Jul 27, 2010

{daring bakers: swiss swirl ice cream cake}

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

Upon first sight of this months swiss swirl ice cream cake challenge, my thoughts were as follows: I get to make ice cream!!! Wait. I have to make swiss rolls as well? Like those little debbie ones I loved as a kid? And then combine it all?! Okay, a kid HAD to have made this up and then an adult just made it pretty...who else would have come up with combining swiss rolls and ice cream but a kid?

So, yes, that was my thought process pretty much exactly. I was very excited to get started so I began brainstorming my dream combinations of ice cream flavors. Strawberry + lemon, blueberry + lemon, mint + chocolate, mint chocolate + coffee, mint + chocolate cinnamon, chocolate coffee + mint...the list went on. I have determined that I will make all of these flavors at some point or another. For this challenge though, I chose to do a chocolate espresso + mint ice cream along with a mint cream filled swiss roll.

It was quickly evident that I would not be able to make this dessert with entirely locally sourced ingredients so, I did the best I could and at least used my own fresh mint from my container garden. My other challenge was that I am a bit lactose intolerant which is very sad as I LOVE ice cream. I do sometimes indulge in the occasional ben & jerry's just to ya know, "test" my stomach out. I savor every single bite and then about 5 minutes later, immediately regret my decision. Thankfully, a friend of mine has the book The Vegan Scoup on her iPad and was able to send me over a few of the recipes I needed to make my concoction. Let me tell you, ice cream is incredible simple to make without an ice cream maker! You just need to have an entire day that you will be home so you can babysit it. Totally worth it in my opinion.

As this challenge had so many components (the ice cream (two versions!), swiss rolls, hot fudge sauce and then assembly which had several steps of letting it freeze for hours) I had to break it down into a several day process so that my brain wouldn't explode. I started with the chocolate espresso ice cream to make sure it would work. It did. I enjoyed a bowl that evening. The following day I made the mint ice cream. Delicious. The green leaves even turned the ice cream a light mint color! I then took a day of rest to build my courage to create the swiss roll as I'd heard too many horror stories with it not working from other daring bakers.

Took another day to build more courage.

Finally got the courage to try it on the 5th day and was very hopeful. I'd read all sorts of tips from others and felt I was ready to face the challenge. Everything mixed nicely and remained fluffy. It baked beautifully. It even came off of the parchment paper without too much trouble. I was feeling very happy and wondered what all the fuss had been about. I rolled it up nicely in my towel and left it to cool for the two hours recommended. A few minutes before it was ready to be filled I made my mint cream filling and then sat down to do my unrolling. It went okay as I unrolled but I noticed it cracking a bit. I figured it was okay and kept on going. Added the mint filling and began to roll it back up without the towel this time and well...DISASTER. A thin amount stuck to the towel and did not come up which caused the cake to crack even worse. Lets just say at this point, the day before our challenge is due, I just gave up and kept on rolling it. Somehow I got it wrapped in plastic and placed in the freezer hoping it would take some shape and allow me to cut it. Thankfully it did and I was able to slice it up nicely and begin assembling the masterpiece.

The assembly process was fairly easy, it just took forever for each layer to freeze. I must say that the end result was absolutely worth the long drawn out saga. The flavors combined delightfully in my mouth and I think I could eat this every day. In the end, I don't know if I'd ever make this entire thing again. I will definitely be making more ice creams, but just not sure about doing the whole thing all over again. Thank you Sunita for an awesome challenge! It was perfect for this ridiculous summer heat we've been having.

Visit the Daring Kitchen for the original recipes and see what others created. Check out more pics and my recipes below the jump!

Jul 14, 2010

{daring cooks: nut butter}

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

I was really looking forward to this months challenge of making a nut butter and then using it in an entree So was John. He was ready for a daring cooks challenge that was super savory and this one was it. The challengers gave us several recipe options to use our nut butters in. The nut butters could be made of peanuts, cashews, almonds or whatever nut we wanted. I had just made some peanut butter and as peanuts are easy to get locally, I went with that for my nut butter. You can check out my previous post on making peanut butter here. For my entree, I chose to go with the Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing recipe. Let me tell you, I could eat that dressing by the spoonful! It was absolutely one of the best things I've ever tasted and paired with the rest of the ingredients, it was wonderful. I highly recommend making this sauce and just spooning it over everything you eat. The recipe made more dressing than was necessary for the dish but it refrigerates well and can be used in a variety of other dishes.

In order to make this dish entirely local, I switched up some of the ingredients to make my own version. I loved how easy it was to make it from all local and fresh ingredients...it really added to the scrumptiousness of it all. The sauce would not have been easy to make using all local ingredients except that I already had the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and ground ginger on hand.

Since beginning our locavore challenge, we have run out of noodles so, for the first time in my life, I made from scratch pasta!  I was super excited to give this a try and found a simple recipe over at the Food Network website. It required a good bit of kneading with gave my forearms a workout. I'm sad to say they were even sore the following day! I am so happy I'm climbing again now that we've moved one mile from the climbing gym. I will no longer be shamed by making pasta again. Anyway, I have no pasta roller so this stuff had to be rolled out with my awesome long rolling pin. I think it needed to be a little thinner but my arms were done. The pasta on its own was pretty delicious and a lot of fun to make. I did a half recipe of the pasta since that was all the flour I had left. It made plenty to serve us four times.

To get the original recipe and other options we had, check out The Daring Kitchen.

See my version of the recipe after the jump