Monday, January 17, 2011

DC Challenge: Cassoulet

Cassoulet 223

This most recent Daring Cooks challenge was truly a feat. Over three days, finally we feasted on the end product, a homey comforting French meat and beans dish called Cassoulet. In France, a traditional cassoulet contains preserved goose, sausages, pork and beans. More contemporarily, duck confit will be used in lieu of the goose. This challenge was comprised into three parts: preparing the duck confit, pre-cooking the beans, and finally creating and baking the cassoulet over the period of two days.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Daring Bakers Challenge: Christmas Stollen


The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

Christmas Stollen is a delicious variety of fruit cake. Similar to fruit cake, Stollen keeps for a very long time; up to a month in the refrigerator!

The Stollen has many components which makes it fun as you can customize each part to your liking. In the recipe we used, the components are candied citrus peel, dried fruits, and nuts. I choose to make candied Clementine peel. For the dried fruits, I used cranberries, figs, and dates. For nuts, I went with my favorite, walnuts.


Making your own candied citrus peel was a fun additional mini-challenge. I used clementines, as I already had a crate of them. First, wash the clementines and peel them, trying to keep the peels in as large pieces as possible. Slice the peels, and then cover them in water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Strain the peels, and re-boil them in fresh water two more times. Once you’ve boiled the peels (to remove any lingering pithy taste), you need to boil them in syrup. Combine 4 cups of water with 4 cups of sugar, bring to a boil and then add the peels. Boil them for one hour and  then allow the peels to cool in the syrup. Once cooled, remove the peels and place them on drying racks to let the excess syrup drip off. If needed, pat them on a paper towel before tossing them in sugar. After coating each peel in sugar, allow them to air dry either on drying racks (cleaned from the syrup, please!) or on a plate until they are hardened, at least 2 hours.

Pork Belly Carbonara


Rich creamy noodles with delicious succulent pork belly accented by snappy snow peas. Tonight, we enjoyed this delicious pork belly carbonara. This pasta recipe is an indulgent take on an easy favorite.