Oct 27, 2010

{daring bakers: donuts}

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

So, I have taken a couple month hiatus from daring bakers/cooks as work has picked up and I just needed a break. I am back and ready to go for this months challenge and was very excited when I saw that we get to make donuts! It is a rare treat for me to have a donut...typically just walking by a Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts and smelling the aroma is enough for me to gain 5lbs. The only mandatory item for this months challenge was that we make donuts; they could be any flavor, filling, topping we wanted. Lori was kind enough to include a recipe for pumpkin donuts in this challenge and well, I'm all about some pumpkin in the fall. Pumpkin beer, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies...if pumpkin is in the name, I will eat/drink it. I have never had pumpkin donuts, but well, they sound delightful. This is the first challenge that on the day of posting, I had both the time and ingredients to put it all together! Also, John was coming home from a week long business trip and I thought it would be a fun surprise to have them waiting for him.

The methods used for cooking the donuts in each recipe Lori gave us was to fry them. Since I'm not a fan of a vat of grease and I wanted to make these as "healthy" as possible so I found some recipes online where people baked the donuts. I made a half batch of the pumpkin donut recipe provided (since it is only the two of us indulging) and found a cinnamon glaze recipe for my topping. Since I had a few chocolate chips left over from making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I decided to add them to half of my recipe to see how that tasted.

The overall process of making the donuts was incredibly simple. Just keep in mind that you need it to chill for at least 3 hours before baking/frying. My end result...to die for as far as taste goes. I could live off of these babies. They did not however maintain their very puffy rounded shape and turned out to look more like cookies. I blame it on using a cookie sheet instead of with a donut mold. Thanks for a great challenge Lori!

Check out pics after the jump.
To see the full recipes and what others did check out The Daring Kitchen.

Oct 14, 2010

{october daring bakers: stuffed grape leaves}

Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

For this months challenge we had to make a filling and then stuff and roll it into grape leaves. A Mediterranean restaurant is the only place I've ever eaten stuffed grape leaves before and I've always thought they were pretty delicious. Never once did I think to actually try making them so, I was very interested to see how this would turn out.

Work has gotten pretty busy lately (thus my lack of posting) so when it came to be the week before our post date, I began to wonder if I'd even be able to participate in this challenge. When a friend of mine suggested we tackle this one together and have a full blown Mediterranean meal, I jumped on it. We each brought our ingredients together in order to make the Wara Einab or Dolma (cold stuffed grape leaves). The men grilled the lamb while we separated, filled and rolled the dolmas. It definitely was a process and one I'm glad to not have done on my own. The grape leaves were a bit fragile as the slightest poke of a fingernail tore them. Towards the end we were double wrapping the grape leaves in order to make a whole one. They turned out delicious though and went very well with the hummus, pita, roasted veggies and lamb.

Check out the recipe and what other daring cooks did over at The Daring Kitchen.

See more pics after the jump.