Wednesday, January 28, 2009
So this is my first official month as a Daring Baker. What, pray tell, is that? Well, it is mostly bloggers, a few strays, all foodies, many bakers, well over 1000 of us in all. We are a secret society (love that term), and we log into a cyber kitchen every month where the secret recipe is revealed. You have the whole month to plan your baking strategy, following the recipe as written. Then on reveal day, which is today, thousands of food bloggers are posting their creations.
This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux. Tuiles translates from French as tiles, and they are generally formed as an oval and then shaped to a gentle curve to mimic the roofing tiles seen in France. Our challenge was to bake them, but we could use any shape. I have seen plenty of ovals, flowers and butterflies, but I chose hearts since the big Valentine's Day is right around the corner.
The recipe was actually very easy to prepare. The toughest part was cutting out that heart on heavy plastic with an Exacto knife!
It took a few tries to evenly spread the batter, and it was fun to experiment with the chocolate batter as decoration. All of the chocolate you see is actually baked into the tuile. Some bakers chose to use a color instead of chocolate, I love creative cooks! I chose not to make ice cream garnish on the coldest day of the year...brrr. So I used my favorite Blood Orange Gelato.
I tasted one of the first cookies and had a deja vu, but I just couldn't place the taste. Christina came home, took one bite and declared, "Fortune Cookies"! She's right. How fun to make them as such, the recipe would be perfect. You make them as a circle and fold them in half and then over the rim of a glass. I made them probably 18 years ago....a fun project. I would be much better at them now!
Yields: 20 small butterflies/6 large (butterflies are just an example)
Preparation time batter 10 minutes, waiting time 30 minutes, baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch
65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.3 ounces sifted all purpose flour
1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet
Oven: 180C / 350F
Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly.
Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.
So there you go, be daring yourself! Give 'em a try, just get in there and cook!
Friday, January 23, 2009
Wow. It's so hot, it sizzles. Articles in the Times, both LA and NY, responsible friends sending them to me asking, "Can YOU Bouchon?" I explore our own food section every week and had never come across the bouchon, it had to be on the wire, why not in our paper? Maybe it wasn't Southern, wasn't fried, required special equipment, whatever, but I know lots of people who would love to eat these, and a few may possibly go to the effort of baking them from scratch. And then at Williams Sonoma, the mix. Horrors. I know the mix is good, it is Williams Sonoma for Pete's sake. But the question was, could I, possibly bouchon?
Bouchon is French for cork, and the finished cake should resemble one. It is the brainchild of Thomas Keller, the genius behind French Laundry in the California Wine Country. Bouchon is the name of the bakery and he started it primarily to bake bread for his restaurants. I guess one day he decided he needed a signature bouchon dessert. I'm guessing, but it would make a sweet story. These little cork cakes are pretty hard to describe in writing, but have quickly turned legendary.
First the molds. We sell a silicone mold at the store that bakes 12 at a time, but Lori, the sweet sis she is, sent me the recipe from the LA Times and bought me the real French molds at Sur La Table.
The fluted are by far prettier, but proved to be unworthy. More on that later. They are really called timbale molds and are about 3 oz.
The recipe from the LA Times is pretty easy and straightforward. The batter can be made and then chilled if you can't bake all the "corks" at one time. But beware, one taste of that batter and Whoa! it is killer. I used my bittersweet Guittard chocolate, (only about 6 pounds to go), and of course Pernigotti Cocoa. I also used some aged vanilla from Nielsen Massey that was a gift from a friend. 10 year old vanilla is wonderful and more fragrant than you can imagine. After I mixed up the batter, I divided it between 2 disposable pastry bags.
The theory was that each bag would have to fill 6 timbales. The recipe said to butter and flour the molds, but I decided to spray them with Bak-klene. It is great stuff and washes off with soapy water. I baked them at 350 convection for about 22 minutes. They smelled fabulous and were super shiny on top. A few had cooked over and formed a sort of crust. I cooled them as directed, and the basic ones slid right out and looked oh, so cork like. The fluted, well, not so successful in the release, and you can't really see the design with that dark chocolate. Next time, 2 batches of 6 with the solid molds. A dusting of powdered sugar, and wow! I CAN bouchon, they look just like Keller's. So, now YOU bouchon, get in there and cook!
Adapted from Bouchon by Thomas Keller
3/4 cup (3 1/2 ounces) flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, melted and just slightly warm
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, such as 55% Valrhona, chopped into pieces the size of chocolate chips
Butter and flour for the timbale molds
1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.
2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed until thick and pale in color, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.
3. With the mixer on low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then one-third of the butter, and continue alternating with the remaining flour and butter. Add the chocolate and continue to mix to combine. (The batter can be made up to this point and refrigerated, covered, for up to one day.)
4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 12 timbale molds. Set aside.
5. Put the timbale molds on a baking sheet. Place the batter in a pastry bag without a tip, or with a large plain tip, and fill each mold about two-thirds full. Bake the bouchons until the tops are shiny and set (like a brownie), and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out moist but clean (there may be some melted chocolate from the chopped chocolate), 20 to 25 minutes.
6. Transfer the bouchons to a cooling rack. After a couple of minutes, invert the molds and let the bouchons cool in the molds. Remove the molds and serve, or store until needed (the bouchons are best eaten the day they are baked).
7. To serve, invert the bouchons and dust them with powdered sugar. Serve with ice cream, if desired.
Each of 12 servings: 453 calories; 5 grams protein; 46 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 30 grams fat; 15 grams saturated fat; 113 mg. cholesterol; 116 mg. sodium.
Okay...I KNOW...pretend you didn't read it. 453 calories. YIKES! Are they worth it? Well, yes. The Williams Sonoma mix is about half the calories, but honestly, just not as rich as the real thing.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The email was pretty straight forward. "Dear Sweetie, do you EVER follow a recipe exactly as it was written. You know someone went to a lot of work to test it, why do you feel entitled to change it?" Okay, she is a loyal reader, a friend who obviously knows me well enough to have my email, but she has an ax to grind on my creative license.
The short answer is yes, I do follow recipes as written. As a matter of fact at the end of the month you'll see my Daring Baker's Challenge, and it has to be made as written, those are the rules. But the long answer to my friend is not always. Not everyone can alter a recipe the first time out. I am not always terribly successful at my edits. But the truth is, in the case of the following cookie, I prefer walnuts over almonds in my cookies. I had a little light brown sugar and a little dark brown sugar, so we combined them, I suppose it is medium brown sugar. And my flour bin looked a little like sand art, whole wheat and white mingling in one space. I had sweetened coconut not unsweetened like the recipe called for. And, although I have the remains of my kick ass 10 pound bar of bittersweet Guittard bar, I have random remains of Schokinag chocolate chunks, Nestle chocolate chunks and Nestle butterscotch chips, what the hey, I dumped them all in...didn't even measure! Ha! The result, delicious.
I know not to mess with flour and fat proportions, baking soda vs. baking powder, but other elements, go for it. What is the worst that can happen? Inedible? Doubt it, but the birds are a little hungry this time of year. So, get in there and cook!
Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies
from Epicurious.com and altered by me!
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
6 Tablespoons white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
2 1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
7 oz can sweetened coconut
chocolate chips or chunks, 12 ounces or 2 cups
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla, soda, salt and flour and mix until combined. Add all the good stuff and gently mix until it is all ditributed. Use a large spoon or dough scoop and then flatten the mounds on the sheet. They spread a little, so don't crowd them. Bake on Silpats 12 minutes at 350 or until the edges are just brown. Cool on racks.
I am wrapping mine in wax paper with layers of thinly sliced apple (not touching the cookies) to ship them off to New Mexico. Make sure you share yours with someone you love too!
Monday, January 19, 2009
Grilled Pizza, sounds mysterious to a large number of folks. It is currently our favorite company food when we have a group of parents and kids. We grilled away on New Year's Eve for a group of 25 with great success.
The dough is the great beginning. You have to begin a day early for Alton Brown's pizza dough, but it is worth the wait. The recipe is a little long, so I have the link and my notes here. If you are interested in whole grains, feel free to substitute half the flour with whole wheat.
The recipe makes 2 pizzas. I find when we have a group, it is easier to make individual pizzas, after all doesn't everyone have their favorite topping? One batch of Alton's dough will make about 6 individual ones. And my theory is, if you're going to go to all that trouble, double the recipe. Follow it exactly to the rolling out section.
You will find that the dough is especially springy. If you plan far enough ahead, you can make all the little discs of dough, and stack them on floured wax paper. The flour is VERY important. Then simply freeze the crusts in large Ziplocs. I take them out while the grill is heating on high, and pop them apart with my bench scraper. If they are floured properly, the wax paper will peel right off. Let them rest on a floured board, and within minutes you can re roll the crust and stretch to the desired size. It works exceptionally well.
Turn the grill down to medium high and brush a little olive oil on it and simply slide the dough from the pizza peel or cookie sheet onto the hot grates. Generous dustings of flour or cornmeal will keep things slick. Once it hits the grill, close the lid and it will begin to puff. Within minutes, the top will be bubbly and the bottom browning. Slide it onto a spatula and back onto the peel, upside down. Now, top the pizza with whatever floats your boat on the side that was just grilled.
Then back to the grill, slide it back on and close the lid. Let the crust cook and the cheese melt, and you are ready! We can fit 4 individual pizzas on the grill at a time. Keep a vigilant eye however, because they go from cooked to black quickly!
The toppings are always a fun selection. Of course pepperoni, and I found these tiny mini ones at Costco, cooked Italian sausage, mushroom, onions, peppers you know the routine. But how about the fun things like jerk chicken, fresh jalapenos, green olives, pineapple, artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, and fresh herbs?
The sauce is my favorite part, and I simply cook down those enormous cans of San Marzano tomatoes from Costco for hours and add spices, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and then use my immersion blender to make it smooth. It gets better as time goes on, and the leftovers are great on pasta! Besides the usual grated mozzarella, try fresh slices, grated parmigiana, provolone or even Fontina for a really rich pizza. You are limited by only your imagination.
Try it on your family first, and see how the order of events goes, and you'll see how much fun this is with a group. Believe me, they will all leave with the recipe and be awed that you ever attempted this! Buon Appetito!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Remember in the 90's when the craze was low fat? It was happening everywhere with abandon to good taste. Well in the frenzy of fat free everything, I got my hands on one of my favorite cookbooks. Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts by Alice Medrich. Do not be a skeptic. Granted, the recipes are low in butter which yields more biscotti type cookies, no complaints here. But even more importantly, when you bake with a deep cocoa like Pernigotti, the flavor is so intense, you don't miss the fat. But there are recipes for cakes, tortes, mousse, and dozens more delicious chocolate offerings.
I am all about ingredients, so Nielsen-Massey vanilla, Pernigotti Cocoa and Trader Joe's almond meal. The almond meal is a great short cut for baking. I could never get my almonds this fine in my Cuisinart, there are no additives and you'll find lots of places to sprinkle them into!
Today, the mercury is dropping, it is nice and dry out (a rarity in the Mississippi Delta) and meringues are on the menu. Doigts de fee, to be exact, which literally means fairy fingers. They are piped meringues, but could be made as mounds, stars, whatever floats your boat. I piped logs to break up. The batter is divine, I am crazy about egg whites and could have eaten the bowl full. Yea, I've heard of salmonella, it is very low on my list of worries, just past rattlesnake bites and meteors. The first batch I piped with a large open star. They held their shape well in baking and turned out great, but I really wanted to see if I could make them more delicate.
I made a second batch, trying the recipe with powdered egg whites. They actually whipped up beautifully, but seriously fell apart when I folded in the other dry ingredients and spread pretty flat when I piped them with a small round tip. They ended up in the trash, and I found myself going at it a third time. I was really curious if these powdered whites could stand up to the fresh whites. I decided they are more stable when it comes to whipping them, so I really let the KitchenAid at them. I caught them just before they were too dry, and then folded in the final ingredients. I decided that was the key, the batter taste much better than batch 2, and my fairy fingers baked to look like fingers, not blobs like batch 2.
Plan ahead, your oven will be cranked for 1 1/2 hours which is wonderful on a chilly day, but the fingers need another hour in the oven turned off to continue to dry. So give them a try, you'll love the light ethereal crunch, the deep flavor of the cocoa and the hint of almond. Go ahead, Get In There and Cook!
Alice Medrich Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3 ounces almonds (I use Trader Joe's Almond Meal)
3 Tablespoons cocoa
4 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/2 cup egg whites at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
*Preheat oven to 200. Line 2 sheets with parchment paper.
*Combine 1/4 cup of the sugar with the cocoa, almonds and corn starch in food processor. Process until you have fine meal. Set aside.
Combine egg whites, cream of tartar and extracts in bowl of mixer. Mix until soft peaks form, then slowly add the remaining sugar and whip on high until stiff peaks form.
*Fold in remaining dry ingredients with rubber spatula. Scrape mixture into pastry bag with an open star or round tip. Pipe logs onto parchment with an inch between the logs.
*Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn the oven off and leave in the oven for another hour. Break the logs into 3"-4" fingers.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
So, my last day of Christmas break that I spent with Nic turned out to be a real eye-opener. We went to the theater and saw Gran Torino, which we gave 2 thumbs up. (My mom drove a gold one with a racing strip down the sides!) The movie ended and we had about 45 minutes to grab something to eat that fit my criteria: Healthy AND tasty.
The theater is across the parking lot from Whole Foods. This isn't a "real" Whole Foods, but it's getting there. It used to be Wild Oats, Squash Blossom, whatever...it's the hippie, granola, tree-hugger market. We wandered around the store and settled on some very yummy pizza, a couple of drinks and sweets. We grabbed a table and began people watching.
My sweet son really threw his heart on the table. First he said,
"You are so at home with these people here. They are all about natural food, recycling and the environment".
Yes, that is correct. I loved going to school in Boulder and love people who are comfy in their own skin, even if it's covered in tattoos. But don't get me wrong, a week at the Ritz Carlton works too.
Then, "You know these people here would say terrible things to me if I was in uniform?"
No Nic they wouldn't.
"Yes they would. They hate the military, think we are war mongers, baby killers, it sucks you know, when you can feel that kind of hate."
And I was speechless.
I always called myself a conservative liberal. I didn't vote for Obama only because of his non support of the wars, but I believe he will do a terrific job, especially now that he'll be in the super duper, confidential, top secret network. Maybe he didn't know everything and there is more to this war than we think. Regardless, he is the Commander in Chief, the top dog, the head of all US Military and I only hope that the troops who have stepped up to defend this country aren't shortchanged.
But in the meantime, I know Nic is wrong.
I know that uber-liberals don't hate kids like mine. He's the kid who opens the door for you when you're going in a store. He's the kid who says yes ma'am because he was raised in the South not because he thinks you're old or he's a racist. He is the kid who asked me to pack a lunch for a boy at school whose mom worked 2 jobs and he seemed to go hungry every day. I did it happily and he handed it to him on the way to the cafeteria even though he didn't ever sit with his group.
The military is so much more than war. For thousands of kids like mine it is an unbelievable education, comparable to Ivy League. It's training at the highest level in so many areas. For Nic, it'll be aircraft. Honestly, regardless of your political views, wouldn't you rather the pilot of your next flight have thousands of miles logged all over the world with the very best training? His commitment to the US Air Force is how he pays back the $400,000 education. It's his choice, his dream. Please don't fault a kid for taking orders. He would give his life for you and this country, and he'll tell you that. I want him to feel good about his choice whether he's at Whole Foods or Kroger.
I'm a little blue he's gone. Tomorrow the temperature plummets, so the ovens get fired up. Stay tuned. And God Bless America.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Does anything say dinner in the winter like bread and soup? The weather has been positively crummy here. Rainy and grey, I know I could never live in the Northwest. My solar battery was on empty, but today the sun shines, I soaked up my requirement of Vitamin D and went to work. Now this meal would have been perfect on one of those freezing, wet, nights, but I couldn't muster up the energy. Besides, tonight everyone is home.
I started yesterday with the famous Mark Bittman no-knead bread. This recipe has been scooting around the Internet for a long time. I used the Williams Sonoma version which is with rosemary and lemon. Mine wasn't picture worthy in the prep stages as I mis-measured the flour on the first batch, and let the second batch rise too close to the exhaust on the oven. Who knows what sort of disaster lies in my oven as we speak, but they are both baking and smell fabulous.
And they were fabulous!
I decided Minestrone was a great way to sneak in a (semi) vegetarian meal. I used the Winter Minestrone recipe from Giada as a starting point. Yes, it calls for pancetta, but that isn't meat, it's fat and flavor. It's also the single reason I couldn't be a vegetarian for life. Ah, that salty, smoky flavor, there is nothing like it out there. But I digress. I chose not to use beef broth, and used low sodium chicken broth instead. I also dumped in a small box of dried cheese tortellini to make it a little more satisfying. My last change was red chard, and am I glad I chose it. This is the reason my soup is so beautiful!
My reason for picking this minestrone from the hundreds out there was the chard. It is very high in iron, and I seem to be lacking in it. I found a website that lists the most iron rich foods, and was amazed to learn that based on a 200 calorie serving, dried parsley was the highest in iron! Imagine! So I did a little calculating and figured I'd need to eat about 2.2oz. of dried parsley to get 200 calories.
The very large jar in the photo (compared to a normal spice jar) is just 2 ounces, that's a lot of dried parsley! The number 2 high iron food was air dried whale meat. That just doesn't sound environmentally friendly. So chard it was.
Dessert was a little something called apple pita. Many people are familiar with spanikopita, the Serbs have their own version. We make both cheese and apple, and it was Nic's request we have apple pita.
Basically it is apples, cinnamon, sugar and graham cracker crumbs rolled in phyllo and brushed with butter and then baked until golden. Really pretty easy and basic. I just love that stacked phyllo, crispy and buttery, little shards of phyllo crumbling off with every bite. I have had great success freezing it, but I don't believe there is any better way to eat it than crispy from the oven.
And now a Post Script, (you know a P.S.), I had dinner, enjoyed every bite, washed it down with a little Pinot, and was going to snap my pictures when I served Scott his bowl as he was running a little late. However, I discovered shortly after I broke off a crusty piece of bread to nibble on, I am allergic to fresh rosemary. Not ingesting it, because it is in both the bread and soup, but a little piece on that crust poked my lip, and within an hour, I looked like a lopsided Who from Whoville. Scott rushed off to Walgreen's to get me Benedryl, which had me in a coma within half an hour. So now the soup isn't as pretty, come to think of it, neither am I, I look like I sparred with Rocky. Just a little swollen, not nearly as large as last night. But I am off to Williams Sonoma and think I'll save the Benedryl for when I'm close to a couch! This photo is a next day leftover picture. The tortellini were a little soggy, but the flavors were fabulous!
Giada's Family Dinners
Winter Minestrone with my own tweaks...
2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
3 oz. pancetta, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound red chard, washed, trimmed of stems and coarsely chopped
1 russet potato
1 14 oz. can fire roasted chopped tomatoes
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (careful, it can be dangerous!)
1 15 oz. can canellini beans, rinsed and drained
62 oz. low sodium chicken broth
1 oz. piece of parmesan cheese rind
1 small box dried tortellini
fresh parsley and fresh parmesan to garnish
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in large pot and add pancetta and garlic. Cook until slightly crispy. Add the onions, carrots, celery and cook until the onions soften. Add the chard and potato, stir and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes with the juice and rosemary. Cook until the chard begins to wilt.
In a small bowl, take about 1/2 cup of broth and 3/4 of the can of beans and puree. I use an immersion blender, but you can use a blender if necessary. Add the puree, the reseved beans and all the stock. Add the rind if you are using it. Bring to a low boil and add the tortellini. Loer the heat and simmer for about 8 minutes or until the potato and tortellini are all cooked.
Ladle into bowls and top with fresh parsley, fresh parmesan and fresh ground black pepper.
The bread recipe is EVERYWHERE! I used the version found on Williams-Sonoma.com
Get In There And Cook!
Saturday, January 3, 2009
So here we are, 2009. Part of my blogging resolution is to try new things. My Food Lover's Companion is in my car, and when I am going to the market to shop, my plan is to pick up something I have no experience with. And trust me, if I haven't tried it, not many people have. There are plenty of things that I have tried at a restaurant, but not at home. Time to branch out! So today's ingredient....Turnips!
I know that winter is root vegetable season, so what the heck. The book says they should be heavy for thier size, so I picked up a handful of small heavy bulbs. They really are pretty with their purple skins. I searched for a recipe that I thought my family would eat, and found it at Cooking Light.
Sweet and Spicy Turnips
Yield 4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Dash of ground allspice
3 (6-ounce) turnips, peeled and each cut into 6 wedges
Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine first 7 ingredients in a jelly roll pan or shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray; toss to coat. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes or until tender, stirring every 10 minutes.
65 (29% from fat)
2.1g (sat 1.2g,mono 0.6g,poly 0.1g)
I was really "jonesing" for a burger, thanks to a picture on Foodgawker, so we grilled burgers, carmelized onions and peppers, made sweet potato fries and then the lowly turnips! To be perfectly honest, I enjoyed them. I don't think I would make them again, they seem rather devoid of nutrition. There is no color, and they have a taste that's a little bitter, almost like the radish family.
So where's the chocolate you ask? What's sweetie about turnips? Well I was really trying to not jump right back into the sugary stuff. I joined an online baking network called The Daring Bakers. It is a very cool concept, two food blogging women started chatting it up on the internet about what they wanted to bake. So they decided to bake the same recipe and blog it and they could compare their results. So now a few years later, over 1000 food bloggers are members. So the recipe is revealed at the beginning of the month, and then everyone bakes it and the blog reveal is at the end of the month. So what is the challange this month? I can't tell you! It's a big secret every month! I love this, secret baking! But this month's challange is totally new to me, and should be really fun. So stay tuned for the big reveal.
Finally, this is my last week with Nic at home. The routine has started to get back to normal, but we are trying to eat great (healthy) food before he leaves. I have a bag of apples in the fridge, so I am thinking they'll be on the menu. I am hoping to get to Whole Foods today as well, so I'll pick up another something to try out. In the mean time, get in there and cook!