Sunday, August 31, 2008


I just realized I'd forgotten to post about the August Daring Baker's Challenge! See, they've been baked and eaten so long ago that it slipped my mind. With the school year starting, I decided to get them out of the way early. So as soon as we packed up Medium Dude and brought him back to his mom, I bought my butter and cream and chocolate and I made...... ECLAIRS!

Our hosts this month were Tony Tahhan and MeetaK, and we made Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé. I used the Pate a choux recipe and the chocolate glaze from here, but I decided I didn't want to do chocolate and chocolate, so I made a coconut pastry cream. I found that recipe here.

The first batch of eclairs came out a wee bit underdone. They looked fine coming out of the oven, but after I let them cool for a minute, they looked like this:

So I started over. The next batch worked much better, but if I did them again, I would be sure to make them a little smaller. They were a little bit messy to eat and probably more eclair than anyone should eat in a single sitting.The Tummy and I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge! Can't wait for September's! Be sure to check out the other daring bakers. Their eclairs look amazing.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I dare to Shish Kebab?

Whew..... What a long afternoon it's been. I worked on the August DB challenge, which I'll post about just as soon as I'm allowed. But I also made a lovely dinner for the Tummy and myself and a good friend of ours, the Composer. The Composer likes to hang out while I do daring baker challenges. I think it's because he's a bit sadistic and likes to see me struggle, but he might just like to be here when I have fresh baked goods.

This weekend, the Tummy and I delivered Medium Dude back to the midwest. We had a lovely visit with Mary, and I even got to have a birthday breakfast with my grandma! But now, we're back to the big city and I even brought a new recipe with me, so I had to try it out. When Mary made me such a yummy birthday dinner, I asked for the recipe. It turned out that she gave me another recipe when she xeroxed it that happened to be on the same page.

Lamb Shish Kebabs!

Unfortunately, the grocery store I went to this morning didn't have any lamb pieces (other than chops). So, I made beef shish kebabs. They ended up delicious! And they were easy enough that I could make them after baking all afternoon.

Beef Shish Kebabs
based on the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

1 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp lemon juice
6-7 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 pound beef stew meat
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a food processor and puree.

Put the meat into a plastic zip-top bag and add marinade. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible, and mush it around until the meat is coated. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Remove meat from refrigerator an hour before cooking. Soak 5 bamboo skewers in water about 45 minutes so they don't burn in the broiler.

Preheat broiler. Thread meat, onion, bell pepper and zucchini onto skewers. Broil 5 minutes on either side.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Corrupting the youth....

Mwahahahaha.... I'm so proud of myself.

My step-son, Medium-Dude, is a little bit of a picky eater. He's not terrible about it, but we do have a few issues with green veggies and with foods he hasn't tried before. Not a real adventurous guy. The thing is, the Tummy and I love to try out new recipes. And there's no way I'm eating hot dogs for a month just because we have a ten-year-old. Gross.

But sometimes I take his visit as an opportunity to sneak new foods (and new ideas) past his radar. So far this visit, I've impressed on him how cool it is to be environmentally friendly. When he complains about walking to/from the subway, I remind him that it's not easy being green, but it's cool. I know I'm successful when I hear him quote me to the tummy later.

Anyway... I'm very excited because when I asked Medium-dude what I should make for dinner, he answered, "CHEESY RICE!" See, and that would not be exciting except that what he meant was Sage Risotto with fresh mozzarella and prosciutto! It's one of my favorite Cooking Light recipes. Unfortunately, the blogger will not let me put up a picture. But here is the recipe:

Sage Risotto with Fresh Mozzarella and Prosciutto
Cooking Light
2 (14oz) cans low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup diced leeks
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1/4 cups arborio rice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp fresh sage (chopped)
1 cup diced fresh mozzarella cheese
2 oz prosciutto (chopped)
black pepper to taste

Heat chicken broth until it just starts to simmer, and then turn it off.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook leeks and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until soft.

Add rice and salt and cook for one more minute, stirring.

Add wine, and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. Then add 1/2 cup hot chicken broth and stir until absorbed. Continue to add the broth about 1/2 cup at a time, waiting after each addition until it is absorbed and stirring frequently.

When all the broth has been absorbed, add sage and cook for about 2 more minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in mozzarella. Sprinkle chopped prosciutto and black pepper on top.

Makes 4 servings.