Friday, July 30, 2010

The Daring Cooks go nuts!

How lame am I? The posting date for this was over 2 weeks ago, and I completely forgot about it. I made this rice noodle salad with a cashew dressing just before leaving for a month-long business trip. I am now on the train on my way home again, finally posting it. It was delicious, and the cashew sauce was the elusive peanut sauce I've been trying to perfect for a while. It was smooth and creamy with a strong hit of garlic and ginger. Also in the salad were poached chicken, red peppers, asparagus, snow peas, carrots and tons of cilantro. maybe something else too, but I can't remember now. There have been an awful lot of good meals in Toronto since I made this. Yum. Maybe I'll make it again now that I've got some free time in my future. Yay me!
Though I've long missed the deadline for this challenge, here are the blog-checking lines:
The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.
UPDATE: Here is the printable PDF of the challenge and a bunch or techniques and recipes.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

TWD: Lots of ways banana cake

I love banana bread. I love banana bread with coconut. I loved this recipe. I made half of it, and baked it in a loaf pan. I used coconut, coconut rum and yogurt for the liquid. It was pretty much perfect, and I wish I could make it again right now. I cut a slice to photograph, then quickly had to slice another when I accidently inhaled it. I took it over to my brother and sister-in-law's, and was told to forget about taking the rest back home with me. 
Still steaming! This week's recipe was chosen by Kimberly at Only Creative Opportunities and I think you should head over there now for the recipe, even if you're a coconut hater. That's where the 'lots of ways' comes in--you can put just about anything in here and it'll be good. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

TWD: Brrrr-ownies

No mint here! These brownies are supposed to contain chopped up mint patties, and while one of my favourite childhood chocolate bars was Pep, a large mint patty, I decided to go with peanut butter cups this time around. I like chocolate and mint together, but the only time I have it is when I devour a box of After Eights every year at Christmas. That and the fact that my mother hates mint made me choose peanut butter (I was still camping out at her place when I made these). I'm glad I did use the peanut butter cups--these were fabulous. They were very deep, dark and fudgy, with pockets of peanut butter here and there. They were very rich, and I found one small square plenty, but it was amusing to watch my pregnant sister-in-law devour 4 in a row. I don't think the brownies can take any credit, but I'm happy to announce that I'm an aunt again, to baby Poppy, who was only a week late. Too bad I'm in Toronto and will have to wait till the end of the month to meet her.

This week's recipe was chosen by Karen of Welcome to our Crazy Blessed Life. She'll have the recipe posted on her site, and you can link to all the other TWD bakers' posts here. I bet some of them are even minty. Okay, now go make these--they are ridiculously easy and delicious. They'll only take a few minutes to whip up, and could be served for dessert with ice cream, or on a picnic, or even for breakfast, because peanut butter is a breakfast food, right?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Raspberry cream cake

Yikes, where have I been? Well, I moved, meaning that all of my stuff is packed. I put it in storage, so I'm not sure when I'll see all my favourite kitchen tools again. Sniff, sniff. Right now I'm in Toronto for the month, working. I am staying in a lovely condo downtown, and, while the kitchen is nice, no normal person has as much kitchen gear as I do. That said, I may still try to throw a few things together while I'm here. I made this cake in the week between my move and coming here. I was staying part of the time at my mother's, and part of the time at a friend's place. I made this at my mother's for my family, as we all love raspberries and cream. 
I used to get a raspberry cream cake for my birthday every year from a local bakery in my family's small town. One year, though, we were really disappointed. The cake was tough and the cream tasted fake. We (I) complained to the bakery, but they said there was nothing wrong with it. Needless to say, we never got another one. I had forgotten about it, but decided to try my hand at it, as it really is quite a simple cake. The bakery cake was different from this one in that it had a layer of cooked raspberries separate from the cream, but I didn't want to cook the lovely fresh raspberries I had picked up at the market. 
I made an angel food cake using this recipe, minus the ginger. It shrank a bit in the last few minutes of baking, but was moist and fluffy and sweet, and, really, what else do you want from an angel food cake? I cut the top inch off and made a tunnel. After eating the cake scraps, I filled the tunnel with a mixture of mashed raspberries and sweetened whipped cream. I put the top back on and iced it with more whipped cream. It was light, yet very creamy, sweet and tart all at the same time. These pictures are all of different slices of the cake, which was just an excuse to eat more of it!

This cake must be chilled, and the filling needs a few hours to set for the neatest slices. It keeps for about 2 days, but after that the filling started to weep a bit. Not that that stopped us from eating it.