What's your current challenge? A dish to stretch your skills?

plllog

People are still saying how good the chicken and biscuits were/are (it was a big dish and there's still some left). It's a way to clean the fridge and everybody likes chicken and biscuits, but no, there's no recipe. There's bought stuff, and found stuff, and leftovers, and stock and drippings, and just a few drops of cream. I keep saying, "This is basic American cooking." But that particular one will never be seen again.


I'm thinking it must be like egg rolls. If you come from an egg roll place, there are a bazillion ways to make them, and people I know put the same kinds of things in them as I did in the chicken and biscuits.


I still have my baking challenge to do. I set out to learn to make puff pastry, but by the time I'd found a good butter to use, it was into the holidays and no big blocks of time to devote to folding dough.


Now, however, before I get into the baking, I need a cooking challenge. Something new that's doable for take-with Sunday dinner. I keep trying to think of something but my mind drifts to meatloaf. A challenge at least needs a recipe, which meatloaf does not!


What cooking challenges have you set for yourselves?

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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan

This afternoon I bought an Atlas 150 pasta machine at the thrift store. I remember reading about that model on this forum. It's in the original box. A note on the box indicates it was never used and the looks of it make me believe that is true. So homemade pasta should be my challenge. A place I'm visiting next week sells many types of flour. Hopefully by then I'll figure out what kind(s) I need. The machine does not have any attachments so it looks like it will be lasagna noodle for now, or hand cut sizes/shapes. It sound like playing with a Play-Doh Fun Factory toy and getting results you can eat!

Another challenge is to use up a lot more of the meats and other extras from the holidays that are in the freezer before buying more groceries. It is hard for me to pass up great food sales even when the refrigerator and pantry are full.

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nancyjane_gardener

Mine isn't cooking something, but getting down on paper some of the things I've been cooking all my life that I "just make" like lasagna, meatloaf, stuffed millies and others that aren't "right" unless Mom makes them.

Often, I'll make something for a potluck or something and someone will ask for the recipe! I just kinda stand there like a deer in the headlights trying to remember what I did!

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plllog

Naturegirl, I had previously had difficulty with my pasta machine, both with my old by hand recipe and the one that came with the machine. Annie gave this link (below) to a very simple recipe from yet another maker that's very easy and straightforward, and was a great success. I was out of durum, so used all 00. Good luck with your new toy!

https://www.marcato.it/en/academy/recipes/egg-pasta

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plllog

Nancyjane, I hear you! I've been doing some of that too.

What's a millie?

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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan

Thanks, Plllog. I see that durum is also called semolina in the recipe. Is there another name for soft wheat 00? I'm pretty clueless about different kinds of flour. A basic all purpose white and a bulk bin whole wheat are the ones normally in my pantry.

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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Specific dishes don't challenge me as much as a variety of dishes all served at a meal hot and fresh. Juggling a bunch of skills all at once, I usually feel like I'm on Chopped. Sometimes I win lol

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plllog

Naturegirl, 00 flour refers to the fineness of the grind. It's mostly used for pasta. If you look closely in a "better" supermarket, you'll probably find some. Durum and semolina are confusing words. Durum is the kind of wheat. It's yellow and hard. Semolina is the kind of grind. It's coarse, but from the endosperm of the wheat. So durum semolina is the coarse yellow wheat and durum flour is the finer yellow wheat.

I've used both, but am no expert. As I understand it, semolina is used for shaped pastas because it helps them retain their shapes. The softer, finer durum flour is used for long pastas where a little more flexibility is an asset. Durum doesn't have as much stretch and give as regular wheat, which is supposed to be good for pasta.

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annie1992

naturegirl, I just use all purpose King Arthur, it works fine. There are no specialty flours here in my town, so unless I order from Amazon or take a trip to GR, I have all purpose, whole wheat, and bread flour. King Arthur, Gold Medal, Pillsbury or the store brand. Oh, and Swansdown cake flour, so I use what I can get.


Annie

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

Annie, I order my flours straight from the KAF website. When they have a really good sale or free shipping I stock up.

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bbstx

I’m with @Bumblebeez SC Zone 7. My biggest challenge is getting everything on the table hot and in the proper order (assuming we are serving in courses). I’m good about doing a reverse time table so that I know when to start what, but invariably, something trips me up - it takes longer to cook the xyz than it took the last 300 times, etc.

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Islay Corbel

Yes, pasta doesn't need sweating over. One egg to about 100g flour. Simples.

I'm trying to perfect ham making. In England, we can buy cured pork called gammon which we boil with aromats then finish in the oven with a glaze.

I'm experimenting with different cures to get a good tasty gammon.

We ate one last Sunday, a thick slivce of leg that I'd brined in a mix of salt, sugar, molasses and curing salt for 4 days, then cooked sous vide with a mix of orange juice, brown sugar and Madeira wine. I have to say it was very good. Succulent and tasty hot or cold.

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CA Kate z9

My current challenge is the annual: "What to do with all these Lemons!" I keep my trees short, but still have too much fruit for me. I just noticed that I have a tree full of Kumquats.... which is good because I just used the very last drop of last year's Kumquat Marmalade.

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rockypointdog

My challenge this year is pasta, too. Maybe for some people it doesn't need to be sweated over, but I must be pasta-challenged. I received the KA pasta roller attachment last March. My son and I made pasta once, last year. It was tasteless, and did not have any texture (I used KAF AP flour) so I want to put a little sweat into it to see if I can up my game. DH comes from an Italian family, so we consume a lot of pasta. My goal this year is to wow them with a homemade pasta. I am not confident. On a related note, my other challenge this year will be to double the distance I run on the treadmill at the gym.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

The winter months, January-March, after the holidays, I always challenge myself to try new things. This season no different. With the Misfits box of veg, and a recent 3 pounds of crimini mushrooms, I'm challenged but so far success.

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amylou321

I still haven't made homemade brioche. I am still too intimidated. Maybe one day.

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lisaam

Pillog, have you boned an entire chicken to make a ballotine? The boning took me too long, but how nice it looked sliced on the platter.

Kate I recently made a quick version of preserved lemon that I liked a lot and think this might be a fun use for some kumquats.

Amy Lou for me the only challenging part of brioche was keeping the top knots in place during the baking. Otherwise it's just rich bread.

Early in my cooking career Mondays were for making 2 batches of fettuccine, one white and one with spinach. Each batch started with 30 eggs. We had a nice big imperial hand cranked machine. The fettuccine was hung on clothes racks near the wood stove to dry.


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nancyofnc

Coincidence that I just had a flash of "not having done that" just yesterday. Baking for more than 60 years (oh, my!) I've never made genoise sponge! Binge watching the Great British Baking Show they made a lot of it for various "bakes". So, off I went with all those eggs and no fat! Didn't even call for greased pans! So totally out of my prior adventures. Yesterday, with a whole lot of eggs, I made 6 of them. They were puffy, had lovely flavor - something between angel food cake and yellow cake, with an almost crusty edge. I imagined all the British "bakes" I could use them for. I cut the sponges in various sizes and parked them in the freezer for making something special for the two of us later taking out just small portions - otherwise I would have sat and ate all of it at once. I am so hooked.

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bbstx

@amylou321, go for it! I’ve made brioche and I swear, it isn’t that hard! I didn’t do any fancy braiding or knotting. I simply made a loaf shape. Here is the recipe from Ina Garten that I used. It is from her Barefoot in Paris cookbook. I used my Thermapen and cooked it to 200 degrees (38 minutes in my oven). Remember, IG always uses Diamond Crystal salt.



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bbstx

@CA Kate z9, if only I lived closer, I’d help you with your embarrassment of lemons. I want to make lemon squares for our “cousins’ dinner” Sunday night. However, Sister and I have agreed the lemons we can purchase at the grocery are so wimpy (un-tart), we cannot make a decent lemon square. At best it is just a nice piece of something sweet-ish. No zing; no pucker; no taste!

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bbstx

@nancyofnc, recipe or link, please!

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Moxie

DH gave me an Ankarsrum mixer for my birthday because I want to make more bread. His first question was "can it make cookies?" It's overkill for cookies, so I made a batch of about 9 dozen. He polished off 6 dozen in 10 days. Good thing he spends 3 hours at the gym every day!

Aside from normal bread, I've tried Michel ROUX's brioche. It was very good, but not perfect. Need to try other recipes. Will try the one bbstx posted. Also, want to make rye bread this week.

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nancyofnc

A perfect paella. When I lived in Puerto Rico ( 40 yrs ago!) we went to the Sheraton penthouse restaurant for an engagement dinner (not ours). I remember it had a whole lobster on top and exquisite seafood on saffron rice. Over the years I have made "hundreds" of paella but nothing tasted the same. I do not know what the secret was to that particular paella. I keep trying - and in the process kill a whole lot of lobster and keep the saffron pickers busy.

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bragu_DSM 5

A challenge is only a challenge IMO if you let it be such. Research and searching for 'best of' recipes is indeed "a good thing." [ode to Martha] Once you have found a desirable recipe and have successfully made it ... THEN the challenge begins to tweak/perfect that recipe to make it your own. I have about a dozen tweaked recipes that I have saved and written in the backs of cookbooks over the years ... and always am looking for new ones ... yeah, only a dozen. Cookies/brownies/pies/pate a choux ... and everything sous vide ... I love experimenting with my smoker and the IP ...

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nancyjane_gardener

plllog, A stuffed Millie (named after my mom, Millie) is sort of a meatloaf in a french roll.

Burger, lots of cheese, olives, lots of onion garlic powder.

Hollow out a french roll, mix all the above ingredients with the bread (chopped up or crumbed up in a processor)

Form mixture into hollowed out roll and bake about 45 minutes.

Now you can see why I have to re-do these so people can understand them! Nancy

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John Liu

Xiao long bao remains my bane. I can make them. They taste good. But I cannot make them stay plump and pretty. They deflate too quickly.


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plllog

John, could the answer be as simple as thermal shock? Can you leave them in a cooling oven with the door cracked open? Or maybe move them to a warmed up, steamy ice chest when you take them out, until they stabilize?

Nancyjane, thanks for the explanation. They sound sort of like a number of Eastern European and Near Eastern things my mother used to make. Sounds good!

Dave, challenge doesn't mean roadblock! Just something you're striving for. I keep thinking about challenges and something new to cook, and just come up with baking tasks. LIke, trying to make cinnamon rolls with a ruler like Annie did, to make the whole plan even and pretty. I mean, I know how to make cinnamon rolls. Easy enough. The pretty and to measure is the challenge. :) That wouldn't be as big an undertaking as the puff and ensuing napoleon. Something I could do in the meantime. But... Sunday dinner? I should make a bunch of spaghetti sauce for my mother, and I could make some meatballs and pasta to go with it, but now that's just work, not a challenge. I suppose ravioli would be a challenge, but I don't know that my pasta skills are up to that yet...

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Islay Corbel

Ravioli is not hard. Really. One egg, 100g flour, what have you got to lose? Roll it fine, make small ones, big ones.......the challenging pastas are the more complex ones like tortellini.

For a simple seasonal filling, mix some ricotta with some blue cheese and some crushed walnuts. Serve with sage butter and crispy sage leaves.

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foodonastump

Mine’s a baking one. Inspired by a recent thread. I’ve been testing a bit, with both batter and equipment, neither of which aren’t inspiring confidence yet. That’s all I’ll let on for now. It’ll all either be on a Valentine’s thread or in the garbage!

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laceyvail 6A, WV

I finally found a pizza recipe that really works for me. It was in the most recent issue of Milk Street, Christopher Kimball's new mag. It's deep dish pizza made in a cast iron skillet; it was just perfect and the best pizza I've ever made at home after some 40 years of effort. I'll post the recipe if anyone is interested.

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foodonastump

Yes please!

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ritaweeda

I realize that they require a lot of practice, but I've been making homemade corn tortillas for awhile now and they are pretty good but I've still not mastered it to the point where they puff up when they are cooked like I see the experts online get them to do. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the amount of water in the dough, just haven't figured it out yet. :(

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blfenton

Lots of lurking so hope it's ok to jump in with my 2020 challenge.

My son's fiance is Celiac and my other son's partner is gluten intolerant, I can easily put on a meal that is gluten free but my challenge this year is to find some baking that is a success time after time. I've found a couple of cookie recipes using almond flour, a crumble using cornstarch and quinoa flakes and an orange cake.

I know I can just buy gluten-free flour mix but we suspect my son might have a xanthum gum intolerance and honestly, it;s not as much fun. I've done lots of experiments and have had some epic fails, I made a cookie recipe that I had to bake in a cake pan, :) While tasty, it wasn't what I wanted.

Next up is finding a cookie for Valentines Day.

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

Laceyvail, yes please!

I seriously need to learn some diabetic-friendly cookies that actually taste good. My poor DH is about tired of sugar-free Jello pudding. But so far, while we've found some that are kind of edible, nothing we've tried is truly enjoyable. Meringue cookies are the exception, I thought they tasted good but DH doesn't like meringues in any way :-( The joys of getting old - phooey.

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plllog

FOAS, I have a guess. ;) Good luck!

IC, ravioli are NOT that easy. I've tried before. I think the machine rolled will be better. But while I did finally get sheets of pasta that made my lasagna possible, they were neither straight nor even. Then I have to get the ravioli to stick closed. I've only made tortelloni once, but it was much easier! First off, I wasn't the one to make the actual pasta, and second, if the little "tie" spot in front comes open, the shape usually stays shut when cooking rather than the pasta floating away and the filling falling to the bottom. If you could wave a magic wand and make it as easy for me as it is for you, I'd certainly appreciate it!

BLFenton, so glad to see you! If you search the Cooking forum you'll find a lot of threads about gluten free. At least half are requests, some of which never got good answers, but there are also many jewels. Look especially for posts from Nancyinnc, who used to sell her GF baking. Good luck with it!

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seagrass_gw

I want to start cooking Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese food again. Such clean cuisines.

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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Moxie, I would love to have an ankarsrum mixer! I'm sort of low carb these days, a slice and not a loaf :-) so can't do it. But if my KA ever dies, that will be the mixer. Right now my cooking curiosity is all about low carb espresso shots. Although I ordered a puremade toroni syrup last night. lol

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shirl36

My challenge is Pasties as of this morning. Our youngest son has just returned from a 6 day snowmobiling trip in the Upper Peninsula, Mi. He ask me if I had heard of Pasties, gave him a no, but as he was telling of them I thought I have heard of them. He described them and the story of long ago the miners in that area took as their lunches into the mines.

As soon as he left I headed for the Cooking Forum searches and found the following. Pasties January 2012 by Wizardnm. The post very much as I remembered. Annie committed about the miners taking them for their lunches. My new challenge....Soon going to use Wizardnm’s recipe and make.

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Lars

My current challenge is trying to figure out how to operate our new oven in Cathedral City. I did not have time to start last week-end, but I brought the manual back, which I plan to condense into something I will be able to understand.

I've made a version of brioche, but I do not have a specific brioche pan, since it really is not on my diet, and I prefer to make challah, which is still a bit tricky for me, and so I have to look at my instructions when starting to braid it. I always make the six strand version. If I made it more often, the braiding would become second nature, but I only make it about twice a year.

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Elizabeth

Shirl36, I am a long time resident of the U.P. I often make a meat pie instead of individual pasties. Exact same ingredients but it is baked like a two crust pie. Depending on how full it is, it can take an hour and a half to bake. Make lots of openings for steam. It is much easier for serving a family. Your house will smell heavenly. Most folks put ketchup on it.

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marymd7

I grew up on Minnesota's Mesabi Iron Range where I ate lots and lots of pasties. They're less often made at home these days, and far more often purchased from the big pasty sales churches, schools and clubs do as regular fund raisers. Since I live in Maryland now, I make my own at home. Traditionally, they call for a boiling water lard crust (a very strong crust), but since I'm not taking them to the mine pits with me for lunch, I use a regular lard or butter pastry crust which tends to be a bit flakier. I like a mix of beef and pork and I'm definitely in the rutabaga camp, although I also commit occasional Iron Range pasty heresy by including a bit of parsnip. There's a good basic pasty recipe in Bea Ojakangas' classic Great Scandinavian Baking. Bea also grew up on the Range, where Finns and other Scandinavian immigrants worked in the mines.

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marymd7

Oops, after all that pasty commentary, I completely left off my challenge. I am working on custards - pots de creme to be specific. Getting the jiggle right and all of that. Unfortunately, every recipe has been delicious (even if not quite at the perfect jiggle) and makes at least 8 little ramekins of calorific stuff. First world problems, I guess.

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Jinx

My challenge every year is to make tamales. I still haven’t. I’ve researched, I’ve asked advice at local Mexican restaurants, etc, but am still too intimidated. It just looks really hard and I’m not a natural in the kitchen.

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lizbeth-gardener

My current challenge is to get my NIB Zojirushi Virtuoso out of the box-I bought it on an online auction at least five years ago and have never unpacked, except to look it over. I want to try a loaf of Challah and/or a brioche for the sole purpose of making a really good bread pudding. I want to try the recipe nancyofnc posted for brioche using this same machine and also may try the recipe bbstx posted of Ina Garten's. If anyone has a good TNT recipe for Challah, please share.

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bbstx

@lizbeth-gardener here is my favorite recipe for Bread Pudding. It came to me from a friend’s mother; she said it was the one used by the Bon-Ton Cafe in New Orleans. The pudding is great, but I’ve never been able to get the sauce right. Mine is grainy. My sister’s best bud also makes a whiskey sauce when he makes bread pudding. His is smooth. It has cream in it which may make the difference.



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plllog

Try running your sugar through the food processor (or use superfine/caster if you have it). Butter and egg are highly unlikely to be grainy, so my best bet is that the sugar isn't completely melted. If you think it's actually the egg make sure it's at least room temp to start, temper it (heat it) with a a little of the hot butter/sugar before adding the eggs in.

Jinx, just do it! If you want to, you can practice with a small can of masa and a packet of husks. Just schmear, fill with anything (canned chili, maybe) and roll. Maybe tie as well. Then unroll, scrape, and try again. The hard part is getting the proportions right, so practice. When you're confident in the rolling, you can use the good masa and 15 hour filling. :)

I'm still in the doldrums. I can't think of anything new I want to cook. I should read some cookbooks, I guess. I should make soup to freeze, but my two favorites are roasted tomato and red pepper, and I'm off nightshades and want soup I can eat, and don't want heavy soups like bean or lentil. All I can think of are butternut and onion but I'm not motivated to make either. I suppose I could make pea. I make it vegetarian with dill.

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lizbeth-gardener

bbstx: Thank you for the recipe. After reading the recipe and your comments about the sauce, I picked up my Silver Palate cookbook to see if there was a sauce recipe for bread pudding. Much to my surprise, their bread pudding recipe is an adaptation of the original that was given to the authors by Alzina Pierce of the Bon Ton Restaurant in New Orlean. It is the same recipe as yours with the only change being they used 1 and 1/2cups of sugar rather than two and the sauce is the same except for the sugar is 1 cup of confectioners' which might be the solution to your grainy sauce. I will certainly give this a try! Do you leave the bread out to get dry or just use fresh?

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bbstx

@plllog, I’m fairly certain it is the sugar that hasn’t completely melted. I’ve worked on trying to make that sauce smooth for nearly 30 years. Perhaps your idea of making the sugar into “super-fine” will help. It’ll be a while before I can test it, though. After the holidays, I’ve taken a sweets-hiatus. I over-indulged and now I’ve got a couple of pounds to shed.


@lizbeth-gardener, how interesting! I have the Silver Palate cookbook too but never thought to compare the recipes. I have an aversion to confectioners‘ sugar. I think it is the cornstarch in it. Whatever, it has an unappetizing flavor to me. I’d rather have the graininess of regular sugar than the taste of confectioners’ sugar. But that is just me being quirky. YMMV


If you make bread pudding with brioche, you might want to follow the Silver Palate version and reduce the sugar to 1.5 cups. My recollection is that brioche is sweeter than French bread.


I’ve never purposely dried out my bread for bread pudding, but it is generally at least a day old when I use it. The Bon-Ton recipe is not one where you have cubes of bread that are distinct. It is really a pudding. You tear the loaf of bread into pieces, cover it with liquid, then use your hands to “crush” the bread with the liquid, resulting in something like a heavily textured cake batter. Your final product will look similar to this:



NOT THIS:





I had a sick friend who was pining for bread pudding. Because of meds, she could not have anything with alcohol in it. I found the below sauce recipe. It is good, easy, and quick if you need or want something non-alcoholic.




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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

My challenge every year is to make tamales. I still haven’t. I’ve researched, I’ve asked advice at local Mexican restaurants, etc, but am still too intimidated. It just looks really hard and I’m not a natural in the kitchen.

I'll be making an annual batch sometime before the 5th of May. They freeze excellent.

Pick up your dry ingredients and we will walk you through it when you are ready. This is a good primer, HERE


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Jinx

Thank you, plllog and sleevendog! I really appreciate the advice and motivation. :)

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plllog

I thought of a cooking challenge for soup! I've never perfected the kind of "wet vegetable" minestrone I love. I've made a few tries, but have yet to get it right. I don't have any green beans, but I could make an attempt...

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Sooz

I've posted this before--it was time consuming and a bit complex for me and my skills at that time, but came out wonderful! It's a Ukrainian layered honey cake. Here's a photo of a slice I had at a restaurant. I remember that the one I made doesn't have a consistent color for the layers (can't locate that photo), but I thought it was more delicious than the one I had at a local Ukrainian restaurant.


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KatieC

This week the challenge is gluten free sourdough starter, then the bread. IF the starter lives, lol.

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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan

My challenge listed above was pasta, but I took on another challenge first. Sourdough - but not KatieC's gluten free kind. Last Sunday I was gifted some great starter and a few days later I baked the first loaves. I've never worked with sourdough before, but the directions I was given with the starter gave me a good bread. I baked the second loaf for a shorter period of time and bagged it as soon as it was cool. The first one had such a hard crust I could hardly cut it! And eating the crust hurt my mouth. The second one was still crusty, but much easier to cut and chew - about perfect for me. There sure is a LOT of differing info out there about how to make sourdough. I decided I can try whatever I want in the future, and it will probably match someone's preferred method :)

I tackled the pasta making today. Totally new process to me. My closest experiences were rolling lots of pie crusts and playing with Play-Doh Fun Factories. My thrift store Atlas 150 worked like a charm. The sticking that I feared never happened. Everything went through with no trouble. The problems were ones I did not anticipate - the clamp did not fit the available ledges in my kitchen well and everything fell apart a time or two. There were no attachments to cut noodles so I cut them following some handmade noodle directions. My first attempts would not unroll. Grr. A fine dusting of flour and a different roll-up technique solved that.

All in all I was pleased to accomplish acceptable results with food types I had not worked with before. For the cost of a bag of flour I had a lot of fun during some snowy days - and could eat the results!

And Annie, I ended up using Pillsbury All Purpose Flour, one of your suggestions. I could put the challenge off for a long time if I got too caught up in having the "perfect" flour.



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Lars

Yesterday I found the calcium chloride that I had bought for making cheese (or ricotta), but I think I also bought something else for that process and cannot remember what it was. Anyway, I have not yet gotten around to making ricotta yet, but I do plan to. I do have a good supply of cheesecloth.

My main challenge now is decluttering the kitchen, and I plan to work on that today. I must have bought some rennet of some sort for making the cheese; hence the need to declutter the kitchen.

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artemis_ma

Since I have a food blog, I end up with a bunch of food challenges. I'm planning on making a Greek-influenced scallop pastry dish tomorrow. It will be tricky as I want the puff pastry to be a bit brown without overcooking the scallops. We Shall See.

The next dish is a bean-based dish - and for that challenge I plan to make a vegetarian grain-free stuffed pepper dish, using black beans and a Mexican profile of seasonings. Now that Misfits has sent me baby bell peppers, I may even try to add in this idea as an appetizer. To be made by Friday, although I won't blog it this month.

But for the blog - I'm doing Greek recipe-wise for it all this month. While last week I didn't post anything remotely challenging, the real challenges will be some of my favorites, none of which I've made before: spanakopita (spinach pie in phyllo) and that Greek lemon, egg, chicken, orzo soup, aka avgolemono. Moussaka, eventually. I really LOVE Greek cuisine, even if I can't stand their "wine" or the honey/nut based desserts.

By April, I do want to challenge myself to make cheese at home.

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Lars

Speaking of Spanokopita, here's my video from 2007 in the phyllo class taught by Oly to members of the Cooking Forum.

You may or may not recognize some of the voices.

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plllog

Lars, I think it was rennet! Didn't we have a discussion about tablet vs. liquid rennet and you bought some tablets?

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Lars

Yes, we did have this discussion, and I did buy some tablets, but I'm not sure where I put them. I probably stored them in the freezer, but I have not found them yet.

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artemis_ma

As noted, the Greek foods. Thanks for the video for Spanakopita!

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

I have to note the big thing that will be happening soon - is making my OWN maple syrup. From scratch. From my own sugar maple trees. I've purchased all the tapping equipment, and the buckets have just arrived. I am starting with 6 trees. I know this will not render down a lot of syrup, but as I'm not a sweet tooth, and I'm doing it this year just to test the procedures out... that's fine.

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Other plans this spring:

Soft cheeses. I have both the calf and the vegetarian rennet, and a bunch of other supplies.

Vietnamese shrimp & pork tapioca dumplings. I tried this once, but while they tasted fine, the tapioca dumpling skin did not work well at all. Gotta fix that.

Japanese octopus balls, aka Takoyaki.



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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Making maple is rather hilarious the first time. The drip flow can be torture. Go do something else and come back...10 gallons. We can get 15-20gallons in a weekend, 40 gallons is what we aim for over 2-3 weekends. We have 3 trees that can handle 3 taps each. Huge. 4 others 2 taps. 20 dozen or so up the hill is way over our head. Small batch babies we are....a half gallon maple syrup is more than we use in a year. Any extra we gift.

I also freeze just the water in juice bottles. A few dozen. Or what I have room for. Not only ice for spring/summer coolers but as it thaws it is really good water for a hike. This time of year my freezer gets rather thin. This is usually our first tapping weekend being a three day holiday...just not perfect temps so far. (my commercial maple buddies with 2-3,000 taps have been at it for a few weeks now).

I've only made the four easy cheeses so far...mozzarella, ricotta, Mexican queso, and a recent cream cheese with nuts and herbs.

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Islay Corbel

I've been experimenting making my own ham and am happy with the results now.

The most recent thing is trying our the chefsteps recipes for the special cook in sous vide sauces. I tried the beurre blanc (with some haddock filets) and the poivre vert (with a pork roast). Not bad at all, even though their lists of ingredients are so long......and I have no idea what some are like creamy koji so I just leave it out lol. Brittany isn't ready for stuff like creamy koji.......

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plllog

Here's a great article about salt koji.

https://www.sfgate.com/recipes/article/Traditional-Japanese-koji-turns-into-versatile-4526837.php


Here's a nice video about making it:





I found this great quote. Excellent analogy: "Koji is to miso what malt is to beer."


I've never before heard of "creamy" koji. As best as I can tell it's an advertising word used by one company for packaged koji, perhaps to mean blended. But I'm still not sure.


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plllog

Sleevendog, what is "just the water" that you freeze? Is it a byproduct of reducing the maple sap into syrup?

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