  7. Fry for 8-10 minutes (check at 6 minutes) the first side, flip by sliding the rösti onto a plate then use another plate invert the rösti then slide it back into the pan, then fry the other side about 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Repeat to make another rösti
Pictures of process – Peel 1 kg spuds, grate lengthwise, squeeze dry, add 1 egg, 2 tablespoons starch, salt and pepper. Pan fry.
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Pictures of the grated potato before (left) and after (right) squeezing dry. Notice in the left hand pictures the gratings are covered in moisture and starch, while in the right hand pictures the grated potato is dry and doesn't stick together.
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Pictures of the finished small rösti
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Pictures of the large rösti
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Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
Most rissoles, croquettes and dry fritters keep well for three or four days if covered and kept in the fridge. Uncooked and cooked rissoles and croquettes can be frozen for at least one month.
Additional Information:
An index of Aussie patty recipes http://www.taste.com.au/search-recipes/?q=patties&publication=
An index of Aussie rissole recipes http://www.taste.com.au/search-recipes/?q=rissoles&publication=
An index of American patty recipes http://allrecipes.com/Search/Recipes.aspx?WithTerm=patty%20-peppermint%2...
An index of American burger recipes http://busycooks.about.com/cs/easyentrees/a/burgers.htm
A great vegetable and chickpea recipe http://www.exclusivelyfood.com.au/2006/06/vegetable-and-chickpea-patties...
A baked vegetable patty recipe http://patternscolorsdesign.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/baked-vegetable-pat...
Vegetable patty recipes http://www.divinedinnerparty.com/veggie-burger-recipe.html
Best ever beet(root) and bean patty http://www.thekitchn.com/restaurant-reproduction-bestev-96967
Ultimate veggie burgers http://ask.metafilter.com/69336/How-to-make-awesome-veggie-burgers
One of best zucchini fritter recipes http://smittenkitchen.com/2011/08/zucchini-fritters/
Old School Meat rissoles http://www.exclusivelyfood.com.au/2008/07/rissoles-recipe.html
How to form a patty video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHutN-u6jZc
Top 12 vegetable patty recipes http://vegetarian.about.com/od/veggieburgerrecipes/tp/bestburgers.htm
Ultimate Meat Patties Video http://www.chow.com/videos/show/youre-doing-it-all-wrong/55028/how-to-ma...
Beautiful vegetable fritters so pretty http://helengraves.co.uk/tag/beetroot-feta-and-chickpea-fritters-recipe/
Information about veggie patties http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2011/08/veggie-burger-test-kitchen-and-le...
Disclaimer:
The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking”. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. The responsibility is YOURS regardless of what health issue you’re dealing with. Please consult your physician with any questions before using an ingredient you are not familiar with. Thank you! Smile
__________________
......................................

DARING COOKS DECEMBER 2011 CHALLENGE: CHAR SUI BAO

Hi guys, I am Sara from Belly Rumbles, a little food blog from Sydney Australia. What an honour it is to be this month's host of the Daring Cooks' Challenge! Sydney is a very multicultural city, and we are blessed with an amazing choice of cuisines and access to a wide range of ingredients and fresh produce. In our household we eat a lot of Asian cuisine. Yes Asian is a very wide term, and I generally cook Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Malaysian or my experimental versions based on one those.

My family and I regularly attend yum cha for brunch on a Sunday. Nothing beats a lazy start to the day and then grazing over a number of different steamed and fried dumplings as well as other various treats. Often we will choose a plate of cha sui (Cantonese BBQ pork) which is sliced and usually splashed with some soy sauce and can be scattered with peanuts. Steamed or baked cha sui bao (Cantonese BBQ pork buns) are also a regular item. My freezer always contains a six pack of frozen cha sui bao (not homemade) for steaming and a piece of cha sui is a regular purchase from the local Chinese BBQ shop. Therefore what better way to challenge you guys and myself than having a go at making the Cantonese dish of char sui and then baking/steaming some cha sui bao.

Recipe Source: I looked at quite a few blogs and various websites as well as referring to various cook books. Through trial and error my recipes are a slight variation. My recipe for marinade using maltose was based on Blue Apocalypse's recipe. My char sui bao filling variations was based on quite a few various sites I visited, one of those was Chinatown Connection which I used the dough recipe for the steamed buns.

Blog-checking lines: Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!

Posting Date: December 14, 2011

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

Notes: Rising time of the dough will vary, depending on temperature. Here is Australia it is warm and dough raises quite quickly. When I was playing around with the dough in colder months it took a couple of hours.
Maltose
Maltose is also known as malt sugar. It adds a lovely shine to the char sui. It can be found in Asian grocery stores. If you don't want to purchase Maltose you could substitute honey.
Shallots
When I refer to shallots I am referring to the French type which look like small brown onions.
Green Onions
These can also be known as spring onions, salad onions or green shallots.
Shaoxing Cooking Wine
Shaoxing is Chinese rice wine. If you cannot locate you can substitute sherry.
Flat/field & Swiss brown mushrooms
Flat/field mushrooms are the larger mushroom above. Swiss browns are the smaller ones. Basically they are like button mushrooms with a brown top not white. Please feel free to experiment with your favourite mushrooms.

Mandatory Items:
Prepare char sui and then make char sui bao.

Variations allowed:
If you don't eat pork please play around with alternative meats, for example, chicken thigh or tofu to marinade. I have provided a vegetarian filling option using mushrooms for baked buns.

Preparation time:
  • Char sui, marinade - minimum 4 hours, best left overnight, cooking time 30 minutes.
  • Baked char sui bao - raising time 1 - 2 hours, bun construction 20 minutes, cooking time 15 minutes.
  • Steamed char sui bao - raising time of dough 1-2 hours, bun construction 20 minutes, additional raising 20 minutes (approx), cooking time 12 minutes.
Equipment required:
For the char sui
• Bowl for mixing marinade
• Ceramic or glass dish for the meat to marinade in
• Oven or BBQ
For the baked char sui bao
• Large bowl
• Baking tray
• Wok or fry pan
For the steamed char sui bao
• Large bowl
• Wok
• Bamboo steamers
• 20cm x 8cm (8” x 3”) square pieces of baking paper

Char Sui (Cantonese BBQ Pork)

 
Ingredients
1 pork fillet/tenderloin (roughly 1-1.5 pounds)
4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon (3 gm) ginger, grated
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 ½ tablespoons maltose (you can substitute honey)
1 ½ tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon shaoxing cooking wine
½ teaspoon (2 gm) ground white pepper
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon (2 gm) five spice powder
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon pillar box red food colouring
(1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)

Directions:
  1. Trim the pork loin to remove fat and tendon and slice lengthways so you have two long pieces, then cut in half. By cutting the pork in to smaller pieces to marinate you will end up with more flavoursome char sui. If you want to leave the pork in one piece you can do this as well. Place in container that you will be marinating them in.
  2. Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine. I placed my maltose in the microwave for a few seconds to make it easier to work with. Maltose is quite a solid hard sticky substance.
  3. Cover pork well with ⅔ of the marinade mixture. Marinate for a minimum of 4 hours, I find it is best left to marinate overnight. Place the reserved ⅓ portion of the marinade covered in the fridge. You will use this as a baste when cooking the pork.
Cooking Method 1 - Oven
This is the first way that I experimented with cooking the char sui.
  1. Pre-heat oven to moderate 180˚C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  2. Cover a baking tray with foil or baking paper. Place on top of this a rack on which to cook the pork.
  3. Place pork on the rack and place in oven.
  4. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, basting and turning.
  5. Turn the heat up to moderately hot 200˚C/400°F/gas mark 6 for the final 20 minutes as this will aid the charring. Cook until cooked through.
Cooking Method 2 - Seared in pan & then into the oven


On reading more I discovered this method, it was meant to give a better charred finish. Not sure that it did give a "better" result, but the pork was a lot more moist.
  1. Pre-heat oven to moderate 180˚C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  2. Cover a baking tray with foil or baking paper. Place on top of this a rack on which to cook the pork.
  3. Place pork in a hot frying pan or wok. Sear it quickly so it is well browned
  4. Remove from pan/wok and place pork on the rack and place in oven.
  5. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, basting and turning until cooked through.
Cooking Method 3 - BBQ
This method I feel gave the best result. If you have access to a BBQ use it. The pork had a better BBQ flavour and was also very moist.
  1. Place marinated pork loin on the grill of your BBQ
  2. Cook on a medium heat, approximately 15 minutes, until cooked through.
  3. Be careful to watch that you don't burn the pork.

Char Sui (Cantonese BBQ Pork)
Alternative marinade without red food colouring or maltose

Ingredients
1 teaspoon (6 gm) salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon (3 gm) ground white pepper
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) sugar
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon shaoxing cooking wine
1 teaspoon (3 gm) five spice
(1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)

Directions:
  1. Trim the pork loin to remove fat and tendon and slice lengthways so you have two long pieces, then cut in half. Place in container that you will be marinating them in.
  2. Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine.
  3. Cover pork well with ⅔ of the marinade mixture. Marinate for a minimum of 4 hours, I find it is best left to marinate overnight. Place the reserved ⅓ portion of the marinade covered in the fridge. You will use this as a baste when cooking the pork.
  4. Follow the desired cooking method from the previous recipe.

Baked Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun)

Servings: 12 

Filling Ingredients
350 gm (12 oz) char sui (finely diced)
2 green onions/spring onions (finely sliced)
1 tablespoon hoisin
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ cup (60 ml) chicken stock
1 teaspoon (2 gm) cornflour
½ tablespoon vegetable oil
(1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)

Dough Ingredients
2½ teaspoons (8 gm/1 satchel) of dried yeast
¼ cup (55 gm/2 oz) sugar
½ cup warm water
2 cups (280 gm/10 oz) plain flour
1 egg (medium size - slightly beaten)
3 tablespoons oil
½ teaspoon (3 gm) salt
Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with a dash of water
(1 cup=240 ml, 1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)

Filling Directions:
  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or pan.
  2. Add diced char sui to the wok/pan and stir then add spring onions, cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add hoisin, dark soy sauce and sesame oil to the pork mixture, stir fry for one minute.
  4. Mix cornflour and stock together and then add to the pork mixture.
  5. Stir well and keep cooking until the mixture thickens, 1 or 2 minutes.
  6. Remove mixture from wok/pan and place in a bowl to cool. Set aside until ready to use.
Bun Directions:
  1. Place the sugar and warm water in a bowl, mix until the sugar has dissolved. Add yeast and leave it for 10 - 15 minutes until it becomes all frothy.
  2. Sift flour in to a large bowl.
  3. Add yeast mixture, egg, oil and salt and stir. Bring the flour mixture together with your hands.
  4. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly elastic.
  5. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise until it is double in size. This will take from 1 - 2 hours depending on weather conditions.
  6. Once dough has doubled in size knock back and divide in to 12 portions and shape in to round balls.
  7. Use a rolling pin to roll out to approximately 5cm (2 inches) in diameter. Then pick the piece of dough up and gently pull the edges to enlarge to about 8cm (3 inches) in diameter.
  8. By doing this it keeps the dough slightly thicker in the centre. This means when your buns are cooking they won't split on the tops.
  9. Place a good sized tablespoon of filling on the dough circle. Then gather the edges and seal your bun.
  10. Place the bun seal side down on your baking tray. Continue with rest of dough.
  11. Once all buns are complete brush surface with egg wash.
  12. Place in a preheated oven of 200º C/392º F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Steamed Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun)

 Servings: 20 

Filling Ingredients
350 gm (12 oz) char sui (finely diced)
2 shallots (finely diced)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ cup (60 ml) chicken stock
1 teaspoon (3 gm) cornflour
½ tablespoon vegetable oil

Bun Ingredients
1 cup milk, scalded
¼ cup (60 gm/2 oz) sugar
1 tablespoon oil
¼ teaspoon (2 gm) salt
2½ teaspoons (8 gm/1 satchel) of dried yeast
3 cups (420 gm/15 oz) plain flour
(1 cup=240 ml, 1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)

Filling Directions:
  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or pan. Sauté the shallots for one or two minutes until soft.
  2. Add diced char sui to the wok/pan and stir.
  3. Add oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and sesame oil to the pork mixture, stir fry for one minute.
  4. Mix cornflour and stock together and then add to the pork mixture.
  5. Stir well and keep cooking until the mixture thickens, 1 or 2 minutes.
  6. Remove mixture from wok/pan and place in a bowl to cool. Set aside until ready to use.
Bun Directions:
  1. Scald milk and then stir in sugar, oil and salt, leave to cool until it is lukewarm. Once it is the right temperature add yeast, leave until yeast is activated and it becomes frothy, about 10 - 15 minutes.
  2. Sift flour in to a large bowl.
  3. Add milk/yeast mixture to the flour. Bring the flour mixture together with your hands.
  4. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly elastic.
  5. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise until it is double in size. This will take from 1 - 2 hours depending on weather conditions.
  6. Punch down dough and divide in to 20 equal portions.
  7. Roll each dough portion in to a 7 – 8cm (2¾ - 3 ¼ inches) round.
  8. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the centre of the round, gather the edges together at the top and place on a 8cm (3 inch) square of baking paper. Repeat until all dough has been used.
  9. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.
  10. Place buns in bamboo steamer, leaving space between the buns.
  11. Heat water in a wok until it is simmering and place steamers one on top of each other in the wok.
  12. Place lid on top bamboo steamer and steam for approximately 12 minutes.

Mushroom Filling for Baked Buns

 

Ingredients
2 cups (170 gm/6 oz) Swiss brown mushrooms (finely diced) (alternatively button, Roman brown, Italian brown, Crimini)
1 cup (90 gm/3 oz) Shitake mushrooms (finely diced)
2½ cups (225 gm/8 oz) flat/field mushrooms (finely diced)
(alternatively Portabella mushrooms)
2 shallots (finely diced)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ cup vegetable stock
1 teaspoon (3 gm) cornflour
½ tablespoon vegetable oil
(1 cup=240 ml, 1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)

Directions:
  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or pan. Sauté the shallots for one or two minutes until soft
  2. Add the mushrooms to the onions in the wok/pan. Cook until mushrooms have rendered down and most of the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated.
  3. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin and sesame oil, cook for another few minutes.
  4. Mix cornflour and stock together and then add to the mushroom mixture.
  5. Stir well and keep cooking until the mixture thickens, 1 or 2 minutes.
  6. Remove mixture from wok/pan and place in a bowl to cool. Set aside until ready to use.
Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
The baked char sui bao freezes very well. All you need to do is take them out of the freezer and place in the over to warm. The steamed ones should freeze okay as well. To warm them place in microwave for about 30 seconds until warm and defrosted.

Additional Information:
This is a demonstration of folding the steamed char sui bao

Disclaimer:
The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking”. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. The responsibility is YOURS regardless of what health issue you’re dealing with. Please consult your physician with any questions before using an ingredient you are not familiar with. Thank you! Smile
__________________ Just for the love of food
www.bellyrumbles.com
................................

THE DARING COOKS NOVEMBER 2011 CHALLENGE: COOKING WITH TEA

Hi, I’m Sarah from Simply Cooked. I’ve been a daring cook and baker since 2009. I was living in the UK when I joined The Daring Kitchen, but since then I have moved to Hong Kong. Here in Hong Kong, tea is an important part of everyday life. It’s the standard drink at restaurants and usually comes free as soon as you sit down. There are dozens of varieties, each chosen for its health and taste properties. This month I want to challenge the Daring Cooks to cook with tea.

Recipe Source: Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry

Blog-checking lines: Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.

Posting Date: November 14, 2011

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

Note: Read the package that your tea bags come in. The instructions should give the correct steeping time for the tea. Keep in mind that when tea steeps the color develops before the flavor. Because of this, steep the tea for the full time specified on the packet, and don’t judge by the color.

Mandatory Items: Prepare at least one savory recipe made with tea.
 
Variations allowed: Variations are encouraged. Feel free to use black, green, or white tea. Herbal teas (which are actually infusions, since they contain no tea leaves) are also allowed.

Preparation time:
Green tea soup: 30 minutes
Beef stew: 3 hours, mostly unattended
Chinese tea eggs: 2 hours, mostly unattended

Equipment required:
For the green tea soup:
• 2 saucepans
• Small bowl for mixing
For the beef stew:
• Large stock pot
• Heatproof pitcher or teapot for brewing tea
For the Chinese tea eggs:
• Large saucepan
• Slotted spoon

Green Tea, Tofu, and Noodle Soup


Servings: 4

Ingredients:
4 green tea teabags, or 1½ tablespoons (22½ ml) (3 gm) green tea leaves
1¼ inches (3 cm) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
5 oz (140 gm) thick or thin egg noodles
10 oz (280 gm) firm tofu, drained and cubed
5 oz (140 gm) bok choy or spring greens, shredded
1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) light soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1 oz) (30 gm) red or white miso paste
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) sesame oil
6 scallions (also called spring onion or green onion), trimmed and sliced
a handful of shiso (Japanese basil or perilla) or mustard cress, or other micro greens, to garnish

Directions:
  1. Place 6 cup (1½ litre) water in a pan with the green tea bags or leaves and the ginger slices. Heat until the water is just below boiling and bubbles start to form.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and let it steep for four minutes.
  3. Remove the tea bags or strain the liquid to remove the tea leaves. Return the ginger slices to the liquid and reserve.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package instructions in a separate pan.
  5. Return the tea liquid to the heat and add the tofu, bok choy or greens, and the soy sauce. Heat gently for five minutes, until hot all through.
  6. Scoop out some liquid to a small bowl and mix in the miso paste. Then return the liquid to the pan.
  7. Add the sesame oil and scallions. Spoon into bowls and garnish with the shiso, cress, or greens.

Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes


Servings: 4-6
Rooibos tea is an herbal infusion from South Africa. Also called red tea, redbush tea, or honeybush tea, it is honey-flavored and light colored. It is gaining popularity because it is low in bitter tannins and caffeine-free. It can be substituted in this recipe by black tea, or try another dark herbal tea such as one containing licorice.

Ingredients
1¼ pounds (600 gm) brisket or stewing beef, trimmed and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) chunks
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (18 gm) (⅔ oz) flour
1 tablespoon (15 m) oil
2 onions, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (8 gm) tomato concentrate
5 rooibos tea bags (or 2 tablespoons loose tea leaves)
1 quart (1 litre) just-boiled water
5 tablespoons (75 ml) red wine vinegar
4 strips unwaxed orange peel, pith removed (the peel of about half an orange)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 inches (5 cm) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
¾ cup (175 ml) mild honey (optional)
cilantro (coriander) leaves, to garnish
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
  1. Season the beef and coat in the flour. Heat the oil in a large stock pot and then brown the beef on all sides.
  2. Add the onions and celery. Put on a tight fitting lid and let soften for ten minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and tomato concentrate and cook for one minute.
  4. Meanwhile, place the tea bags in a heatproof pitcher and pour over the water. Allow to steep for four minutes. Then remove the tea bags (or strain out the tea leaves) and pour the tea into the stock pot. Add the red wine vinegar, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and ginger.
  5. Lower the heat and cover. Let the stew simmer for 2 hours, until the beef is tender.
  6. Add the sweet potatoes, honey (if using), and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
  7. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.

Chinese Tea Eggs


Servings: 6 eggs

Ingredients:
6 eggs (any size)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (6 gm) black tea leaves, or 4 tea bags
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (5 gm) Chinese five spice powder
1 tablespoon (5 ml) (3 gm) coarse grain salt
toasted sesame seeds, to garnish

Directions:
  1. In a large enough pot to avoid overcrowding, cover the eggs with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for twelve minutes.
  2. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and keep the cooking water.
  3. With a spoon, tap the eggs all over until they are covered with small cracks. This can also be done by tapping and rolling the eggs very gently on the counter.
  4. Return the eggs to the pan and add the tea leaves or bags, Chinese five spice powder, and salt. Cover the pan.
  5. Heat gently and simmer, covered, for one hour.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs cool down in the liquid for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the eggs from the liquid. Peel one egg to check how dark it is; the others can be returned to the liquid if you wish to have the web-like pattern darker. Allow the eggs to cool fully.
  8. To serve, peel and slice the eggs in halves or quarters. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
The green tea soup can be kept for five days in the fridge but is best eaten fresh. It’s not suitable for freezing.
The beef stew can be frozen for two months or kept in the fridge for five days.
The Chinese tea eggs are best eaten within 24 hours and are unsuitable for freezing.

Additional Information:
Brewed tea can be used as:
Ground tea leaves can be used:
• as a flavoring powder
• as a rub or coating: smoky tea chile rub, white tea shrimp
• as a garnish
• for smoking
A tea themed meal would perhaps be nicely topped off by a chocolate Earl Grey mousse, and a tea-infused cocktail.

Disclaimer:
The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking”. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. The responsibility is YOURS regardless of what health issue you’re dealing with. Please consult your physician with any questions before using an ingredient you are not familiar with. Thank you! Smile
.............

THE DARING COOKS’ OCTOBER 2011 CHALLENGE: PORK LAUREL (MU-HSU PORK)

Some explanation is needed for the name of this dish. In China, we have a tree called kwei; according to my dictionary, kwei is called laurel in English, and it is a shrub rather than a tree; but the laurels we have in the garden of our London home never seem to flower at all, while the Chinese laurel is a large tree which produces bright yellow, fragrant flowers in the autumn. The pork in this recipe is cooked with eggs, which give a yellow colour to the dish – hence the name. But to add to the confusion, the Chinese name of this dish is mu-hsu pork, mu hsu being the classical name for laurel (are you still with me?). So you might say that calling it pork laurel is taking a poetic license.
DSC01988
Simply put, Moo Shu is a stir fry, containing thinly sliced or shredded vegetables, meat (traditionally) and scrambled egg. It is usually served on flat, thin, steamed pancakes, and is accompanied by a complementary sauce. Moo Shu pork (the protein most commonly used in Moo Shu dishes) originates in Northern China (commonly attributed to the Shandong province, though sometimes attributed to Beijing), rising in popularity in Chinese restaurants in the West in the 1960's and 70's. As the dish became more popular, different restaurants adapted the recipe to meet their own styles, or to accommodate for expensive or hard-to find ingredients, so there is a lot of variation among recipes. Common among them, though, is a basis of cabbage and the inclusion of scrambled eggs.

The history and etymology of the dish are widely disputed, as indicated by Mr. Hsiung's anecdote above. There are two primary theories as to the origin of the name. Many, including the author of our challenge recipe, suggest that the Chinese characters, read as mu xi, refer to a tree that blooms with small, fragrant blossoms. They suggest that the scrambled egg in this dish is reminiscent of these blossoms, and thus a variety of egg dishes are referred to as mu xi. An alternative suggestion uses the Chinese characters reading mu xu, roughly translating to wood whiskers or wood shavings. The dish is thus named, it is said, due to the appearance of the shredded vegetables and meat, resembling wooden whiskers, or wooden shavings that were used as packing materials.

Recipe Source: The challenge recipe provided for the Moo Shu filling comes from The Chinese Kitchen by Deh-Ta Hsiung. The pancake recipe comes from the same source, though we have also provided an alternate method for preparing them, adapted from a variety of online demonstrations. The sauce recipe provided is from epicurian.com.

Blog-checking lines: The October Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook and her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood. They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including thin pancakes, stir fry and sauce.

Posting Date: October 14, 2011

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

Notes:
A few notes about the traditional main ingredients of a Moo Shu stir-fry:

Cabbage
DSC00194
The primary vegetable within the Moo Shu stir fry is generally cabbage. While there are many varieties of cabbage available, the most traditional for this style of dish is the Chinese cabbage, also known as Napa cabbage.

Chinese cabbage is a traditionally cool weather crop which thrives during the shorter days of the year, so it is normally planted during the second half of the calendar year. It generally reaches maturity within about three months after planting. In order to provide a continual supply of the vegetable, a late crop is planted in areas with appropriate conditions. There are several varieties of Chinese cabbage, which all have delicate, sweet flavors, and blend well with the other foods with which it is cooked. It also holds up well to various cooking methods, which is why it makes a good base for dishes such as Moo Shu. Stored in the crisper of the refrigerator, Chinese cabbage can keep for up to ten days.

Scallions
DSC00215
Scallions, also known as green onions or Spring onions, are milder than most other species of onion. They may be eaten raw or cooked, and are very common in Asian recipes. Scallions are generally sold in bunches with the roots still attached. Stored properly, in a plastic box to allow them to breathe, they can keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Bamboo Shoots
DSC00210
Bamboo shoots are the edible shoots of a variety of bamboo species. They are available fresh, dried and canned. Fresh bamboo shoots must be parboiled to eliminate a harsh, bitter poison, hydrocyanic acid, prior to being eaten or used in recipes. Dried bamboo shoots must be soaked prior to use. Both parboiled fresh and reconstituted dried bamboo shoots need to be rinsed with fresh water as the final preparation step. Canned bamboo shoots are parboiled and require no reconstitution, though should also be rinsed.
One of my favorite quotes about bamboo from The Chinese Kitchen is as follows:
Traditionally, the bamboo symbolizes the virtuous man, bending in the wind yet never breaking.

Fungus
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Not generally a word most casual Westerners associate with food, there are a wide variety of mushrooms that are used in Asian cooking. The specific fungus specified in Mr. Hsiung's recipe is dried black fungus, which has long been cultivated in China. While there are many different varieties available in China, there are only a few commonly available in the West. Stored in a dry, dark place just as they are packaged, they can last indefinitely. Once reconstituted, they can be stored for up to five days in the refrigerator in a bowl of fresh water.

Mandatory Items:
You must make Moo Shu pancakes using the provided recipe, a stir fry, and a complementary sauce.

Variations allowed:
Substitutions for purposes of dietary requirements are allowed, and creativity with vegetables, proteins and sauces, maintaining the spirit of the challenge, are encouraged.

Preparation time:
Moo Shu Pancakes – 10 minutes preparation time, 30 minutes rest time, 45-50 minutes cooking time
Moo Shu Pork – 25-30 minutes preparation time, 6-8 minutes active cooking time
Hoisin Sauce – 5 minutes

Equipment required:
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife (for cutting meat and vegetables)
  • Optional – food processor with shredding blade
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mixing bowl
  • Frying Pan or wok
  • Whisk or fork for scrambling egg
  • Small jar (for hoisin sauce)
  • Spoon (for mixing hoisin sauce)
  • Rolling pin
  • Pastry brush (for alternate method of preparing pancakes)
  • Dish towels (for covering pancake dough and cooked pancakes)
  • Small blender (if making sesame oil)

Thin Pancakes:

Makes 24-30 pancakes
Preparation time: about 10 minutes plus 30 minutes' standing time
Cooking time: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients:
4 cups (960 ml) (560 gm) (19¾ oz) all purpose flour
About 1½ cup (300ml) (10 fl oz) boiling water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil
Dry flour for dusting

Directions:
  1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Gently pour in the water, stirring as you pour, then stir in the oil. Knead the mixture into a soft but firm dough. If your dough is dry, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, to reach the right consistency. Cover with a damp towel and let stand for about 30 minutes.
  2. Lightly dust the surface of a worktop with dry flour. Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes or until smooth, then divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a long sausage and cut each sausage into 8-10 pieces. Keep the dough that you are not actively working with covered with a lightly damp dish cloth to keep it from drying out.
  3. Roll each piece into a ball, then, using the palm of your hand, press each piece into a flat pancake. Dust the worktop with more dry flour. Flatten each pancake into a 6 to 8 inch (15 cm to 20 cm) circle with a rolling pin, rolling gently on both sides.
  4. Place an un-greased frying pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, lower the heat to low and place the pancakes, one at a time, in the pan. Remove when little light-brown spots appear on the underside. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.
Alternate method for preparing the pancakes:
Once the dough has rested and been kneaded again, divide it into an even number of small pieces, rolling each into a ball. Working with two balls of dough at a time, dip the bottom of one ball lightly into sesame oil and press it onto the top of the second ball. Press the double layer flat, then roll the doubled pancake layers into 6 to 8 inch circles. In a dry pan, cook on each side until dry and lightly blistered (but without browning). Separate pancakes after cooking.
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Alternately (I know, an alternate to the alternate...), if you would prefer not to dip the dough in the sesame oil, you can achieve a similar result with a slight modification. Again working two pieces at a time, roll each piece into a three inch pancake. Using a pastry brush, brush sesame oil onto the top of one of the pancakes, and top it with the other pancake. Further roll the doubled pancake into a 6 to 8 inch circle and cook as the above alternate method. This method was actually our favorite of the three, and yielded the best results – very thin pancakes that held up a little better and had the most authentic texture. We had the best luck brushing a bit of sesame oil on both circles of dough, then sandwiching them together. Just be careful separating the pancakes after cooking them on both sides – heat (steam) does get caught between them, so don't burn your fingers!
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Links to a video demonstrating these alternate methods can be found in the Additional Information section below.

Notes:
  • Be sure to use very hot-to-boiling water, as it helps relax the gluten, which will aid in rolling the pancakes super thin.
  • Adjust the heat of your pan as needed to cook the pancakes without burning them. I had to keep my burner on medium (rather than low) heat in order for my pancakes to cook properly (low was drying them out too much without cooking them fully), so watch your pancakes carefully.
  • If the pancakes are not to be used as soon as they are cooked, they can be warmed up, either in a steamer for 5-6 minutes, or in a microwave oven for 20-30 seconds, depending on the power.
  • And, in case you are curious, we both asked our local Chinese food restaurants about their Moo Shu pancakes, and they informed us that they purchase them prepared, and simply steam them for their customers as they order the dish.

Moo Shu Pork:


Serves 4
Preparation time: 25-30 minutes
Cooking time: 6-8 minutes

Ingredients:
2/3 cup (1 oz) (30 gm) Dried black fungus ('wood ears')
½ lb (450 gm) pork loin or butt
¾ cup (3½ oz) (100 gm) bamboo shoots, thinly cut
3 cups (6 oz) (170 gm) Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage), thinly cut
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
4 tablespoons (60 ml) vegetable oil
2 scallions
1 tablespoon (15 ml) light soy sauce
2 teaspoons (10 ml) rice wine
A few drops sesame oil
12 thin pancakes to serve
IngredientsCollage
Directions:
  1. Soak the fungus in warm water for 10-15 minutes, rinse and drain. Discard any hard stalks, then thinly shred.
  2. Thinly cut the pork, bamboo shoots and Chinese cabbage into matchstick-sized shreds.
  3. Lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.
  4. Heat about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil in a preheated wok and scramble the eggs until set, but not too hard. Remove and keep to one side.
  5. Heat the remaining oil. Stir-fry the shredded pork for about 1 minute or until the color changes. Add the fungus, bamboo shoots, Chinese cabbage and scallions. Stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining salt, soy sauce and wine. Blend well and continue stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the scrambled eggs, stirring to break them into small bits. Add the sesame oil and blend well.
  6. To serve: place about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of hot Moo Shu in the center of a warm pancake, rolling it into a parcel with the bottom end turned up to prevent the contents from falling out. Eat with your fingers. (See Final Preparation and Serving section below for more complete details.)
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Notes:
  • I have used white mushrooms and dried black mushrooms in this recipe, but any variety of mushrooms, either fresh or reconstituted dry, can be used.
  • I did all of my chopping ahead of time and set all of the chopped ingredients aside in separate bowls. The cutting was the longest part of the process. Once I started cooking, it really came together quickly and beautifully.
  • In a pinch, you can use pre-chopped cabbage, usually sold as a cole slaw blend, as the basis of your Moo Shu.
  • If the stir fry is ready ahead of time, you can reduce the burner to low and cover the pan until you are ready to serve.

Hoisin Sauce: 

(source: http://recipes.epicurean.com/recipe/13249/hoisin-sauce.html)

While most restaurants, or at least those at which I have ordered the dish, serve this with plum sauce, none of the cook books or online recipes that I have seen have referred to that as being traditional. Most that reference serving it with a sauce call for it to be served with hoisin sauce.

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons (60 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) peanut butter OR black bean paste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey OR molasses
2 teaspoons (10 ml) white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon (⅔ ml) garlic powder
2 teaspoons (10 ml) sesame seed oil
20 drops (¼ teaspoon) Chinese style hot sauce (optional, depending on how hot you want your hoisin sauce)
1/8 teaspoon (⅔ ml) black pepper
Directions:
Simply mix all of the ingredients together by hand using a sturdy spoon.
At first it does not appear like it will mix, but keep at it just a bit longer and your sauce will come together.
HoisinSauceCollage

Final Preparation and Serving:


Each of the three components that comprise the complete Moo Shu dish are served separately, and the diner prepares each serving on his or her own plate. Most restaurants provide four pancakes, a serving of Moo-Shu and a small dish of hoisin sauce as a single serving. To prepare each pancake for eating, the following is the most common process: a small amount of hoisin sauce is spread onto the pancake, on top of which a spoonful of the stir-fry is placed. In order to prevent (or, realistically, minimize) the filling from spilling out while eating, the bottom of the pancake is folded up, then the pancake is rolled, similarly to a soft taco. Once rolled, the prepared pancake is eaten immediately.
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Other Recipes and Information: 

Both the pancake and the hoisin sauce recipes call for sesame oil. If you do not have sesame oil, and do not wish to purchase it, there are several options that you have for substituting. The easiest is to simply substitute another type of oil, though this will affect the flavor. For the purpose of these recipes, I made my own sesame oil substitute using the following process (as found on eHow.com, link available in the Additional Information section below).

In a shallow skillet, add ¼ cup (60 ml) (1 oz) (30 gm) of sesame seeds to 1 cup (240 ml) of vegetable or canola oil (any neutral oil will work) and cook the mixture, over medium heat, for about two minutes, until the seeds begin to brown. If any of the seeds begin to burn, immediately remove the pan from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool, then blend it in the blender. Allow the blended mixture to sit for two hours, then strain and bottle the resulting oil.

Considerations of Alternative Dietary Requirements:

Simple Protein Substitutions for Kosher or Vegetarian Diets:
This recipe can be easily adapted for both kosher and vegetarian diets by substituting the protein in the dish. Any kosher meat can be used in place of the pork called for in the recipe, and tofu, bean curd or other meat substitutes can be substituted for vegetarian diets.

Vegan Options:
Most vegan Moo Shu recipes we found simply omitted the scrambled egg portion of the dish. If you are using tofu as your protein, you can create a tofu scramble to replicate the eggs, if you wish. We have provided some links that we found for vegan scrambled egg substitutes in the Additional Information section below, but we have not tested these recipes.

Gluten Free Alternatives:
Gluten free all-purpose-flour substitutes can be substituted for use in the pancakes. You may also try making thin egg “pancakes”, making your Moo Shu into lettuce wraps, or using whole cabbage leaves to wrap your Moo Shu filling.

Storage and Freezing Instructions:
The thin pancakes, once cooked, do not store fabulously well – storing them in the refrigerator dries them out. We recommend making approximately as many as you think you will need at the time you prepare the meal. The uncooked dough, however, stores in the refrigerator wrapped well in plastic wrap. We both found that a half batch was sufficient for our families (two adults and one child).

The Moo Shu can be stored in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for several days, and reheats very nicely. Leftovers can be served traditionally, or even over rice for a different feel to the dish.
The hoisin sauce can be stored in the refrigerator, as sitting does not alter the flavor in any way. Just be sure to shake or mix your stored sauce before serving, as it does separate a bit upon sitting.
FinalMooShuCollage
Additional Information:
About Moo Shu:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/moo+shu
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moo_shu_pork
http://chinesefood.about.com/od/pork/a/mushupork.htm
Demonstration of Alternate Method for Rolling Moo Shu Pancakes:
First Alternate Method:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDvP8ejh9cE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SmDLsFWBdU (this video uses a slightly different recipe for the pancakes, but he offers some helpful hints as to the process of rolling and cooking them)
Second Alternate Method:
http://wn.com/moo_shu_pork
(select video number 8. Unfortunately, it will not allow me a direct link to the video)
Suggestions for Vegetarian Moo Shu Recipes:
http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/moo_shu_vegetables.html
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/VEGETARIAN-MOO-SHU-STIR-FRY-50135579
Vegan Scrambled Egg Substitutes:
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=29433.0
http://www.fabulousfoods.com/recipes/vegan-scrambled-eggs
http://www.food.com/recipe/vegan-scrambled-eggs-291202
How to Substitute Sesame Oil:
http://www.ehow.com/how_7437249_substitute-sesame-oil.html
Deh-Ta Hsiung's website and text:
http://www.chinese-at-table.com/
http://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Kitchen-Essential-Ingredients-Authentic/dp/0312288948/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1313115083&sr=8-7
Disclaimer:
The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking”. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. The responsibility is YOURS regardless of what health issue you’re dealing with. Please consult your physician with any questions before using an ingredient you are not familiar with. Thank you! Smile

__________________ Shelley
http://cmomcook.blogspot.com

.............................................

THE DARING COOKS’ SEPTEMBER 2011 CHALLENGE: STOCK TO SOUP TO CONSOMMÉ

Mary, your delicious challenge was a joy for many – thank you so much for introducing so many of us to a new cultural menu. This festival of delicious looking appams and curries of every sort has given us recipes upon recipes to try out in our own kitchens, which is very exciting! Your support and knowledge of the recipes you chose to share with us was phenomenal and we can’t tell you how much we appreciated your efforts and charm! I think it’s only appropriate that we all visit Mary’s blog, MARYMARY CULINARY, and show her how much we appreciated her efforts with a big THANK YOU!Smile This month’s challenge proves to be another fantastic lesson in a food that many of us take for granted. Here’s the lovely Peta to fill ya’ll in. Smile
Lis
xoxo

Introduction: G”Day – (a stereotypical Australian greeting I don’t think I have personally ever used but I am Australian nonetheless) – my name Is Peta, I care about food, passionately, obsessively nearly hysterically at times (and don't get me started about margarine). I am pleased to bring you our latest challenge. A long time ago in a far away (from most of you) place I jumped into Adult Education. I had always wanted to be a chef but this was not to be. I had worked for many years as a cook. Not the same thing at all. A chef is professionally trained. A cook hasn’t been formally trained .

When the opportunity came to apply I did and was accepted for a six month full time Commercial Cookery Certificate. This course was designed to give experienced cooks the chance to study and then eventually gain their trade papers. We spent the first week cutting vegetables and the second week making stocks, soups, consommés and sauces. Two basic yet vital skills for any chef or cook to have.

When I volunteered to host this month's challenge I looked back through all the challenges and wanted to do something different. No one else had done soup so ‘ah ha’ thought I and put it to Lisa how about soup. Lisa approved and here I am. Along with your soup I challenge you to make your favorite accompaniment. Your favorite cracker, bread, dumpling etc. Lisa and I think it would be great to see soups (savoury or sweet) from around the world. We all benefit so much from the wonderful international group that is the Daring Kitchen and a repertoire of tried-and-true soups from different food cuisines around the world would be amazing.
The first thing I want to do is thank Audax for his help, he is my hero. I asked Audax to edit and try the recipes. As always he came through and helped me with so much including lots of fascinating web links.
As this is a Daring Cooks' challenge I want to take it a step further and invite you all to make your soup into a consommé. This is not mandatory though so do as much as you are comfortable with.
The Escoffier Cook Book tells us that traditionally a consommé

is a type of clear soup made from richly flavoured stock or bouillon that has been clarified usually through a fining process involving egg protein. It usually requires an advanced knowledge of cooking and past experience to create a high quality consommé. Consommé has maintained its place as one of the most highly regarded and appreciated soups in the world.

I do agree with the sentence “Consommé has maintained its place as one of the most highly regarded and appreciated soups in the world.” I poke my tongue out and make a childish noise at the sentence “It usually requires an advanced knowledge of cooking and past experience to create a high quality consommé”. Consommé takes time, patience, good ingredients and knowledge. The trick to making a high quality consommé is to follow the instructions. I believe we can do it.

A consommé is usually (and traditionally) made by adding egg whites with ground meats or fish (no bones) and/or vegetables for flavour to a base of good quality stock. These solids form a floating mass called a 'raft', which is caused by the protein in the egg whites adhering to each other forming a fine matrix with many small cavities. The consommé is then gently simmering for 45 minutes to over an hour which percolates the liquid through the raft which captures and filters out the impurities of the liquid leaving a clear flavoursome consommé.

Remember, this is not trade school. You will not be graded and nobody who tries fails. Even if you try the consommé and the end result is cloudy (it is the reincorporation of the "impurities" into the stock that makes it cloudy) the taste of the resulting soup will convince you that the result is worth the effort. If the thought of the egg white raft freaks you out there is an alternative, freeze filtering (or gelatine filtering or agar-agar filtering). By using the freeze filtering method you can make any liquid into a consommé. Everything from a roast dinner to wine, fruit purées to cream soups even soup and bread. Anything really that can be puréed to a liquid, thickened (using gelatine or agar-agar) and frozen can be clarified using this method. Some cookery professionals say that the freeze method produces an essence and not a consommé and they may well be right but the general eating public doesn’t know what an essence is but most people know what a consommé is.

Recipe Source: I am giving you some of my own recipes
No 1 Vegetarian French Onion Soup or Consommé

No 2 French Onion Soup or Consommé
No 3 Herb Brioche (I use this for the bread for the croutons when I make French Onion Soup)



No 4 Golden Chicken Broth or Consommé

Olive Oil crackers from 101 Cookbooks
I am also providing a link for Chicken and Prawn Consommé
And Chilled tomato Consommé
My recipes are based on knowledge garnered from my own experience, the internet and:

• Escoffier, A (1941). The Escoffier Cook Book. New York, NY, USA: Crown Publishers.Fannie Merritt Farmer (1896). The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Boston, MA, USA: Little, Brown and Company.Beck, Simone; Louisette Bertholle; Julia Child (1961). Mastering the Art of French Cooking. New York, NY, USA: Alfred A. Knopf.
• H.L Cracknell and R.J Kaufmann ((1972) Practical Professional Cookery. London. United Kingdom: The MacMillan Press

Blog-checking lines: 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!

Posting Date: September 14, 2011

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

Mandatory Items: You must make a stock and turn it into a soup (savoury or sweet). You must also make an accompaniment for your soup.

Optional: Turn your stock into consommé. If the thought of the clarifying stage is too much for you don’t worry about it but I do encourage you to have a go.
Variations allowed: If you don’t want to use one of my recipes or links that is fine make your favourite (savoury or sweet) soup and accompaniment and (if you want to) turn the soup into a consommé.

Preparation time:
Stock
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hours to 10 hours depending on the type of stock and amount made.

Consommé:
Preparation time: 30minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Setting time: Overnight
Freezing time: at least over night

Brioche
Preparation Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Crackers
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Resting time: 60 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Equipment required:
Stock/soup/consommé
• Large, flat-bottomed pan or pot with lid.
• Food processor or a V-slicer or mandolin (not necessary, but handy)
• Knife
• Cutting board
• Whisk
• Bowls
• Sieve
• Clean tea towels or muslin that have been well rinsed in hot water.
Bread and/or Crackers
• Knife
• Cutting board
• Whisk
• Bowls
• Loaf tin or baking tray
Notes: 

August Escoffier said that “The sign of a great Chef is a great stock”.
Let me assure you that you cannot have a great consommé without a great stock. I recommend that those who haven’t made their own stock before start with beef, chicken or vegetable. Seafood stocks have hazards of their own and aren’t as forgiving, more on that later. I haven’t given a recipe for a fruit stock but it can be done.

Let’s start with some terminology:
Agar-Agar it is essential that you add it to already warmed ingredients. Agar-agar starts to set as soon as it hits cool liquid.

Bloom – to bloom gelatine (or agar agar) – blooming gelatine is an integral step ensuring the smooth texture of the finished product. It involves sprinkling the powdered gelatine onto a liquid and letting it sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Then, when the mixture is heated, the gelatine will dissolve evenly without lumps.

Bouillon is French for Broth. In French the verb bouillir means to boil.

Bouquet Garni
(or bundle of herbs) consists of parsley, bay leaves, a sprig of thyme, and whole peppercorns, wrapped in one of the outside layers of a leek, a large teaball looking device you can buy in a Chinese grocer or in a little cheesecloth bag tied with string (called a "sachet d'epice"). You can just throw it all in the pot separately but if you do this you cannot take out the bouquet garni part way through the cooking process if the flavours get too strong. You will be straining and then clarifying the end result.

Broth is a basic soup made from stock where the solid pieces of flavouring meat or fish, along with some vegetables, remain. It is often made more substantial by adding starches such as rice, barley or pulses.

Consommé is a type of clear soup made from richly flavoured stock or bouillon that has been clarified traditionally through a fining process usually involving egg white protein forming a 'raft' which filters the impurities from the stock. Also consommé (technically an essence) can be made using the newly discovered (2004) freeze (gelatine) filtration method. Using this technique you can obtain a clear liquid from any puréed liquid. Fruit, stock, vegetables, bread, cookies even coffee since the matrix formed using this method traps all particulate matter (impurities) giving a clear liquid.

This consommé was made by Audax when he proof read and tested the recipes for me. The photo above is the Golden Chicken Broth turned into consommé using the gelatine filtration method.
To quote Audax ‘The two glasses are the BEFORE and AFTER photos the soup is in the left glass and the consommé is the other glass. The consommé was made using the gelatine method, it was almost clear! it was so strange to see the clear liquid and to know it was golden chicken consommé yet taste a full bodied broth with thick mouth feel and it was CHICKEN flavoured also.’

Fond is French for stock. Stock is produced by simmering raw ingredients in water or a mixture of wine and water, after which the solids are removed, leaving a thin, highly-flavoured liquid. Classic stocks are made from beef, veal, chicken, fish and vegetables.

Gelatine- Gelatine strength varies between brands and types i.e. leaves to powdered. Using gelatine leaves in gelatine filtering is a waste of an expensive item. Please read the directions on your chosen setting agent packet and use sufficient for a hard set of your amount of liquid.

Glaces – Glazes Are prepared by reducing a finished strained stock to a thick (think cream) consistency. This needs to be done slowly at a simmer and skimmed as required. As the amount reduces it needs to be transferred to smaller and smaller pots. Five litres of stock can be reduced to as little as a quarter of a litre (250 millilitres). The glaze can be heated and a small amount of butter can be whisked in for a lovely sauce.

Jus is a rich, lightly reduced stock used as a sauce for roasted meats. Many of these are started by deglazing the roasting pan, then reducing to achieve the rich flavour desired.

Mirepoix is a combination of chopped onions or leeks, carrots and celery in the ratio 2:1:1 by weight, it adds a lovely fresh note to soups. A white mirepoix is onions or leeks and celery. Some recipes use the peels, stalks, etc. of the mirepiox vegetables these must be of excellent quality or the result will be affected. If you add other vegetables to your mirepoix this changes it from a mirepoix to a bowl of finely chopped vegetables. To make 500 grams (1 pound) of mirepoix use 2 medium onions, 2 medium carrots and 2 large (12 inch/30 cm) celery ribs. To make 500 grams (1 pound) of white mirepoix use 4 medium onions and 4 large celery ribs. Mirepoix has an 'evil' twin it is an aggressive flavour base for soups and consommés it is called pinçage (pen-sazsh) and it is all about darkness – you slowly cook mirepoix (with the addition of tomato paste (just enough to coat the vegetables) for more sweetness, balancing tartness, and oomph) to concentrate, soften and caramelise the sugars for an incredibly complex brown flavour.

Raft a mixture consisting of finely chopped vegetables and minced (ground) meat with egg whites whisked vigorously into simmering broth and cooked over a low heat so that the proteins coagulate and form a 'raft' on the surface that traps the impurities (but not the flavour) of the broth thereby clarifying it.

Remouillage is French for rewetting, which refers to a stock made by re-simmering bones that have been used to make stock once already. Restaurants who make their own stock often start off the new stock with a remouillage.

Soup is a food that is made by combining and cooking ingredients such as meat and vegetables with stock, juice, water or another liquid.

Sweat to cook (chopped vegetables etc) covered over medium heat until soft but not coloured. This process intensifies the flavours.

Vegetables As we discussed earlier good ingredients make good stock. The fresher and tastier the vegetable, the better the stock. Unless you particularly want a strong flavour in your stock strong tasting vegetables such as fennel can change the flavour of a stock in an unwanted way. Use of starchy vegetables will ruin your stock, potatoes, pumpkin, etc have no place in a clear stock.

Types of Stock:
Fond Brun or Estouffade, or brown stock. The brown colour is achieved by roasting bones and mirepoix. This adds to the flavour. Tomato is added to help break down the connective tissue so the stock will set and to add flavour. Any type of bone can be used or a combination e.g beef and chicken.
Fond Blanc, or white stock, is made by using raw bones. The bones are not roasted, chicken bones are the most common for fond blanc. For an even clearer soup no carrot is used.
Fumet - Fish/seafood stock is made with fish bones or the shell sucks of prawn or lobster and finely chopped mirepoix. Fish stock should be cooked for 30 – 40 minutes at the most or it gets bitter. This is caused by the bones overcooking. August Escoffier uses pounded caviar in one of his fish consommés. Concentrated fish stock is called "fish fumet."
Vegetable stock is made only of vegetables.
Master stock is a special Chinese stock used primarily for poaching meats, flavoured with soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, and other aromatics. It would make an interesting addition for a consommé though.

Preparing stock:
For best results there are rules.
• Start your stock in cold water. Hot water seals everything in including the flavour. Even if you have fried/roasted the bones for flavour use cold water. After adding the cold water it is vital that you do not put the lid back on the pot – this can cause cloudiness.
• Stock should be simmered over a low heat, very gently. The bubbles should just break the surface. If it is boiled, it might became cloudy.
• After you add the cold water DO NOT STIR IT. You will need to keep the bones etc covered. After the stock has started to simmer if you need to add water use hot (not boiling) water.
• Your stock is only going to be a good as your ingredients. A good stock is made from carefully selected meats and vegetables not from the kitchen scraps and rubbish. Fresh meat and bones make better stock. You can use leftover carcasses from your roast chicken if you want to. The stock will be better if you keep the fat to a minimum. You will need a ratio of at least 1 part meat and bones to 2 parts water (by volume). You can increase that ratio to 1:1 if you want. The flavour of the stock comes from the cartilage and connective tissue in the bones. Connective tissue has collagen in it, which gets converted into gelatine that thickens the liquid.
• Stock made from bones needs to be simmered for longer than stock made from meat. If you are tempted to get those big beef leg bones with marrow don’t bother. The marrow in them is a type of fat which will make your stock cloudy. Bones from young animals contain a higher percentage of connective tissues than older ones. This type of connective tissue is what makes a rich, full bodied stock that will gel beautifully if you want a cold stock.
• Chop the bones (or get the butcher to do it) into small pieces. Wash the bones.
• Remove as much fat and marrow as you can. Fat will make your stock cloudy and make it a lot harder to clarify the stock. If you are not cooking the bones in the oven first blanch them in boiling water for 3 minutes. Strain and proceed.
• The meat or bones (cooked in the oven, raw or blanched), vegetables and flavourings go in with the cold water. After it has gently reached boiling point reduce the heat to a low simmer and skim off as much fat and scum as you can. The fat, scum and foam is what contributes to the cloudiness and may make the stock bitter. If more water is required during the cooking process use hot (not boiling) water.
• For a base stock fry your vegetables in organic rice bran, grapeseed or sunflower oil. I prefer the rice bran oil since it has a higher smoking point and little to no flavour. However if you are using the freeze method use cold pressed olive oil or butter if you are not confident in your skimming abilities.
• Don’t add any salt. As the stock reduces it will become too salty. Season the dish not the stock.
• The herbs and spices you use will flavour the finished product. If I want a good base stock just use a bouquet garni and add any other flavours later.
• Cool the stock as quickly as you can. I put the whole pot in a laundry tub and run cold water around it.
• The type of meat and bones is optional. A mixture of different types of bone can be used or just one type i.e. all chicken or beef or a mixture. For the seafood stock a mixture of bones and prawn or lobster shells can be used depending on the result required.
• When cooking your stock it is best if it is cooked for the recommended time. Over-cooking can result in a deterioration of flavour and under-cooking does not allow time for the flavours to develop fully.
Below you will find amounts for 5 litres (5 quarts) of water the amounts of ingredients are a guide. Ideally you want your pot to be one third to half full of bones and then add your vegetables and other flavourings and then add your cold water. The ingredients are a recommendation only.

Fonds Type:
Blanc – white:

Cooking time 4-9 hours
Ingredients – Recommendation only
2kg (4½ lb) meaty beef, veal and chicken bones
250gm (½ lb) stewing beef
½ boiling chicken or 1 Maryland or 4 chicken wings
500gm (1 lb) mirepoix - 2 med onions, 2 med carrots, 2 large celery ribs
bouquet garni – ½ bayleaf, 2 stalks parsley, sprig of thyme, 4 peppercorns

White Chicken:
Cooking time 3 – 4 hours
Ingredients
2kg (4½ lb) chicken and/or veal bones
500gm (1 lb) boiling chicken or wings
500gm (1 lb) white mirepoix – 4 med onions, 4 large celery ribs, finely chopped
bouquet garni

Brun – Brown:
Cooking time 4 – 9 hours
Ingredients –
2kg (4½ kg) meaty beef and/or veal bones
250gm (½ lb) stewing beef or chicken wings
500gm (1 lb) mirepoix – 2 med onions, 2 med carrots, 2 large celery ribs
bouquet garni
1 clove garlic
1 or 2 cloves
2 tablespoons oil or butter (If necessary)

Brown Chicken:
Cooking time 3 - 4 hours
Ingredients –
1kg (2 lb) chicken and/or veal bones
1 boiling chicken or 2 kgs (4½ lb) chicken wings
500gm (1 lb) mirepoix – 2 med onions, 2 med carrots, 2 large celery ribs
bouquet garni
oil or butter

De Legumes:
Vegetable stock
Cooking time 40 minutes - 1 hour
Ingredients-
400 gm (14 oz) onions, about 3 medium
400 gm (14 oz) carrots, about 6 medium
200 gm (7 oz) celery, about 4 large ribs
2 leeks
50 gm (1¾ oz) dried mushrooms, about 12
250 gm (9 oz) tomatoes, about 2 medium
200 gm (7 oz) broccoli stalk, 2 large stalks
bouquet garni

De Poisson (Fish or seafood):
Cooking time 20 - 30 mins
Ingredients
5 litres (5 quarts) water
75 grams (5½ tablespoons) (2 ⅔ oz) butter
250 grams (9 oz) onions
1 bayleaf, peppercorns to taste, parsley stalks
juice of 1 lemon
3 kilograms (6½ lb) white fish bones and heads
Now on to the type of filtration you want to use for your consommé.
First there is the traditional method using egg white

Protein Raft Filtration:
To get most of the fat out of a stock, you can simply chill it. The fat will harden and float on top of the stock where it can be scooped off easily. A fat separator, which looks like a big measuring cup with a spout at the bottom, allows you to pour the stock out while trapping the fat. Or you can carefully drag a piece of really top quality paper towel over the top of the stock.
To completely clarify stock, use the following method:
• Prepare your extra meat, vegetables and flavourings as per the recipe.
• Beat egg whites to soft peaks, one for each litre/quart of stock. Combine with your flavourings.
• A pot that is higher than it is round improves your results, because the consommé percolates through the raft in a more efficient way.
• Stir the mixture into the hot stock and bring it back to a bare simmer, do not let it boil. The egg-whites will coagulate, rise, and take any particles and cloudiness out of the stock.
• Keep a close eye on the consommé (push the coagulated egg whites to the side a bit to see) let it simmer 10 to 45 minutes.
• The raft is a delicate thing. It is vital it doesn’t break apart (if it breaks apart it will all mix back into the soup and you’ll have to strain it and start again with just the egg whites.). You want to bring the liquid up to a simmer very slowly. Keep a close eye on it. Once the raft is substantial, break a little hole in it if there isn’t already one.
• As the consommé simmers, you will see bubbles and foam come up through your hole. Skim it off and discard. When the bubbles stop coming and the consommé looks clear underneath, then you’re ready to take it out.
• Removing the consommé from underneath the raft is another nerve racking procedure. You want to break as little of the raft as possible, but you have to get underneath it to remove the liquid.
• Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for another ten minutes.
• Enlarge your hole with a ladle and spoon it all out as gently as you can. Once you’ve removed all of the consommé from the pot discard the raft (you cannot use for another purpose). You could try siphoning it out. Some chef’s say this is possible but they are using great big pots or steam kettles. I haven’t tried this so good luck and let me know if you do it and it works.

Freeze Filtration or Gelatin Filtration:
Many Chefs are using a technique called Freeze filtration or Gelatine filtration. It is also used in wine making.
• For our purposes you take stock, strain it, add 0.007% dissolved gelatine (that is 7 grams (¼ oz) (1 tablespoon) (1 envelope) of gelatine for each litre (quart) of stock unless you are in Australia then you’ll need double the amount) or use the recommended amount of agar agar or another vegan setting agent (not guar gum). You can also thicken the stock with cornflour or tapioca flour. Use the same amount you would to make a pouring cream consistency.
• Freeze it in a tray so the layer is not too thick. You are going to chop it up.
• Next line a colander or sieve with at least one layer preferably 2 or 3 pieces of muslin or for a small amount you can use coffee filters.
• Chop the frozen stock into chunks, put it into the sieve and put in the fridge over a bowl and let it defrost. It is vital that the stock thaws in the refrigerator, this cannot be hurried. The gelatine and fats need to stay solid and thawing at room temperature could melt the gelatine depending of course on where you live.
• The resulting strained liquid should be clear you then heat it and serve.
Below is vegetable stock before setting and freezing and after.


If you have ever frozen a jelly or a sauce you have thickened with tapioca or cornflour you will know what happens. The thawed product separates into lumps and liquid. The freezing forms ice crystals. This is the liquid expanding in volume. The ice crystals tear through the bonds made by the thickening agent, breaking through the thickening matrix. If the soup is put into the freezer before it sets solid it will not separate properly when you thaw it. As the stock slowly thaws the muslin catches the gelatine net and it filters out the sediments, solids and impurities leaving the clear liquid to filter through. This has to be done in the refrigerator as the gelatine and any fats need to stay solid so they will be captured by the muslin. The process cannot be hurried.
This is explained very clearly (with photos) at From Cook to trained chef
And with Science at OnLine library
You can use most vegetarian substitutes but not guar gum. Guar gum doesn’t de-stabilise on freezing like the gelatine and other thickening agents do.

Recipe No. 1 Vegetarian French Onion Soup/Consommé
(For a vegan option do not use the egg white technique use the freezing method).
Servings:6

Ingredients:
Step 1 - Stock
• 5 litres (5 quarts) water
• 400 gm (14 oz) onions, about 4 medium
• 400 gm (14 oz) carrots, about 6 medium
• 200 gm (7 oz) celery, about 4 large ribs
• 2 leeks
• 50 gm (1¾ oz) dried mushrooms, about 12
• 250 gm (9 oz) tomatoes, about 2 medium
• 200 gm (7 oz) broccoli stalk, two large stalks
• bouquet garni
Step 2 – enriching your stock to a bouillon
• 80 gm (5½ tablespoons) (3 oz) butter
• 1 kg (2 lbs) brown onions, sliced in rings
• 20gm (1½ tablespoons) (¾ oz) brown sugar
• 60 ml (4 tablespoons) cognac or port
• 200 ml (¾ cup + 1 tablespoon) red or white wine
• 3 sprigs fresh thyme
• 2 fresh bay leaves
• 30 gm (2 tablespoons) (1 oz) Dijon mustard
• 2 litres (2 quarts) mushroom/vegetable stock
Step 3 – Consommé (Using the egg white raft technique)
• 1 clove garlic - finely minced
• 500 gm (1 lb) dark coloured field mushrooms
• 2 large egg whites – beaten
• 1 cup crushed ice
Step 3 – Consommé (Using the freezing technique)
• 1 clove garlic - finely minced
• 500 gm (1 lb) dark coloured field mushrooms
• Sufficient setting agent or tapioca or cornflour to set or thicken 2 litres/2 quarts of stock
To Serve
• 6 slices of brioche, sourdough or French baguettes
• 1 cup grated gruyere cheese

Method:
Step 1 – Stock
1. Sweat the vegetables in the oil or butter until soft.

2. Put ingredients in a stockpot and cover with cold water.
3. Cover with a lid, then bring to a boil on medium-high heat.
4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, skimming foam from surface, for 1-2 hours or until meat falls from bone.
5. Strain stock through a muslin-lined sieve. Discard solids.
Step 2 – Soup
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan and add the onions.
2. Add sugar and a little salt to help the caramelisation process.
3. Cook over medium to low heat until the onions caramelise to dark brown. Stir regularly. This can take hours so don’t be tempted to increase the heat to speed it up.
4. Deglaze the pan with cognac, port and wine and then pop in a couple of sprigs of thyme, bay leaves and the mustard and cook together.
5. Pour in the stock and reheat.
6. To make this soup into a consommé proceed to Step 3.
7. For the soup - taste it and adjust the seasonings. (For Australians you can add ½ to 1 teaspoon of vegemite or marmite at this point if you want a little more flavour kick.)
8. It is now time to either strain out the solid bits or blend the whole lot or if you like chunky bits don’t bother. Ladle into hot bowls.
9. Top a thick slice of bread that will fit into the bowl with grated tasty or gruyere cheese, a pinch of pepper and chopped thyme and grill the top until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden. Put these on top of your hot bowl of soup.
Step 3 – Consomme (clarified with egg whites)
1. Fry the mushrooms until brown and cooked. Allow any juices to cook off.
2. Add garlic and cook gently for 1 minute. You don’t want any burnt bits it will make your stock bitter.
3. Strain off any fat or remaining juices.
4. Allow the mushrooms to cool. (This is so your egg whites don’t cook).
5. Strain the soup to remove onions etc.
6. Place egg whites in a bowl. This is the time to taste your stock and decide if it needs salt and pepper. Add seasoning to the egg whites.
7. Whisk the whites to a bubbly froth and add the crushed ice.

8. Add to the cooked mushrooms. Mix together.

9. Add this mixture to the simmering stock. Whisk for a slow count of three.

10. Let it heat slowly back to a simmer. Don’t stir it again.
11. The raft is a delicate thing. It is vital it doesn’t break apart (if it breaks apart it will all mix back into the soup and you’ll have to start again with the egg whites), you want to bring it up to a simmer very slowly. Keep a close eye on it. I try to push the middle back so I get a good hole. Once the raft is substantial, break a little hole in it if there isn’t already one.
12. As the consommé simmers, you will see bubbles and foam, come up through your hole. Skim it off and throw it away. When the bubbles stop coming and the consommé looks clear underneath, then you’re ready to take it out. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for ten minutes.
13. Removing the consommé from underneath the raft is another nerve racking procedure. You want to break as little of the raft as possible, but you have to get underneath it to remove the liquid.
14. Enlarge your hole with a ladle and spoon it all out as gently as you can. You can strain it if you want too but hopefully the liquid is clear.

Once you’ve removed all of the consommé from the pot discard the raft. If you have never made a consommé before Victory dances and loud cheering are totally appropriate.
15. Now you are ready to serve. You can add a crouton as you would for the soup but I would put the crouton on the side so as not to interfere with the beauty of a bowl of crystal clear consommé.

Step 3 – Consommé (Using the gelatine technique)
1. If you think your soup is not as flavourful as you would like go to the next step. If you like the flavours skip adding the extra mushrooms.
2. Fry the mushrooms until brown and cooked. Allow any juices to cook off.
3. Add garlic and cook gently for 1 minute. You don’t want any burnt bits it will make your stock bitter.
4. Strain off any fat.
5. Put the meat aside and deglaze the fry pan with a little of the stock and add the mushrooms and the liquid from the pan to the soup.
6. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, taste and adjust the seasonings. This is your last chance to do this.
7. Take the pot off the heat and carefully ladle out the stock. Strain through a sieve lined with muslin or a coffee filter.
8. Measure the stock, you need 8 cups/2 litres in total. The rest can be frozen for other uses.
9. Take 1 cup/240 ml of that liquid and sprinkle the setting agent on top and allow it to bloom.
10. While the stock is still hot stir through the setting agent and make sure it dissolves. You may need to heat it slightly – don’t let it boil. If you are using corn or tapioca flour mix the flour with enough water to form a smooth paste and stir it into the hot stock. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, gently simmer until it is the consistency of cream.
11. Quick cool the stock by placing the whole pot into your sink and running cold water around it.
12. Pour it into container and place in the refrigerator.
13. Allow the soup to set fully (this is really important) then place it into the freezer to freeze solid. If the soup is put into the freezer before it sets solid it will not separate properly when you thaw it.
14. Chop the frozen jelly into chunks and put them into a lined sieve in the refrigerator.

Allow to thaw in the refrigerator. This cannot be rushed. It has to happen in the refrigerator so the gelatine and any fat solids don’t melt and run through your filter cloth.

15. You should have a crystal clear liquid. Congratulations you have made a consommé. If you have never made a consommé before victory dances and loud cheering are totally appropriate.
16. Your consommé is now ready to serve. Reheat and serve. With the crouton on the side.

Recipe No. 2 Beef French Onion Soup/ Consommé
(Equal amounts of chicken can be substituted for the beef)
Serves 6

Ingredients:
Step 1 – Stock
• 5 litres (5 quarts) water
• 2 kg (4½ lb) meaty beef and/or veal bones (browned in the oven or in a pan)
• 500 gm (½ lb) diced stewing beef or chicken wings (browned in the oven or in a pan)
• 500 gm (½ lb) mirepoix – 2 medium onions, 2 medium carrots, 2 large celery ribs, finely chopped
• 1 bouquet garni
• 1 clove garlic
• 1 or 2 cloves
• 1 or 2 tablespoons oil or butter
Step 2 – Enriching your stock to a bouillon
• 80 gm (5½ tablespoons) (3 oz) butter
• 1 kg (2 lb) brown onions, sliced in rings
• 20gm (1½ tablespoons) (¾ oz) brown sugar
• 60 ml (4 tablespoons) cognac or port
• 200 ml (¾ cup + 1 tablespoon) red or white wine
• 3 sprigs fresh thyme
• 2 fresh bay leaves
• 30 gm (2 tablespoons) (1 oz) Dijon mustard
• 2 litres (2 quarts) brown beef stock
Step 3 – Consommé (Using the egg white raft technique)
• 1 clove garlic - finely minced
• 250 gm (½ lb) best quality beef mince (ground beef)
• 2 large egg whites - beaten
• 1 cup crushed ice
Step 3 – Consommé (Using the gelatine technique)
• 1 clove garlic - finely minced
• 250 gm (½ lb) best quality beef mince (ground beef)
• 14 gm (2 tablespoons) (½ oz) (28 grams if you are in Australia) gelatine
To Serve
• 6 slices of brioche, sourdough or French baguettes
• 1 cup grated gruyere cheese

Method:
Step 1 – Stock
1. Cook your bones and meat until brown.
2. Sweat the vegetables in the oil or butter until soft.
3. Put ingredients in a stockpot and cover with cold water.
4. Cover with a lid, then bring to a boil on medium-high heat.
5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, skimming foam from surface, for 4 - 8 hours or until meat falls from bone.
6. Strain stock through a muslin-lined sieve. Discard solids.
Step 2 – Soup
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan and add the onions.
2. Add sugar and a little salt to help the caramelisation process.
3. Cook over medium to low heat until the onions caramelise to dark brown. Stir regularly. This can take hours so don’t be tempted to increase the heat to speed it up.
4. Deglaze the pan with cognac, port and wine and then pop in a couple of sprigs of thyme, bay leaves and the mustard and cook together.
5. Pour in the stock and reheat.
6. To make this soup into a consommé proceed to Step 3.
7. For the soup - taste it and adjust the seasonings. (For Australians you can add ½ to 1 teaspoon of vegemite or marmite at this point if you want a little more flavour kick.)
8. It is now time to either strain out the solid bits or blend the whole lot or if you like chunky bits don’t bother. Ladle into hot bowls.
9. Top a thick slice of bread that will fit into the bowl with grated tasty or gruyere cheese, a pinch of pepper and chopped thyme and grill the top until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden. Put these on top of your hot bowl of soup.
Step 3 – Consommé (clarified with egg whites)
1. Fry the mince until brown and cooked. Allow any juices to cook off.
2. Add garlic and cook gently for 1 minute. You don’t want any burnt bits it will make your stock bitter.
3. Strain off any fat or remaining juices.
4. Allow the meat to cool. (This is so your egg whites don’t cook).
5. Strain the soup to remove onions etc.
6. Place egg whites in a bowl. This is the time to taste your stock and decide if it needs salt and pepper. Add seasoning to the egg whites.
7. Whisk the whites to a bubbly froth and add the crushed ice.
8. Add to the cooked meat. Mix together.
9. Add this mixture to the simmering stock. Whisk for a slow count of three.
10. Let it heat slowly back to a simmer. Don’t stir it again.
11. The raft is a delicate thing. It is vital it doesn’t break apart (if it breaks apart it will all mix back into the soup and you’ll have to start again with the egg whites.), you want to bring it up to a simmer very slowly. Keep a close eye on it. I try to push the middle back so I get a good hole. Once the raft is substantial, break a little hole in it if there isn’t already one.
12. As the consommé simmers, you will see bubbles and foam, come up through your hole. Skim it off and throw it away. When the bubbles stop coming and the consommé looks clear underneath, then you’re ready to take it out. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for ten minutes.
13. Removing the consommé from underneath the raft is another nerve racking procedure. You want to break as little of the raft as possible, but you have to get underneath it to remove the liquid.
14. Enlarge your hole with a ladle and spoon it all out as gently as you can. You can strain it if you want too but hopefully the liquid is clear. Once you’ve removed all of the consommé from the pot discard the raft. If you have never made a consommé before Victory dances and loud cheering are totally appropriate.
15. Now you are ready to serve. You can add a crouton as you would for the soup but I would put the crouton on the side so as not to interfere with the beauty of a bowl of crystal clear consommé.
Step 3 – Consommé (Using the gelatine technique)
1. if you think your soup is not as flavourful as you would like go to the next step. If you like the flavours skip adding the extra mince.
2. Fry the mince until brown and cooked. Allow any juices to cook off.
3. Add garlic and cook gently for 1 minute. You don’t want any burnt bits it will make your stock bitter.
4. Strain off any fat or remaining juices.
5. Put the meat aside and deglaze the fry pan with a little of the stock and add the meat and the liquid from the pan to the soup.
6. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, taste and adjust the seasonings. This is your last chance to do this.
7. Take the pot off the heat and carefully ladle out the stock. Strain through a sieve lined with muslin or a coffee filter.
8. Measure the stock, you need 8 cups/2 litres in total. The rest can be frozen for other uses.
9. Take 1 cup/240 ml of that liquid and sprinkle the gelatine on top and allow it to bloom.
10. While the stock is still hot stir through the gelatine and make sure it dissolves. You may need to heat it slightly – don’t let it boil.
11. Quick cool the stock by placing the whole pot into your sink and running cold water around it.
12. Pour it into a container and place in the refrigerator.
13. Allow the soup to set fully (this is really important) then place it into the freezer to freeze solid. If the soup is put into the freezer before it sets solid it will not separate properly when you thaw it.
14. Chop the frozen jelly into chunks and put them into a lined sieve in the refrigerator. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator. This cannot be rushed. It has to happen in the refrigerator so the gelatine and any fat solids don’t melt and run through your filter cloth.
15. You should have a crystal clear liquid. Congratulations you have made a consommé. If you have never made a consommé before victory dances and loud cheering are totally appropriate.
16. Your consommé is now ready to serve. Reheat and serve. With the crouton on the side.

Recipe 3: Herb and Garlic Brioche
Ingredients:
• 2 cups (480 ml) (280 gm) (10 oz) all-purpose plain flour
• 2 teaspoons (10 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) active dry yeast
• 2 tablespoons (30 ml) (28 gm) (1 oz) granulated sugar
• ½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) salt
• ½ cup (120 ml) milk, warm
• ½ cup (1 stick) (120 ml) (115 gm) (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 3 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (1 gm) chopped chives
• 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (1 gm) chopped parsley
• 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (2 gm) Italian mixed herbs
• 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (2 gm) freshly crushed garlic

Preparation:
1. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.
2. Slowly mix the warm milk, butter, herbs, garlic and 2 of the eggs into the flour mixture

3. Knead until the dough is smooth. The dough is ready to rise when it is completely smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
4. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size.
5. Transfer the dough from the bowl onto a floured work surface and punch it down a few times.
6. Finely chop the fresh herbs and mix with the garlic.
7. Press the dough out into a rectangle then spread with the chopped herbs.

8. Roll up like a swiss roll and place on a lined baking tray.

9. Cover the pan and allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size.
10. Preheat the oven to moderately hot 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
11. Remove the dough covering, gently brush the loaf with the remaining beaten egg, bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until the brioche is golden brown. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then transfer it to a wire cooling rack.



 
Recipe 4: Golden Chicken Broth/ Consommé
(serves 6)

Ingredient:

Stock
• 1 kg chicken bones or skinned Marylands
• 1 boiling chicken or 2 kg (2¼ lb) wings
• 400 gm (14 oz) onions, about 4 medium
• 400 gm (14 oz) carrots, about 6 medium
• 200 gm (7 oz) celery, about 4 large ribs
• 50 gm (1¾ oz) dried mushrooms, about 12
• 200 gm (7 oz) broccoli stalk, two large stalks
Soup or Consommé
• 2 litres (8 cups/2 quarts) chicken stock
• 500 gm (1 lb) chicken mince
• 2 whole star anise
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 4 cm (1½ inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
• 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
• 4 cm (1½ inch) piece fresh ginger, extra, peeled, chopped
• ½ red capsicum (red bell pepper), chopped
• 2 spring (green) onions, chopped
• 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
• 2 red bird's eye chillies, seeded (optional), thinly sliced
• ½ cup (120 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) Vietnamese mint leaves
• 1 cup (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) coriander (cilantro) (Reserve 18 of the smallest leaves and 6 of the tips for service) wash the rest of the bunch including the roots.
• 1/4 cup (60ml) lime juice
• 1 - 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fish sauce
Clarifying the soup
• 1 egg white per 4 cups of stock (for clarifying)
• 1 cup crushed ice per 4 cups of stock
Or enough gelatin to set the amount of stock you have.
Wontons
Recipe makes about 48 wontons only 18 are used for this recipe. The rest can be frozen uncooked for other occasions.
• 500 gm (1 lb) chicken breasts or tenderloins with the tendon removed.
• 1 tablespoon (30 ml) rice wine, mirin or sherry
• 4 teaspoons (20 ml) soy sauce
• ¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1 gm) ground white pepper
• ½ cup (120 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) finely chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
• 2 finely chopped spring (green) onions
• 48 wonton wrappers
• Egg or water to moisten the eggs of the wonton wrappers so they stick together
To serve
• Smallest leaves from the coriander
• 2 red chillies – sliced across as finely as you can to get small rings. Remove the seeds.
• Edible gold leaf (Only if you already have it)

Method:

Step 1 – Stock
• Cook your bones and chicken until brown.
• Sweat the vegetables in the oil or butter until soft.
• Put ingredients in a stockpot and cover with cold water.
• Cover with a lid, then bring to a boil on medium-high heat.
• Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, skimming foam from surface, for 2 hours or until meat falls from bone. Lift out the chicken and keep for another use.
• Strain stock through a muslin-lined sieve. Discard solids.
Step 2 – Soup
• Fry the mince until brown and cooked. Allow any juices to cook off. You don’t want any burnt bits as it will make your stock bitter.
• Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.
• Skim off any fat.
• Strain the soup to remove any solids. Allow 1 cup/240ml per serve
Step 3 – Consomme (clarified with egg whites)
• Place egg whites in a bowl. This is the time to taste your stock and decide if it needs more flavourings or salt and pepper. Add seasoning to the egg whites.
• Whisk the whites to a bubbly froth and add the crushed ice.
• Add to the cooked meat. Mix together.
• Add this mixture to the simmering stock. Whisk for a slow count of three.
• Let it heat slowly back to a simmer. Don’t stir it again.
• The raft is a delicate thing. It is vital it doesn’t break apart (if it breaks apart it will all mix back into the soup and you’ll have to start again with the egg whites.), you want to bring it up to a simmer very slowly. Keep a close eye on it. I try to push the middle back so I get a good hole. Once the raft is substantial, break a little hole in it if there isn’t already one.
• As the consommé simmers, you will see bubbles and foam, come up through your hole. Skim it off and throw it away. When the bubbles stop coming and the consommé looks clear underneath, then you’re ready to take it out. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for ten minutes.
• Removing the consommé from underneath the raft is another nerve racking procedure. You want to break as little of the raft as possible, but you have to get underneath it to remove the liquid.
• Enlarge your hole with a ladle and spoon it all out as gently as you can. You can strain it if you want too but hopefully the liquid is clear. Once you’ve removed all of the consommé from the pot discard the raft. If you have never made a consommé before Victory dances and loud cheering are totally appropriate.
• Now you are ready to serve.
Step 3 – Consommé (Using the gelatine technique)
• Taste and adjust the seasonings. This is your last chance to do this.
• Take the pot off the heat and carefully ladle out the stock. Strain through a sieve lined with muslin or a coffee filter.
• Measure the stock, you need 8 cups/2 litres in total. The rest can be frozen for other uses.
• Take 1 cup/240 ml of that liquid and sprinkle enough gelatine on top to set the 2 litres (amounts listed on packet) and allow it too bloom.
• While the stock is still hot stir through the gelatine and make sure it dissolves. You may need to heat it slightly – don’t let it boil.
• Quick cool the stock by placing the whole pot into your sink and running cold water around it.
• Pour it into a shallow container and place in the refrigerator.
• Allow the soup to set fully (This is really important) then place it into the freezer to freeze solid. If the soup is put into the freezer before it sets solid it will not separate properly when you thaw it.
• Chop the frozen jelly into chunks and put them into a lined sieve in the refrigerator. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator. This cannot be rushed. It has to happen in the refrigerator so the gelatine and any fat solids don’t melt and run through your filter cloth.
• You should have a crystal clear liquid. Your Consommé is now ready to serve.
Wontons
1. Finely chop the chicken with food processor or cleaver. Transfer chicken to large bowl. Add sherry, soy sauce, pepper, coriander and spring onion; mix well.
2. For wontons, work with about twelve wrappers at a time, keeping remaining wrappers covered with plastic wrap. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon chicken mixture onto center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten with egg or water and gather edges around filling, pressing firmly at top to seal; cover and set aside.
To serve
1. Heat consommé or broth.
2. Heat oil in wok or large skillet over medium-high heat to 375°F/180°C. Add eight to ten wontons at a time, cook until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
3. Place the broth into your warmed bowls. Add 1 wonton and place the others beside the bowl.
4. Add 3 Vietnamese mint leaves and 3 chilli rings to each bowl. Place a tip of the Vietnamese mint beside each bowl
5. If you have it add a 1 cm (1/3 inch) wide strip of edible gold leaf to each bowl.

Makes a dozen extra large crackers.
This is adapted from 101 Cookbooks blog by Heidi Swanson.
For a gluten free version of Heidi’s recipe 

Ingredients:
1 cup (240ml) (120 gm) (4¼ oz) almond meal
2 cups (480 ml) (280 gm) (10 oz) white or wholemeal plain flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3½ gm) fine-grain sea salt
1 cup (240 ml) warm water
1/3 cup (80 ml) lemon infused or plain extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) lemon pepper
special equipment: pasta machine (optional)

Method:

  1. Whisk together the almond meal, flour and salt. Add the water and olive oil. Using a mixer with a dough hook attachment mix the dough at medium speed for about 5 - 7 minutes. Alternately, feel free to mix and then knead by hand on a floured counter-top. The dough should be just a bit tacky - not too dry, not too sticky to work with. If you need to add a bit more water (or flour) do so.
  2. When you are done mixing, shape the dough into a large ball. Now cut into twelve equal-sized pieces. Gently rub each piece with a bit of olive oil, shape into a small ball and place on a plate. Cover with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 - 60 minutes.
  3. While the dough is resting, preheat your oven to hot 230°C/450°F/gas mark 8. Insert a pizza stone if you have one.
  4. When the dough is done resting, flatten one dough ball. Using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, shape into a flat strip of dough - I can usually get down to the 4 setting on my pasta machine without trouble. Pull the dough out a bit thinner by hand (the way you pull pizza dough). You can also cut the dough into whatever shape you like at this point. Set dough on a floured (or cornmeal dusted) baking sheet, poke each cracker with the tines of a fork to prevent puffing, add any extra toppings, and slide into the oven (onto the pizza stone).
  5. Repeat the process for the remaining dough balls, baking in small batches. If you don't have a pizza stone, bake crackers a few at a time on baking sheets. Bake until deeply golden, and let cool before eating - you will get more crackery snap.

Additional Information:.

• Escoffier, A (1941). The Escoffier Cook Book. New York, NY, USA: Crown Publishers.Fannie Merritt Farmer (1896). The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Boston, MA, USA: Little, Brown and Company.Beck, Simone; Louisette Bertholle; Julia Child (1961). Mastering the Art of French Cooking. New York, NY, USA: Alfred A. Knopf.
• H.L Cracknell and R.J Kaufmann ((1972) Practical Professional Cookery. London. United Kingdom: The MacMillan Press
• WikiPedia
http://freeculinaryschool.com/how-to-make-consomme-using-gelatin-sheets/
http://www.ivu.org/faq/gelatine.html
The Essence of Nearly Anything, Drop by Limpid Drop By HAROLD McGEE Published: September 5, 2007
Chicken and Prawn Consomme
Vegetarian French Onion Soup
http://www.islandchef.ca/2010/12/stock-the-secret-of-great-cooking/
http://mysocalledknife.com/2010/08/the-elusive-tomato-consomme/
http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/stocks/ss/brownstock.htm
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1541-4329.2010.00096.x/pdf
You Tube
Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kCt5XHKDCk
part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT0oUH3yY7c&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4z_z5ns3vI&feature=related
Disclaimer:
*Note: The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking”. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. Please consult your physician with any questions before using a product you are not familiar with. Thank you! Smile
__________________ Peta Eats

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The Daring Cooks June 2011 Challenge: Healthy Potato Salads from Around the World

Hi – I am Jami Sorrento a two year non blogging member of Daring Cooks. What do you think of when you think about Potato Salad? A fat laden high caloric salad that you only indulge in on occasion –and even then you feel guilty? Well this month we are going to challenge you to make the most delicious and healthy Potato Salad. The possibilities of what you can do with a fresh, natural, and versatile vegetable like potatoes are limitless! Did you know that 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? Potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse and you can keep potato salad healthy by using low-fat and fresh toppings that still taste great. For example, what other fresh and healthy vegetables or toppings do you like? Asparagus, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, olives? Do you have some new salts or a spice you would like to try? How about a different oil or vinegar you have been dying to taste? Here is your chance for TOTAL CREATIVITY!!! You can make your potato salad hot or cold- just come up with a yummy, healthy and fresh potato salad that looks as good as it tastes.

I am so excited about this challenge because first of all I am of Irish decent and love potatoes. Second – I get to see all the delicious creative salads you come up with. I hope we will all expand upon the normal potato salad we make and use some new ingredients or seasonings to make the best, healthy Potato Salad ever.
An added bonus to this challenge – If you chose to accept – Is a contest hosted by the United States Potato Board. They have graciously offered to provide three Visa gift cards to the top three healthy – great tasting – attractive potato salads. First Place $150.00, Second Place $100.00 and Third Place $50.00 (all US Funds) If you choose to accept their challenge –just include your recipe along with your picture. This will let us know you would like to be included in the contest. This will also let us know that it is OK to post your recipe and picture on the United States Potato Board’s web site www.potatogoodness.com and on the US Potato Board’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/potatoestatersandspuds. The USPB will be conducting the judging. They will pick 5 salads they find interest them the most. They will prepare those 5 recipes from the recipe you submit and taste test them to determine the top 3 healthy, tasty and creative potato salads.

Recipe Source: The first three recipes I will provide were created in my kitchen – the fourth is a family recipe that I have been making for over 30 years I just substituted turkey bacon for pork bacon.

Blog-checking lines: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!

Posting Date: June 14, 2011

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

Notes:
  • Creamy potato salads- made with a mayonnaise or yogurt based dressing- add dressing and other ingredients when potatoes are cooled – Serve cold
  • Vinegar Based salads- Add dressing and spices when potatoes are warm- this is when the potatoes absorb flavors more rapidly- serve warm
  • One medium-size potato (5.3 ounces/150 gm) has just 110 calories/460 kJ and is fat free, sodium free and cholesterol free
  • A medium-sized potato provides 45% of your daily value of vitamin C
  • When eaten with the skin, potatoes have more potassium than a banana
  • On average, a potato costs just 25 cents – now that’s nutrition on a budget!
  • Potatoes are a gluten free food
Mandatory Items:To make any type of potato salad – hot or cold - that is healthy and delicious. We’d love to see all kinds of ethnic and cultural variations! Remember to be eligible for the contest you must supply the complete recipe. By supplying the recipe you give permission to the USPB to use your photo and recipe on their website. It also enters you into the contest.
Preparation time:
  • Boil potatoes: 25 - 35 minutes. Or get creative, and try grilling or roasting your potatoes for your salad!
  • For a creamy potato salad that will be served cold, be sure to allow 1 hour cooling time or cool overnight.
  • Peel and chop vegetables: 10 – 30 minutes.
Equipment required:
  • 1½ quart (1½ liter) sauce pan to boil eggs ( if using) or green beans
  • 3 quart (3 liter) sauce pan to boil potatoes
  • Knife or peeler to peel potatoes
  • Knife to chop vegetables
  • Large spoon to mix salad
  • Microwave –not imperative
  • Whisk and bowl or salad dressing shaker
  • Measuring cups and spoons



Green Bean Potato Salad


Servings: 8
Ingredients:
1 pound (½ kg) small red potatoes
1 pound (½ kg) russet potatoes
10 oz (300 gm) frozen green beans-( fresh green beans, which are par-boiled is also great)
1 roasted red pepper (capsicum) –diced
1 roasted yellow pepper (capsicum) – diced
Salad Dressing Ingredients:
⅓ cup (80 ml) olive oil
½ cup (120 ml) white balsamic vinegar- can use regular dark balsamic
1 teaspoon (5ml) (7 gm) salt
Pepper to taste
¼ cup (60 ml) grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Directions:
  1. Scrub potatoes. If the skins are fresh, then leave on. Otherwise peel before cooking or after cooled from cooking. Can be cut in half, if small or cut into bite size pieces.
  2. Boil potatoes till tender but not mushy, around 25-30 minutes.
  3. Microwave or boil green beans according to directions on package.
  4. Dice roasted red and yellow peppers
  5. Shake or whisk all dressing ingredients together
  6. Combine all ingredients: potatoes, green beans, roasted red and yellow peppers and dressing.
  7. Can be eaten hot or cold



Creamy Yogurt and Dill Potato Salad


Servings: 8
Ingredients:
2 pound (900 gm) small red creamer potatoes or any other baby reds
½ orange bell pepper (capsicum) (Can use other colored peppers – I find yellow and red to be the sweetest)
½ red bell pepper (capsicum)
Dressing Ingredients:
3 tablespoons (45 ml) (10 gm) fresh dill
1 cup (240 ml) (¼ kg) Greek yogurt (natural-set yogurt)
1 teaspoon (5ml) (3 gm) sea salt
Juice of ½ fresh lemon juice
Dill for garnish
Directions:
1. Scrub potatoes and leave on skins
2. Boil potatoes till tender, about 20-25 minutes
3. Drain and cool. Once cooled, cut potatoes in half
4. Wash and dice peppers
5. Mix dressing, then add to cooled potatoes
6. Garnish with dill sprigs and chill



Light American Potato Salad


Servings: 10
Ingredients
3 pound (1⅓ kg) russet potatoes AKA-Idaho potatoes
2 large hard-boiled eggs
3 celery stalks
¼ cup (80 ml) chopped red onion
Dressing Ingredients:
½ cup (120 ml) (100 gm) light miracle whip or light mayonnaise
¼ cup (60 ml) cider vinegar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7 gm) Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (1½ gm) sea salt
Pepper to taste
Directions:
1. Peel, dice and boil potatoes till tender, about 20 -25 minutes
2. Drain and cool
3. Boil eggs until hard boiled. Start in cold water, boil for 8 minutes then cool
4. Chop celery and red onion into small pieces, add to cooled potatoes
5. Peel and chop the cooled hard boiled eggs, add to cooled potatoes
6. Poor vinegar over potatoes
7. Mix miracle whip or mayo, mustard, sea salt and pepper
8. Add to potatoes, chill

German Potato Salad

Servings: 15
Ingredients
10 medium potatoes (about 3 pounds/1⅓ kg)
10 slices turkey bacon (about 5 oz/150 gm) I have used pork bacon –but substituted turkey bacon to reduce fat and calories
1 cup (240 gm) (100 gm) chopped onions
4 tablespoons (45 ml) (32 gm) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (35 gm) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (14 gm) salt
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (2 gm) pepper
1 cup (240 ml) water
½ cup (120 ml) vinegar
Directions:
1. Peel and boil potatoes until fork tender. You want them soft but not mushy.
2. Cut into large bite size pieces
3. Fry bacon until done. Drain. Set aside.
4. Fry onion in a little bacon grease till tender.
5. Add sugar, flour, salt, pepper, water and vinegar to cooked onions.
6. Add to potatoes.
Storage Information:
It is best to store creamy potato salads in glass or plastic bowls- not aluminum-with airtight lid. Refrigerate any leftovers within 2 hours of serving to prevent foodborne illnesses. Leftovers should be consumed within 2-3 days. It is not recommended to freeze potatoes as they become watery upon reheating. The potato is 80% water and when frozen the water separated from the starch and nutrients.
Additional Information:
Quick & Healthy Potato Salad Recipe
The US Potato Board’s YouTube Channel Featuring Healthy Potato How-To Videos
Mediterranean Potato Salad
Italian Potato Salad – cute video and the chef is also jazz guitarist! Entertaining! Smile
Caesar Salad with Fingerling Potatoes by Nancy Silverton, created for The US Potato Board
Pesto Potato Salad – Vegan Recipe
Spanish Potato Salad
German Potato Salad – without bacon
Disclaimer:
The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of gluten-free ingredients. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. The responsibility is YOURS regardless of what health issue you’re dealing with. Please consult your physician with any questions before using an ingredient you are not familiar with. Thank you! Smile
__________________ Jami

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The Daring Cooks April 2011 Challenge: Edible Containers (Savoury)

Introduction: Hello Daring Cooks! I'm Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! I have joined the Daring Kitchen at exactly 1 year ago and I am celebrating this anniversary hosting a challenge, who would've guessed! That's simply amazing! I've had a wonderful time here at the DK and couldn't be happier to be hosting a challenge. This month I will be hosting this DUAL challenge, along with Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eats, who's going to be hosting for the Daring Bakers. We're challenging the Daring Cooks and Bakers to make EDIBLE CONTAINERS. When DB's date comes, Evelyne will reveal a very special and SWEET edible container challenge that she is preparing for you! Meanwhile, the DCs will be making a SAVORY edible container with a content suitable for it. I'm very excited to be your hostess and can't wait to see all the daring creations all of you will come up with.

I have always been amazed at how creative people can get in the kitchen, not only mixing their spices and ingredients, but also creating amazing edible everything, including the containers used to serve the food! I have recently written a FOOD TALK article about edible containers here at The Daring Kitchen and when it was ready to be published I thought to myself “this could make an awesome challenge for Daring Bakers and Cooks!” I was very happy to know that this idea was so welcomed by Lis and Yvonne. So, here we are, challenging your talents, and sharing this fun way of impressing your guests and yourselves. I hope you all enjoy it, and at the end of the challenge we will all have increased our collection of edible container ideas ;o)

Recipe Source: My own recipes (pumpkin and bread soup bowls), Gestão Gastronômica (noodle basket idea), The Noshery, and Elizabeth's Edible Experience (bowls for baked eggs)

Blog-checking lines: 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!

Posting Date: April 14, 2011

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

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!
Preparation time:
Pumpkin:
Baking the pumpkin: 45 min. approx. + 15 minutes cooling time (baking time will vary according to size and type of pumpkin)
Cleaning shrimp and boiling shrimp shells: approx. the same 45 minutes needed for baking the pumpkin, so you can do these two steps at the same time.
Cleaning and carving the pumpkin: about 15 minutes.
Preparing the cream: about 15 minutes total
Overall time: around 1hour and 30 minutes
Noodle Basket:
About 30 minutes soaking, draining, and making baskets + 15 minutes baking time (for each batch)
Equipment required:
  • Baking pan or dish
  • A medium sharp knife
  • Sauce pan (1 medium, 1 small)
  • Bowls
  • Sieve
Recipe Idea No. 1:
PUMPKIN BOWL FILLED WITH CREAMY SHRIMP

Servings: 2
This recipe is very popular in Brazil and there are dozens of different ways to prepare it. This is one of them, it's the way I make it at home, but feel free to give your pumpkin bowl any filling you want, from soups to stews. In Brazil, there are a few different types of pumpkins and the one that is mostly used for this dish is the so called “Moranga”. It is much bigger, the flesh has more water content and the taste is a little different. Since I'm in Korea right now, the only type I could find here was buttercup squash, which is smaller and sweeter, but resulted in a very yummy dish.
Ingredients
1 Buttercup Squash or Kabocha Squash or Japanese Pumpkin of approx. 850gm (28¼ oz) (a little under 2 lbs)
500 gm (17⅔ oz) (a little over 1 lb) of large shrimp (prawns) (whole)
3 tablespoon (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1 cup less 2 tablespoons 200 gm (7 oz) cream cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (4 gm) (0.15 oz) fresh parsley finely chopped
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (4 gm) (0.15 oz) fresh coriander (cilantro) finely chopped (optional)
chilli pepper to taste (optional)
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to moderate 180°C (350°F) (gas mark 4).
2. Wash the pumpkin, dry it well and wrap it in aluminum foil. Place it in a baking pan or ovenproof dish.
3. Bake for 25 minutes, turn it upside down and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until soft when inserting a toothpick.
4. Remove from the oven and let it cool down a little until warm.
5. While the pumpkin is baking, clean the shrimp. Remove heads, wash out the dirty stuff, devein them and remove the shells. Leave the shells on 6 shrimps (heads removed) for garnish.
6. Put the clean heads and shells in a small sauce pan. Add 1 ½ cups (360 ml) water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, covered. Drain over a bowl to save the stock formed. Set aside. Now you may discard the shells and heads.
7. Back to the pumpkin. Using a sharp knife, cut a lid on top of the pumpkin and remove it. Scrape off any seeds and guts.
8. Using a spoon, carve inside the pumpkin to remove seeds and guts. You don't want to carve any flesh at this point.
9. After it is clean inside, carve the flesh, being careful to leave at least a ¼“ (6 mm) wall. The pumpkin is baked, so the flesh will be easy to carve out and the flesh will come out like a puree. Save this puree for later use. It yields about 1 cup (240 ml) puree.
10. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and minced garlic and saute for a minute. Don't let it brown. Add the chopped onions and saute until translucent. Add tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes.
11. Add the reserved shrimp stock (about 1 cup (240 ml)) and the pumpkin puree. It should be a lightly creamy consistency. Adjust accordingly adding water or simmering a little longer. Add shrimp, cook for 1 minute.
12. Stir in cream cheese until melted and incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and add parsley and coriander (if using).
13. Arrange the pumpkin shell on a plate and pour the shrimp cream into it. You will probably have more cream than the pumpkin shell can hold, so you can reserve for later refilling the pumpkin shell. Garnish with the shrimp reserved (with their shells), previously steamed for 2 minutes.
14. Serve with a side of white rice.
Recipe Idea No. 2:
NOODLE BASKET FOR SALADS

Servings: 6 baskets

Ingredients
1 package ramen noodles (120gm) (4¼ oz)
boiling water (enough to completely cover the noodles)
Directions:
1. Place the dry noodles in a baking dish.
2. Pour boiling water over noodles until completely immersed.
3. When noodles are soft and start separating (about 5 minutes), drain and rinse with cold water.

4. Drain again, and set it aside until it starts getting sticky.
5. Use olive oil to grease the outside of baking cups and arrange them upside down on parchment paper.
6. Arrange noodles as shown in the photos. The sticky noodles will help the strings stay together making it easier to form the basket. 3 or 4 strings across, 3 or 4 strings down, and some strings around the bowl. Push all the excess strings close to the cup to form a lip. Don't overlap too many noodles, or they won't get crispy.
7. Bake at 230°C (450°F) (gas mark 8) preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before trying to remove the noodle baskets from the cups.
9. Let cool completely.
10. Handle with care, the baskets are fragile!
11. You can make the baskets the day before using, they will keep fresh in an airtight container. On the third day it stars losing its crispiness.
12. Fill baskets with your favorite salad. If you're using a dressing, serve it aside or mix it to your veggies just before serving.
Recipe Idea No. 3:
EGGS IN TOAST CUPS

Here are a few ideas for breakfast using slices of bread and eggs.
Ingredients:
Slices of bread
Eggs
Salt & pepper
Cheese, ham, bacon or whatever you would like to have with your eggs.
Example No. 1
Remove the crusts of the bread and press a slice in a buttered baking bowl.
Crack an egg inside. Alternatively, you may want to add a strip of precooked bacon or ham before adding the egg. Avoid using very large eggs, because if it leaks, it will probably stick to the bowl. If you look closely to the picture below you will notice that mine did leak. It got a little stuck on the edges, but I could manage to remove it without any damage, but it would've been much better if it didn't happen ;o)
Bake at 180°C (350°F) (gas mark 4) until toast is golden brown and the egg is cooked to your desired doneness.
Example No. 2
Using a cookie cutter (here I used a flower shape), cut the slice of bread. Press the flower shaped bread into a muffin pan.
Bake at 180°C (350°F) for about 15 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Fill with scrambled eggs and serve.
Example No. 3
What am I going to do with the leftover bread after making these cute flower bowls, you ask....
Place the slice of bread in a buttered pan over low heat. Crack an egg into the “flower” slot and cook covered until the egg is done to your taste.
You may want to add cheese, ham, bacon...
ADDITIONAL IDEAS
BREAD SOUP BOWLS
Servings: 12 bowls
These soup bowls made from scratch can also be used for dips. They are delicious and very attractive.
You can find the complete step-by-step instructions HERE.
FOOD TALK ARTICLE
You can find some more ideas at the FOOD TALK article I wrote a few months ago here at THE DARING KITCHEN.
Additional Information:
FOR INSPIRATION:
http://www.recipebridge.com/g/MTAxMzYzMDY6Ojo6MTY4
http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/green-ideas/biodegradable-serving-bow...
http://www.thedailyspud.com/2010/02/21/spud-sunday-just-add-eggs/
http://www.ruthpretty.co.nz/print.aspx?RecipeID=14
http://www.dessinemoiunobjet.com/ustensiles-comestibles-resultats/commen...
http://international.stockfood.com/image-picture-Salmon-salad-with-cavia...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/janieh/2634169385
Disclaimer:
*Note: The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking” ingredients. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. The responsibility is YOURS regardless of what health issue you’re dealing with. Please consult your physician with any questions before using a product you are not familiar with. Thank you!Smile



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The Daring Cooks March 2011 Challenge: ¡Me Encanta Perú! - Ceviche and Papas Rellenas

I’m Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja – I’ve been a member of Daring Cooks since its inception (can’t tell you how happy my husband is that I make new savory treats every month now!) and I am thrilled to be hosting the March 2011 challenge. I just got back from almost a month in Lima, Perú, where I was finishing up the last leg of my MBA program (I know, school life was rough). As my high school buddy Michael, a native Peruano, says, “Lima is an eating town;” he’s not kidding. I always thought that Paris and/or Venice would stay at the top of my list for eating cities. Lima is not only a contender for the top spot, it has the added advantage of offering the most delicious prix fixé lunches for anywhere from 7-12 soles (that’s approximately $2.50 - $4 USD), including a starter, main course and a beverage. I love me some excellent food, but I am nothing if not…how would my grandmother put it politely? Thrifty? Anyway, the people of Lima know their food and I wanted to use this challenge to showcase something really Peruvian. Since I am nowhere near to being a genuine Peruvian or any kind of authority on la cosina peruana, I asked one of my Spanish teachers from Lima to help me out with some recipes. My main challenge (with this challenge!) is that there aren’t a whole lot of non-meat dishes. There’s plenty of fish, so if you just abstain from red meats, you’ve got mucho to choose from. But fully vegetarian – or vegan – that’s a bit harder. I’ve hopefully circumvented this problem to what will be everyone’s satisfaction by separating the challenge into to parts; one is ceviche, which is ubiquitous in Lima restaurants and could arguably be the national dish of Perú. It’s basically raw fish or seafood that is “cooked” with a treatment of citrus juice (traditionally sour orange, but here we will use lime). The other half of the challenge is Papas Rellenas, which is essentially a clever way to use up leftover potatoes. The filling is usually made with beef, but I’ve got an alternative recipe that should work for both vegetarians and vegans.
Recipe Source: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by my Spanish teacher Mayra. Vegan Papas Rellenas recipe adapted from the Vegan Good Eats blog (http://vegangoodeats.com/2010/05/papa-rellena/), written by Joel Luks. The Salsa Criolla recipe also comes from Joel’s blog.
Blog-checking lines: 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.
Posting Date: March 14, 2011

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

Note: Most of my notes are incorporated into the recipes, but here are a couple more before you get started.
Meat-filled papas – I made both recipes and the papas from this one are going to be smaller than the ones pictured if you want to get six, and you might have a bit of filling left over. If you want to get six larger papas (like the ones pictured here, and the ones on Joel’s blog), double the amount of potatoes and egg.
Vegan-filled papas – I think this recipe will yield more than six – I made a fractional recipe and got three, so I think you’ll end up with closer to 12 if you use the amounts listed here.
The thing about both these papas recipes – nothing is really set in stone. You can use your judgment and nothing too dire will come of it. Some people make papas with no binder at all (so no egg and no cornstarch) – they will probably be a bit more finicky, but you can do it, so don’t be afraid to change proportions or amounts to fit your needs.
I do encourage you to try the salsa criolla for a Peruvian experience, but it is a light sauce and you might want more for your papas. That said, I think they would make an amazing and interesting side dish to a roast (instead of mashed potatoes) with a gravy. And they will sit nicely in your oven while your roast stands and you are making the gravy.
Also, on the fillings – go nuts. The first recipe is from a Peruvian home kitchen, but my sense is (Peruvian cooks, please correct me if I’m wrong) that changing it up to suit your taste isn’t breaking any set-in-stone rules. I think the best way to approach the filling is to taste it and add anything you feel is missing – the recipe is just filling and potatoes, so the taste is not going to change once they are formed and you might as well make something you like!
Lastly, an onion tip – all the recipes that call for sliced onions (as opposed to diced) should be sliced super thin, with a half moon shape, like this:


It’s also not a bad idea to use the soaking method (soak for 10 minutes in cold salt water) when using them in the ceviche and salsa criolla recipes. Soaking not necessary for onions that will be sautéed.

Mandatory Items: Make at least one of the two recipes. If you chose the ceviche, it must be made with raw seafood and it must be “cooked” according to the method outlined in the recipe. If you choose the papas rellenas, you must make the “dough” according to one of the two recipes, shape the “potatoes” around a filling per the recipe instructions, and fry them in oil. If you choose both, you’re in for a tasty treat.
IF you are a real live Peruano/a, or have spent years in Perú, or are somehow otherwise well-versed in Peruvian cuisine, and you have a real authentic recipe that can be used instead of the ones I’ve provide, that’s fine – just make sure that you are making Peruvian ceviche and/or papas rellenas AND share the recipe!

Bonus points! Prepare the “Pisco Sour” at the end to reward yourself for all your efforts. This really is the national cocktail of Perú (just go ahead and try telling a peruano that it’s from someplace else. Go ahead…I dare you!) and it’s quite tasty. I know BevMo sells pisco, so there is at least one source outside of Peru for it and I believe there are more. Warning – this stuff is a bit of a headache in a glass if you overindulge, but as a nice late-afternoon cocktail, it sure is tasty!

Variations allowed: For the ceviche, “cooking” times and flavorings can be adjusted to taste. The papas rellenas can be made with or without eggs and filled according to individual preference. The filling really doesn’t matter – feel free to be creative. It’s the technique of making the “potato” that’s filled and then fried that I think really makes a papa rellena. Feel free to sauce them however you like as well (although I highly recommend at least trying the criolla sauce).
Preparation time:
Ceviche – total time, 30 minutes – 1 day
Washing and slicing fish, juicing limes, preparing rest of ingredients: 30 minutes
“Cooking” time: 10 minutes – overnight
Papas rellenas – total time, 3 hours
Boiling and cooling potatoes: 2 hours
Preparing filling: 1 hour (can be done as potatoes cool)
Preparing dough: 30 minutes
Shaping and filling papas: 30 minutes
Frying papas: 20-30 minutes (depending on how many batches)
Salsa criolla – total time, 1 hour
Slicing ingredients: 20 minutes
Soaking onions: 10 minutes (can be done simultaneously)
“Resting” to meld flavors: 30 minutes, minimum
Pisco sour – total time, 15 minutes (plus one day for hangover recovery)
Ingredient prep: 5 minutes
Blending: 10 minutes
Drinking: that’s up to you!
Equipment required:
For the Ceviche:
• Shallow non-metal pan (Pyrex works great)
• Sharp chef knife
• Citrus reamer or a juicer
• Measuring cups
• Strainer (to remove juice pulp and seeds from lime juice)
• Plastic cutting board (works best for fish)
For the Papas Rellenas:
• Potato ricer (recommended) or a potato masher
• Pan capable of holding 2” (50 mm) of oil for frying the Papas (small dutch oven is ideal)
• Frying pan for cooking filling(s)
• Medium mixing bowl
• Three smaller bowls or pie pans
• Measuring cups and spoons
• Pot for boiling potatoes
For the Salsa Criolla:
• Sharp chef knife for slicing onions
• Med bowl for mixing ingredients
For the Pisco Sour:
• Citrus reamer or juicer
• Blender (can use a cocktail shaker but blender preferred)
• Liquor measurer (something that can portion out an ounce of liquid)

Cheviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche):

Serves 6 as a “starter” or lunch portion. Serves 2 as a dinner.

Ingredients

2 lbs. (about 1 kg) firm white fish (scallops or other seafood may be substituted)*
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1 chili pepper, minced (I recommend Aji if you can find it, but Jalapeno or other peppers can sub)
1 cup (240 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice (between 8-12 limes)
Fresh juice only, no bottled. Can use lemons in lieu of limes.
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (4 grams) (1/8 oz) fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Garnish:
1 large sweet potato
1 large ear of corn
Lettuce leaves

Directions:

  1. Boil sweet potato and corn (separately) if using for garnish. Allow to cool. (Can be done hours or even a day in advance)
  2. Wash and trim your fish. Slice into pieces between ½ inch (15 mm) cubes to 2 inch (50mm) pieces, depending on taste.**
  3. Place fish in a non-reactive, shallow pan in a thin layer. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine lime juice, chili pepper, coriander and garlic. Pour mixture over fish. Stir lightly to expose all the fish to some of the lime juice mixture.
  5. Put sliced onion on top of fish as it “cooks”
  6. Let fish stand for 10 minutes.*** Lift fish out of the lime juice and plate individual portions ,**** garnishing with lettuce, slices of sweet potato and slices or kernels of corn if using.
* It is important to use high quality, really fresh fish. You can use previously frozen (I’ve been using it because I am too cheap to buy this much sashimi grade fish), but it’s not as good. The better your fish, the better your ceviche.
** The fish is going to “cook” in the lime juice – how thick you make the pieces will determine how much the fish cooks, so keep your own preference in mind when you are cutting the fish up.
*** I have looked at recipes all over the interwebs for ceviche, and they all have different “cooking” times – I am going with 10 minutes because that’s what my Peruvian cookbook says. While I was in Lima, all the ceviche I ate was just barely white, and basically raw. I may cause a raging debate about ceviche by saying this, but I think that is most traditional. However, you can thoroughly cook the fish by letting it sit much longer – a few hours or even overnight. When I did this, it made the fish taste of nothing but lime and it was a bit rubbery, so it’s not what I would recommend.
**** The portions can vary; personally I prefer to have ceviche as I mostly ate it in Lima – as a starter, in a fairly small portion. It’s very light and a lovely way to start off before eating something else. You can also eat a full meal portion of it if you want – I think that’s too much, but if you love it, don’t let my taste stop you!
Here is a photo of a full plate of ceviche I ate in Lima – you can both see the size of the portion (it was all I had for lunch and dinner that day) and how “cooked” the fish is – this is typical of Peruvian ceviche (in my experience). The fish is just slightly white around the edges, while most of it is essentially raw.

Papas Rellenas (de carne):

Makes 6

Ingredients

For the dough:
2¼ lb (1 kg) russet potatoes
1 large egg
For the filling:
2 tablespoon (30 ml) of a light flavored oil
½ lb (250 grams) ground (minced) beef
6 black olives, pitted and chopped (use more if you love olives)
3 hard boiled large eggs, chopped
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup (240 ml))
½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced
1 finely diced aji pepper (ok to sub jalapeño or other pepper – if you are shy about heat, use less)
2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press (if you love garlic, add more)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin (use more if you like cumin)
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika
¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
Salt and pepper to taste
For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)
Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)

Directions:

In order to save time, you can boil the potatoes, and while they are cooling, you can make the filling. While that is cooling, you can make the potato “dough.” In this way, little time is spent waiting for anything to cool.
For the dough:
  1. Boil the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork. Remove them from the water and cool.
  2. Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).
  3. Add egg, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.

While the potatoes cool down before finishing the dough, you can make the filling:
  1. Gently brown onion and garlic in oil (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add the chili pepper and sauté for a couple more minutes.
  3. Add ground beef and brown.
  4. Add raisins, cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).
  5. Deglaze the pan with white wine.
  6. Add olives and cook for a few moments longer.
  7. Add hard boiled eggs and fold in off heat.
  8. Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”
Forming and frying the papas:
  1. Use three small bowls to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, a beaten egg with a tiny bit of water. Put bread crumbs in the third
  2. Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.
  3. Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat with all dough (you should have about 6 papas).
  4. Heat 1 ½ - 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 - 190°C).
  5. Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs.
  6. Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to brown both sides.
  7. Drain on paper towel and store in a 200ºF (95ºC) (gas mark ¼) oven if frying in batches.
  8. Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately.

Papas Rellenas (vegetarian/vegan):

Makes 6

Ingredients

For the dough:
5 pounds (2¼ kg) (3 large – 4 medium) russet potatoes
½ cup (120 ml) (75 gm) (2 ⅔ oz) cornstarch (called corn flour in some countries)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) (1/5 oz) salt, or to taste
Lots of pepper
For the filling:
1 cup (240 ml) (150 gm) (5⅓ oz) diced onion (any color)
4 cloves garlic
½ chili pepper (Aji recommended)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika
1 cup (240 ml) (115 gm) (4 oz) cremini mushrooms, small dice
½ package tempeh, thin cut and quasi crumbled (Or you can use cooked black beans)
½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced
1 handful spinach
1 cup (240 ml) (185 gm) (6½ oz) quinoa (Or you can use another cooked grain, like buckwheat)
¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
Salt and pepper to taste
For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten (for vegetarian version) OR egg replacer equivalent to one large egg (for vegan version)
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)
Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)

Directions:

For the dough:
  1. Boil unpeeled potatoes whole until tender when stuck with a fork. Let potatoes cool.
  2. When potatoes are cooled, peel them and either mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).
  3. Add cornstarch, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.
While potatoes are cooling, make filling:
  1. Caramelize onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and chili pepper and cook.
  3. Add the cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft.
  5. Add tempeh and raisins.
  6. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add spinach and wilt.
  7. Add the quinoa and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”
Finishing the dough and forming the papas:
  1. Use three small bowls (or other shallow containers) to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, combine the egg replacer and water. Put bread crumbs in the third
  2. Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.
  3. Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat will all dough (you should have 6 papas)
  4. Heat 1 ½ - 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 - 190°C).
  5. Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg replacer, then roll in bread crumbs
  6. Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to get both sides
  7. Drain on paper towel and store in a cool oven 200°F (95°C) (gas mark ¼) if frying in batches
  8. Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately

Salsa Criolla:

Ingredients

2 medium red onions, cut in half and very thinly sliced (as half-circles)
1/2 chili pepper (your preference)
1 tablespoon vinegar
Juice from 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Soak the onions in cold salt water for about 10 minutes to remove bitterness. Drain.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the onions with the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the onions to macerate and the flavors to combine

Pisco sour:

Serves 1

Ingredients

3 ounces (90 ml) Pisco puro
1 ounce (30 ml) cane syrup, OR 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (8 gm) (¼ oz) powdered sugar
1 ounce (30 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
1 large egg white
4 ice cubes, crushed
Garnish:
4 drops of Angostura bitters or a pinch of cinnamon (not necessary, but tasty and pretty)

Directions:

  1. Blend egg white in blender until really foamy (not stiff)
  2. Add all ingredients except bitters/cinnamon and blend until smooth (ice chunks disappear)
  3. Taste and add additional sugar or lime juice as desired
  4. Pour into glass and top with bitters or cinnamon*
* I like to let the foam settle a bit and rise up to the top. This is more like what I had in Lima, with a layer of foam on top and the “drink” at the bottom. But you can drink it right away if you’re impatient – cheers!

Additional Information:

Some great Papas Rellenas photos on Flickr
Delicious looking ceviche photos on Flickr
Additional information on Peruvian cuisine

Some video links for making papas:

Forming of small papas (in English)
More forming of small papas (in English)
Frying tips (in English)
Start to finish making of papas (in Spanish with English subtitles)

Some video links for making ceviche

– there are tons out there, they are all different and many of them are in Spanish, but you can use these to get the idea of the method:
Quick ceviche recipe that is different from the one we're using (in English)
Another different recipe (in Spanish)
Closer to our recipe (in Spanish)
Disclaimer:
*Note: The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of alternative cooking ingredients. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. Please consult your physician with any questions before using a product you are not familiar with. Thank you! Smile
__________________ www.bakelikeaninja.com
Baking with laser-like focus and mad skill in a kick-ass black outfit


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THE DARING COOKS February 2011 CHALLENGE: Hiyashi Soba & Tempura
Happy New Year Daring Cooks! I’m Lisa from Blueberry Girl and I am delighted to be hosting the February Challenge.
It took me forever to decide on what dish to choose, my nearest and dearest kept urging me to choose something that reflected my background and influences, but that was the problem. I’m what’s known as a ‘Third-Culture-Kid’ I was born in Malaysia, grew up half in Australia with a foster family who introduced me to Indian food, and my Mum with a Scottish/ English background and half with my Dad in Japan. Throw in teenage years in South America, and my ‘background’ was becoming very confused. So I’ve chosen a dish that brings back memories of summer afternoons in Japan, a dish I love. It’s simple, flavorful with endless varieties, it's fun, it's food to share, and it’s a little bit from everywhere.
Your best preparation for this challenge is to watch this very entertaining video.
Soba is a type of thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. It is served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup. It takes three months for buckwheat to be ready for harvest, so it can be harvested four times a year, mainly in spring, summer, and autumn.
Hiyashi Soba is a popular dish in summer. It's like a noodle salad. Restaurants in Japan serve Hiyashi Soba only in summer. Even if you don't have much appetite because of the heat, Hiyashi Soba can be appetizing. Common Hiyashi Soba toppings are omelet strips, ham, cucumber and grated Daikon. You can also have the noodles just with the dipping sauce.
Tempura is a Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried. A light batter is made of cold water (sometimes sparkling water is used to keep the batter light and soft wheat flour (cake, pastry or all-purpose flour). Eggs, baking soda or baking powder, starch, oil, and/or spices may also be added.
Recipe Source: I’ve had many different versions of this dish so I’ve combined a few different recipes from around the WWW. Most notably: Zaru Soba Noodles from About.com-Japanese Food; Zaru Soba from Globetrotter Diaries; Perfect Tempura from Pink Bites; Tempura from Itsy Bitsy Foodies; and my Japanese stepmother.
Blog-checking lines: 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
Posting Date: February 14, 2011

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

Note: The most important thing is not to overcook your noodles, or you will end up with a gelatinous mass. Have a bowl of cold water and ice standing by, and once you have drained and rinsed your soba place it in the water. The great thing is once that’s done you can leave it in the fridge for up to a couple of hours and it will still be nice and fresh. Take your time and complete each step all of these items work well prepared beforehand, so don’t rush.
Tempura batter is traditionally mixed in small batches using chopsticks for only a few seconds, leaving lumps in the mixture that, along with the cold batter temperature, result in the unique fluffy and crisp tempura structure when cooked. The batter is often kept cold by adding ice, or by placing the bowl inside a larger bowl with ice in it. Over-mixing the batter will result in activation of wheat gluten, which causes the flour mixture to become chewy and dough-like when fried.

Mandatory Items: As long as some form of Tempura vegetable or seafood and a cold noodle salad is made feel free to shine. Please respect Japanese cooking/eating by keeping your food, clean, fresh and simple.
Variations allowed: The great thing about this dish is it allows for so many variations. Vegans and Vegetarians just omit any of the meat toppings and let the vegetables shine. This dish is very adaptable, so feel free to use your favorite gluten free noodles and flour. Make something that you can eat and enjoy, because that is what food is about. As soba may be difficult to obtain in some areas, please feel free to use whatever thin noodles you can get, preferably Asian. If anyone wants to be especially Daring, feel free to make your own noodles!
Preparation time:
Soba
10 Minutes for the sauce
10 Minutes for the noodles
30 Minutes for Vegetable Preparation
5 Minutes to Serve
Depending on you, I can make this meal, from walking in the door after work to sitting down to eat in under 30 minutes, so it should be pretty quick.
Tempura
20 minutes vegetable preparation
10 minutes making the batter
30 minutes frying time
Again it depends how much your making and what equipment your using.
Equipment required:
• A Saucepan
• A colander
• Large Bowls
• Small bowls
• Ice
• A Knife
• A chopping Board
• A Deep pan for frying
• Oil for frying
• Small tongs or Chopsticks
• Covered container for shaking dipping sauce

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

Ingredients
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.
Additional Information:
Great instructions on preparing the noodles
http://www.justhungry.com/basics-cold-soba-noodles-dipping-sauce
How to make Tempura Soba
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RD6Ut0JTZhs
Tempura
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempura
Someone who did it well
http://globetrotterdiaries.com/recipes/zaru-soba-cold-soba-noodles-eatin...
A collection of videos on how to prepare the vegetables for Tempura
http://www.ehow.com/video_2298709_ingredients-japanese-vegetable-tempura...
Disclaimer:
*Note: The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of gluten-free ingredients. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. Please consult your physician with any questions before using a product you are not familiar with. Thank you! Smile
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THE DARING COOKS JANUARY 2011 CHALLENGE: HEARTY WINTER STEW, THE FRENCH WAY

Hello! We are Jenni (The Gingered Whisk) and Lisa (Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives) and we are so very excited to be hosting your challenge this month!! We have found the perfect challenge for you this month! It’s warm, it’s comforting, it’s hearty, it’s cassoulet!
Cassoulet is a rich, slow cooked stew or casserole that originated in the south of France during the 14th century. It traditionally contains pork, sausages, and white beans as well as a duck or goose confit and then topped with fried bread crumbs or cracklings. The dish is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, which is a deep, round earthenware pot with slanted sides. This is a dish that traditionally takes about three days to prepare, but is oh so worth all the effort!! A confit, in case you don’t know, is one of the oldest ways to preserve food. It is essentially any kind of food that has been immersed in any kind of fat for both flavor and preservation. When stored in a cool place, confit can last for several months! Typically meats (most often waterfowl) are preserved in fats, while fruits are preserved in sugar.
Don’t worry our hungry Vegetarian or Vegan friends, we haven’t forgotten about you! There are many recipes for vegan confit and vegan sausages out there, and we challenge you to experiment with your ingredients and flavors and make something wonderful that you will enjoy!
Our first recipe is considered a “traditional” recipe originating from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook,, and 'tweaked' with Michael Ruhlman on No Reservations on the Travel Channel. It's been called the best cassoulet recipe outside of France. It contains a duck fat confit, sausages, pork, and white beans. Spreading it out over three days and serving it on the fourth, makes for a far less complicated and time consuming cassoulet. We have also included recipes for chicken confit using olive oil, for those of you who are either nervous about using duck and/or duck fat or can’t find it in your area. You can also substitute chicken for duck in any duck confit recipe, including Bourdain's (this is what both of us did since we couldn’t find duck anywhere near us).
We have also included several recipes for a quick version, a vegetarian/vegan version, and vegetarian confits! The quick version and the vegetarian version do not contain confits, so we've provided a few vegetable confit recipes for you. Feel free to be creative with vegetables in confit! We can’t wait to see all the wonderful cassoulets that you come up with!
Recipe Sources:
Cassoulet by Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman as featured on the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations”
Vegetarian Cassoulet by Gourmet Magazine, March 2008
Thirty Minute Cassoulet by Jacques Pepin’s Fast Food My Way, KQED
Chicken Confit (Using Olive Oil) by Emeril Lagasse, via Food Network
Garlic Confit from Saveur, Issue #129
Leek Confit by Molly Wizenberg, as seen in Bon Appetit
Blog Checking Lines: Our January 2011 Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They have chosen a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.
Mandatory: You must make a confit and incorporate it in to a cassoulet.
Variations: You may choose to use any combination of meat or other protein source that you wish. We also encourage you to soak your own beans, but we understand if you decide to use canned. As extra credit, we challenge you to make your own sausages!!
Posting Date: January 14th, 2011

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

Notes:
If you can’t find duck, you may substitute with any other waterfowl/poultry. Same goes for any of the pork, you can substitute with lamb, beef, and venison, or whatever you wish.
If you can’t find duck fat, you may substitute any other fat that you want, i.e. bacon grease, lard, butter, olive oil, etc.
Pork belly may be substituted with a Boston butt pork roast, pork shoulder, pancetta or whatever you think will work and/or simply prefer due to dietary, religious, or any other personal reasons.
Pork rind may be substituted with slab bacon or you can purchase salt pork and cut off the rind.
Lisa’s Notes:
I didn't find the pork rind lining absolutely necessary (Sorry, Anthony). In fact, it was basically flavorless, and unless you can find a whole piece that fits your pot perfectly, or even two complete pieces to fit, you'll end up with smaller pieces you may have cut to fit, like I did, floating throughout your cassoulet upon serving..
Both Jenni and I used chicken in lieu of duck, Jenni used clarified butter for her fat in the confit, and I used duck fat.
2 cups of fat doesn't fully cover the poultry legs. Use 4 cups, if you like, like most 4 leg confit recipes call for - just double the herbs.
Jenni’s Notes:
I agree with Lisa and think the pork rind lining was a waste. Instead, I lined my casserole with extra thick cut bacon. I laid the pieces out like a quilt to line the pot.
I decided that instead of placing the sausages, duck confit, and the pork roast into the casserole whole (as per the recipe and how Lisa prepared her cassoulet). Instead I cut up all my meat into bite sized pieces and layered them like that. Then when it came time to serve, the bacon I lined my dish with mixed in perfectly with the rest of the meats.
Also, if you don’t have an earthenware pot large enough, you can piece this out into several smaller containers. I used 3 containers – an enamel covered cast iron, a glass Pyrex, and a ceramic casserole dish. All three were fine, but I think the ceramic and cast iron did the best jobs.
I used canned beans instead of soaking dried beans overnight, and I ended up using twice as much as the recipe called for. This is because the recipe calls for a certain weight of dried beans, and upon soaking they double in size. Canned beans have already been soaked, so please keep this in mind, or you’ll end up sending someone to the grocery store halfway through assembly! 
This recipe freezes well, so if you need to make several small batches, go for it!
Preparation Time:

For Duck (or Chicken) Confit: 2 Days.
First day, 15 minutes.
Second Day, 2 hours.
For Cassoulet: 3 Days
First Day: 10 minutes, if that
Second Day: Approximately 3 ½ hours, most of which is oven time
Third Day: 1 ½ hours, all oven time
For Garlic Confit: 1 ½ hours
Equipment Needed:

Shallow Dish
Plastic Wrap
Saucepan
Ovenproof Casserole Dish
Foil
large bowl
large pot
strainer or colander
sauté pan
paper towels
blender
large (about 6-8 quarts) ovenproof earthenware dish, or another non-reactive ovenproof container. Or you can use several smaller containers, if need be.
measuring cup
kitchen spoon
Cassoulet
Cassoulet by Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman (as featured on the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations”)
Serves 4 - 8 (unless you're Lisa Michele)
Ingredients for Duck Confit
4 whole duck legs (leg and thigh), size does not matter
sea salt, for the overnight (at least 6-8 hours) dry rub (the amount varies depending on the size of your legs, so just know that you need to have enough on hand for a good coating.)
2 cups/480 ml/450 gm/16 oz duck fat
a healthy pinch or grind of black pepper
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove
Day One
1.Rub the duck legs fairly generously with sea salt, place in the shallow dish, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight. At all times, keep your work area clean and your ingredients free of contamination - meaning don't allow any other food, like bread crumbs or scraps, to get into your duck, duck fat or confit, as they will make an otherwise nearly non-perishable preparation suddenly perishable.
Day Two

1.Preheat the oven to moderately hot 375ºF/190ºC/gas mark 5.
2.Render (melt) the duck fat in the saucepan until clear.
3.After seasoning with the black pepper, place the duck legs in the clean, ovenproof casserole.
4.Nestle the thyme, rosemary and garlic in with the duck legs, and pour the melted duck fat over the legs to just cover.

5. Cover the dish with foil and put in the oven. Cook for about an hour, or until the skin at the "ankle" of each leg pulls away from the "knuckle." The meat should be tender.
6. Allow to cool and then store as is in the refrigerator, sealed under the fat. When you need the confit, you can either warm the whole dish, in which case removing the legs will be easy, or dig them out of the cold fat and scrape off the excess. I highly recommend the former. A nice touch at this point is to twist out the thighbone from the cold confit. Just place one hand on the drumstick, pinioning the leg to the table, and with the other hand, twist out the thighbone, plucking it from the flesh without mangling the thigh meat. Think of someone you hate when you do it.
Ingredients for Cassoulet

5 cups/1200 ml/1100 g/39 oz dried Tarbais beans or white beans such as Great Northern or Cannelini (if you use canned beans be aware that you will need double this amount!)
2 pounds/900 gm fresh pork belly
1 onion, cut into 4 pieces
1 pound/450 gm pork rind
1 bouquet garni (tie together two sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme and one bay leaf)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup/60 ml/55 gm duck fat
6 pork sausages
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
4 confit duck legs
Day One
1.Place the beans in the large bowl and cover with cold water so that there are at least 2 or 3 inches (50mm or 75mm) of water above the top of the beans. Soak overnight. That was hard, right?  (Beans will double in size upon soaking, so use a big bowl!)
Day Two

1. Drain and rinse the beans and place in the large pot.
2. Add the pork belly, the quartered onion, 1/4 pound/115 gm of the pork rind, and the bouquet garni.
3. Cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue to simmer until the beans are tender, about 30 minutes more.
4. Let cool for 20 minutes, then discard the onion and the bouquet garni.
5. Remove the pork belly, cut it into 2-inch/5-cm squares, and set aside. (If you plan to wait another day before finishing the dish, wait to cut the pork belly until then.)
6. Strain the beans and the rind and set aside, reserving the cooking liquid separately.
7. In the sauté pan, heat all but 1 tablespoon/15 ml/15 gm of the duck fat over medium-high heat until it shimmers and becomes transparent.
8. Carefully add the sausages and brown on all sides.
9. Remove sausages and set aside, draining on paper towels.
10. In the same pan, over medium-high heat, brown the sliced onions, the garlic and the reserved squares of pork rind from the beans (not the unused pork rind; you'll need that later).
11. Once browned, remove from the heat and transfer to the blender. Add 1 tablespoon//15 ml/15 gm of the remaining duck fat and purée until smooth. Set aside.

12. Preheat the oven to moderate 350ºF/180ºC/gas mark 4.
13.Place the uncooked pork rind in the bottom of a deep ovenproof non-reactive dish. You're looking to line the inside, almost like a pie crust. Arrange all your ingredients in alternating layers, beginning with a layer of beans, then sausages, then more beans, then pork belly, beans, duck confit and finally more beans, adding a dab of the onion and pork rind purée between each layer.
14. Add enough of the bean cooking liquid to just cover the beans, reserving 1 cup/240 ml in the refrigerator for later use.
15. Cook the cassoulet in the oven for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to very slow 250ºF/130ºC/gas mark ½ and cook for another hour.
16. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight.
Day Three

1. Preheat the oven to moderate 350ºF/180ºC/gas mark 4 again.
2. Cook the cassoulet for an hour.
3. Break the crust on the top with the spoon and add 1/4 cup/60 ml of the reserved cooking liquid. (Don't get fancy. Just pile, dab, stack and pile. It doesn't have to be pretty.)
4. Reduce the heat to very slow 250ºF/130ºC/gas mark ½ and continue cooking another 15 minutes, or until screamingly hot through and through. Then serve.
Chicken Confit Using Olive Oil
Chicken Confit by Emeril Lagasse, via Food Network
Ingredients:
4 chicken leg portions with thighs attached, excess fat trimmed and reserved (about 2 pounds/ about 1 kg total)
1 tablespoon plus 1/8 teaspoon (15.6 ml) kosher salt (**note: if using table salt, use ½ the amount)
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) freshly ground black pepper
10 garlic cloves
4 dried bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons (7½ ml) (6 gm) black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon ( 2½ ml) (3 gm) table salt
4 cups (1 liter) olive oil
Directions:
1. Lay the leg portions on a platter, skin side down. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the kosher salt and black pepper. Place the garlic cloves, bay leaves, and sprigs of thyme on each of 2 leg portions. Lay the remaining 2 leg portions, flesh to flesh, on top. Put the reserved fat from the chicken in the bottom of a glass or plastic container. Top with the sandwiched leg portions. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
2 .Preheat the oven to cool 200°F/90°C/gas mark ¼.
3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Remove the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and chicken fat and reserve. Rinse the chicken with cool water, rubbing off some of the salt and pepper. Pat dry with paper towels.
4. Put the reserved garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and chicken fat in the bottom of an enameled cast iron pot. Sprinkle evenly with the peppercorns and salt. Lay the chicken on top, skin side down. Add the olive oil. Cover and bake for 12 to 14 hours, or until the meat pulls away from the bone.
Garlic Confit
Garlic Confit from Saveur, Issue #129
Ingredients:
1½ cup (360 ml) Olive Oil
1½ tsp (7½ ml) (4 gm) kosher salt (**Note: if using table salt, use ½ the amount)
10 whole black peppercorns
5 sprigs fresh thyme
65 garlic cloves, peeled (about 1 ½ cups/360 ml)
1 dried bay leaf
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to slow 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2. Put ingredients in a 1 quart (950 ml) pot, making sure all the garlic is submerged in the oil. Cover pot. Bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about 1 hour. Let cool.
2. Transfer mixture to a glass jar; cover surface of oil with plastic wrap. Cover jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Makes 2 cups/480 ml.
Leek Confit
Leek Confit by Molly Wizenberg, as seen in Bon Appetit
Makes 2 cups/480 ml.
Ingredients:
¼ cup (60 ml) (1/2 stick) (60 gm) unsalted butter
4 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into ¼ inch (6½ mm) thick slices (about 5 cups/1200 ml)
2 tbsp (30 ml) water
½ tsp (2½ ml) (3½ gm) salt
Directions:
1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium-low heat.
2. Add leeks, stir to coat.
3. Stir in water and salt.
4. Cover pot and reduce heat to low.
5. Cook leeks until tender, stirring often, about 25 minutes.
6. Uncover and cook to evaporate excess water, 2-3 minutes.
Vegetarian/Vegan Cassoulet
Vegetarian Cassoulet by Gourmet Magazine, March 2008
(Note: we didn’t actually make this recipe, but we’re sure it’s a good one!)
Ingredients:
3 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
4 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch-wide (25 mm) pieces
3 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch-wide (25 mm) pieces
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
4 thyme sprigs
2 parsley sprigs
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon (2/3 ml) (1 gm) ground cloves
3 (19-oz/540 gm) cans cannellini or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 qt (4 cups/960 ml) water
4 cups (960 ml) (300 gm) coarse fresh bread crumbs from a baguette
1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (12 gm) chopped garlic
1/4 cup (60 ml) (80 gm) chopped parsley
Directions:
1. Halve leeks lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch (13 mm) pieces, then wash well (see cooks’ note, below) and pat dry.
2. Cook leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic in oil with herb sprigs, bay leaf, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon (2½ mm) each of salt and pepper in a large heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in beans, then water, and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with rack in middle.
4. Toss bread crumbs with oil, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon (1¼ ml) each of salt and pepper in a bowl until well coated.
5. Spread in a baking pan and toast in oven, stirring once halfway through, until crisp and golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
6. Cool crumbs in pan, then return to bowl and stir in parsley.
7. Discard herb sprigs and bay leaf. Mash some of beans in pot with a potato masher or back of a spoon to thicken broth.
8. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, sprinkle with garlic crumbs.
Thirty Minute Cassoulet
Thirty Minute Cassoulet by Jacques Pepin’s Fast Food My Way, KQED
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon (15 ml) good olive oil
About 1 pound (500 gm) rolled shoulder ham (also called a daisy ham or Boston Butt), tough outer skin removed
About 3/4 pound (350 gm) hot Italian sausages, cut into 3-inch (75 mm) pieces (about 6 pieces)
4 bratwurst sausages (about 1 pound/500 gm)
1 cup (240 ml)diced (1/2 inch/15 mm) whole button mushrooms (about 3 ounces/85 gm)
3/4 cup (180 ml) diced (1/2-inch/15 mm)) onion
2 tablespoons (30 ml) crushed garlic (about 4 large cloves)
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (4 gm) dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
2 (15½ ounces/440 gm each) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed under warm running water
3/4 cup (180 ml) (about 7 oz/200 gm) diced (1-inch/25 mm) tomato (1 large plump tomato)
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
1/4 teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons (45 ml) (30 grams)coarsely chopped fresh parsley
For Serving
Tabasco sauce
Dijon-style mustard
Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the ham and Italian sausage.
2. Cover and cook over high heat for 7 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally.
3. Add the bratwurst, mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Mix well and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes.
4. Add the beans, tomato, water, and pepper, bring back to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and boil gently for 5 minutes.
5. At serving time, discard the bay leaf, cut the ham into slices and the sausage pieces in half, and arrange the meat on a platter with the beans.
6. Sprinkle the parsley on top. Serve with the Tabasco and mustard.
Additional Resources:

Quick video montage of Bourdain's cassoulet

Watch a video on making Duck Confit

Video of Jacques Pepin making his “quick version” of Cassoulet

Ideas on where to find Duck Fat and Tarbais Beans online:

Williams Sonoma – Rougie’ Duck Fat, $10.95 for 11.2 ounces/315 gm (US Dollars)
D'artagnan - Duck Fat - $5.99 for 7 ounces/200 gm (US Dollars) Tarbais Beans - $11.99 per lb.
French Feast - Rougié · Duck fat, glass jar · 320g (11.3 oz) · $8.40, Tarbais Beans - 500g (17.6 oz) · $19.00 · Available end of December
Also check your local butchers, meat markets, and gourmet food stores
We'll both be here as much as possible to answer all questions! Happy Confiting and Cassouleting
!!
Just a reminder having nothing to do with this challenge - Two more days left for Lisa's Holiday Baking Giveaway at Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives! Get your comments in to win!
__________________ ~@Lisa@~
Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives

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THE DARING COOKS DECEMBER 2011 CHALLENGE: POACH TO PERFECTION

Hello! This is Jenn from Jenn Cuisine and Jill (jillouci), and we are so excited to be your hosts for the month of December! We can’t wait to see what you all come up with. For this month, we decided to focus on a technique that seems intimidating to many, but with a little practice it’s really not that hard at all – poaching. All poaching means is cooking something in simmering (not boiling) water. And what more perfect way to practice the skill of poaching than learning how to poach an egg? They can make a tasty breakfast, or salad accompaniment; there are so many different ways to use poached eggs, and they are used in cuisines from a variety of cultures.

The 1st recipe is one of the most well known poached egg dishes: eggs benedict – an open sandwich of English muffin, Canadian bacon, poached egg, and hollandaise sauce. This rich and decadent dish can be served as a really nice breakfast or brunch for having company over, and is sure to impress! The “daring” with this dish is in successfully poaching an egg in water, as well as making one of the famed mother sauces of France, the hollandaise.

Our 2nd recipe, oeufs en meurette (eggs in meurette sauce), is a classic dish from the region of Bourgogne (Burgundy) in France. It involves poaching an egg in a red wine/stock, which will then turn into a fabulous reduction sauce. One serves the poached egg on top of fried croûtes with sauce, bacon, mushrooms and pearl onions. This is also a great dish for breakfast/brunch as well.

And don’t worry vegans, we did not forget about you! Instead of poaching an egg, we found a delicious poached homemade seitan sausage recipe that we think you will love!
We hope you enjoy this month’s challenge, and have fun poaching!

Recipe Sources:
Eggs Benedict: Hollandaise sauce by Alton Brown
Oeufs en Meurette: From Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, seen on Epicurious
Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages: From Trudy of Veggie num num

Blog-checking lines: 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.
Posting Date: December 14, 2010

Download the printable. pdf file HERE

Notes:
Poaching an egg is not very difficult technique-wise, it really is all about the timing and there are a few tricks that can help.
PAG_3174 PAG_3180
• Make sure to use the freshest eggs possible. Farm-fresh eggs will make for the best poached eggs. Old eggs will have a harder time with the whites spreading out all over the place when you place the egg in the water.
• Adding a bit of vinegar or acidic agent to your water will help stabilize the eggs and cook the whites faster, and keeping your water just below boiling point (about 190F) will help keep the fragile eggs from all the boiling bubble action rupturing the eggs. Also make sure to salt your poaching water well.
• The other main key to success is to crack your egg into a small bowl first, taking care not to break the yolk. Then it becomes easy to gently slide the entire egg into the water for the poaching process. Some people will also suggest swirling the poaching liquid into a bit of a vortex before sliding the egg in, in order to help keep the egg whites together. I’ve found it works fine whether or not you do this step.
• A poached egg is done when the whites are fully cooked and the yolk has just started to solidify but is still runny when you cut it open – usually three minutes. It’s ok to go a little longer though depending on your desired firmness. I like mine so the edges of yolks are cooking but the inside is still runny, so I usually let them go 30s longer.
• You can poach eggs ahead of time (about a day). Just immerse them in ice water after poaching, and then keep them in a bowl of water in the fridge. When you are ready to use them, place them in hot (not boiling) water until they are warmed through.
Mandatory Items: To use the technique of poaching an egg (or vegan substitute) in either one of the recipes listed below or your own creative take on the challenge. But whatever you do MUST involve the technique of poaching.
Variations allowed: Three recipes involving poaching are provided. Two that involve poaching eggs, and one that poaches seitan sausage to be vegan friendly. If you have not made eggs benedict or oeufs en meurette before, we really encourage you to try one of the listed recipes. However, if dietary restrictions lead you in a different direction, you are already a pro at those recipes, or just have something waiting to burst from your creative hat, we would love to see what poached egg dishes you come up with!
The link to Veggie Num Num’s seitan sausage recipe includes instructions for creamy polenta and tomato sauce, but feel free to use whatever recipes to accompany the sausages that you like, or none at all. I made my own polenta and some tomato sauce I canned earlier this summer, and it was fabulous, but this sausage would be good in so many preparations.
Preparation time:
Eggs Benedict: 20 minutes
Oeufs en Meurette: 60 – 90 minutes
Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages: 80 minutes to prepare the sausages; 30 minutes more if you make the polenta and tomato sauce and fry the sausages.
Equipment required:
Generally for poaching eggs you need:
• Large shallow pan
• Small bowl (for cracking eggs into)
• Large slotted spoon for lifting out poached eggs
• Timer
For Eggs Benedict:
• Double boiler (for the hollandaise)
• Alternatively a saucepan and heat proof mixing bowl that is large enough to sit on top
• Toaster or oven for toasting English muffins
• Frying pan for cooking bacon
• Thermos, carafe, or bowl (in which to keep the hollandaise warm)
For Oeufs en Meurette:
• Large shallow pan/pot for poaching
• Medium saucepan for sautéing, and then for frying the croûtes
• Paper towels
For Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages:
• Deep sauté pan or stock pot
• Small and large mixing bowls
• Food processor (optional)
• 4 pieces of cheesecloth (30 x 30 cm) (see note)
• 8 pieces of kitchen twine (8 in. each)
Eggs Benedict
Serves 4
Picture 071 Picture 073
Ingredients
4 eggs (size is your choice)
2 English muffins*
4 slices of Canadian bacon/back bacon (or plain bacon if you prefer)
Chives, for garnish
Splash of vinegar (for poaching)
For the hollandaise (makes 1.5 cups):
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp. (5 ml) water
¼ tsp. (1 ¼ ml/1½ g) sugar
12 Tbl. (170 g/6 oz.) unsalted butter, chilled and cut in small pieces º
½ tsp. (2 ½ ml/3 g) kosher salt
2 tsp. (10 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
* for gluten free, use gluten free English muffins or bread of your choice
º for dairy free, use a dairy free margarine
Directions:
1. Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer.
2. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and set aside.
3. Whisk egg yolks and 1 tsp. (5 ml) water in a mixing bowl large enough to sit on the saucepan without touching the water (or in top portion of a double boiler). Whisk for 1–2 minutes, until egg yolks lighten. Add the sugar and whisk 30 seconds more.
4. Place bowl on saucepan over simmering water and whisk steadily 3–5 minutes (it only took about 3 for me) until the yolks thicken to coat the back of a spoon.
5. Remove from heat (but let the water continue to simmer) and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time. Move the bowl to the pan again as needed to melt the butter, making sure to whisk constantly.
6. Once all the butter is incorporated, remove from heat and whisk in the salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper (if using).
7. Keep the hollandaise warm while you poach your eggs in a thermos, carafe, or bowl that you’ve preheated with warm water.
8. If the water simmering in your pan has gotten too low, add enough so that you have 2–3 inches of water and bring back to a simmer.
9. Add salt and a splash of vinegar (any kind will do). I added about a tablespoon of vinegar to my small saucepan (about 3 cups of water/720 ml of water), but you may need more if you’re using a larger pan with more water.
10. Crack eggs directly into the very gently simmering water (or crack first into a bowl and gently drop into the water), making sure they’re separated. Cook for 3 minutes for a viscous but still runny yolk.
11. While waiting for the eggs, quickly fry the Canadian/back bacon and toast your English muffin.
12. Top each half of English muffin with a piece of bacon. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, draining well, and place on top of the bacon. Top with hollandaise and chopped chives, and enjoy!
Oeufs en Meurette
Serves 8
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If you wish to halve this recipe, make sure to adjust your large shallow pan size accordingly so that you have enough depth for poaching your eggs. The poached eggs and the meurette sauce can be made up to a day in advance. Just take care store the poached eggs in a bowl of water in the fridge, and the meurette sauce can be easily reheated.
Ingredients
8 eggs (size is your choice)
1 bottle red wine (750ml/25 fl. oz.)
2 cups (400ml/16 fl. oz.) chicken stock*‡
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
Bouquet garni (thyme, parsley, bay leaf)
½ tsp. (2 ½ ml/3g) black peppercorns
2 Tbl. (30 ml/30g) butter°
¼ lb. (115g) mushrooms, sliced
¼ lb (115g) bacon, diced‡
16 pearl onions, peeled (200g/7oz.)
Vegetable oil for frying
8 slices of baguette, ¼” (6mm) thick
2 Tbl. (30 ml/30g) butter, room temp.°
2 Tbl. (30 ml/20g) flour *
salt and pepper
*for gluten free make sure to use gluten free stock and gluten free flour
‡ for vegetarian use vegetable stock, and omit bacon.
° for dairy free use a dairy free margarine.
Other notes on ingredients:
• You can use salted or unsalted butter, you will just have to adjust your “salt & pepper to taste” accordingly. I use unsalted.
• As this is a Burgundian dish, a full-bodied red wine like a pinot noir is a great wine to use for this dish. Anne Willan recommends a fruity red wine and I personally love the way a bold pinot noir works with this sauce, though you certainly can use whatever you like best. She also notes that you can make ouefs au mersault. Mersault is the famed white wine region of Bourgogne, and is generally made using chardonnay grapes, so it would be ok to choose a white wine if you want (though I have never tried it with white). No matter what wine you choose, make sure it is not too dry nor too sweet.
• To make a bouquet garni, just take the herbs (a few sprigs of each) and tie them together into a little bundle. Since the sauce will reduce for a while, it’s ok if you don’t have the fresh herbs – there will be time for flavor to come out of dried ones (for ex. fresh bay leaf may be hard to find). Alternatively, if you don’t have a way to tie them, you could just add the whole sprigs/bay leaves to the sauce and then just make sure to remove them when the sauce is done reducing.
Directions:
1. Heat wine and stock together in a large pan and poach eggs a couple at a time for 3-4 min. Yolks should be firming but still a little soft. Set them aside.
2. Add the veggies, herbs, and peppercorns to the poaching liquid and let the sauce simmer until reduced to half volume. This will become the meurette sauce.
3. In a separate large skillet, melt 1 tbs. (15ml/15g) of the butter on medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms until soft and then set aside. Add in another 1 tbs. (15ml/15g) butter and the bacon, frying until browned, then set aside on a paper towel. Turn down the heat to medium, add in the pearl onions and sauté until softened and browned. Then drain off the fat and add the bacon and mushrooms back to the pan and set aside off the heat for the moment.
4. In a medium skillet, heat a few tbs. of oil and then fry the baguette slices until browned on each side. Add more oil as needed. Set the fried bread (croûtes) on a paper towel and then place on a baking sheet in an oven that is set to 200F/95C/gas mark 1/4 or whatever your lowest setting is to keep them warm.
5. Blend 2 Tbl. (30ml/30g) butter and flour together to form a paste of sorts that will be used as the thickener for the sauce. Whisk this into the reduction sauce until the sauce starts to thicken.
Strain the sauce over the skillet of mushrooms, bacon and onions, and return the skillet to heat, bringing to a boil. Season with salt & pepper to taste, then set aside again.
6. Reheat the eggs by placing them in hot water for a quick minute. To serve, plate a poached egg on top of a croûte, and then ladle some of the mushrooms/bacon/onions and sauce on top.

Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages:
Makes 8 sausages

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Ingredients
¼ cup (60ml/150 g/5.3 oz.) pine nuts, toasted
½ a red onion (I used a full onion)
1 red chili (I used a ripe jalapeño from my garden)
1 cup (240 ml/75 g/2-2/3 oz.) whole sundried tomatoes
¼ cup (60 ml/2 fl. oz.) olive oil
1¼ cups (300 ml/10 fl. oz.) vegetable stock
2 Tbl. (30 ml/30 g) tomato paste
2½ cups (600 ml/250 g/½ lb.) vital wheat gluten (gluten flour)
1 tsp. (5ml/4 g) dried thyme
1 tsp. (5ml/4 g) paprika
For the poaching liquid:
6+ cups (1.5+ L/51+ fl. oz.) vegetable stock
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
Additional notes:
• Cheesecloth can be found at most major grocery stores, hardware stores, and home stores. If you don’t have and can’t find cheesecloth, you could use any thin, clean (undyed and untreated) permeable cloth, gauze, cotton flour sack towel, coffee filters (for smaller sausages), or maybe even clean socks you don’t care about staining.
• Vital wheat gluten can be purchased online from Amazon, or you can try making it yourself from whole wheat flour (see additional information).
Directions:
1. Place 6 cups of stock, the crushed garlic cloves, and the bay leaves in a deep sauté pan or stock pot (you may need to add additional stock to cover the sausages). Heat on medium.
2. Toast the pine nuts.
3. Finely mince the pine nuts, red onion, chili, and sundried tomatoes (a food processor works well here).
4. Whisk the 1¼ cups of stock with the tomato paste and olive oil in a small bowl.
5. Combine the vital wheat gluten with the dried thyme (I left this out because I didn’t have any!), paprika, and pine nut/onion/chili/sundried tomato mixture.
6. Slowly add the stock/olive oil/tomato paste to the vital wheat gluten. Mix until you have a smooth dough. You will probably not need to add all the liquid. I added maybe ¾ of the liquid and the result was a rather wet dough. Whatever liquid you have left can be added to the poaching liquid.
7. Divide the dough into four portions. Each quarter will make a sausage about 10 inches (25 cm) long. You have a couple of shaping options here. You can make four 10 inch (25 cm) sausages, or 8 smaller ones. I made 10 inch sausages, tied off both ends, then twisted the middle to form two sausage links. This made each side a little tighter, and made it easier to fit them in my pot. Any way you choose, make sure you wrap each section tightly in the cheesecloth and tie off the ends with twine. Keep in mind, also, that the seitan will swell a little as it cooks, so the sausages will become fatter.
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8. If the poaching liquid is not yet boiling, turn up the heat until it does. Add the sausages and turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer gently for 45–50 minutes, or until the sausages are firm.
9. Remove the sausages from the poaching liquid (reserve the liquid if you don’t plan on eating all the sausages immediately). Allow the sausages to cool a little and gently unwrap. These may be refrigerated in their poaching liquid for a week.

Additional Information:
Culinary Institute of America tutorial on eggs benedict including homemade English muffins, poaching eggs, and making hollandaise sauce:
http://www.ciaculinaryintelligence.com/2009/04/eggs-benedict-for-mothers-day-brunch.html
Epicurious video tutorial on hollandaise:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGw_gs8UaeI
A tutorial for making seitan from whole wheat flour:
http://forkable.blogspot.com/2008/07/courtesy-of-toliveandeatinla.html
To make the sausages this way, I’d try kneading the recipe ingredients in by hand once most of the excess starch has been rinsed away.
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THE DARING COOKS NOVEMBER 2010 CHALLENGE: RISE & SHINE
Hi everyone! This is Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen. We are excited to be hosting this month’s challenge, and look forward to seeing your creations. We have chosen a classic dish from the world of French cuisine – Soufflé! The word soufflé derives from the French verb souffler (or, if you prefer from the Latin sufflare, meaning to blow up/puff up) and properly made soufflés are light, ethereal creations with a creamy center. They are versatile and delicious, can be sweet or savory, and can serve as an appetizer, main course, side dish or dessert. However, soufflés have also acquired a reputation for being technically challenging, and the soufflé that doesn’t rise (or which rises but then collapses) is a common stereotype of culinary disaster. If this is your impression of soufflés, we hope that this challenge will change your mind. By following a few simple rules, we hope that everyone will be able to make an aesthetically pleasing and delicious soufflé. (And in the worst case, if your soufflé doesn’t rise properly, you’ll still have a very tasty mousse or pudding…) There are basically two parts to a soufflé recipe: the base and the egg whites. For savory soufflés, the base is usually a thick roux-based sauce made of butter, flour and milk or stock – to which you add the flavoring ingredients and the egg yolks. Sweet soufflés are based on a crème patisserie, or thick custard. The egg whites are beaten separately so that they incorporate lots of air bubbles; then the egg whites are folded into the base and the mixture spooned into a soufflé dish. After baking in the oven, the soufflé will magically rise. However, be warned that what goes up must come down: even a perfect soufflé will start to ‘deflate’ once you remove it from the oven - so be sure to serve it (or photograph it!) as soon as possible. In fact, we think the photographic aspect of this project may turn out to be more difficult than the culinary part…
We hope you have fun with this soufflé challenge! And bear in mind the words of James Beard: "The only thing that will make a soufflé fall is if it knows you are afraid of it."
Recipe Source: The chocolate soufflé recipe is our adaptation of one by Gordon Ramsay. The original can be found at BBC Good Food. The other soufflé recipes are our own adaptations from many different sources.
Blog-checking lines: Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.
Posting Date: November 14, 2010

Download the printable. pdf file HERE

Note: Here are some hints that we have found useful in making soufflés:
Will it rise? In our experience, savory soufflés tend not to rise as much as the dessert variety. After much experimentation, we believe that this is due to the ratio of ‘filling’ ingredients to eggs – dessert soufflés usually have much more egg white relative to the flavoring ingredients. For best results in a savory soufflé, select ingredients with stronger flavor and low water content. We recommend no more than 2 oz/60g of ‘filling’ per egg to achieve maximum lift. See also below for our tip on beating the egg yolks to further improve lift.

Rising: chocolate soufflé compared to a cauliflower soufflé
Recipe size: If you want to make more than the recipe indicates, everything should work just fine –but don’t use a baking container that’s bigger than 2 (US) quarts (approximately 1.9 L/1.6 imperial quarts.) If you have more soufflé than this, use two baking dishes.
Prepare everything beforehand and work briskly. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the whole recipe and prepare all your ingredients and equipment beforehand, rather than stopping to read each step as you go along. But don’t feel like you have to rush: soufflés really are much more forgiving than they’re cracked up to be.
Use fresh eggs at room temperature. Cold eggs won’t whip up so well.
Use a clean mixing bowl and mixer blades for the egg whites. Even a little grease or detergent can interfere with the formation of air bubbles in the egg whites. Similarly, take care not to get any egg yolk in your egg whites when you separate the eggs. Egg yolks contain fat, which has the same bubble-destroying properties as grease and detergent.
Temper the egg yolks. Tempering the egg yolks means bringing them closer to the temperature of the soufflé base before mixing them together. (If you add cold, or even room temperature egg yolks to the hot base, you run the risk of making scrambled egg…) The usual technique for tempering eggs involves mixing some of the (warm) base into the egg yolks, stirring thoroughly to disperse it before it starts to cook the eggs. Once the eggs are warmed up in this way, they can be safely added to the base. However, after multiple disappointing savory soufflés using this method, we tried the technique of beating the yolks over a bath of warm water, as one does for a sabayon. This made all the difference in the world. The detailed instructions are included below in the watercress soufflé recipe, but the approach can be applied to any savory soufflé.
Make sure that the oven is pre-heated. The first few minutes are critical for making the soufflé rise properly; make sure it’s up to the correct temperature and don’t leave the door open for too long when you put your soufflé in.
Prepare your dishes thoroughly. Make sure that your soufflé dish is thoroughly buttered and lined with crumbs, cheese, chocolate, etc as directed. This goes for the collar too if you’re using one (see below). The crumbs are really helpful in showing where you might have missed a spot – if they don’t stick to any area, be sure to patch it with more butter. Also, do make sure the top edge of your dish is clean by running your finger along the rim. Otherwise, soufflé will burn in that spot and it can also interfere with the rise.
Keep the oven (mostly) closed during baking. It’s often said that soufflés will collapse if the oven door is opened during baking. That’s partly true – you should keep the oven closed as much as possible during baking – but in our experience you probably won’t ruin your soufflé if you briefly open the oven to check on things, particularly near the end of cooking time.

Watching the soufflé rise is great entertainment… with the door closed.
In fact, one time after putting a soufflé in the oven, we noticed we’d neglected to add the cheese. So we pulled it back out, threw in the cheese, stirred it around a bit and put it back. It came out just fine. Honestly, they are much more forgiving than their reputation would allow.
Ring around the collar. Adding a collar is purely optional and works best when you want to add height to your soufflé dish. We’ve never needed one for dessert soufflés which tend to be pretty stable, and only needed it for a savory soufflé when we overfilled our ramekins. If you want to try this, you can find instructions at http://www.baking911.com/howto/souffle.htm and http://www.wellsphere.com/healthy-cooking-article/how-to-make-a-souffle-collar/545505.
Mandatory Items: You must make a baked soufflé – using any one of the recipes provided or any other soufflé recipe that looks interesting and tasty. (Note, however, that not all recipes that call themselves soufflés are really soufflés! So-called frozen, chilled or iced soufflés are really mousses, and their aerated texture is maintained by incorporation of gelatin; also, there are a lot of casserole recipes masquerading as soufflé.) If you’re a veteran soufflé maker, we also ask that you make a soufflé that you haven’t done before. Of course that’s on the honor system, but it’s also a lot of fun to try something new!
Note for vegans and others who can’t eat eggs: We did see some vegan soufflés in our Google searches that looked beautiful, but we did not try any. We’re quite eager to see what you can come up with!
Variations allowed: Three soufflé recipes are provided; you can use one of these, or substitute a recipe of your choosing. However, as noted above they must be proper, baked soufflés, not frozen/chilled soufflés, skillet soufflés or other imposters. And it has to be something new to you.
Preparation time: Plan on about 1 ½ hours from start to finish – including baking time.
Equipment required:
Soufflé dish (7-8 cups/1.5-2 quarts/1.6-2L), or a deep baking dish with relatively straight sides. You can also use small ramekin dishes (or oven-proof coffee cups!); these will cook significantly faster.
Whisk (an electric mixer will make it a lot easier, but hand whisking is great exercise)
Various measuring spoons (¼, ½ and 1 teaspoon; tablespoon) and/or kitchen scale
Miscellaneous mixing bowls and pans, including a large bowl for beating the egg whites.

Chocolate Souffle

Adapted From BBC Good Food Recipe by Gordon Ramsay

Ingredients

FOR THE DISHES

2 Tbsp (30 ml) 1 oz (30g) unsalted butter, for greasing
Cocoa powder or finely grated chocolate

FOR THE CREME PATISSERIE

2 tbsp (30 ml) (18 gm) (2/3 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tsp (10 gm) (0.35 oz) caster (superfine) sugar (regular sugar is OK)
½ tsp (4½ gm) (0.15 oz) corn starch (aka cornflour)
1 medium egg yolk
1 medium whole egg
4 Tbsp (60 ml) milk
5 Tbsp (75 ml) heavy cream (or double cream)
3 oz (90gm) good-quality dark chocolate preferably 70+% cocoa solids, broken in pieces
2 Tbsp (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
Optional: 2 tsp orange zest or 2 tsp minced chipotle chile en adobo or 1 tsp chipotle chile powder. (The chile version is a Monkeyshines favorite!) Optional: powdered sugar for dusting

FOR THE EGG WHITES

6 medium egg whites
6½ Tbsp (95 ml) 3 oz (90g) superfine/caster sugar (if you don’t have it, regular sugar is OK)

Directions:

1. Heat oven to moderate 375 ˚F/190 ˚C/gas mark 5.
2. Take four 1 cup/~240ml soufflé dishes and brush them completely with softened butter. Tip a little cocoa powder or grated chocolate into each dish, roll the dish around tilting it as you do so it is evenly lined all round.
3. For the crème patisserie, mix the flour, sugar and corn starch into a small bowl. Put egg yolk and whole egg into a medium sized bowl, beat lightly, then beat in half of the flour mixture to give a smooth paste. Tip in the rest of the flour mixture and cocoa powder and mix well.
4. To make the ganache, pour the milk and cream into a pan and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and beat until it is melted and smooth with no lumps.
5. Gradually stir hot chocolate ganache into the paste from step 3, and add the orange zest or chile if using. This is your crème patisserie.
6. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks with an electric whisk. Sprinkle in the sugar as you are mixing. Keep whisking to give stiff, firm peaks to give volume to the soufflés.

These are stiff peaks
7. Stir about 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the beaten egg whites into the crème patisserie. Carefully fold in a third of the rest, cutting through the mixture. Fold in another third (take care not to lose the volume), then fold in the rest.
8. Spoon the mixture into the dishes. Run a spoon across the top of each dish so the mixture is completely flat. Take a little time to wipe any splashes off the outside of each dish, or they will burn on while cooking.
9. Bake the soufflés for 15-17 minutes.
10. The soufflés should have risen by about two thirds of their original height and jiggle when moved, but be set on top.

Watercress Soufflé

A Monkeyshines in the Kitchen recipe

This soufflé could really have used a collar..

Ingredients

2 Tbsp 1 oz/30g butter plus additional for the soufflé dish
3½ Tbsp (55 ml) 1 oz/30g plain (all purpose) flour
1 cup/8 fluid oz (240ml) milk
½ cup (120 ml) 2 oz/60g parmesan cheese, finely grated plus additional for the soufflé dish
1 cup (250ml) 2 oz/60g finely chopped de-stemmed watercress (can substitute spinach) – about 1 large bunch (this measure is the leaves after they’ve been washed, de-stemmed, and chopped)
4 large eggs, separated
½ tsp (2½ ml) (3 gm) (.1 oz) prepared mustard
¼ tsp (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) (0.05 oz) cream of tartar*
Salt and pepper to taste
* If you can’t find cream of tartar, a dash (~ ½ tsp) of lemon juice can be substituted

Directions:

1. Butter the soufflé dish(es) thoroughly, then grate a small amount of cheese in each dish and tap so that the sides are evenly coated with the cheese. Place the dish(es) in the refrigerator until needed (according to some sites, this helps the soufflé climb).
2. Preheat the oven to moderate 350º F / 180º C / gas mark 4
3. Wash and chop the watercress if you haven’t already.
4. Finely grate the parmesan cheese
5. In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook 1 minute, then add the milk, a little at a time, and stir until just thickened, about 1 minute. Add the cheese and stir until it’s just melted. Remove from heat then add the watercress and salt and pepper.
6. In a larger pan, bring water to a gentle simmer. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl set just over this water until pale and slightly foamy – about 6 minutes. (I held the bowl just above the simmering water to be sure I didn’t cook the eggs)
7. Mix the egg yolks into the watercress sauce.
8. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until they form stiff peaks yet are still glossy.
9. Fold the egg whites into the sauce in 3 additions so that it’s evenly mixed, but you don’t lose too much volume.
10. Remove the soufflé dish from the refrigerator and spoon the mix into it. Use a spatula to even the tops of the soufflés and wipe off any spills.
11. Bake 25 minutes for small dishes or 40 minutes if using a large soufflé dish, then serve immediately.

Crab and Artichoke Soufflé

A Monkeyshines in the Kitchen recipe

Ingredients

1 cup (250 ml) 4 oz/120g crab meat, flaked and lightly-packed
½ cup (125 ml) 2 oz/60 g finely chopped cooked artichoke hearts (frozen, fresh or from a jar is OK, but please don’t use the marinated-in-oil style), Alternatively, lightly sautéed leeks would be nice here too.
2 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites
½ tsp (2½ ml) (3 gm) (.1 oz) salt
¼ tsp (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) (0.05 oz) cream of tartar*
1 cup (250 ml) 2 ½ oz (75g) Gruyere cheese, shredded
½ tsp (2½ ml) (2 gm) (0.07 oz) white pepper
1 Tbsp (15 ml) (14 gm) (½ oz) butter
1 Tbsp (15 ml) (9 gm) (1/3 oz) flour
1 tsp (5 ml) (3 gm) (.1 oz) dried chives or tarragon
1 cup 8 fluid oz (250ml) milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional butter and bread crumbs for preparing the dishes
* If you can’t find cream of tartar, a dash (~ ½ tsp) of lemon juice can be substituted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to moderate 375 ˚F/190 ˚C/gas mark 5
2. Prepare dishes – you can use one 2-quart (US)/1.9 litre or six 1-cup/240 ml soufflé dishes – by buttering the dish, then coating with bread crumbs. (You may have some left over soufflé mixture if you go with the smaller soufflé dishes.)
3. Chop the artichoke hearts into ¼”/0.5cm dice. If you use frozen or from a jar, then there’s no need to cook them. If you are using fresh, then steam gently until just softened, about 5 minutes or sauté over low heat until just ever so lightly browned.
4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, then stir in the flour to make a roux. – you just want to get the flour evenly blended to a paste, not cook the roux for any length of time. Gradually stir in the milk, mixing all the time. Add herbs, then the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and you have a thick sauce. Remove from heat.
5. Beat the egg yolks well and gently warm them, either according to the instructions for watercress soufflé (above) or by adding some of the cheese sauce. Gradually stir the egg yolks into the cheese sauce until well blended.
6. Add the artichoke and flaked crab meat to the cheese sauce.
7. Beat the egg whites until at the stiff peak stage
8. Fold the whites in thirds into the sauce.
9. Spoon the mixture into your baking dish and level the tops using a spatula. Be sure to wipe up any spills and make sure the edge is clean.
10. Bake for 40 min if you’re using a large soufflé dish or 25 min if using smaller dishes – the soufflé should be richly browned.
Additional Information:
http://www.baking911.com/howto/souffle.htm
http://uktv.co.uk/food/stepbystep/aid/590377
http://britishfood.about.com/od/toptips/qt/souffle.htm
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19004631
http://www.ehow.com/how_2282379_make-perfect-souffle.html
Classic video of Julia Child making a soufflé (and she adds a collar)
Mark Bittman’s chocolate souffle (We think you can make yours puff up more than his!)
__________________ Our blog: Monkeyshines in the Kitchen

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THE DARING COOKS OCTOBER 2010 CHALLENGE: WE ARE ON A ROLL

Hi my name is Lori of Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness. I have always wanted to do stuffed grape leaves, one of my favorite Mediterranean treats. With meat or without, they are delicious on their own or on some pita bread as a sandwich. You can eat them simply, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkle on some feta and you have a delicious appetizer, serve with tomato, cucumber wedges and kalamata olives.
Recipe Source: I have chosen two recipes for October. One of the recipes comes from Aromas of Aleppo written by Poopa Dweck and Michael J. Cohen. The other is from Claudia Roden's, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.
Blog-checking lines: Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.
Posting Date: October 14, 2010

Download the printable. pdf file HERE

Historical Note: Stuffed grape leaves are a part of many cultures including the Syrians, the Turks, the Greeks, the Lebanese, the Albanians, the Israeli's, the Iranians, the Iraqis and the Armenians (just to name a few). Generally speaking the stuffed part could be in zucchinis/courgette, eggplant, tomato or peppers. Really it also extends to stuffing certain types of fish as well. It is suggested that the origin of stuffed grape leaves goes back to the time when Alexander the Great besieged Thebes. It has also been suggested the Byzantines refined and spiced up the recipe and used the leaves of other vines such as hazelnuts and figs.
Mandatory Items: The challenge this month is to make a filling and roll it in grape leaves. If grape leaves are unavailable to you then you can use Swiss chard, kale, cabbage or some tough green.
Variations allowed: Grape leaves can usually be found in jars at Mediterranean stores or grocery stores that have ethnic foods. Do stick with a tougher green if you cannot find grape leaves. Spinach, a delicate green, will not hold up to the boiling process. I highly encourage you to use grape leaves if you can.
The filling is totally up to you. You can do any meat filled filling or meatless, but it must include rice. You can add different nuts or dried fruits to your filling. You can use the two recipes below, if you’d like, and you can tweak them to your taste. Or you can make them as written.. it’s totally up to you.
Preparation time: The recipe will take up to 2 hours, depending on how fast you roll. You can freeze them before boiling if you want to try to do half of the recipe ahead of time.
Equipment required:
Heatproof plate, lid or pie plate. Something to weight the stuffed grape leaves down in the sauce pan.
A sauce pan.

Grape Leaves Stuffed with Ground Meat and Rice with Apricot Tamarind Sauce/ Yebra
Adapted from Aromas of Aleppo by Poopa Dweck and Michael J. Cohen. Published by Harper Collins, 2007
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Ingredients for hashu/filling:
1 pound (455 gm) ground (minced) beef
1/3 cup (80 ml) (2 1/3 oz) (65 gm) short grain rice
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) all spice
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) cinnamon
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) kosher (coarse) salt **if using regular table salt only use ½ tsp.**
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) white pepper
1 onion, chopped **optional**
1 cup (5½ oz) (150 gm) pine nuts **optional**
Directions:
1.Soak rice in water, enough to cover, for 30 minutes. Combine meat, rice, allspice, vegetable oil, cinnamon, salt, white pepper, and if desired, onion and pine nuts, in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
Ingredients for assembly:
1 pound (455 gm) hashu/filling (see recipe above)
36 preserved grape leaves, stems trimmed, drained, rinsed and patted dry
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil
6 dried apricots – or more if you desire
3 tablespoons (45 ml) tamarind concentrate **if you can’t find it, you can omit it**
¼ cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (9 gm) kosher (coarse) salt **if using regular table salt only use 1.5 tsp.**
Notes:
If using grape leaves preserved in brine, to remove salt put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Make sure that the water penetrates well between the layers, and leave them soaking for about twenty minutes, then change the water a time or two using fresh cold water.
If using fresh leaves, plunge a few at a time in boiling water for a few seconds only, until they become limp, and lift them out.
Tamarind is actually fairly easy to find.  There is a paste that is in package already made up.  You can find it at Asian, Mexican or Indian grocers.  You can also find the pods (a little more difficult) and make it yourself.  It is akin to a sweet/tangy tea flavor. If you can’t find it, you can skip the sauce all togheter. The grape leaves will be just as delicious without the sauce. But we hope that those that can find it will use it.
Directions:
1.Place a grape leaf on a flat surface, vein side up. You can trim the little stem if you would like.
2.Place about two teaspoons (10 ml) of the filling in the center of the leaf, near the stem edge.
3.Roll the leaf end to end, starting from the stem edge. As you roll, fold the sides of the leaf in toward the center. The leaf should resemble a small cigar, about 2 to 2 1/2 inches (50 mm to 65mm) long.

4.Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.
a.(You can freeze the stuffed grape leaves at this point. Just line a baking sheet with wax paper. When firmly frozen, transfer to an airtight plastic bag place back in the freezer.)
5.In a medium saucepan put in the vegetable oil and then place the filled grape leaves in the pot.
6.Place apricots in between the stuffed grape leaves. Cover and cook over low heat for 5- 8 minutes or until the grape leaves begin to sweat.
7.Using all three tablespoons, place a little of the tamarind concentrate, if using, over the rolls.
8.Combine lemon juice, salt, and water then add to pan, filling it ¾ full.
9.Weigh down the grape leaves with a heat proof plate or board to prevent them from unraveling. Cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes.
a.Alternatively, place the saucepan in an oven preheated to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 and cook for an hour.
10.Spoon cooking liquid over the grape leaves occasionally. You will know they are done, when the grape leaves are neither soupy nor dry.
11.Tilt pan sideways over serving platter, allowing the grape leaves to tumble out. Try not to handle them individually to reduce unraveling.
a.Alternately you can try spooning them out very gently.


Wara Einab or Dolma/Cold Stuffed Grape Leaves
Adapted from Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food a Borzoi Book, published by Alfred A. Knopf
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Ingredients
24 – 30 preserved or fresh grape leaves.
1¼ cups (300 ml) (9 oz) (250 gm) long grain rice
1- 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped or 4 tablespoons (60 ml) (35 gm) finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (25 gm) finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) crushed dried mint
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) ground allspice
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6½ gm) dill
Salt and pepper
2 tomatoes, sliced **optional**
3 or 4 cloves garlic
2/3 cup (160 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) sugar
Juice of 1 lemon or more
Notes:
If using grape leaves preserved in brine, to remove salt put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Make sure that the water penetrates well between the layers, and leave them soaking for about twenty minutes, then change the water a time or two using fresh cold water.
If using fresh leaves, plunge a few at a time in boiling water for a few seconds only, until they become limp, and lift them out.
Directions:
1.Pour boiling water over the rice and stir well, then rinse with cold water and let drain.
2.Mix the rice with the chopped tomatoes, onion or scallion, parsley, mint, cinnamon, allspice, dill, salt and pepper to taste.
3.Place a grape leaf on a flat surface, vein side up.

4.Place about two teaspoons (10 ml) of the filling in the center of the leaf, near the stem edge.

5.Roll the leaf end to end, starting from the stem edge. As you roll, fold the sides of the leaf in toward the center. The leaf should resemble a small cigar, about 2 to 2 1/2 inches (50 mm to 65mm) long.

6.Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.


a.(You can freeze the stuffed grape leaves at this point. Just line a baking sheet with wax paper. When firmly frozen, transfer to an airtight plastic bag place back in the freezer.)
7.Pack the stuffed leaves tightly in a large pan lined with tomato slices or imperfect grape leaves Place a whole garlic clove in between them for extra flavor. The tightness will help prevent the rolls from unraveling.

8.Mix together olive oil, 2/3 cup (160 ml) water, sugar and lemon juice and pour over the stuffed leaves. Put a small heat proof plate on top of the leaves to prevent them from unwinding, cover the pan and simmer very gently for about 1 hour, until the rolls are thoroughly cooked, adding water occasionally, a cup at a time, as the liquid in the pan becomes absorbed. Cool in the pan before turning out. Serve cold.
There are many variations you can use but here are just a few suggestions:
Add ¼ cup (60 ml) (1½ oz) (45 gm) raisins or currants and ¼ cup (60 ml) (1⅓ oz) (40 gm) pine nuts to the filling.
Mix a pinch or two of powdered saffron with the olive oil and water before pouring over the stuffed grape leaves.
Soak about ¼ cup (60 ml) (1½ oz) (45 gm) dried chickpeas in water overnight. Crush them using a processor or blender and add them to the filling. In this case use ¼ cup (60 ml) (1¾ oz) (50 gm) less rice. You could also use drained canned chickpeas.

Additional Information:
http://greekfood.about.com/od/greekcookinglessons/ss/foldleaves.htm
http://whatscookingamerica.net/Vegetables/StuffedGrapeLeaves.htm
http://www.squidoo.com/stuffed-grape-leaves
Video:
http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Make-Stuffed-Grape-Leaves-101615656
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DlKlzltajg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSyOUhHzIoQ&feature=related
__________________ Friendship is the bread of the heart.
Mary Russell Mitford
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

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THE DARING COOKS SEPTEMBER 2010 CHALLENGE: FOOD PRESERVATION

Hello Daring Cooks! I have the honor of hosting this month's challenge. I’m John from Eat4Fun.
When Lis and Ivonne asked if I would host a challenge, I jumped at the chance. Being a person who enjoys experimenting around with different cooking techniques and learning about new topics, I racked my brain trying to figure out what to present. Chinese cooking? Grilling? Barbecuing? Roasting? Tofu making?
I finally decided on a topic that takes advantage of the time of year where, in the Northern Hemisphere, our gardens and local farms should be harvesting an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables.
For this month's challenge, I hope to whet your appetite on the vast topic of Food Preservation. Food preservation is a broad subject covering canning, freezing, drying, pickling, fermentation and jam making, but for this challenge the focus will be on freezing and home canning. The main recipe for our challenge will be apple butter. However, a couple additional recipes are provided for a little added variety.
Apple butter is essentially an apple sauce that’s been cooked down with spices to form a thick spread. No butter is used in making apple butter. “Butter” just refers to the spreadable consistency of the final product. Talking with a family friend, she mentioned that apple butter was a way of using the scraps, skins and cores, after making apple sauce. The spices were added to flavor the scraps. Nowadays, recipes use the whole apple, which is what we’ll use for this challenge.
Disclaimer: Since I am an engineering geek, I present a lot of technical information on food preservation. The apple butter is actually a very simple recipe, so please do not be discouraged by the information and jargon used in this write-up.

Why Preserve Foods?
There are many reasons – save the harvest from our garden for later in the year, control the ingredients that go into our food, nostalgia (memories of our parents or grandparents), make gifts, satisfaction of making it yourself… etc. For me, it’s curiosity, controlling what I eat and just the satisfaction of making it myself.

Why foods go bad?
Before we start preserving foods, we need to know why foods spoil.
The two main culprits are
1) The obvious culprit is bacteria, molds and yeast/fungi. I call them “bad bugs.” There are “good bugs” that help with fermentation (yogurt, beer, wine, sourdough breads and pickles), but the bad bugs rots foods, gives foods an off taste and can make us sick.
2) The other culprit is enzymes. Enzymes are molecules that occur naturally in food which encourage chemical changes, some of which are desirable - help ripen fruit by converting starch to sugar, soften fruits or vegetables, or reduce acidity level. Some changes are not desirable, browning when an apple is cut, or the fruit becomes overripe where the flesh becomes soft and mushy.
The other supporting culprits are oxygen and unintentional moisture loss. Fortunately, when we eliminate microorganisms, the rest of the culprits are taken care off at the same time.

Good bugs and bad bugs keep growing and growing?
Bacteria, molds and yeast are living organisms that are present at all times – in the air, on surfaces, and on our food. In order for organisms to survive, they need food, water, oxygen (although some microorganisms can survive without oxygen) and a comfy environment.
A better way to remember food, water, oxygen and comfy place to live is by remembering “FATTOM” or “FAT TOM”. No, FATTOM is not the guitar riff to “Smoke on the Water” [F-A-T, T-T, O-M; F-A-Tee-Tee-O-M].
FAT TOM represents the six conditions microorganisms need to grow/multiply.
FAT TOM is Food, Acidity, Temperature, Time, Oxygen and Moisture.
* Food - Microorganisms, like people, need nutrients. Unfortunately, that means microorganism eat what we eat. Some microorganisms can get by with sugar while other need protein. The foods of concern from a food safety standpoint are low acid, protein rich foods, such as, meat, dairy and egg containing foods.
* Acidity – Acidity is a value between 0 to 14 (known as pH) where values less than 7 are acidic and values above 7 are alkaline. For example, water is generally neutral at pH = 7 while vinegar is acidic with a pH between 2.4 and 3.4. Most foods we eat have a neutral to acidic pH where foods with values 4.6 or higher are considered low acid foods.
* Temperature – Temperatures between 40F (4.4C) to 140F (60C) is considered the Temperature Danger Zone (TDZ) where microorganisms can grow. The optimal temperature for growth is typically between 70F (21C) to 100F (38C). Note: In the USA, the FDA is lowering the higher temperature from 140F to 135F (57C).
- Food Safety Tip: Hot foods should stay hot, above 140F (60C). Cold foods should stay cold, below 40F (4.4 C)
* Time – Given the right conditions and temperatures 40F to 140F, microorganisms start growing. Given enough time, the population will grow rapidly to levels that can make us sick.
- Food Safety Tip: Two hour rule and the Four hour rule.
Foods kept at room temperature (in the TDZ) should be refrigerated before two hours. Foods are to be thrown out after 4 hours in the TDZ. For hot days, for example a 90F (32C) day, the time is cut in half.
- Food Safety Tip: Also, cooling foods in the refrigerator, foods should be cooled within two hours (from 140F (60C) to 70F (21C)). Of course, faster is better. For example, a pot of chili beans can be cooled quickly by pouring into a baking dish where the chili beans are spread out into a thin layer.
* Oxygen – Most microorganisms need air. There are a couple bad bugs that don’t need air to grow where Clostridium botulinum (Botulism), being the most notorious bad bug that prefers a no oxygen environment.
* Moisture – Pure water is the key to life while salt water is less desirable.

How does knowing FAT TOM help us preserve food?
Food preservation works by changing the condition of our food to discourage bad bug growth. Food is what we are trying to save and Time is beyond our control. The remaining factors we can change are Acidity, Temperature, Oxygen and Moisture.

Brief summary of how each food preservation method works.
Preservation Method Acid Temperature Oxygen Moisture
Freezing   Storing foods at 0F (-17.8C) or lower Airtight packaging  
Boiling Water Canner (high acid foods)/Pressure Canner (low acid ) Some foods can be acidified using vinegar or lemon juice Heats foods to kill bad bugs and neutralize enzymes Jars form a vacuum seal – creates a low oxygen environment
Pickling and Fermentation Food is acidified by using vinegar or natural bacteria creating lactic acid     Brines (salted water) and sugars reduce fresh water
Drying Airtight packaging Removes up to 90% of the moisture
Jam and Jellies Vinegar or Lemon juice, Fruits naturally acidic Cooking, canning or Freezing Canning will create a vacuum seal Sugar reduces water available
For this daring challenge, we will be focusing on Freezing and Boiling Water Canning.

Freezing:
Freezing refers to storing foods in airtight containers at 0ºF (-17.8ºC) or lower. Freezing does not kill bad bugs. The cold temperature causes the microorganisms to go into hibernation/suspended animation.
Freezing is the easiest food preservation method, especially with modern freezers.
The main pointers for freezing:
1) Freeze foods quickly. Quickly freezing creates smaller ice crystals. Water is a funny substance where water expands when frozen. This means larger ice crystals can puncture cell walls (such as whole berries) so when defrosted you end up with a mushy mass.
2) Try not to freeze too much at once. Typical advice 2 to 3 lbs (1 kg) per cubic foot (28 Liters) of freezer space.
3) Containers should be airtight and leak proof.
4) Minimize air and gaps in the packaging. This reduces the chance for freezer burn – drying.
5) Label and date the package. Frozen foods tend to look the same over time, especially when a layer of ice has formed.
6) Vegetables can be blanched to deactivate enzymes. Blanching is quick cooking in boiling water for a few minutes and cooled rapidly in ice water.
7) For initial freezing using pliable freezer bags, freeze on a smooth, flat surface to prevent the bag from molding itself to the rack.

Boiling Water Canning:
Boiling water canning sterilizes the food using the temperature of boiling water. The jars form a vacuum seal which creates a low air/oxygen environment.
Important!
The temperature that water boils varies with altitude. At sea level, water boils at 212ºF (100ºC) while at 5,000 ft (1524 m) water boils at 203ºF (95ºC). What this means is canning (processing) times increase with altitude. Fortunately, we don’t need to do the math. Canning recipes include processing times for different altitudes
Boiling water canning is appropriate for high acid foods (foods with pH values lower than 4.6). Typically, fruits are high acid foods while vegetables are low acid. There are a few fruits that are on the border (pH 4.6), such as, tomatoes. However, some borderline pH foods can be acidified by adding vinegar or lemon juice. In home canning, lemon juice (and lime juice) refer to bottled concentrate, unless the recipe calls for fresh. Also, vinegar refers to vinegar with 5% acidity. The percentage strength can be found on the label.
In the USA, home canning uses Mason jars, a thick-walled jar. The lid is a two piece assembly – the lid with a reddish sealing compound and a metal band/ring.
Jars should be inspected before each use – looking for cracks and chips. Washed with detergent dish soap and dried. To reduce thermal shock (hot food cracking a cold jar), the jars should be kept hot. Clean jars can be kept hot by submerging in the boiling water canner or in a dishwasher. Also, a warm oven can be used.
For processing (canning) times less than 10 minutes, the jars need to be sterilized for 10 minutes in boiling water. For altitudes higher than a 1,000 ft (305 meters), an additional minute is added for each 1,000 ft (305 meters) above sea level.
Jars, Lids and Rings
Figure illustrates the jars and lids used in the USA.
The basic steps for using a boiling water canning.
1. Check your jars for chips, cracks and nicks. Wash and preheat your jars.
2. Fill you canner half full with water. Preheat water to 140ºF (60ºC) for raw packing foods or 180ºF (82ºC) for hot packing foods.
3. Fill jars with food prepared according to the recipe, remove bubbles and adjust headspace.
4. Load jars into the canner. It’s important to keep the jars level.
5. Add more hot water, as needed, so the jars are submerged by at least 1 inch (2.54 cm) of water.
6. Cover the canner with the lid and turn the heat to high.
7. Set timer when the water comes to a vigorous boil. You can lower the heat, but the boil must be maintained.
8. When the time is up, turn off the heat and remove the lid. Wait 5 more minutes.
9. Remove jars making sure the jars are level and set on a towel. Allow to cool to room temperature, undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours.

Terminology
Headspace – is the gap between the top of the container to the level of the liquid or food.
For freezing, headspace is important to ensure there is room in the container for the expanding food. For canning, headspace ensures that a proper vacuum seal will form without the food spilling out of the jars while canning.
Headspace
Raw Pack (canning) – foods are placed in jars raw and, typically, a flavored liquid is added to the jars before processing. Advantages: Food is not cooked twice. Retains shape better. Disadvantages: Uses more jars. Foods may float due to trapped air.
Hot Pack (canning) – foods are cooked before jarring. Advantages: Foods are cooked down so more can be packed into a jar. Less air in food. Disadvantages: Original shape is lost.

Recipe Source:
Reduced Sugar Apple Butter from The National Center for Home Food Preservation – [http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_02/apple_butter_reduced.html]
Oven Roasted Tomatoes from Susy Hymas, Master Food Preserver
Bruschetta in a Jar from the Bernardin Canning website.
[http://www.bernardin.ca/pages/recipe_page/51.php?pid=435]

Blog-checking lines: 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.

Posting Date: September 14, 2010
Note:
For making apple butter, I do not have a food mill. The first time I made this recipe, I used apples with the stem and blossom end removed. I pressed the soft cooked apples through a mesh strainer. The resulting apple butter yield was barely 3 cups. Therefore, I recommend using peeled and cored apples to yield 5 to 6 cups of apple butter.
Mandatory:
I want all you daring cooks to try canning or freezing one of the recipes presented in the challenge. If you’re leery about making the full recipe, feel free to half a recipe. How much you freeze or can is up to you. My goal is to have you all become comfortable with food preservation.
The apple butter can be frozen or canned while the oven roasted tomatoes are better suited for freezing. The bruschetta is best canned due to the raw tomatoes. Raw tomatoes tend to become soft when frozen and defrosted.

Variations allowed: If you are familiar with home canning and would like to show us your favorite up to date recipe, please feel free to show us your recipe. Remember to reference the source for your recipe.

Preparation time:
- Apple Butter
Preparing Apples: 10 Minutes (if you leave the skin on)
20 Minutes if you peel and core apples
Cooking: 20-30 Minutes to soften apples for mashing + 2 hours to make Apple Butter.
Boiling Water Canner: 40 Minutes
- Roasted Tomatoes
Preparation: 10 Minutes
Cooking: 1 Hour
- Bruschetta in a Jar
Preparation: 15-30 minutes
Canning: 30 Minutes

Equipment required:
Apple Butter
• Knife
• Measuring Cup
• Measuring Spoons
• 8 Quart (about 7½ litres) Sauce Pan or Pot
• Potato Masher
• Storage Container/Containers to hold 5 to 6 cups
Optional:
    o Scale
    o Vegetable Peeler
    o Food Mill
     o Freezer Bags/Containers
      o Boiling Water Canner
          - Pot with Lid
          - Rack
          - Jars with lids and bands
          - Bubble Remover (can use small spatula or plastic knife)
          - Wide Mouth Funnel
Roasted Tomatoes
• Knife
• Roasting Pan
• Mixing Bowl
Bruschetta in a Jar
• Knife
• Measuring cups and spoons
• Cutting Board
• Sauce Pan
• Boiling Water Canner + Accessories
• Scale (Optional)

Recipes: Reduced Sugar Apple Butter Recipe
Recipe Source: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_02/apple_butter_reduced.html
My preference is to use sweet apples (Golden Delicious) so the need for sugar is reduced. However, tart apples (Granny Smith) can be used. It’s a matter of personal preference.

Recipe: Reduced Sugar Apple Butter
Ingredient U.S. Metric Count Special Instructions
Apples 4lbs* 1.8 kg 12 Apples Cut into eights, stem and blossome end removed
Apple Cider 1 Cup 240 ml   Optional: Water or Juice
Sucralose/Splenda 1/2 Cup 120 ml   Optional: Honey, Agave or Sugar - to taste
Cinnamon, Ground 1 Tbl 15 ml    
Allspice, Ground 1/2 tsp 3 ml    
Cloves, Ground 1/4 tsp 2 ml    
Note: * If you used peeled and cored apples. I recommend buying 5 lbs (2.26 kg) of apples.
Golden Delicious and Gala
Gala and Golden Delicious Apples

Directions:
1. Wash apples well and remove stems. Cut apples into quarters or eighths and remove cores.
Note: I ended up peeling the apple at this step.
Cornig Apple
2. Combine unpeeled apples and cider in 8-quart (about 7 ½ litre) saucepan. Cook slowly and stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until apples are very soft (falling apart).
Peeled and Cored
3. Position a food mill or strainer securely over a large bowl. Press cooked apples with cider through the food mill or strainer to make a pulp. Be sure to collect all the pulp that comes through the food mill or strainer; for example, scrape any pulp clinging under the food mill into the bowl.
Note: Since the apples were peeled, I just mashed in the pot.
Mashed
4. Combine pulp with Sucralose and spices in an 8-quart (about 7 ½ litre) saucepan. Simmer over low heat, stirring frequently.
Note: A stick blender was used to mix the spices and creates a smoother apple butter. Also, when cooking down the apples, you want to leave the lid ajar or use a splatter screen. This will allow for evaporation. Another trick is to support the lid by laying two wooden spoons across the top of the pot.
Stick Blend
Splatter Screen
5. To test for doneness, spoon a small quantity onto a clean plate; when the butter mounds on the plate without liquid separating around the edge of the butter, it is ready for processing. Another way to test for doneness is to remove a spoonful of the cooked butter on a spoon and hold it away from steam for 2 minutes. It is done if the butter remains mounded on the spoon.
Note: It may be difficult to see, but the sample on the left is the apples sauce from step 3. The apple sauce left a liquid ring while the apple butter did not.
Doness
6. Pour contents into desired storage container or multiple containers. I stored my apple butter in 1-cup (250ml) plastic containers with screw on tops. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks, freeze up to a year, and home canning is good for a year.
* The Finished Apple Butter:
Apple Butter is often used as a spread. However, apple butter can also be used as a condiment (pork chops or in marinades) or as an ingredient to an apple quick bread.
On a bagel
* Freezing:
I used a freezer bag where I expelled as much air as possible and minimized the gaps in the bag. Freezer bags work well for storage since they can lay flatter in the freezer than containers.
Freezer Bag
With a container, you need to ensure you have “headspace”. Headspace is the gap between the food (or liquid level) and the top of the container. Typical, headspace when freezing foods is 1/2 “ (1.27 cm) for straight sided containers. As mentioned previously, water expands when freezing. The headspace allows room for expansion.
Headspace
Thawing: The best method (Food Safety) is to thaw in the refrigerator for a day.
Cold water, 70ºF (21ºC) or lower, can be used for as quicker way to defrost. The frozen food is submerged under running water. An alternative to running water is to change the water every 30 minutes. If you need an even faster method to defrost and you plan to cook the food immediately, the microwave is another method (of last resort).

* Boiling Water Canning:
For our challenge, apples are high acid foods. Golden delicious apples have an approximate pH of 3.6. Boiling Water Canning is an appropriate method of preserving apple butter.
Apple Butter processing information:
Headspace when canning apple butter is 1/4 “ (0.64 cm)
Processing Time:
15 minutes for altitude of 0 ft (0 m) to 1,000 ft (305 m)
20 minutes for altitude of 1,001 ft (305.1 m) to 6,000 ft (1828.8 m)
25 minutes altitudes above 6,000 ft (1828.8 m)
For boiling water canning, you need a pot that is high enough to cover the jars with at least 1” (2.5 cm) of water. Also, a rack, to prevent thermal shock, is used to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot. Any type of rack will work – a tea towel, a trivet, tying together unused bands… etc. I improvised a rack by tying metal bands to a bamboo sushi mat.
Improvised Rack
Also, for my pot, I used a large tamale steamer.
Tamale Steamer
Jars are filled using a wide mouth funnel. A plastic bubble remover is run along the sides of the jar, in an up and down motion, to remove air pockets.
The top and side of the jar are wiped down with a damp paper towel.
Removing Bubbles
Headspace is measured to ¼" (6.5mm).
headspace 1/4 inch
Lids are placed in a pan of hot water (180ºF or 82ºC) to soften the sealing compound.
lid
The lid is seated, centered on the jar and the band is screwed on.
The purpose of the band is to hold the lid down, but not too tightly. Air from the jar needs to escape into the boiling water.
I generally screw down the bands (using two fingers) until resistance stops the band. After which, I give a slight additional 1/4" (6.5mm) twist.
twist
The jars are lowered into the hot water canner. Water temperature is about 180ºF (82.2ºC).
The water level is checked to ensure there is at least 1” (2.54 cm) of water above the jars.
Next, pot is covered and heat turned to high.
When the water comes to a boil, the timer is started (15 minutes). The heat can be lowered as long as the water remains at a boil.
After the 15 minutes are up, the whole canner is removed off the burner (I have an electric stove) and uncovered. Jars are left in the canner for 5 more minutes.
In Water
After 5 minutes, the jars are lifted out level.
The temptation is to tilt the jars to drain the water off the top of the lids. Do NOT do that! You don’t want to contents of the jar to running under the seal.
Jars Out
Jars are placed on a dish towel to minimize thermal shock and allowed to cool for 12 to 24 hours.
While the jars are cooling, you may hear a ping or a pop from the lid as it seals. That ping is a good sound. For these three jars, they all pinged within a minute.
On a Towel
After 24 hours, test the seal. The lid should be bowed down (concave), when you press down the lid should not move or pop up. Also, try lifting the jar by the lid only. The lid should stay on if properly sealed. The final thing is to look at the lid to see if there are any cracks or debris caught between the jar and the lid.
Jar Test
Jar Lift:
Jar Lift
Storing – Once the integrity of the lids have been checked, it’s best to store the jars in a cool, dark space. The rings are removed. The rings have done their job of holding down the lids in the boiling water canner and are not needed for storage.
Storage
Remember to check the lid before you open a jar.
If the lid has become unsealed during storage or the lid is bulging, throw it out.
If the food has mold, become oddly discolored or has an off odor, throw it out.
The canned apple butter can easily store on a shelf for one year.

Additional Recipes:
Tomatoes are a popular home garden plant. There are seasons when we hit the jackpot with tomatoes. Here are a couple recipes that will help preserve the tomatoes for later in the year.

Recipe: Oven Roasted Tomatoes (for Freezing)
Ingredient U.S. Metric Count Special Instructions
Tomatoes 1lbs 455 g 10 to 12 Cut in half or thirds. Core if needed
Fresh Basil     3 leaves Chiffonade (Cut into thin strips)
Fresh Garlic     2 Cloves Minced
Olive Oil 1 Tbl 15 ml    
Salt     1 or 2 pinches  
Cloves, Ground 1/4 tsp 2 ml    
Coring a tomato
Coring Tomato
Bake 325 F for an hour or slightly browed.
Roma
The finished tomatoes can be stored as-cut, chopped or pureed to make a sauce or tomato paste.
Roasted Romas

Additional Recipe: Bruschetta in a Jar
Recipe Source: Bernardin Canning Website - http://www.bernardin.ca/pages/recipe_page/51.php?pid=435
Recipe: Bruschetta in a Jar
Ingredient U.S. Metric Count Special Instructions
Plum/Roma Tomatoes * 3 1/2 lbs 1.6 Kg 20 Medium Wash, seed and chop
Fresh Garlic     5 Cloves Minced
Dry White Wine 1 Cup 250 ml    
White Wine Vinegar 1 Cup 250 ml    
Balsamic Vinegar 2 Tbl 30 ml    
Sugar, Granulated 2 Tbl 30 ml    
Dried Basil 2 Tbl 30 ml    
Dried Oregano 2 Tbl 30 ml    
* Note: Although other tomato varieties may be used, firm plum tomatoes yield the best results. If using round garden-variety tomatoes, seed tomatoes and drain in colander for 30 minutes then chop.
Headspace: 1/2 “ (1.27 cm)
Processing Time:
20 minutes for altitude of 0 ft (0 m) to 1,000 ft (305 m)
25 minutes for altitude of 1,001 ft (305.1 m) to 3,000 ft (915 m)
30 minutes for altitude of 3,001 ft (916 m) to 6,000 ft (1,830 m)
35 minutes altitudes above 6,000 ft (1,831 m) to 8,000 ft (2,440 m)
1) Place 7 clean half-pint (250 ml) mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Heat lids in hot water, not boiling (180°F/82°C). Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use.
2) Wash, seed and chop tomatoes into 1/2 inch (1cm) pieces; measure 9 cups (2250 ml), set aside.
3) Combine garlic, white wine, wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, water, sugar, basil and oregano in a deep stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a full boil; reduce heat. Stirring occasionally, boil gently, covered, 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
4) Pack tomatoes into a hot jar to within 3/4 inch (2 cm) of top rim. Add hot liquid to cover tomatoes to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top rim (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more tomatoes and hot liquid. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining tomatoes and hot liquid.
Jar Tomatoes
Before Canning
5) When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process –boil filled jars – 20 minutes.
6) When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.
7) After cooling check jar seals. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.
Serving Suggestions:
With boiling water canning, very little oil is used since the oils can weaken the seals on the jar.
For the Bruschetta, olive oil and fresh herbs can be added before serving on top of toasted bread or as a condiment to a dish.
Bruchetta Up
Challenge Summary:
For this challenge, I wanted to pique your interest on the topic of food preservation. The subject may seem daunting, due to my long-winded and geeky explanations, however you will find the process of canning and freezing to be very simple.
I do recommend using tested, research based recipes for boiling water canning. There are many research based websites that offer a lot of information and tested recipes which make the whole food preservation process pretty straightforward.
Additional Information:
USDA Guide to Home Canning: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/publications_usda.html
For food preservation information, canning guides, recipes and how-to for various foods, I highly recommend The National Center for Home Food Preservation website. http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/index.html
Another website is Ball/Kerr/Bernadin (All owned by Jarden): http://www.homecanning.com/
I used the Canadian version of the website for recipes in metric units.
Approximate pH of Foods:
http://foodscience.caes.uga.edu/extension/documents/FDAapproximatepHoffoodslacf-phs.pdf
This pdf contains a larger list of references (WSU Extension C1117E): https://cru84.cahe.wsu.edu/ListItems.aspx?Keyword=C1117E
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THE DARING COOKS AUGUST 2010 CHALLENGE: THE WORLD OF PIEROGI!

Greetings Daring Cooks! The August Challenge is brought to you by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. This month, we will be exploring the wonderful world of pierogi, those versatile little dumplings, in name and fillings. Almost every culture has one on its menu. They can be made from potato or bread or, in our case, flour. Wikipedia provides a nice overview of various types of dumplings around the world.

Your challenge is to make the dough from scratch and a savory or sweet filling of your choice. Below are some traditional pierogi fillings. As an optional challenge, we would like to see non-traditional fillings that reflect your locale. It could be savoury or sweet. Let’s bust open pierogi and make them a true international dumpling!

Mandatory:
  • you have to make the dough from scratch (no ready made won ton wrapper etc. allowed!)
  • you have to make filling from scratch
Variations allowed:
  • you can choose your filling: be it sweet or savoury it’s your call!
Notes:
  • 99% of your dumplings will freeze well so don’t be worried and make more if you want, you can freeze them either before or after boiling (if freezing after boiling, boil them ‘al dente’ not like for immediate consumption)
  • when boiling pierogi from freezer put them straight into boiling, salted water - do not thaw them before or you’ll be left with one big ball of mixed dough and filling!
  • most of your boiled but already cold pierogi may be fried (in some cases it will actually make them taste better then only boiling)
  • it’s a good idea to make double batch of pierogi dough and a few kinds of fillings at the same time (saves a lot of work and you can serve dinner and dessert at the same time)
  • when boiling your pierogi try to boil each type of filling separately, sometimes your dumplings can fall apart and you really don’t want a mix of strawberries with bacon...
  • when sealing pierogi don’t allow any filling to go between the edges as it won’t seal properly and your pierogi will fall apart when boiling, you don’t have to seal the edges using water, egg whites etc. it should seal by itself very tight
  • if your dumplings stick to each other during boiling add a tablespoon of oil into the water
Blog-checking lines:
The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.
Posting Date: August 14, 2010

Download the printable. pdf file HERE

Equipment list:
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Scale
  • Knives, utensils
  • Bowls to mix ingredients
  • Pans, pots to cook fillings and pierogi
  • Pierogi forms (really not necessary, you can get them easily in Polish or ethnic shops, they are very(!) cheap and handy too) if you don’t have these forms don’t worry! your hands and a fork will do

Pierogi forms



Cottage Cheese Wareneki (pierogi)

Dough:
½ cup (125 ml) milk (can be whole milk, 2% or skim milk)
½ cup (125 ml) whipping cream
3 large egg whites
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
3 cups (450 gm) all-purpose flour
1. Mix flour and salt, add other ingredients, and knead dough until you have a smooth dough. (I kneaded this dough quite a bit, and it yielded a nice, pliable dough).
2. On a floured surface roll out fairly thin (1/8” or about 3 millimeters), cut into 2” (5 cm) squares, and fill with 1 tsp (5ml) cottage cheese filling (see below).

Filling:
Traditional
1 lb (455 g) dry cottage cheese (this is usually found beside the “wet” cottage cheese in the supermarket’s dairy aisle. If you can’t find it, please see below for how to proceed with the “wet” cottage cheese.)
3 large egg yolks
Salt to taste
1. Mix well all the ingredients for the filling.
2. Put 1 rounded teaspoon (5 ml) of the filling in each square, fold corners to form a triangle, seal edges well using your fingers or a fork
3. Cook in salted, boiling water for 5 minutes.
Boiled pierogi can also be fried after boiling for a nice crunchy dumpling.
If you can’t find dry cottage cheese, simply drain normal cottage cheese by nesting the cottage  in a few layers of cheese cloth or a fine sieve over a bowl.
Adapted from The Mennonite Cookbook

Sweet version of Warenki – cottage cheese and strawberries served with Greek yogurt


* You can very easy make a sweet version of Warenki - just add some fruits and sugar to the cheese filling and mix well together (strawberries or blueberries are great idea!).
Russian style pierogi (makes 4 generous servings, around 30 dumplings)
(Traditional Polish recipe, although each family will have their own version, this is Anula's family recipe)

Dough:
2 to 2 1/2 cups (300 to 375 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
About 1 cup (250 ml) lukewarm water

Filling:
3 big potatoes, cooked & mashed (1 1/2 cup instant or leftover mashed potatoes is fine too)
1 cup (225 g) cottage cheese, drained    
1 onion, diced & sauteed in butter until clear
3 slices of streaky bacon, diced and fried till crispy (you can add more bacon if you like or omit that part completely if you’re vegetarian)
1 egg yolk (from medium egg)
1 tablespoon (15 g) butter, melted    
1/4 (1.25 ml) teaspoon salt    
pinch of pepper to taste    
1. Combine all the ingredients for the filling (it’s best to use one’s hands to do that) put into the bowl, cover and set aside in the fridge until you have to use it.

2. Place 2 cups flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center. Break the egg into it, add the salt and a little lukewarm at a time (in my situation 1/2 cup was enough). Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary. Cover the dough with a bowl or towel. You’re aiming for soft dough. Let it rest 20 minutes.

3. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly (1/8” or about 3 millimeters) cut with a 2-inch (5 cm) round or glass (personally I used 4-inch/10 cm cutter as it makes nice size pierogi - this way I got around 30 of them and 1 full, heaped teaspoon of filling is perfect for that size). Spoon a portion (teaspoon will be the best) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with remaining dough.

Pierogi made using the form


Pierogi made by hand


4. Bring a large, low saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop in the pierogi, not too many, only single layer in the pan! Return to the boil and reduce heat. When the pierogi rise to the surface, continue to simmer a few minutes more ( usually about 5 minutes). Remove one dumpling with a slotted spoon and taste if ready. When satisfied, remove remaining pierogi from the water.

5. Serve immediately preferably with creme fraiche or fry. Cold pierogi can be fried.  Boiled Russian pierogi can be easily frozen and boiled taken out straight from the freezer.

Gluten-free pierogi recipe (from Recipezaar)

Other types of fillings:
Potato and cheese
4 – 5 boiled potatoes
4 table spoons butter (60 g) or olive oil (60 ml)
50 ml (3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) milk
1 egg white (from medium egg)
about 120 ml (½ cup) farmers’ cheese (any unripened cheese like Indian Paneer)
salt and pepper
Meat and cabbage
200 g (7 oz) cooked meat (minced or cut very finely)
500 g white cabbage (chopped and simmered in a little bit of water, until soft)
1 onion (diced and fried)
1 whole medium egg
1 tablespoon (15g) butter
dry breadcrumbs (add as much to hold the filling together, about 2 tablespoons)
salt and pepper
Soy bean filling
350 g soy beans (canned, drained and minced)
2 medium eggs
1 onion (diced and fired)
100 g (2/3 cup) dry breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
Sauerkraut filling
2 cups (500 g)  sauerkraut
1 big carrot, grated
1 shallot, chopped and fried with a tablespoon of butter
few (about 3) wild mushrooms (I used dry ones, you can use fresh but chop them and fry on some butter before adding to the sauerkraut cabbage)
salt, pepper and cumin
- Saute all the ingredients together until soft, cool before filling pierogi.
Sauerkraut pierogi

You can also fill pierogi with whole seasonal fruits for example- strawberries, blueberries, morels, grated apples etc. To prevent the fruits from ‘sogging’ just add a little bit of potato flour inside with the fruit and sweeten them after the boiling on the plate rather than putting sugar inside.
A little visual help:
Video: How to make varenyky / pierogi (Youtube)
Video: How to make pierogi (About.com)

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THE DARING COOKS JULY 2010 CHALLENGE: NUT BUTTERS


Hello Daring Cooks. The July Challenge is brought to you by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. We decided to go nuts and get creative with nut butters!
Nutrition research suggests that nuts are good for your health. Nut butters, or pureed nuts, make it easy to use nuts in cooking. Although peanut butter is a staple in North America, most popular as the star ingredient in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and beloved in peanut butter cookies and other sweets, it's seldom used in preparing savory dishes. Nut butters -- including not only peanut butter but almond, cashew, and walnut butters -- are common ingredients in many Asian and African countries, used in a wide array of savory dishes. Nut butters add complex & interesting flavors to dishes, provide body & thickness to sauces, and can be used to replace the dairy fats or other oils in recipes.

What exactly is the July challenge? The challenge is make a fresh nut butter and to use it in one savory recipe (i.e., not a sweet dessert). You choose the type of nut (e.g., peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, etc.). Then puree the nuts into a paste or butter. (Instructions for making nut butters are provided below.) Then use your fresh homemade nut butter in at least one savory recipe. The nut butter challenge was inspired by the article “Better with Nut Butter” by Kathy Baruffi in Cooking Light magazine.
In addition to instructions for making nut butters, we have provided 4 challenge recipes from which to choose: Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms, Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew Dressing, Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce, and Walnut Walnut White Bean Dip with Rosemary & Sage.
What about dessert? We chose to focus on using nut butters in savory recipes, but we know nut butters make fabulous sweet treats. An extra but optional challenge this month is to use a homemade nut butter in a sweet recipe. The type of nut and the recipe is up to you. Can’t wait to see the results!

Recipes Sources:

Homemade Nut Butters (including almond, cashew, hazelnut, macadamia, peanut, pecan, pistachio, & walnut): adapted from Better with Nut Butter article from Cooking Light magazine online
Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms: adapted from Cooking Light, October 2002
Asian Noodle Salad: adapted from Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce from Cooking Light, October 2002
Asian Cashew Dressing: adapted from “Chinese Peanut Dressing” recipe (p. 22) in Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds
Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce: adapted from Butter Chicken recipe at Food Network online
Walnut & White Bean Dip with Rosemary & Sage adapted from Cooking Light, August 2007
Blog-checking lines:
The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.
Posting Date: July 14, 2010

Download the printable. pdf file HERE

Notes:
  • We had best results making nut butters in a food processor rather than a blender. My basic two-speed, household blender worked fine for soft nuts like pecans and walnuts, but was unable to blend harder nuts like almonds & macadamias. Unless you have one of those high-powered blenders guaranteed to puree almost anything, we recommend using a food processor.
  • The four challenge recipes include instructions for making the appropriate amount of nut butter for the particular recipe. If you made the nut butter in advance, substitute the appropriate volume of nut butter for the nuts.
  • The yield of nut butter is about half the original volume of nuts. If you start with 1 cup (240 ml) nuts, you’ll get about ½ cup (120 ml) nut butter.
  • We have provided recipes for unsweetened nut butters since the challenge is to use the nut butter in a savory recipe. You may sweeten the nut butters as desired for use as a spread or in dessert recipes.
  • Despite the name, there is no dairy butter in nut butters. They are essentially pureed nuts, also called nut pastes.
  • To use nut butters in sauces as a substitute for heavy cream, first make a nut cream. Whisk the nut butter with about twice the volume of water, adding more water until you reach your desired consistency. For example, start with ¼ cup (60 ml) nut butter with ½ cup (120 ml) water; add more water as needed.
Simple Suggestions for Using Nut Butters:
  • sauce for grilled meat or fish
  • topping for pancakes or French toast
  • dip with apples or celery
  • spread for toast or sandwiches
HOMEMADE NUT BUTTERS

  • The process for making various types of nut butters is essentially the same. Pour nuts into bowl of food processor. Grind the nuts in the processor until they form a paste or butter. The nuts first turn into powdery or grainy bits, then start to clump and pull away from the side of the bowl, and finally form a paste or butter. The total time required depends on the fat and moisture content of the nuts; grinding time will vary from roughly 1 to 4 minutes (assuming a starting volume of 1 to 2 cups [240 to 480 ml] nuts). Processing times for a variety of nuts are described below.
  • You may add oil as desired during grinding to make the nut butter smoother and creamier or to facilitate grinding. Add oil in small increments, by the teaspoon for oily nuts like cashews or by the tablespoon for dryer/harder nuts like almonds. You may use the corresponding nut oil or a neutral vegetable oil like canola.
  • The inclusion of salt in the nut butters is optional and to taste. If you make nut butters from salted nuts, peanuts or cashews for example, you will not need additional salt. We recommend making unsalted nut butters for use in the challenge recipes (and other savory recipes) since the recipes call for salt or salty ingredients. You can then adjust the salt to taste. If you are making nut butter for use as a spread, you should add salt according to your preference.
  • Roasting the nuts before making nut butters is optional according to your preference. To roast nuts in the oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4). Spread nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until nuts are fragrant and a shade darker in color. Allow nuts to cool before grinding. Roasted nuts will make butter with darker color than raw nuts.
  • It’s helpful to keep in mind that the yield of nut butter is about half the original volume of nuts. If you start with 1 cup nuts, you’ll get about ½ cup nut butter.
  • The consistency of nut butters varies from thin & soft (almost pourable) to very thick and hard depending on the fat content of the nut. (See links below for nutrition info on variety of nuts.) Homemade nut butters will probably not be as smooth as commercial products.
  • Homemade nut butters are more perishable than commercial products and should be stored in the refrigerator. The nut butters harden & thicken somewhat upon chilling.
  • See links at bottom of post for additional information about making nut butters at home.
What variations are allowed:
  • We tested the challenge recipes below with particular types of nut butters as indicated in the ingredient list. You are free to experiment with other types of nuts. For example, you may want to substitute walnut butter in the Chicken with Pecan Cream and Mushrooms. You may also substitute the chicken or shrimp in the challenge recipes with your protein of choice.
  • If you are unable to eat nuts due to allergies or other dietary restrictions, we suggest you consider making a seed butter (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, etc) and use it in a savory recipe of your choice. Making seed butters is very similar to making nut butters. We have provided links at the bottom of this post with information on seed butters and recipes. You’re also welcome to use other alternates as discussed in next bullet point.
  • If you are unable to eat nuts or seeds, you might consider making a fruit butter and then using it in a sweet or savory recipe. (Fruit butters are fruit cooked to form a paste, see links at bottom of post for recipes.) We are also open to other ideas for those with allergies or food restrictions. For example, pureed beans or pureed roasted vegetables could be used in a variety of savory soups, stews, or sauces.
  • If you do not own a food processor or high-powered blender to make your own nut butter, you may complete the challenge with store-bought nut butter.
  • Vegans, vegetarians, and those with food restrictions may substitute accordingly in the challenge recipes.
Preparation time:
  • Homemade Nut Butters: 10 minutes (optional) roasting, 5 minutes preparation
  • Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms: approximately 30 minutes
  • Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew Dressing: approximately 30 minutes
  • Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce: approximately 30 minutes
  • Walnut White Bean Dip with Rosemary & Sage: approximately 10 minutes
Approximate Processing Times in Food Processor for Nut Butters:
  • Almonds: form a thick butter in about 2 to 3 minutes for slivered almonds, or 3 to 4 minutes for whole almonds; the skin of whole almonds will leave dark flecks in the butter
  • Cashews: form a smooth, spreadable butter after about 2 minutes of processing
  • Hazelnuts: form a firm, thick, and grainy butter in about 2 to 3 minutes; to remove the skin from whole hazelnuts, roast in a 400 degree F oven (200 degrees C/Gas Mark 6) for about 5 minutes or till skins loosen, then rub hazelnuts in a clean dishtowel to remove some of the skin; the remaining skin will leave dark flecks in the butter
  • Macadamias: form a soft and smooth butter in about 2 minutes
  • Peanuts: form a thick, grainy butter in about 2 or 3 minutes
  • Pecans: form a very soft, oily, pourable butter in 1 or 2 minutes; the skins give pecan butter a slightly tannic and bitter flavor
  • Walnuts: form a very soft, oily, pourable butter in 1 or 2 minutes; the skins give walnut butter a slightly tannic and bitter flavor
  • Pistachios: According to the Nut Butter Primer from Cooking Light, pistachio butter is dry and crumbly with a tendency to clump during processing; they recommend combining it with softened cream cheese for easy spreading and report a processing time of 3.5 to 4 minutes. Please note, we did not test pistachio butter.
Equipment required:
  • Food processor or high-powered blender
  • Rubber spatula
  • Large non-stick frying pan
  • Sauce pan, stock-pot, or Dutch oven for cooking noodles
  • Strainer
  • Baking sheet or roasting pan for oven-roasting nuts
  • Assorted mixing bowls
  • Assorted plates
  • Tongs or spatula
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoons
  • Cutting board
  • Kitchen knife


Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms
Yield: 4 servings
Recipe notes: Substitute your favorite pasta or rice in place of the egg noodles. Use fresh rosemary or parsley in place of thyme if you prefer.

Ingredients:
Pecan Cream:
3/4 cup (180 ml) coarsely chopped pecans*, toasted
1 cup (240 ml) water
¾ teaspoon (3 ml) salt, more as needed
½ pound (225 g) egg noodles or pasta
4 (6-ounce / 170 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil, more as needed
Salt & pepper to taste

Sauce:
1 tablespoon (15 ml) deglazing liquid (water, broth, wine; optional)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil, more as needed
1/4 cup (60 ml) finely chopped shallots
½ pound (225 g) mushrooms, sliced
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) fresh thyme leaves
Chopped pecans, (optional garnish)

Directions:
  1. Prepare pecan cream. Grind pecans in a food processor for about a minute or so until smooth, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Add water and 3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) salt; process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Set aside pecan cream. (*If starting with prepared pecan butter, blend ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons (90 ml) pecan butter with the water and salt until smooth.)
  2. Cook noodles according to package instructions in salted water. Drain, rinse, and keep warm.
  3. If desired, pound chicken to ¼ inch (6 mm) thickness to promote even cooking. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken; sauté 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Cook the chicken in 2 batches, adding more oil if needed for second batch. Set aside cooked chicken on a clean plate, cover to keep warm.
  4. Add deglazing liquid to pan if using and stir up any browned bits. If needed, add another teaspoon (5 ml) of oil (or more) to pan for sautéing the shallots and mushrooms. Sauté the shallots and mushrooms over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and starting to brown. Add fresh thyme to the pan. Stir in pecan cream; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 minutes till reduced slightly.
  5. Slice chicken into thin strips. Divide the noodles among serving plates. Add a scoop of the mushroom pecan sauce on top of noodles. Lay sliced chicken on top. Garnish with fresh thyme and/or a pinch of chopped pecans if desired.


Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew (or Peanut) Dressing
Yield: 4 servings
Recipe notes: Customize the salad by adding or substituting your favorite vegetables. Shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, and slivered carrots would make nice additions. Obviously, you can omit the shrimp, or substitute chicken or tofu or the protein of your choice. The dressing is equally as good with peanut butter rather than cashew butter. We tested the dressing with nut butters made from salted cashews & peanuts with good results.

Ingredients:
Cashew Butter:
1 cup (240 ml) cashews*

Cashew Dressing:
½ inch (1 cm) slice of fresh ginger, chopped
8 cloves garlic, more or less to taste, chopped
½ cup (120 ml) cashew butter
¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) sugar
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) vinegar
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) toasted sesame oil
¼ cup plus 1 Tablespoon (75 ml) water
Hot sauce to taste (optional)

Noodle Salad:
1/2 pound (225 g) linguine or thin rice noodles
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1/2 pound (225 g) small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 large red bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into thin strips
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, sliced
1/4 cup (60 ml) sliced green onions
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped cashews (optional garnish)
Lime wedges (optional)

Directions:
  1. Make cashew butter: Grind cashews in food processor for about 2 minutes until smooth. (*Or start with ½ cup (120 ml) prepared cashew butter.)
  2. Prepare cashew dressing: Combine ginger, garlic, cashew butter, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and water in food processor or blender. Process/blend until smooth. Be sure to process long enough to puree the ginger and garlic. The dressing should be pourable, about the same thickness as cream. Adjust consistency – thinner or thicker -- to your liking by adding more water or cashew butter. Taste and add your favorite hot sauce if desired. (If the cashew butter was unsalted, you may want to add salt to taste.) Makes about 1 ½ cups (360 ml) dressing. Store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator.
  3. Prepare noodles according to package instructions in salted water. Rinse and drain noodles. Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add shrimp to the pan and sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes or until opaque throughout. Alternately, cook shrimp in boiling water for about 2 to 3 minutes or until done.
  5. Slice basil into thin ribbons. Combine noodles, bell pepper, cucumber, onions, and basil in a large bowl. Add about ½ cup (120 ml) cashew dressing; toss gently to coat. Add more cashew dressing as desired, using as much or as little as you’d like. Scatter shrimp on top. Squeeze fresh lime juice over salad or serve with lime wedges. Sprinkle with chopped cashews if desired.


Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce
Yield: 4 servings
Recipe notes: Substitute the protein of your choice for the chicken. This is a smooth sauce, so the onion is removed before serving. If you prefer, dice the onion and leave it in the sauce or substitute a bit of onion powder.
Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
4 (6 oz / 170 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt to taste

Spice Blend:
1.5 tablespoons (20 ml) garam masala seasoning
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper

Sauce:
4 tablespoons (60 ml) butter
1 large onion, cut in half pole to pole
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce/425 g) can tomato sauce
⅓ cup (80 ml) almond butter
⅓ cup (80 ml) milk
½ to ¾ cup (120 to 180 ml) chicken broth or water, more as needed
1 cup (240 ml) frozen peas (optional)
Hot basmati rice for serving
Chopped parsley (optional garnish)
Sliced almonds (optional garnish)

Directions:
  1. Cook the chicken. If desired, pound chicken to ¼ inch (6 mm) thickness to promote even cooking. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken; sauté 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Cook the chicken in 2 batches, adding more oil if needed for second batch. Dice chicken into bite-sized pieces; set aside on clean plate and keep warm.
  2. Prepare spice blend. Stir garam masala, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for several minutes to infuse the butter with onion flavor. Keep the heat low to avoid burning the butter; a little color is fine. Add the spice blend and garlic and cook for 1 minute or till fragrant, stirring constantly. Add the tomato sauce, stir well, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Whisk in almond butter and milk until thoroughly combined with tomato sauce. The almond butter is thick so it takes a while to make a smooth sauce. Return to simmer. Add broth (or water) to sauce to reach desired consistency; return to simmer. Add more broth (or water) as needed to thin sauce as desired.
  4. Remove onion from sauce and discard. Stir frozen peas (if using) into sauce. Transfer sliced chicken to sauce. Simmer gently for a few minutes until peas and chicken are heated through.
  5. Serve chicken and sauce over rice. Garnish with chopped parsley and/or sliced almonds if desired.


Walnut White Bean Dip with Rosemary & Sage
Recipe notes: Canned beans tend to be salty, so you may not need additional salt. Taste the dip after blending and add salt as needed.

Ingredients:
½ cup (120 ml) walnuts*
1 (15.8 oz/448g) can Great Northern, Cannellini, or other white beans, drained and rinsed 1 garlic clove, chopped 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh rosemary, chopped
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh sage, chopped
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) lemon zest (optional) ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper salt to taste

Directions:
  1. Make walnut butter by grinding ½ cup (120 ml) walnuts in food processor for about a minute until it forms a nut butter or paste. (*Alternately, start with ¼ cup (60 ml) prepared walnut butter.) Add beans, garlic, lemon juice, rosemary, sage, lemon zest (if using), and black pepper to the walnut butter in the food processor. Process the mixture to a smooth consistency. Taste and add salt as desired. Garnish dip with chopped walnuts and/or chopped fresh rosemary or sage, if desired. Serve dip with pita wedges, crostini, or assorted vegetables.
Additional Information:
  • Click here for a summary of nut nutrition from the University of Nebraska extension. Scroll down the page for a helpful chart comparing nutrition facts for both peanuts and tree nuts.
  • Click here for a detailed table of nutrition facts for a variety of tree nuts from the International Tree Nut Council. Click here for a detailed table of nutrition facts for dry roasted peanuts from The Peanut Institute.
  • Here’s a helpful video on making peanut butter at home in a food processor.
  • Here’s a helpful video on making macadamia nut butter at home in a food processor.
  • We tested this recipe for homemade toasted sesame seed butter (or Tahini) from this website featuring Middle Eastern cuisine. It was definitely not as smooth as commercial Tahini, but tasted fresh and intensely nutty. If you’re looking for a good recipe in which to use your homemade Tahini, we recommend Mollie Katzen’s recipe for Tahini Lemon Sauce.
  • Click here for a recipe for sunflower seed butter from Gourmet Sleuth online. Please note, we did not test this recipe.
  • If you are interested in fruit butters, check out the Pear Butter and Apple Butter recipes at the Simply Recipes food blog.
  • For inspiration on cooking with nut and seed butters, check out these recipes from Futters Nut Butters, a company that sells a variety of jarred nut and seed butters.
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THE DARING COOKS JUNE 2010 CHALLENGE: PATES and BREAD

Hi guys! This is Valerie, from The Chocolate Bunny, and Evelyne, from Cheap Ethnic Eatz! We are so thrilled to be hosting the Daring Cooks June Challenge!
We brainstormed for a while before agreeing on what to throw at you guys. We wanted something suitable for June – so nothing too heavy, or too heat-intensive (for the North Hemisphere at least). In the end, we decided that this month’s challenge would be: pâté. It’s incredibly versatile, it has the potential to be beautifully presented, and it’s perfect for summer (think picnics in the park).
Now, we (well, one of us, at least, can you guess which?) had a bit of an existential crisis about what does and does not constitute a pâté. And we’re actually still not sure. Because, while looking through recipes and cookbooks, we also came across the term “terrine” quite a lot, and in a lot of cases, the two words appeared to be interchangeable. Technically, a terrine is a baking recipient, usually ceramic or porcelain, with a lid – but it can also refer to the contents of the recipient. And some of the pâtés we looked at were designed to be unmolded onto a dish and then sliced, while others were meant to be left in the jar or baking dish they were prepared in, and merely used as a spread. It also didn’t help that both of us, being bilingual, looked at recipes in French and English, and that the actual definitions might differ from one language to another!

Traditionally, pâté is meat-based, and often includes liver, or gizzards, or other potentially icky animal parts. But, because we realize that not everyone likes that kind of pâté, we have also included recipes for fish pâté, and vegetable pâté. However, if you know that you enjoy liver pâté, but are a little squeamish about cooking with liver, we urge you to give it a try: after making these, neither of us will ever buy meat-based pâté ever again! Having said that, the meatless pâtés are also very tasty.
Now, since pâté is rarely eaten alone, we are adding a second part to this challenge: you will have to make a bread, to go with your pâté. We’ve included a really good recipe for French baguette. However, because baguette is quite time-consuming to make, and because we know that the Daring Bakers have already made baguette a while ago, we’re also giving you a quicker recipe for a sandwich loaf, which you can also choose to make as little rolls, with white or whole wheat flour. But really, we’re giving you free range for the bread part of the challenge: if there’s a daring bread recipe you’ve been dying to try, and you think it would go well with your pâté, go for it!
One final note from Valerie: I will be away on travel during most of the challenge period. I will do my best to check in on the forum as often as possible, but I realize that my response may be slower than some of you may like. If you have any pressing questions regarding the Chicken Liver Pâté, the Trout and Shrimp Terrine, or the Sandwich Loaf (the recipes I tested), feel free to email me at chipie.chocolat AT gmail DOT com . It might get you a quicker answer.
Evelyne: Can I come with you on your trip Valerie?
Valerie: Sorry, Evelyne, we need someone to hold the fort and check the forum while I’m gone… OK, enough chit-chat, onto the recipes!
Recipe Sources:
- Three Spice Liver Pâté: adapted from Ravenous Couple, which was inspired by White on Rice Couple.
- Chicken Liver Pâté: slightly adapted from Stéphane Reynaud’s Terrine
- Tricolor Vegetable Pâté: from Bon Appétit Oct 1993 on Epicurious
- Trout and Shrimp Pâté: unknown (handed down to Valerie from someone, who got it from someone else, etc.)
- French Baguette: from King Arthur Flour
- Sandwich Loaf: translated from Josée Fiset and Éric Blais’s Pain (“pain” means “bread” in French – no physical suffering involved here!)
Blog-checking lines: Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.
Posting Date: June 14, 2010
Notes:
- For all pâtés: We have each worked with various sizes and shapes of baking pans. We have indicated the size of the pans we used, but feel free to adapt the quantities to the bake ware you have on hand.
- After baking the Three Spice Liver Pâté, Chicken Liver Pâté and the Trout and Shrimp Pâté, when taken out of the oven they had all shrunk slightly, and they were swimming in liquid fat. The longer you allow the pâtés to cool, the more the juices will get soaked in the pâté. When removing from the mold, drain the excess fat. You can also drain some of the fat before unmolding, but keeping mind your pâté may be a littler drier.
- Chicken Liver Pâté and Trout Pâté: These recipes involve flambéing ingredients with alcohol. This actually adds a lot of flavor to the dish. However, if you do not wish to consume alcohol, or if you are uncomfortable with flambéing, you can omit this step. IMPORTANT PRECAUTION: When flambéing, make sure to always keep an airtight lid within your reach, in case you need to put out the flames quickly.
- Tricolor Vegetable Pâté: Refrigerate as long as possible, min 8 hours. Freeze it 30 min before unmolding.
- French Baguette: Use the lesser amount of water in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust.
- Sandwich Loaf: We only made the whole wheat version of this bread, and the little rolls where tested, rather than two large loaves. However, they were perhaps a little heavy. If you want to make the whole wheat version, but prefer soft, light bread, you may want to use half white flour and half whole wheat (or use a two-to-one ratio, it’s really your choice). You can also halve the recipe and just make one loaf.
- What to serve your pâtés with, besides the bread? How about some pickles, cheeses, grapes, or an onion confit. Let your imaginations go wild!
Variations allowed: You may choose from any of the recipes below for the pâtés. We have included a chicken liver, fish/seafood, pork and vegetarian recipe. I believe they are all gluten free (correct me if I am wrong). The pork one is dairy-free. Vegans and those with food restrictions can find a substitute recipe as the vegetarian one has cheese. For the bread, you can choose any recipe you like if you do not want to make the French Baguette or the Sandwich Loaf.
Mandatory:
-You must prepare one pâté recipe listed below (exceptions are allowed for participants with food restrictions, and vegans may choose their own substitutions) and one bread recipe of your choice.
- Your pâté has to 1) be baked or refrigerated (or both) for a significant amount of time, so that 2) you have to be able to unmold it onto a serving dish. This is to avoid the possibility of someone puréeing a bunch of vegetables, putting the mixture in a jar, and calling it “vegetable pâté”: that is not a pâté, that is a spread.
Preparation time:
Tricolor Vegetable Pâté: 35 minutes preparation, 8+ hours refrigerating
Three Spice Liver Pâté: 40 minutes preparation, 1 to 1.5 hours cooking
Trout and Shrimp Pâté: 20 minutes preparation, 35 minutes cooking, 30-60 minutes cooling
Chicken Liver Pâté: 40 minutes preparation, 2.5 hours cooking, at least 1 hour of refrigeration
French Baguette: 40 minutes preparation, 19 hours resting, 30 minutes cooking
Sandwich Loaf: 30 minutes preparation, 3 hours resting, 40 minutes cooking (25 if making rolls)
Equipment required:
Food processor or hand blender
Mixing bowls
Small Baking pan or terrine dish or loaf pan
Large Baking pan
Baking sheet
Kitchen knife
Frying pan (with a lid, if flambéing)
Wooden spoon
Masher
Plastic wrap
Parchment paper
Whisk
Bread machine, optional

Download a printable .pdf copy of this challenge HERE

Recipes:
Three Spice Liver Pâté
Yields one 25 by 12,5 cm (10 by 5 inch) terrine or loaf pan
1 lb / 454 grams pork liver (or beef or combination)
1/2 lb / 227 grams ground pork
1/2 lb / 227 grams pork fat (or pork belly)
2 cloves garlic
2 shallots
1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp / 2 ml cinnamon
1/2 tsp / 2 ml coriander (ground or crushed)
1/2 tsp / 2 ml cumin
3/4 tsp / 3 ml salt
1 tbps / 15 ml coarse freshly cracked peppercorns
2 tbps / 30 ml cognac
2 bay leaves
1 package of bacon

Preheat oven to to 350ºF (180ºC).
Cut liver and pork fat into small pieces and add to food processor. Add ground pork, garlic, shallots, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Grind until smooth.
In mixing bowl, incorporate the meat and liver mixture with the cognac and eggs.
Line bottom of baking or ceramic pan with overlapping pieces of bacon. Place a bay leaf on the bottom and then fill with meat/liver mixture. Cover top with another bay leaf and then overlapping pieces of bacon.
Place in oven in the larger baking pan and add enough water to cover 2/3rds of the pan containing the meat/liver mixture. Bake for about 1-1.5 hrs.
The pâté will contract and the juices will be on the bottom. Allow to cool and soak up the juices. Remove any excess bacon and discard the bay leaves.

Chicken Liver Terrine
Yields one 25 by 12,5 cm (10 by 5 inch) terrine or loaf pan
1 tbsp duck fat, or butter
2 onions, coarsely chopped
300g (11 oz) chicken livers, trimmed
3 tbsp brandy, or any other liqueur (optional)
100g (3 1/2 oz, 1/2 cup) smoked bacon, diced
300g (11 oz) boneless pork belly, coarsely ground
200g (7 oz) boneless pork blade (shoulder), coarsely ground (or ground pork see note below)
2 shallots, chopped
1 tsp quatre-épices (or 1/4tsp each of ground pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger is close enough)
2 eggs
200 ml (7 fl oz, 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) heavy cream
2 fresh thyme sprigs, chopped
Salt and pepper
NOTE: If you cannot find ground pork belly or blade, buy it whole, cut it into chunks, and pulse in the food processor. You can also replace the pork blade with regular ground pork.
Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF, Gas Mark 6).
Melt the fat or butter in a heavy frying pan over low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the chicken livers and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until browned but still slightly pink on the inside.
Remove the pan from heat. Pour in the brandy, light a match and carefully ignite the alcohol to flambé. Wait for the flames to go out on their own, carefully tilting the pan to ensure even flavoring. Set aside.
Put the minced pork belly and blade in a food processor, then add the onion-liver mixture and the chopped shallots, and pulse until you obtain a homogenous mixture – make sure not to reduce it to a slurry.
Transfer to a bowl, and gradually stir in the chopped bacon, quatre-épices, cream, eggs, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Spoon the mixture into a terrine or loaf pan, and cover with the terrine lid or with aluminum foil.
Prepare a water bath: place the loaf pan in a larger, deep ovenproof dish (such as a brownie pan or a baking dish). Bring some water to a simmer and carefully pour it in the larger dish. The water should reach approximately halfway up the loaf pan.
Put the water bath and the loaf pan in the oven, and bake for 2 hours. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes. The terrine should be cooked through, and you should be able to slice into it with a knife and leave a mark, but it shouldn’t be too dry. Refrigerate, as this pâté needs to be served cold. Unmold onto a serving platter, cut into slices, and serve with bread.
NOTE: This pâté freezes well. Divide it into manageable portions, wrap tightly in plastic film, put in a freezer Ziploc bag, and freeze. Defrost overnight in the fridge before eating.

Tricolor Vegetable Pâté
Yields one 25 by 12,5 cm (10 by 5 inch) terrine or loaf pan
Line your pan with plastic wrap, overlapping sides.

White Bean Layer

2 x 15-ounce / 900 ml cans cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained thoroughly
1 tbsp / 15 ml fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp / 15 ml olive oil
1 tbsp / 15 ml minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
2 garlic cloves, pressed
Mash beans in large bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and garlic and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread bean mixture evenly on bottom of prepared pan.
Red Pepper Layer
7-ounce / 210 ml jar roasted red bell peppers, drained, chopped
3/4 cup / 180 ml crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
Combine peppers and feta in processor and blend until smooth. Spread pepper mixture evenly over bean layer in prepared dish.
Pesto Layer
2 garlic cloves
1 cup / 240 ml fresh basil leaves
1 cup / 240 ml fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup / 60 ml toasted pine nuts
3 tbsp / 45 ml olive oil
1/2 cup / 120 ml low-fat ricotta cheese
Mince garlic in processor. Add basil, parsley and pine nuts and mince. With machine running, gradually add oil through feed tube and process until smooth. Mix in ricotta. Spread pesto evenly over red pepper layer.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To unmold, invert pâté onto serving platter. Peel off plastic wrap from pâté. Garnish with herb sprigs and serve with sourdough bread slices.

Trout and Shrimp Pâté
Yields one 6x3 inch (15x7,5 cm) terrine or loaf pan
1 tbsp / 15 ml butter
1/4 lb / 4 oz / 120g medium raw shrimp, deveined, shelled and tailed (about 12 medium shrimp)
1/8 cup / 30ml Grand Marnier (or cognac, or another strong liqueur of your choice) (optional)
1/2 lb / 8 oz / 240g trout filet, skinned and cut into thick chunks
1/4 lb / 4 oz / 110g raw shrimp, deveined, shelled and tailed (any size)
3/4 cup / 180ml heavy cream
Salt, to taste
Green peppercorn, coarsely ground, to taste
Chives, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
In a heavy, flameproof frying pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Sauté the 1/4 pound of medium shrimp, stirring often, until pink and cooked through. Remove the pan from heat. (NOTE: These shrimp will be used to form layers within your pâté. If you feel they are too thick – like the ones in the photograph, you might want to slice them in half lengthwise.)
Pour the Grand Marnier over the cooked shrimp. Light a match and carefully ignite the alcohol, to flambé the shrimp. Wait for the flames to go out on their own, carefully tilting the pan to ensure even flavoring. Set aside.
Put the trout and the remaining raw shrimp in a food processor and pulse. Gradually pour in the cream and keep pulsing until you obtain a smooth mixture that is easy to spread, but not too liquid (you may not need to use all the cream). Season with salt and green pepper.
Butter a 6x3 inch (15x7,5 cm) loaf pan or terrine, then line it with parchment paper. Spoon in half the trout mixture, and spread it evenly. Place the flambéed shrimp on top, in an even layer, reserving 3 or 4 shrimp for decorating. Top with the remaining trout mixture.
Prepare a water bath: place the loaf pan in a larger, deep ovenproof dish (such as a brownie pan or a baking dish). Bring some water to a simmer and carefully pour it in the larger dish. The water should reach approximately halfway up the loaf pan.
Put the water bath and terrine in the oven, and bake for 35 minutes. The pâté should be cooked through and firm in the center.
Remove the pan from the water bath and let cool. Carefully unmold onto a serving platter. Decorate with the reserved shrimp, and sprinkle with chopped chives. Cut into thick slices and serve at room temperature, with crusty bread.


French Baguette
yield: Three 16" baguettes
Starter
1/2 cup / 120 ml cool water
1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup / 240 ml flour
Dough
1 tsp / 5 ml active dry yeast
1 cup to 1 1/4 cups / 240 ml to 300 ml lukewarm water*
all of the starter
3 1/2 cups / 840 ml flour
1 1/2 tsp / 7 ml salt
*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.
Make the starter by mixing the yeast with the water, then mixing in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight works well. The starter should have risen and become bubbly.
Mix active dry yeast with the water and then combine with the starter, flour, and salt. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. Knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2 of a stand mixer.
Place the dough in a lightly greased medium-size bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and then again after 2 hours.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rest for 15 minutes.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again. With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15" log. Place the logs seam-side down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined sheet pan or pans.
Cover them with a cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise till they've become very puffy, about 1 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450ºF (240ºC).
Using a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three 8" vertical slashes in each baguette. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust.
Bake the baguettes until they're a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2", and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven.


Sandwich Loaf
Yields two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch (21 x 12 x 6 cm) loaves, or 18 individual rolls
For the white version
3 tsp (15 ml) active dry yeast
2 2/3 cups (600 ml) whole milk (3.25 per cent fat), warmed to a temperature of 97ºF (36ºF)
2 1/2 tsp (12.5 ml) salt
2 tsp (10 ml) butter, melted
5 1/3 cups (750g) unbleached white bread flour, + 1/2 cup (75g), for working the dough
2 tbsp (30 ml) butter, for the loaf pan
For the whole wheat version
Use the same amount of whole wheat flour, and add 1/3 cup (80 ml) of milk
To make loaves
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast and warm milk, and whisk to dissolve. Whisk in the salt and the melted butter.
Gradually sprinkle in the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the dough becomes too thick to stir, knead it with your hands, for about 5 minutes, until you obtain a smooth, homogenous dough that is soft and a little sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.
Knead the dough 20 strokes (still in the bowl), cover again, and let rest for 1.5 hour.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and divide in two. Form each half into a slightly oval ball. Butter your two loaf pans and transfer the dough to the pans. Cover lightly and let rise in a draft-free area for 60 minutes, or until doubled in volume.
Fill a large baking pan with hot water (simmering is fine) and place in the oven. Preheat oven to 450ºF (240ºC).
Put the loaves in then oven and bake for 10 minutes. Do not open the oven door during this time. After 10 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 400ºF (200ºC) and continue baking for about 25 minutes, or until the loaves are nicely golden. Unmold and let cool on a rack.
To make individual rolls
Go through the same process as for making the loaves, up until it is time to shape the loaves. Divide the dough into 18 sections, shape each section into a ball, and dust with flour. Butter part of two muffin tins (only butter 18 cavities), and transfer the balls of dough into the cavities.
Cover loosely and let rise in a draft-free area for 45 minutes.
Fill a large baking pan with hot water (simmering is fine) and place in the oven. Preheat oven to 425ºF (225ºC).
Put the loaves in then oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the rolls are nicely golden. Let cool on a rack.

Additional Information:
Recipes:
Vegan Nutty pâté
Vegan Mushroom Pâté
Gluten-free French Baguettes
Videos:
Liver pâté preparation
Shaping the French Baguette
Art and History of the French Baguette
Bread Rolls

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THE DARING COOKS MAY, 2010 CHALLENGE: STACKED GREEN CHILE & GRILLED CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

Introduction: Welcome, Daring Cooks! Your hosts this month are Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food. May's Daring Cooks Challenge is to create a Mexican dish worthy of a Cinco de Mayo celebration using a homemade enchilada sauce. We've chosen a Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe using tomatillos. We recognize that some of you may not have access to fresh or canned tomatillos, or you may have already mastered a tomatillo sauce, so feel free to make any homemade Mexican style sauce that will challenge you.
We have included a recipe for corn tortillas and links to recipes and videos for making corn and flour tortillas. Making tortillas is optional. You are welcome to use any tortilla recipe you'd like, or use your favorite store bought tortillas. Making a homemade Mexican style enchilada sauce is mandatory.
Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the U.S. seem to get bigger and better each year. We don't know if that's because of the increasing Mexican-American population in the U.S. or if it's just a great excuse to have a fiesta with fabulous Mexican food. Either way we hope you'll join us in a little Mexican fiesta for May's Daring Cooks Challenge.

Recipe Source:
Fine Cooking, Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchiladas, Green Chile Sauce
Blog-checking lines: Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on www.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh.
Posting Date: May 14, 2010
Notes:
1. Roasting the Anaheim chiles is a critical part of the Green Chile sauce. More information about how to do this is included below, but please resist the temptation to rinse the chiles to remove the skin or seeds. You will lose lots of flavor if you do this!!
2. If using a broiler to roast the chiles, lining the broiler pan or baking sheet with foil greatly simplifies the clean-up process!
3. You may want to consider using gloves when peeling and removing seeds from the chiles. I keep a set of gloves in the kitchen for just that purpose. All it takes is one hand to the eye or nose for a lot of pain to set in!
Variations allowed:
If you have already mastered a chile-tomatillo enchilada sauce or would rather try something else, feel free to make any homemade Mexican-style sauce that will make you feel daring, whether it is a complex mole sauce, a tomato-based sauce or simply uses ingredients that you have readily available in your area. For ideas, see the links below.
Instead of chicken you are free to use any pork, beef, bean or vegetable filling you'd like. If you don’t have access to ready-made tortillas and don’t want to make them, you can use other kinds of wraps (dosas? savory crepes?) or omit them and just do the filling and sauce.
Thanks to Natalia in Rome, Kris in Thailand, and Audax in Australia, we recognize that some of you may not have access to fresh or canned tomatillos. Audax has offered the following alternatives to tomatillos:
I've done some research on substitutes for tomatillos and came up with green gooseberries (which you can easily get in Australia and New Zealand) which look and taste very similar to tomatillos but gooseberries can be tarter than tomatillos so use only 3/4 of the recipe amount or add some sugar. A number of recipe sites in Australia mentioned this substitute and they stated it was a good sub for tomatillos.
I just got a phone call back from a mate of mine who does a lot of Tex-Mex cooking he suggests green tomatoes with tamarind paste (1 kg tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste) which he says is the best sub he has found - the tamarind paste is very tart and adds that unique taste. Also he says that green tomatoes with equal amounts of lime juice and prune juice (no added sugar) is better than lime juice alone.
Be sure to season your filling if you are not using boneless, skinless grilled chicken. While the sauce is flavorful, the chicken or other filling you use should be seasoned if you are not using boneless, skinless grilled chicken.
Preparation time: Below are the approximate prep times for each step of the process. The sauce is the most time-intensive, but it can be made ahead and several of the steps can be done simultaneously. See additional information below for more preparation times and tips.
Roasting/preparing chiles and tomatillos: 30 - 60 min.
Assembling/simmering enchilada sauce: 30 min.
Grill chicken: 10 - 15 min.
Assembly/ baking enchilada stacks: 30 min.
Equipment required:
• Grill, broiler, or gas stove to roast Anaheim chiles
• Grill, broiler, or saucepan to cook tomatillos
• Bowl and plastic wrap to cover the bowl or a paper bag to steam Anaheim chiles
• Blender or food processor to puree tomatillos (or very finely chop)
• Small frying pan (for frying tortillas)
• Baking dish – either one large (10x15 inch) or individual gratin dishes
• Cheese grater
• Knives for cutting chicken and roasted chiles
• Spoons for stirring sauce
• Tongs are helpful for turning chiles as they roast, chicken as it grills and tortillas as they fry

Ingredients
1½ pounds Fresh Anaheim chiles (about eight 6 to 8 inch chiles) 24 ounces 678 grams - roast, peel, remove seeds, chop coarsely. Other green chiles (NOT bell peppers) could probably be substituted but be conscious of heat and size!)
7-8 ounces Tomatillos (about 4-5 medium)212 grams - peel, remove stems
4 cups Chicken broth (32 ounces/920 grams)
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons yellow onion, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ tsp Kosher salt (add more to taste)
¼ tsp Black Pepper (add more to taste)
2 tablespoons Cornstarch (dissolve in 2 tablespoons water, for thickening)
Hot sauce, your favorite, optional
2 Boneless chicken breasts (you can also use bone-in chicken breasts or thighs)
3 tablespoons Olive oil or other neutral vegetable oil (use more as needed)
Kosher salt and pepper
12 Small Corn tortillas (5-6 inch/13-15 cm). (you can also use wheat tortillas or other wraps)
6 ounces grated Monterey Jack, 170 grams (other cheeses (cheddar, pepper jack, Mexican cheeses) can be used. Just be sure they melt well and complement the filling)
Cilantro for garnish, chopped and sprinkled optional
Directions:
Roasting Fresh Chiles
1. Coat each chile with a little vegetable oil. If you are doing only a couple chiles, using the gas stove works. For larger batches (as in this recipe), grilling or broiling is faster.
2. Lay the oiled chiles on the grill or baking sheet (line pan with foil for simpler clean-up). Place the grill or broil close to the element, turning the chiles so they char evenly. They should be black and blistered.
3. As they are completely charred (they will probably not all be done at once), remove them to a bowl and cover with plastic, or close up in a paper bag. Let them rest until they are cool.
4. Pull on the stem and the seed core MAY pop out (it rarely does for me). Open the chile and remove the seeds. Turn the chile skin side up and with a paring knife, scrape away the skin. Sometimes it just pulls right off, sometimes you really have to scrape it.
5. DO NOT RINSE!

Green Chile Sauce
1. Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil and remove the papery outer skin from the tomatillos. Boil the tomatillos until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. You can also grill the tomatillos until soft.
2. Drain and puree in a blender or food processor.
3. Return the tomatillos to the saucepan along with the chicken broth, chopped green chiles, minced onion, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 4-5 cups, another 10-15 minutes.
6. Adjust seasonings and add hot sauce if you want a little more heat.

Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas
1. Heat a gas grill to medium high or build a medium-hot charcoal Coat the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes a side for boneless chicken breasts.
3. Cool and then slice into thin strips or shred.
4. In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check – it should sizzle immediately.
5. Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most).
6. Drain on paper towels.
7. Add oil as needed and continue until all 12 tortillas are done.
8. In a baking dish large enough to hold four separate stacks of tortillas, ladle a thin layer of sauce.
9. Lay four tortillas in the dish and ladle another ½ cup (4 ounces/112 grams) of sauce over the tortillas.
10. Divide half the chicken among the first layer of tortillas, top with another ½ cup of sauce and 1/3 of the grated cheese.
11. Stack another four tortillas, top with the rest of the chicken, more sauce and another third of the cheese.
12. Finish with the third tortilla, topped with the remaining sauce and cheese.
13. Bake until the sauce has thickened and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
14. To serve, transfer each stack to a plate. Spoon any leftover sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with cilantro, if you wish. The stacks may also be cooked in individual gratin dishes.

Additional Information:
Roasting chiles: Whether you roast the chiles on a grill, under the broiler, or use the gas burner element on your stove will affect the time it takes. If you do all the chiles at once on a grill or using the broiler, it will take 15- 30 minutes, plus time to steam (10 minutes) and time to peel and remove seeds (20 minutes).
http://www.ehow.com/how_5106125_roast-anaheim-peppers.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_4437304_roast-anaheim-green-chiles-grill.html
Cooking tomatillos: If you boil the tomatillos, it will take 5 -10 minutes. If you grill them, it will take 2-5 minutes. If you broil them, it will take 8-12 minutes. This can be done the same time the chiles are roasting. After they are cooked, they need to be pureed, which takes a few seconds in a blender.
http://culinarycory.com/2009/08/08/roasted-tomatillo-salsa/
http://jerseygirlcooks.blogspot.com/2009/02/roasted-tomatillo-salsa.html
Cooking chicken: If you grill your chicken, it takes about 5 or 6 minutes per side for boneless chicken breasts- depending on thickness of breasts. Other pieces (thighs, for example) or bone-in chicken will take longer. If you roast your chicken, a bone-in breast takes about 30 minutes (depending on size). Be sure chicken is done but not overcooked, since it will be in the oven in the last stage of the recipe. http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/2007/05/how-to-make-juicy-grilled-chicken.html
Corn Tortillas (from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen)
Makes about 15
1 3/4 cups masa harina
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot water
Pour hot water over masa harina, cover and let sit 30 minutes. Add (additional) cool water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is soft but not sticky. Divide the dough into 15 balls and cover with plastic wrap.
Heat a large (two burner) ungreased griddle or two large skillets, one on medium-low and one on medium-high.
Put a ball of dough between two sheets of plastic. If you don’t have a tortilla press, press to a 5-6” circle using a heavy frying pan or bread board or other heavy, flat object. Put the tortilla into the cooler pan or cooler end of the griddle. The tortilla will probably stick, but within 15 seconds, if the temperature is correct, it will release. Flip it at that point onto the hotter skillet/griddle section. In 30-45 seconds, it should be dotted with brown underneath. Flip it over, still on the hot surface and brown another 30 seconds or so. A good tortilla will balloon up at this point. Remove from heat and let them rest while cooking the remaining tortillas. Use quickly.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDegTyqL55o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm6_iAZ-CCA&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFn3GKVLHnM&NR=1
http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_corn_tortillas/
Flour tortillas:
http://www.mangiodasola.com/2009/09/tortillas-de-harinaflour-tortillas.html
http://www.texasrollingpins.com/tortillarecipe.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEz0puaKNTk
http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/view?recipeID=207
http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/2007/03/and-end-to-my-quest-flour-tortillas.html
Traditional New Mexico Red Chile Cheese Stacked Enchiladas: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/traditional-new-mexico-red-chile-cheese-stacked-enchiladas-recipe/index.html
Quick Chicken Mole
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/quick-chicken-mole-recipe/index.html
Chocolate Mole
http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2005/11/a_frugal_gourme.html

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APRIL 2010 DARING COOKS CHALLENGE: A PAN-SOUTHERN CLASSIC

Hi there! I’m Wolf of Wolf’s Den. For this Challenge, I chose a popular pan-Southern classic called Brunswick Stew. Brunswick Stew has a long, and oft debated history. Brunswick, Georgia claimed that the first Brunswick Stew was created there in 1898. There is, at the Golden Isles Welcome Center on Interstate 95, a bronzed stew pot with a plaque proclaiming this fact.

However, Brunswick, Virginia claims that the first Brunswick Stew was created there by a camp cook named Jimmy Matthews in 1828, for a hunting expedition led by Dr. Creed Haskings, a member of the Virginia State Legislature for a number of years. He was said to have used squirrel in the original Brunswick Stew created for the group when they returned. The hunters were at first skeptical of the thick, hearty concoction, but upon tasting it, were convinced and asked for more.

Every year, there is an Annual Brunswick Stew Cookoff that pits ‘Stewmasters’ from both Virgina and Georgia against their counterparts, and takes place every October in Georgia. In the early 20th Cent, the rivalry of the two Brunswicks helped make this dish as popular as it is today, and it quickly became a pan-Southern classic. Some recipe call for the original addition of squirrel, but most allow for chicken, turkey, ham, or pork, even beef on occasion. Rabbit is also used. The vegetables can vary widely from variation to variation, however, the Brunswick Stewmasters recipe says *exactly* what is used in competion stews, and states that “Adding any additional ingredient(s) will disqualify the stew from being an original Brunswick Stew.”

However, most agree that, Brunswick stew is not done properly “until the paddle stands up in the middle.”
The first recipe is more traditional - long and involved, as can be many Southern recipes. The second was the very first Brunswick stew I ever tasted. Both are fairly straight forward and easy, requiring no special equipment, techniques, or super hard to find ingredients.

Recipe Source(s)- I’ve included two different recipes for this Challenge, out of the hundreds of variations out there. The first is from “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee”, and the second from the Callaway, Va Ruritan Club, who hand out cards with their recipe printed on them, every year at the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival, and where I tried my first ever Brunswick Stew.

Posting Date- April 14, 2010

Blog Checking Lines- The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.


Notes-
Version One-
1- I used 2 Serrano Chiles, fresh, stemmed, deseeded and sliced into quarters. Use what you have on hand or can get easily.
2- I used pork (country style pork ribs, which here, are mostly meat, with very little bone) instead of rabbit, as it is hard to find, as well as rather on the expensive side. In fact, the original recipe says to “substitute 1 1/2lbs of boneless pork shoulder cut to 1” dice”.
3- I used Swanson’s Cooking Chicken Stock, rather than make my own, as it would have added extra time to an already long cooking time. You could use your own homemade stock or store bought if you prefer.
4- I used frozen corn, canned butterbeans, red onions, red skinned potatoes, frozen carrots, and chopped the celery into a rough dice. You could also use lima beans if butterbeans are not handy or easy to find.
5- Now, it seemed to me that is was a waste of perfectly good bacon and celery to simply discard them. So I left them in mine. The chiles fell apart as I tried to remove them, so only the skins were actually removed. You could do the same if you choose.
6- You can use dried bay leaves if you do not have fresh handy. In fact, the ONLY reason I used fresh myself, is because I happen to have a Bay plant. Otherwise, dried is generally the way to go.

Version Two-
Poultry Seasoning contains variations of sage, thyme, pepper, marjoram or other similar herbs. You can substitute with your favorite herbs and spices if you cannot find actual poultry seasoning.

Variations allowed: Recipes may be halved if you choose. You may substitute any vegetables you don’t prefer. You may use fresh, canned or frozen vegetables. My variations are included in the notes. For example- some recipes include okra in their stew, others use creamed corn You may sub out the rabbit for pork, turkey, beef, or even another game animal if you have it available.

Mandatory: You must use one of the two recipes provided. Now, to not exclude our vegans/vegetarians, if you’d like, use vegetable stock and leave out the meats. It won’t be a ‘true’ Brunswick Stew, but it’ll have the spirit of one.} There’s no gluten anywhere in this that I’m aware of, so we’re good in that regard.

Prep Time:
Recipe 1- Estimated time-3-4 hours, longer if making the Sunday Chicken Broth, or your own stock from scratch
Recipe 2- Estimated Time- 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours, depending on whether you have your meats already cooked first.

Equipment needed:
Large stock pot, at least 10-12qt OR Dutch Oven , or smaller if you halve the recipe used
Cutting board
Knives
Measuring cups and spoons
Colander
Large bowl
Large wooden spoon for stirring
Tongs

Ingredients:
Recipe One, the Long Way:
From “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

Serves about 12
1/4 lb / 113.88 grams / 4 oz slab bacon, rough diced
2 Serrano, Thai or other dried red chiles, stems trimmed, sliced, seeded, flattened
1lb / 455.52 grams / 16oz rabbit, quartered, skinned
1 4-5lb / 1822.08- 2277.6 grams / 64-80oz chicken, quartered, skinned, and most of the fat removed
1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / ½ oz sea salt for seasoning, plus extra to taste
2-3 quarts / 8-12 cups / 64.607-96.9oz Sunday Chicken Broth (recipe below)
2 Bay leaves
2 large celery stalks
2lbs / 911.04 grams / 32oz Yukon Gold potatoes, or other waxy type potatoes, peeled, rough diced
1 ½ cups / 344.88 grams / 12.114oz carrots (about 5 small carrots), chopped
3 ½ / 804.72 grams / 28.266oz cups onion (about 4 medium onions) chopped
2 cups / 459.84 grams / 16.152oz fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 4 ears)
3 cups / 689.76 grams / 24.228oz butterbeans, preferably fresh (1 ¼ lbs) or defrosted frozen
1 35oz can / 996.45 grams / 4 cups whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
¼ cup / 57.48 grams / 2.019 oz red wine vinegar
Juice of 2 lemons
Tabasco sauce to taste

Recipe Two, The Short Way:
This version goes on the assumption that you already have cooked your meats and have broth on hand. This was also my first experience with eating Brunswick stew. It’s got more of a tomato base, has larger, chunkier vegetables, but is just as wonderful as recipe one. However, it is a lot quicker to make than the first recipe.

Brunswick Stew recipe from the Callaway, Va Ruritan Club, served yearly at the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival in Ferrum, Va.

Serves about 10
2 ½ lb TOTAL diced stewed chicken, turkey, and ham, with broth - yes, all three meats
3 medium diced potatoes
2 medium ripe crushed tomatoes
2 medium diced onions
3 cups/ 689.76 grams / 24.228oz frozen corn
1 ½ cups / 344.88 grams / 12.114oz frozen lima beans
4-5 strips crumbled bacon
½ stick / 4 tablespoons / ¼ cup / 56.94 grams / 2oz of butter
1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / .5 oz sugar
1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / .5 oz ‘Poultry Seasoning’
Dash of red pepper
2 diced carrots (optional)
Tomato juice

Directions, Recipe 1:
1-In the largest stockpot you have, which is hopefully larger than the 5 qt ones I have, preferably a 10-12 qt or even a Dutch Oven if you’re lucky enough to have one, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until it just starts to crisp. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. Reserve most of the bacon fat in your pan, and with the pan on the burner, add in the chiles. Toast the chiles until they just start to smell good, or make your nose tingle, about a minute tops. Remove to bowl with the bacon.
2- Season liberally both sides of the rabbit and chicken pieces with sea salt and pepper. Place the rabbit pieces in the pot and sear off all sides possible. You just want to brown them, not cook them completely. Remove to bowl with bacon and chiles, add more bacon fat if needed, or olive oil, or other oil of your choice, then add in chicken pieces, again, browning all sides nicely. Remember not to crowd your pieces, especially if you have a narrow bottomed pot. Put the chicken in the bowl with the bacon, chiles and rabbit. Set it aside.
3- Add 2 cups of your chicken broth or stock, if you prefer, to the pan and basically deglaze the4 pan, making sure to get all the goodness cooked onto the bottom. The stock will become a nice rich dark color and start smelling good. Bring it up to a boil and let it boil away until reduced by at least half. Add your remaining stock, the bay leaves, celery, potatoes, chicken, rabbit, bacon, chiles and any liquid that may have gathered at the bottom of the bowl they were resting in. Bring the pot back up to a low boil/high simmer, over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover, remember to stir every 15 minutes, give or take, to thoroughly meld the flavors. Simmer, on low, for approximately 1 ½ hours. Supposedly, the stock may become a yellow tinge with pieces of chicken or rabbit floating up, the celery will be very limp, as will the chiles. Taste the stock, according to the recipe, it “should taste like the best chicken soup you’ve ever had”.
4- With a pair of tongs, remove the chicken and rabbit pieces to a colander over the bowl you used earlier. Be careful, as by this time, the meats will be very tender and may start falling apart. Remove the bay leaf, celery, chiles, bacon and discard.5 After you’ve allowed the meat to cool enough to handle, carefully remove all the meat from the bones, shredding it as you go. Return the meat to the pot, throwing away the bones. Add in your carrots, and stir gently, allowing it to come back to a slow simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, for at least 25 minutes, or until the carrots have started to soften.
5- Add in your onion, butterbeans, corn and tomatoes. As you add the tomatoes, crush them up, be careful not to pull a me, and squirt juice straight up into the air, requiring cleaning of the entire stove. Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring every so often until the stew has reduced slightly, and onions, corn and butterbeans are tender. Remove from heat and add in vinegar, lemon juice, stir to blend in well. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce if desired.
6 You can either serve immediately or refrigerate for 24 hours, which makes the flavors meld more and makes the overall stew even better. Serve hot, either on its own, or with a side of corn bread, over steamed white rice, with any braised greens as a side.

Directions, Recipe 2:
In large stock pot or Dutch Oven, mix all ingredients, heat until bubbly and hot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato juice as desired. Cook until all vegetables are tender. Serve hot.
Optional- Not required for the Challenge-

Sunday Chicken Broth
From “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

Makes about 1 quart (4 cups or 919.68 grams or 32.303 oz)
Estimated Time- 1 ¼ hours
Bones and trimmings, but not giblets, of one 3 ½- 4 ½ lb (1594.32-2049.84 grams or 56-72 oz) chicken, or 12-14 oz / 341.64-398.58 grams / approx. 2 cups chicken bones and trimmings
1 large onion, trimmed, peeled, quartered
6 large stems fresh flat leaf parsley
1 stalk celery, cut into 2” lengths
2 large bay leaves
5 cups / 1149.6 grams / 40.379 oz cold water
1 cup / 229.92 grams / 8.076oz crisp dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Place bones/trimmings in medium stockpot and add onion, parsley, celery and bay leaves. Add wine and water, liquid should cover all ingredients, if not, add more until it does. Bring to vigorous simmer over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer gently for roughly 45 minutes to an hour, skimming any scum or fat that comes to the surface.
Strain broth into bowl through fine mesh strainer. Discard the solids. Measure what you are left with, if not planning to further reduce, then salt and pepper to taste.
Store in tightly sealed container in refrigerator until the remaining fat congeals on the top. Remove the fat, and unless not using within 2 days, keep tightly sealed in the refrigerator. Otherwise, freeze, and it will keep for upwards of a month.
Photos-

Removing the chicken, shows how tender it has become, as it falls apart upon being lifted from the pan.

Shredded and deboned pork and chicken, with a piece of bacon. Ready to go back into the pot.

Finished stew. This was made using the Lee Bros. recipe. The Callaway Ruritan Club recipe will be redder from the tomato juice.
Links-
Site used for conversions- http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/cooking-conversions/gram-conversions.aspx
History of Brunswick Stew- http://www.brunswickco.com/html/history_of_brunswick_stew.html
Brunswick Stewmaster's Association- http://www.brunswickstewmasters.com/History.htm
The New Georgia Encyclopedia Brunswick Stew- http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-555
Georgia’s World Famous Brunswick Stew- http://www.officialguide.com/gistew.html
Video of a variation on Brunswick Stew- http://www.ifood.tv/recipe/brunswick_stew_5
Any questions, feel free to email me at wolfsilveroak@cox.net

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