Thursday, April 14, 2011
All right! It's time to get excited about Daring Cooks again! Not that I haven't been excited before, I have just been trying to lose some weight...yea, I know, you can laugh now, but I'm making some progress...mostly with working out, but progress is progress! I've also been striving to have very little excess in my kitchen. I feel too guilty when I toss food out, so it's time to be better about doing with what I have.
Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!
And, wow, are there some creative containers out there. It seemed like this month, every time I thought of something I hadn't done before, I would log into Daring Cooks, and *boom* there it was, already done...finally, I decided to do something *I* hadn't done before, regardless of how many times it has been done.
It's kind of strange. I have never felt insecure about my culinary skills - until I have been humbled by all the fantastic chefs over at daring cooks and bakers. Wow, they are an awesome group. Now, I'm hoping some of their utterly amazing photography skills rubs off on me. I think I'm making progress, but who knows...
I must warn you, though. My post doesn't have many recipes. It's more of a here's what I did, and how I did it essay.
First up - inside out roast beef sandwiches. I've done quite a few versions of filling stuffed in various bread doughs (like char siu bao, and husky buns). Maybe it was time to twist that around.
I tried a few different cuts of meat, and finally decided that filet makes the best beef cup. Regardless of what you chose to use, make sure it's cut paper thin. The best way I found to do that is to partly freeze the meat, then use your sharpest knife to cut paper thin slices.
I love using filet for this for many reasons. It comes out of the oven nice and tender, and it's easy to manipulate in the cups. I used mini-muffin tins for this, thinking that a two bite cup would be just perfect. Sliced extra thinly and shaped into cups, season with salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic powder, and bake at 400 for about 3-5 minutes. To be sure these would be formed correctly, I used 2 identical tins - one on top of the beef to make sure it held shape.
Let cool slightly, and you may need to drain a bit. Fill with a bit of horseradish mayo (1/3 cup mayo, 3 T. horseradish, 1/2 t. lemon, 1/2 t. pepper), and top with a tiny biscuit you can bake the same time your cups are being baked.
Would I make these again? Yes, definitely. I would, however, cut down on the bread part of this. It's also really important you use tender beef. It's hard to create a 2 bite item if you can't bite through the beef.
Now, my second recipe was quite a bit of fun. And, no, I hadn't done bacon cups before. I've found that 1/2 slice bacon, cut in half, is the perfect size for a mini-muffin tin. I kind of smushed the two pieces of bacon together, using the "bacon glue" trick of overlapping a meaty portion with a fatty portion to get them to stick together.
I know there are several people out there that form foil for bacon cups, but I was just too lazy to do so. I smushed them into the mini-muffin tins, pressed the second tin on top of the bacon, and baked them at 350 until they looked done. About every 5 minutes, I drained the bacon fat from my cups into a bowl. This method worked very well for me.
I filled them with a mixture of 8 oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, and 3 sauteed minced jalapeno's. I am really happy with these results. Mainly because I can control the heat of the jalapeno's this way!
Thank you once again for such a great challenge. I look forward to the next!