Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Daring Baker's March 2012 Challenge: Lions, Tigers, and Bears, oh my!

Dutch Crunch Tuna Melt!
Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!

Technically, Dutch Crunch doesn’t refer to the type of bread, but rather the topping that is spread over the bread before baking. In Dutch it’s called Tijgerbrood or “tiger bread” after the tiger-like shell on the bread when it comes out of the oven. The final product has a delightful sweet crunch to it that makes it perfect for a sandwich roll.


I had never heard of Dutch Crunch bread before and was excited to try making some. I was gifted a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer last Christmas and haven't used it for bread making yet. My usual go-to bread recipe is a no knead recipe that goes in the refrigerator for a few days before use.

It's a lean dough (no oil, eggs, etc), and no so appropriate for dutch crunch, so I decided to use the soft white bread recipe provided by Sara and Erica.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Daring Cooks' March 2012 Challenge - Brave the Braise!

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

Braving the Braise! My very first Daring Cooks and certainly not last.

The March, 2012 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Carol, a/k/a Poisonive – and she challenged us all to learn the art of Braising! Carol focused on Michael Ruhlman’s technique and shared with us some of his expertise from his book “Ruhlman’s Twenty”.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"Ghetto" Sous Vide

Inside shot. Perfect medium rare all the way through. The meat was like butter. Served with some homemade ciabatta.
Sous-vide is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath for a long time. The intention is to cook the item evenly, not overcook the outside while still keeping the inside at the same 'doneness' and to keep the food juicier.

Typically it's done in these expensive machines that circulate the water and maintain it at precise temperatures. They go for about $1000, but you can get a small home version for about $299.

Not wanting to drop so much money on a device I won't be using often, I discovered on Serious Eats a hack, if you will, to cook items sous-vide, without spending lots of money. They suggest using a large beer cooler to help maintain your desired temperature in order to cook your food of choice.

I thought it would be easier for me to just use a large pot of water on a stove and a thermometer and just adjust the heat from time to time.

Friday, March 2, 2012


I've been wanting to check out the tapas bar, Degustation for a while now.

It was so delicious! I've been to several fancy-ish places to dine in the past year and this is the only one I would return too.

Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly what all the items are because we did a chef tasting menu and a lot of the items we had were not present on their current menu.

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