Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vegan Indian Dosas

This month’s Daring Cooks Challenge was hosted by Debyi of Healthy Vegan Kitchen. She chose Indian Dosas for this month's challenge.

Despite my claims to be an omnivore, I do not think I ever had ventured into the vegan world. And I was excited. In retrospect, I should not have decided to make this challenge and the Dobos Torte at the same time. But at that time, I did not know any better.
So, the challenge was really a three-part adventure: the dosas (pancake/crepes), the filling and the sauce or topping. I started with the filling and the first thing I did was to dump quite a bit of oil into the skillet. I did not realize that I should not have done that until a few minutes into cooking. No biggie, I thought, reluctant to re-chop the veggies and determined to read the instructions carefully. Until I reached "mash the chickpeas" part. I mashed them for a while but really should have used processor to save time and get finer texture -- the chickpeas skins did not really go too well with this delicate meal. The pancakes turned out quite well, I ended up making another batch of it and the sauce was quite good. Overall, this was an interesting experiment (albeit quite time consuming). I don't know if I'll make this very recipe again, maybe with some modifications.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dobos Torte

It is time for another Daring Bakers update.
The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonfulof Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular DobosTorte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: ExquisiteDesserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague. So, what is the Dobos Torta (or Torte)?
The Dobos Torta is a five-layer sponge cake, filled with a rich chocolate buttercream and topped with thin wedges of caramel. (You may come across recipes which have anywhere between six and 12 layers of cake; there are numerous family variations!) It was invented in 1885 by József C. Dobos, a Hungarian baker, and it rapidly became famous throughout Europe for both its extraordinary taste and its keeping properties. The recipe was a secret until Dobos retired in 1906 and gave the recipe to the Budapest Confectioners' and Gingerbread Makers' Chamber of Industry, providing that every member of the chamber can use it freely.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rice with Mushrooms, Cuttlefish and Artichokes

This month's Daring Cooks challenge hosted by Olga from Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes is Rice with Mushrooms, Cuttlefish and Artichokes.

I have tried to make paella a few times before but could never duplicate that incredible flavor that somehow makes Spanish paella oh-so-good. While this is not traditional paella, its flavors reminded me of all those wonderful meals years ago. I could not have enough and quite possibly could finish the entire pan all by myself. But my family enjoyed it as much as I did.

I could not find cuttlefish when I decided to make the dish, so I used a frozen mix of seafood instead. And I was not disappointed-- mussels, octopus, shrimp, calamari, and clams made this dish so flavorful. My family is not a big fan of garlic, so I opted to skip the Allioli. I have also discovered something new for myself -- Sogregit! I love that stuff! Not only it adds all that rich flavor to the rice, it makes one fantastic pasta sauce! :)

I cannot thank Olga enough for a fantastic meal that brought back all those wonderful memories.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Daring Bakers' Challenge -- the Cookies

This month's challenge was cookies. I got really excited when I read the description -- I love cookies. The more, the better. So, when I read that the challenge consisted of two types of cookies, I could not wait to get started. With other stuff going on (and hot and humid temperatures outside), I spent most of my time contemplating the cookies and did not get to do the actual baking until the very last week... And that's when things stopped working the way they were "supposed" to...

Friday, June 26, 2009

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.
Bakewell tarts…er…puddings combine a number of dessert elements but still let you show off your area’s seasonal fruits.

Like many regional dishes there’s no “one way” to make a Bakewell Tart…er…Pudding, but most of today’s versions fall within one of two types. The first is the “pudding” where a layer of jam is covered by an almondy pastry cream and baked in puff pastry. The second is the “tart” where a rich shortcrust pastry holds jam and an almondy sponge cake-like filling.

This is the reason why I dared to make that yammy strawberry-rhubarb jam a few weeks ago. The tart was excellent. I expected it to have a very strong almond-y flavor but it was surprisingly mild. It is definitely something that I thoroughly enjoyed. I've made it twice since, it seems only to get better and better and take less and less time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mm-mm-mm... Strawberry jam

I always loved the taste of a home-made jam but never actually made one. Until now. For something that I was making over the weekend, I needed jam. Any jam, really. I was going to use a store bought jam that I have plenty of in the house until I remembered that I had some strawberries in the fridge that were getting old and that I also had some pectin that I bought a while back in hopes of making a jam. It did not take me too long to reach a brilliant conclusion that -- finally!-- it is time for some home made strawberry jam.

By the time I was ready for the jam-making session, the strawberries have already gone bad. Not letting this sway me off course, I ended up buying some strawberries from the store along with whatever rhubarb they had left. I used strawberry-rhubarb jam recipe from Mike's Table. Next time (and there will definitely be a next time), I will add some lemon juice to make that wonderful sweet and little tart flavor combination a little more pronounced.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hello and Welcome!

This is my first attempt at blogging, mostly to showcase my creations for The Daring Kitchen.

I am Anna, a cook in VA. I love, love, love food. Good food, to be precise. My mother showed me how to cook so that I could help around the kitchen and I was hooked. Cooking always makes me smile. Well, maybe not in the middle of it but afterwards, when all the pain and frustration are forgotten. How can you not smile remembering my dad's reaction to the news that I used his best wine for a fish stew of sorts or bright neon green frosting on cupcakes.