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  • pixeltheatre 12:02 am on June 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Daring Cooks 14th Challenge: Three Spice Liver Pâté 

    Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

    A nice recipe, if a little gory in its uncooked state. Prepared this one in time for a family BBQ. Nice consistency and balance of spices. I realized too late I also had to bake a baguette from scratch for this challenge. Having baked quite a few of these in the past, I submit a picture of one baked three Christmases ago. So, either I’ve only completed  half of this challenge, or was partly way ahead of it, you be the judge. 🙂

    Three Spice Liver Pâté

    Yields one 25 by 12,5 cm (10 by 5 inch) terrine or loaf pan

    1 lb / 454 grams pork liver (or beef or combination)
    1/2 lb / 227 grams ground pork
    1/2 lb / 227 grams pork fat (or pork belly)
    2 cloves garlic
    2 shallots
    1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
    1/2 tsp / 2 ml cinnamon
    1/2 tsp / 2 ml coriander (ground or crushed)
    1/2 tsp / 2 ml cumin
    3/4 tsp / 3 ml salt
    1 tbps / 15 ml coarse freshly cracked peppercorns
    2 tbps / 30 ml cognac
    2 bay leaves
    1 package of bacon

    Preheat oven to to 350ºF (180ºC).

    Cut liver and pork fat into small pieces and add to food processor. Add ground pork, garlic, shallots, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Grind until smooth.

    In mixing bowl, incorporate the meat and liver mixture with the cognac and eggs.

    Line bottom of baking or ceramic pan with overlapping pieces of bacon. Place a bay leaf on the bottom and then fill with meat/liver mixture. Cover top with another bay leaf and then overlapping pieces of bacon.

    Place in oven in the larger baking pan and add enough water to cover 2/3rds of the pan containing the meat/liver mixture. Bake for about 1-1.5 hrs.

    The pâté will contract and the juices will be on the bottom. Allow to cool and soak up the juices. Remove any excess bacon and discard the bay leaves.

    French Baguette
    yield: Three 16″ baguettes

    1/2 cup / 120 ml cool water
    1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast
    1 cup / 240 ml flour

    1 tsp / 5 ml active dry yeast
    1 cup to 1 1/4 cups / 240 ml to 300 ml lukewarm water*
    all of the starter
    3 1/2 cups / 840 ml flour
    1 1/2 tsp / 7 ml salt

    *Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.

    Make the starter by mixing the yeast with the water, then mixing in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight works well. The starter should have risen and become bubbly.

    Mix active dry yeast with the water and then combine with the starter, flour, and salt. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you’ve made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. Knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2 of a stand mixer.

    Place the dough in a lightly greased medium-size bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and then again after 2 hours.

    Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rest for 15 minutes.

    Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again. With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15″ log. Place the logs seam-side down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined sheet pan or pans.

    Cover them with a cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise till they’ve become very puffy, about 1 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450ºF (240ºC).

    Using a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three 8″ vertical slashes in each baguette. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust.

    Bake the baguettes until they’re a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2″, and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven.

  • pixeltheatre 12:02 am on June 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Asian cuisine, dumplings, potstickers   

    Daring Cooks – 2nd Challenge: Chinese dumplings/potstickers 

    Pan-fired chinese dumplings

    The second Daring Cooks challenge continued with bite-sized wonders in the form of potstickers/chinese dumplings. Our hostess with the mostess this month was Jen from use real butter. Living next to Vancouver’s Chinatown, these dumplings are a familiar sight in small chinese bakeries and restaurants in my neighborhood. I can buy them fresh at Superstore, or  frozen in pretty much every supermarket. It’s almost a staple in this town. Hon‘s is renowned for theirs, and Fujiya also makes very nice gyozas (the japanese version) for take-out. Either, often a treat after a long day’s work.

    We had made various chinese dumplings in cooking school, so this was not a first for me. But, it was a timely reminder of how easy they are to make at home.  The challenge was simple enough: Choose a filling, choose a dough and choose a cooking method.

    I chose the following combination:

    2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup (113g) warm water
    flour for work surface

    Steamed dumplingsIn a large bowl mix flour with 1/4 cup of water and stir until water is absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough that is barely sticky to the touch. Weighing  ingredients is highly recommended for this recipe.

    Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking – about 1/16th inch. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side (see images in post for how to fold pleats). Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.

    pork filling:
    1 lb (450g) ground pork
    4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
    3 stalks green onions, minced
    7 shitake mushrooms, minced (if dried – rehydrated and rinsed carefully)
    1/2 cup (75g) bamboo shoots, minced
    1/4 (55g) cup ginger root, minced
    3 tbsp (40g) soy sauce
    2 tbsp (28g) sesame oil
    2 tbsp (16g) corn starch

    Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).


    dipping sauce:
    2 parts soy sauce
    1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
    a few drops of sesame oil
    chili garlic paste (optional)
    minced ginger (optional)
    minced garlic (optional)
    minced green onion (optional)
    sugar (optional)

    Prep was typical of many asian dishes, i.e. long with many ingredients involved. Got reacquainted with my chef’s knife (and the importance of keeping it sharpened). But the results were well worth it. The pork filling was just delicious. I had a lot left, which I froze for future dumplings. I steamed some potstickers and pan fried some. I preferred the pan-fried ones, done in a little bit of chili oil. I did not actually boil them either, which gave them a nice hot crunch. The sauce was a great addition as well. My asian pantry is now getting well-stocked, and I’ll be making these savoury nuggets again before long. Great challenge!

    • Anula 3:31 am on June 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Deliciously looking dumplings 🙂 Can I have some? 😉 Great job!

    • Mary 9:39 am on June 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Your dumplings look so good. You’ve done a very nice job with the pleating. I hope you have a wonderful day.

    • Jen Yu 11:38 am on June 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, lucky you to be near Vancouver! I’m jealous b/c the Chinese food there is *awesome* as you probably know 🙂 But you totally owned this challenge and your potstickers look incredibly tempting now (as I approach lunch hour). Great job!

    • Lauren 8:56 am on June 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Beautiful potstickers! Awesome job =D!

  • pixeltheatre 2:06 pm on February 26, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Barilla, Chris Daughtry, , David Tutera, Debra Messing, , Mario Batali, Marisa Tomei, Natalie Portman, Stanley Tucci   

    Free cookbook from Barilla US: Celebrity Italian Table Cookbook 

    BarillaBarilla does it again, this time in support of Second Harvest in the US. The free downloadable pdf includes recipes from Mario Batali, David Tutera, Debra Messing, Stanley Tucci, Natalie Portman, Chris Daughtry and Marisa Tomei.

    So, if Penne in a Spicy Sauce with Capers and Olives, Autumn Vegetables with Goat Cheese and Pumpkinseed Oil and Saffron Panna Cotta sound like your type of Italian delectables, head over to this site to download the book. If you’re from the USA, you can actually specify which Second Harvest you wish Barilla to send its contribution.

    Offer ends February 29th has been extended to March 31st!

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

  • pixeltheatre 9:57 pm on November 15, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: canapés, ginger, limoncello, martini, tofu, tuna salad   

    Virtual Blog Party #28 – Fusion Canapés 

    Tuna Salad Tofu CanapésJust in the nick of time, I think, I got my canapés ready to submit to the Happy Sorceress for the upcoming Virtual Blog Party this Saturday. I wanted to keep things simple. So, my idea of fusion came down to the basic tuna salad stuffed into tofu puffs. To add a bit of colour and crunch I added some finely chopped orange pepper and celery. The tofu puffs I purchased at a small Chinese grocery store right around the corner from where I live. I usually use those in stir fries, but I thought they would make an interesting base, when chopped in half. I was right. I sprinkled each canapés with a mixture of parmesan and fontina cheeses and baked them until the cheese melted. The tofu came out nice and crispy. I’ll definitely be playing around with those puffs more in the future.

    Here’s my recipe for the tuna salad:

    1 can pale flaked tuna, drained
    1/4 orange pepper, finely chopped
    1/4 rib celery, finely chopped
    Mayonnaise, enough to bind
    Salt and pepper
    4 tbsp parmesan, grated
    4 tbsp fontina cheese, grated
    10 tofu puffs, sliced in two

    Mix all ingredients except cheeses and tofu puffs. Spoon a small portion of the tuna salad into puff halves, and sprinkle with a bit of the cheese mixture. Bake at #350F until cheese melts. Plate and crack some fresh pepper over canapés before serving.

    The challenge requires us to also submit a cocktail/mocktail. My choice for this dish is a the Lemon Ginger Martini, found on the Raley’s and Bel Air Recipe Center. It includes one of my latest discoveries in liqueurs: limoncello. It goes as follows:

    Lemon Ginger Martini

    1 1/2 oz. superpremium vodka, such as Skyy
    or Grey Goose
    1 slice fresh ginger, chopped
    1 oz. limoncello

    In a cocktail shaker, mash vodka and ginger. Add limoncello and shake well with ice; strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

    I haven’t made the drink yet, though I have the ingredients. But I don’t have a martini glass. That will be taken care of tomorrow. Stay tuned for picture…


    • music 6:05 pm on January 7, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      very interesting.
      i’m adding in RSS Reader

  • pixeltheatre 8:33 pm on November 8, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Back on the challenge track… 

    Now that the month of November is underway, so are the slew of new cooking and baking challenges around the Web. I completed the Daring Bakers November challenge yesterday, and it was a very nice one. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Watch this blog for results at the end of the month. Next up are the Retro Challenge #10: Story Book Food, and my first virtual blog cocktail party, hosted by the Happy Sorceress. The theme for this one is “Fusion” and must include both an appetizer and a cocktail/mocktail. The party is scheduled for November 17th.

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