Daring Bakers Challenge: Panna cotta with Elderberry Gelée & Florentine Cookies

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

I love panna cotta. Every time we eat at Vapiano, I have to have one of theirs for dessert. I made some variations myself, even as cake (a recipe from Aran of Cannelle et Vanille, published at Design Sponge). So I was glad to have the opportunity to make one again, eager to add a tonka bean (which I hat only used once before) as flavouring agent. But what to choose as topping? A time ago I had bought elderberry juice which was originally thought to top an apple mousse (as gelee). I didn't make the mousse, but wasn't elderberry gelee a delicious topping for panna cotta to? I bet!

Risotto mit Balsamico-Zwiebeln und getrockneten Tomaten

Letztens beim Italiener: In meiner Kaufwut bei so vielen verlockenden Delikatessen packe ich auch ein Glas Zwieblen in Balsamicoessig und eine Packung getrocknete Tomaten ein, genauso wie einen großzügigen Nachschub an Risotto-Reis. Dass sich diese Zutaten aber in einem Topf zusammen wiederfinden würden, war mir am Anfang nicht bewußt, erst als mich mal wieder eine unstillbare Risotto-Lust erfasste. Ich wollte diesmal ein vegetarisches Risotto mit intensivem Geschmack, und was schmeckt intensiver als getrocknete Tomaten? Außerdem hatte meine Schwiegermutter bei ihrem Weihnachtsbesuch wieder jede Menge Rotwein dagelassen, dessen Konsum ich nicht nur aufs Trinken beschränken wollte (außerdem kann ich nicht immer Rotwein-Sorbet machen ...). Der edle Tropfen harmonierte perfekt mit den restlichen Zutaten, und ich konnte nicht widerstehen einen Teil der unten angegebenen Gemüsebrühe während des Kochvorganges mit ihm auszutauschen ...


Daring Cooks February challenge: Soba & Tempura

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com

"Soba is a type of thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. It is served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup. It takes three months for buckwheat to be ready for harvest, so it can be harvested four times a year, mainly in spring, summer, and autumn.
Hiyashi Soba is a popular dish in summer. It's like a noodle salad. Restaurants in Japan serve Hiyashi Soba only in summer. Even if you don't have much appetite because of the heat, Hiyashi Soba can be appetizing. Common Hiyashi Soba toppings are omelet strips, ham, cucumber and grated Daikon. You can also have the noodles just with the dipping sauce.
Tempura is a Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried. A light batter is made of cold water (sometimes sparkling water is used to keep the batter light and soft wheat flour (cake, pastry or all-purpose flour). Eggs, baking soda or baking powder, starch, oil, and/or spices may also be added."

Well, would I like to eat this dish into a Japanese restaurant. For sure. But make it again into my kitchen - certainly not. I liked the taste, especially of the dipping sauce but as I hate frying, it won't become a favourite dish...