I DID IT!! After 12 months, 12 cover recipe challenges, 34 recipes, and 25 wines, I finally completed the Food & Wine Cover Recipe Challenge! What a delicious roller coaster of a year! To my pantry, I have added 6 types of vinegar, 4 types of …
C’est la fin! Finito! Dunzo! The Food & Wine Cover Recipe Challenge IS COMPLETE! Twelve delicious months ago, I challenge myself to cook every cover recipe of Food & Wine Magazine for the whole year of 2013, and last month I completed the challenge! I cannot …
Happy uber belated Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas everyone! Yes, this is a post about my Thanksgiving meal, and this is another late posting for my Food & Wine Cover Recipe Challenge. For November’s issue there was a major focus on Thanksgiving meals because of the magazine’s American origin and I ended up cooking my second turkey in 3 weeks, and now here we are, two days from Christmas about to have another one! In actuality, this post is hitting the blog at the perfect time because there are some great recipes that are perfect for Christmas dinner, enjoy!
I chose to make five new recipes for this challenge. Why, you ask? Because I am crazy. I have to say that after making this meal I have a whole new appreciation for all those awesome people who make giant Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for like 20 people. THANKS MOM!
On the docket for November’s Challenge was:
Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise
Roast Turkey with Chesnut-Apple Stuffing
Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Ginger
Sauteed Spinach with Pancetta and Dried Cranberries
Vanilla Ice Cream Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel
Surprisingly, I have never cooked with fennel before. In fact, Erin and I had some trouble actually identifying the fennel bulbs at the grocery store, and we had to youtube a video on how to chop it up! Once you cut those intimidating stalks off, it was pretty easy.
The scallops were fried separately in the frying pan with olive oil and then added to the combination of fried fennel, capers, lemon and parsley.
The scallops turned out great! The plating for this dish is easy and it was delicious, the flavour of the fennel and the saltiness of the capers complimented the fresh Digby scallops really well. This is a super simple recipe that makes you look like a really fancy cook.
The last thing that I wanted to make for the Cover Recipe challenge was turkey. For Thanksgiving my sister Maggie and her boyfriend Sean came from St. John’s, and we had a lovely dinner where the turkey turned out perfectly. I mean perfect. It was the first turkey that I had ever cooked on my own and it looked AWESOME! Honestly, I couldn’t believe how well it turned out, but after weeks of researching countless methods and bastes, the turkey came out looking like this:
Don’t I look proud?
So for obvious and delicious reasons posted above, I was feeling pretty comfortable about cooking my second turkey for the recipe challenge.
That was until I started making the stuffing.
It was SO hard. First of all the chestnuts: I couldn’t find any in the city for some random reason so I bought hazelnuts, and after searching five stores for a nutcracker I had to resort to smashing the hazelnuts with a hammer and a set of pliers. Luckily the recipe called for crushed nuts and not full ones, because that was quite the challenge.
After the TWO HOURS it took to finish the stuffing and the hours of cooking, this is how my second turkey turned out:
Happily all the sides that I made turned out well.
The sweet potato was AMAZING! The Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Gingerwere a great twist to the recipe with nuts and marshmallows that I am used to having at Thanksgiving or Christmas. The freshness of the coconut milk and the ginger were delicious and were a nice light addition to an otherwise heavy meal.
The spinach was also tasty, but I was a little underwhelmed. The recipe title sounded way better than it actually was. The Sauteed Spinach with Pancetta and Dried Cranberriesdefinitely had some nice flavour (how can anything with pancetta not have flavour?) but the spinach was so shrunken up that no one was blown away by the side dish. When I do this recipe again I will definitely put in more spinach than suggested to balance out the flavour of the pancetta.
This is a really fast and easy recipe for bread pudding, and doesn’t involve the usual time consuming bread soaking because you use semi-melted vanilla ice cream to speed up the process. The ice cream also made it super moist and delicious. The caramel on top was super yummy and between the four of us we put a pretty large dent in the dessert meant for 10.
Overall the meal was a success, despite the sad looking turkey and the mediocre stuffing. The delicious appetizer and dessert made up for the lackluster bird and I would definitely recommend the sweet potato for Christmas dinner to add a twist on a classic side dish. The bread pudding is sure to impress at any meal, so make sure to Explore. Eat. Repeat. these recipes for your next big meal.
In the mean time, have a safe and happy holiday season from The Food Girl in Town. Enjoy the friends, family, and of course all the food! Merry Christmas!
With all the guests I hosted and cooking I did in October, the month just flew by, and somehow the Cover Recipe Challenge got pushed to the back burner. However, in true Food Girl in Town fashion, I finished the challenge and posted late, so …
9 Months. That is how long I have been doing the Food & Wine Cover Recipe Challenge, and it feels like an eternity. I seriously cannot imagine how women are pregnant for this long because this labour of foodie love is getting old. I can’t …
So this post is exactly one month late. The post for my exciting meal for August’s Food and Wine Cover Recipe Challenge is late simply because it was summer and I was off galavanting, sorry folks, I have no excuses. But here it is at long last (September’s is coming too, I promise).
When I realized the August issue of F&W was focused on vegetables a sense of dread washed over me. Really? No meat? Well there is some meat in the issue, but the emphasis on the awesome variety of creative dishes and flavours one can cook from ‘just’ vegetables really enchanted me. Despite my carnivorous instincts, I decided that this was a good opportunity to challenge myself and make a meal that consisted solely of vegetables.
August Cover Recipe Challenge
Summer Vegetable Ceviche
To start off the evening, Adam decided to put his newly acquired Aperol knowledge to good use and made Rosemary Aperol Spritz. I have had cocktails with Aperol before, but it is only recently while Adam and I have been experimenting with cocktails that we discovered how versatile and delicious this libation can be. The bitter orange liqueur hails from Italy and is a classic ingredient in many cocktails.
The drink consists of Prosecco, soda water, Aperol, and is garnished with rosemary and an orange slice. It was super delicious and the bitterness of the Aperol is crazy good with the rosemary.
For this challenge, I decided that the cover recipe was best suited as the appetizer for the evening. The Summer Vegetable Ceviche was very easy to make despite its total prep time (2.5 hours), and it was delicious. The recipe was simple: chuck a bunch of fresh veggies into a bowl with lime juice, oil, and sea salt, wait two hours, and voila, you have vegetable ceviche.
The flavours of this pseudo salad were fresh and summery. I loved the creativeness of the dish and the use of a technique that is usually reserved for meat or fish preparation. The combination of nectarines, avocados, corn, and cilantro is not something that I would have considered, but man, did we make quick work of that ceviche.
And now on to the main course. Despite the presence of some meat recipes in the August issue, I chose to bite the bullet and go veggie. I made Eggplant and Porcini ‘Meatballs’ in Tomato Sauce; we affectionately called them plantballs throughout the evening.
After last month’s issues with the pork burgers, confidence in my ability to create a spherical plant ball that stayed intact was a little low, but they turned out amazing! The recipe was surprisingly easy to follow despite the complicated sounding title, and I found it actually took less time to make than the allotted two hours.
This dish was another interesting twist on a meaty classic. Normally, I am one who tends to criticize cooks who try and turn one food into another (i.e. using that weird vegan ‘cheese’: it’s not cheese) but this recipe was solid. The combination of porcini mushrooms, eggplant, and breadcrumbs created a great plantball, they were so savoury, and stayed together just as well as any meatball could. The fresh tomato sauce was the perfect vessel for the plantballs and everyone at the table loved the innovation of a classic comfort food.
I was most excited for the dessert in this challenge. I chose to make Strawberry Meringue Roulade with Raspberry Sauce, and I was pumped to try making meringue for the first time. I love meringue, it’s one of my most favourite treats. I am obsessed with it: look at me here, eating meringue in Venice and loving life. (Also note the other people in this photo who are loving what they are eating, including pizza photobomber):
I don’t know why I have never made meringue before, maybe I was always too nervous that it would turn out crappy. Well looky here at Miss First-Time-Meringue:
It turned out great! The tricky part was actually rolling the meringue with the Kirsch flavoured cream and berries inside, but the finished product was unbelievable!
After freezing the roulade for a couple of hours, it was a matter of slicing and smothering it in the delicious raspberry sauce. I don’t normally prepare desserts for the recipe challenge, they aren’t my forte, but everyone was so glad that I did. YUM!
For the wine, I asked Erin and Matt to select a fruity Sauvignon Blanc to pair with the Ceviche and a bold red to go with the Spaghetti and Plantballs.
The sauvignon blanc was a Nederburg from South Africa and its fresh fruitiness was the perfect compliment to the summery veggies in the ceviche. The red was a medium bodied wine from Italy. The Ricossa Barbera d’Asti is an amazing wine for a great value. It was the house wine red at Get Stuffed when I worked there, and has been for ages. It went perfectly with the Eggplant and Porcini Meatballs.
Overall the meal was a complete success. Compared to last month’s frustrations, August’s F&W Cover Recipe Challenge was a pleasure to make and even more of a pleasure to eat. I was surprised at the versatilely of vegetables in the dishes that I prepared, and I will definitely be working on more meals that have veggies as the star. I encourage everyone to Eat. Explore. Repeat. your local farmer’s market and try some new veg recipes asap! Enjoy!
I hated July’s Cover Recipe Challenge. Why? There are so many reasons. First of all, it has to be said that I actually create the monthly challenge, choosing recipes from the issue of Food & Wine and centring the meal around the cover recipe. Therefore, …
I have been so busy enjoying the summer in the past few weeks that I cannot believe I have yet to post June’s Food & Wine Cover Recipe Challenge recap! Despite the fact that this is a ridiculously late posting, it has to be said …
Ladies and gentlemen, my utmost apologies, for this is a very late entry for May’s Food & Wine Cover Recipe Challenge! Lots of things have been going on in my world lately that have kept me away from the blogosphere. First things first: We moved! Adam and I are literally moving up in the world from the basement of a 1970s student cave to seventh heaven in a brand new building in the North End. We are very excited about our brand spanking new home, and I am even more excited about my very new and very white kitchen, with a double sink and fancy pot drawers!
Because we moved at the end of the May, cooking the month’s Cover Recipe Challenge was impossible to complete because everything was packed up. And, can I say, that I was baffled at the amount of boxes labeled “kitchen nic nacs” that took up a lot of space in the moving truck. The most of any room in our apartment, in fact. Apparently since moving to Halifax I have developed an obsession with accruing kitchen gadgets, which includes but is certainly not limited to: a cast iron dutch oven, pizza stones, about 1000 wooden spoons, 6 sets of S&P shakers, and even a Soda Stream (yes people, I make my own soda these days.)
Needless to say, it took a few days in the new place to get everything organized enough in the kitchen to get cooking! But the minute we were settled, Erin and Matt joined us last Wednesday evening for May’s Cover Recipe Challenge, and it was one for the books.
MAY COVER RECIPE:
Mixed Grill with Fresh Tomato-and-Pepper Salsa
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
When Adam saw the cover of May’s Food & Wine magazine, he practically skipped back to the apartment from the mailbox. This month’s recipe was a full plate of various meats done on the BBQ with a delicious looking chunky salsa. Simple, easy, and tasty right? Well yes, it was, but honestly, it was nothing to write home about.
The preparation of the recipe was very simple. The first aspect of the dish was to prepare the Tomato-and-Pepper Salsa the day before in order to let it get extra juicy and tasty. It was really easy to make, consisting of peppers, tomato, red onion, garlic, and EVOO.
The day of, I prepared the chorizo sausage, lamb roast, and beef short ribs to be grilled and left Adam in charge of our newly acquired BBQ. Our lovely friend Samantha moved home to Newfoundland this past week and was generous enough to give us hers! He did a great job cooking those choice cuts!
While Adam and Matt were ‘manning’ the patio, Erin and I prepared the side dishes for the evening: a green salad with homemade honey dijon dressing and Potato-and-Mozzarella Croquettes, also from May’s F&W. The croquettes seemed easy enough to make, and most of the preparation was fairly simple. Erin helped with the tomato sauce that was served with the croquettes:
The recipe was clear and easy to follow, although I cannot lie, I do not understand how a spherical mound of potato is supposed to be evenly browned on all sides. Once the potatoes were rolled and dipped in the egg and the breadcrumbs, I had one hell of a time keeping them from rolling to one side in the sizzling oil! But, in the end they turned out pretty good, despite their lack of uniform brownness.
The most amazing and wonderful part of the meal came before all of these delicious things. The oysters. Oh man, let me tell you about the oysters. While perusing F&W for an appetizer (like I do every month) I came across the recipe for Grilled Oysters with Chorizo Butter and I was intrigued. I had never ever thought about cooking oysters, let alone barbecuing them! But they sounded delicious and easy, so I decided to be adventurous and go for it.
Truth be told, I have never prepared oysters at home, and though I love them at restaurants, I couldn’t help but be a little shy about preparing them at home, for guests, on the BBQ. But in the end I am oh so happy I did.
The first step to the recipe was to make the Chorizo butter, which basically consisted of removing the casings of a few chorizos, frying them up in a pan and then melting in A LOT of butter and lime juice. Easy. Grilling the oysters required a little more time and attention. It was all very exciting, and all four of us gathered around the BBQ, prosecco in hand, to watch the process.
All you had to do was make sure the oysters were laid flat side down on a very hot grill and wait for them to pop open. Well, you never saw four people get so excited for a shellfish to open! It was great fun watching them open, ever so slightly, one by one.
And then it was time to eat. Right when everyone was sitting down to the table, I drizzled (more like smothered) the oysters in the chorizo butter sauce.
By the time I got to the table, it was clear that everyone was very hungry and excited to eat some oysters!
THEY WERE SO GOOD. Like crazy good. I could not believe how good the Chorizo tasted with the oysters. It was heavenly and I am not kidding you when I say it was one of the best things I have ever eaten. They were so easy to make, you literally have to melt butter with sausage, and you don’t even have to shuck the oysters. Everyone at the table was loving life.
The main was also delicious. The croquettes were ooey gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside, and the meat turned out awesome! Adam did a great job cooking the meat; the lamb was cooked to a perfect medium rare and was tender and juicy. The salsa added a lot of flavour to the meat, but honestly, it wasn’t the best mixed grill I have ever had.
THE WINE: For the evening, we had three different bottles of wine. To start we had an excellent Chablis that Erin and Matt brought that went perfectly with the oysters. The Drouhin-Vaudon Chablis 2011was crisp and light, and complimented the rich and buttery oysters very well.
For the main course, I chose both a prosecco and a red wine, as they were both suggested for the various dishes that we had that evening. The recipe for the Potato-and-Mozzarella Croquettes suggested a prosecco to pair with them, so I chose my favourite: LaMarca Prosecco. It is light and delicious and I think it goes with just about any food. But I might be biased, I really love prosecco…
For the Mixed Grill, it was suggested that we pair the dish with a Chilean red, the Cono Sur Vision Cabernet. However, this is not available at the NSLC so I chose the Cono Sur Pinot Noir 2011, because I knew it would pair well with meat. It was a great choice in the end and its fresh and fruity finish paired well with the meat and the salsa.
Overall, I consider May’s Cover Recipe Challenge another success, but mainly because of the delicious oysters. The cover recipe was good, not great, but it has definitely inspired me to try more roasts on the grill. I will say that I have gotten over my fear of oysters in my home kitchen, and I will definitely be willing to Explore.Eat.Repeat all types of oyster recipes in the very near future. Barbecued oysters definitely do not shuck.
April’s Food & Wine Cover Recipe looked simple enough: A fresh spring pasta that had an active cooking time of 45 minutes, no problem right? Like any untried recipe, there are always some pitfalls to making something from a magazine. This month was no exception; the …
Well March has come and gone in the blink of an eye. I have to start this post with a sincere apology for the lack of posting in the past month; there has been a lot of travelling and eating going on in the world …
‘Better late than never’ they always say, and this is most definitely the case with the recap for February’s Recipe Challenge, because it was a good one! I am slightly delayed in posting February’s recipe report because of the food marathon that Adam and I indulged in over the past week while visiting friends in Toronto and Montreal. Needless to say, there are going to be many posts in the near future about all the amazing food we ate, so stay tuned!
On to the fun stuff. For those of you who don’t know, I have recently accepted a momentous challenge to make, eat, and write about the cover recipes of Food and Wine Magazine for every month of the 2013! So far its been going well and though this post may be a little late, it was worth the wait! Things were a little different this month, as I decided to take my recipe researching on the road and cook February’s recipe with my partner in crime Erin at her lovely abode. Here she is in her living room, proudly displaying the cover recipe for February’s Food and Wine Magazine, doesn’t she look lovely?
February’s recipe was Short Rib Stew with Caramalized Kimchi, and though I was excited about the idea of serving one simple dish this month as opposed to the plethora of plates that was last month, I was a little nervous about the time it would take to make it, and about some of the asian ingredients that I was not overly familiar with. I was however, very excited about the excuse to buy myself my very first cast-iron Dutch oven, which I proceeded to purchase very shortly after my February F&W arrived in the mail!
First things first: the purchase of the ingredients is worth mentioning. On the big day I lugged my very heavy Dutch oven over to Erin’s apartment, and we set off down Quinpool to procure the necessary ingredients for the day. After successfully purchasing the short ribs, pears, garlic, and other more common ingredients, Erin and I felt triumphant as we correctly identified and located the daikon. The kimchi on the other hand was a different story.
For some reason, I always thought that kimchi was a vegetable, and though I have eaten it in restaurants before, had always assumed it was a Korean vegetable similar to cabbage. It is not. While we were frantically searching the produce aisle for this fictional legume, a woman informed us that kimchi was not a vegetable, but in fact a pickled cabbage dish. D’OH! Later, after doing a little research, I found out that kimchi is a super popular Korean dish, and this spicy condiment is used on everything…oh well, you learn something new everyday!
After a trip to the Taishan Asian Grocery on Quinpool to get the kimchi and sesame oil, Erin and I were ready to start cooking!
FEBRUARY COVER RECIPE:
SHORT RIB STEW WITH CARAMELIZED KIMCHI
Rating: 5 out of 5
The first order of business was to marinate the short ribs with a variety of ingredients, including soy sauce, garlic, and the Asian pear, which made the marinade smell amazing!
Once the ribs were nice and marinated, we had to brown them in the heated Dutch oven. I was a little nervous about the innaugral heating of my new Dutch oven, especially doing it on someone else’s stove, but it was easier to regulate the temperature of the pan than I thought, and boy, did those ribs smell amazing!
The next step was to pour six cups of water with the ribs and some broth and let it simmer for about an hour. Easy. You would think so. About an hour into boiling the ribs, I realized that I had forgotten to put in the broth, but it didn’t seem to affect the final result.
While the ribs were boiling, slowly turning themselves into yumminess, Erin and I peeled the vegetables for the stew. Erin and her boyfriend Matt share a lovely apartment, but they have about 2 square feet of counter space in their kitchen, which is definitely not conducive to peeling large amounts of vegetables. Here is poor Erin hunched over her compost bin peeling carrots, doesn’t look very comfortable, does it?
Meanwhile, I was working away on the counter trying to conquer the daikon. For those readers who don’t know, daikon is an asian radish that is similar to a turnip, and they are giant, which means it is big and awkward to peel and dice. It was definitely a challenge.
Once we added the vegetables to the ribs the stew was finally beginning to take shape! While it simmered atop the stove Erin and I made our chosen dessert for the evening, also from February’s F&W: Ice Cream Bon Bon Pops, found on page 52. The recipe consisted of your chosen ice cream flavour (chocolate in our case), rolled into balls, then rolling the balls in crushed candy bars and putting them on a stick. The pops were very easy to make as long as you were fast, and it didn’t take us long to knock out a couple for each dinner guest that evening.
When the guests of the night had arrived (Adam and Matt), the apartment was filled with a lovely meaty aroma and it was almost time to eat! The last item on the cooking agenda was to caramelize the kimchi, which was also pretty easy, and was basically frying the kimchi with sesame oil in a skillet.
To finish preparing the meal, we cooked some basmati rice, sliced some four cheese oval bread from Pete’s, and we were ready to eat!
The meal turned out beautifully. Just look!
Everyone at the table loved the stew, Matt in particular, and we all raved about how good the dish had turned out. I was surprised at how much I liked the daikon. Normally, I am not a huge radish fan, sometimes I find their taste too harsh, but daikon is more like a sweeter, less corky version of turnip, and I will most definitely be using it in my curries from now on! The kimchi was also a big hit with everyone, and it was the perfect garnish to a savoury and succulent stew. The short ribs turned out better than I thought they would, falling right off the bone and melting in our mouths.
The Ice Cream Pops were also a big success. After being put back in the freezer after production, they came out cold and delicious, and super easy to eat. We chose M&Ms and Kit Kat bars to use as our toppings, but any kind of candy bar would do! Next time I want to try Skor bars!
With my trusty F&W Wine Guide in hand, I set off to the liquor store to buy a red and a white wine to compliment the stew. Though they did not have some of the selections that I had chosen from my guide, I did find two wines that worked very well with the stew. The first was the Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.99), which was a perfect choice. Cab Sauv is always good with red meat, and I knew that it would work awesomely with this dish. The other selection was the Yali Sauvignon Blanc from Chile ($14.99), and it was chosen because I thought its crispness would compliment the radish and kimchi in the dish. It did.
Overall February was a very easy recipe to follow, and, despite my inaptitutde for shopping for asian groceries, I will most definitely be making this meal again. If you want to try out the recipes that we tried this month, or any other recipe from February’s F&W, check them out here at www.foodandwine.com/monthly/february-2013. I encourage anyone who has a Dutch oven (or wants an excuse to buy one) to try out this recipe and Explore. Eat. Repeat. any recipes that involve daikon or kimchi! Masitkke deuseyo!
*The Food & Wine Magazine Cover Recipe Challenge was created by CookThatBook.com as a means of expanding culinary talents and tackling new and exciting cuisine. Want to join in on the fun? We’d love the company! Pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org a link to your blog post.
*The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visitwww.foodandwine.com.