Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Daring to do it: Edible Containers (Sweet)

For the first time since joining the Daring Kitchen, I have had to sit out a challenge. Between craziness at home and Passover, I just didn't have the time, energy, availability and ingredients to give the challenge the attention it would have deserved. Nonetheless, here you go...

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at!

I did attempt to make some chocolate cups on my own, but they totally failed to keep their shape, and the warm weather ensured that they melted (ok, softened...) despite time in the freezer. I did help my sister with her chocolate cups, which turned out beautifully. Check those out on her blog.

Evelyne, thank you for hosting the challenge this month. You did inspire some beautiful creations. Please look here to see what my fellow Daring Bakers came up with! And don't forget to vote!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Daring to do it: Edible Containers (Savory)

It's that time again... But this time there is a twist! Come check out what is going in the Daring Kitchen!!

Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at!

Wow. What a fun, creative, and interesting challenge! And so open ended...! For many people, this would be great - no limitations, total freedom... For me this was incredibly daunting! As much as I love to create and twist recipes for my own purposes, I find it helpful to have some sort of parameters set (even if I choose to break through them later on!). Renata provided us with some great ideas and suggestions, but then gave us free reign to create any sort of container that sounded good to us - and any sort of filling to put inside of it! (I must say, Renata was the best host for this kind of challenge - she provided amazing support, suggestions, and encouragement throughout the month, which really allowed for the creativity to flow from my fellow Daring Cooks!) Once I got over my intimidation of doing something "wrong," I finally got going. And I actually tried my hand at three different containers! (Ok, four, but one of them was such a flop it didn't even make it to the table!)

Container number one: Rice bowls with roasted vegetables

My first thought for an edible container was rice. Doing a search for "rice bowls," though, brings up a lot of examples of conventional kitchen bowls filled with rice, vegetables and protein of some sort. Yummy, but not what I wanted. I finally found this link. It was perfect! And included pseudo-origami, so I got to exercise more of my crafty muscles! The bowls came together pretty well, and baked up nicely. They also held the veggies, which made the endeavor a success in my book!

Container number two: Bread bowls with vegetable soup

I have eaten bread bowls before, and liked them very much. Most of them that I have encountered were large rolls of crusty bread hollowed out to make room for the soup. That is what I expected to make. Then I found this recipe to make bowls from bread dough. I was intrigued enough to try it. The recipe was straightforward enough, and the resulting bread tasted great. But it was a little hard to remove from the ramekins on which they were baked. The end result was yummy, though, and I have some thoughts on what to do next time to make it work better. And I really do think there will be a next time!
Container number three: Potato cups with scrambled eggs/veggies
I love potatoes. I think I have made that pretty clear over the course of my cooking and eating life! So I had to try a potato bowl! Using a mandolin I thinly sliced potatoes and layered them in cupcake tins, sort of flower petal like. I then lined the potato cups with foil and filled the foil with my fancy "pie weights," aka dried beans and rice. Into the oven they went. The foil/weights were removed partway through the baking in an attempt to brown up more than just the outer edges. The cups looked great coming out of the oven. Getting them out of the cupcake tin, though, was another story. The cups didn't really hold their shape... They tasted great with the eggs and veggies, and I was able to almost reassemble them for the initial "presentation," but I am not sure I can call them successful containers... I have a variety of thoughts on how to produce a more cohesive potato bowl, and hopefully if I do them again it will hold together better.There are still a bunch of ideas floating around my head, some more nebulous than others...! Hopefully I will have the time, energy and guts to try some of them out at some point...!

Renata, thank you so much for being such a great hostess for this challenge! I really don't think I would have gotten as into it as I did without your energy and support. Please take a look here to see the amazing creations made by my fellow Daring Cooks. You will be blown away by the imagination and skill displayed! And please vote for your favorites!