Monday, February 27, 2012

Daring to do it: Quick Bread

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.
This month's Daring Baker's challenge was another one which made me think twice. At first glance, it looks too easy. Then comes the decisions. Ok, Lis gave us a real challenge - choosing what to make! The options truly are limitless..
My first offering was a strawberry-blueberry-oatmeal quick bread. I based the recip on the basic one in Lis' write-up with a few tweaks - including using part oats for that whole oatmeal thing...!

Next was a cranberry cornbread. I love dried cranberries, and Iwill add them anywhere I can. They were a fabulous addition to cornbread. Try it. You will like it!

Finally I wanted to do a savory quick bread. I had lots of ideas, but not enough follow-through. So finally I made a "bread" which I grew up with. Popovers. Though they sort of reverted to pop-unders, since they deflated before we were ready to eat them. They still tasted great. I really have to make those more often!

Lis, this was so much fun! I actually thought there would be more quick breads from my kitchen, but things just got away from me. I loved this challenge, and had a great time baking with you. It was amazing to see what the other everyone came up with for this challenge. I think you will think so, too... You won't be disapointed when you check out what the other Daring Bakers created!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Quick Sourdough Fix

Remember my wonderful new friend Eve? You know, my sourdough starter! I think I might be in love. I have been playing with her about once a week, and I am having a great time finding new recipes. Talking with my sister a week or so ago, about food as usual, we were discussing our starters and what we had or could make with them. I was trying to figure out things I could make same-day, rather than being good and waiting for things to rise and all. I stumbled across this website and knew I had struck gold.
My first recipe (and actually, the only one I have done so far... bad Ruth!) from the list was the Whole Wheat Sourdough Crescent Rolls. I love whole wheat breads, I love sourdough, there was almost no way this could go poorly!
The recipe starts off very basic - just like making pie crust or biscuits, fat (vegetable shortening for me) is rubbed into the dry ingredients. But then, instead of using milk or water as the liquid, sourdough starter is mixed in to make the dough. The recipe called for 2/3 cup of starter. All three times I have made them I needed closer to a full cup. But no big deal.
Once the dough comes together it is divided in two, with each half getting rolled into a 9 inch circle, then each circle being cut into six wedges. So far, this has taken... something like 6 minutes. I can handle this, even with the two little ones!
The wedges are rolled up from wide end to narrow, they are bend into crescents, then they are baked at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. That is it. In half an hour you can have yummy sourdough rolls...
And yummy they are! We all loved them. The taste, the texture, the ease, the convenience... I think this is our new go-to dinner roll!But then Auntie Twin told me what she did with half of her crescents - filled with cheese and peperoni. Ok, no peperoni here. But cheese? Heck, yes! Using what I had on hand, I mixed ricotta cheese, a touch of cream cheese, minced garlic, salt and pepper together and spread the mixture onto the dough before rolling it up.
They might not be the prettiest crescents you have ever seen, but my are they delicious! If you have a sourdough starter at home, and you are wondering what to make next, do not hesitate - make these crescents!!! Both of our families love them. (And, yes, I am thinking of dessert crescents. Cinnamon sugar and butter inside? Chocolate filled? Mmmm....!)
(and, again, I am to the point in my post where blogger won't let me link. But check out Auntie Twin's crescents here:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Daring to do it: Patties

It's that time again... Ok, yes, it is Valentines Day. Love to all. It is reveal day for the Daring Cooks!

The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax & Lis 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!

When I joined the Daring Kitchen, I was psyched for all of the new, strange, exotic delicacies I would be learning about. Patties? Not what I expected. But really, why not? While it might not be "exotic" or even complicated, it is versatile, creative, and something which every cook should have in his or her arsenal.
The most well known patty, and the first one most people probably think of, is the hamburger. Well, not in this house... My mind went nuts, thinking of the different kinds of patties I could make. I was "disappointed" in myself, I only made four variations this month. And I only photographed three of them... (Sadly, the ones I thought turned out the best are the ones I didn't take pictures of. My last batch is a sad knock off... sorry!)
My first patties are actually something I had made a couple of weeks earlier to rave review, so I remade them for the challenge. Potato cakes:

These are mashed potatoes, cheese, eggs, bread crumbs and seasonings mixed together and pan fried to crispy goodness. I love potatoes, I love cheese, I knew these would be good... I know I will be making them again!

Next, home made veggie burgers:

Two kinds of beans (kidney and black eyed peas, if I remember correctly), shredded carrots, onions, egg, breadcrumbs, and the trusty "seasonings" mixed together to make something other than the boxed burgers we generally have on hand. These were good. I will have to keep playing with my flavors, though, since there are so many options, and I think I under seasoned these.
I next made collard green cakes. I had sauteed collard greens and onions together one night, and while I liked them, they weren't anything great. The leftovers sat in the fridge for a couple of days. Then, making dinner in a rush, I figured I could make some patties from what I had left - both to use it up and to add some extra veggies to dinner. Instead of bread crumbs I use matzah meal. These were amazing. Better than the plain collard greens in every way. I have to make these again. A lot.
Trying to replicate the yumminess with what I had, I made spinach cakes:
Except I was (again) short on time. So no sauteed onions, just spinach, egg, matzah meat and more "seasonings." Good, but not nearly as good as the collard green cakes. Again, I will have to play...! The insides looked good, though!
(I did find that these were better when the leftovers were warmed and topped with garlic and herb goat cheese...!)
Thank you, Audax and Lis, for reminding me and all of us Daring Cooks about how much fun we can have with something that is normally considered an everyday food. I had a great time with this challenge, and seeing the fun variations everyone came up with! You'll like to see what they came up with too... Take a look!