Archive for the 'Daring Cooks' Category


better late than never….

So we have finally settled in the VA area and are so glad to be unpacked.  Unfortunately I’m a bit behind on posting my challenges.  We have a few months of schooling to do before we head to Russia so I’m having a very hard time finding time to do the challenges.  I have to give some huge props to all of you who work and still manage to get them done…..I don’t know how you do it.  I’ll probably figure it out just in time to pack up again and head on out. 

The worst part of moving is having to give up the beautiful kitchen for a tiny kitchen apartment…..where there is no natural lighting to even dream of taking a somewhat attractive picture.  I apologize for the lack of talent and pictures that these post will have, but I promise I’ll start manipulating things till I have it down k? 

This month’s Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Debyi from the Healthy Vegan Kitchen.   She challenged us to make Indian Dosas.  I was so excited for this challenge as I love Vegan food.  I grew up practically vegetarian and miss eating that way.  (so hard to live that lifestyle when living with a boy and man who say NO to twig and berry food)  TheIndian Dosas recipe comes from reFresh: Contemporary Vegan Recipes From the Award Winning Fresh Restaurants by Ruth Tal.  Lucky for me I didn’t have to purchase anything but the spelt flour to make this dish.  As I was cooking, it was smelling fantastic and I was salivating as I finished in the kitchen.  It took everything I had not to try the dish before I got all the components together.   Once I assembled the dosas I sat down to eat, and after the first bite my excitement fell.  I didn’t like it.  I was so disappointed.  I’m not even sure why I didn’t like it.  Maybe cause there was no fat to smooth and blend the flavor together.  Ghee definitely would have added to the dish, but I’m not sure that would have even fixed what my taste buds were missing.  The dosas pancakes were good and I can see using them with other fillings, and boy and man each ate one…..but so not what I was hoping for. 

Surely it can’t be the recipe…’s gotta be the kitchen. 

Daring Cooks 2~Me 1


A Potsticker by any other name…..

mandus and sauce….is called a mandu.   How exciting that this month our challenge would be the loveable and controversial potsticker.  Why controversial you ask?  Everyone on the planet who has ever had one has their own name for it and claim it to be the best.  So we have potsticker, dumpling, mandu, guotie, gyoza and the list could go on a little bit more, and to be honest I’ve been around the block and tasted some in their original countries.  Therefore, for the rest of my post I shall be referring to the potsticker as a mandu which I think tastes the best.  (I ate so many mandus when I lived in Korea I looked like a mandu)

This months challenge was brought to us by Jen from use real butter.   Jen gave us the challenge of making the entire mandu from wrapper to filling.  There were many fillings I could go with but I chose to stick with the pork filling.   filling

The hardest part of the whole challenge was in making the wrappers.  There are only two ingredients in the wrapper, but getting the right consistency was hard for me.  I wasn’t sure what I was going for in the first place, but I knew rock wasn’t it.  Once I got a pliable dough I started assembling the mandu.making mandus 

Making all the mandus was the most time consuming part and I think it could be all kinds of fun if you have some friends over and do it as a group gig.  (note to self: make some friends)mountain-of-mandu

Once I assembled I had to decide which way to cook them.   I decided to go a little crazy and do two methods-steamed and panfried.  I learned two things from the challenge.  1. The wrappers need to be super thin,  thinner than you think.  And 2.  I dislike ginger.  I’ve used ginger many times before, but the ginger in this recipe was too strong and overpowered the taste of the filling.  I definitely recommend using a bit less.  The consensus from boy and man was that they were a good substitute for the real thing….but I feel that for all the work it takes I need to get a tastier filling.   mandus

The best part of the dish was the dipping sauce.  I was able to use my most favorite cookbook and make a Tahini soy sauce.  I’ve been wanting to try it and now I had the chance.  It was mashisayo (delicious). 

Tahini Soy Sauce (adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup honey

2 tbs. sesame oil

¼ cup tahini

2 cloves of garlic

Pinch of brown sugar


Combine all ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Use immediately or refrigerate.

Daring Cooks 1~Me 1


Oh the HORROR!!

The Daring Cooks have finally arrived and I’m so excited that the Daring Bakers have branched off into another group that will make me even more amazing than I already am. (I’m so kidding about that last part people…I’m really just medium amazing)  Our first challenge was brought to us from our BRILLIANT co-founders Lis and Ivonne.  They have chosen the gnocchi for our first gig.  We were given a great recipe and I had this great pumpkin sauce that I was going to use to dress it…..but then I got mad at them and just used pesto.   We were given this great tip to just do one gnocchi first so that we would be able to see if our mixture needed more stability.   If we dropped a gnocchi in and it floated to the top without busting open, then everything was just right.     gnocchi   See it’s totally floating………that means success.

I then proceeded to make the rest of the gnocchi and threw them in to cook.  I was super anxious waiting for them to be done so I could eat them.  Instead of waiting for them to finish I went to the one I had already cooked and taken out…but when I looked at it, it had changed…to a blob….of mush.  WTH?  I decided to wait till the others were done to try it and pushed Mr. irritation to the back of my mind.   After my gnocchi had spent their due time in el jacuzzi I took them out to cool when to my HORROR they all melted into a blob while they rested.  Okay not all….I saved 3.  3 gnocchis made it through and by the time I fished them out of the mess they were unattractive.  Absolutely unworthy of the pumpkin sauce I had planned to robe them with.   Mr. irritation was now out of hiding and I couldn’t think past the failure and just pulled out the pesto.  (love pesto…it’s the bandaid for food)  I took my food photo outside in the glaring sun to try and minimize the ugly…notice my grass…it’s looking really good right now.   final product

Daring Cooks 1~Me 0

Game On

July 2018
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