Happy November, everybody! It feels like just yesterday I was announcing our excitement to host October’s Our Growing Edge link up party. And now, here we are with the round-up to recap all of the amazing dishes and experiences that bloggers worldwide crossed off their foodie bucket lists. From gumbo in Auckland to Oktoberfest in Asia, from refreshing tabouli to hearty pork belly, this month’s participants had some great stories to share! Without further ado and in no particular order, let’s embark on this month’s journey:
First, a snack. Say Hello Hello Food posted a wonderfully easy recipe for healthy baked apple chips to use up her autumn harvest. With her beautifully vivid photo, I want to reach out and grab a handful straight out of the jar! (PS: for US readers, 100 degrees Celsius is 212 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Lisa at Italian Kiwi decided to tackle one of my personal favorite Growing Edge projects — replicating a restaurant-quality dish at home. Hers? Flan di Carciofi con Crema di Fontina. It looks as fancy as the name sounds, but according to her post, the process is surprisingly simple to yield such a delicate finished product. Besides, you can’t go wrong with cheese sauce!
Leah at Sharing the Food We Love overcame her passionate distaste for tabouli tracing back to childhood and whipped up a gorgeous quinoa tabouli with bright lemon juice and its zest. I happen to love quinoa tabouli (especially how the little grains add a chewy texture to the green mix of parsley, mint, and chives), and Leah’s recipe makes it seem so easy to make at home!
Sharon at Sweet Home-Chefs chose to not only make Indian curry (a task which I have yet to work up the courage to undertake) but she made it her own, using up leftover zucchini to make a red lentil dal unlike any I’d ever tried! It looks hearty and comforting for these cool autumn nights, and the fried red chilies look amazing — I definitely need to start garnishing dishes with that.
Genie of Bunny Eats Design, the one who started it all, visited her local butchery, busted out her slow cooker and came up with mouthwatering strips of pork belly, beautifully lacquered in Cantonese spices and totally worth the 20 hour wait. I suspect that the meat turned out incredibly tender from all the natural fat basting itself for nearly one full day.
Chef Janet Rorschach invited her class of Escoffier students to join her in her Growing Edge project to prepare a feast of dishes from around the world – this time, Ethiopia. The injera, a flat bread, resembles a wrap on which the other dishes are served (think papadum thickness but soft like a tortilla). I have huge respect for anyone who undertakes homemade bread, let alone one that requires this much foresight and planning (the starter takes five days to make).
This Was Dinner made potato gnocchi – a dish, it seems, that many participants in Our Growing Edge dare to challenge. Unlike our ordinary arrabiatta sauce though, This Was Dinner tossed their gnocchi in an incredible saffron and creme fraiche sauce with prawns. Wow! I can almost smell the fragrant saffron from behind my computer screen.
Our Nom Nom kindred spirit Nom Nom Panda made amazing-looking golden brown on the outside, silky on the inside wok-fried homemade tofu. Steamed on the stovetop and basted in sizzling hot oil in a wok, these squares are definitely one of my favorite dishes at Chinese restaurants, although I never knew they had egg in them! Martin’s mom makes her own soy milk, so you can bet I’ll be trying this soon!
Audrey at Rice & Kai rolled up some sweet treats — chocolate truffles! But these aren’t just any ol’ truffles. These were rolled in a powder made from freeze dried strawberries. Awesome color and I imagine they would have a great fruity crust to contrast with the smooth ganache centers. Perfect for the upcoming holiday season too!
Danielle at Keeping Up With the Holsbys baked a perfectly blowtorched lemon meringue pie. The kicker? It’s gluten free! Desserts for those with dietary restrictions have never been my forte, but now I’m excited to have this tried and tested recipe in my arsenal. The post itself was an entertaining read; I know when I was writing about the souffle, I really wanted to write that one has to whip the egg whites “like a mo’fo”.
Felicia at Dish by Dish turned her frown upside-down with a chocolate quinoa cake that keeps her coming back for more! When I first glanced at the title, I assumed it would be gluten free or vegan, but have no fear, this recipe is full of butter, flour, and eggs – all wonderful things when it comes to baked goods. The quinoa adds an unparalleled moist and decadent texture that is sure to please.
Marnelli at Sweets and Brains made a batch of adorable round lemon crinkle cookies even though she didn’t have eggs on hand (quite resourceful!). We’ve made lemon cookies before as well, so I knew exactly the aroma she meant when she was enjoying the scent of lemon zest mixed with granulated sugar. Both versions, with and without egg, looked like excellent accompaniments to a nice hot cup of tea!
Anna at Bashful Bao dipped some super festive caramel apples… what makes it extra special though, is that the caramel has been infused with vanilla bean and sea salt! These are perfect for celebrating fall and with infinite options for sprinkles, nuts, and candy coatings, the possibilities are endless. And Anna’s photos look amazing — ’tis the season indeed!
The ladies of The Hungry Hunters stepped out of their comfort zones to try a new raw food cafe in their hometown of Auckland NZ. Smoked lox on sprouted bread, desserts made without any refined sugars, and three of my favorite words to spot on a beverages menu — cold brew coffee. Since the cafe is dairy-free and gluten-free, they provide hazelnut milk for coffee drinkers who prefer an alternative to black. Just looking at the photos makes me want to go to New Zealand!
Marlene of Dearest Sultana visited another great find in Auckland — GUMBO! I thought it was fascinating that Louisiana-style Southern US cuisine had made its way to New Zealand, and it seems Marlene did things right, partaking in po’ boys, cornbread, fried chicken, hush puppies, and of course, gumbo. In lieu of the traditional pecan pie, Miss Clawdy’s served up mini pecan tarts topped with a perfect ice cream quenelle. Yum!
andmorefood celebrated one of my favorite things about October – Oktoberfest! ….. in Singapore. That’s right, friends – she was chowing down on sauerkraut and brats, raising a stein, and shouting Prost! in Singapore. How cool is that? Almost as cool as the gorgeous pork knuckle that was another dinner option alongside goulash, meatloaf, and sausages. Cheers!
And then there’s me! This month for Our Growing Edge, I finally crossed a dish off my bucket list that I had been wanting to make for over six years: the ratatouille from the Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille. Layering the colorful slices of zucchini, yellow squash, and roma tomatoes, I felt as proud as Remy must have felt to present such an aesthetically pleasing dish. Luckily it tasted pretty darn good as well.
That’s a wrap! For details on how to participate in November’s Our Growing Edge, check out this page on Genie’s blog. I was so excited to see all of the wonderful creations and experiences this past month and I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with next!