Friday, November 27, 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge – Cannoli

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

As you know cannoli are fried, tube-shaped pastry shells filled with sweetened ricotta cheese, pastry cream, mousse, whipped cream, ice cream, etc. Fortunately, we were given great latitude in this challenge. I have never eaten cannoli and have never wanted to. I don’t own cannoli forms, I don’t fry, and I don’t eat soy cheese or creams. But I do love these challenges! So you won’t see beautiful little pastries in this post. No, I went with a baked, savory, stacked variation with the clever name (and so fun to say) Cannolipolean.

The only required element of this challenge was the dough. I love to make dough and this dough was fun to make. It had wine in it! I loved the smell of the wine as I was rolling out the dough and as it was baking. I made a one-fourth portion of the recipe, yielding a tiny little dough ball.

It rested overnight, then I rolled out four 5-inch rounds.

I popped them into mini tart pans to bake – they just happened to be the perfect size.

A baked version is not as crispy as the fried, but these little discs browned nicely and were very crispy.

For my Cannolipolean filling, I chose two of my favorite ingredients – mushrooms and broccoli. I sauteed them with onions, garlic, wine and lots of herbs.

This turned out to be a very nice dinner. It was tasty and just the right size. And so I’ve still never eaten a traditional cannoli pastry, but that’s okay. I have a new favorite word, “Cannolipolean”!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I won’t be cooking a feast this year. Chase is away and I will be dining out with my mom and brother.

I hope you all have a fantastic holiday. Enjoy your family, food, and fellowship, and remember to take a moment to be thankful for the blessings you have received.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Look Closely

I’ve been eating very simply lately, so this post is brought to you by my very talented and creative aunt. I believe she made these tricky treats for Halloween.

TV Dinner for Two?

These mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, and fried chicken are really cupcakes! Aren’t they the cutest things ever?!! The mashed potato cupcakes are topped with yellow starburst candy and caramel, the peas and carrots are m&m’s and starburst, and the fried chicken breading is crushed cornflakes. I think they are quite impressive. Her inspiration came from this recipe.

Anyone motivated to make a cupcake Thanksgiving buffet?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Daring Cooks Challenge - Sushi!

The November 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was brought to you by Audax of Audax Artifex and Rose of The Bite Me Kitchen. They chose sushi as the challenge.

Hooray for a fun vegan challenge!

The challenge was in four parts:-

Part 1: Making proper sushi rice – wash, rinse, drain, soak, cook, dress, and cool short grain rice until each grain is sticky enough to hold toppings or bind ingredients. Then use the cooked rice to form three types of sushi.
Part 2: Dragon sushi roll – an avocado covered inside-out rice roll with a tasty surprise filling.
Part 3: Decorative sushi – a nori-coated rice roll which reveals a decorative pattern when cut.
Part 4: Nigiri sushi – hand-shaped rice rolls with toppings.

I’ve mentioned many times how poor my rice making skills are. Part 1 was obviously my biggest challenge. I prepared the rice exactly as per the instructions. After all the rinsing and soaking, I put the rice in a big pot along with a piece of kombu.

I am thrilled to report that my sushi rice turned out perfectly! Quite unlike my usual attempts at making a proper rice. Look at all those individual grains.

For the rest of the challenge I made a small batch of each type of roll. The inside out roll took me a couple of tries, but surprisingly I had a rather easy and fun time making all the sushi.

TexMex sushi is quite popular here, so that was the inspiration for Part 2. My Inside-Out Dragon Roll was filled with spicy sweet potatoes and black beans.
I topped him with avocado and then plated him with cilantro and sriracha legs, and a green onion tongue and head decoration. He was deeeeelicious!

Part 3, the Spiral Roll, was simply filled with colorful veggies – cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, and red bell peppers.

Nothing fancy, but quite pretty and so fresh tasting.

Finally, Part 4, the super easy Nigiri Rolls. Simply topped with a smear of wasabi paste and shitake mushrooms.

Chase and I ate as much as we could for a fabulous late lunch. Thanks again to the hosts for providing such great instructions. Click here for recipes, including the perfect sushi rice.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Beer Food

Not food you EAT with beer; food you MAKE with beer! Beer was the theme for our October Food Bloggers potluck. Now it may not seem like the season for cole slaw, but it’s still warm in Texas. I can even remember making a Christmas cole slaw one year with green cabbage and red peppers. Anyway, I brought Cole Slaw with Beer Dressing to our potluck and got plenty of compliments on it. I admit I know nothing about beer and I don’t even drink beer, but I do keep Budweiser in my fridge for guests, so that’s what I used in this recipe. I would think whatever you have in your fridge would work just fine.

Cole Slaw with Beer Dressing

This recipe serves 12. I also made a tester half batch using exactly half of all ingredients.

1 pound red cabbage, finely shredded
1 pound green cabbage, finely shredded
1 pound carrots, shredded (I used a preshredded package)
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/3 cup white sugar
1 t. celery seeds
1 – 12 ounce can beer
1/3 cup canola oil
¼ cup cider vinegar
3 t. prepared mustard
1 t. agave nectar
2 t. salt
½ t. black pepper
½ t. red pepper

In a very large bowl, toss together the cabbage, carrots, onion, and pepper. Sprinkle the sugar and celery seeds over the mixture and toss again.

Pour beer into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes. Whisk in the oil, vinegar, mustard, agave nectar, and spices. Remove from heat and pour over slaw. Stir until well coated. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, drain in a colander. Taste for seasoning, toss again, and put into a serving bowl.

Our potluck was held at the 512 Brewery. Can you believe I had never been to a brewery before? 512 is a small business, more like a hobby for the proprietors. They had several beers available for sample and of course the head man was available to answer our questions.

As always, the bloggers brought some very creative dishes to share. Some food I could eat:

Beer Battered Fried Avocado

Beer Braised Brussels Sprouts

My slaw and my cousin’s beer braised black bean salad and homemade tortillas (My cousin makes what she calls *hybrid* tortillas, made with half white flour and half corn meal – corn flavored tortillas that don’t break!)

Some rice that went with a meaty stew!

Nonvegan foods that were a hit:

Beer Crust Pizza

Kabocha Squash Pumpkin Ale Cakes; Roasted Cauliflower and Rice

Pumpkin Ale Cheesecake

And the crowd favorites – Beer-a-misu and Beer Caramels.

Kind of a small crowd this month, but the weather was great and 512 was a great host. I look forward to the next event!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Favorite Pumpkin Stew

I made this stew Halloween night. It’s so yummy, much a like a chili but sweet with pumpkin and corn. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Pumpkin, Corn, and Bean Stew
(Also known as Three Sisters Stew)
Adapted from 150 Vegan Favorites

Yield: 4 large servings

1 T. vegetable or canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 15 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
1 T. sweet paprika
1 T. dried Mexican oregano
1 t. ground cumin
½ t. salt
½ t. crushed red pepper
½ t. black pepper
3 T. fresh parsley (or 1 T. dried)
4 cups diced pumpkin or winter squash
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups frozen sweet corn kernels
1 15 oz. can red or pink beans, drained and rinsed

Heat oil over medium heat in a 3 quart sauce pan. Add the onions and garlic. Cook and stir until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and spices and cook a few more minutes. Add pumpkin and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender. Add in the corn and beans and heat through, about 10 more minutes. Thicken the stew by mashing some of the pumpkin. Enjoy as is or over a bed of grains.

There were so many outstanding MoFo posts this year! Congratulations to all of you who participated.

If you want to wish me a Happy Veganiversary, November 1 was Year 4!