Saturday, February 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Tiramisu

One of the things I like about Daring Bakers is the surprise that comes the first of every month, letting you know what the challenge is for the next month. I like this challenge this month because even though I have done tiramisu before, I have always been perplexed on what to do with the eggs. Raw eggs for my husband and I doesn't bother me. Its for my kids that I worry. What if this one time there is salmonella. So this months recipe doesn't have whipped raw eggs, it has other creamy lusciousness to take it's place. I enjoyed trying this very tasty new recipe.

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

(Recipe source: Carminantonio's Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings

For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
1 cup pomegranate juice, warmed
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder

For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream:
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8" by 8" should do) or one of your choice.
Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the pomegranate juice, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered. Plae raspberries over top. Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.
Cut into individual portions and serve.


(Source: Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
This recipe makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese

474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.

It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
Vera’s notes: The first time I made mascarpone I had all doubts if it’d been cooked enough, because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.
Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.



(Source: Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2" to 3" long) ladyfingers.

3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner's sugar,


Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5" long and 3/4" wide strips leaving about 1" space in between the strips.
Sprinkle half the confectioner's sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.


Site Links:
Step by step pictures for Tiramisu including zabaglione & pastry cream
Gluten Free Ladyfingers: 1000 gluten-free recipes by Carol Fenster (ladyfingers pg 436, Tiramisu pg 651)Gluten free Ladyfingers and Tiramisu
Diary Free Tiramisu: Levana Cooks Diary-Free by Lévana Kirschenbaum, Menachem Adelman, Meir Pliskin (pg 86)

Video links for making tiramisu:
These are not for the recipe given for this challenge, but the procedure in the video would be a helpful guide.
Gordon Ramsay - Video for dipping savioardi -

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Penne Vodka

The title of this post isnt really true is it? Its more like Farfalle Vodka. Its just the shape that has changed though because it has all the goodness of the penne vodka. The cream, the vodka, the tomatoes... and from there everyone's penne vodka is a little different. The recipes are as varied as the proposed origins of this dish. Some say it came out of Italy, some say America and some say the vodka company, which is in, oh, I dunno, Russia?! (Read more about it here.) It's a good thing, so of course everyone wants to say it was their idea. No disrespect but it really doesn't matter as long as I can make it in my kitchen. Not only can you make it in your kitchen but like most pasta dishes, it's a snap to prepare.

Lori's Farfalle Vodka
interpreted from my friend "D" who got us all hooked on the stuff.
filled with lots of commentary, cause I am part Italian

pasta, any shape, your choice, after all it will be your dish when all is said and done.
1/4 - 3/4 cup vodka (depending on what a lush you are)
4 cups tomato sauce (fresh tomatoes in the summer totally rock this dish)
2 cups chopped ham
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup half and half
3 - 6 tablespoons tomato paste (depending on how thick you like your sauce)
1 1/2 cups peas
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
fresh basil or a spoonful of pesto
parsley, if you are feeling fancy- decorate it

In a large pot boil your pasta. This sauce will cover about a pound of cooked pasta.

In a large skillet, saute onions until soft. Add minced garlic and cook one minute more. Pour in your tomato sauce, ham and vodka and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the peas, basil and half and half and let the sauce get warm again. Stir in your pasta and it's ready to serve. Sprinkle with more basil (if you have fresh) and parsley.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Buffalo Wings Baked

One of the things I use to enjoy having when I was going out to bars and such were Buffalo wings. My friends and I, in our early twenties, use to head off to Buffalo to go to the Anchor Bar for Buffalo wings. It's about an hour and a half from here and we could eat the best wings around. They had live music- mostly rhythm and blues singers. The bar, though not in such a great neighborhood, was always a great place to go.

I dont have wings so much anymore. I really had a craving for them without the fried oil part though. Then I saw this great article on Serious Eats for baked Buffalo wings. I tried it. I was rewarded with pretty stellar wings. The key is to be patient enough letting them brown in the oven before finishing up. If you like wings but could do with out the oil- try these. They are worth all the effort.

Oven Fried Buffalo Chicken Wings
from Serious Eats, recipe found here.

4 pounds chicken wings
1 tablespoon baking powder (I use Rumford- aluminum free)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup of your favorite wing sauce (the classic is a half and half mixture of Frank's Hot Sauce and melted butter)
Blue cheese dressing for dipping
Celery sticks for cooling your mouth off

1. Toss wings with salt and baking powder. Place on grill over a baking sheet that has been lined with foil.

2. Place baking sheet with wings in refrigerator and allow to rest, uncovered, overnight

3. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Add chicken wings and cook for 20 minutes. Flip wings and continue to cook until crisp and golden brown, 15 to 25 minutes longer. Transfer to large bowl, add sauce, toss to thoroughly coat.

And because I have kids and a husband that really doesnt dig hot stuff, I made garlic parmesan wings.

Garlic Parmesan Wings

1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
24 chicken wings baked or fried

In a small glass bowl, melt butter in microwave.Whisk into butter the garlic powder, onion powder and pepper. Arrange hot, fresh-baked wings on a serving platter and drizzle with butter mixture. Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sprouting Alfalfa

Don't get me wrong, I love winter. I like the snow. I like the cold. I like cuddling with a blanket and drinking tea. I love eating soup and having it warm my bones all the way up from the inside. All those things that go along with dropping temps.

But sometimes winter is well, dreary, bleak and very persistent, unwielding and dismal. Spring is a little lift that you look forward to. Something that looks like hope that you grab onto. It is the dawn that breathes life into the very core of your being.

You search for it. You wait. You want...

I made these sprouts and it reminded me of spring... new life. I have made them before with store bought brown lentils. They were very delicious. I was hesitant about posting them because there are all these warnings about ecoli and other dangerous bacteria. I didn't want something bad to happen to you because I promoted it. I have wrestled with this because I was a little apprehensive for our own safety. But you know, I think if you clean adequately and follow instructions it probably poses no greater risk than canning or eating raw eggs (ie. tiramisu). So I am pressing on. If you do grow your own sprouts read all the warnings and decide whether it is worth the risk for yourself.

Sprouting Alfalfa
Source for sprouting

1. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of alfalfa seeds in a cleaned and sterilized mason jar. Pour in 2 cups of cold water. Cover with a cloth that allows air in and out and let rest overnight.

2. Drain and rinse with cold water through a fine mesh sieve in the morning. Drain and let rest overnight again. You can rinse twice a day if you choose. If your place is cold I think once a day is plenty. If it is warm you run the risk of harmful bacteria growth so it would probably be better to rinse twice a day.

3. Rinse and drain again. Once your alfalfa is matured (2 or 3 days), let sit in the sun for about fifteen minutes to give a nice color to the sprouts. Refrigerate and use within three days.

If at any point something smells bad to you- throw it out- it's just not worth the risk.

Our favorite way to enjoy sprouts is with avocado, lettuce, radishes on a sandwich. Delish!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Daring Cooks: Mezze

After a rather stressful few days, I managed to totally space this months Daring Cooks. I never do that. I am so sorry.

I did do the challenge. Actually I did it twice. One where my pictures were just bleh and the other one where I had a chance to work on my pictures with more natural light. I do so much better with natural light.

We have what we call "rainbow" nights here on our family. It's really leftover cleanup night with a jazzy name to make it more appealing. Everything that needs to be used up gets put on the table. This could be a lone pickle in a jar even. It's kind of fun for the kids because they can pick and choose.

I have been making hummus for years so I wasnt exactly challenged to make hummus but certainly welcomed the opportunity. I am glad I followed this recipe to a T. It suprised me with a nice lemony flavor that I really enjoyed. It had considerably more lemon than my usual recipe. I encourage you to give it a go.

And the pita I have made on several occassions. Different recipe but similar technique. We love pita so no complaints here.

The thing that was challenging for me is having enough food leftover to take pics the next day when the light is good. I really have to work on getting some lights so I can take some pics when it is dark.

The 2010 February Daring COOKs challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid.

Pita Bread – Recipe adapted from Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

Prep time: 20 minutes to make, 90 minutes to rise and about 45 minutes to cook

2 teaspoons regular dry yeast (.43 ounces/12.1 grams)
2.5 cups lukewarm water (21 ounces/591 grams)
5-6 cups all-purpose flour (may use a combination of 50% whole wheat and 50% all-purpose, or a combination of alternative flours for gluten free pita) (17.5 -21 ounces/497-596 grams)
1 tablespoon table salt (.50 ounces/15 grams)
2 tablespoons olive oil (.95 ounces/29 ml)

1. In a large bread bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in 3 cups flour, a cup at a time, and then stir 100 times, about 1 minute, in the same direction to activate the gluten. Let this sponge rest for at least 10 minutes, or as long as 2 hours.
2. Sprinkle the salt over the sponge and stir in the olive oil. Mix well. Add more flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is too stiff to stir. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Rinse out the bowl, dry, and lightly oil. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until at least doubled in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours.
3. Place a pizza stone, or two small baking sheets, on the bottom rack of your oven, leaving a 1-inch gap all around between the stone or sheets and the oven walls to allow heat to circulate. Preheat the oven to 450F (230C).
4. Gently punch down the dough. Divide the dough in half, and then set half aside, covered, while you work with the rest. Divide the other half into 8 equal pieces and flatten each piece with lightly floured hands. Roll out each piece to a circle 8 to 9 inches in diameter and less than 1/4 inch thick. Keep the rolled-out breads covered until ready to bake, but do not stack.
5. Place 2 breads, or more if your oven is large enough, on the stone or baking sheets, and bake for 2 to 3 minutes, or until each bread has gone into a full balloon. If for some reason your bread doesn't puff up, don't worry it should still taste delicious. Wrap the baked breads together in a large kitchen towel to keep them warm and soft while you bake the remaining rolled-out breads. Then repeat with the rest of the dough.

Hummus – Recipe adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden

Prep Time: Hummus can be made in about 15 minutes once the beans are cooked. If you’re using dried beans you need to soak them overnight and then cook them the next day which takes about 90 minutes.

1.5 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (or substitute well drained canned chickpeas and omit the cooking) (10 ounces/301 grams)
2-2.5 lemons, juiced (3 ounces/89ml)
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
a big pinch of salt
4 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste) OR use peanut butter or any other nut butter—feel free to experiment) (1.5 ounces/45 grams)
additional flavorings (optional) I would use about 1/3 cup or a few ounces to start, and add more to taste

1. Drain and boil the soaked chickpeas in fresh water for about 1 ½ hours, or until tender. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.
2. Puree the beans in a food processor (or you can use a potato masher) adding the cooking water as needed until you have a smooth paste.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

For all you carb loving, deprived of sunshine people, this is the bread for you. You know you want it. Go on now - make it.

I am off to my cake decorating class people! I have to do something to stop playing these darn computer games that I am totally addicted to.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Recipe provided by a fellow college counselor where I did my internship. Thanks C. This recipe has provided me with years of breakfast goodness.

1 tablespoon dry yeast ( about one envelope) dissolved in a 1/4 cup warm water
2 cups milk, heated enough to melt shortening
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup shortening or margerine
5 cups unbleached flour
1 cup wheat bran
(or you can do 6 cups unbleached flour or 3 cups unbleached and 3 cups whole wheat- I have done it all these ways and had a good result)

combine the following for the filling:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Let yeast get bubbly. Combine hot milk, honey, salt and shortening. Cool to lukewarm. Stir in 2 cups of flour and beat well. Add yeast and mix. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Turn out and knead for about five minutes until dough is a smooth ball. Place in greased bowl, cover and let double- about 1 1/2 hours.

Divide dough into two. Working with one piece at a time, roll out into a 15 x 7 rectangle. Spritz with water and sprinkle with half the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Roll dough and pinch ends and sides together. Repeat with remaining dough. Place rolls in two, greased 9 x 5 loaf pans. Cover and let rise until double.

Bake at 400F for about 35 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Place a kitchen towel over the bread while cooling for a soft crust. Do not cover if you want a more crisp crust.

Now you have two loaves, one to share (or you can absolutely hoard it because its that good).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Shro Wat... Adventures in Eating

A couple weeks ago my husband and I went out for a 'date'. He wanted to go to this Ethiopian restaurant, Abyssnia, that he had tried with some coworkers for lunch. I have had the Ethiopian style beans at another restaurant. They did not have tefff with it though. Mainly because even though The Natural Eatery is owned by Ethiopian people and there is Ethiopian food- it is more about vegetables and local fresh produce. This other place Abyssnia- is really about Ethiopian food. Since I have never tried teff before I was a bit ambivalent about going. This is not like me, you see, I am more of an adventure eater and really prefer ethnic dishes rather than American dishes. I went anyway.

Really, it was darn good move on my part. An excellent suggestion on my husbands part. The food there was delicious. Like, over the top delicious. I am not an expert on Ethiopian food but I sure am an expert on what tastes good to me and this food ROCKED the house. I am so in love with injera now, I am waiting with baited breath to go back again.

There was a side of these amazing creamy vegetables, the brown lentil beans, misr wat, that I had made before (see here) and a yellow lentil bean. Then I had a lamb type stew dish that was really good. But honestly I was really gung ho about the beans and the veggies. I did make a vegetable dish a few days after that experience that was close to what I had at the restaurant. If any of you have or know of such a recipe for these Ethiopian style vegetables- I would so love to know about it.

And of course my husband, being the really daring eater that he is, had a raw beef dish. Similar to steak tartar I guess. I just couldnt do it. I could not bring myself to eat it. Maybe next time.

After a thorough investigation of Ethiopian recipes on the web- I decided to make this dish. Sounded kind of interesting. While it will not win any beauty awards- it sure was delicious. The recipe really had me when it said I have peanut butter AND butternut squash in the same bowl.

Shro Wat
based on this recipe at Ethiopian Recipes

1/2 lb butternut squash, cubed
1 jar (32 ounces) stewed tomatoes
2 teaspoons berbere, powder
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup corn kernel
2 tablespoons peanut oil

In a large saucepan, brown the onion in the oil, then add the garlic and the berbere powder and fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, peanut butter and tomato paste and stir until sauce is smooth.

Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30-45 minutes. During this time, stir every so often and add more water as needed. Towards the end of the cooking time add the corn.

At the end of cooking if the sauce is too thick, add more water; if too thin, boil to reduce. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary and serve.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Does your higher self know?

I havent been on in so long. I promise to get better. I guess with less light around I have been in a funk. I have been playing lots of online games like Zuma and Bubblehead (Thanks Lola). Totally addicted. I go through periods like this when I bow out of my busy schedule and do this shut down thing. It is usually followed by some transition. The busy schedule thing is totally my own doing. Blogging, sewing, crafting, gym, library, major organization projects. I have certainly been to the gym and wow have I been streamlining my house. Another indicator of oncoming transition. Why is that? Do I know something I don't know?

Sometimes I really believe that we do know the course of our lives in some crevice of our mind or soul. Like we have our operating int he hear and now self and then our higher selves "know" things. When you have deja vu. Its like your higher self knew all along and you hear and now self recognized that you kind of already knew that.

No, I am not drinking here on Super Bowl Sunday. Just thinking. Just saying.

I love eggplant. I am always searching for ways to make it that does not involve frying. Eggplant is a sponge and manages to sop of copious amounts of oil. In the rare exception of eggplant parmesan (once a year treat), I do use oil and fry fast to try and avoid this.

I found this recipe in Mediterranean Street Food. A really good resource that is filled with delicious recipes.

(The Imam Fainted)
based on a recipe from Mediterranean Street Food

2 medium onions, chopped
Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
2 medium eggplants, peeled and cubed
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Saute the onions in a little oil until golden. Add the garlic, tomatoes, sugar, chili flakes salt, and pepper. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates. If you don't like it quite as stewey, keep cooking until all of the liquid has evaporated.

Steam the eggplant until tender and add to the tomato mixture. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top and spinkle with parsley.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chili for Bloggeraid

In honor of the Olympics, BloggerAid has decided to run an event where participants make an entree that is classic of their country of origin or the place they currently live. You know I had a real hard time with this. I could not come up with a dish that was something I wanted to make and embodied America. The first thing I thought of was apple pie. I didn't want to make pie. Just about any dish I was thinking of would link back to some other culture/country. America certainly is a melting pot. I like that it is, especially when it comes to food. So many spices and different foods are available here. So for a foodie, the grocery store is a candy store. So to speak.

I know that any Texan worth his salt will roll over reading that I even made turkey chili, but to call it chili would certainly be ludicrous. That's the beauty of having ones own blog. I can name it how I want to name it. And you can think I am a silly Yankee. Well, cause I am silly, frankly.

What exactly is chili and where did it come from? Well the thing of it is, is that no one really knows. There is theories but it really cant be pinned down to one country. "The only thing certain about the origins of chili is that it did not originate in Mexico. Charles Ramsdell, a writer from San Antonio in an article called San Antonio: An Historical and Pictorial Guide, wrote: "Chili, as we know it in the U.S., cannot be found in Mexico today except in a few spots which cater to tourists. If chili had come from Mexico, it would still be there. For Mexicans, especially those of Indian ancestry, do not change their culinary customs from one generation, or even from one century, to another." There are many legends and stories about where chili originated and it is generally thought, by most historians, that the earliest versions of chili were made by the very poorest people. J. C. Clopper, the first American known to have remarked about San Antonio's chili carne, wrote in 1926: "When they have to pay for their meat in the market, a very little is made to suffice for a family; this is generally into a kind of hash with nearly as many peppers as there are pieces of meat - this is all stewed together." (What's Cooking America)

Turkey and Multi Bean Chili

In a crockpot combine:

½ cup dry pintos
½ cup dry canelloni
½ cup dry black beans
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Pour enough water in with the beans to cover by one inch. Place the handle end of a wooden spoon in the water and go down just low enough to touch the beans to make sure it is covered by an inch. Soak overnight. Do not drain in the morning.

Add to the crockpot:

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 quart stewed tomatoes
1 cup roasted butternut squash, mashed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon homemade chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
1 cup onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 ½ pounds ground turkey
Lawry's salt

In the morning add the garlic, tomatoes, butternut squash, chili powders, and cumin to the beans and turn on the crockpot to low.

In a frying pan, saute onions until lightly golden and then add peppers. Saute until wilted. Add turkey and season lightly with Lawry's seasoned salt. Brown the turkey a little. Add to crockpot. Turn up to high and cook for three or four hours or low for five or six. Just before it is finished add 2 tablespoons of fine ground corn meal to mixture to thicken it up a bit.

Garnish with sour cream, jalapenos, cilantro, avocado and green onions..

If you are interested in finding out more about Bloggeraid, click on the link here for Culinary Olympics. You can purchase the Bloggeraid cookbook by clicking the link in the upper right had corner of my blog.