13 May 2011

Daring Cooks May Challenge: Gumbo- Let the good times roll!

Gumbo served with rice and filé powder. 

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. For a pdf file of all of Denise’s info, click here.

This was my first foray into Gumbo land. It's been on my to make list for a while, but since I don't live in the US anymore, it has had a low priority. I'd read that you couldn't make true gumbo without filé powder and I'd never seen that in my US grocer, so it was on hold. Early one morning in April, however, while killing time before my flight to the US in a hotel room in Frankfurt, I logged onto the Daring Kitchen and discovered that I would be making gumbo within the next month. I added filé powder to my must-buy-while-I'm-in-the-US list and got excited. 

I also had to admit that part of the excitement came from the creator of the recipe: John Besh. I was a Food Network junkie when I lived in the US and definitely remember John Besh from The Next Iron Chef. He was one of my favorites, and while he did not win, he did make the final two. And now I got to try out one of his recipes! 

06 May 2011

Double Take: Key Lime Bars with Graham-Cracker Pistachio Crust

Key Lime Bars with Pistachio Graham-Cracker Crust
Photo courtesy of Holly Ballenger

Remember my disastrous lemon meringue pie? Remember the solution recipe I gave you? Well, take the delicious lemon pie, make it lime, put it in a different crust (rectangular rather than pie-shaped) and you get Lime Bars with Pistachio Graham-Cracker Crust. Many thanks to Culinary in the Country for bringing this recipe to my attention!

This recipe was so close to my lemon meringue pie recipe that I knew it had to be good. I've frequently turned my lemon meringue pies into key lime meringue pies, so I knew the lime would be perfect. And adding pistachios to the crust? Oh my. I love graham-cracker crusts, I love pistachios. Match made in heaven! And so darn easy to make! Just read the directions before you start or things will take longer than needed.

Things to remember before you start cooking:
1. You need to melt butter before you start!
2. The crust has to bake (8-12 min) and cool (30 min) before you put the filling together. 

01 May 2011

Double Take: Gnocchi inspired by One Hungry Chef

Potatoes on a salt bed, ready for the oven

Gnocchi is one of those foods I keep seeing everywhere. It keeps popping up on blogs I frequent, it's on menus everywhere, and I see it in the stores all the time. I've ordered it a few times in restaurants, but never totally been blown away by it. But all the blogs say it is so much better homemade, so I gave in and decided to try it. And Tabitha agreed we should do it for a Double Take. 

One of the common ways I've seen it served is in a gorgonzola sauce. While the sauce was tasty, it was missing an acid to cut the cloyingness from the cheese and cream. I think even a few grape tomatoes served on top would have helped it immensely. Either way, I was determined not to serve it with a creamy sauce what-so-ever. And I had to think about what Bender would want. He's not a potato dumpling fan, so much so that I avoided using the word dumpling at all costs with him. I didn't want him to think it was going to be like kloesse, German potato dumplings. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...