Saturday, August 22, 2009

Here’s my late post of the Daring Cooks August Challenge. We returned home Saturday, the day after the reveal date and were back to school and work on Monday. Yikes, it’s a wonder I got anything on the table let alone a Challenge recipe.

I didn’t have to work on Wednesday and Olga’s challenge paella was scheduled for dinner, we were looking forward to it. My son spent part of last summer in Spain where he became of fan of paella. The anticipated treat was a disappointment, to say the least. To start with, there was not enough seafood for us … 2 cuttlefish for 4 servings? And nothing else? And, no fault of the recipe but the pan reacted with the food and turned an awful grey green color and had a metallic taste to it.

But there were a few positive notes, the Sofregit was good and the recipe made enough for several future paellas. I will freeze it in portions and use it next time. The recipe did work and I can use it as a template to make paella in the future. The Paella pan in the middle of the table got my son talking about his trip to Spain and the food he enjoyed there. I loved our lively conversation and look forward to sharing Spanish inspired meals with him.

Photos: José Andrés recipe begins with very pretty ingredients. But I’m already worried … not enough seafood for us, I’m sure. Recipe for Sofregit, the sauce at 5 o'clock in the photo made 2 ¾ but I only needed about ¼ cup. I’ll freeze the rest for future Paella.

Looks great, right? Do you see the artichoke beginning to turn black? ....

Boo. The entire batch turned an awful gray green. The saffron couldn't even shine through.

Andrew made the best of it and had 2 helpings. Found as much squid as he could and pushed aside the mushrooms. We had a great discussion about the Paella he had last summer in Spain and what he liked about it ... 4-5 types of seafood, peas, carrots, and red pepper. Next time, now that I have the rice and the Sofregit.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Michael Pollan Inspired Spanish Tortilla

After reading Michael Pollan's article in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine I have vowed that I will do more cooking at home. In fact, until we leave for vacation there will be no take-out or restaurant meals. We don't eat out much but we often pick-up burritos or something else from local taquerias and Mexican markets. I will do as much as I can from scratch but I also want to use what I have on hand in the pantry and freezer. There are homemade beans, sauces, and stock in the freezer but I also have commercial versions of these items and they need to be used. I am notorious for making food in large batches, portioning it out, freezing it, and forgetting about it. This has got to change, not the freezing just the forgetting. Frozen items will be eaten as is, enhanced or yes, heaven forbid, tossed out. We don’t eat of a lot of packaged convenience food but we do eat some and we need to cut down here and eventually eliminate … this will not go over well with my 16 year-old son.

I’m fortunate enough to work in the Test Kitchen at Sunset Magazine and I often bring home leftovers that can serve as a base for a dish or even an entire meal. I will make better use of this delicious benefit.

Today’s dinner is a great example of making use of something from the Sunset Test Kitchen. We are currently working on recipes for our Thanksgiving issue and the leftovers are delicious and plentiful … just like Thanksgiving at home. I don’t have the entire meal, just grilled fingerling potatoes. The potatoes were cooked on the barbecue with olive oil and dill. The potatoes were sliced and combined with sautéed onions and a few eggs for a Spanish Tortilla.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Potstickers: The Daring Cook Challenge, June 2009

I have completed my first Daring Cook Challenge, Potstickers.  The recipe worked well, just as presented by Jen at userealbutter blog.  I followed her suggestion to weigh the flour instead of measuring it. 



We thought the filling was a little bland so I added the equivalent of 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoons gin, and ½ teaspoon white pepper.  To test the new filling, I quickly cooked up a small amount.  Why waste another wrapper?

Making the wrappers was easy and fun. I inadvertently discovered that the dough was easier to work with after being refrigerated for a night.  I left the dough wrapped in a damp towel and kept it in the refrigerator until the next day when I was ready to work with it.



I made potstickers with half the filling.  I assembled and froze the rest about half of which ended up in soup and the rest are still frozen for another day.

I used a recipe from Sunset Magazine (March 1998) for the soup with a few additions. The recipe calls for canned broth but I used homemade stock I had in the freezer.  I also added 4 napa cabbage leaves, 1 carrot sliced thin, and about 1 cup of frozen peas. I don't know how to post a link yet so here's the link to the soup --

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oops too soon

It seems that in my enthusiasm I published by Daring Cooks results too soon.  Each challenge includes a reveal date and it is on that day and that day only that I am to publish my results. I thought it was a no later than date, not an only date.  My mistake.  Potstickers to be re-revealed on June 14, 2009 … I hope. I return from Boston that day and I’m not sure my blog will be the most important thing on my mind.

In the mean time, here are a few shots from my attempt at the May Challenge.


Ricotta Gnocchi from the Zuni Café Cookbook.

Andrew managed to eat a bowl full. 

Still, not a success story but I learned a few things. The ricotta needs to be dry, really dry. Next time I’ll use a weight. 

Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's only the beginning.

Yes, that's a line from a Chicago song.

I'm starting my blog from a table in Peet's Coffee.  Good things start at Peet's.

My reason for creating this blog is so that I can particpate in The Daring Kitchen, as a Daring Cook.