Friday, July 27, 2012

Daring Bakers July 2012: Crisp, crunchy crackers!

Our July 2012 Daring Bakers’ Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers! Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.

I'm sitting at my mom's house in Iowa, bemoaning my (once again) procrastination. I fully intended to write up this blog weeks ago after I baked the crackers. But (as usual) I kept telling myself there was time. Well, now I'm in Iowa and the recipes I thought were stored on my computer are not. There are back-up printouts that I actually used to bake the crackers, but they are in a drawer in Wisconsin. So you'll have to wait to see those until I get back on Sunday. But for now, enjoy the pictures! 

I made 4 different kinds of crackers, homemade Wheat Thins, Parmesan and Flax , Rosemary and Parmesan Icebox Crackers, and Carta di Musica (How could I not?!), a crisp Italian cracker. We had them with the obligatory cheese and meat tray at a birthday get together at our new house. Interesting results on what people liked: my husband, who I thought would like them, did not like the flax crackers at all. My father in law, who is quite selective in what he enjoys loved the flax crackers.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Daring Cooks July 2012: Cooking En Papillote

Our July 2012 Daring Cooks’ host was Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie! Sarah challenges us to learn a new cooking technique called “Cooking En Papillote” which is French and translates to “cooking in parchment”.

I have been wanting to try this cooking method for a while now and as usual, I am so glad to be a "Daring Cook" to give me a little push towards actually doing it! I was interested in trying this out because it is a healthy way to prepare a delicious dinner and wanted to see if the time to make these little individual parchment packets was really worth it.

I found that making the parchment packets was not even time consuming. It added no more than a few seconds, honestly chopping all the veggies (which you would do anyway) was the longest part of the preparation. I also really liked how each parchment packet was a serving.

The verdict on cooking en papillote? Super easy, perfect for fish, and after doing a little research, I really want to try different ingredients (did you know you can do fruit?! It looks ridiculously good.)

I made tilapia and lots of summer veggies, but if you do a little thinking about how everything will cook, making sure it will take the same amount of time, I think the possibilities are numerous for combinations.

Tilapia En Papillote
(two servings)

2 Tilapia filets
1 red pepper, cut in thin strips
1 small Summer squash, cut in rounds
1 small zucchini, cut in rounds
1 bunch asparagus (you don't have to use the whole thing, but I did)
your favorite seasoning mix
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
2 pieces parchment paper, cut in 24 inch diameter

1. Preheat oven to 375℉. Fold parchment in half, place tilapia against the fold and cover with veggies. Sprinkle with seasoning mix and wine. Dot with butter.

2. Fold parchment paper over itself and twist edges closed. Place on a baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes. Parchment will be puffed and slightly browned when the dish is finished.

You can open the parchment packets at the table if you want to "wow" everyone, or simply plate it before serving. Enjoy!