Miscellaneous

WINNER of the GUEST BLOGGER CONTEST!

CONGRATULATIONS to our winner of the Guest Blogger Contest!  DRUM ROLL PLEASE……

Carol L. for her submission of Spiced Maple Pecan Cupcakes! Woo Hoo!

Spiced Maple Pecan Cupcakes by Carol L.

As our acclaimed winner, she will be receiving her very own copy of Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.

We hope that it will inspire some YUMMY-YUMMY creations as a result!

Congratulations Carol L. and THANK YOU to all our participants of our Guest Blogger Contest—YOU ROCK! 🙂  And although we may not be offering a reward incentive–The Culinary Chronicles will ALWAYS welcome and accept Guest Bloggers to contribute to the E-Culinary World!

Cheers!

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Miscellaneous

An Authentic Italian Bolognaise Contains Little Tomato Probably No Beef & Would Never Be Served With Spaghetti (Guest Blogger)

**This entry has been submitted to The Culinary Chronicles through our Guest Blogger Contest. **

By: the foodies handbook

The word bolognaise translates as ‘in the style of Bologna’. As well being the regional capital of  the Bologna Province and the Emilia-Romagna Region in northern Italy, bologna is a large Italian styled North American smoked sausage, usually containing a combination of finely ground and seasoned meats including beef, pork, lamb, chicken or turkey. An authentic Italian bolognaise sauce is more correctly referred to as a ‘ragù’, this being a meat based sauce traditionally served with a pasta. Ragù is a phonetical Italian spelling of the French word ragout, which is derived from the old French ‘ragoûter’, meaning ‘to revive the taste’. As with most cuisines methods for bolognaise vary across Italy, but a typical recipe would always begin with a ‘soffritto’ of finely diced onions, carrots and celery. This is fried in olive oil and butter until caramelised, then seasoned with garlic and herbs. Assorted fresh mushrooms are then added and cooked until tender. The meat is then added which is usually a blend of three finely ground meats. Pork, veal and lamb could be used but goose liver is also a popular addition. Next milk will be added, this renders the meat flavours more delicate. Sometimes cream may be used, but only in small amounts. The mixture is then brought to the boil. Red wine and a quality stock is added along with a little tomato paste. The ragù is then seasoned and allowed to simmer gently for around 6 hours. When ready the sauce is served with a fresh pasta such as ‘tagliatelle alla bolognese’. An authentic Italian bolognaise contains little tomato, would not necessarily include beef and would never be served with spaghetti. Spaghetti is a smooth textured pasta and so would not be able to retain any of sauce when served. The sauce would simply slide off the pasta and back onto the plate. A rough textured pasta such as tagliatelle is always used as this retains the bolognaise sauce.

Click here for an authentic Italian bolognese sauce recipe

*Reminder: You, too, can be a Guest Blogger of The Culinary Chronicles! Submit all entries to theculinarychronicles@gmail.com and be eligible to win an AWESOME Foodie Prize! :)

Desserts/Pastries · Miscellaneous

Spiced Maple Pecan Cupcakes (Guest Blogger)

**This entry has been submitted to The Culinary Chronicles through our Guest Blogger Contest. **

Submitted by: Carol L.

It’s a poorly-kept secret that I don’t have very much of a sweet tooth, despite the amount of baking that I do.  I much prefer more spiced or lighter desserts like carrot cake, apple cobbler, and tiramisu.  That is why I LOVE the fall and winter season — that’s when the spiced desserts come out to play!  From pumpkin pie to gingerbread, these are the desserts that I especially enjoy making and devouring!

I took the opportunity during this season to concoct a recipe for a Spiced Maple Pecan Cupcake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.  I started with my normal vanilla cupcake recipe, and substituted the white sugar with brown sugar instead, being sure to check the internet that this wouldn’t ruin the texture or form of my cupcake.  Baking is such a chemical science, that you risk an imploded or exploded result if you substitute ingredients incorrectly!  I then added some of my favorite fall and winter spices for baking: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and allspice… similar to what you would put into a pumpkin recipe.

All right, we’ve taken care of the “spiced” part of Spiced Maple Pecan, now for the “maple” part!  Instead of vanilla, I wanted to use a maple flavoring.  Googling around, I found that most maple recipes required a few cups of pure Grade B maple syrup.  I was a little concerned as to what 1-3 cups of liquid would do to my cupcakes, and I had heard anecdotes that when you use the syrup, you don’t even get that familiar maple flavor that most people are used to.  I contemplated a bit, but then decided I didn’t feel like dealing with failed cupcakes that day.  Therefore, I opted to use the imitation maple flavoring by McCormick’s for my cupcakes and frosting.  Amusingly enough, I later had a conversation with Nam herself, and she also prefers the imitation maple flavoring over the maple syrup!

Now for the best part… candied pecans!  Making candied pecans is pretty easy, and it makes a HUGE difference when using candied pecans instead of regular pecans.  It is everyone’s favorite part!  The hardest thing about making candied pecans is trying not to eat them all yourself, and running out before they even make it into the cupcakes.  I incorporated these babies into the cupcakes themselves and also sprinkled them on top of the maple cream cheese frosting.

The resulting cupcake was a hit!  Everyone loved them, and I even got a comment that, “He normally hates cupcakes, but he loves these!”  And I thought, “That’s because they’re not too sweet, and spiced instead!”  I hope you try this recipe out and love them too!

Spiced Maple Pecan Cupcakes by Carol L.
Spiced Maple Pecan Cupcakes by Carol L.

Spiced Maple Pecan Cupcakes
Ingredients:
• 1 cup cake flour
• 1/2 cup all purpose flour
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 3 tsp baking powder
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 2 teaspoons imitation maple flavoring
• 3/4 cup candied pecans (recipe below)

1. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices; stir with a whisk until combined. Add butter and mix with an eletric mixer.
2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and maple flavoring.
3. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts. Mix until combined, but do not overbeat.
4. Dust the candied pecans with some flour (this keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cupcakes).  Mix in the candied pecans.
5. Divide among cupcake liners. Bake at 325° until toothpick comes out clean.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients:
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
• Approximately 2-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
• 1 teaspoon imitation maple flavoring

1. Beat butter vigorously with an electric mixer. Scrape the bowl and add the cream cheese. Beat until combined.
2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
3. Add the maple flavoring and mix.
4. Continue to add powdered sugar until desired consistency for piping.

Candied Pecans
Ingredients:
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• 1 cup sugar

1.  In a pan, mix white sugar and pecan pieces.  Turn on the heat to medium, and slowly stir with wooden chopsticks or spoon until the sugar starts to melt.
2.  When the mixture becomes a nice brown color, remove from heat, and continue to stir until cooled. Careful, it can go from golden brown to burnt surprisingly quickly!  If you don’t continue to stir until cool, it will all harden together in one big clump.
3. Once cooled, crumble and break apart any pecans that are stuck together.

*Reminder: You, too, can be a Guest Blogger of The Culinary Chronicles! Submit all entries to theculinarychronicles@gmail.com and be eligible to win an AWESOME Foodie Prize!

Miscellaneous

Oyakodon: Basic Recipe (Guest Blogger)

**This entry has been submitted to The Culinary Chronicles through our Guest Blogger Contest. **

Oyakodon: Basic Recipe

Submitted by: Shizouka Gourmet

Oyakodon must count as one of the top 5 as far as poplular food comes in Japan. It is easy to prepare and improvise with. Bear in mind that depending upon the region you are in Japan, the ingredients are totally different. For example, in Hokkaido you will be served salmon sashimi and salmon roe!

After all, “oyakodon” means “parent and child bowl” (ingredients!)!

Being asked about a recipe, I decided to introduce the main lines of a basic one here made with chicken and eggs, not bothering about quantities but concentrating on the method.

-Rice
Steam rice beforehand. Oyakodon prepared with freshly steamed rice is miles ahead of reheated rice as far as taste is concerned!

-Chicken
Choose breast or thigh chicken. It is up to you to use or discard the skin. I prefer to discard it, unless I deep-fry the chicken first.

-Eggs
Choose the freshest ones as possible with large deep-coloured yolks.

-Vegetables:

Thinly sliced onion to be cooked together with the oyakodon. A lot of people feel like adding other vegetables. Keep in mind they have to be cut thin and need to be fried.

Fresh leaved greens for the final and important touch. My favourite is fresh trefoil. If not available, I use flat parsley or chopped leeks.

In many regions they also add chopped dry seaweed for the final touch.

-Stock soup/sauce:
You may use water, but dashi is a lot better. I pesonally use seaweed dashi. One might use chicken stock, too. I add a little soy sauce, sugar, Japanese sake and sweet Japanese sake/mirin. That is where improvisation and personal taste come in!
You may season with salt and pepper, but bear in mind that soy sauce already contains salt, so easy on that one!

METHOD:

-Cut chicken in small enough pieces. Fry or deep-fry them first. If you fry/sautee them, just season chicken with a little salt and pepper. If you dep-fry them, season them with salt and pepper and cover them with plenty of cornstarch, unless you prefer the flour, egg and breadcrumbs method. Once the chicken has been fried to 90%, take out and leave in another plate or on a metallic grill to get rid of excess oil.

-Using only a little oil (that left by the chicken is fine), fry the onion (and other vegetables) until almost properly cooked.
Add soup/stock. bring slowly to boil on a small fire. Add chicken and boil for a minute just to let the taste penetrate the chicken.

During that time, beat eggs (quantity is up to you!) with chopsticks to leave some parts white (some people like well beaten).

As soon as the chicken has completely cooked, dicard some soup if too much of it, and add the eggs.

Point 1: the chicken should be tender, not overcooked.
Point 2: Too much soup/stock will prevent the eggs from cooking fast, or you might end up with scrambled eggs
Point 3: the “real” (debatable) recipe calls for the eggs to be only half cooked before transferring the lot onto the rice. In Kyoto, for example the eggs are most of the time well cooked and topped with a raw egg yolk.

-As soon as you are satisfied with the eggs, transfer the lot on top of a bowl filled with steamed rice. Decorate with trefoil and serve.

*Reminder: You, too, can be a Guest Blogger of The Culinary Chronicles! Submit all entries to theculinarychronicles@gmail.com and be eligible to win an AWESOME Foodie Prize! 🙂

Miscellaneous

BIGGER + NEWER+ PRICIER= BETTER? (Guest Blogger)

**This entry has been submitted to The Culinary Chronicles as our First Guest Blogger.

Submitted by: Anonymous Blogger

At what point do you give in to the pressure that “BIGGER, newer, more expensive” is better?  I have been able to resist the temptation to cave in especially for items that I already have and work just fine.  Now, this is a completely different question if you were to ask me what would I purchase if I didn’t already have it?  Of course, I have my own version of Cook’s Illustrated Equipment Review and know exactly what I would buy if I could.  I’m the lone browser roaming around cooking stores coveting their merchandise and continually keeping an eye out for sales.

There are several items in my kitchen that I have received as gifts and have served me for many years.  At the top of this list is my Classic Series KitchenAid Stand Mixer which is probably 10 years old but works fine and still shines like new.  The only time that it has caused me any problem is when I am making large batches of a recipe, mixing sturdy dough (like gingerbread), or kneading dough.  Unfortunately, this model only has a 250-watt motor and a small 4-1/2 quart stainless steel bowl.  When subjected to those conditions, my stand mixer will rock all over my counter in distress.  I usually have to anchor it down with my hands, than it’s no problem at all!  Well, that is if you don’t mind flour flying all over the place because of the smaller bowl.  So for years I convinced myself that it was just too indulgent to upgrade and that I should be saving my money to buy a place one day.

My Sturdy Old Classic Series

Well, that was until several weeks ago when I was roaming through Williams-Sonoma hoping that they will have their rare Friends and Family 20% off discount that happened last year just before Christmas.  I think I must have checked online and at the store everyday for a month before the holidays, but sadly no discount.  Then one day just the week before Christmas, I received an email about a special 3 day in-store only promotion: for every $50 that you spend, they would give you a $10 credit voucher to be used in their store during the next month.  For the price of an upgrade to their Professional 6 quart Series, this would give me a voucher worth $80 in addition to the $50 rebate from the manufacture!

Needless to say, I went straight to their store the very next day feeling excited about my potential new purchase.  However once I got there, my conservative “self” resurfaced a long with all of my doubts.  For the next hour, I paced the store then left the store in order to “think” without the added pressure of having to see the coveted mixer with its big yellow bow ready to go.  After much anxiety, I finally went back to purchase it but decided to ask them to hold it for me in the store until the following weekend when I would return from my brief holiday trip.  My reasoning was to take advantage of the promotion before it expired, but with the condition that I could always change my mind and return it.  I thought this strategy brilliant since it would also save me from having to carry it back and forth in case I did change my mind.  I walked away feeling triumphant after overcoming an additional small hurdle.  The mixer was $399.99. Technically, this would only give me a $70 voucher.  So I had to go and search for something small that I would need anyway to bump me over $400 to be eligible for the $80 voucher– like a tube of black icing for 2.99.

During my trip that week, I attempted to find holes in my argument by soliciting advice from other members of my family.  Unfortunately, they are too supportive of me in general and I was not able to find too many objections.  When the time came for me to pick up my pre-paid merchandise, I was no where closer to making a decision.  I stood staring at my current stand mixer which would have probably lasted me for another 10+ years; then went online to reconcile my credit card charges to see how much damage I already had done that month for Christmas.  By the time that I got to the store, I was in even more distress as I passed the many homeless individuals on my journey. I had resigned then to the belief that bigger, newer, more expensive was possibly better.  But do I always need BETTER?  The answer is NO.

There are many things in my apartment that are hodge-podge that I have picked up from someone else’s discard on the sidewalk, or that have been handed down to me that I sentimentally cannot give away.  I am fine living like this.  That is, unless the stars are aligned just so, and the forces so magnetic that it would be way too difficult to ignore.  Okay, okay, where am I going with this?  Well, sometimes you have to play Zeus and recreate the constellation to get what you want.  I ended up selling my old mixer on Craigslist.  The money that I made, added to the value of my voucher and rebate was used to whittle away from the original price of the machine. When this was done and with my new mixer on my countertop, a thought came to me “Geez, the extent you would go to get what you really want”.  Now, if only I can be as successful in other aspects of my life.  :)

MY NEW PROFESSIONAL 610 SERIES (610 is exclusive to Williams-Sonoma with just some additional small bonuses)

*Reminder: You, too, can be a Guest Blogger of The Culinary Chronicles! Submit all entries to theculinarychronicles@gmail.com and be eligible to win an AWESOME Foodie Prize! :)

Giveaways · Miscellaneous

Sharing is Caring: Calling Out for Guest Bloggers!

Just like our parents/guardians and teachers have taught us at an early age, I believe that ‘Sharing is Caring!’

With that belief in mind, this is my official call out for GUEST BLOGGERS! Yup, I’m talking about you! 🙂

– Have a recipe that you are darn proud of?
– Got food photos you’d like to share?
– Care to review your favorite local restaurant or watering hole?
– Want to dish about the latest culinary gossip?
– Have a ton to say but can’t commit the time to blog on your own?
– Have your own site but want to spread your wings to other cyber spots?

Then be the next foodie Guest Blogger on The Culinary Chronicles! I’d love to hear your foodie point of view and help shoot it out to all our cyber buddies.

Leave me a message on the comment section and YOU CAN BE MY NEXT GUEST BLOGGER! 🙂

And for a little EXTRA incentive—the Guest Blogger with the highest comments submitted to their foodie posts by March 1, 2010 will receive an awesome FOODIE PRIZE! 🙂 Woo Hoo–who doesn’t love surprise prizes?

So hit the pen & paper and get writing today!

Submit a Blog Entry Today!