Daring Cooks Archives - Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

A Shocking Loss. Farewell, Sweet Lis.

November 15, 2013 at 12:03 am | Posted in Daring Bakers, Daring Cooks | 43 Comments
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I know I haven’t been around in a long, long time, and I do owe you all an explanation, but for now, there’s something more important I need to touch on.  I will be back..and definitely back soon with the end of the BBFL story, but today, I need to talk about a wonderful, amazing lady.

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If you’re a regular reader of my blog, when I’ve put up Daring Bakers or Daring Cooks challenge posts, you’ve probably seen me talk about my friend, Lis, on occasion- the co-founder of The Daring Kitchen, – the girl I jokingly referred to as wifeypoo.

Continue Reading A Shocking Loss. Farewell, Sweet Lis….

Tourte Milanese – A Meal en Croute

May 18, 2013 at 5:11 am | Posted in Breakfast, Daring Cooks, Dinner, Lunch, Pastry, Rainbow, Vegetables | 121 Comments
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Remember when I told you about the computer crash of 2011 where I lost almost everything?  It was mainly tons of photos of some of the best goodies I’ve ever made, most of them pretty labor intensive.  You see, I was on this roll from September 2010 to January 2011 – a fancy shmancy crazy roll.  Once or twice a week I was creating showstopping sweet and savory dishes like they were going out of style, and as luck would have it, getting some good clicks of them.

Tourte Milanese - layers of herbed eggs, ham or turkey, cheese and vegetables encased in puff pastry!  A great brunch stunner and easy!

It was an amazing food blog run, and I had about 7 posts lined up.  The posts weren’t written, but the photos were ready – tucked in and snug as a bug in a rug in my photo program waiting until I was ready to write and post.  Then..the crash.

Continue Reading Tourte Milanese – A Meal en Croute…

My Daring Cooks Challenge – Deboning a Whole Chicken for Chicken Ballotine or Galantine

April 14, 2013 at 12:00 am | Posted in Daring Cooks, Dinner, Holiday, Poultry, Vegetables | 69 Comments
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Before I say one word about this challenge, a warning.  Vegetarians and vegans (In my best Melissa McCarthy impersonation) LOOK AWAY! LOOK AWAY!

Ballotine of Chicken with Red Rice Stuffing

Make No Bones About It!


They’re not dead – just boneless. Created by Gary Larson.

So, I’m hosting the April Daring Cooks Challenge.  If you recall, I’ve hosted a few other Daring Kitchen Challenges, my first being Cannoli, way back in late 2009..then Cassoulet with Jenni, back in late 2010, and finally, Tempering Chocolate and Homemade Candy in the summer of 2011, with Mandy.  But, this challenge just may be the most ambitious one.  I wasn’t sure if many would take part, but not only did many take part, they completely kicked butt.  My fellow Daring Cooks are simply amazing!

Continue Reading My Daring Cooks Challenge – Deboning a Whole Chicken for Chicken Ballotine or Galantine…

Maple Brined Ancho-Scallion Boneless Turkey Breast with Apple-Butter Pecan Stuffing

November 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Posted in Breads, Daring Cooks, Dinner, Holiday, Poultry, Vegetables | 59 Comments
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Damn, I thought Thanksgiving was the 29th because Thanksgiving is usually the last Thursday in November.  Oh, boy, this is the trick of the trick or treat for real – the ultimate “Ha ha…you better get your ass in gear!” moment.  I think Hurricane Sandy left me a little off-kilter, but I’ll get to that later.

You see, for this month’s Daring Cook’s challenge, which is all about brining meat and/or vegetables, then roasting, which  I’m late to as usual, I decided to brine a whole turkey breast, then layer it with more flavors – like a compound butter rub, then stuff, roll, and tie it for a lovely Thanksgiving treat for those who don’t want to roast a whole turkey.

Maple Brined Ancho-Scallion Boneless Turkey Breast with Apple-Butter Pecan Stuffing
Audax of Audax Artifax was our November 2012 Daring Cooks’ host. Audax has brought us into the world of brining and roasting, where we brined meat and vegetables and roasted them afterwards for a delicious meal!

Continue Reading Maple Brined Ancho-Scallion Boneless Turkey Breast with Apple-Butter Pecan Stuffing…

Potato Rosti with Bacon, Brie, Scallions and a Quick and Easy Brown Butter Pan Applesauce

February 15, 2012 at 2:44 am | Posted in Breakfast, Daring Cooks, Dinner, Gluten Free, Pork, Vegetables | 47 Comments
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Happy Valentines Day, err, Eve, everyone!  I had this post scheduled to go up at 5pm last night.  Apparently I didn’t use GMT, so it’s now the 15th.  Well, it’s still Valentine’s Day on the West Coast! I hope you all had an amazing day and are now getting your lips kissed off – or eating chocolate.

For this month’s Daring Cooks Challenge, we were asked to make fried patties of some sort, and one of the recipes offered to us was potato rosti, which is sort of a mix between a giant potato latke and hash browns.  I added bacon lardons, scallions and brie to mine.  It was suggested that the use of a cast iron skillet was ideal, and I have three; an 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch, all well-seasoned, or so I thought.

Once the underside of my rosti was cooked, some careful inspection revealed there was no way I was flipping this baby over without it falling apart. SO, I stuck it under the broiler to finish it and brown the top.  We cut slices out of the pan, and it came out well, but it still would have broken into pieces had I tried to flip it.

I topped some slices with a sunny side up egg with roasted red bell pepper hearts (cutting the egg into a heart shape proved difficult since the white was so delicate and thin in some areas, but I did my best, and I think it still resembles somewhat of a heart ??).  For the rest of the rosti, I made a super quick brown butter chunky applesauce to top it, which was absolutely wonderful.

Potato Rosti with Bacon, Brie, Scallions and a Quick and Easy Brown Butter Applesauce

The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax (my pal) & Lis (one of my wifeypoos) and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties.

With all that said, you have got to try my quick brown butter pan apple sauce, whether or not you make the rosti.  It came to me on a whim and I nailed it in one shot, which isn’t usually the case, so I’m a proud mama..sort of.

Potato Rosti Napoleon?  I sandwiched three slices of rosti with some extra brie and put it in the oven for a few minutes, then topped it with a quick pan brown butter apple sauce. A glorious tasting mess!

If you have a few minutes, please check out some of the unique, creative and delicious patties my fellow Daring Cooks came up with, by clicking on the links to their blogs, HERE.  For a bounty of recipes for all kinds of patties, from the challenge, click HERE.

Rest in Peace Whitney Houston.  The tragic loss of a beautiful woman with the voice of angel.

Potato Rosti with Bacon, Brie, Scallions
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 2 large potato rostis
 
ingredients:
  • 2½ lbs russet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons feshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, or use all-purpose flour
  • 1 lb slab bacon without the rind, or thick cut bacon
  • 7 oz wheel of Brie or any other good melting cheese you like. Great with cheddar!
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced, dark ends saved for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons oil, for frying
directions:
  1. Dice bacon into cubes and fry until fat is rendered and it's a deep rust color. Strain off bacon grease and save for another use. Set aside on a paper towel in a bowl.
  2. Cut white, papery rind off of brie (you can keep it onI prefer it off). Dice into small cubes, or shred, if brie is cold and firm.
  3. Slice white and light green parts on the diagonal. Save dark green slices, also sliced on the diagonal, for garnish.
  4. Grate the peeled potatoes with a box grater or a food processor shredding disk.5. Wrap the grated potato in a cloth and squeeze dry, you will get a lot of liquid over ½ cup, discard liquid since it is full of potato starch. Return dried potato to bowl add the egg, brie, bacon, scallions, cornstarch, pepper, and salt. Mix until combined.
  5. Preheat a frying pan (a well seasoned cast iron is best, 8 to 10-inch) until medium hot, add 2 teaspoons of oil wait until oil shimmers.
  6. Place half of mixture into the pan, flatten with a spoon until you get a smooth flat surface. Lower heat to medium.
  7. Fry for 8-10 minutes (check at 6 minutes) the first side, flip by sliding the rösti onto a plate then use another plate invert the rösti then slide it back into the pan, then fry the other side about 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Repeat to make another rosti.

Quick and Easy Brown Butter Cinnamon Apple Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
 
ingredients:
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick - 4 tablespoons - 2 oz)
  • 4 large Granny Smith (or any tart apples), apples - peeled, cored and chopped into cubes.
  • ¼ to ½ cup granulated sugar, entirely depending on how sweet you like it
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 good pinch kosher salt
  • squeeze of lemon juice (taste to see if it needs it)
directions:
  1. In a large saute pan, melt the butter on medium low heat. Raise the heat to medium and cook the butter until the the milk solids rise to the top and the liquid beneath the solids is light golden brown.
  2. Add the chopped apples to the browned butter and saute until the apples start to soften. Sprinkle on the sugar and let the apples caramelize in the sugar, stirring until the apples are completely caramelized and soft Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon, vanilla bean or extract, and kosher salt.
  3. Pour the apple mixture into a bowl, scraping out all the caramel goodness left in the pan. Mash with a fork for chunky apple sauce, or give it a whirl in the food processor (or use a blender or stick blender) for a smooth apple sauce. Squeeze in some lemon juice to taste, if needed. When cool, place in an airtight container in the fridge - it should last about 2 weeks, or immediately serve warm over potato rosti.
notes:
Add other spices, like nutmeg, allspice or even a pinch of cayenne, if you like. It's your apple sauce - play with the flavor!

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Char Siu Bao (BBQ Pork Buns) with Meaning – and ‘The Tale of a Painting’.

December 15, 2011 at 12:48 am | Posted in Appetizers, Asian, Breads, Daring Cooks, Dinner, Lunch, Pork, Yeastspotting | 37 Comments
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I’m in love with pork buns… especially the baked kind.  I’ve been known to go out of my way just to stop at Asian bakeries to pick up varieties of their soft lovely buns..and there’s always at least two pork buns in the bag when I leave.  There’s one in my town now, and I have to steer clear or else I’ll be buying bags of buns several times a week, resulting in one big bun, one in which I sit on.

Well..whaddya know…

Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles ! Sara chose awesome Cha Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Cha Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!

Hmmm..Cha Sui?  I suppose that’s just another term for it?  I always thought it was Char Siu, and Char Siu pork and I go way back – well. way back two years ago.  I was actually going to recycle that photo of my Char Siu pork into this post, but once I made it again, I decided to  get at least one shot to show I actually did make it again.  It’s a beautiful thing.  Ever pick the pieces of it out of your fried rice to eat individually?

I do.

So, I’ve made Char Siu pork before, and Char Siu Bao before – steamed and baked – with great success.  I knew this was a challenge I couldn’t miss, not only because I’ve had great success with it, but because pork buns have gone up $1.25 since I last walked out of the local Asian bakery mentioned above.

On a whim, I decided to do something a little different with them this time.  I gussied them up a bit with some Chinese characters for Love, Strength, Peace and Harmony.  I mixed matcha powder with a little egg yolk, painted on the characters, let them dry, then egg washed and baked after rising.  After one bun, I nixed LOVE.

The Chinese character for LOVE has too many lines and details for such a small area.  It looked like scribble scrabble, so I let it fly solo.  The LOVE is in the buns, baby.

As I painted each character on top of the buns…a memory came a stompin’, with high-heels no less, through every nook in my brain.

A few years ago, I decided to completely redo the breakfast nook at my parent’s house.  Every time I was over there, I could hear the strains of 80’s synthesizers when we sat in that room.  It was far past out-of-date – it was Boy George in long braided, mu mu drag…George Michael doing the jitterbug in day-glo, fingerless gloves, out-of-date.

I pulled up every tile of the black and white checkerboard floor, stripped as much of the bright blue paint off the walls (I know, sounds tacky, doesn’t it?  But it wasn’t tacky in the 80’s), then sanded off the rest, sealing cracks and holes with compounds and putties,  (add more sanding) and finally rolling and brushing on two coats of an Arabian sand color I thought was perfect.

I took down two doors, sanding off the burnished, worn stain, then sanding again, staining and shellac – finishing them off with shiny, bright new doorknobs.  It was tough work for one girl , umm..person..and I still have no idea how I managed it, but within a month, it was completed.  I bought a pot rack and hung their pots and pans between the nook and the kitchen, then stood back and admired what I’d done.  Trading Spaces? Pffft.  Eat your hearts out, bitches.

Hmmm…one problem though..it needed art, a few paintings to tie it all up.  Maybe one by me to sort of ‘sign’ my work on the room.  Yeah, that sounded cool..really cool.  I was cool for once in my life..I think.

I found a bunch of old acrylic paints and brushes in their basement (Yes, I used to draw and paint a bit – well, a lot), but no canvas, and it was too late to go out and get one.  I walked around the house looking for something – anything..I needed to paint at that moment.  I needed to put my final seal on the room before reveal day.

Out of the corner of my eye, there it sat, one of those vertical, ‘three in a row’ mallard prints that nobody, outside of Grizzly hunter man living in a log cabin, puts up on display (or so I thought).  I pried open the wires holding everything together since I planned on using the back of this canvas for my painting.  I was confused as to why there were so many layers to get to the canvas, and why was this cheap print numbered and signed?  Was someone actually proud of painted mallards on a canvas set in ugly dark green cardboard frames?

Baked BBQ Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)

I finally got to the back of the canvas, pulled it out, and started painting a kaleidoscope of colors to fit in, but ‘pop’ in the room.  I’d already decided I was going to paint the black Chinese characters for Love, Health and Happiness on top of these colors because they’re so beautiful.  After hiding it to dry for several hours, I came back and painstakingly painted on each character – using some computer print-outs as a reference.  It turned out beautiful, and once it was fully dry, I put it back into the frame, minus the dark green cardboard cut-outs.

I hung it in the perfect place and beamed at my resourcefulness.  Turning a cheap, factory made mallard painting into something beautiful!  I couldn’t wait for them to see!

They loved the room – I was thrilled.   They also loved my painting.  After several compliments, my father asked..

“Where did you get the frame for it?  I was given a numbered, signed painting by (insert name of famous mallard artist whose name escapes me at this moment) a few weeks ago as a gift for the holidays, in a frame very similar to that..it’s very expensive.”

Update: I know who it is now but absolutely refuse to name him in fear he will see this post via Google and read how I completely annihilated his work thinking it was cheap, worthless and ugly. Shudder.

GULP.

GULP.

I felt faint.

He saw my eyes and his face took a turn for the worse. His smile stretched into something between a grimace and a glower, almost as if someone had painted it on with a fine brush, in one deft stroke, not once slipping off track.  In fact, I’d never seen it stretch that wide.

“You didn’t take that painting out of the frame, did you?  If you did, show me where everything is so we can put it all back together, we’ll get another nice frame for your painting, ok?” He said with faux, hopeful cheer.

Now I’m going to throw up.

He saw my face turn a light shade of green.  He knew.

I’m not going to get into details outside of some yelling and “Do you have any idea how much that painting is worth now and will be worth in several years??” “Do you have any idea how rare it is?  Only 5 exist!” type of stuff.

To this day, my painting sits in a box in my parent’s basement, never seeing the light of day, err..room, again.  He didn’t need to be reminded of it during his morning coffee for the rest of his life.

I get it.

OK..back to the pork buns!  This was a good recipe and the dough was absolutely wonderful to work with.  However, I made a few small changes.  When I saw the recipe for the pork filling, I didn’t think there would be enough sauce to really moisten the pork, so I doubled it.  Turns out I was right, as some mentioned the pork filling being dry after it was baked and/or steamed.

Second change..I wanted a lot of filling per bun, like the ones I get at my local bakery, so I made 9 buns instead of 12..no 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon amount here..just what I call a ‘heap’ aka whatever I can fit onto the dough-round and seal without leaking or tearing.

Third change – I let the buns rise for an hour before baking.  This recipe eliminated a rise, for a thinner shell of bread.  I like a little bready fluff around my pork filling.  I also baked them at 350 F for 15 minutes, instead of 200 F for 15 minutes.

Finally, I sprinkled the top of the buns without the characters with a little bit of Maldon flake sea salt.

If you get a chance, please have a look at my fellow Daring Cook’s ‘sexy buns’, by clicking HEREFor the recipes for Char Siu Pork and baked or steamed Char Siu Bao, Click HERE.

I’m submitting my Char Siu Bao to Yeastspotting, a weekly bread baking showcase hosted by the incredibly talented Susan of Wild Yeast.

I’m also submitting these to Bread Baking Day #45, hosted by Cindy of Cindystar.

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