It’s been so long since I’ve posted anything for My Kitchen, My World that I’m surprised Susan hasn’t kicked me out of the club. Every week that I’ve missed, I’ve still researched recipes to figure out what I would make… but then never made them. I missed some good countries, too – the USA, Jamaica, England, Indonesia, Lithuania.
For this week, Aunt Lolo of The Chow Review was up and she chose India. Now, I’ve had Indian cuisine enough to know what I like and don’t like. I wouldn’t say I’ve had much success with Indian food other than naan bread. A lot of the stuff that I’ve tried just doesn’t have that sweet element that I always go for and the spices are a bit too overwhelming. I picked up Mark Bittman’s book The Best Recipes in the World and settled on an Indian recipe called Blazing Hot Shrimp Curry in Coconut Milk. I’m not a big fan of yellow or red curry (I love green though), but I figured I’d be alright since the coconut milk was a main ingredient. It was a pretty easy recipe really, finished in less than 20 minutes. The rice took longer to cook than the actual meal. I didn’t change much from the recipe except I didn’t use 25-30 dried chiles, because I still can’t find them around here anywhere. I just used crushed red pepper and kept adding it until I thought I should probably stop.
It tasted good. It had a kick but really only at the beginning and the end, it was a *tad* bland in the middle. Which was ok, I mean I didn’t want to be freaking out and gasping for water from too much spiciness. But I have to get my hands on dried chiles, this is two recipes now where I’ve substituted them for something else and the dishes have come out a lot less fiery than I expected.
The recipe for Mark Bittman’s Blazing Hot Curry Shrimp in Coconut Milk is already online here, along with some questions answered by the man himself.
Make sure to stop by the My Kitchen, My World site to see what everyone came up with for India. With how busy I am during the week with overtime at work and how busy I am on the weekend with everything else, the MKMW posting kind of has to take a back seat for a while. I hope to participate a little more often than I have lately, but I guess it all just depends on how things work out. Until next time…
I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan of mushrooms. Now, I have no issue with them really if someone else has done the cooking and they are barely detectable in whatever I’m eating. I just don’t go out of my way like “extra mushrooms, please!” And I don’t like using them myself at home. Probably in part because you aren’t supposed to wash them… but I think there’s a lot of dirt on them. This creates quite a problem with my germaphobia type issues. I found that I do like cutting and chopping them though, they are the perfect cutting texture. So that’s at least one plus.
For this edition of Barefoot Bloggers, Chelle of Brown Eyed Baker was up and she chose Ina’s Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup. I’ve had great success with other soup recipes from Ina, so I knew this one would probably be good too. I really waited until the last minute to get this done. I made this late Wednesday night and finally had the soup for dinner at around 9 pm. Which is sooo late for me, I mean, I eat lunch at 9 am sometimes.
This took about two hours to make from start to finish. I used a mix of portabello and cremini mushrooms. I totally forgot to get leeks at the store so i just added a little extra onion to try to make up a little. I also forgot to get half and half, I just used regular milk instead. I don’t know how I miss crucial ingredients like this. I even emailed myself with the information and wrote it all down before going to the store. I went back last night and checked the list I wrote… half and half and leeks weren’t on it. Hmmm, should I be scared that my job is an analyst where everything is super detail oriented???
Anyway, the flavor of the soup was really good. Ina knows what she’s doing. My specific thoughts on it were that I didn’t like the fresh parsley, it was very cilantro-esque which turned me off. This specific flavor eventually mellowed after a bit, but that first taste was just too much. Other than that, this soup was definitely a winner.
Ina Garten’s Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup
From the 2006 book Barefoot Contessa at Home, page 48
Show: Barefoot Contessa Episode: Mystery Guest
5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
5 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms
5 ounces fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/4 pound (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Click here for directions!
Michelle of Bake-En was up to choose this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. Even though all of us will be baking through the entire book eventually, there’s certain recipes that interest me and I wonder about how soon they’ll be chosen for the group to complete. This cake was one of those.
A co-worker had given me a few plums before I went on vacation a couple weeks ago which worked out to be perfect timing. Plus, it was great not to have to buy anything extra in order to get this done (I love weeks like that). I didn’t have cardamom so I substituted an equal mix of cinnamon and nutmeg instead. I used dried orange zest in place of fresh, vanilla bean paste, and Canola oil. I baked in an 8×8 pan but only did 3 rows of 3 plums each since I didn’t have a lot of plums.
I was not a huge fan of the texture of the cake at first. It was WAY too crumbly. But as it sat out longer and longer, it got better. I liked how the fruit got really mushy and turned bright pink, which you couldn’t really see until you cut into it. Next time though, I think I would cut out the centers more after I pitted the plums.
I ate on this for a few days, having it for breakfast mostly. The taste was good, and kind of spicy, which I liked. I could see myself making this again. The Playing Around section for this cake gives a lot of different choices for fruits and spices. I love that you don’t ever have to make Dorie’s recipes the same way twice.
This marks my 30th completed TWD recipe (and my 33rd recipe made from the book). Thanks to Michelle for choosing the Dimply Plum Cake found on page 41 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my home to yours. Make sure you stop by Bake-En to check out the recipe and to see what Michelle thought of her choice. For next week, Mari of Mevrouw Cupcake has selected Creme Brulee on page 393. Woo hoo!
Even though I’m just now getting around to posting about it (it takes me forever to do things and I do apologize), Mari from Mevrouw Cupcake has given me my very first blog award. Thanks, Mari!! To have been honored by one of my favorite must read blog authors is exciting. I first found Mevrouw Cupcake after I joined Tuesdays with Dorie and started following it regularly right after this post caught my eye. There’s just something about Mari’s attitude, style of writing and storytelling that really stands apart for me from other blogs, plus her photography is amazing.
The really funny thing is that the day I got this award, I was planning on coming home after work and deleting my blog. Strange how things work out, huh? So thanks to Mari for kind of saving my little blog here. I sure haven’t saved on calories, but I’ve been having so much fun along the way.
I’m passing this award to the following blogs. These are just a few of my new and old favorites to check out on a regular basis. **If any of you aren’t into posting about things like this or have already received an Excellence award, no pressure to do anything special since I gave you one… just know that you are much loved in the blogging community.
A little FYI to the deserving recipients, this award comes with a few rules attached to it:
Please find at least 10 more blogs of any kind which you deem to be excellent; but hey if you only come up with 3 or 5, I don’t mind. Quality over quantity folks!
Post about the blogs you picked, linking back to me and to them.
Once you’ve posted, return here to let me know your post is up, and of course let your 10 award winners know too.
It’s fall already? Really?
I’ve never considered making something like this at home. Whenever I think of baking with apples I always think first of apple pie, not turnovers. In fact, the last one I ate was maybe at Arby’s about a million years ago. For some reason, turnovers just aren’t on my radar. Hmmm… Big Mistake.
I used dried orange zest and Minute Maid OJ in place of fresh, Granny Smiths for the apples, and decorating sugar instead of regular sugar for the top. I had some stress over fitting 1/3 of a cup of the filling into the puff pastry squares. It all didn’t seem to fit and I thought the turnovers looked absolutely horrible pre-bake so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But no worries, they puffed up nicely and looked fine once out of the oven. The taste was really good. Although, next time I think I’d try to make extra apple filling and see how much more I could stuff in.
I’ve gotta say I’m really loving these Bonus Recipe Challenges so far. Since I’ve got a lot going on right now, I always intend to skip them for a little bit of a breather. Then I see the choices and I can’t bring myself to sit out. Next week, the Barefoot Bloggers try Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup chosen by Chelle of Brown Eyed Baker.
Ina Garten’s Apple Turnovers
Show: Barefoot Contessa Episode: LA Story
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/4 pounds tart apples, such as Empire or Granny Smith (3 apples)
3 tablespoons dried cherries
3 tablespoons sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on top
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch kosher salt
1 package (17.3 ounces, 2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Click here for directions!
Macaroni and Cheese… ahh. One of my favorites. Who knows how many tons of it I’ve enjoyed in my 30 years on the planet. It’s good in a blue box from Kraft, it’s good when your Mom makes it for Sunday dinners, it’s good when you get it at fast food places… it’s pretty much a no fail thing this Macaroni and Cheese.
Heather of Randomosity and the Girl picked Ina’s “Grown Up” version for all the Barefoot Bloggers to try out. I was thrilled when I saw this choice. Three different kinds of cheese (but I only used cheddar and blue, the Gruyere was $13.98… yikes!), bacon, nutmeg, and the crunchy bread crumb top…. you just can’t go wrong there.
I really loved this recipe and would make it again. A lot of reviews on Food Network said it was too dry but I didn’t think so at all. I did lower the oven temp and baking time though, maybe that helps. I’m not usually that crazy about blue cheese but this time it added something nice. I would be interested to see how the Gruyere changes the flavor, maybe someday I’ll break down and pay the price for it. And I will say that this was my first mac and cheese that I didn’t use ketchup on. I feel so mature. Let me tell you though, my sink was full of utensils, pots, and pans to clean up afterwards. Not fun. When I was little, my Mom would have cleaned up all those dishes while I went to play and watch cartoons. Now I’m the one who has to do it all. Being Grown Up sure does suck sometimes.
Grown Up Mac and Cheese
Show: Barefoot Contessa
Episode: Home Comforts
4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
Click Here for Directions
It’s been about two months since I’ve posted a Blast from TWD Past entry. I had to lay off the extra baking when I noticed I was starting to chunk up a little more than I was comfortable with. I’m getting so close to being caught up on all the TWD recipes. I only have nine left to do now before I’ve made every single one that the group has done so far.
The Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte has always been at the top of my list to complete. I love cheesecake and the picture in the book looks really good. I can’t tell you how many times I bought cottage cheese with the intention of making this torte only to get so busy with other things that the cottage cheese expiration date came and went. Since I’m on vacation, I decided I was getting this done and that was that. Plus, I had cottage cheese in the fridge that expired in four days.
What I did: I cut the recipe in half and filled up two 4 inch springform pans. I had enough extra crust left over for maybe one more pan but not enough of the cream cheese mixture. I doubled the amount of jam because it didn’t seem like enough. I baked for 60 minutes. What I thought: The top came out browner than I wanted so I would bake it a little less next time. Towards the end I was checking it really closely every five minutes to ensure that it wouldn’t get too brown but I got caught up in watching Rachael Ray (she was talking about this really cool $80 pen that recorded everything you wrote…) and I missed the crucial moment. Ahhh well. The taste was pretty good. I used blackberry jam but don’t think I would use the same flavor again.
This recipe was originally selected for the week of January 15th, 2008 and was the third recipe picked for TWD. I believe April of Abby Sweets was the one who chose it and you can check out her Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte here as well as the recipe.
The Barefoot Bloggers August (yes, I’m late) Bonus Recipe sounded like it would be a fun one to try since I’d never made my own pizza dough before. And the pizzas were cooked on the grill, which I’ve also never done.
The dough was easy enough to make since the mixer does all of the work. I didn’t go adding any extra flour during the 10 minute mixing period. Since it was my first time and I don’t quite trust my culinary skills 100% just yet, I thought it best not to go messing around and end up adding too much. (Well, I did add one little pinch of flour just in case it needed it. Plus I thought it would make me look like I knew what I was doing, even though nobody was here watching me.)
In the end, not adding extra flour was such a mistake. It was an absolute necessity. Without it, working with this dough really frustrated me and kicked my ass. I was able to add a lot of extra flour during my attempts at rolling this out so eventually it was workable. I decided to bake it in the oven at 450 degrees for about 4-5 minutes first before putting it on the grill. I thought it would be safer than just throwing it on the grill and hoping that it didn’t sink through the slats all the way down to the bottom. For the toppings I used shredded mozzarella cheese, red onions, yellow peppers, tomatoes, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic and turkey sausage.
After a rough time with pulling this all together, I would say taste wise this recipe was a success. The dough was really good. A lot of people on Food Network reviews said this was their pizza dough recipe from now on and I can see why.
I want to try this again someday after I forget or can laugh about how frustrated I was on this first attempt. Many thanks to Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake for choosing this as August’s Barefoot Bloggers Bonus Recipe Challenge. Make sure you stop to see how her pizzas turned out and check out the rest of her blog while you’re there, she writes some great posts that always make me giggle.
I didn’t get a lot of good pics of this pizza, unfortunately.
Ina Garten’s Grilled California Pizzas
TV Show: Barefoot Contessa Episode: Grilling/Hasta La Pizza Baby
For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110 degrees F) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 teaspoons kosher salt
For the toppings (select 8):
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh mozzarella, grated
1/2 pound Italian Fontina, grated
1/2 pound mild goat cheese, such as Montrachet, sliced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced and julienned
1 bunch arugula, cleaned and dried
6 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
4 pork or turkey sausages, cooked and sliced
1 bunch basil leaves, cleaned and dried
4 garlic cloves, roasted
Crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup good olive oil
Click here for Directions!
Note: Watch your grill temp very closely. My grill definitely needed to be on low heat, I had it higher than that and the bottom of my first pizza came out completely black.