#EdenCooks - Iron Chef Eden (March-April)

  • Get a FREE Bullet with Orders $59+

#EdenCooks - Iron Chef Eden (March-April)

Alys Alys
I know that a month between meetings is a long time for some of us, so I'm starting up a challenge à la Iron Chef.

This being our first Iron Chef Eden I am going to let you choose your secret ingredient, all I ask is that it be something that you don't usually use.

During the month, we will all report back here with the ingredient we've chosen, how we intend to use it, and any recipes and pictures of the completed dish if you want to share.
03/12/2011
  • Buy 1 Toy, Get 1 FREE
  • Save 20% on Luxury Toys
  • Add Some Buzz To Your Favourite Toy & Save 60% On Kit
  • Pick Any 2 E-Stim Toys, Get 60% Off A Kit
  • Stock Up On Gifts! Save 80%. Limited Quantity
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
All promotions
Alys Alys
So to kick things off, my secret ingredient is.... JUNIPER BERRIES!

I've never cooked with them, but when I saw them at the little local market where my neighbor sells her honey, I knew that I wanted to experiment.

I'll report back once I've figured out what I want to do with them.
03/12/2011
Vaccinium Vaccinium
What a great idea, Alys!

I'll list my ingredient when I figure out what it is. I'll hit one of the huge Asian grocery stores in Portland and get something really off the wall.
03/12/2011
Alys Alys
Quote:
Originally posted by Vaccinium
What a great idea, Alys!

I'll list my ingredient when I figure out what it is. I'll hit one of the huge Asian grocery stores in Portland and get something really off the wall.
I can't wait to see what wild ingredient you come up with! The problem with the Asian groceries, for me, is that there often isn't any English on the packaging, so I can't tell what I've gotten! Talk about a mystery ingredient.
03/12/2011
danellejohns danellejohns
Quote:
Originally posted by Alys
So to kick things off, my secret ingredient is.... JUNIPER BERRIES!

I've never cooked with them, but when I saw them at the little local market where my neighbor sells her honey, I knew that I wanted to experiment.

I'll report ...
I actually had to go look that one up. I have heard of them, but never used them in anything. I can't wait to see what you come up with. From what i read thus far there are a few warnings that go along with using them.
03/12/2011
Alys Alys
Quote:
Originally posted by danellejohns
I actually had to go look that one up. I have heard of them, but never used them in anything. I can't wait to see what you come up with. From what i read thus far there are a few warnings that go along with using them.
They're used to flavor gin and some pastrami rubs, that was all I knew about them 'til I did some googling. Seeing as I don't have kidney problems, am not pregnant, nursing, under 12 years of age, or elderly (all the warnings I've found so far) I plan to forge ahead!
03/12/2011
Vaccinium Vaccinium
Quote:
Originally posted by danellejohns
I actually had to go look that one up. I have heard of them, but never used them in anything. I can't wait to see what you come up with. From what i read thus far there are a few warnings that go along with using them.
So, what are you going to choose?
03/12/2011
Antipova Antipova
I'd love to join the fray as well- I'll report my ingredient soon!
03/12/2011
Alys Alys
Quote:
Originally posted by Antipova
I'd love to join the fray as well- I'll report my ingredient soon!
The more the merrier, for sure! I'm excited to hear what everyone else's going to choose as their mystery ingredient.
03/12/2011
danellejohns danellejohns
Quote:
Originally posted by Vaccinium
So, what are you going to choose?
I am still thinking on this one. I used to watch "Iron Chef" all the time to see what oddities they ended up having to work with. There are so many unique items out there it hard to narrow it down.
03/13/2011
danellejohns danellejohns
Quote:
Originally posted by Alys
They're used to flavor gin and some pastrami rubs, that was all I knew about them 'til I did some googling. Seeing as I don't have kidney problems, am not pregnant, nursing, under 12 years of age, or elderly (all the warnings I've ...
Yep, that is what I read. Unfortunately, I do have kids under 12 and cook for my father as well. (He suffered a heart attack, so I try to keep that in mind when I cook)
03/13/2011
markeagleone markeagleone
Quote:
Originally posted by danellejohns
I am still thinking on this one. I used to watch "Iron Chef" all the time to see what oddities they ended up having to work with. There are so many unique items out there it hard to narrow it down.
Yes, I would like to know what you are choosing to, since I will be one of the victims you try it out on. I mean volunteers.
03/14/2011
Illusional Illusional
Oooh, this oughta been fun.
03/14/2011
Vaccinium Vaccinium
OK, I hit the Asian supermarket today and actually chose two new ones for me. These aren't all that outlandish, but I have never actually cooked with them.

First, I picked up some dates. I plan on pitting them, then stuffing them with gorgonzola dolce and crushed hazelnuts, and wrapping them in bacon. I'll make this later in the week.

Second, I picked up a couple purple yams. I cook with yams and sweet potatoes all the time, but never purple yams. I plan on pureeing them, and putting them into a spring roll with rice steamed with coconut water, chunks of young coconut, mango slices, and some fried slivers of tortillas. I'll serve these along with my usual spring rolls that have panko-breaded baked fish, lime-cilantro rice, scallion, cabbage, and sweet chili sauce.
03/14/2011
Alys Alys
Quote:
Originally posted by Vaccinium
OK, I hit the Asian supermarket today and actually chose two new ones for me. These aren't all that outlandish, but I have never actually cooked with them.

First, I picked up some dates. I plan on pitting them, then stuffing them with ...
No fair, you're making me hungry!

I've actually done to figs what you're planning with dates and it was amazing!

The spring rolls sound very impressive. Tell me when you're making that and I'll be there in a heartbeat!

Please, please, please post pictures so I can drool over those too.
03/14/2011
Vaccinium Vaccinium
Quote:
Originally posted by Alys
No fair, you're making me hungry!

I've actually done to figs what you're planning with dates and it was amazing!

The spring rolls sound very impressive. Tell me when you're making that and I'll be there in a ...
I'll be making the spring rolls tonight. Good luck getting a flight. You're always welcome, though.

I figure I'll try what I'm going with the dates with figs as well (well, probably without the bacon). We have a tree in the backyard and are always trying to figure out what to do with all of them.

And yes, I'll provide photos as well. They may or may not be artistic, depending on how much time I have.
03/14/2011
Alys Alys
Quote:
Originally posted by Vaccinium
I'll be making the spring rolls tonight. Good luck getting a flight. You're always welcome, though.

I figure I'll try what I'm going with the dates with figs as well (well, probably without the bacon). We have a tree in the ...
We just need the photos to drool over, the level of artistry is up to you

One of my favorite things to do with figs is to put them on a pizza with some gorgonzola dolce, some mascarpone, and some candied or toasted pecans.

I guess you'll just have to tell me how well the spring rolls turned out, I'm still full from dinner
03/14/2011
Vaccinium Vaccinium
OK, so I made the spring rolls tonight. I'm not much into recipes, so I'll do my best to tell you what I did. I did pretty much as I said above, but had to make a few adjustments.

For the fish spring rolls, I cut some basa into fish stick-sized strips, and soaked them in some beaten eggs, before coating them in panko bread crumbs. Then I fried them until they were golden brown. I placed these onto a rehydrated spring roll sheet along with some rice I had steamed with lime and salt to get it sticky, cilantro, julienned scallions, and julienned, fried kale. I wasn't planning on using the kale, but my cabbage was flaccid and unusable [insert joke here]. Next time, I'll probably use both, as the salty, crunchy kale and the sweet, crunchy cabbage should work well together. Once everything was on there, I drizzled some sweet chili sauce on top and rolled it up. They ended up being great, and aside from adding cabbage next time, I wouldn't change a thing.

For the purple yam spring rolls, I boiled the yams until they were soft, then put them through the ricer. I also steamed some rice with coconut water and salt, which gave the rice a delicate coconut flavor and got it nice and sticky. To add a different texture, I julienned some tortillas and fried them up until they were crisp. Then I placed the yam, rice, some soft coconut from inside the young coconut shell, mango, and the tortilla sticks onto spring roll sheets and wrapped them up. The taste was good, but a bit disappointing. The delicate flavor of the rice was completely overwhelmed by the other flavors and the yam was very dry. I'm used to working with red yams, and they stay moist, but definitely not the purple ones. Next time, I'll add some coconut milk to the coconut water in the steaming rice to give it a stronger flavor, and do the same with the yams to get them moister. I might add a little sugar to the yams as well. I like the potential of the dish, and I'm anxious to try it again with the changes.

Since I only used a tiny bit of a tortilla, I decided to make some tortilla chips out of the remainder. I cut them into triangles and soaked them in key lime juice for two minutes before frying them to a golden , crispy brown. Then I added cumin, coriander, ginger, sea salt, and cane sugar to the top of them before serving them. Considering I just through that together on a whim, I was extremely pleased with how well they turned out. They were perfect.

So, to make Alys drool , here is the photo. I wanted to do artistic, but I ran out of time, so I slapped this together. The fish spring rolls are on the left, the yam rolls are on the right, and the tortillas are in the middle.

03/14/2011
Annemarie Annemarie
I'll have to come up with something. I'll see what I can pick up at the store.
03/14/2011
danellejohns danellejohns
Quote:
Originally posted by Vaccinium
OK, so I made the spring rolls tonight. I'm not much into recipes, so I'll do my best to tell you what I did. I did pretty much as I said above, but had to make a few adjustments.

For the fish spring rolls, I cut some basa into ...
OMG that looks amazing! The bar has been set high. Good food doesn't need "artistic" additions to it, but like the parsley? addition and the way the one is placed to be able to see inside.

I still have yet to pick my ingredients.
03/15/2011
Vaccinium Vaccinium
Quote:
Originally posted by Alys
We just need the photos to drool over, the level of artistry is up to you

One of my favorite things to do with figs is to put them on a pizza with some gorgonzola dolce, some mascarpone, and some candied or toasted pecans.

I guess ...
I like the idea with the figs a lot. I think I'll have to put some nice, salty prosciutto on there as well.
03/15/2011
Alys Alys
Quote:
Originally posted by Vaccinium
OK, so I made the spring rolls tonight. I'm not much into recipes, so I'll do my best to tell you what I did. I did pretty much as I said above, but had to make a few adjustments.

For the fish spring rolls, I cut some basa into ...
Oh man, this looks amazing! I love the idea of the coconut, mango, yam spring roll. I would never have thought of that combination in a spring roll, but it sounds and looks soo good. I shouldn't have looked at the photo before dinner!
03/15/2011
Antipova Antipova
Those are beautiful spring rolls, Vaccinium.

The trouble I run into here is that I've already picked out about every Asian market item that the staff could jot down phonetic pronunciations, for, so I've worked with those purple yams before. And dates, maybe not in their natural Middle Eastern formats, but they've been the base of my favorite cookies since I was a little tyke. I haven't found juniper berries around here, either.

Maybe I'll take the tortilla idea from Vaccinium's posting and make something Mexican... actually! My supermarket stocks prickly pear, and I've been daydreaming about making something with it, but haven't acted on it yet. Now is the time!


Delicious, right?
03/15/2011
Vaccinium Vaccinium
Quote:
Originally posted by Antipova
Those are beautiful spring rolls, Vaccinium.

The trouble I run into here is that I've already picked out about every Asian market item that the staff could jot down phonetic pronunciations, for, so I've worked with those purple yams ...
Good idea. Are you planning on using the fruit or the pads (nopales)? I've cooked with both before. The fruit is great for its juice - making a gastrique or marinade, for example. Hmm... I wonder what soaking tortillas in prickly pear juice would do... The nopales are slimy as hell (like okra), but they have a nice taste that's somewhere between okra and green beans. Just be careful handling each, as some of those spines are the thickness of a hair and a pain in the ass to get out of your skin.

From your experience with the purple yams, did you think they were pretty dry by themselves? That really surprised me.
03/15/2011
danellejohns danellejohns
As I stated in the cooking questions forum, I have many spices that I don't use. They hang out in the cupboard taking up space and collecting dust. So the idea came to me to try a recipies that are native to my heritage-Sweden.

Also because I would like to make some native dishes for our family this Easter and need to practice. So my first choice is going to be Lussekatter (St. Lucia Saffron Buns): this involves using cardamom and powdered saffron.

The next thing is going to be Rose Hip Soup or Nyponsoppa: Kinda self-explanitory there.

And lastly I was thinking of Some kind of Herring or Salmon dish. I have yet to use either of those fish.
03/15/2011
danellejohns danellejohns
Quote:
Originally posted by Antipova
Those are beautiful spring rolls, Vaccinium.

The trouble I run into here is that I've already picked out about every Asian market item that the staff could jot down phonetic pronunciations, for, so I've worked with those purple yams ...
I have seen a few cooking shows were they used this. I would be leary of it because of the way it would look. The stuff they made out of it though really looked good.
03/15/2011
Vaccinium Vaccinium
Quote:
Originally posted by danellejohns
As I stated in the cooking questions forum, I have many spices that I don't use. They hang out in the cupboard taking up space and collecting dust. So the idea came to me to try a recipies that are native to my heritage-Sweden.

Also ...
The saffron buns sound really interesting. I assume, then, that the buns will be yellow.

Rose hip soup is something I'd have never considered. I use rose hips in tea occasionally, but I've never thought of them used in a savory dish. I'm really interested in how that turns out. A bit sour, I'd suspect.

I've never cooked herring, but eaten lots of it pickled. It is pretty oily, I believe. Atlantic salmon (which I imagine is what you'll have access to) is pretty bland for my tastes, so you may need to spice or herb it up. One of my favorite things to do is to get as many different fresh herbs as possible (especially dill), chop them up, and mix them with sea salt, crushed garlic, and pepper before coating the top of the salmon fillet with the mixture. I score the salmon every inch about a half-inch deep before adding the herbs. This makes sure the herbs get into the fish as well as sticking on top. It's very tasty and elegant. I'm not suggesting you do this necessarily, just mentioning a way I do it that would complement the Swedish dishes (I'm part Norwegian, so I understand the Scandinavian style).

Good luck. I'd love to sample all of them.
03/15/2011
Antipova Antipova
I hadn't made up my mind whether to use the fruits or the pads yet, I reckoned I'd take whichever looks fresher tomorrow (or perhaps both).

When I cooked with purple yam, I made it into a halwa-like dessert under the tutelage of a Malaysian friend. It wasn't dry, but only because we intentionally made a paste of them.

Neat! I actually made Santa Lucia buns for my birthday (Santa Lucia's day, if you're checking the Catholic saints calendar, which I did for curiosity rather than devotion) many years ago. They came out too dry- so "keep things moist!" can be the theme of our Iron Chef. I'm excited to hear about the rose hip soup and the herring / salmon, too. My favorite salmon preparation is more Alaskan than Swedish, so I'll be curious to see what you come up with.

And our juniper berries?
03/16/2011
Illusional Illusional
You guys make me hungry.
03/16/2011
Alys Alys
Quote:
Originally posted by Antipova
I hadn't made up my mind whether to use the fruits or the pads yet, I reckoned I'd take whichever looks fresher tomorrow (or perhaps both).

When I cooked with purple yam, I made it into a halwa-like dessert under the tutelage of a ...
So I've been doing some research on juniper berries (in a sidenote, be prepared to see an article on them on the clubs blog in the near future) and I've come up with two ideas that I really like. The first is to combine them with shallots and vermouth to cook a salmon in. I still am playing around with the best way to do this. The second is to use them with lemon and gin and some fresh herbs to marinate some halibut steaks.

In any case I can't use my juniper berries this week. My sister's home from college and has threatened to pitch a fit if I try to cook anything that she won't eat. And she's including juniper berries on the list of banned items. (She is probably the definition of the opposite of culinary adventurousness.)

I am really excited to see all these new dishes with some tips on making them. I would have a hard time finding nopales here, but depending on how your recipes come out, I might need to try.

I am a complete novice in Swedish cuisine, so I look forward to learning! The buns sound like the'd be delicious and I know what the next food I'm looking up during my lunch period will be!
03/16/2011
  • 1
  • 2
Total posts: 57
Unique posters: 10