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Finally… I am back with my Daring Cooks Challenge…Pierogies! August 15, 2010

Filed under: Daring Kitchen,Dinner — livelovetobake @ 8:37 pm

Wow… It has been quite some time since I have blogged.  Yikes!  I have been baking and cooking although unfortunately just not blogging about it.  I guess it had to take something near and dear to my heart to make me start blogging again. 

Can you guess what the near and dear is?



Daring Baker’s Challenge May 2010: Piece Montée or Croquembouche May 27, 2010

Filed under: Daring Kitchen,Desserts — livelovetobake @ 5:56 am

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

For this Challenge there were 3 Components


1. Pate a choux (Puff Pastries)

2. Creme Patissiere (Cream Filling)

3. Glaze


To be honest I am not a huge fan of creme puffs.  The puff pastry just does not do anything for me.  I guess as the saying goes though…. it is what is on the inside that counts!  Although for this challenge the outside or puff pastry was the part that would be seen not the inside.  Luckily, the recipe that we had to use for the puff pastries seemed pretty easy and they turned out beautiful!  The hardest part for me was the stirring of the eggs into the batter because it seemed to take Fooooorever.  Well it did not really take forever but my arm definitely got a workout since I was feeling the burn 🙂  The consistency of the inside of the puff pastries required some tweeking.  The first attempt was too custardy for me.  The second attempt was a perfect balance!  Finally, was the assembly and decorating of the croquembouche.  I was a little nervous about how it would turn out but I was sooo thrilled with the results!  Would you like to see some (more…)


Daring Cooks May Challenge:Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas May 16, 2010

Filed under: Daring Kitchen,Dinner,Lunch — livelovetobake @ 2:56 pm

I was very excited this month when the new daring cook challenge was revealed and it was enchiladas!  Two things that would be new for me was making our green chile sauce from scratch and the option to make tortillas.  I ended up making a yummy tasting and suprising not spicy green chile sauce and the tortillas needed work.  Luckily, my parents decided to come into town and help with my challenge.  It seemed to have taken forever…perhaps because I had my heart set on making two sauces, a green chile and chocolate mole, as well as a mexican flan.  The chocolate mole sauce was too spicy for me but we used it as a dipping sauce.  I am not going to post the recipe but I linked it above.  Since the tortillas turned out okay I decided not to post that recipe either and will have to find a better recipe.  All in all it got done and the taste was worth all the hard work that went into it.   

 Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.



My First Daring Bakers Challenge: Traditional British Pudding April 27, 2010

Filed under: Daring Kitchen,Desserts,Puddings — livelovetobake @ 10:41 pm

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.  Additionally, Esther wanted us to make our puddings using the process of steaming.

Well to be honset this was not what I thought my first daring bakers challenge with the would be about.  Although it did not take me long to realize that this would indeed be quite a challenge for me.  Actually there were many challenges that I stumbled into along the way.  Overall, I am so glad that Esther chose this for my first Daring Baker Challenge because I probably would have never made a Traditional British Pudding on my own in addition to using suet for baking. 

1st challenge ( as many will surely agree)

What is suet and where can I buy it?

Definition of suet:  is raw beef or mutton fat, especially the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys (according to wikipedia)

Hmmm… okay so it is fat.

I learned that in the United States suet can be purchased at a butcher or a grocery store behind the meat counter.  The first time I purchased the suet I was quite relieved when they knew what I was talking about because I had no idea how I was going to try and explain it!  I had visited Whole Foods and it turns out that I was lucky they had it on hand and were able to give me some right then.  I learned by visiting two other times and aksing if they had any suet that it was something that I needed to call ahead about to make sure they put some aside.  Which definately made sense to me because who else would be wanting to buy suet….lesson learned.  The other place that I went to check for suet was our local Pennsylvania Dutch Market.  I went up to the butcher counter and asked if they had suet.  The lady said yes and when she asked how much I was so excited that I just said 3-5 lbs!  I know that it may sound like alot and when I was carrying my 5 lb bag of suet to the car it sure felt like alot.  You see the tricky thing about purchasing suet is that when you render it down to make tallow it does not yield the same amount you started with.   

2nd Challenge

How to render the suet and make tallow?

This is the part that I was really nervous about.  I think it had to do with the fact that I would be working with hot oil and could burn myself.  Although I was also unsure of what everything was supposed to look like during the process and how exactly the rendering was done.  Luckily, this link was posted in our Daring Bakers forum and boy was it a blessing!  I really liked that it had a step by step process with pictures showing how to render the suet into tallow.  After I had my suet and I also ended up purchasing a rice press, I was ready to begin rendering.

3rd Challenge 

 Oh I have made puddings before….but not this kind?! 

I have made two types of puddings in my life.  One being Jello pudding from the box mix.  The other is one of my favorites a chocolate malt pudding from scratch.  After both of those kinds are heated they get put into the refrigerator before you eat them.  So this type of Traditional British Pudding was a new thing to me altogether.  It did not require heating on the stove, never needed refrigeration, and depending on the kind you made was either like a sponge cake or had a crust with soup like contents inside.  Also, the pudding could either be sweet or savory.  I decided to lean towards the sweet side! 

4th Challenge

How should the pudding be covered and how long will it take?

I do own a steamer and I have bought the steamed vegetables in a microwaveable bag.  Love them!  Usually I steam vegetables with the steamer.  I had never used the steamer or the process of steaming to cook something that typically goes into the oven to get baked.   This pudding steaming process worried me quite a bit.  I read that if I did not have my pudding covered properly then water could get in and my pudding could be ruined!  I guess what I forgot to mention is that sometimes the steaming process can take up to 5 hours to cook.  Now maybe you understand my fear a little better……

  My two Traditional British Puddings that I made and the challenges I overcame when making them!