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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 http://thedaringkitchen.com!

Mandatory Items: To make a SAVORY edible container and fill it with something appropriate.

Variations allowed:

  • You may want to use one of the ideas provided here as described, or give them your own twists and your own recipes for the content.
  • Or, you can choose to create something totally new, from scratch.
  • As long as it is a container, it is edible, and has a content suitable for it, I want you all to have a lot of fun challenging your creativity!

Well, my faithful kittens, I feel like I am finally shaking off the late-winter malaise that’s been affecting my cooking. I read this challenge when it came out, gave a cheer, then promptly became distracted by the menu for my birthday party dinner. Then Jim sends me an email asking me to send the link to the Daring Kitchen website to someone, because “his wife cooks like [I] do.” Is this a compliment? Because I took it as one. And it reminded me to do the challenge post haste, since the posting date was fast approaching!

The challenge is to make an edible container, and we can take this dictum wherever our creativity leads! I loved the idea of toast cups that is put forth in the challenge intro: a slice of bread molded in to a bake-proof container, filled with an egg and baked to doneness. Well, I also had some Canadian bacon in the freezer, and some shredded low-fat 4 cheese blend, and a mad hankering for some guacamole, so I put them all together with the idea of a baked toast cup and made it happen.

It’s amazingly easy:

1. Take a slice of toast and cut the crusts off with a sharp knife. Place the bread in an oven-proof container sprayed lightly with non-stick spray to assist in removing the finished product.

2. If desired, place a slice of Canadian bacon, or some fried bacon, or a few sausage crumbles, or sliced ham, or sliced turkey, or whatever, on top of the bread.

3. Gently crack an egg over the meat. Now, the challenge host said be careful not to let your egg leak outside of your bread, but since it was inevitable in my case, I didn’t worry about it. This was part of the reason I used non-stick spray, so that any escaped egg wouldn’t gum up my removal process.

4. Place in a preheated oven and bake until the yolks and white reach desired doneness. I placed my individual vessels on a cookie sheet to aid placement in and removal from the oven.

And now, a word. The challenge directions recommend a 180-degree oven for this. I started out with the oven preheated to 180 degrees, but after a half hour of my egg not cooking, I began to gradually bump up the oven temperature. I finally settled at 300 degrees, when I started to get some really excellent browning action on the exposed toast corners, and some lovely setting of the whites and yolks.

5. Once the eggs are about as cooked as you’d like them to be, remove them from the oven and  layer 1/4 cup of shredded cheese over the eggs. Make an even layer, and once again, I didn’t worry about the potential of any cheese to run outside the toast container. No big deal, right? Pop vessels back in to the oven for 5 to 8 minutes for the cheese to melt.

6. Remove from the oven and let cool so that the contents retain their shapes when removed from the baking vessel. After a couple of minutes I tentatively reached in with a fork and made sure the cheesy, eggy stacks would release from the edges, and when I was satisfied, I left them to sit for another 5 minutes to cool.

7. Use two forks to gently airlift your cheesy, eggy, bacon toast cups on to a waiting plate! Garnish with a small spoonful of prepared guacamole and enjoy.

(Jim says: Since this took an hour and a half to bake, does that make it gourmet?)

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Chicken Salad au Tomate

Really, it’s just a tomato with the top lopped off, hollowed out, rinsed, and filled with chicken salad, but I had to give it a pseudo-fancy name to make it sound more exciting.

I used a very large tomato, and even though it held only a couple spoonfuls of store-bought deli chicken salad, it was a very, very filling lunch. It was also a bit of a pain to figure out how to eat: Should I eat the chicken salad first and then the tomato? If so, that sort of defeats the point of putting the chicken salad in the tomato in the first place. Cutting the stuffed tomato in to halves, then quarters, then eighths was a little bit of work, but I decided to go that way. I still have very large tomatoes in the fridge, so I think I’ll make the next one with the tomato hollowed out, then cut in to fourths, then with the chicken salad dropped on to each fourth.

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photo by Rachel

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I came across this recipe at the Mail Online’s website while I was looking for a definition of old-school Marie Rose sauce, and while I found a plethora of family-by-family variations — apparently this sauce is a staple of English cuisine! — this recipe had the fewest ingredients, all of which I have around the kitchen every day. Plus, Jamie Oliver conveniently gave me another recipe, for prawns, with which to eat the Marie Rose sauce.

Prawns with an Old-School Marie Rose Sauce
Serves 2 

For the prawns
plain flour
220g/8 oz king prawns, peeled and ready to eat*
olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 heaped tsp paprika
extra virgin olive oil

For the Marie Rose sauce
4 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. tomato ketchup
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. whisky**
1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper***

*I can’t seem to get prawns in southeastern Massachusetts; jumbo shrimp works just fine.
**At this time, I used Jameson’s.
***I also added a dash of paprika. 
 

Put a handful or two of flour into a bowl. Drop your prawns into the bowl of flour and toss until they’re completely coated.

To make your sauce, put your mayonnaise into a bowl with the ketchup, a small splash of Worcestershire sauce and the booze. Halve the lemon and squeeze in the juice from one of the halves. Cut the remaining half into wedges for serving. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and mix well. Give it a taste and add a touch more salt, pepper and lemon juice if you think it needs it.

Get yourself a large pan and place it on a high heat. When the pan is hot, pour in 2 good lugs of olive oil. Bash and break up your garlic cloves with your hand and add these to the pan, immediately followed by your flour-dusted prawns. Toss them well to coat them in the hot oil. Count to ten, then add a pinch of salt and pepper, and the paprika for flavour and colour. Keep tossing your prawns, trying to keep them in a single layer in the pan, so they cook evenly, for about 3-4 minutes, until crisp and golden.

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photo by Rachel

I didn’t make the avocado salad Jamie recommends, I just got some mixed spring greens and drizzled over the last drops of balsamic vinaigrette. I paired the dish with an Australian chardonnay and enjoyed my night in!

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