Thursday, 24 March 2011

"Chopped" Challenge: Blackberries, Chicken, and Crescent Roll Dough

When I went home to visit last weekend, my sister chose the ingredients for my first timed "Chopped" challenge: blackberries, chicken, and crescent roll dough. For those of you who may have never seen the show, Chopped presents a series of baskets containing random ingredients which the contestants must then use to create a stunning dish that utilises all of those ingredients in some form. At the end of each round (appetizer, entrée, and dessert), one chef is "chopped," with the remaining chef declared the winner. My roommate and I once did a similar Chopped-inspired challenge, utilising some of the most random leftover ingredients in our classmates' apartment: giant gummy bear, Ramen noodles, and oranges, to name a few. We had an unruly amount of time to create an entrée and dessert and if I recall correctly, I took the entrée round while he took dessert. In any case, there was no competition this time around, but I did set a 30-minute time limit, after defrosting the chicken.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Celebrating a Belated Chocolate Chip Cookie Week

Earlier this week, I read that there was such a week of celebration as Chocolate Chip Week. The article I read must have been outdated, as it turns out it is celebrated during the second week of March, not the third. Not having known this until just now in fact, I can at least claim I had been celebrating St. Patrick's Day all day today (and some folks on campus can attest to this). And to be fair, the third week is apparently American Chocolate Week. So much chocolate!!

In any case, today's baking adventure was an experiment of sorts, based on the first ever recipe I used for my first batch of made-from-scratch chocolate chip cookies. From the Mrs. Fields Best Cookie Book Ever! recipe for "Blue-Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies" (page 6), I present to you a rather luckily successful recipe for my Green Choco-Mint Chip Cookies.

Monday, 14 March 2011

In Honour of Π Day

Happy Pi Day! It's nearly midnight and at this point, I better get a move on my 3.14 post!!

For much of today, I've been racking my brain trying to think up a pie to make in celebration of pi day, and finally settled on key lime pie (more specifically, I went with Emeril's pie recipe as my starting point). However, I didn't have a traditional pie pan and so I inadvertently ended up with a tart, the close sibling of the pie. As if this wasn't enough, I invited one of my colleagues over to join me for dinner and time had forced me to finally choose an entrée, of which I went with my take on a galette-style crêpe (the galette being the cousin of both the pie and the tart). Okay, so I ended up not making any pies on pi day, but I did sit down with the rest of the family... that counts for something, right?

In the Brief Interim

Good morning!

As you can tell from the date of my last post, I haven't been doing much cooking; of course, I was doing much eating. Just last night, I got back from a midwestern voyage to Notre Dame University to visit Lauren and two of our Albion classmates, and checked my mailbox a few hours ago to find my copy of "Cooking Club," the magazine of the Cooking Club of America, waiting for me. On the cover was the headline "Brown Butter: The secret to delicious desserts" (pp 38-43). Indeed, it's a secret no longer, and has become a recent revelation of sorts in my small repertoire of cooking techniques. (Type "beurre" in the search field or click here for an example.) Seeing this on the cover--and as I began to read the recipes--I finally listened to the reminder in my head to post something about my latest food voyage.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

One of the Simplest "Recipes" in My Collection

I distinctly remember one rainy afternoon in New York, during the summer of 2009. And by raining, I mean there was a total downpour and those of us running around the city to grab last-minute groceries didn't have umbrellas with us. We eventually got to a wonderful apartment and I somehow found myself at work in a kitchen just barely larger than the cooking space I had in Paris. Among the courses were chicken cordon bleu, ravioletti, wedge salad, bread, cheese, and forgettable store-bought chocolate mousse and (Americanized) chocolate croissants. Yet, one thing stood out amongst them all: Nutella-filled strawberries, a revelation of sorts it seemed, but for some reason still holds true today as I re-share this recipe.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

I Almost Couldn't Finish Eating This... Keyword: Almost

When I woke up this morning, Giada was at work on lemon and white chocolate pots de crème, the latter part of that which literally translates to pots of cream. And with a slew of cooking shows beginning tonight, I obviously had to translate that into make more food; so, I did. However, I'm not a huge fan of white "chocolate" (unless it's frozen and has cookies in it), so I revised Giada's work to a "darker" version, and made just enough for two (though, four might as well share it). I forewarn you: this is not a recipe for non-chocolate lovers.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

As I Begin Writing This, The Biscotti Are In The Oven

23:15 Well, hello there. The creative culinary juices have flowed once again and this time in the form of biscotti. As alluded to in the title of this particular post, I have about 15 min before I have to divide up the biscotti and prep them for the second baking. So, let's see how far I get through laying out this recipe before I must take an official pause.

Ever since coming back from my study abroad and research semester in South Africa, I've been wanting to make rusk, the SA-equivalent of the Italian biscotti. However, as I have yet to find/re-obtain the recipe of choice, I have settled this evening for creating my own version. While improvisation certainly came through in the end, the biscotti base was inspired by this recipe, as well as this one, and definitely this one.

Friday, 4 March 2011

I Didn't Have Any Milk, So I Used Butter

This past October, I wrote up a recipe for tortillas which called for the addition of warm milk. However, with no milk in the fridge and quite a few recipes out there calling for lard, I decided to re-write my recipe so I could use butter instead. In contrast to October's recipe, this March one yielded a more pliable dough and a richer tortilla. (I mean, I did use butter...)

Stuffed Thin Crust Cheese and Bacon Pan Pizza

About two weeks ago, I made my own pizza dough and had yet to use up the remaining half of it. And with bacon, cheese, and a slew of other ingredients that aren't necessarily the healthiest, I set out to make a stuffed thin crust cheese and bacon pan pizza... just because.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Fried Ravioli with Garlic-Enhanced Pasta Sauce

Greetings fellow Foodies!

Today in the world of food blog posts, I add to the collection my handmade ravioli stuffed with three cheeses and pan-fried. Admittedly, I had cooked these three days ago during the Oscars, but an essay exam for the class I'm auditing had taken much of my attention in the interim. Alas, with the exam now turned in, and after a first failed attempt at making my own dough, I present this experience to you all. Now, while you could certainly use store-bought or defrosted ravioli for the fried component of this recipe, why not give your forearms a workout and make your own?