Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.
This was my first Pate and I was really impressed how easy it was to make. The hardest part for me was working with a mini prep instead of a proper food processor. I had to grind up my pate in several separate batches. It was messy and I was very glad that my Sous – Chef Aaron was there to help me mop up the madness that took over my small counter top.
This was very special challenge for me. My Grandmother and Aunt Karen were visiting from Chicago, and this was the first time they got to taste some of my food. I have cooked for them in the past but it was so long ago and I have learned so much since the last time they had anything I cooked or baked. My mother hosted a nice sized party at her house and I decided to bring the pate and the homemade sourdough bread along.
When I unveiled the foil from the small loaf tins everyone gasped at the beautiful strips of bacon that seemed to invite everyone to want to try a little. Leave it to bacon to get even the pickiest eaters to try something new. I peeled one piece of bacon away and asked my Grandmother to smell it; she said “that smells Bohemian”. We all laughed, and I smiled; it truly was a very special day.
Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on www.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh.
As you can see my Enchilada Stack is not green. Last month I worked on making some Chile Verde and felt that I would give making a red sauce a try instead. I made homemade corn tortillas and stacked the enchiladas with olives as an ode to my Mother’s enchilada influence.
The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.
This months Daring Cooks Challenge was super fun for me. Mostly because I got to break in my newly acquired WagnerWare Dutch Oven. We purchased this Dutch Oven off E-Bay and it works like a dream. It heats evenly and retains temperature like no other pot I have.
I created my stew using a Game Hen and Chicken Carcass Vegetable base stock. I pulled the game hen out of the stock pot after the stock had been simmering for about an hour. I let it cook off then I skinned it and removed all the meat and set it aside to add to my stew later. The other meat I chose for my stew was the economical choice of country style pork ribs.
The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.
This months Daring Cooks’ challenge was Risotto. We were given lots of creativity in making this recipe. The two mandatory items were making the stock from scratch, and risotto base.
I really enjoyed this challenge because I have been wanting to post a “how to make stock recipe” for some time. I decided to go with a shellfish stock. I am in the process of becoming a stock making master thanks to my Thomas Keller book. His method of ladling the stock out of the pot into the cheese cloth vs dumping it all out into your colander yields such a beautifully clear stock. No clouds for me! A couple of quick tips for making stock, always roast your vegetables and bones before you make stock. Never boil stock, or stir it. Bring it to a nice simmer, 180-200 degrees. On a side note, I freeze my bones and shells pretty much year round. When I have enough bones I whip up stock and freeze it. It comes in so handy, it’s a really valuable and easy skill to have under your belt.
The 2010 February Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid.
This months challenge allowed for lots of creativity. The two mandatory items were the Pita Breads and the Hummus. Even though the hummus recipe was mandatory we were allowed to flavor our hummus; I choose to add fire roasted red bell peppers. The fresh hummus was just delicious with the hand made pita bread. I added a bowl of green olives and raw almonds to my Mezze table along with a balsamic vinegar couscous salad.
I used dried chick peas to make the hummus and I would recommend using them over canned. They bring so much more flavor and almost a different texture than canned. Using dried beans is always cheaper to boot.