Sunday, August 17, 2014

Asparagus Risotto

One of the assignments I've been putting off in my Rouxbe class was Asparagus Risotto.  In my defense, I was little "riced out" between pilaf and the first risotto task.  Saturday seemed like a perfect day to tackle this one, especially after completing the home made vegetable stock recipe earlier in the week.

There's no doubt that risotto is time consuming, but the results are delicious and look mighty pretty on a plate.  As usual, you can find this recipe if you do a quick search on Rouxbe.  The dish is flavored with broth and asparagus puree.  Then it is finished with truffle oil.

I've also been working on an recipe for Oat Cheeze which I entered in the Bob's Red Mill steel cut oats recipe contest.  Expect a post about that soon!

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Vegetable Tagine

Towards the end of Unit 7 (Daily Meal Inspritation) at Rouxbe, there was a one pot meal assignment.  We had two choices which were Coconut Braised Chickpeas or Vegetable Tagine.  Since I already prepared the chickpea dish in the braising chapter, I decided to try the tagine.

First of all I want to share that when the Rouxbe video started, the speaker pronounced it ta-jeen with the accent on second syllable.  This made me think that I've been pronouncing tagine wrong my entire life.  I always said tah-jeen with the accent on the first syllable.  Some google searches cleared this up.  The UK pronunciation matches the video and my pronunciation matches what we say in the US.  Who knew?  Clearly, not me.

Secondly, I worried that perhaps I needed to purchase a tagine pot.  My kitchen has been filling up with lots of new toys since starting this class, but I've been trying to limit my purchases to tools I will use on a regular basis.  Tagine pot probably doesn't fall into that category.  The videos/recipe didn't mention a special pan.  When I searched on google most folks indicated the tagine pot was mainly for presentation, so fortunately no shopping required.

You may have seen my earlier post about mise en place. I've been using this technique in my cooking more often.  It is a requirement for Rouxbe assignments.  Though I do end up with more dishes to wash, it definitely helps recipe preparation go more smoothly.  In this picture you can see some pretty decent knife cuts.  Sharp knives and practice have helped me quite a bit. The spices were toasted and then ground, so they were ready to use.

As this all cooked, I did need to prepare some secondary ingredients like olives, lemon zest and raisins.  Here is a photo of the finished dish.  It was delicious, but had quite a kick to it. The flavors did even out a bit the next day.  If you aren't a fan of spicy, it would be easy to cut down on the cracked red pepper.

Many Rouxbe recipes are available on their site even if you aren't a student.  You miss out on the video instruction though.  I'll link directly to the vegetable tagine, but keep in mind if you see a Rouxbe post from me, you can often search for Rouxbe and the recipe name (tagine in this example) and find it yourself!

Friday, August 01, 2014

Berry Patch Brownies

Last weekend we picked some blueberries at a local farm.  When I say "some", I mean almost 10 pounds.  Fresh picked berries are nothing like store bought.  The flavor is wonderful!  We were so excited to use these in smoothies, salads, old recipes and new ones.

As I was scrolling through my twitter feed, I saw a tweet from Dreena Burton about her Berry Batch Brownie recipe.  Just a quick click and I knew I had to make them.  Side note:  I really love Dreena's recipes.  Her blogs and cookbooks helped me out so much as a new vegan many years ago.  One of the great things about her recipes is that they are almost always simple to make, but are full of flavor.  Some of my favorite cookbooks by Dreena Burton are: Vive Le Vegan, The Everyday Vegan and Eat, Drink & Be Vegan.

When I started mixing up the brownies, I noticed we were out of regular baking cocoa.  All I had in the pantry was black onyx cocoa.  That meant I needed to add a bit more liquid to the mix and that my brownies had an even darker color.

These are dark fudgy deliciousness topped with raspberry jam, fresh blueberries and chocolate chips.  The brownies are wonderful and it's a recipe that I definitely recommend.  How beautiful do they look?

A Rouxbe update for you:

Currently I'm working on spices, umami, acids and layering flavor.

I'm getting proficient at sharpening my knives with the whetstone and honing them with a steel.  The razor sharp blades make it so easy to practice and showcase my knife cuts.

I've been making my way through chapters on basic cooking methods that involve water such as steaming or submersion.  Then we moved on to dry cooking methods like roasting and sautéing.  This is also where we learned about woks and how to stir fry.  I'm now the proud owner of a newly seasoned wok and am not afraid to play around with ingredients.

Up next were grains and beans as well as combination and one pot meals.  I'm looking forward to sharing a new post with you featuring a Moroccan Tagine that I made for class.