Thursday, January 29, 2009

Say you, say Tuile - Savory Tuiles

First, the challenge info:

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

Luckily for me Karen and Zorra offered a savory tuile version as well, by Thomas Keller. And I'll pick savory over sweet almost any time.

This was my first time making tuiles, and I went into it tonight a little nervous. They're not overly complicated, but there are a lot of steps, and molds and spatula-ing and molding. Fussy. The batter was easy to make, and was easy to spread. It took a few tries to get good even, not too thick, not too thin coverage.

I used some little ramekins to do the molding. It was trickier than I thought - of my 8, I got 3 pretty good ones, 4 pretty much flat ones, and one that fell apart in my clumsy fingers while I was trying to mold it.

I filled ours with curried chicken salad.

I really liked the flavor of the tuile, and if you can get a hang of spreading the batter and the molding, the possibilities would be endless! And I'm sure you can get a ton of ideas from checking out the other Daring Bakers - check out the blogroll.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Notebook One - Where it all began....

Oh Notebook One, you were the one that started it all.

I no longer recall why I decided to buy a notebook and start copying recipes. But I'm glad I did.

I guess I must have needed some writing paper, as this 80 page notebook has a 2 page table of contents, and 64 pages of recipes.

I started out this book with recipes from my Mom, from my friends Mom's (mostly sweets), and some of the few dishes that my boyfriend at the time would eat. Then around page 32 I discovered vegetarian magazines, which fills out the rest of the book. My boyfriend was horrified, as he lived by some sort of "If there's no meat, I don't want to eat" code. For a couple of years most of the veggie recipes went untried. But then we broke up and that was that.

It wasn't easy to pick a new recipe to make from Book 1, even though there's got to be at least 30 recipes I haven't tried yet. Risotto? Cinnamon buns? Ooooh - Watermelon Margaritas! But because we'd scored some really nice and flavorful tomatos, I chose Mexican Gazpacho.

I didn't write down where this came from - who knew 10 years later I'd have a food blog? Who even knew what a blog was? but I think it was a vegetarian magazine. The soup itself gets an A. Very healthy, no fat, and fast to make. Just finely chop (or chuck in a food processor like I did) your ingredients, mix them together and you're ready to go. I loved the freshness and the zing from the vinegar and hot sauce. I had it for lunch 4 days in a row.

Spicy Mexican Gazpacho
recipe unknown

3 cups peeled and chopped tomatos
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper (I used red)
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tb lime juice
hot sauce

In a large non-reactive bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 8 hours. To serve, mix again and ladle into bowls. OR puree half of the mixture in a food processor, mix into the remaining gazpacho and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I did it! Notebook organization part 1 complete!

I've mentioned my notebooks once or twice on my blog; I started my first one when I was 18 years old, only 3 or 4 a handful of years ago. (ahem.) Back then, and now, I wrote down recipes that appealed to me, and then also ideas of my own. When I pulled out all my books to take a picture of them for my Christmas gift post, I also unearthed the foot high stack of loose pages waiting to be cut and pasted into notebooks, along with a separate pile of old magazines, that needed to be re-read and any worthy recipes ripped out and also pasted in.

What a disaster. I honestly think that since I started my first book all those many years ago I've never been caught up; there's always been a pile of papers, or a magazine with pages waiting to be ripped out mocking me. So I decided that enough was enough, and I vowed that I would get all my books organized and one way or another be rid of all the loose papers and old magazines.

And a month later, here I am, organized and good to go.

I was missing a book when I took this picture, but found it an hour later. I have 14 books total. 12 full and 2 works in progress. 1 work in progress is a manual/conversion/info book, not an actual recipe notebook.

All the completed books are now full and each have a table of contents. The 2 I am still working on will get ToC's when they are full. I am thinking about doing a master index of all books, and storing it on my computer, but that seems a little daunting right now, I've got some other stuff to do around the house first. But it would be nice to know exactly which book Scott's Shrimp Dip recipe is in, instead of going: "I think it's in the black one. No, the other black one. No, the other black one."

I didn't put all the books back in their case after they were organized; it's been fun leafing through them and being reminded of people, places and things. And I've decided, to celebrate my (amazing for me lately) feat of being organized, I'm going to cook one recipe out of each of my 13 books, and share with you, the people. As Ina would say, How good will that be?

See yous tomorrow for a recipe from the book that begat it all, Sara's Cookbook #1.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

There's a party goin' on right here.......

So fellow Canuck blogger Jenny from All Things Edible and her family are settling in to their new home. And to celebrate, she's throwing a virtual housewarming party. I admire her for being ready to party so soon; we've been in our "new" house for more than a year now and there's still boxes of stuff downstairs that I don't know what to do with. Settling in never ends for some, I fear.

I couldn't pass up Jenny's invitation to bring a snack and so here I am, with a bowl full of Teriyaki Mushrooms, so we can keep our energy up for the party. 'Cause no one wants to be that person who falls asleep and then everyone draws on their face and takes their picture, right?

I got this idea from a recipe that had mushrooms skewered with bell pepper and green onions and then grilled. The idea of mushrooms and teriyaki appealed to me, but I didn't have any skewers, and dang it, it's sort of chilly out. So I came up with my own method for Teriyaki Mushrooms.

First, we make our sauce.

In a small pot stir together 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup sake, 1 tb grated ginger, and 3 tb sugar. Heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool until room temperature. Pour 1/4 to 1/2 the sauce in a bowl for the mushrooms. Pour the rest into your serving bowl(s) and set aside.

Take your 1 pound of mushrooms, clean and trim them. Mine weren't monsters so I left them whole. Cut them in half if you like. Place the mushrooms in the bowl with the reserved sauce. Toss them and let them sit for 5 or 10 minutes.

Preheat your bbq, broiler or indoor grill, whichever you choose. I used my George Foreman. Remove the mushrooms from the marinade. Don't throw away the sauce yet. Grill or broil your mushrooms (if you broil, put on a baking sheet lined with foil), turning once or twice until the mushrooms are softened, brown and a little charred. Baste with the reserved marinade once or twice.

Remove from the grill, plate up and serve with the fresh sauce and some napkins.

Cheers Jenny! All the best to you and your family in your new home.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bread Baking Babes - Croissants

Another exciting month with my Babes brings another exciting bread challenge. This month we're tackling Croissants, as chosen by the kitchen of the month Thyme for Cooking and Katie.

This is yet another recipe I'd never thought to try. I've heard how difficult and time consuming those little buggers can be. But Katie found us a recipe that didn't require a physics degree and 5 days off work.

Now most months I am lucky enough that Mary and I meet online and tackle our baking assignment together. This time before we baked there was much discussion on our supersecretbbb blog about flour types and moisture content and all sorts of topics that just went right over my head. Mary made a couple of adjustments to the recipe that she felt might give us a bit more success, while I sat silently in the corner until it was time to bake together. We/she decided that we'd make the croissants over 2 days - make the dough on the Saturday night and finish the croissants Sunday morning.

To see the recipes, visit Katie and Mary.

So Saturday night we made our dough, let it have its first rise, and then put it in the fridge over night. We then got our butter/flour mixture blended, shaped and wrapped in the fridge, then called it a night.

Early the next morning we met again online. We rolled out the dough into a rectangle and placed the butter/flour block in the middle.

The dough is folded over the butter and is turned, rolled and chilled 3 times. Every time you turn, roll and fold the dough you are creating the layers in the dough. This, my friends, is what makes the croissant flaky.

After all the rolling and folding and turning and chilling was done, I rolled out the dough one last time...

And trimmed the edges and cut it in half. Half was for croissants, and half was for a pesto baguette.

We made a cardboard template and used it to cut the dough into croissant shapes.

We made 4 kinds - plain, salmon, ham and cheese and chocolate.

With the other half of the dough we made a Croissant Baguette with Pesto.

From start to finish Sunday, I think it took me about 5 hours. But we ended up with some fabulous looking foods. The pesto baguette was incredible.

The croissants were....good. They took ages and ages to brown, and they didn't get very big. It's strange that half the dough could make a fantastic baguette and the other half made okay croissants. But they were pretty nice a couple of days later when we warmed them up and dunked 'em in our soup.

I'm wondering if I did something wrong - did I work the dough too much, did I do something incorrectly with my turns and rolls? Should they have risen longer? Hmmmmm.

Thanks to Katie for January's challenge. Next month will be extra cool for the Babes - we've got 2 new members! Stay tuned for all the details.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekend Cookbook Challenge - Fake n Bake Chicken

I've already got some pretty great contributions coming in for this months Weekend Cookbook Challenge! This month our theme is 5 Ingredients or Less, chosen by a non-blogger reader, Lynn.

I mentioned in my pea post that I had a hard time finding recipes that would fit the bill. After flipping through 6 or 7 books with no luck, I found myself with my copy of Eat Shrink and Be Merry by Janet and Greta Podleski. Last time I used one of their books for WCC it was a complete failure. But if you fall off the horse you have to get back on, so I picked a yummy sounding bbq-baked chicken recipe called Fake n Bake Chicken.

I gathered up the ingredients I would need: Chicken Thighs, hoisin sauce, bbq sauce, lemon juice, chili powder, and, um, hmmmm. Ginger.

Ooops. That actually appears to be 6 ingredients instead of 5, doesn't it. IN MY DEFENSE, I honestly thought there were only 5 ingredients in this recipe. It wasn't until I took the above picture I realized I should work on my counting and reading skillz.

S-M-R-T! Ah well, moving on. So in a bowl, you mix together 1/3 cup each of hoisin and bbq sauce, then add 1 TB lemon juice, 2 tsp grated ginger and 1/2 tsp chili powder. Whisk it all together. Put 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (OR 4 boneless skinless chicken breast pieces) in a pan sprayed with spray or lined with foil. Pour the sauce over the chicken and turn the chicken pieces in the sauce until they are all covered. Bake at 400' for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Yum! A really really great chicken dish with a great sweet sauce. I liked this because in addition to it being a delicious dinner, it's got only a few ingredients (ahem), and is pretty speedy. You could mix this all up in the morning, toss in the fridge and then when you get home from work, all you have to do is throw in the oven! Nothing like a good fast home cooked dinner.

I made another batch of those fantastic peas with lettuce and mint to go along with them.

Want to take part in WCC? It's easy! Find a recipe in a cookbook, magazine, on the internet, or wherever you'd like that fits this months theme. Make it, blog about it and send me a link by January 30. My email is iliketocook AT shaw DOT ca.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More recipe testing for Urban Vegan

Here's some more pictures of recipes I've tested for the upcoming cookbook from urban vegan:

Sorry for the teeny picture. I don't know what's up there. Anyhoo, these are foil roasted beets with horseradish vinaigrette. i'm not usually a horseradish fan, but it's not overpowering and goes well with beets.

This is a tasty hot drink called a Rico Suave-chocolate soy milk kicked up with booze, served in my favorite mug.

Portobello Burritos, filled with mushrooms, beans and all sorts of tasty stuff.

Shiitake on a Shingle. Do you love that name??? A vegan version of the old chipped beef recipe.

John's Marinara Sauce. John makes a mighty fine sauce, let me tell you.

Double Apple Cake, and my fingers.

Tamarind BBQ Sauce. So delicous, and lovely on roasted potatos.

Potatos with 40 Cloves of Garlic. To keep those pesky vampires away.

Sandwich Mousse -a fun meat free sandwich filling.

Homemade Wholegrain Tortillas. Mine tasted better than they look.

Lemon Scented Carrots with Capers and Coriander. A nice zippy dish.

Pear Pepper Chutney. Great with crackers.

The perils of recipe testing: a failure. Raspberry Swirl Poundcake.

But then we rebounded with this fab Red Pepper Sauce which we gobbled down in 2 days.

This Piri Piri Sauce is marinating in my pantry for the next 2 weeks.

Minty Mojitos. Almost as good as my Moms.

Bajan Rum Punch. Can't wait to mix a batch of these in the summer. My first time with bitters too.

Have a loverly weekend! I'll be back on Monday with a Weekend Cookbook Challenge posts that shows the world I don't know how to count.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Weekend Cookbook Challenge 36 - Spring Peas with Lettuce and Mint

This month's Weekend Cookbook Challenge is being hosted by me, but the theme - 5 Ingredients or Less - was chosen by a blog-less long time reader of mine, Lynn. I always thought Lynn seemed like a pretty nice lady, but now I'm not so sure. This 5 ingredient or less thing is harrrrrd! It took me ages, and 6 cookbooks before I found something that fit the bill.

I found the perfect recipe to go with the leftover ham in my Bon Appetit Cookbook - Spring Peas with Lettuce and Mint. I've heard of this sort of dish before - peas and lettuce braised with liquid - and it always intrigued but scared me. Soggy lettuce? Is that supposed to be appealing?

This recipe was different that others that I'd ready in that the lettuce is thinly sliced. I figured somehow that might be better. And it was. This is one mighty tasty dish. There are so many pluses: only a few ingredients (less than 5! What are the odds?), fast, non fat (I used non fat veg broth), and delicious. The lettuce added a really great texture to the peas and mint + peas = excellent.

Spring Peas with Lettuce and Mint
The Bon Appetit Cookbook

4 servings

1/2 cup low salt chicken broth (I used no-fat vegetable broth)
10 oz frozen peas, thawed (I didn't thaw first. Rebel!)
1 cup thinly sliced Romaine Lettuce
3 tb chopped fresh mint

Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add peas and simmer until heated through, about 4 minutes. Stir in lettuce and mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Want to take part in WCC? It's easy! Find a recipe in a cookbook, magazine, on the internet, or wherever you'd like that fits this months theme. Make it, blog about it and send me a link by January 30. My email is iliketocook AT shaw DOT ca.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Holiday Food 08

Before I show you all our foodums we ate on Christmas and New Years, let me show you how spoiled I was again this year! I got these magazines/cookbooks:
plus this Australian Women's Weekly Stew Cookbook. We picked up the Stew cookbook from Costco in November for $5, and I asked Scott to put it in my stocking. On Christmas Day I was so excited to get it, however it took me almost 2 hours before I realized that I had actually picked it out myself. I thought I'd seen it somewhere and somehow Scott read my mind and bought it for me. That poor man, he's stuck with me forever.

You don't know this about me, but I am a sucker for food related infomercials. I'll watch them over and over again. Some I could probably recite word for word. I do, however, draw the line at actually ordering them. So I was pretty excited to open THIS!
My very own Magic Bullet Single Shot! Scott bought me this with the hope that I will make less of a mess in the mornings when I make smoothies. We shall see, sir.

Now if I only had a Shamwow and a Slap Chop, my life would be complete (Vince: "You're gonna love my nuts!" Me: *snicker*)

SO! For our Christmas Dinner this year, we went Italian. (You may remember, or not, 2006 our dinner was Swedish, and 2007 we did French Canadian). We decided on 8 dishes. We ate over at my parents house, and they had the first course ready when we got there: Antipasti.

The top platter has bread, 2 types of cheese, 3 kinds of olives, and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. The bottom dish has salami, marinated eggplant, and a marinated mixed seafood salad. The seafood salad (jarred, store bought) was the least popular. Tough and just not very good. The cheese and the eggplant were my personal favorites.

An hour or so later we sat down to Insalata Caprese (tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella salad):
And for those in my family who like sardines (that's everyone but me) a marinated sardine dish:
The sardines were beheaded and cooked with vinegar and raisins and pine nuts and other stuff. That's all I can tell you, the recipe came from my parents cookbook. But they all enjoyed it.

After another break we headed into the kitchen to make the next 2 dishes. First up was a dish from the October La Cucina Italiana magazine - beef rolls with pancetta and parmesan. The original recipe called for veal, but I don't eat veal, so we used beef instead.
You pound out some beef, top with a thin slice of pancetta, a sprinkle of fresh parmesan, roll up and use a toothpick or 2 to keep them closed. The rolls are sauteed in olive oil and butter. Then you remove them from the pan and make a sauce with tomatos, wine and more butter. Add the rolls back to re-warm, remove the toothpicks and you are done. Not really pretty, but very yummy.
From the December issue of La Cucina Italiana we made Patate in Tecia, pan fried potatos. They were cooked with pancetta and onion and broth. Not bad, but I'd make some changes if I were to make them again.
After yet another break in the living room we talked about our last 3 courses. We still had a pasta, a pea dish and dessert to go. Everyone was getting full. Because the pea dish had already been started and the dessert was done, we skipped the pasta. An Italian dinner without pasta! What is up with that? Here's the pea and pancetta dish, which I'll tell you more about later. For now I'll just say it was fabulous.
And then after yet another break, we had some dessert, tiramisu. Here's what they looked like after I made them at home Christmas morning. So good.
And then! We went into a food coma.

Thankfully we were revived in time for New Years. Unfortunately, as I have already whined, I got my usual flu between Christmas and New Years. So we scaled back our New Years Eve dinner by a couple of dishes. We had some raw veggies and dip and then our main course. We made 3P Fried Rice (Pork, Pineapple and Pea) and Egg Rolls from Paula Deen.
Hey y'all! I'm Paula Deen's egg rolls!
Here's her recipe - Pork Slaw Egg Rolls, and really, they are very very good. It also makes a crapload, so if there aren't 10 of you, you may want to half the recipe. But, the slaw and pork mix on its own is actually quite good.

And finally!

New Years Day my parents came over for dinner. We made baked ham and used our new favorite baked ham recipe for the second time. And for the second time I did not take pictures. But you don't need to see one of my bad pictures to know this recipe is a winner when you read it. I found this in Move Over, Santa - Ruby's Doin Christmas! by Ruby Ann Boxcar. This is a simple easy and fast ham recipe and so darn tasty.

Vance Pool's Tis The Season Maple Ham
adapted from Move Over, Santa - Ruby's Doin Christmas!

Ruby Ann says: One bite and you'll know why he weighs almost 400 pounds

5 lb precooked smoked ham*
1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Preheat your oven to 325'. Place the ham skin side up in a large roasting pan. Score the ham in a diamond pattern. Do not add anything else to the pan. Bake the ham uncovered for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, remove the ham from the oven. Pour the maple syrup over the ham. Place back in the oven and bake for 45 more minutes, basting 2 or 3 times.
When the ham is done, remove from the oven. Place the ham on a platter or cutting board and cover with foil. Set aside.
Carefully pour all the drippings into a pan. Add the flour and whisk until blended. Add the water, mustard and worcestershire sauce.
Whisk over medium high heat and bring to a simmer. If the gravy seems too thick, add some more water.
Slice the ham and serve with the gravy on the side.
*If your ham is not precooked, cook as above until the ham is ready by a meat thermometer.