Pies! We are a household that loves pies. We love them so much that when D had his birthday earlier this month, we made pies instead of cakes. Luckily, this paired perfectly with the Daring Bakers’ June Challenge. Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies!
The result? Two delicious pies!
The June Daring Cooks’ challenge sure kept us rolling – meatballs, that is! Shelley from C Mom Cook and Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to try meatballs from around the world and to create our own meatball meal celebrating a culture or cuisine of our own choice.
I have a confession to make – I’ve never made meatballs before! I’ve bought them, and I’ve eaten them, and I like them, but I’ve never actually made them! This made for a perfect June challenge.
Since I’m not a meatball pro, I went for a simple Italian meatball. I mixed 1 pound of ground beef, 1 chopped onion, 1 garlic clove, 1 egg, 1/2 c bread crumbs, and salt/pepper, formed balls, and baked everything for 35 minutes at 350 *F.
And paired with a tasty pasta, this made for a delicious meal!
Our lovely Monkey Queen of Don’t Make Me Call My Flying Monkeys, was our May Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to dive into the world of en Croute! We were encouraged to make Beef Wellington, Stuffed Mushroom en Croute and to bring our kids into the challenge by encouraging them to create their own en Croute recipes!
Once again, I am incredibly late at posting this. We even made and served this before the 14th (which is the official date-to-post), but, well, May has been a very busy month for me.
That being said, mmmmmmmmmmmmm. This was delicious, fun, and not too difficult to do!
Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes.
I had never heard of a savarin before this challenge, but it sounded pretty interesting and like the perfect party treat. After searching for a bundt pan (No, I don’t own one. Yes, I know this possibly makes me less of an awesome baker. You know what? Maybe someday when I have more space, but right now, it’s not a big deal!), I made this:
Doesn’t it look… decadent? And delicious? The pairing of the pastry cream filling with the cake and strawberries was really good. I think this might fall in the category of too much work without enough reward, but it was an awesome dessert to try out! (And the next time I see it on a dessert menu at a restaurant, I’m there!)
For the April Daring Cooks Challenge, Lisa from Parsley, Sage and Sweet has challenged us to debone a whole chicken, using this video by Jacques Pepin as our guide; then stuff it, tie it and roast it, to create a Chicken Ballotine.
Friends – this was a doozy of a challenge, but I think that added to its charm! I don’t know that this will become a regular way of preparing chicken for the time being, but it was interesting and made for a spectacular Easter dinner!
And yes, I did use a video to guide me through the process. Jacques Pepin is a master at this – he goes through it slowly-ish in the video, but claims that anyone can debone a chicken in 1 minute. Hah! But I could see after a try or two it only taking 10ish minutes to do the whole thing, which is pretty reasonable. And after all, why wouldn’t you when a little bit of work can give you this:
Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie was our February 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to use our creativity in making our own Crisp Flatbreads and Crackers!
So, I’m obviously a little bit late in posting this… but, it was an awesome challenge, and it would be a shame to let it die in a dusty pile. These were pretty easy to do, and they went perfectly with the hummus D made for the evening. Yum!
Note: I really truly made these in a timely fashion! The post was written and ready to go for Jan 27, and then, well, the pictures got buried on our camera and I only just got them. But rejoice – no “eye” and “finger” soup to grace the top of our page! =]
Francijn of Koken in de Brouwerij was our January 2013 Daring Bakers’ Hostess and she challenged us to make the traditional Dutch pastry, Gevulde Speculaas from scratch! That includes making our own spice mix, almond paste and dough! Delicious!
This was a remarkably simple recipe to prepare (which was good, given that I made it on the last day of the open challenge period!), and used mostly common ingredients from around the house. We made the dessert for our small group, and D described the dessert in his email to them as “something unpronounceable but probably delicious.” I suppose that’s part of the challenge of cooking Dutch food! =]
To round out my December posts, it’s time for a Christmas bread!
The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread!
I admit that I was skeptical of this bread during the early process, but it is delicious. The buttery dough reminds me of pound cake, except that the final product is much airier. Plus, this bread really lends itself to customization with different flavors. I made two different cakes: an orange liquor/raisin/walnut version and a chocolate chip version. Yum!
“On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve drummers drumming.”
We’ve made it to the twelfth day of Christmas! Whoohoo! These cookies look a bit like drums, but suffer from the fact that they contain coconut. Lots of nasty, disgusting coconut. (Not that I have a bias!) Anyways, I replaced the coconut with four ounces of white chocolate, and called it a delicious day. =]
These were deemed the best of the cookies, and I admit they were quite delicious – perfect for Christmas!
“On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven pipers piping.”
Remember how I said I loved shortbread? Yum! Today’s shortbread is a brown shortbread that’s made from browning the butter, and then making one large batch. These were very rich, but also tasty! (I bet drizzling some chocolate on the top would make them even better, but chocolate does that to almost everything.)