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Apr. 27th, 2014

Daring Bakers Challenge- Easter Breads

The April Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den . She challenged us to Spring into our kitchens and make Easter breads reflecting cultures around the world.

Yes, that would be me. Fun, eh? }:P

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On to the Challenge! )

Jan. 28th, 2014

Daring Bakers Challenge- Treecake (Baumkuchen)

The January 2014 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Francijn of "Koken in de Brouwerij". She challenged us all to bake layered cakes in the tradition of Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte (layered cake).

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It took me two tries to get this cake right. The first was a big fail, as following the directions to the letter resulted in the very bottom layer burning completely. So it went into the trash.

The second try, I used the broiler method instead and that worked perfectly. Because I used a longer pan than the recipe called for, I was only able to get 7 layers. But they were 7 delicious layers.

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I dressed our cake simply, with powdered sugar instead of the chocolate glaze. But the next time- and there will be a next time- we'll try the glaze.}:P

It really isn't a hard recipe to do, just a bit time consuming and you need patience. And you literally have to hover over your oven for each layer, otherwise, a few seconds too long and it'll edge into burning territory.

All in all, a fun Challenge and well worth the time!


Nov. 19th, 2013

Remembering Lis, Queen of The Daring Kitchen

I found out last night, that Lis, a co-founder of The Daring Kitchen, the home of the Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks, passed away on Nov 12th.

Reading Lis' blog, La Mia Cucina, as well as Ivonne's Creampuffs in Venice blog, was the whole reason I joined the Daring Bakers, then the Daring Cooks. The sheer fun that came through the posts about the Challenges enthralled me. And so I joined.

Daring Bakers- Dobos Torte

A fellow Daring Kitchen member set up an event on Facebook, to celebrate the awesomeness that was Lis. It was suggested that we find a Challenge that we remember best, that gave us nightmares, that really Challenged us.

Honestly, there are quite a few, but the Dobos Torte Challenge was the one where, for the first time ever, buttercream actually worked for me. It was only my 5th Daring Bakers Challenge but I knew, after that, I could do any of them with a modicum of success and even if I failed, the group at the Daring Kitchen wouldn't care.

I've remade numerous Challenges since then, both Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks. Several are on permanent rotation, such as the Stacked Green Chile Enchiladas. In fact, last night, I made Cannelloni for the umpteenth time. And it was just as delicious as the first time.

Every single Challenge announcement was preceded by a humor filled paragraph or two, written by Lis. Every one of them showed her unique spirit and passion for this group of people who came together thanks to her and Ivonne.

Several months ago, Lis emailed me asking if I'd host a Daring Bakers Challenge in 2014 and gave me my choice of months when I said yes. I still have those emails. They are the epitome of her humor and warmth.

"Okay you are down for April. :D Just one thing.. NO CAKE. Hahahaha! I just realized we are doing 4 different types of cakes in 2014.. all of them very different, but still.. cake 4 times. ;)

We’ve got another Dutch pastry and bread – but not so much a special type of bread, but bread shapes so to speak.. it’s an awesome challenge. And then at the end of the year we’re doing a Spanish style King Cake – so that’s kinda bready and cakey, yes? We’ve got a big pie challenge still coming in 2013.. as well as a French pastry, another cake, verrines, flan and a savory pie challenge coming up in 2013. Not much savory in 2014 if that flips your switch. If it doesn’t that’s absolutely fine too.

Hope that helps in your choices? :)

Good luck!

Thanks, Lis, for the Daring Kitchen, for sharing your humor and passion for food with us all. We will endeavor to carry the Daring Kitchen onward in the spirit you would love and want. Come April 2014, I hope I do you proud.

And I'll try not to do cake.}:P

#tributetolis #daringbakers

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Oct. 28th, 2013

Daring Bakers Challenge- Savory Pot Pies

Hannah of Rise and Shine was our October 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to bake our own double crusted savory pot pies. Using any from-scratch crust and filling we choose, we were allowed to get completely creative with our recipe, showing off the savory flavors and fillings from our own home or region.

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I meant to post this yesterday, but well, that was spent relaxing after the 10+ hour drive back from Michigan the day before. I've now made my version of a chicken pot pie twice in as many weeks. Technically three times if you count the one that's in my mom's freezer for her and dad to have later this coming winter.

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I will admit, I totally winged this one, filling wise. I used the pie crust recipe provided for the one I made for us and store bought for mom and dad's. So there really isn't a set recipe for my filling, but I can say, it makes enough for TWO 9" pot pies. Yeah. And it's delicious.

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The gist of it is the following-

A 5 cheese (romano, parmesan, sharp cheddar, provolone, mozzarella) sauce- base is a basic roux, then heavy cream, then the cheese, mixed until smooth, seasoned with sea salt, pepper, garlic to taste. To that was added a pound of boneless chicken that was browned in olive oil, steamed broccoli florets, chopped red onions, chopped sauted mushrooms, sliced sauted leeks. And broken up pieces of thick cut applewood bacon. It was all mixed together then scooped into the waiting pie crusts, topped with a second crust, [mostly] sealed and baked at 375 for 45-50 minutes.

It makes enough filling for two pies, so the second can be made, allowed to cool( if the filling is still warm) and wrapped in 2 layers of tinfoil, then plastic wrap and frozen unbaked until you want to have it again.

I think I need to make a couple this weekend, as a matter of fact.}:P


Oct. 14th, 2013

Daring Cooks Challenge- Choose Your Own

In a "celebration" of past Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we'd like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try!

Well, I made Cannelloni this month, and I made a whole bunch of Green Chile Sauce, some of which was eaten on stacked fish enchiladas. And I made homemade pasta sauce and ravioli and other noodles.

Sadly, I took photos of none of it. So all I have is my word. Heh.

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Aug. 28th, 2013

Daring Bakers Challenge- A cake and 2 cookies

Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen was our August 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to make some amazing regional Indian desserts. The Mawa Cake, the Bolinhas de Coco cookies and the Masala cookies – beautifully spiced and delicious!

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Look at that cake. That cake is delicious. That cake was also a right pain in my behind.

It took 2 different brands of milk to make this cake. Our normal brand of whole milk, refused to work. So I had to go get a half gallon of a local creamery's whole milk, which did work, but at a reduced amount than what I was supposed to end up with.

This pain in the butt cake is why I did not get to the other half of this Challenge, which is to make one of the two cookies as well.

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But darn if this cake wasn't worth it. I mean, LOOK AT THAT CAKE. You can see the flecks of Cardamom in it. You can smell the Cardamom and man, can you taste it. OmNomNom. It makes great snacking cake(as it apparently is intended to be) but it also makes great breakfast cake.

So yes, while it was a pain in the behind, man was it ever worth it.


Aug. 14th, 2013

Daring Cooks Challenge- Biryani

Grace, one of our talented non-blogging Daring Kitchen members, was our Daring Cooks’ August hostess who shared with us some of her family’s tried and true Bengali Biryani recipes – all of them delicious and all of them prepared fresh from our own kitchens!

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Mmm, biryani... The first time I had biryani, was actually Goat Biryani at Nawab Indian Cuisine here in my city.

This was that biryani-

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Obviously, there was quite a bit of differences between restaurant style biryani and homemade, Bengali biryani.}:P

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So, because we don't eat it very often, I decided to try the Lamb Biryani. Followed the recipe to the letter and let me tell you, my house smelled divine the day I made this. Mark came home from work and could smell the spices in the driveway. Well, to be fair, I had the windows open at the time.}:P

I will say this is a definite keeper and a definite make again and often.


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