Sunday, August 31, 2008

Who Choux Who?

When I first learned of this months Daring Baker's challenge, Chocolate Éclaires, my first reaction was somewhere along the lines of "OMG what have I gotten myself into?"  Having never made Pâte à Choux before, and then having to veganize it as well was definitely a challenge, considering that making pastry in general is not something that I consider myself very good at.  But I closed my eyes and jumped right in, hoping that the results would at least be edible.
After several experiments I can honestly say that this will require more testing in order to have the kind of happy ending that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.  My first attempt at the dough turned out to be a good texture, but every single one of the puffs deflated.  I think I let them cool too fast, even though I followed the directions of leaving them in the oven with the door open for a period of time. 
My subsequent baches didn't deflate but I never got the dough to be as smooth as it was the first time.  I had better results with little round puffs than with the logs.  I also thought it would be a good time to use the white vanilla I bought when we went to Punta Cana so I went with a vanilla filling that sadly turned out more pudding like than whipped and fluffly as I had imagined.  While my little eclaires turned out to taste pretty good, they fell short of the greatness I was anticipating.  I'm all puffed out for now so it might be a while until I tinker with them bit more.

Friday, August 29, 2008

La Bandera

I've still got the Dominican Republic in my mind and heart, so I cooked up a Dominican lunch.  Ensalata (salad), habichuelas (beans), arroz, (rice) and platano fritos (fried plantains).  It pales in comparasin to Anny's comedor on the beach, but it was the next best thing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Chili-Lime-Garlic Tofu & Wild Rice Sushi

I know I just posted a sushi pic the other day, but I am on some kind of sushi craze right now.  I've never had luck making rolls with brown rice, but I really would love to get a bit more nutrition than plain white sushi rice if I'm going to be eating it so often.

I gave wild rice a try today (which is higher in iron and fibre) and it did not disappoint.  The rolls held together just fine, and I loved the nutty, earthy flavor of the rice combined with the soft, creamy avocado.

The tofu is simple, pan fried firm tofu slices with chopped garlic, chili flakes and a splash of fresh lime and Braggs soy sauce.

A few more photos from our Dominican Days

This is okra and some kind of potato-like vegetable whose name I can't remember (even though I asked what it was called several times.)  They were both quite tasty, though the texture of the okra was a bit odd. 
My favorite, fried plantain bananas with ketchup.  They taste somewhat like french fries, and that's how I like to eat them.  Yumm!
And here's my baby girl, relaxing at the beach under the shade of a coconut tree.  I've posted a few more non-food photos on my other blog, Livin' In Paradise.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Caribbean Express

At last, a reliable internet connection!  I've been in the Domimican Republic for the past couple of weeks and have not had much access at all to the world wide web. A few minutes here and there, usually on someone else's computer.  I used to live here, and it's nice to be back in the old stomping grounds.
Cooking here is always interesting...for example, they don't use electricity for ovens and stoves, they use propane (yes, the tank is IN the house, usually under the kitchen sink)  you have to fill it up at the gas station just like you would your barbeque tank.  And of course when our gas ran out, there was no propane at the station for three days.  No cooking anything for three days - I was forced to go raw ;)
This first photo was breakfast one day.  It was simply avocado and tomato with a bit of S&P, and a tall glass of vanilla soy milk.

Lucky for us the neighbor let us cook rice at her place and we were able to make sushi!  How amazed were we that they had nori at the supermercado?!  Really I've mostly been nibbling here and there rather than preparing actual meals; it's just too hot and humid to have much of an appetite.  But I'll be back home in Vancouver in a few days and ready to cook up a storm!