The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John from 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.
I was really excited when I found out what the challenge for this month was, hot water canning is something I’ve been wanting to try my hand at for awhile. I’d gotten as far as buying a book on the subject, attending a preserving basics class at Oded’s Kitchen and even had a few Consol canning jars patiently waiting for me to start.
I chose to make the apple butter and I used 1.25kg of granny smith apples which I peeled and cored before proceeding with the recipe. This produced enough apple butter to fill two 500ml canning jars, with about 200ml leftover to put in the fridge for eating over the next few days.
So I had the jars, but I didn’t have a pot deep enough to submerge them in or anything to lift them out of the hot water without burning my hands. I spent some time debating if I should use smaller jars or buy myself a pot that was deep enough to accommodate the jars I already had. Then I had an inspired idea, why not borrow my mom’s pasta pot? It was deep enough for the jars and it had an inner basket I could use to lower the jars into the hot water and lift them out again after they had been processed. And as an added bonus the basket had a raised base eliminating the need for a rack inside the pot. I’m happy to report that the pasta pot worked perfectly in it’s new designation as hot water canner.
Although I completed the challenge I’m not sure if I did it successfully. I guess I didn’t do a good enough job removing the air trapped in the jars because once they where cooled I noticed these tiny bubbles inside. Anyway this is definitely something that I’m going to do more of in the future and perhaps improve my air bubble removing technique as I go.
All recipes from this month’s challenge can be found here
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.
I used the challenge as an excuse to buy myself a new toy from Yuppie Chef, one I’ve been lusting after for awhile now. A Joseph Joseph adjustable rolling pin, what an improvement from the old Spray and Cook can I’ve been using up until now!
I opted for the Russian style pierogi dough as it seemed a little simpler and had a shorter list of ingredients. The dough was fairly easy to make and after a little kneading came together into a satisfying golden orb.
I prepared two fillings, the first of which was the Russian style potato filling supplied with the challenge. I substituted the bacon with finely diced chorizo for a different flavour. For the second filling I sautéed onion, garlic, mushrooms and some thyme in a little butter until all liquid from the mushrooms had evaporated and the mixture was deliciously fragrant.
Next came the rolling and filling stage, this is the part where my new toy really shined. The final result was a small army of delicately scalloped dumplings patiently waiting to be cooked.
The reward for my efforts? A plateful of boiled pierogi topped with a little sour cream and a dusting of smoked paprika.
Another fun challenge this month, now if only I could get into the habit of not waiting till the very last minute to perpare my entry. All recipes for this month’s challenge can be found here.
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.
The first part of this month’s challenge was to produce a fresh nut butter using nuts of our choice. I chose to make a raw almond butter and because the end result would be used in a savoury dish I loosened it up with a little garlic infused avocado oil. For awhile I thought my little food processor wouldn’t be able to handle the nuts or produce anything but nuts crumbs. But with a little patience and a few added teaspoons of avocado oil we eventually got there.
The final part of the challenge was to produce a savoury dish using our freshly made nut butter. I chose the butter chicken recipe as it is a dish I’ve wanted to cook for awhile. It came out really well and yet again I find myself wondering what I was so afraid of and thinking that sometimes things are not as complicated as you think they are.
All recipes from this months challenge can be found here.
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.
I chose to make a single large stacked enchilada instead of individual smaller ones. Not being able to get my hands on Anaheim chillies or tomatillos I also had to improvise and used what chillies I could get my hands on and the suggested green tomatoes with tamarind to replace the tomatillos. Recipes for the Green Chile Sauce and Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchiladas can be found on Fine Cooking.
I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since my last blog post. I’m quite upset with myself for allowing this to happen, but I won’t go into all my reasons and excuses for not posting. Instead I’d like to share with you my submission for this month’s Daring Cooks challenge.
The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.
I have made risotto many times before so for me (and I hate to admit this) the real challenge was making the requisite stock from scratch. I used the chicken stock recipe supplied with our challenge and must say was really impressed with the end result. Once I had the risotto base completed I divided it into two and flavoured one half with a combination of sautéed portabellini and oyster mushrooms and a little Geo Watkins Mushroom Ketchup. The other half I flavoured with spicy sausage (debreziner), red pepper and peas. They both came our really well and there where lots of leftovers, some of which found it’s way into my lunch box the next day.
You can find all the recipes for this month’s challenge here.
Having seen Marisa‘s contributions to the monthly Daring Cooks challenges I decided to become a Daring Cook myself and just completed my first challenge. This month’s host was Michele from Veggie Num Nums, she challenged us to produce a meze spread including home-made pita bread and hummus (recipes listed here) and any other dishes of our choice. Even though making bread is on my list of to-dos this year I was a bit daunted at the thought of making bread from scratch. It turned out even better then I could have imagined and I think this is definitely something I’ll be doing again soon.
I left the hummus and pita plain and added some baba ganoush, green olives stuffed with garlic (there where none left for my lunch meze though) and some tabbouleh to the spread.
- Lunchbox size pitas,
- baba ganoush and