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Old 09-28-2007, 01:21 AM   #21
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Oh me oh my I do hope you give us a full report. I'll take one from each column. Where did you say your restaurant is located! :) This is a bigger challenge by far than the one I took on.
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:23 AM   #22
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Like I said, feel free to join hte challenge. Make this meal at your home.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:26 AM   #23
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Oh! Oh!, fresh phyllo dough! That sounds like a challenge.

Spanakopita, Marinated Mushrooms, and Moussaka with fresh flat bread, maybe some fried eggplant. You could even make most of that ahead of time. Yum!
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Good luck with Saturday. Who's the lucky guinnea pig?
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Old 09-30-2007, 11:30 PM   #24
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First challenge is completed and was a partial success. I made the formal Chinese Dinner with the following menu and served 5 adults until they were full:

Menu:

Cold dishes:
1. Sushi – filled with shredded scallops and wrapped in spinach leaves isnstead of Nori
2. Ranguns – filled with crab and sweetended cream cheese
3. Glazed skewered chicken strips
4. Mellon and berries, skewered and candied

Hot Main Course
1. Mongolian Beef.
2. Chicken Velvet with Mushrooms
3. Stir-Fried Veggies with Chicken Sauce

Soup:
Egg Drop Soup

Staple:
Dumplings filled with sweet beaf and veggies

Snack:
Chicken Spring Rolls

Desert:
Tanghulu – Haw fruit is not available and so will be using kiwi and strawberries

Beverage – Herbal Teas


Of these, the accomplished items were, in order, Crab Ranguns, Glazed Chicken strips (skewered), Glazed Veggie Strips (skewered again), mongolian beef, stir-fried veggies with chicken sauce, Egg-drop soup, and spring rolls.

But I had a coupld of challenges thrown my way that I wasn't anticipating. First, I didn't get to do my shopping until the night before, and had little time Saturday morining for prep-work, and so had to start everything 20 minutes before it was time to start serving the food. 2nd, one of the visitors wanted to help, but I had to teach him how to bias-slice the veggies, and he was a vegitarian and so I had to alter the menu to include the same foods, only veggie style for him. These were in addition to the already planned menu.

The foods that were cooked came out very nice, with great flavor and texture. What I learned from this experience is that to do this meal justice, you need at least 4 hours prep time, with 2 additional cooks to assist, and the cooks need to know what they are doing. In other words, I bit of more than I could chew. Things were so hectic that I only got off pitures of the glazed veggie skewers and crab rangoons. The glazed chicken skewers were done at the same time, but things were moving very fast in my kitchen.

For the glazed chicken strips, I boned, then sliced four chicken breasts, and sliced the meat into very thin strips (cut with the grain). I had a marinade made from 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp. granulated garlic, 1/2 tsp. granulated onion, 2 tbs, rice vinegar, lite soy sauce, 1 tsp. sesame oil, and a dash of ginger. Enough water was added to form a syrupy liquid.

The glaze was seperated into two bowls, with the chicken strips placed into one and thinly sliced and steamed carrot and onion strips placed into the other. These were then put onto bamboo skeweres and two seperate baking sheets. I cooked them at 350' for twenty minutes in the oven.

For the rangoons, I combined 2 packages cream cheese with 3 tbs. Splenda. This was divided itno equal portions in seperate bowls. 8 oz. surimi (fake crab) was mixed into the first bowl, with a combination of finely chopped onion, celery leaves, garlic powder, and finely diced carrot mixed into the other. I brushed wonton skins with egg-wash made from 1 large egg, mixed with 1/8 cup water. I placed about a tsp. of the filling onto the wonton skin center and folded the corners inward to meet. I then placed the rangoons (veggie versions first) into hot peanut oil (360') and fried until golden brown.

The rangoons and glazed skewers were served at the same time.

The mongolian beef consisted of stir-fried water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, bok choy, sliced onion, bias-sliced carrot, bean sprouts, lite soy sauce, and hoison sauce, fresh, sliced mushrooms, with garlic and sesame oil to season.

While the veggies were cooking in seperate woks, I sliced the beef into thin strips. I marinated them in a combination of lite soy sauce, ginger, black pepper, rice vinegar, and hoison sauce, all mixed with just enough water to form a bath. I removed the veggies into a a large and a somewhat smaller bowl. I fried cubed tofu with vegetabe soup base and garlic, and added it to the smaller bowl of cooked veggies. I then stir-fried the beef until it was just done, and thicken the pan drippings with a cornstarch slurry to make a lite sauce. The beef was mixed into the large veggie bowl and appropriate dishes were served to the vegetarian, and the rest of us.

While all else was cooking, I made a veggie soup base, and a chicken broth usint the skins and bones from the chickens I had boned. I seasoned the chiken broth lightly with salt and garlic. I seasoned the veggie broth with garlic and soy sauce. I beat two eggs, removed the boiling broths from the heat, and drizzled the beaten eggs equally between the two pans, forming long strings of egg threads. I garnished both soups, in the bowls, with freshly cut chives. Egg-drop soup, is authentically a very mild chicken broth, flavored only with salt, onion, and garlic, with chives dressing up the bowls.

The rice for the sushi was cooked to sticky perfection, but had to be saved for another night. There just wasn't sufficient time.

The spring rolls were an experiment of my daughter's. I had planned chicken egg rolls, something I do very well. But she took the remaining crab rangoon filling, mixed it with water-chestnuts, bamboo shoots, onion, and bean sprouts, rolled it into perfect spring rolls, and prceeded to fry prettier product than I ever have. It was light and crispy on the outside, and the filling was extraodinary. But I can't take credit. It was her brain child.

I did succeed in teaching a young, vegitarian man how to improve his knife skills, and to make the various recipes, and opened the eyes of a picky young adult woman who had accompanied him (both freinds of my daughter's). She gushed about the food quality. I have only one picture as I said, and here it is. You now have the tale of my partial success. I will be making the velvet chicken tomorrow night.

Seeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 10-01-2007, 12:23 AM   #25
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Congratulations to you Goodweed. That is awesome. I'm amazed that you accomplished as much as you did in the time you had. I could not have come close. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-01-2007, 11:57 PM   #26
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The velvet chicken came out wonderful tonight. Here's the pictures. I'll get the recipe to you hopefully tomorrow.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 10-03-2007, 06:11 PM   #27
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Goodweed - about the nori - a local sushi bar uses the rice paper you make summer rolls out of for those that don't like nori - just a thought for you.
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Old 10-03-2007, 08:36 PM   #28
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Kitchen Elf, what a great idea. Thanks. Here, by the way, is the recipe for the Chicken Velvet. It came out very yummy.

Chicken Velvet
Ingredients:
3 chicken breasts, cut from the bone.
2 cups chicken broth (made from the bones and skins, seasoned to taste)
2 egg-whites
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. finely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. MSG (optional)
Peanut oil to fill a wok or deep frying pan 3-inches deep
2 tsp. peanut oil for frying
12 oz. sliced straw mushrooms (or whatever are available to you)
2 tbs. lite soy-sauce
1 tsp. sugar or Splenda
1/2 tsp. Sesame Oil
3 tsp. rice vinegar
4 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp. water to make a slurry

Preheat the oil to the point of fragrance (360' F.)
Chop the chicken into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a food processor. Add 3 tbs. of the chicken broth and process into a smooth paste. Add the salt, pepper, and msg. Process to combine. Remove to a large mixing bowl.

Beat the egg whites to soft peaks and gently fold into the meat mixture. Fold in the dry cornstarch.

Heat a large saucepan with the two tbs. of peanut oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, turning often. Add the remaining chicken broth and cover. Allow to simmer while you cook the chicken mixture.

Drop the mixture by spoonfuls into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd. Turn after two minutes. Cook an additional 2 minutes and turn again. Repeat until the chicken is lightly browned.

Remove the chicken to a paper towel lined bowl to drain. Cook all of the chicken in this manner.

Stir the rice wine into the saucepan along with the sesame oil, soy sauce, and sugar. Add the fried chicken and bring to a boil. Thicken with the cornstarch slurry. Serve on a Platter garnished with steamed, bias-sliced bok choy and carrots.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 10-11-2007, 05:29 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff G. View Post
Here is your task if you choose to accept it.

Using a main ingredient, cook a meal in which each course utilizes the main ingredient. (i.e. Iron Chef style).

Since it's fall. I would suggest Pumkin!!!

you will need an opening course, main dish, side to go with it and dessert all featuring the main ingredient... good luck..
All right, ne pay period. I will take this on as my next challenge. However, I am going to use winter squash varieties as the ingredient. These will include pumpkin, acorn squash, and a few others. I will let you see pictures of everything and post the recipes.

Seeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 10-15-2007, 12:50 PM   #30
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Winter Squash Challenge Reprot:

Menu

Squash/Pumpkin Soup
Fruit & Nut Stuffed Acorn Squash
Glazed Dumplin Squash
Spaghetie Squash With Rustic Tomato Sauce
Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

The Squash/Pumpkin soup was made with pumpkin meat from 1 1/2 cup of roasted pie pumkin combined with the meat of one steamed hubbard squash. The meats were mashed with 1 tbs. Kosher Salt, and 1 1/2 tsp. Coriander. A medium yellow onion was then diced and added along with two, red-ripe jalepino peppers from my garden. Four cups of water were added to the mixture and it was allowed to simmer until the onions were tender. Everything was blended together in the pot with an imersion blender. 2 tbs. freshly ground coarse black pepper added the sweetnes required by the dish.

The flavor was reminiscent of Dahl, but sweeter, and with a mild squash flavor. The texture was creamy-smooth. It was a big hit with everyone.

Two acorn squashes were halved from top to bottom and seeded. One Gala Apple was peeled, cored, and diced. The apple was combined with whole cranberry, cranberry jelly and cashews. To this mixture was added a tsp. of key-lime juice to protect the apple color and add a brightness of flavor. The halves were stuffed with the fruit-nut mixture and put together. I then sealed them in tight fitting aluminum foil nad baked them for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

The glazed dumpling squash was prepared by cutting the top from the 4 squashes. The seeds and thread were then removed. I then melted 1/2 cup of butter and poured equal amounts into each squash, swirling the hot butter around the insides. I then sprinkled sugar and cinamon into one, brown sugar into another, sugar, cinamon and ginger into a third squash, and finally brown sugar and maple into the last one. I replaced the tops on all of them and microwaved them until they were done.

The favorite was the dumpling squash glazed with sugar, cinamon, and ginger. But they were all eaten and enjoyed.

Spagheti Squash with herbed tomato sauce:
My Sister's favorite of the menu comes next. I cut and seeded one spagheti squash, quartered, and baked in the micorwave until tender. I removed the threads with a fork and piled into a large, glass bowl. These were drizzled with EVOO and topped with a tomato sauce made from diced tomato, chopped, fresh tomato, 12 oz. canned tomato sauce, sliced onion, mushrooms, garlic, oregano, thyme, basil, and rosemary, with a hint of sugar added. Fresh Parmesano-Regiano was grated over the whole thing and it was baked again in the microwave for another minute to melt the cheese. To my suprize, everyone actually ate it, and I was serving more than one picky eater.

Pumkin Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
This came out great. Here's the recipe:
2 cups pie pumpkin (I had roasted two pie pumpkins and so had plenty of pumpkin meat for both the soup and the cake).
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ginger
1-1/2 tsp. cinamon
4 eggs
1 cup cooking oil

Combine all ingredients and pour into a ten inch, prepared cake pan. Bake at 400' F for 40 minutes. Test with a toothpick. Remove from the oven when the toothpick inserted through the center comes out clean. Cool to roome temperature.

Cream Cheese Icing
1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese
4 sticks butter
Confectioner's sugar.

Place butter and cream cheese into a microwave safe bowl and heat until butter is liquified. Combine butter and cream cheese with a ballon whisk. Add 1 cup powderd sugar and whisk in until smooth. Add more powdered sugar, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth an creamy, and has the consistany of a soft, flowing paste. Pour over the cake and spread evenly all over the top, letting the icing drip artistically over the sides. Let cool and serve.

The meal came out great, with everuthing served hot and on time, and the cake served cold.

This one was a complete success.

Oh, and my sister made my recipe of Italian pork sausage/ground beef meatballs, with rice mixed in, as the meat serving. They were jsut what the meat needed.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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