Tag Archives: Daring Cook’s

Daring Cook’s Challenge: Gumbo

14 May

I’ve never been to New Orleans. That’s sad. I’ve wanted to go to New Orleans for as long as I can remember. My Dad used to promise that some year we would go to the Big Easy for Mardi Gras. Yeah, well, that didn’t pan out so well.

A lot of things come to mine when you hear or talk about New Orleans. Obviously, Katrina is a big one. But I’m talking about GOOD things. Delicious things.


Po Boys.



King Cake.


All these things are foreign to me. Well, except the beignets and po boys. Those I’ve had. But nothing else. The cuisine in New Orleans makes my mouth water. I keep telling my husband that I want to go to New Orleans for our next vacation, but he doesn’t like to listen to me. ::shakes fist::

Thank goodness this month’s Daring Cook’s challenge was Gumbo because there happened to be a Gumbo recipe in my new cookbook, Slow Cooker Revolution from America’s Test Kitchen. I love this book. I love my slow cooker, but let’s face it, sometimes you throw something in the slow cooker and then fish it out, sometimes it just doesn’t taste good. It’s an amalgam of something. Don’t get me wrong, there are other times I put something in the slow cooker and it turns out AMAZING. Slow Cooker Revolution’s recipes are a little more involved than just throwing ingredients in the slow cooker and letting it do it’s magic, but believe me, the extra steps are WORTH IT.

Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

Slow Cooker Chicken Gumbo

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 canola oil
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced (seeds and stems removed)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, minced (seeds and stems removed)
  • 1 celery rib, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I substituted using chicken base and boiling water)
  • 1.25lb andouille sausage, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 12oz frozen cut okra, thawed and patted dry
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin
  • dried parsley and red pepper flakes for garnish
Place oven rack in lowest position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add flour to a Dutch oven over medium heat and stir constantly until it begins to brown. Take off the heat and whisk in the oil until smooth. Cover pot, place in oven and cook about 45 minutes.
Remove pot from oven and whisk roux to combine.
Stir in onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, thyme and cayenne into roux and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until softened, about 10-12 minutes. Whisk in the chicken broth, making sure to scrape the edges and removing any clumps. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, then carefully transfer to slow cooker.
Stir in sausage, okra and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place the chicken on top of the slow cooker ingredients. Carefully push the chicken down until it is just covered. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4-6 hours on low.
Once the chicken is tender, carefully remove the chicken and shred. Once the stew has settled, remove any fat from the surface. Remove bay leaves. Add shredded chicken back to slow cooker and stir in and let sit for 5 minutes.
Ladle into bowls, and add scallions and garnish.

Daring Cook’s: Papas Rellenas

14 Mar

When I found out what the next Daring Cook’s challenge was, I simulataneously went, AWESOME and WTF?!?

I told hubby that it was ceviche and papas rellenas. He was not very excited by the thought of try to do raw fish at home. And, as I thought about it, neither did I. I’d rather just go to a restaurant and have other people worry about freshness and doing raw fish right instead of me worrying about it.

That and I did my Daring Cook’s challenge at about 8PM last night.


Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

Papas Rellenas

Recipe adapted from the recipe supplied to us from Kathlyn

Potato “Dough”

  • 1.5lb potatoes, peeled
  • 1 egg

Boil the potatoes until a fork pierces the poatatoes easily. Cook completely then mash them with a potato ricer. Add the egg and mix until a dough forms.


  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1 yellow pepper, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped olives
  • 1 jalepeno pepper, chopped
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • salt and white pepper to taste

In a saute pan heat 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add onions and garlic and stir for 4-5 minutes or until slightly translucent. Add jalepeno and pepper and stir additional 4 minutes. Add meat and cook until brown. Add olives ad spices and stire to combine. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool completely.


  • 1 egg, beaten with a little water in one bowl
  • 1/2 cup flour with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and salt in another plate
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs in another plate

To assemble:

Scoop up some of the potato and flatten into a disc and scoop some of the filling into the middle. Wrap the potato around the filling, using extra potato to fill in the gaps if needed. Roll the finished ball first in the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally the panko bread crumbs.

In another deep pan, heat about 1.5-2″ of canola oil until it reaches about 350-375 degrees. Fry the papas for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until it reaches desired color. Serve immediately!

Daring Cook’s: Tempura & Cold Soba Noodle

14 Feb

I am a big tempura fan. Whenever I get sushi I always get something that has tempura in it. One of my favorite maki is Sweet Potato Maki. There’s just something about the crunch of the outside and the delicious starchiness on the inside.

I had ambitions for the tempura. I originally wanted to make shrimp and sweet potato tempura for the Daring Cook’s Challenge but unfortunately I 1) didn’t have enough oil and 2) pretty much had a Julie and Julia moment trying not to freak out over the tempura (Just ask my husband).

It’s a good think I left the tempura last because I’m pretty sure I would have given up on the second part of dinner. I’m pretty sure my tempura batter was a little on the runny side, but the taste and the crispiness was still there.

I paired my sweet potato tempura with a vegetable medley of edamame, baby bok choy (which I think has a better flavor than regular bok choy) and some leftover cabbage that I had. I of course spiced it up with some Sriracha sauce, obviously.

For a dipping sauce I went with a spicy peanut sauce that was slightly on the thick side, but still delicious!

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t go and make tempura on a regular basis, but it was definitely a great learning experience. And the soba noodles? LOVE THEM. I need to make cold noodle dishes more often.

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com

Cold Soba Noodle Salad

  • 1 package soba noodles
  • 2 cups edamame
  • 1 baby bok choy, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup sliced cabbage
  • 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 package mixed oriental mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • peanut oil

Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Rinse thoroughly with cold water once cooked. Pat dry with a paper towel and place in the fridge until you are ready to use them.

In a medium saute pan heat about a tbsp peanut oil. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the bok choy and cabbage and the rice vinegar and soy sauce and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the edamame and mushrooms and Sriracha sauce and saute until the mushrooms have slightly shrunk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the fridge until you are ready to plate.

Spicy Peanut Sauce

Recipe adapted from here

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 shallots, diced finely
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp Sriracha

In a small sauce pan heat butter until melted. Add the shallots and cook until they are tender. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until it thickens. Refrigerate until you are ready to eat.

Sweet Potato Tempura

Recipe Source: Here & Here

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, and cut into strips, then blanched and cooled
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup ice water (I put a bowl of water in the freezer while I made the cold noodle salad)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Oil for deep frying

Heat oil in a heavy pot to 320 degrees. There should be about 1.5-2″ of oil.

Place ice water in a mixing bowl and in another small bowl mix the egg yolk. Slowly incorporate into the ice water. Add flour, cornstarch and baking powder and stroke with chopsticks until loosely combined. If you can, leave the batter in an ice water bath to keep cool.

Lightly dredge the sweet potatoes in some flour and then place in the tempura batter. I did about 4 pieces at a time, for about 2-3 minutes per side. Place on a drying rack and sprinkle with salt when done.

I did this all with chopsticks and almost died (ok, I’m exaggerating). If you are not comfortable using chopsticks then by all means use tongs. Oil burns are not fun.

To plate, combine the soba noodles with the vegetable mix and top with the tempura. Serve with peanut sauce on the side.

Daring Cook’s: Poached Eggs

14 Dec

One of my favorite ways of eating eggs is poaching. It’s kind of magical. If done correctly, you have a perfect white coccoon, and nestled in the center is a beautiful butterfly that is waiting to burst out into yolky goodness.

River of gold

I’m also a fan of the sunny side up egg. My mom used to make me sunny side up eggs with a side of toast, and I loved to break open the egg yolk and dunk my bread in the yolk. I still do it to this day. My cat also likes sunny side up eggs, because she licks up the leftover yolk on the plate.

For this month’s Daring Cook’s we were challenged to make poached eggs. Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.
I decided to forgo the Eggs Benedict (Even though I do love them to pieces!) and went with a poached egg salad. Everything was going absolutely SPLENDID until I got to the poached egg. First, I forgot to add the vinegar and salt. Then my clear beautiful water turned into an eggy mess. I ended up getting one pretty poached egg, one ugly poached egg and one trashed poached egg. All in all it was quite the experience.

Poached Egg Salad

Part 1: Croutons

  • 3 slices of day old bread (I used 12 grain from Whole Foods)
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss the bread in with the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and spread the bread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once, until browned. Set aside.

Part 2: Bacon & Roasted Garlic

  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Line another baking pan (or use the same one for the croutons! The less dishes the better!) with aluminum foil and lay out the bacon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and olive oil.

Remove excess from garlic bulb. Cut garlic bulb at the top to expose the garlic. Place in a heat proof ramekin and sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Bake bacon and garlic together for 15-18 minutes, turning the bacon once, until your level of crispiness. Take the bacon out and bake the garlic for an additional 15 minutes. Put both aside.

Part 3: Dressing

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and set aside.

Part 4: Poached Eggs

Bring a pot of water to a simmer, just before the boiling point (Between 160-180 degrees) Add 2 tbsp vinegar and salt liberally (This I forgot to do, D’oh!) Crack first egg into a small cup and then gently (Gently I say!) place into the water. Using a slotted spoon gather the egg whites towards the yolk. Shut off the heat and cover, cooking for 3-4 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolk. Repeat as necessary.

Part 5: Assemble your salad

  • 1 bunch red leaf lettuce
  • 4 grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 raw onion, chopped

Combine your salad greens with the tomatoes and onions. Crumble up the bacon, add the croutons, coat lightly with dressing and add your poached egg to the top.

That’s the not so pretty egg, in case you’re wondering

This was definitely no easy task! I now have a greater appreciation for a good poached egg at a restaurant. The people that can make poached eggs like nothing, well, I bow down to you. Hopefully, with a little practice, I’ll be able to whip them up in no time.

Daring Cook’s: Souffle Time

14 Nov

My first foray with foamy egg whites ended in disaster. So much disaster that I basically had to throw away a bunch of failed egg whites. So when I found out that this month’s Daring Cook’s challenge involved making a souffle let’s say I wasn’t excited. However, I was determined to not let it happen this time.

So let’s just say when I saw this:

I win this time egg whites

I may have pranced around the house yelling, “I DID IT! I DID IT!”

I decided to do a savory souffle instead of a sweet one and found a good reference for figuring out how to make a souffle from here: http://www.mahalo.com/how-to-make-souffle

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

Ham & Cheddar Souffle

  • 1 cup ham, sliced
  • 1 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 3 tbsp chives, chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

First we’ll need to make the souffle base. Melt butter in a small saucepan and then add the flour. Stir constantly for a couple of minutes. Heat milk in a separate pan or put in microwave for 2 minutes. Add milk to flour/butter mixture. Bring sauce to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for a few more minutes, until thick.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks together. Add a small amount of the flour mixture to the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Then pour the egg mixture back into the flour mixture. Add the ham/cheddar/chives into the sauce.

Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment add the egg white and beat on medium high speed. Once small peaks start forming add the cream of tartar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Slowly fold in the egg whites into the egg mixture until fully incorporated.

Preheat oven to 350. I used 4 mini souffle ramekins as well as a large muffin tin for the souffle. Spray and flour the ramekins/tin. Pour even amount of mixture into the tins, making sure not to overfill as you need to give some space for the souffle to rise. Bake until puffy and slightly browned, about 30 minutes.

The souffles will start deflating almost immediately, so if you planning on serving the souffles to guests, make sure to get it out of there ASAP.

I was really happy with the way this turned out. It made me more confident about dealing with foamed egg whites that I don’t think I’ll be scared to try out more recipes for stiff peaks. Lemon meringue anyone?


Stuffed Cabbage

14 Oct

Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

Well, in case you’ve missed the memo these AREN’T grape leaves. It’s stuffed cabbage. I unfortunately could not, for the life of me, find grape leaves, fresh or jarred. I really would have liked to make grape leaves too, because I got the recipe from my mom, who makes awesome grape leaves. But isn’t that what the Daring Cooks are all about? Using your imagination, not letting a silly thing like not finding the main ingredient for this month’s challenge get you down.  I still liked the outcome of this recipe. I would suggest adding some more spice to it, probably in the form of cumin or red pepper flakes to spice it up a bit, since it was lacking some flavor. But they were still very tasty.

Stuffed Cabbage

Adapted from MarthaStewart.com

  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp parsley flakes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 4 cups tomato puree

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Cut out the center of the cabbage and place in pan. Boil cabbage for 2-3 minutes, until the outer layers are bright green and tender. Lift cabbage from water, and remove outer layer. Place back in boiling water, and repeat until all leaves are cooked. Reserve 2 cups of cabbage water for later.

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook until golden and tender, about 8 minutes. In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, lamb, onion mixture, parsley, carrots, salt and pepper. Stir (or use your hands!) to combine.

Add about 1/3 cup rice filling to one cabbage leaf. Fold sides of cabbage over filling, and, starting with the stem end, roll the cabbage up. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling.
Line a 5-quart Dutch oven with reserved outside leaves. Transfer stuffed cabbage leaves to Dutch oven.
Combine cabbage water and puree and pour over stuffed cabbage to almost cover. Bring to a boil and then gently simmer for 1 hour. Serve immediately.
Again, I would add some red pepper flakes to add a bit of punch to it, otherwise an extra dash of pepper will do the trick. Enjoy!
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