Daring Kitchen

Daring Cooks Make Gumbo

May 14, 2011
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Today marks exactly two years since we Daring Cooks intrepidly revealed our first cooking challenge to the world, and every month since has been an eventful, educational (and sometimes stressful) trip across various techniques and cuisines. I am sad to say this shrimp & sausage gumbo will be my 20th and last Daring Cooks challenge that I present to you – the past 24 months have been wonderful, but I have to move on – Daring Cooks was an amazing experience, and did wonders to help me grow with my skills in the kitchen, new techniques, and above all creativity (especially when it came to making some of the challenges gluten free!).

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Daring Cooks do Ceviche – Grapefruit and mint ceviche salad

March 14, 2011
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This month’s Daring Cooks challenge is all about Peruvian classics – there were actually two challenges this month – ceviche and papas rellenas. Feeling in the need for some lighter fare, I decided to choose the ceviche for this month. This was a fun challenge because I got to do something new. I’ve marinated seafood in acid before in a ceviche-inspired salad, but never ever actually started with raw fish. So here is to another daring first!

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DC #22 – Soba Noodles and Tempura and a Quick Photo Tour of Zürich

February 14, 2011
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Sometimes I love Daring Cooks’ challenges, and sometimes I’m just “meh” about them. This month, however, I knew right away that it was going to be a lot of fun. We often make soba noodles in our house since we learned where to find 100% buckwheat noodles, and both of us love tempura (deep fried anything is usually a winner with most people).

I originally had a lot of commentary to say (I always have lots of commentary), but today I am going to keep things short. I had a crazy busy trip to Zürich last week, and did a lot of deep thinking that I still have to process in my head a bit. So instead, I will leave you with some photos of beautiful Zürich and the lake – Zürich really has nothing to do with the dish of this Daring Cooks’ post, other than the fact that I did have sushi one night while I was there, and well, that’s Japanese too, haha…. yeah a bit of a stretch eh? Well sometimes we are stretched a bit thin – a bit like these soba noodles (ok, that was a terrible connection I know!) – so you’ll have to bear with me for the moment and just admire some pretty photos, and I’ll leave my comments on the recipe version I made below as well….

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DC #21 – Daring Cooks do Cassoulet and Confit

January 14, 2011
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A dish that flies in the face of 90% of New Year’s resolutions made and broken every January, cassoulet is essentially an intense and rich French version of good old pork & beans. This challenge had two techniques to learn – the art of making a confit (the ages-old preservation method of slow-cooking meat immersed in fat) and creating a version of the famed several-days-to-prepare dish from the Southwest of France, cassoulet. I had never really known what confit exactly was before, and was really excited to learn yet another new method thanks to the wonderful Daring Cooks. Unfortunately, I think I confited (is that a word?) my entire cassoulet!

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Daring Cook’s #20: Poached to Perfection

December 14, 2010
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Jill (jillouci) and I are so excited to host Daring Cooks for the month of December! For this month, we decided to focus on a technique that seems intimidating to many, but with a little practice it’s really not that hard at all – poaching. All poaching means is cooking something in simmering (not boiling) liquid. And what more perfect way to practice the skill of poaching than learning how to poach an egg? They can make a tasty breakfast or salad accompaniment; there are so many different ways to use poached eggs, and they are used in cuisines from a variety of cultures.

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Moitié-Moitié “Swiss Fondue” Soufflé

November 13, 2010
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Many people think the process of making soufflés is all about the stress and timing of getting them to come out at that perfect moment. You work out a plan, get your ingredients together, prep your ramekins, fill them up and into the oven they go. Then you watch this glorious symphony happen as they bake. Everything the soufflé was ever meant to be starts with a small puff, growing larger and larger reaching for higher and higher heights until it transforms itself into a vertiable masterpiece of art right before your very eyes. This is the moment that everyone wants to preserve when they serve them – it’s why after this moment everything is an insane rush to get them out on the table. If you want to get a picture of your perfect soufflé, there’s even more adrenaline flowing throughout the room, and I, the photographer, start running all over the place like a lost chicken every time I have to tweak something, unable to turn back the clock as I slowly watch the soufflé tragically fall as I tried to nail the focus. Its life work now completed entire minutes ago, the comparatively cool air of the room rushes over the dish as it lets out a long and weary sigh, until it has at last crumpled to a mere shell of its former self.

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