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Daring Kitchen February 2012 – Flipping frying patties!

Posted by Jeanne on February 14, 2012

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!

I SWORE to myself that this time, I was going to post at the right time.  Unfortunately, the patties that I made barely count as a recipe at all – but I’m still posting them, dammit.

Incredibly lazy buffalo chicken patties

2 (12.5 oz) cans of chicken breast meat (I KNOW!  Take away my foodie card now.)

2 large eggs

0.5 C panko or breadcrumbs

Hot sauce, as much as you like (we used Cholula – if you have it, Frank’s Red Hot would be better)

Salt & pepper

Kira supervises the prep work.

Mix everything until thoroughly combined.  form into patties – we did four.  You could do six or even eight if you have small slider rolls.

Warm about 0.5 TB oil (we used olive oil) over medium to medium-high heat.  Add patties and fry until golden brown on each side, about 3 – 4 minutes per side.

Serve with additional hot sauce.

If I wasn’t pregnant  I would totally have covered it with blue cheese too.  Mmmm, blue cheese…

Thanks to Audax and Lis for a great challenge!  Also, if you’re reading – you should check out some of the other posts because they did a MUCH better job and didn’t use canned chicken.  What can I say, I’m a slacker.  Blame the baby.

Posted in Birdies, Cooking, Daring Kitchen, Entrees | 3 Comments »

Daring Kitchen January 2012: Tamales!

Posted by Jeanne on January 22, 2012

Blog-checking lines: Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year!

I was super excited for this challenge, because I’ve been wanting to make a batch of tamales for after this kid is born – and now I had an excuse to make Curt help!  I’ve made tamales several times, and they are one of my favorite easy dinners.  They freeze and reheat extremely well.

I followed this recipe for the dough, and we used cooked spiced chicken and cheddar cheese for the filling.

Also, I swear this post was ready to go last weekend except the pictures were on the camera still – and there they stayed until today.  Better late than never?

Prepping masa in the corn husk.

Ready to roll!

The finished product, ready to steam.

Thanks to Maranda for a great challenge!

Posted in Birdies, Cooking, Daring Kitchen, GF for LF | Leave a Comment »

Daring Kitchen December 2011: Char sui bao

Posted by Jeanne on December 18, 2011

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!

I am a day (actually several days) late and a dollar short on this one, as it was supposed to be posted on the 14th.  But I did make it before the posting date – just couldn’t get it together enough to actually write the post.

Char Sui (Cantonese BBQ Pork)

Ingredients

1 pork fillet/tenderloin (roughly 1-1.5 pounds)
4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 TB peanut oil
3 TB honey


2 TB hoisin sauce
1 TB light soy sauce
1 TB dark soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 TB shaoxing cooking wine
½ tsp ground white pepper
pinch of salt
½ tsp five spice powder
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp red food colouring

Directions:

Trim the pork loin to remove fat and tendon and slice lengthways so you have two long pieces, then cut in half to make four pieces total.  Place in a non-reactive container for marinating.

Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine.  Cover pork well with ⅔ of the marinade mixture. Marinate for a minimum of 4 hours, I did overnight. Place the reserved ⅓ portion of the marinade covered in the fridge to use as a baste when cooking the pork.

The next day, pre-heat oven to moderate 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place a rack in the pan to elevate the pork, and place the pork on the rack.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes, basting with the remaining marinade and turning every 2 to 3 minutes.

Turn the heat up to 400°F and cook until cooked through.  If you want, you can run under the broiler at the end of the cooking process to get some nice charring on the ends/edges.

Baked Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun)

Makes 12

Dough Ingredients

1 TB yeast
0.25 C sugar
0.5 C warm water
2 C plain flour
1 egg
3 TB oil
0.5 tsp salt

Dough Directions:

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.

Measure flour into a large bowl.  Add yeast mixture, egg, oil and salt and stir. Bring the flour mixture together with your hands.  Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly elastic.  (I actually did this in our stand mixer.  I’m lazy about doughs).

Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise until it has doubled in size. This will take from 1 – 2 hours depending on weather conditions.

While the dough rises, make your filling.

Filling Ingredients

12 oz. char sui, finely chopped
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 TB hoisin
1 TB dark soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
0.25 C chicken stock
1 tsp cornstarch
0.5 TB vegetable oil

 Filling Directions:

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or pan over medium high heat.  Add diced char sui and spring onions, and cook for 1 minute.

Add hoisin, dark soy sauce and sesame oil to the pork mixture and stir fry for one minute.

Mix cornstarch and stock together and then add to the pork mixture.  Stir well and cook until the mixture thickens, about a minute or two.  Set aside until ready to use.

Assembly

Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with a dash of water

Preheat oven to 400º F.  Grease a baking sheet, or line with a baking mat or parchment paper.  Once dough has doubled in size, knock back and divide in to 12 portions.  Shape each portion into a round ball.

Roll and stretch each ball of dough to a circle approximately 3 inches in diameter.

Keep the dough slightly thicker in the center, so that when the buns cook they do not split on top.

Place about two tablespoons of filling on the dough circle.

Then gather the edges and seal your bun.

Place the bun seal side down on your baking sheet. Continue with rest of dough.

Once all buns are complete brush with the egg wash.

Bake in your preheated oven of for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Verdict:  delicious!  The meat was a pain to make because of all the steps, but the dough was SUPER easy to work with, and stuffing them goes quickly (much faster than making tamales or dumplings/empanadas if you’ve done those).  We have quite a bit of char sui left, and I think sometime before the spawn arrives I’m going to make a whole ton of these and freeze them.

Posted in Appetizers, Cooking, Daring Kitchen, red meat | Leave a Comment »

Daring Kitchen November 2011: Cooking with Tea

Posted by Jeanne on November 14, 2011

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.

This is another good challenge for me – I’ve never made anything with tea before.  Most of the recipes you’ll find are for sweet baked goods – things like cookies and scones.  But part of the challenge was to make a savory, not sweet dish – so I was stumped at first.

I was thinking of doing a soba cooked in green tea – but then I thought the dipping sauces and toppings would overpower the tea flavor too much.  And then I dinked around for ages and THEN the challenge was almost due so I had to make SOMETHING… so I decided to make crackers.

Tea-flavored Homemade Crackers, based on this recipe

Ingredients

1 ¼ c. flour
1.5 Tbs. sugar (or honey, I used honey)
0.5 tsp. salt
0.25 tsp. black pepper
4 Tbs. butter
0.25 c. water
0.25 tsp. vanilla
dry tea leaves (I used rooibos for half the batch and an Earl Grey green for the other half)

Method:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and butter in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the dough is pea-shaped. Combine the water and vanilla in a measuring cup, plus honey if using, and add to the flour mixture. Mix well until combined and dough forms, but only as long as necessary for the most tender crackers.

Use parchment paper, a lightly greased cookie sheet, or an ungreased baking stone.

Only use half of the dough at a time.  Add the tea and knead to incorporate into the dough.

Roll the dough as evenly as you can. Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as humanly possible without tearing.

Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife and cut the dough into squares or triangles, about 1 1/2 inches each.  If you want all beautifully square crackers, you can trim the edges square.  I am lazy and don’t care so I didn’t bother.

If you have used a mat or parchment paper, just slide it onto the cookie sheet. If you don’t have either, you’ll have to move each cracker individually.  (I used parchment paper to avoid this issue).  Sprinkle the squares lightly with salt.

Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.

Bake the crackers until crisp and browned, 5 to 10 minutes. If you want to do two trays at once, you can put one on top and one and bottom and switch them halfway through the baking time.

If some of the thinner crackers on the edges brown too quickly, remove them and return the remaining crackers to the oven to finish baking. Watch closely as they bake quickly!   I did 5 minutes, rotated the sheets, and then another 2.5 minutes and they were done.

Check it out!  Crackers!

These are tasty – you get a hint of tea flavor, and they’re nice and crisp.  Will definitely make them again!  Thanks Sarah for a fun challenge!

Posted in Baking, Breads, Daring Kitchen | 3 Comments »

October 2011 Daring Cooks’ Challenge: Moo Shu

Posted by Jeanne on October 14, 2011

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.

I figure this is my chance to redeem myself after the appam incident.  I will follow the directions!  My moo shu will be delicious and photograph beautifully!

HAHAHAHA.  Ahem.  To be fair, they were delicious – but it’s really damn hard to take beautiful pictures of flat dough.  I salute you, the makers of tortilla commercials.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

For the stir-fry, I combined some leftover honey-soy braised pork, napa cabbage, red cabbage, two eggs, onion, garlic & ginger along with hoisin, chili-garlic paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar.

Oh, and quick soapbox on the eggs – we had one farm egg left from our last co-op delivery, and used that with one grocery-store egg.  Here’s a photo – the grocery store egg is on the right:

Buy farm eggs, people.

For the sauce, I had every intention of using the hoisin recipe that was provide by our lovely hosts.  But I forgot to make it and then I was really hungry.  Here’s the recipe anyway!

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.

The final plated moo shu + stirfry:

They were really tasty!  We ate them like little tacos – adorable and delicious.  Thanks Shelley and Ruth for a great challenge!

Posted in Cooking, Daring Kitchen, Entrees, red meat | 2 Comments »

Daring Cooks August 2011: Appam & curry

Posted by Jeanne on August 14, 2011

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

Appam is made from rice, yeast and coconut milk. The well-fermented batter is cooked, one bread at a time, on the stovetop. Appam are supposed to come out like a cross between a crepe and a crumpet, with a thin, lacy, crisp edge and a thicker spongy middle.

Mine came out kind of weird, mostly because I fail at follow directions. Instructions I failed to follow are highlighted below in bold.

Appam

Makes about 15.  3-4 are enough for one person.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups raw rice

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup of coconut water or water, room temperature

1 1/2 tablespoons cooked rice (I completely missed this ingredient.  No idea what happened.  Reading comprehension fail).

1/2 teaspoon salt

about 1/2 cup coconut milk

Directions:

1. Soak the raw rice in 4 to 5 cups of water for 3 hours. (I did overnight).

2. Dissolve the sugar in the coconut water or plain water and add the yeast. Set aside in a warm area for 10-15 minutes, until very frothy.

3. Drain the rice and grind it in a blender with the yeast mixture to make a smooth batter. You can add a bit of extra water if needed, but I did not. Add the cooked rice, and grind/blend to combine well. You can see that it is not completely smooth, but very thick.

4. Pour into a large bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 8-12 hours. You not only want the mixture to rise and collapse, but to ferment. When it is ready, it will have a slightly sour and distinctly yeasty smell.

FYI:  If you forget to cover it (like I did), the “batter” will solidify into a cement-like rice and yeast cake in the bottom of your bowl.  I had to nearly double the liquid in the next step to get it liquid again.

5. Add the coconut milk and salt, and a bit of water if necessary, so that you have a batter that is just a bit thicker than milk.

The unbearable whiteness of appam batter.

6. Heat your pan over medium heat. Wipe a few drops of oil over it using a paper towel. Stir the batter and pour in 3-4 tablespoons, depending on the size of the pan. Working quickly, hold the handle(s) and give the pan a quick swirl so that the batter comes to the top edge. Swirl once only, as you want the edges to be thin and lacy.

7. Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and check. The center should have puffed up a bit, and will be shiny, but dry to the touch. When ready, loosen the edges with a small spatula and serve immediately. These need to be served hot out of the pan.

Another covering fail.  I think this would have helped with some of the cooking difficulties I had, which were mostly that the edges dried out and then they cracked when I was taking them out of the pan.

Anyway, I suck at this but you should really use the blog-checking lines to see how others (WHO CAN READ) made the dish.

The curry recipe I used is based on this one, but changed somewhat based on access to ingredients.

1 TB vegetable or canola oil
3 medium onions, sliced thin
Stems from 3 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped, plus 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, minced
3 potatoes, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2 bell peppers
2 lbs. chicken breasts, skinned
2 TB hot curry powder (I used Penzey’s brand)
1 tsp garam masala
2 cups coconut milk
Kosher salt

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat until it is very hot.  Add the garlic, ginger, sliced onion, peppers, and cilantro stems, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the curry powder and garam masala and continue cooking for 6 to 8 minutes until the onion and peppers are very soft, stirring often so that they cook evenly.

When the onions and peppers mixture is soft and has absorbed the spices, add the chicken and stir to coat with spices. When all the chicken has been stirred in, pour one cup of coconut milk over the chicken, add the salt and the potatoes, reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes are tender, about 40 minutes.

Remove the cover from the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Then add the last cup of coconut milk and the cilantro leaves. Return liquid to a simmer, season to taste with salt, and serve.

The final dish.  The curry was good and the appam were ok – probably would have been better if I had made them properly.  Thanks to Mary for a great challenge and learning experience for me!

Posted in Cooking, Daring Kitchen, Entrees, GF for LF, Gluten-free | 5 Comments »

Daring Kitchen July 2011: Handmade noodles

Posted by Jeanne on July 14, 2011

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

So.  Fresh pasta, no motors.  I cheated, I need to confess – I made the dough entirely by hand but I rolled them out and cut them with a machine.  I made a fresh egg fettuccine with peas from the garden, shrimp, olive oil, and herbs.

So.  How did I do it?  First, this book.  This book will be the death of me.

French Laundry Cookbook, why can’t I quit you?

Probably because the recipes, while an enormous a bit of a pain in the neck, work so beautifully when you take the time to follow them.  It’s a matter of good stuff meets good technique – it’s not fancy, it’s just carefully and thoughtfully done.  This is how you turn 4 ingredients into sublime pasta.

8 oz. flour

6 egg yolks

1 whole egg

1.5 tsp olive oil

1 TB milk

Not even kidding, that’s all that’s in it.  I’m not going to reproduce the recipe here because you really, really should buy the book if you don’t already own it, but I swear  that those are the only ingredients.

It’s a most improbable thing when you look at it.  How can ALL those eggs fit into that little bit of flour?

So you slowly stir it up, and the egg mixture pulls flour from the edges of your well until you have what’s almost a dough with flour around the edge.  This is where the book gets wacky.

“When the dough begins thickening and starts lifting itself from the board, begin incorporating the remaining flour with the pastry scraper by lifting the flour up and over the dough that’s beginning to form and cutting it into the dough.”

Um, ok.  So I did that, and it looked like this:

And I started to laugh because for the love of god, there is no way this mess is turning into pasta tonight.

“When the remaining flour from the sides of the well has been cut into the dough, the dough will still look shaggy.”

Possible understatement of century.  See photo above.

“Bring the dough together with the palms of your hands and form it into a ball.  It will look flaky but will hold together.”

At this point, I do not believe it.  There is NO WAY IN HELL this is going to work.  But I dutifully gathered the dough shards into a ball-esque thing and knead it for a minute or two.

And it worked.

It really worked.  So then you clean the board and knead the dough for another 10 to 15 minutes at least – apparently this dough cannot be overworked.  15 minutes was about enough for my hands.

Rest the dough for 30 minutes to an hour, and then you can roll and cut it.

I made fettuccine.

We ate the pasta with some shrimp and some garden peas (also some frozen peas, the garden giveth but not that many peas) that were sauteed in olive oil, along with some garlic and a bit of onion.

We also added some fresh oregano, thyme, and basil – I didn’t want anything that would be too heavy or strong and mask the flavor of the pasta.

And it was very, very good.  Fresh pasta has a texture that is just out of this world, and can barely be compared to the texture of most dried pasta.

Making this was another reminder to me that I need to believe in the possibility of things – that the floury mess on the cutting board can become dinner, that things which seem impossible are not.

Posted in Cooking, Daring Kitchen, Entrees, Garden/Seasonal | 6 Comments »

Spring herbage spring rolls

Posted by Jeanne on May 15, 2011

So it’s been awhile.  This time, I’ve got nothing.  I just haven’t been cooking very much, or anything very interesting.

I am also trying to figure out what to do with my post-race self.  I spent so much time wishing the race was over, that I was done training, that I didn’t have to run… and now it’s over and I don’t know what to do with myself.  The TNT coaches refer to it as post-race blues, I have been referring to it as Stockholm syndrome, and it sucks.

Anyway.  It’s spring!  At least in theory – earlier this week it was summer and now it feels like fall again?  Anyway, you should make some spring rolls.  I did.

Spring rolls are nice because you can make as many or as few as you want, or as you have ingredients.  From the bottom:  shrimp, carrots, cucumber, cilantro, and basil.  I also used rice noodles.

Definitely not the prettiest spring rolls ever, but they were delicious.  Now that we  have some mint growing again I can’t wait to add it to my spring rolls!

Also, I totally missed this month’s Daring Kitchen challenge – gumbo!  I just ran out of days and couldn’t get a post up.  You can use the below if you’d like to check out the blogs for the people who actually did the challenge.

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

Posted in Appetizers, Cooking, Daring Kitchen, Fishes | 2 Comments »

Daring Kitchen April: Edible Containers

Posted by Jeanne on April 14, 2011

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

I came up with two ideas for this challenge:  beef & chocolate bock stew in an Irish soda bread bowl, and a chicken & peanut stew in a sweet potato bowl.

Beef & chocolate bock stew, inspired by this recipe.

3 TB canola oil, divided
0.25 C all-purpose flour
2 lbs. boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt
5 C sliced onion (about 3 medium onions)
1 TB tomato paste
4 C beef broth
1 (12-ounce) bottle Sam Adams chocolate bock (or other dark beer)
Freshly ground black pepper
1.5 C carrot, cut into chunks (I used those pre-cut “baby” carrots)
2.5 C Yukon gold potatoes, cubed

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with some salt; dredge beef in flour. Add half of beef to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining oil and beef.

Add onion to pan; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

Return meat to pan. Season with salt & pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil. Cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add carrot and potatoes. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are tender.

Irish soda bread bowls, inspired by this recipe.

3.5 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking-soda
0.75 tsp salt
1.5 C milk

Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly flour baking sheet. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Mix in enoughmilk  to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball.

Turn onto a lightly flour surfaced and knead just until dough holds together, about 1 minute. Stretch dough until it is about 2 inches high, and cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter.  Or the lid of a jar.

Have you seen my biscuit cutter?  It appears to have run away from home.

Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer bread to rack and cool until they can be handled.

Cut through the top of the bread, around in a circle, and remove.

Scoop out the insides of the bread, trying not to poke through the outer edge.

Serve stew in bread bowls.

And secondly:

Chicken & peanut stew, inspired by Bittman’s The Best Recipes In The World

2 TB vegetable oil

8 chicken thighs, about 2 lbs. (I used boneless, skinless thighs)

Salt & pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated

0.75 tsp cayenne pepper

0.25 tsp ground cumin

One 14-oz. can diced tomatoes

4 C chicken broth or stock

0.75 C natural peanut butter

Chopped scallions, for serving

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken pieces with salt & pepper and add to the skillet, browning well on all sides.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside; return the skillet to the heat.

Add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Stir in cayenne, cumin, and tomatoes and cook until tomatoes begin to break down, 3 to 5 minutes.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan and add 3.5 C of the stock.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer until chicken is cooked through and tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

While chicken cooks, whisk together remaining 0.5 C of chicken stock and the peanut butter.  When the chicken is cooked through, add the peanut butter mixture to the pan.  Simmer another 20 to 30 minutes, or until sauce mixture thickens.

After the dish was fully cooked, I cut up the chicken into small bites and added it back into the sauce.  I wanted smaller bites, rather than full pieces of chicken, so they would fit well into my sweet potato bowls!

Sweet potato bowls

2 lb. sweet potatoes

Olive oil

Salt

2 TB butter

0.25 C flour

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.  Rub sweet potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place in a baking dish and cover with foil.

Bake until very soft, 40 to 60 minutes.  Cool, uncovered, until the sweet potatoes can be handled.  Lower heat to 350F.

Peel sweet potatoes, discarding skins.  Add butter and flour,  mash until very smooth, and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Prepare a muffin tin with butter, oil, or cooking spray.  Place a heaping tablespoon of sweet potatoes into each cup, and press up the sides to form a small “bowl” shape.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are firmed up and can be removed from the muffin tin.

Serve the chicken stew inside the sweet potato bowls, garnished with scallions.

Yummy and cute!  Thanks to Renata and the Daring Kitchen for another great challenge.

Posted in Appetizers, Baking, Breads, Cooking, Daring Kitchen, Entrees, red meat, Soups & stews | 1 Comment »

Daring Kitchen March: Ceviche and papas rellenas.

Posted by Jeanne on March 14, 2011

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.

Side note:  every single month I swear I’m going to do the challenge ahead of time so I have lots of time to write the post and play with the photos.  Every single month I spend the 13th writing the post and editing the photos I took the day before.  When will I learn?  Thankfully these dishes were not too terribly complicated in addition to being really, really tasty.

Bay scallop ceviche

1.5 lbs bay scallops, rinsed well

1 C fresh lime juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

0.5 medium-sized red onion, sliced very thinly (you can use more or less, as you prefer.  I really think the lime-soaked onions are delicious.)

1 serrano chili, sliced (seeded if you like)

Cumin

Salt

Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and allow to cure for 10 minutes to overnight.  We did about an hour and a half.

And then we served it with tortilla chips while we made the papas rellenas.

Papas rellenas with spiced pork filling

For the dough:
2.2  lb (1 kg) potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large egg

For the filling:
½ lb ground pork
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1 finely diced aji pepper (I used one serrano)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp each ground cumin and dried oregano
0.5 tsp sweet paprika

Oil for frying (enough for 2” in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)

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. Brown pork in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat until about halfway cooked.
  2. Add onion, garlic, and sliced chili.  Continue to cook until pork is cooked through.  Add spices, as well as salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine.

Grab a handful of potatoes (the original recipe suggests 1/6th, we made quite a few more small ones) and flatten in your palm. Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center, and roll the potato around it to cover the filling.

Repeat until all the dough and filling are gone.

The actual recipe then suggests dipping in an egg wash and breadcrumbs, but I completely missed that part when I made these.  They were still delicious but I bet they would have been better if I had done that step.

Heat oil in a pan to about 350 – 375F.  Fry the papas until golden brown, about 2 – 3 minutes.

Drain on a paper towel and serve immediately.

So yummy!  Thanks to Kathlyn for a great challenge!

Next month – I will write my post ahead of the deadline.  Oh yes, I will.

Posted in Cooking, Daring Kitchen | 3 Comments »