Thursday, November 28, 2013

Crepe Expectations

Banh Xeo 112713

We love going out for Vietnamese food – Ben Tre in South San Francisco being a particular favorite. Our go-to orders are usually either the bun (cold vermicelli noodles with various meat and vegetables) or the pho, which we have also made at home on several occasions, including a Daring Cooks challenge back in 2009.

I have always been intrigued by the menu description and picture of bánh xèo – a sort of cross between an omelette and a pancake. Yesterday I had most of the ingredients lying around in the kitchen, so decided to give it a try. The recipe is from the latest issue of Lucky Peach, and comes from New York Vietnamese chef Jimmy Tu. I won’t reprint the recipe here (buy the magazine!), but here is a general outline:

- Make a crepe batter using rice flour, colored with a little turmeric
- Cook some bacon and small shrimp in a skillet, then add the batter and cook until set
- Drizzle an egg over the batter and continue to cook until the egg is done and the pancake pulls away from the pan
- Pile some bean sprouts on one side of the crepe and fold the other half over. Serve with lettuce leaves, herbs (I used cilantro) and some nuoc cham, a sweet and spicy dipping sauce.

Delicious! Thanks, Lucky Peach! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A different sort of challenge #tributetolis


Since most of our readers are (we assume) fellow Daring Cooks, you will already know the shock and sadness we felt when we visited the Daring Kitchen website last week. Expecting to read about the latest DC creations, we instead learned that Lis (Lisa Cifelli), co-founder of the Daring Kitchen, had passed away. Although we never met in person, we communicated by email – in particular when we hosted a challenge and later wrote a book review for the website. Her enthusiasm, humor and friendliness always leapt from the page (screen?), and she will be sorely missed by us all.

We wanted to make a dish and raise our glasses to the memory of Lis, so we bought a couple of nice steaks and paired them with Horseradish Souffle - a recipe from the challenge that we hosted almost exactly 3 years ago. I’m sure we would never have contemplated creating a dish such as this were it not for the Daring Kitchen and the opportunity to host a challenge for our fellow cooks.

They weren’t the puffiest souffles that we’ve ever made, and the photo above isn’t our most artistic creation. They were, however, made with fond memories of Lis. Thanks, Lis, for your boundless enthusiasm, infectious humor and tireless efforts to make the Daring Kitchen the wonderful community that it is.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sopa de Ajo


Our November Daring Cooks’ hostess was Begoña, who writes the beautiful blog, Las recetas de Marichu y las mías. Begoña is from Spain and didn’t want to go with the more common challenges of paella or gazpacho, she wanted to share with us another very popular recipe from Spain that we don’t see as often called Sopa Castellana which is a delicious bread soup!

We make bread almost every week, so looked forward to incorporating it into our Daring Cooks challenge recipe. Since our bread is based on the recipe from the Tartine cookbook (Tartine being a much-lauded bakery here in San Francisco), we decided to use one of the recipes in that book for Sopa de Ajo – Garlic Soup. It’s similar to the challenge recipe for Sopa Castellana, but without the ham or red peppers.

The bread:


The rich chicken stock:


One whole head of garlic (!), chopped and fried:


And the assembled soup, cooking on the stovetop. We used smoked paprika instead of regular sweet paprika, because we like that smoky flavor.


Optionally served with an egg yolk (see top of page), the soup was rich and delicious, but boy was it garlicky! Probably not the thing to make when you have a client meeting the next day. (Oh wait… one of us did have a client meeting the next day…)

Thanks, Begoña, for a delicious and different challenge!