Thursday, April 14, 2011

Edible Containers (savory)

Ok, so our hearts weren't in this one at all.  Happily, we can report that our knives and pots & pans and oven and dishwasher were.

We signed up (almost a year now) to learn about and try new things in the kitchen - to be daring! - which we feel we've done quite well at in-an-overall-big-picture sort of way. 

We did not sign up to try to win popularity contests. 

We did not sign up to show off our pretty pictures (which for the record, we stopped even trying very early on because, well, they just weren't very pretty...). We did not sign up to invent or interpret the dishes presented as part of the challenge. 

We just wanted to try something new and be guided along the way.  But we are exceptionally grateful to those who do take (and show) great pictures and those who interpret and invent the dishes because we've certainly learned some new and fun stuff from reading about (and seeing) what other members get up to as part of each challenge - a wonderful bonus to our choice to being daring.

We promised ourselves we'd be daring and if we got past our first two challenges (we did, quite easily, safely and well in case you were wondering) there'd be no reason to skip anything that came our way.  So, here we are...

Hopefully next month will get back to 'normal'?

Pumpkin Bowl filled with Creamy Shrimp (Bisque?)

We had some friends coming over for dinner during the challenge and we had been unable to lock in a menu. We really like the family style approach to dining (at home and out and about - which occasionally gets our Server a bit wound up) and a pumpkin full of goodness shouts nothing but family style. 

Catch is, we failed miserably at the Pumpkin Bowl part of the challenge. 

The things that went wrong...

  1. We couldn't find one big Pumpkin but found some good looking smaller ones which we thought would do the job as individual bowls rather than a serving bowl.
  2. We couldn't get them to cook.  The recipe said 25 minutes x 2.  We had smaller 'dudes' and although we classified them as cooked at about the 1 hour 40 minute mark it definitely wasn't 'puree like'.
  3. Our designated carver could not get the good bits out without completely (and yes, completely is the correct word) destroying the shells.  Not even close!
  4. And not related to our pumpkin issues, but we grabbed up headless shrimp so the stock we came up with probably was missing a little something something due to it just being born of the shells.

We did not, however, fail at the Soup making part of the challenge.

The things that went right...

  1. No blood drawn whilst chopping onions, garlic and tomatoes.
  2. The shrimp 'veins' came out nice and easy.
  3. The kitchen smelled nice.
  4. The soup turned into soup.

    If you take out the Pumpkin Bowl part of the equation it worked out just fine (which sadly, was the main part of this challenge).  One of us really liked it, the other went with a good-but-we've-made-better-soups feeling.  Our friends liked it and their 2 year old was happy to play with it.

    And, who was the clever person who figured out adding cream cheese to a soup is a good thing?  Cudos to them!  It turned out to be quite thick, which we could have thinned down easily enough but we chose not to and it had a really nice feel as well as taste to it.

    Recipes & Destructions Instructions



    We were a bit cranky starting off, but glad we gave it a whirl. On the plus side, we didn't get more cranky when it became obvious we weren't going to end up with a Pumpkin Bowl.

    We certainly didn't get anything photo worthy (not that we probably would even if we made the best pumpkin bowl ever...) but we got something tasty that was new and fun and enjoyed by us and our friends (and even a small bowl of leftovers for lunch during the week).

    We can follow a recipe, but it seems we we're not very good at the 'precision' parts required when dealing with a gourd type device.  Oh well.

    Stay JOLLY!

    Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers!  Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at!

    Comments pre Blog Platform Change

    Audax Artifex responded:
    Please don't post photos I really like how you don't yes I wasn't too impressed with a competition since I don't think the point of the forums is about that it is sharing and doing a common recipe and learning like you said I'm sure this is a one time blimp in the scheme of things. Sorry to hear the pumpkin container didn't work out so well but at least the soup was good. Great work thank you for joining in this month's challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

    Shelley C responded:
    While I loved this challenge due to the creativity, I completely understand your reasons for not being enthusiastic, and I do agree very much with some... it is frustrating for to "enter a contest" that you (I!) know you (I!) have no chance of actually winning... and knowing up front which people have the greatest chance of doing so... I am glad that you participated in the challenge, anyway, because, after all, it's still a challenge and you still got to try something you'd never tried before!! And, hey - a bunch of things went right (no blood! woohoo!),so it's all good. :)

    SeattleDee responded:
    I'm chuckling at your comments and nodding in agreement... EXCEPT I loved this challenge and didn't enjoy the previous two. Go figure! The opportunity to try new things unites the DC community, and it's a treat to compare experiences via blog posts. Forget about photo contests, your word pictures are pure delight.

    Lisa responded:
    Wow..I forgot we were entered in a contest for these lol Well..ike Shelly said, most of us don't expect to win, and frankly, like you, I do these challenges out of pure enjoyment. I don't have natural light, so I can't take photos like other bloggers, but I do the best with what I have, and if photo buffs don't like it..oh well!

    That said, LOVE the idea of a pumpkin bowl for soup, and I adore the choice of (is it a soup?) creamy shrimp! I may not be able to see it, but the mind is the best 'photo viewer' out there :)

    Mary responded:
    I know exactly what you mean about the popularity contest.
    I liked the idea of the containers, but felt like it encouraged people to come up with something with real bells and whistles, rather than just good-tasting food. Your pumpkin soup sounds divine, though, and I'll have to try cream cheese next time I have a soup that needs a bit of creaminess.

    Renata responded:
    I'm sorry to know that you didn't enjoy the challenge so much, and that the pumpkin bowl didn't work for you, but I'm glad to know that you successfully adapted the shrimp cream into a creamy soup, and that everything went well.. no blood... lol
    Thanks for participating even if it wasn't a very exciting idea for you :)

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