Hang on to your hats, folks, because this month's Daring Cooks' Challenge was an awesome one, and there's a contest that goes along with it this month!
Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!
The best part about this challenge was that it allowed for total creativity on the part of us member cooks. And let me tell you, there was such creativity displayed that I was completely blown away.
Renata provided several examples to get our thoughts rolling, but did not limit the cooks at all by her suggestions, and allowed complete creative license for this challenge.
I actually read this challenge on the Daring Kitchen site bright and early in the morning on the day it was posted, and was so inspired by one of the examples that Renata posted that I made it for breakfast - toast cups! They are so easy to do, and completely fun.
I cut two slice of honey whole wheat bread and then used a flower cookie cutter to cut out, well, a flower shape from each slice:
Each flower was then carefully placed into the well of a cupcake pan, with the middle serving as the bottom and the petals forming the sides of the cup, like so:
A few minutes in the oven (during which little miss and I nibbled on the outsides of the bread that were not used for the container), and the bread was deliciously toasted and held its shape beautifully! To make it a complete breakfast, we filled our cups with scrambled eggs:
I have to tell you, this was quick, fun, and made for a really cute breakfast. I was off to a roaring start with this challenge, and couldn't wait to try another edible container.
I actually had several ideas that I was anxious to try out, but the month was completely crazy busy (two sick kids, husband traveling for work, birthdays and birthday parties...). While I am disappointed that I wasn't able to try all of the ideas that I had, I was able to try my hand at one more, and it was something that I'd wanted to try for a long time - bread bowls. More specifically, bread bowls to hold chili.
It might not sound all that daring, but it was something that I'd never done before, and that I had wanted to try for years. Before my mommy days, back when I worked in a real office, one of my favorite days in the cafeteria (and, in fact, one of the few days that I didn't bring a packed lunch from home) was chili in a bread bowl day. Somehow, chili tastes better out of a bread bowl - better than with bread on the side. No idea why. So I thought that this edible container challenge was the perfect opportunity to give it a shot.
I made it a little harder on myself by trying to find a cornbread bread bowl recipe, as the combination of chili and cornbread is just such a classic. The only problem is that cornbread, on its own, is just to porous and does not have enough strength or structure to make a good bread bowl. So I wound up using a recipe that is pretty much a regular bread bowl recipe, but that substitutes in some cornmeal for some of the flour to give it more of a cornbread taste and feel.
An interesting recommendation that I had seen while researching bread bowls was to score the shaped and risen bread right before baking in order to make it easier to cut off the lid later. I was nervous that cutting into the dough would cause it to deflate too much, so I only tried it with two of my four bread bowls, on the off change it didn't work.
While the bread deflated a bit upon being scored, it really didn't cause any damage to the structure, and what came out of the oven were some strong-crusted, very well sized breads just waiting to be hollowed and filled with some home-made chili
I started with one of the breads that I'd scored, and the line did give a good guideline for cutting a lid, but, to be honest, it was not any harder to cut the ones without the scoring, so I will skip that step next time.
The filled bread bowls made for a super fun dinner that night:
The bowls actually held quite a bit of chili, once they were all hollowed out:
Even little miss got in on the fun. She had insisted all day that she did not want a bread bowl, only some bread. So I started off by giving her the lid and some of the bread that had been pulled from my bowl in order to hollow it out. Halfway through dinner, check out what she was doing:
Yup - chili really does taste better out of a bread bowl!
As I said, I am only disappointed that I didn't have a chance to try all of the ideas that I had during the actual challenge month, because I think that some of them might have been creative enough to be contenders for the contest mentioned above, but hey - I will absolutely give them a go anyway, just for the fun of it, when time permits.
Renata, I cannot thank you enough for this challenge. I love that you challenged our creativity and allowed us the freedom to really follow wherever our inspiration led. The amazing creations crafted by the Daring Cooks community this month is a true testament to what a wonderful challenge this was, and I cannot imagine that anyone could have been a better host(ess) for it.
I strongly urge you to check out the amazing edible containers created by the Daring Cooks this month - you will be truly impressed, amazed and wowed by what this incredible group of cooks came up with. Check them out here.
9 hours ago