Tuesday, September 29, 2009

DB: Vols Au Vent

Every month I find myself saying how the challenge leaves me excited and slightly intimidated...it's actually a nice feeling! The recipe included a lot of French words that I can't even begin to translate (although I do know a wee bit of French from high school).

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

Yep, vols-au-vent made with pate feuillette. For all you non-French speakers- loosely translated as buttery bread bowls made with homemade puff pastry. This challenge was really great! I totally feel like a real pastry chef! I made my own Puff Pastry!! I didn't even know you could make your own! I just thought it was one of those things you buy premade from the grocery store. Needless to say, I'll definitely be making my own puff pastry again!

The recipe's a bit long to post, but I will post this video that I found really informative and has a recipe in it. Julia Child Video: http://video.pbs.org/video/1174110297/search/Pastry. After we made the puff pastry we cut rings and stacked them together to make the vols au vent. Then I made a pastry cream from the "Mastering French Cooking" cookbook by Julia Child. Delicious. Addictively, ridiculously delicious and easy to make. For some I filled with strawberry, others I topped with figs, and others I put homemade pear jam or apple sauce on. Yum. The dough was delicious, light and fluffy and buttery. Definitely best the day of baking, leftovers were not very good I thought later. The dough tasted great with the cream and fruit. I do think the dough alone was a little bit bland. I don't know if adding sugar would mess up the integrity of the recipe, but I wish there was a hint of sweetness to the cough.

And, the newest member of my family, Mr. Norman Tumnis. We were just going to call him Mr. Tumnis (or just Tummy), but we like the idea of him having a first name. So cute! He's a Muggin! (Min Pin Pug mix)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

DC: Vegan Indian Dosas

When I first read our challenge for September I was a little bit shocked and confused. Indian dosas sounded delicious, but then I read the part where it all had to be Vegan. I am a 100% omnivore. Vegan food for me is a side item to a nice hunk of MEAT! Most vegan food to me is bland, not filling, and boring, but I have to say... this Vegan food is AMAZING!! Its delicious and filling, and definitely something I could eat alone, not as a side item. I made an Indian spiced yogurt chicken to go with it, but I don't even need to eat it. The dosa alone is enough. Needless to say, this recipe is great. It does take a bit of time and prep, but overall it is well worth it. Much thanks to Debyi for choosing this delicious adventure! I can't wait to eat more of this tomorrow for lunch during my 30 hr shift.

I did make a few changes:
*I used whole wheat flour instead of spelt flour (I honestly didn't want to buy something I would likely only use once and then leave to clutter my pantry). The whole wheat flour required a bunch more liquid to reach the appropriate consistency for the pancakes.
*I added spicy garlic chile sauce (I buy from Asian store) to bean filling and sauce. I like my food spicy. I also added a bit more of all of the spices. I like my food to be spicy and strong.
*I only used one can coconut milk in the sauce, it seemed adequately coconutty with just the one.
*I added some tomato paste to the sauce as well, and less whole tomato. Tomato makes my brother vomit on contact with his mouth... (He once ate a piece of sushi at the restaurant at the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va thinking it was tuna, but really it was a slice of tomato, and gagged and wretched at the table and didn't eat anything for like 48 hours from the trauma.)

Indian Dosas

This recipe comes in 3 parts, the dosas, the filling and the sauce. It does take awhile to make, but the filling and sauce can be made ahead and frozen if need be. You can serve them as a main course with rice and veggies, or as an appetizer. This does take a little planning ahead, so make sure you read the recipe through before starting (I forgot & didn't start making the rice until everything was ready, oops).

Serves 4

Equipment needed:
large bowl, 
, griddle or skillet, 
ladle (or large spoon), 
, vegetable peeler &/or knife, 
large saucepan, 
food processor or bean masher

Dosa Pancakes:

1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour (or all-purpose, gluten free flour)

½ tsp (2½ gm) salt

½ tsp (2½ gm) baking powder

½ tsp (2½ gm) curry powder

½ cup (125ml/4oz) almond milk (or soy, or rice, etc.)

¾ cup (175ml/6oz) water

cooking spray, if needed

Dosa Filling: 
1 batch Curried Garbanzo Filling (see below), heated

Dosa Toppings: 
1 batch Coconut Curry Sauce (see below), heated

¼ cup (125gm) grated coconut
, ¼ cucumber, sliced

Dosa Pancakes

1.Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.

2.Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.

3.Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter.

Makes 8 pancakes.

Curried Garbanzo Filling

This filling works great as a rice bowl topping or as a wrap too, so don't be afraid to make a full batch.

5 cloves garlic

1 onion, peeled and finely diced

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)

2 medium hot banana chilies, minced

2 TBSP (16gm) cumin, ground

1 TBSP (8gm) oregano

1 TBSP (8gm) sea salt (coarse)

1 TBSP (8gm) turmeric

4 cups (850gm/30oz) cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)

½ cup (125gm/4oz) tomato paste

1.Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.

2.Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.

Coconut Curry Sauce

This makes a great sauce to just pour over rice as well. This does freeze well, but the texture will be a little different. The flavor is still the same though. My picture of this sauce is one that I had made, had to freeze, then thaw to use. It tastes great, but the texture is a little runnier, not quite as thick as it was before freezing.

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic

½ (2½ gm) tsp cumin, ground

¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)

3 TBSP (30gm) curry powder

3 TBSP (30gm) spelt flour (or all-purpose GF flour)

3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth

2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk

3 large tomatoes, diced

1.Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.
2.Add the spices, cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.
3.Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally.
4.Let it simmer for half an hour.
Happy eating!

Monday, September 14, 2009

MSC-Zucchini Spice Cupcakes

I joined Martha's Cupcake Club this week, where we make a Martha Stewart Cupcake cookbook recipe every month. This month was Zucchini Spice Cupcakes. These cupcakes are essentially like carrot cupcakes, except with zucchini instead. I can't really taste the Zucchini too much, but they are delicious nonetheless.
I also made the cream cheese frosting suggested with the cakes in the book. The frosting is really good, very cream cheesy. I did think it was a bit too sweet to eat a lot of it with the cakes. Next time I'll only add a portion of the sugar. I added a little lemon zest, I love it in just about everything, it makes it a bit more fresh and lively.
Can you see the little green specks in the cake from the zucchini? I can't, and the pictures a little blurry. I took some new pictures, but unfortunately they're not so great either. I don't have an external flash and it was a bit overcast, and I didn't have a good specimen to photograph, since all the good ones were scarfed up by hungry residents.
My team at the hospital will love digging into these tomorrow morning! Yum!!

***So I updated the post a bit. These cupcakes were AWESOME! I'd like to believe that they're "healthy" since they're made with zucchini right?? Not to mention the whole cream cheese and butter frosting part! *wink*wink* I'd like to eat a whole batch by myself, but I'm trying to quit ;)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Limequat, the alien fruit!

My dear friend and chef blogger extraordinare Diana mentioned to me the appearance of Limequats at the grocery store and I was immediately enthrallled. A limequat? Kumquat is my favorite flavor of Bubble Tea, and I think the little fruits are quite tasty, so I figured limequat could bring a similar appeal. Limequats, according to Wikipedia, are "a citrus tree and the result of a cross between the lime and the kumquat. It is a member of citrofortunella." They are cute little baby lime looking things, only slightly bigger than my thumb. Further online research showed that they are used many times in the same contexts as kumquats, eaten raw, in jams or marmelades, and for a citrusy kick in sauces. So, naively I popped a whole limequat in my mouth. The explosion of citrus was overwhelming. Trying to play it cool in front of my brother I said "mmm, good," meanwhile my puckered face told the true story. A few more unsuccessful chomps and I spit it out into the trashcan. Very citrusy, sour, tasty, but so much bitter pith! I couldn't handle it. So I tried to figure out what I could do with it. I tried to make a sorbet of it in my post "Adventures in Simple Syrup", but unfortunately I put the whole fruit in the processor, and yes, the pith was overwhelming. I guess I should have guessed that, but oh well.
I was certainly intrigued with this petite burst of flavor, and I wanted to try some other way to highlight it in a recipe. Unfortunately, this all happened a couple weeks ago when it was hot outside and I'm just a delinquent blogger. It was so hot that the idea of a cool treat was appealing, so I tried again with the sorbet and made a kiwi limequat sorbet, using just the juice of the limequats. It's wonderfully sweet and sour, cool and refreshing. It's amazingly delicious. Best of all, its so easy, and doesn't require many dishes! If you want a cool treat, you should definitely try this one. It was all i could do not to eat the whole batch right then and there, but I ended up hoarding it for a couple weeks because I didn't want to eat it too fast. Although I don't love them as much as kumquats, I have to say, limequats are all right with me!
Aren't they cute?

Kiwi-Limequat Sorbet
Adapted from this recipe.
Put 9x11 inch glass pan into freezer. Make a simple sugar with 1 c sugar and 1 c water, let cool.
Peel and puree 6 kiwis in food processor. Stir puree and juice of 10 limequats into simple syrup. Take frozen dish out of freezer and pour mixture in. Put in freezer. Check on it every 45 min- 1 hr, stirring frozen edges back toward middle, to get it al frozen equally. After about 3 hours, it should be frozen to a scoopable consistency. Serve and enjoy!

And some more pictures of the limequats...I took SO many, I thought they were sooo cute!