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my first daring cooks challenge completed!

First of all let me tell you a little bit about the daring cooks.

What is The Daring Kitchen?

The Daring Kitchen is the home of The Daring Bakers and The Daring Cooks. The premise of both groups is to create one recipe each month, given to us by a monthly host. We all create the same exact recipe and then post about it on our personal blogs on a designated date.”

now on to this month’s challenge!

this month was hosted by a veggie blogger (yaaaaaaaaaaay) veggienumnums

and she came up with the idea of cooking a mezze, which is similar to tapas, which is a lot of little plates of food to be shared with a crowd. my crowd was james, his father, and his step-mom beth, and me of course 🙂

using the recipes provided i made hummus*, pita bread, and falafal. *this is the first time i ever used a recipe for hummus! i make it often but never use a recipe, i just wing it and taste as i go, sometimes i make it more lemony, some times super duper garlicky, but the recipe was a nice balance and fresh and delish. james really enjoyed the hummus, and he is become a real food critic.

the pita bread was super easy-but i probably should have cooked it about 1-2 more minutes, it was lovely but i tend to wuss out on leaving the bread to get a bit darker for fear it will get too dark. i make bread a few times a week and have gotten over that fear and just let it get dark and crispity. but the pita are so thin! i didnt want them to become too crispy! luckily i have A LOT of the pita dough left and will have more time to experiment over the next few days.

for the falafal: i used my vita-mix to ‘chop’ and blend the ingredients, so it was super quick and easy to make the batter. the only thing i added was a tiny bit more flour to stiffen the batter. wow, i haven’t made falafal in a while and they were delish! i cannot eat them out b.c. of food allergies to wheat and lentils (among other things), lentils are sometimes used in addition to or in replace of the chick peas.

i also served homemade pickles we canned with this past summer’s crop of cucumbers, olives, fresh vegetables: lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, grilled eggplant, and pomegranate seeds. we also had some of the macarons from last night (pictured below this post).

this was a great first challenge for me, i did not have to do too many replaced ingredients, and it was all vegetarian! i am excited for next month! make yourself a little feast of small plates, mezze, using the recipes below. thank you to michelle of veggienumnums!

some recipes via Michele from Veggienumnums

Pita Bread – Recipe adapted from Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

Prep time: 20 minutes to make, 90 minutes to rise and about 45 minutes to cook

2 teaspoons regular dry yeast (.43 ounces/12.1 grams)
Hummus – Recipe adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden

Prep Time: Hummus can be made in about 15 minutes once the beans are cooked. If you’re using dried beans you need to soak them overnight and then cook them the next day which takes about 90 minutes.

1.5 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (or substitute well drained canned chickpeas and omit the cooking) (10 ounces/301 grams)

2-2.5 lemons, juiced (3 ounces/89ml)

2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

a big pinch of salt

4 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste) OR use peanut butter or any other nut butter—feel free to experiment) (1.5 ounces/45 grams)

additional flavorings (optional) I would use about 1/3 cup or a few ounces to start, and add more to taste

Directions:
1. Drain and boil the soaked chickpeas in fresh water for about 1 ½ hours, or until tender. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.
2. Puree the beans in a food processor (or you can use a potato masher) adding the cooking water as needed until you have a smooth paste.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
*Recipe: Falafels – Recipe from Joan Nathan and Epicurious.com

ingredients

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4-6 tablespoons flour
  • vegetable oil for frying

1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.

2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.

3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.

4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts

5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

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Posted by on February 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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super easy + schmancy shortbread cookies!

these are super good and incredibly simple.  the dough/batter is made in the food processor and then rolled into a log and refrigerated. you are left only to slice the log into little cookies and bake them! i used really good schmancy tea and i believe that resulted in the incredibly bergamonty goodness. 

i started with a recipe from food network’s claire robinson:

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

Recipe credit: Claire Robinson

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

Directions

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, tea, and salt, until the tea is just spotted throughout the flour. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and butter. Pulse together just until a dough is formed. Place dough on a sheet of plastic wrap, and roll into a log, about 2 1/2-inches in diameter. Tightly twist each end of wrap, and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice the log into 1/3-inch thick disks. Place on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart (2 probably needed depending on size of sheets). Bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks and cool to room temperature.

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next time i will add a bit of lemon or orange zest, i think that would be ridiculous! 

i made this for a day in prospect park so i took them as is, but that night…

the after dark version was a bit messier and crazy good! i was going to do a little chocolate drizzle but decided to half dip the cookies in chocolate and was very happy with the results. incredibly though, they don’t NEED the chocolate!

but it sure didn’t hurt either 🙂 

and p.s. i used spelt flour and you  would never know! 

 

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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sunday night muffins.

generally speaking i bake muffins on sunday nights for james to have for a quick breakfast all week long. they are easy to carry and munch on while walking to the train. tonight i decided to make up a new one, i am calling them:

nut better + jammy muffins:

preheat to 400*

2 c flour

3 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1/2 c sweetener, i used 1/4 agave+ 1/4 honey

1 egg, beaten

3/4 cup soy milk

1/4 veg. oil

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 c almond butter, could use peanut or cashew or soy nut butter

sliced/crushed nuts for topping

1 cup jam for filling, i used blueberry

(((also you could add some dried fruit, flax seeds or fresh fruit in the mix)))

sift all the dry ingredients and mix together. mix and beat all wet ingredients. combine with minimal mixing. in muffin tin fill 1/2 way with batter, add a teaspoon of jam, cover jam with more batter to 3/4 way filled and add some nuts on top.

bake @ 400* for 20 minutes, check after 15 to be safe.

i had better take a bite since i am posting this…..

okay they came out yummy with crisp tops and soft insides, the jam is a lovely lit surprise inside…but…they are not sweet, not really at all, which i kind of like in the morning, can’t handle a sugarbomb in the a.m. so if you prefer yours sweeter you can add more sweetener or the honey/agave and add some sugar too. also the almond butter is subtle but will give you a little protein bonus in your breakfast, too make a real peanut butter and jelly breakfast perhaps kick up the nut butter too! maybe next time i will add a full cup of nut butter and replace some flour with almond meal. i used spelt flour by the way. )))

let me know if you try them and how/if  you tweek the recipe. 

happy May.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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