Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daring Bakers May Challenge: White Chocolate Lavender "Opera" Cake!!!

When I saw this month's Daring Bakers Challenge, I was very excited! An opera cake! How thrilling! How delicious! How hard!

Chosen by the lovely ladies, Fran, Shea, Lis, and Ivonne, and dedicated to Barbara, these opera cakes had to be light in color and flavor instead of the typical chocolate and coffee. They decided this in order to support Barbara's Taste of Yellow event which advocates the LiveSTRONG foundation. I enjoyed the extra challenge, choosing a white chocolate and lavender opera cake. I did not have a jellyroll pan so I used regular pans. The challenge was fun! Definitely, one of my more labor and time intensive cakes. I was a little frustrated and impatient by the end. I did not let my glaze cool enough before pouring it on top, causing some of the mousse to go sliding off the top of the cake. But I covered my mistake with more glaze once it had cooled some more. The cake tasted great and even better the next day. The lavender was not too overpowering. I was very afraid it would taste like soap!

White Chocolate Lavender "Opera" Cake

Check out the recipe here.

White Chocolate Lavender Mousse

7 ounces white chocolate
1 cup heavy cream infused with 2 tablespoon lavender (adapted from here)
3 tbsp. heavy cream (35% cream)

1. Bring a cup of heavy cream and 2 tablespoon lavender to a slight boil over low heat.
2. Remove from heat and allow to seep for 30 minutes.
3. Strain out the lavender and place in the fridge to cool
4. Melt the white chocolate and the 3 tbsp. of heavy cream in a small saucepan.
5.Stir to ensure that it’s smooth and that the chocolate is melted. Add the tablespoon of liqueur to the chocolate and stir. Set aside to cool completely.
6.In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form.
7.Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse.
8.If it’s too thin, refrigerate it for a bit until it’s spreadable.
9.If you’re not going to use it right away, refrigerate until you’re ready to use.

P.S. Check out the rest of the Daring Bakers creations.

Click Here for Recipe...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Spoils of Packing...

Last week, as part of my sister's graduation weekend of celebration and fun, we also had the unfortunate but necessary duty to move her out of her apartment. So, all of last Monday, we sorted, boxed, threw out and packed the last four years of her life.

At one point, my sister asked me to go through the pantry and throw out her leftover food. I cringed at the thought but unfortunately, it didn't make sense to ship it all back home. Well, when I opened it up to see boxes and boxes of unopened rice pilaf, couscous and pasta, there was no way that I was going to let it all go to waste. I grabbed an old Victoria Secret shopping bag and went shopping.

She even had a couple cans of Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip icing! I am definitely a baking purist but a Funfetti cupcake with Rainbow Chip icing is my favorite half-birthday treat. This past February, I discovered that you can not find Rainbow Chip icing anywhere around here. But up in Boston, my sister was squandering two whole cans! My roommates were very excited to see me come home with this loot. I somehow miraculously managed to squeeze it all into my suitcase. I also nabbed a pair of her "old" jeans and they look absolutely awesome on me!

This dish, I came up with last night when I was looking over my spoils and what was about to spoil in the fridge. I do not normally buy anything that has a flavor packet because I enjoy making my own. This couscous had real pine nuts in the flavor packet so I thought I would try it. Turned out really well for a quick dinner!

Couscous with Mushroom, Spinach, and Goat Cheese

1 box of Pine Nut of Couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups sliced Mushrooms
2 cups Spinach
1 cup Goat Cheese

1. Prepare the Couscous as directed.
2. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil.
3. Saute the Mushrooms and Spinach. Cover with a lid for about 5 minutes to wilt the spinach.
4. Stir the cooked mushrooms and spinach into the couscous. Crumble the goat cheese into the mixture.

P.S. Next time, I think I would add some sundried tomatoes and more pine nuts to jazz up the couscous a little more.

Click Here for Recipe...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Taste and Create Part 2: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

For my second recipe for Taste and Create IV from Veronica's La Recette du Jour, I made Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Although, I never thought I would get caught up in the no-knead bread fad...I have! I love having fresh bread! This makes it possible more frequently. There is also the extra benefit of not angering my roommates by covering the kitchen with flour. No matter how hard I try to clean up...we still find flour in the oddest places!

When I saw this recipe, I was excited because Veronica said it was possible to mix it up, throw it in the fridge and pull out a bit when you want some fresh bread! So, I tried it and I am very happy with the results. I am thinking about throwing in another loaf right now. Veronica gives her readers some excellent advice and tips, especially if you are not cooking in America. I was lucky on this one as the recipe was written in cups and based on the flour I can get here. She recommended using a pizza stone and not worrying about using an oven thermometer. I took both tips and it work well! Delicious!

And now for a tag and award...

Elle of Elle's New England Kitchen tagged me with"Look What I Made." Started by Farida at Farida's Azerbaijani Cookbook, I was asked to make a list of recipes I have made from other blogs. I love this tag because it is great to see what other recipes people have tried.

Butterscotch Mascarpone Cream Layer Cake from Tartelette
Pasta & corn salad with red bell pepper sauce from Kitchen Unplugged
3. Chicken Pot Pie with Cilantro Biscuits from Wandering Chopsticks
4. Chocolate Tribute Cake from Veronica's Test Kitchen
5. Chubble* Bread from To be Mrs. Marv…

My tags....
1. Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy
2. Lore of Culinarty
3. Veggie Girl
4. Kristin of The Pearl Onion
5. Nemmie of Cast Sugar

Sylvie of A Pot of Tea and Biscuit bestowed this wonderful award upon me. Thank you so much Sylvie! It made my day!

I struggled to figure out who to award this to, as I read so many worthy blogs, but finally decided upon...

1. Kevin of Closet Cooking
2. Jen of Use Real Butter

You all have excellent blogs and I look forward to reading them everyday!!!

Simple Crusty Bread

Adapted from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007)

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough


1. In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on pan sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.

3. Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

4. Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.

P.S. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Click Here for Recipe...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Taste and Create Part 1: Rocket Mousselines!

Don't you just hate it when real life gets in way of your blogging? This past week has been very hectic and busy...I have barely had a chance to read a few blogs here and there let alone do something for my own.

Last weekend, my sister graduated from college. I met my family in Boston for a long weekend of eating, drinking, and some more eating. It was a really fun weekend but when I got back late Monday evening, I was exhausted and sick of eating so many large meals. I decided to take a couple more days off. Tonight, I finally found my desire to cook again and just in time for the event Taste and Create IV. This month I was paired with Veronica of La Recette du Jour. My job was to look over this beautiful blog, pick some recipes to try and report back. After much reading and deliberating, I decided upon two...the Rocket Mousselines and Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

When I was living in Rome, my friends and I would see Rocket on the menu but, showing our American ignorance, had no idea what it was. Eventually, we ordered some pizza with Rocket and discovered that Rocket is Arugula!

I really liked this recipe because it seemed like a perfect light dinner. I struggled a little bit with converting the gram measurements (I really do need to invest in a scale) but I think it turned out great. Also, I halved the recipe and it made two ramekins. I took Veronica's suggestion pairing it with a salad and drizzled with a lemon vinaigrette. Delicious! Exactly what I was craving!

Check out La Racette du Jour's recipe for Rocket Mousselines

Arugula Mousselines

1 cup arugula leaves
1/2 cup soft cheese such as ricotta or goat's cheese
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 egg
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan
fresh basil (about 6 large leaves)
salt, pepper, nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 320 F.
2. Bring a pan of water to the boil and have ready a bowl of iced water.
3. Throw the rocket into the boiling water, blanch for 30 seconds, drain, and immediately tip into the bowl of iced water.
4. Food process the eggs, cream, and cheese with the seasonings.
5. Squeeze out the rocket, add to the liquidizer with the basil and parmesan, and mix again.
6. Pour the mixture into buttered muffin tins or ramekins and bake for 25-30 minutes until set.
7. Turn out onto plates and serve warm.

P.S. Check out my post on Saturday for Veronica's Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Click Here for Recipe...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Confessions of a Food Blogger...

My boyfriend jokingly commented that I've been eating like a five year old lately. So what if I have been making Kraft mac and cheese, ordering pizza and having peanut butter sandwiches? I am an adult and I can do what I want...Ginny whines, stomping her foot.

Yes, I know, I just wrote a post about trying to be more healthy but then I hit a few stressful days and found myself reaching for some quick comfort food. I had no inspiration to cook so I relied on some old favorites.

Before this short diet derailment, I had challenged myself by trying to make dinner without the use of olive oil or butter...yes, maybe, I should get a life but culinary games are so much fun. Recently, I made Allen of Eating Out Loud's Citrus Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables served with seared scallops and some roasted salmon. It was absolutely fabulous! I highly recommend making it! This left me with some leftover red onion and asparagus. I decided to caramelize them with some balsamic and put it over my latest favorite find, Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend with Israeli Style Couscous, Orzo, Baby Garbanzo Beans, and Red Quinoa. I am sending this over to Ruth's Presto Pasta Night. Check it out for more great pasta ideas!

And please do not stop reading my blog because I eat Kraft mac and cheese occasionally. With the Spiderman shapes, how can you resist? We all have our secret anti-foodie pleasure. Actually, what is yours?

Balsamic Asparagus and Red Onion Pasta

1/2 bunch Asparagus (chopped into small 1 in pieces)
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 pound of pasta

1. Spray frying pan with Pam and throw in the crushed red pepper.
2. Saute asparagus and red onion in the frying pan.
3. Mix in balsamic vinegar and cover with a lid to steam the vegetables. When they are tender and carmalized, remove from heat and mix with pasta.

P.S. I sprinkled some shredded mozzarella over it because I wanted something a little gooey. I wish I had some goat cheese instead as it would have added a good flavor to it. Michelle over at Tarheel Table just made a Pasta with grilled chicken and vegetables with a goat cheese sauce that would be great with something like this.

Click Here for Recipe...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Free and "Healthy" Chocolate? I'll take it!

When I stumbled across Blake's of Blake Makes group of taste testing food bloggers, the Sooper Heroes, I couldn't wait to join. If a food company wanted to send me some free food to taste and test, I would gladly give it a shot. I love trying anything new and different. Last week as I was walking out of my apartment, I stumbled across the cutest little box of CHOCOLATE!!!! My first give-a-way had come!!! Amano Artisan Chocolate had sent me three bars of high quality delicious chocolate. For this chocolate lover, I was hooked...

But then, I stared at the bars, Ocumare, Madagascar, and Cuyagua. They just stared back at me, threatening me to destroy my healthy pledge and devour them in all one sitting. I could not decide how to go about this...should I research how to preform an official taste test and get my roommates involved? But wait one does not like dark chocolate and the other went home for the weekend... Ok, should I bake something with them? I had been looking at an amazing brioche recipe that besides the three sticks of butter would not be that bad...oh, yes, healthy! But then, as I find happens often in blogging world, I stumbled across the perfect post...the fabulous Mandy from Fresh from the Oven wrote and beautifully photographed about her Almond and Dark Chocolate Granola...I knew what I would make!

Lately, I have been making a huge effort to become healthier. I started working out more regularly and modified my diet a little bit. I've managed to lose some weight, feeling overall healthier and happier. My diet, however, could still use some work. Although, I tend to eat with moderation, I have my days of gluttony. Thankfully, dark chocolate is supposed to be very healthy and thus a perfect addition to a granola. Honestly, I just googled "dark chocolate"...try it! The first four website are links to article proclaiming the health benefits of dark chocolate. I mean, if the internet says it, it must be true!

Of course, my final problem was which of the bars to use or maybe a mixture of the three. So, I took a piece of each and determined which I liked the best. I found Cayagua to be very mild and smooth dark chocolate. The Madagscar was the strongest and fruitiest. The Ocumare was strong but not too powerful and definitely my favorite. The chocolate really is delicious! I chopped up the Cayagua for the granola since I did not want something too overpowering for my next couple breakfasts. I really like it! Thank you Mandy for the idea, Amano for the chocolate and Blake for the creating the Sooper Heroes!

Almond and Dark Chocolate Granola
(adapted from Mandy of Fresh from the Oven and inspired by this recipe)

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
5 tbsp mild honey
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 block of 3.5oz 70% chocolate or more, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 300°F.
In a food processor, coffee grinder or blender, grind half the oats to a fine powder.

In a large bowl, combine the grinded oats, oats, almonds, brown sugar, and salt. Stir well to blend.

Zap the honey, maple syrup and oil over in the microwave for 15 seconds –until the honey is loose, this should not take long, about 15 seconds. Pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to combine well.

Spread the mixture evenly on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Stirring the granola half way through for even baking. When it’s ready, remove the pan from the oven, stir well – this will keep it from cooling into a hard, solid sheet – and cool completely.

When cool, transfer the granola to a large bowl, storage jar, or zipper-lock plastic bag. Add the chocolate, and stir (or shake, if using a jar or bag) to mix.

Makes about 5 cups.

P.S. Check out Mandy's blog Fresh from the Oven. She is a wonderful baker and a fantastic photographer!

Click Here for Recipe...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Yodeling for Swiss Chard by My Mom

My introduction to Swiss chard was during a Sunday dinner at my future in-laws' home when I was about 16. There was the homemade sauce and pasta, meatballs, a roast, and a bowl of cooked, green, leafy vegetables that looked sort of like spinach. I asked what it was and my future father-in-law said, "It's Swiss chard. Eat some and it will clear up your face". I don't even remember if I tasted it at that time. But years later when I was married, my husband and I bought our first house and we planted a vegetable garden that included Swiss chard.

What is Swiss about Swiss chard? We lived in Switzerland for several years and I don't recall seeing any there. I've done some research to find that Swiss chard is so named because the Swiss botanist, Koch, determined the scientific name of the plant in the 19th century and the name honors his homeland. Swiss chard originates in the Mediterranean area specifically Sicily. If you check out Italian cookbooks, there are always recipes that use Swiss chard. My copy of the first Marcella Hazan has three different recipes, one for a tortellini filling, one for the stalks with parmesan, and the other for a cold salad of the cooked leaves.

According to the World's Healthiest Foods website, Swiss chard is the "valedictorian" of vegetables because it is so low in calories and rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc, although there was no mention that it cleared up acne! It's been around for a long time and was used medicinally by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Botanically, Swiss chard is a member of the beet and spinach family and is very easy to grow. It is hardy to about 20 degrees F so you can sow the seed in the fall for an early spring crop. To harvest, pick the outer leaves of the plant and it will keep on producing throughout the growing season. I like the small leaves because they are tender. When the leaves get bigger then the stalk gets tougher much like celery. In that case, you can boil the stalks for about 10 minutes and then add the leaves. The Swiss chard available in the stores is often organically grown in California and has red, orange, or yellow stalks and veins and is called "Rainbow Chard".

All this brings me to my entry for the "Dollar Dish Duel". Some years ago on a cold, February Lenten Friday, I was trying to think of a meatless dinner. Before going to the grocery store, I took a walk around the yard and there in the vegetable garden was some beautiful Swiss chard, the first of the year. I picked a bowlful and cleaned it and then the following recipe was born.

-Ginny's Mom


3 tablespoonfuls olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 can ceci (pronounced "chaychee", AKA chickpeas, garbanzo beans)
1 bunch of Swiss chard
1 cup vegetable broth (use a bouillon cube dissolved in a cup of boiling water)
1 lb of spaghetti
grated cheese either romano or parmesan

Warm the oil in a large skillet. Mince the garlic and cook in the oil. Drain the ceci well and add to the pan. Cook for a few minutes stirring often. Wash the Swiss chard thoroughly . Discard the stalks if overly large and tough. Chop into large pieces and add to the pan. Saute for a few minutes. Pour the vegetable broth into the pan, bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer and cover.

Cook the spaghetti and drain. Arrange the pasta on a platter. Pour the ceci and chard mixture over the pasta. Serve with grated cheese.

Cost of the dish:
The spaghetti was 0.88, the Swiss chard was 2.99, the can of ceci was 0.60 for a total of $4.47. The pantry staples were the bouillon cube, the olive oil and the garlic. That leaves only 0.53 for grated cheese. However, this dish will serve 4 to 6 persons and if you grow the chard in the garden then it's really cheap!!


P.S. Ginny here...time for The Dollar Dish Duel WINNER!!!!! My judges had a very difficult decision, as all the dollar dishes were excellent, but I think they were all up to the challenge. Just to let everyone know, I did not tell them anything about the entries until the round-up went up on Tuesday, in hopes of keeping them impartial. They read every blog entry and made their decision. The winner of the first Dollar Dish Duel is Kristin of the Pearl Onion for her Soft Boiled Egg Prosciutto with Rustic Toast. She will receive The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider. Thank you again for participating!!! Also, thank you to my mother for the wonderful post!!! and my father for the delicious photo! Happy early Mother's Day!!!!

Click Here for Recipe...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Dollar Dish Duel Round-Up!!!

The day you have all been waiting for has come...THE DOLLAR DISH DUEL ROUND UP!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I have mentioned, the inspiration for this duel originally came from an article in the New York Times entitled "5 Cooks, $40, 5 Dishes, 3 Desserts." However, as gas and food prices continue to rise, this event seemed to be nicely timed. It forced me to start thinking about how to cut costs but still make an excellent meal. An important skill to have! I found myself roaming around the grocery store and trying to figure out more ways to cut costs. I don't know about the rest of you but I loved this challenge! Due to the positive response and relevance to everyday life, I plan to do it again, especially once I go back to being a starving student this fall...

Without further ado...I am very proud to introduce eight delicious dishes for our duel!!! Thank you all for participating and for everyone's support through my first event. The contestants had to make a dish to feed at least two people for under $5. They could also use three staples from their pantry. My judges, roommates and boyfriend, shall deliberate shortly and decide upon who wins the The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider. Then, on Friday, I will announce the winner along with a guest post from my mother. You hear that mom? Are you writing?

So, let the games begin!

Serving us Soft Boiled Egg Prosciutto with Rustic Toast for $3.66, Kristin of the Pearl Onion from New York, NY gives us some great tips for Soft Boiling Eggs. A technique I really need to try!

LyB of And then I do the dishes from Lévis, Québec, Canada makes a delicious Zucchini and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
for lunch. A sun-dried tomatoes meal for under $5? A fabulous idea!

All the way from Manila, Philippines, Heart of Heart and Hearth brings us Stuffed Tilapia for the low price of $1.12! Stuffed with onions, tomatoes and garlic, this is a great quick and nutritious meal!

Rachel of Wheat-Free, Meat Free from upstate New York entered Spanish Rice in Crockpot. A delicious, easy and cheap meal! What could be better?

Brandi of Rantings of a Dixie Pixie in Yankee Land from a small town western in NY bring us Mama's Texas Goulash for $4.97. A very comforting meal that also comforts your wallet!

Creating a Pasta Frittata for the low price of $2.27, Terry of Blue Kitchen in Chicago, IL proves you can make an under $5 meal worthy of company. When can I come to dinner?

Ivy of Kopiaste, to Greek Hospitality from Greece gives us Patates Antinahtes a delicious and simple Cypriot recipe that means "Tossed Potatoes." Pair it with a salad and you have a great and inexpensive dinner!

Smita from Smita Serves You Right in Rochester, NY made Chocolate Orange Raisin Cakes in the Microwave! Make an inexpensive version with some orange juice or want to splurge? Use some Grand Mariner or rum!

If anyone accidentally fell through the cracks and I did not include you please email me. I'll add you to the round-up post-haste! Thank you all again for participating! It was so much fun and I loved hosting it!

Click Here for Recipe...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My Second Dollar Dish: Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo

My dad always makes the Fettucini Alfredo in our family. Once, I walked into the kitchen to discover my mother making Fettucini Alfredo for dinner. It puzzled me. How did she know what to do? It was Dad's recipe. I asked her about it and she looked at me like I was crazy. But in my young mind, only Dad could make Fettucini Alfredo.

In my family, we can all cook. Even my sister, who has now made her fame through Ramen, bakes amazing orgasmic Pots du Chocolate. Due to work, my father rarely has time to cook but he has invented some delicious dishes such as his famous ham-cucumber stuffed pork chops. Today, as I was craving his creamy alfredo sauce, I began to think about how my father has influenced my culinary development. He has always encouraged me to do what I love, be creative and push myself to do well. These values have spilled into my kitchen and impacted my own cooking. In my dad's honor, I decided to tweak his original alfredo recipe by making a Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo.

I, also, really wanted to post another Dollar Dish since tomorrow is the deadline. I had bought ingredients to make stuffed red peppers for under $5 but I could not get excited for the dish. Instead, I found myself craving this alfredo sauce. So, I hope you will forgive me but this sauce was not exactly under $5 but it is possible. When I first created my Dollar Dish Duel, I went to the dollar store to check out what kind of food one could find for a dollar. I stumbled across a huge jar of roasted red peppers but I did not have any cash on me and paying a dollar with a credit card seemed silly. So when I had this idea for the alfredo today, my options were to either waste gas to go back to the dollar store or use the red pepper that I bought last week. I opted for roasting my own pepper. If you factor in the dollar jar of roasted red peppers with the whipping cream ($1.25), 1 cup of Parmesan (about $1), and pasta ($1), the dish comes to about $4.25. The dinner was great and there are leftovers for me to take for lunch tomorrow! There is still time to enter the me your submissions by tomorrow (May 5th). For details, click on the logo...

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo

1 roasted Red Pepper, chopped
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 cup whipping cream
1 box of pasta

1 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Prepare pasta according to directions.
2. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until melted.
3. Saute garlic and red pepper in butter.
4. Add pasta to the saucepan.
5. Stir in whip cream and paremsan.
6. Cook until thickened and season with nutmeg.

P.S. How to roast a pepper? Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Please the pepper on a baking sheet and roast until the top begins to blacken. Rotate the pepper until all the sides are blackened. Remove from oven and place in a brown paper bag to cool. This helps the skin come off easily.

Click Here for Recipe...

Friday, May 2, 2008

My First Dollar Dish and a Guest Blogger

Yesterday, my sister took her last exam! In a few short weeks, she will graduating from college. In the fall, she will begin law school at Carolina! I am very proud of her and all her accomplishments! GO RESA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In honor of her finishing her collegiate career, I wanted to share with you her entry into my Dollar Dish Duel...

Like my sister, when I first came up with the Dollar Dish Duel, I immediately thought of Ramen. The go to of college students all around because it is very inexpensive and filling...So, I decided to jazz up Ramen. But how?

Ginger came to mind as a flavorful and inexpensive spice. I bought a piece of fresh ginger root that was about two inches long for three cents!!! For a protein, I decided upon tofu ($1.79) and grabbed a cheap bunch of green onions ($.69) for some added flavor. I ended up going with Rice Noodles ($1.98) in lieu of Ramen just because they looked interesting. This all came to $4.40. From my pantry, I took leftover soy sauce packets, honey and some vegetable oil. Overall, I was satisfied with my creation. The flavors worked really well. The ginger was strong enough to flavor the tofu but not too overpowering. Next time I would use extra firm tofu because my tofu crumbled easily. I would also make the oil hotter and fry the tofu. So there is my first dollar dish! Stay tuned...more to come!

It is not to late to enter my Dollar Dish Duel. Deadline is May 5th! Round-up on May 7th! Click on the Logo for more details!

Ginger-Green Onion Tofu Noodles

1 tablespoon Ginger, minced
1 bunch Green Onions, chopped
2 packets Thai Rice Noodles
1 12 oz. package Firm Tofu

3 staples:
1 tablespoon Honey
4 tablespoons Soy Sauce from packets leftover from takeout
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1. Slice the tofu into one inch cubes.
2. Mix tofu with soy sauce, ginger and honey. Let sit for 30 minutes.
3. In a fry pan, heat oil over medium heat and sautee the green onions.
4. Add tofu mixture and cook until browned.
5. Make Rice Noodles, discarding seasoning packets, according to instructions.
6. Drain water from noodles.
7. Mix with tofu mixture and enjoy!

P.S. How to easily remove the skin from the ginger? Take a spoon and scrape off the skin. Comes off very easily so you can grate or chop the ginger.

Click Here for Recipe...