Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daring Bakers Tuile Challenge - Paired with Sweet Potato Soup with Mushrooms and Sage Sausage

I would first like to say how incredibly stoked I am to be in the Daring Bakers community. People from all over the world make the same recipe for a month at a time and share their results. Just another shining example of how food makes us all equals and happier people.

This is my first daring baker challenge and I am happy not only to have accomplished it, but I am also thrilled that it inspired me to make my first from-scratch sweet potato soup. This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and
Zorra o
f 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux. However, I did the Savory tuile/cornet recipe From Thomas Keller "the French Laundry Cookbook".

I basically had three tries at making my savory tuiles. First round, pictured above just to get my bearings on the batter. Looking back, I see that it was a bit too thick but that is a lesson learned for the future. My second attempt I did thin out a bit and used some coarse black pepper for color and flavor. The original recipe I used called for black sesame seeds, so in lieu of those I used the pepper. My third attempt was the best. I used more pepper because the few shakes in round 2 just did not cut it and I think they came out lovely.

The second part of the challenge was to pair your tuile with something light. Since I started savory, I ended it savory. I can not explain my unending love for the sweet potato, so I'm not going to try. I had a hankering to make a sweet potato soup with lots of flavors like the traditional spices of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg but I also wanted an earthiness because I think one of the sweet potato profiles is earthy seeing it grows there and all. That's how sage came into the picture. Its so fragrant and lovely that I think I found a wonderful companion for the sweet potato. Ok, and the sage sausage probably helped to. As you can see in the picture, my savory tuile was a large, buttery crouton for my soup and I so indulged in every single bite.

Recipe for Sweet Potato Soup with Mushrooms and Sage Sausage:
  • 2 Tblsp. of all purpose flour
  • 2 Tblsp. of butter
  • 3 cups of peeled, cooked, cut sweet potato
  • 2 Tblsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tblsp. of light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 lb. of sage sausage
  • 1 cup baby portobello mushrooms
  • 5-7 whole sage leaves
  • 1.5 cups of milk
  • salt and pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  1. Peel, cut and cook the sweet potatoes. Set aside.
  2. Chop celery, and onion and sautee in a medium-hot pan with the olive oil before onions begin to brown. Set aside.
  3. Make a rue with the flour and butter.
  4. When you achieve a light caramel color, stir in the stock and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and add sweet potatoes, celery and onion, and spices. Cook 7 minutes more at the simmer.
  5. Add (and take out) your soup in batches in the food processor to puree to your desired texture.
  6. Add back to your sauce pot on stove top on lowest heat.
  7. Stir in the 1.5 cup of milk.
  8. In a large pan over medium-high heat, add some oil and get it hot. Add chopped mushrooms, bits of sausage, sage, pinches of the light brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. Cook until mushrooms and sausage are done, about 5 minutes.
  9. Add mixture to soup. Cook 2 minutes more.
  10. Garnish with sage leaves and tuile and serve!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tilapia Burritos with Rice and Peppers

Each time I food shop I look for what fresh seafood is on sale. If all of that is too pricey, I move onto the freezer section to find the fish I crave. Last week yummy fresh tilapia fillets were on sale and I vowed not to make my beer battered fish fillets because I need to try something new. My partner in crime loves to eat my cooking, and similarly, his snack creations are out of this world. So good, in fact, I've nicknamed him the SnackMaster. Without giving out his secrets I will divulge that he makes the best pan cooked burritos this side of Pluto. Taking advantage of his burrito inspiration and my love for the lightness of tilapia, the tilapia burrito was born unto mankind for the eating of a lifetime!

For the fish, I halved a whole fillet and seasoned each side with sea salt, black pepper and coriander. To be honest, once in the burrito the fish did seem under-seasoned. I seared each side in a pan with extra virgin olive oil 2-4 minutes on each side. Prior to making the fish I prepared some regular ole white rice seasoned slightly with salt and pepper. Also prior to I chopped up a ton of fresh cilantro, half a green bell pepper, 1/3 of a large yellow bell pepper, and some red onion, as well as shredded about 1/2 cup of reduced fat jalapeno white cheddar cheese.

In a large pan I heated a Tblsp. of extra virgin olive oil and let it get hot. While its heating, I put some rice, piece of fish, cilantro and pepper salad and some shredded cheese in a flour tortilla and roll it like a burrito. If necessary, stick it together with some toothpicks. Plop it the hot pan and use tongs to brown evenly on all sides. For the rice side dish, I simply heaved some rice on the plate, topped it also with chopped peppers, onion, cilantro, shredded cheese, salt, and pepper. I love the flavors of the peppers, cilantro, and onions so much I just might try a sauce next time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

When Life Gives you Lemons, Someone Else Gives You Lemonade

After my triumphant conquering of the Timpano this past Christmas, I resolved this new year to enter any and all recipe contests I could. I was confident, charged up, and ready to win. But alas, I already feel deflated after submitting to two contests and not being chosen as a finalist in either. The third I've entered does not announce its finalists until Jan 30th, 2009 but I am not holding my breath. Even though I am not an immediate winner (something I need to rectify with my competitive spirit), I will keep trying to compete mostly because I am determined too and because of the great support from the friends I've made through the food blogging community in 2008. Just today I've received my first ever food blogging award bestowed upon me by the SoCal Pastry Chef pictured to the left. The Lemonade Award could not have come at a better time since I am sour over the recent recipe contest results.

So Thanks, Thanks, Thanks, and more Thanks to you SoCal for reading and for now it is back to the recipe drawing board! Afterall, somebody has to win that Pillsbury $1,000,000 prize! :)