Culinary Mad Libs plus a Giveaway

April 19th, 2010

It is another Culinary Mad Libs post… a request for more ingredients and a giveaway… a lot to cover… so little time… first, I will be giving away a wonderful prize supplied by CSN Stores which sells everything from entertainment centers to cookware.  Thank you for sponsoring this giveaway.

A little while ago I invented Culinary Mad Libs to get my creativity going… My readers gave me some wonderful suggestions to start off with and I made Asparagus-Prosciutto-Chervil Ravioli…  Tonight, I used the ingredients of lentil (Foodcents), Sweet Potato (Resa) and Cinnamon (Juan) to make lentil burgers with sweet potato fries.

What an amazing dinner that really stretched me out of my comfort zone.  Lentil burgers are delicious.  I just wish I had the ingredients from Kevin’s Remoulade Sauce to put on top. I halved the recipe and got five good size patties out of it.

For the sweet potato fries, I cut a sweet potato into strips, mixed with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper until all the pieces were coated. Then roasted at 400 for about 45 minutes.

So, I’m hooked on the idea of Culinary Mad Libs and now, I need your help to continue my culinary adventures— here is how it works- leave me ingredients to work with in the comment section… in the following order… 1) Protein; 2) Vegetable/Fruit; 3) Spice/Herb… then repeat… in other words, if you leave the first comment, please include a protein.  The second comment, a vegetable and so on…

In addition, until next Wednesday, leaving an ingredient comment will enter you into my giveaway.  Also, if you retweet this and let me know, you will get an additional entry.  Unfortunately, the prize can only be shipped to the US or Canada but, hopefully, you will still participate… oh yes, what is the prize you ask…

A beautiful Le Creuset 14″ Oval Baking Dish…sigh!  I want one!  and, hopefully, you do too… so what should I cook next?

The Bonfire of the Vanities…

April 16th, 2010

“The dessert was apricot souffle, prepared individually, for each diner, in a stout little crock of the Normandy sort, with borders au rustaud painted by hand near the rim.  Rich desserts were back in fashion this season.  The sort of dessert that showed you were conscious of calories and cholesterol, all the berries and melon balls with a dollops of sherbet, had become just a bit Middle America.  On top of that, to be able to serve twenty-four individual souffles was a tour de force.  It required quite the kitchen and staff and a half.”

Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities, p. 363

The Bonfire of the Vanities explores the political, racial and social tension in 1980s New York City.  Wolfe writes with a similar style to Henry James by focusing more on the internal workings of his characters as opposed to the dialogue and interaction of characters.  I loved it.  All the characters are miserable people and yet you are enthralled by the imagery and surprising plot.  I highly recommend it!  The above passage comes from a scene right before the main character’s life begins to completely unravel.  I liked the use of souffle in this moment to both emphasize the falseness of society but also to highlight his demise or quick fall, much like a souffle.

I made this apricot souffle to submit to Simona and Lisa’s Novel Food Event. (Round up here and here). I decided to try it with the brie just to change it up a little.  Overall, I liked it a lot.  I think I would increase the brie though in the future.  I also realize the irony of making an Alice Waters recipe to illustrate a book passage that is so pretentious… Enjoy!

Apricot-Brie Souffle
(adapted from Alice Waters via Mental Masala)

1/4 cup good quality, not too chunky apricot jam
1/4 cup brie- without the rind (1/8 for bottom of ramekins, 1/8 to melt with the apricot jam)
1 egg yolk
3 egg whites
2 ramekins with 1 cup capacity each

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2. Butter and breadcrumb the ramekins.  Put the extra brie in the bottom of the ramekins.
3. Combine the jam and brie over low heat until just melted. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then when cool to touch mix with the egg yolk in a large bowl.
4. In a sparkling clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry (the bowl must be very clean because fat severely inhibits the formation of egg foam).
5. Gently fold the egg whites into the jam/yolk base.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dishes. For the best visual effect, fill the dishes all the way to the top.
7. Place the ramekins directly into the oven, or place on a baking sheet to prevent drips from falling onto the oven floor.
8. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F. Bake for 18-20 minutes (until risen and golden on top). I have been having some issues with my oven temp which is why they came out burned.

National Grilled Cheese Month…

April 15th, 2010

Now, if you have ever read this blog before, you have noticed my obsession with cheese especially grilled cheese… I just can’t get enough of them…

I was very excited to discover that it is National Grilled Cheese Month and even more excited to stumble across Panini Happy’s 2nd Annual Grilled Cheese Pageant. I’m all for celebrating the deliciousness that is grilled cheese.  Check out the round-up.

I made a mango-cheddar grilled cheese tonight. Cheddar is my favorite cheese for a grilled cheese. The mango was inspired by Kevin‘s use of fruit in grilled cheeses and, frankly, the fact that I have a mango… It is a good combo… also, check out my Capresish Salad Grilled Cheese… what is your favorite grilled cheese combo?