No-sweat Cooking, Day 22

wrappers of failure

31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via rachaelraymag.com, welcome!

I had such high hopes for this recipe for Spicy Summer Rolls, but my complete inability to work with the rice paper wrappers made for a rather spectacular failure. They’re an ingredient I haven’t worked with before, and there were no instructions on the package with respect to softening them, so I asked the Internet, settling on a source I trust in these matters, the MediterrAsian.com site.

Dinner: August 19, 2010

The 15 seconds that site recommends ended up being far too long for my particular wrappers, as the first of them disintegrated after a far briefer dip in the water. So I kept working, soaking the papers for a shorter and shorter amount of time, and generally being frustrated at the resulting rolls I came up with. It was late and our stomachs were rumbling, so I eventually gave up, deciding instead to toss the carrots, cress, and pork with softened rice noodles, some slivered hot and sweet peppers, fresh cilantro, and a dressing of Sriracha, fresh lime juice, and a bit of toasted sesame oil. It was a good and satisfying Plan B, though I’m bound and determined to get the original dish right.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Summer Rolls

No-sweat Cooking, Day 21

Berry Tiramisu

31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via rachaelraymag.com, welcome!

This awesome looking berry-studded tiramisu is currently chilling in the fridge, thanks to my wonderful husband. I can’t wait to tuck into it later tonight after the No-sweat dinner I’ve got planned. Stay tuned.

Get the Recipe: Berry Tiramisu

No-sweat Cooking, Day 20

White Bean & Avocado Wraps

31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via rachaelraymag.com, welcome!

Okay, I’ve gone rogue.

I didn’t actually mash the beans and avocados together, because our avocados were still a little firm, and… well… I’m still feeling a little twitchy around the avocados after my recent knife-versus-pit mishap.

I’ve also got a not-so-secret thing for salt and acid flavors, so I ended up using quick-pickled shallots in place of raw onion in this dish, and Mike and I both liked the extra oomph. I will say I used a bit of a light hand on the cheese – Microplane graters are awesome for giving you soft, airy mounds of cheese, but with the rich creaminess of the beans and avocado, and the peppery radicchio, we found ourselves wanting more cheddar flavor. Next time, I’l definitely add more.

Dinner: August 16, 2010

Overall, this was a great combination of flavors, and a surprisingly filling meal with a few wedges of perfectly ripe heirloom tomato alongside.

Get the Recipe: White Bean & Avocado Wraps

No-sweat Cooking, Day 19

Kale Salad With Apples & Currants

31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via rachaelraymag.com, welcome!

So about that kale salad that went alongside last night’s brick chicken? In a word, wow. We love our kale around here but I had never gotten around to trying it raw, and this salad was a revelation.

The fun thing for us was that the salad was exactly the sort of thing we could imagine being served at our beloved Marlow and Sons, a beautifully balanced mix of textures and flavors, and endlessly adaptable with the seasons. As we ate, Mike and I talked about how we might riff on this as various things cycle through the farmers’ markets, and I expect some version of this kale salad is going to become a regular part of our dining repertoire.

Get the Recipe: Kale Salad with Apples & Currants

No-sweat Cooking, Day 18

Herbed Crab Salad-Stuffed Avocados

31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via rachaelraymag.com, welcome!

I love avocado in just about any form, so I was looking forward to trying these Herbed Crab Salad-Stuffed Avocados and they did not disappoint. Our avocados were on the small side so we have a good amount of the crab salad left over, but that’s hardly a bad thing – I’m sure it will be great on a sandwich or a mound of crisp greens… or maybe we just need to buy more avocados.

Get the recipe: Herbed Crab Salad-Stuffed Avocados

No-sweat Cooking, Day 17

banana, chocolate, nuts

31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via rachaelraymag.com, welcome!

Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites

Just dropping in to say that the combination of frozen banana rounds enveloped in melted Valrhona 70% dark chocolate and chopped nuts (in this case half pistachios and half Marcona almonds) does not suck.

Here’s to a sweet weekend, everyone.

Get the Recipe: Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites