Friday, April 2, 2010

Cafe World Challenge Week 4

This week I decided to up my game a little as Cafe World has added some new dishes, bringing the total to complete to 59. I'll list the new dishes at the end and include them in the master list to the side. I'm also not sure if there is any April Fooling going on with the cookbook, so things might be different again next week.

I did 3 1/2 dishes this week, with a few recipes to share.

Steak Dinner with Garlic Fries

You might recall from Week 1 that I didn't make the Garlic Fries with the Hot Dog, well I've got my favourite Garlic Potato Topper from Epicure Selections and they were good. I make oven bake fries, much less calories to contend with. I also use the same spice mix on the steak.

The Steak and Potatoes were served with a green salad, just a salad mix from a bag with my own dressing. Since I used two different dressings in my cafe meals this week, I thought I'd share my thoughts on making your own salad dressing.

My favourite tip, which I picked up in Jamie Oliver's book, Cook with Jamie, is to use a jam jar to make up, shake up and store the dressing. This makes it so easy with no need for whisking or figuring out how to store or serve the dressing.
The basic recipe is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, but I sometimes add more or less to achieve a good taste balance, it depends on the oil/vinegar used. I love making dressings, so I own many varieties of oils and vinegars, if you follow the basics, you can go crazy with the types you use. To this you can add a variety of other ingredients, for example: garlic, fresh or dried herbs, mustards, juice, etc, etc. I sometimes make a lower calorie dressing with juice instead of oil. These dressing will keep in the fridge for a while if they don't have dairy products or fresh herbs or garlic. Oh yes, I sometimes add in creme fraiche to make a creamy dressing.

I noted what I used in this weeks dressings so I could share the recipes. Note the amount of oil and vinegar was approximated as I usually add them to my jar and adjust after taste. It's then easy to see how much of each I used as the vinegar and oil separate.

Walnut Vinaigrette

1/3 cup walnut oil (will work with extra-virgin olive oil, but then won't be called Walnut vinaigrette)
3 tbsp cider vinegar
1 small shallot minced
1/2 tsp dry English mustard
salt & pepper to taste (I used 1/4 tsp each)
1 pinch sugar (needed to balance the tastes a bit)

Add altogether in jam jar and shake. Shake before each use. Or alternatively use a whisk to mix in a bowl.

Classic Dressing

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste.

Method same as before.

Check out this post for more dressings.

Loco Moco

Before doing the research I didn't know this was a real dish or what it was. From the look of the picture in Cafe World I thought it could be a type of Sushi with the egg on top. That I wasn't game for. But luckily it turned out to be good, although not recommended if you suffer from high cholesterol.

Loco Moco is a Hawaiian dish that consists of a bed of rice with a hamburger patty, gravy and an egg on top.

The history behind the dish is pretty interesting. It was created back in 1949 at a Hawaiian restaurant and is now popular throughout Hawaii. Check out the Wikipedia entry for more.

I made a yummy gravy, which would have gone well with the steak too. It was so good I'm ashamed to say I did lick some gravy off the plate...I just couldn't waste it.


beef broth (I used 1 litre homemade and a 287ml can commercial)
1 cup Merlot
2 tbsp butter softened
1 tbsp flour

Cook the broth and wine for about 2 hours or until reduced by at least half. Add the broth to the pan you cooked the hamburger in, loosen the meat bits, which also flavoured the gravy. Combine butter and flour and add to the broth mixture, keeping cooking until gravy thickens.

Smoked Salmon Latkes

Latkes are fried potato pancakes. The combination with the smoked salmon was a first for me, but it was fantastic. I served mine with whipped chive-flavoured cream cheese.

This is how I made my Latkes:

2 large potatoes grated
1 medium onion grated
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour

Mix together and fry small pancakes in shallow vegetable oil. Drain on a paper towel and serve with smoked salmon & cream cheese.

Cookbook changes

With the changes made last week and yesterday, there are now 59 dishes for me to complete. There are 58 in the cookbook, but they have removed the Giant Dino Egg, which I have already completed, so I will still count it.

Other new additions are:
Martian Brain Bake - a past dish returned to replace the Dino Egg.
Chashu Ramen
Tom Yum Goong
Mystical Pizza
Ice Cream Sundae :)

Progress: 9/59

Next Up: Haven't planned yet, just check back Friday and see.

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