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Daring Kitchen: From Stock to Soup

Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook’s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!

This month’s challenge, I will admit, did not excite me.  I had already made stock (see here), so I had to mull over whether I would be participating this month.  As I read through the recipes Peta provided, I decided to do it, because then I could make @WineGuyTO his favourite: French Onion soup.

I used Michael Smith’s recipe, which was easy to cut down for just 2 people.  The only changes I made was cognac for the brandy, because, though our liquor cabinet is very well stocked, we somehow had no brandy.

So, I need to work on the bread and cheese part.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 5 large onions, peeled and sliced thinly
  • Splash of water
  • Salt

The Soup

  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 cups Homemade Chicken Broth (recipe from this episode)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 slices  multi-grain bread, cut into rounds to fit bowls, toasted
  • 2 cups Swiss, Gruyère or Emmenthal cheese, grated

Directions

Michael Smith’s French Onion Soup

  1. Toss the butter, oil, onions and water into a large soup pot with a few pinches of salt.
  2. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and let the onions soften over a medium high heat, about 10 minutes.
  3. When the water has evaporated, remove the lid, turn heat to low and begin to slowly caramelize onions, stirring frequently. This will take about one hour.

The Soup

  1. When the onions are a deep golden colour and have shrunk dramatically, add the brandy, thyme and broth.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat your oven’s broiler. Ladle the soup into 4 onion soup or ovenproof bowls and fit a slice of toast over each bowl.
  4. Sprinkle each evenly with the cheese and place bowls onto a baking sheet.
  5. Place under the broiler and broil until the soup is bubbling and the tops are golden brown.
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Daring Baker Challenge April: Maple mousse

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

I cheated.  I did not use one of the mousse recipes that was listed.  Why? Because I don’t eat gelatin (if I can help it).  If I am not eating the food with it, I’ll use it, but I am eating this, so no go.  So instead I used a recipe from a defunct food magazine from President’s Choice (see below).

I did decide to make a bacon cup, because, well, its bacon!  One cup was woven tightly enough that once baked, it was able to hold the mousse.

The finished product.

The challenge was pretty easy.  The hardest part was waiting for the mousse to set in the freezer.  I don’t think I would make bacon cups again, it was hard to figure out how to eat it afterward.  But as my mom is allergic to chocolate, this was a great for her, as I left the mousse with her.

Recipe

1 1/2 cups (325 ml) whipping cream, very cold

6 large egg yolks (very fresh)

1 cup (250ml) maple syrup

In a chilled bowl, beat whipping cream until it holds stiff peaks; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  In the clean bowl of a stand mixer with the whip attachment or with electric beaters, beat egg yolks with maple sryup until mixure is very thinsk and pale, 8-10 minutes.  It should fall in a heavy ribbon when beaters are lifted.  Using a large rubber spatula, fild in whipped cream.  Transfer mousse to a shallow freezer-proof dish.  Cover mousse tightly with plastic wrap and a piece of aluminum foil and freeze for 6-8 hours, or until thick and spoonable, about the consistency of soft-serve ice cream.  Yields 6-8 servings.

Daring Kitchen Cooking Challenge: Japanese

One of the reasons I started this blog is because I had been reading on Twitter about people’s completed Daring Kitchen challenges and I wanted to make what they were making!  So I signed up for both the Cooking and Baking challenges.  So once a month now I will be showing what I made.

This month the challenge was to make a cold Japanese salad of soba noodles with two sauces and tempura.  I found all but one ingredient in the local Loblaws which made making this much less daunting.  A lot of it was prep work and I was able to make the sauces ahead of time.

Here is my batter, it has to be kept cold (hence the ice pack in the bowl; we ran out of ice cubes) and should be kept lumpy which I found hard to leave alone.

I then prepped the veg.  I went with what we had on hand, as we had just received our first Organic Food box which had zucchini and broccoli, and added in some red pepper.  Just to make sure it wasn’t a completely vegetarian meal, I threw in some pre-cooked shrimp.

Post with tempura

Precooked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On to the soba noodles.  For those who don’t know, they are buckwheat noodles.  I enjoy buckwheat pancakes, so I was looking forward to them.   A very quick cook and it is traditional to eat them cold.

On the left is the Mentsuyu-traditional dipping sauce which is a mix of rice vinegar and soy sauce.  On the right is the spicy dipping sauce with green onions, mustard and vinegars.  We all preferred the second one, and went from dipping to putting it right into the noodles.  I topped the noodles with sliced green onions, keeping it simple.

Not sure I would make this again.  I am not a fan of deep-frying, I find it goes everywhere.  The noodles were good, might eat them hot the next time and with maybe a western-style sauce instead.

Now onto my baking challenge!

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