Iron Chef Michigan – Battle: Lasagna

On Saturday night, we celebrated February birthdays in our family.  Lauren and I were tasked with each making a lasagna for the dinner.  While both were very very good, they each brought their own uniqueness to the dinner.  The Crew’s lasagna consisted of homemade noodles – that the boys were in charge of and also did not contain meat.  Lauren’s was the meat lasagna and *gasp* store bought noodles.

Both were immediately gobbled up with just a small amount left for a midnight snack.

You couldn’t pick a winner since each had distinct qualities.  I call it a ‘Tie’

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Who Doesn’t Love a Chunky Monkey?

When I was pregnant with Jared, I craved Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream.  I couldn’t understand why it only came in a pint size….I mean seriously, this pregnant woman would’ve downed a gallon at a time.  And that is why I still carry baby weight and Jared is 8 years old.  But that’s another story for another time.  Or maybe that’s just a story I will keep to myself.

Today I stared at 4 squishy bananas in the basket and thought it was such a waste to throw them out.  But I just couldn’t fathom making banana bread.  It sounded so ‘blah’. And so I was this close to just tossing them away.  But my food processor was calling out to me.  My fancy new one with the dough blade was just begging to be used.  So I went to TasteSpotting and searched bananas.  And what to my wandering eyes did appear – Chunky Monkey Biscotti!  This appealed to me in several ways.  Well, ok 2 – the catchy name and the fact that it was biscotti…..that hits home with this Sicilian.

I made a batch this afternoon and then bagged some up and shared them as early Valentine treats with the family.

The recipe comes courtesy of Sugar Plum.

Chunky Monkey Biscotti

(Recipe from Sugar Plum)
Yields: approx. 30
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter   (*I used natural creamy PB – and it was just fine!)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melted chocolate for dipping, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; whisk in sugar and chocolate chips until combined.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together banana, eggs, peanut butter and vanilla until well combined.  Stir in dry ingredients until well combined.  Divide dough and shape into three (9 x 2 1/3–inch) logs on cookie sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes; cool 5 minutes before transferring logs to wire racks to cool an additional 15 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board and cut rolls diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices.  Place, cut sides down, on baking sheet.  Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees; bake 10 minutes.  Turn cookies over; bake an additional 15 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool).  Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire racks.

Dip in melted chocolate if desired.

The Crew Cooks and bakes and burns

We’ve decided to start a new blog, strictly dedicated to the food part of our lives.  This is a very important part of us.  There are days when the thoughts of food are what gets us through.  We love trying new recipes – most of which now a days come to us from other food bloggies.  So why just watch from the sidelines?  We decided to throw our chefs hat into the pot.

We hope you enjoy perusing.  Maybe one of our recipes will inspire you.  If so, and you really like it – let us know!  If you don’t, you can tell us that too, just be gentle!

Manja!!!

Mousaka

Somewhere during the scoping of the various, the recipe on what settled, lay at epicurious.  However, memory did vibe when re-appraised.  With the imposed modifications, it’s not certain how that recipe actually holds up — but it’s a good start.

First of all — it needs some body.  There’s no possible way 28 oz. of crushed tomatoes with the veggies is anything but soup, unless it’s cooked down for a looong time.  By good fortune and poor memory, brown lentils were adopted at the mediterranian market, and perplexed by the discovery they weren’t actually called for, some were cooked up just to done as it sounded like an excellent match.  Adding them in to cook with the veggies and tomato did a fine job of absorbing the extra liquid and gave the dish the congeality it needs.

Second, 1/2 t of cinnamon and 1 t of oregano are ridiculously minute amounts to expect to reach through that much tomato.  Easily doubled, turned out very nice.

Lastly, the lovely topping didn’t set up quite right — perhaps due to impatience, not allowing the milk and flour to properly thicken.

With adaptions:  Damn delightful.

Bi Bim Bap

20141018_174019Sauce:

  • 4T gochuchang
  • 1T sugar
  • 1T sesame seeds
  • 2t sesame oil

CheatB3, with per-seasoned kit from the Korean market, with added carrots, cucumber, and a unfortunately fried egg, and no stone bowl — but the rice fried on high in the cast iron to get it slightly crispy.

Pizza dough

Supposed to be awesome, from nancy silverton — Kids’ favorite

Makes enough dough for 6 pizzas; each pizza serves 1
Ingredients
22 ounces warm tap water (2 cups, 6 ounces)
1⁄2 ounce (1 Tbsp) compressed yeast or 1 tsp active dry yeast
26 ounces unbleached bread flour, plus more as needed
1⁄2 ounce (1 Tbsp) dark rye flour or medium rye flour
1 1⁄2 tsp wheat germ
1 1⁄2 tsp barley malt or mild-flavored honey, such as clover or wildflower
1⁄2 ounce (1 Tbsp) kosher salt
Olive oil, grapeseed oil, or another neutral flavored oil, such as canola oil, for greasing the bowl
Directions

To make the sponge, put 15 ounces of the water and the yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer and let it sit for a few minutes to dissolve the yeast. Add 13 ounces of the bread flour, the rye flour, and the wheat germ. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients. Wrap the bowl tightly in plastic wrap and tightly wrap the perimeter of the bowl with kitchen twine or another piece of plastic wrap to further seal the bowl. Set the dough aside at room temperature (ideally 68 to 70 degrees) for 1 1⁄2 hours.

Uncover the bowl and add the remaining 7 ounces of water, the remaining 13 ounces of bread flour, and the barley malt. Fit the mixer with a dough hook, place the bowl on the mixer stand, and mix the dough on low speed for 2 minutes. Add the salt and mix on medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Note that the dough will not pull so much that it completely cleans the bowl, but if the dough is too sticky and is not pulling away from the sides at all, throw a small handful of flour into the bowl to make it less sticky. While the dough is mixing, lightly grease with olive oil a bowl large enough to hold the dough when it doubles in size. Turn the dough out of the mixer into the oiled bowl. Wrap the bowl as before. Set the dough aside at room temperature for 45 minutes. Dust your work surface lightly with flour and turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Acting as if the round has four sides, fold the edges of the dough toward the center. Turn the dough over and return it, folded side down, to the bowl. Cover the bowl again with plastic wrap and set it aside for 45 minutes.

Dust your work surface again lightly with flour and turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Divide the dough into six equal segments, each weighing approximately 7 ounces. Gently tuck the edges of each round of dough under itself. Cover the dough rounds with a clean dishtowel and let them rest for 5 minutes.

Lightly flour your hands and use both hands to gather each round of dough into a taut ball. Dust a baking sheet generously with flour and place the dough rounds on the baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with the dishtowel and set them again at room temperature for 1 hour to proof the dough. (Or leave the dough on the counter to proof instead.)