Why are we scrambling again this time of month?
Oh yeah, we lost a big chunk of the month and had been abducted by unidentified boxes.
TS and I discussed whether or not we should even enter something for this month's Joust, given our recent stresses. Of course, the option of not participating was quickly thrown out and just as quickly dismissed.
Yes, we can do the Joust this month.
I am an eternal optimist.
Even with the moving? For sure.
Even with the limited time left from now till the end of the month? Why not?
Even with unfamiliar ingredients?
How unfamiliar are they?
We don't really work with squash a whole lot. For some reason, we don't cook with squashes regularly, but only on rare occasions; very, very rare.
Well, scratch that and modify it: until recently, we didn't work with squash. There is one person who eats a lot of squash in our household and that is our 8-month old niece. CSC boils/steams and mashes up different types of squashes and that is what our niece been having for the past month, added to broths and rice and such.
We contemplated entering our niece's boiled squash, with candied orange and fried sage leaves, as our Joust entry. ;)
Well, thank goodness we came to our senses. I think you'll find our real entry is much better than baby food.
With each Joust, there is always the choice to go the savory or sweet route. Seeing that the earlier entries for this edition seemed to lean towards the savory, we decided to go the opposite direction. (Of course, that is now moot as there have been delicious sweet entries since we last checked.)
Let's tackle the squash portion of the challenge first, since that is the unfamiliar for us.
We decided to make churros (Spanish "donuts"). Actually, I confess, I'm not sure whether this is even close to the traditional recipe. Basically, I made choux pastry with some added puréed squash.
(The pictures were supposed to be step-by-step, but we were busy doing all sorts of things in the kitchen at the same time that it didn't happen.)
The beginning and the finish of our choux pastry
On the left, that's butter, milk, water, puréed squash, sugar and salt warming up, waiting to boil. When it boiled, I dumped the flour and stirred until it came together. I kept stirring until the mixture had "dried" and cooled somewhat. Then, I added one egg at a time, stirring and waiting for each egg to be incorporated into the dough before adding the next.
It was a lot of stirring! I would usually do this with the Kitchen-Aid, but the thought of extra washing deterred me. The stirring wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. =)
On the right is the finished squash choux paste in a Ziploc bag. I actually found a starred tip somewhere in the kitchen. (That pumpkin in the background is for our Weekend Wokking entry.)
To the fryer!
After heating up some oil, it was time to fry. I made a few test ones to check the oil temperature. I couldn't squeeze out the dough with just one hand (the tip was small), so there was no way for me to use my other hand to "cut off" the dough. Hence, the squiggly worm-like shapes you see with curliques at the end.
They're cute that way. =) For extra deliciousness, we coated the churros with some cinnamon sugar.
This looks like a combination of the treble and bass clefs to me.
Look at the fabulous hollow center!
Orange-Sage Hot Chocolate
The hot chocolate portion was easy as easy can be.
I simply heated some milk, adding big strips of orange zest and a couple of sage leaves. When the milk was hot, I whisked in some sugar (not too much) and broken pieces of dark chocolate. I wanted the chocolate to be a tad richer and thicker for dipping purposes, and not too sweet.
Now, the best part: dunk!
The best part was not the dunking -- it was the EATING!
These were delicious and I'm wishing I had more of these churros right now to munch on as I'm writing. The cinnamon sugar and the woodsy background the sage leaves added to the hot chocolate really highlighted the squashiness of the churros. The squash churros had heft, definitely had a lot more body than regular churros. It paired perfectly with the rich, dark chocolate fragrant with orange and sage.
[update: We actually won! Wow. Thanks!!]
This is the choux paste list of ingredients from Joy of Cooking. My changes are indicated in italics and in black.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
Instead of the above, my liquid ingredients were:
1/4 cup squash purée
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (I added some sugar in addition to the salt.)
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
In a sauce pan, combine squash purée, water, milk, butter, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon. Stir until the mixture becomes dough-like and pills away from the sides of the pan.
Continue to cook and stiry for about 1 minute to eliminate excess moisture. Remove from heat and set aside for about 5 minutes to cool, stirring occasionally.
Beat in one egg at a time with a wooden spoon. Wait until the egg is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next egg. Beat until the dough is smooth and shiny. Transfer into a pastry bag with a star tip.
In a pan, add about 1-2 inches of oil. Heat on medium. You may need to test the heat of the oil. The churros should puff up immediately but not brown too quickly. Squeeze choux paste (into desired length) into the hot oil. When it's golden-brown on the bottom side, flip until the other side is golden-brown. Remove from the oil and drain. Do not overcrowd the pan. Make 4-6 churros at a time.
If desired, put some sugar on a plate and add a pinch of cinnamon. Dust churros in cinnamon sugar.
Orange-Sage Hot Chocolate
Makes 4-6 servings
2 cups milk
slices of zest from 1 orange
1-2 sage leaves
1/4 cup sugar
175 grams dark chocolate (70%), broken in pieces
(I used 5 bars of Lindt 70% chocolate, 35g per bar.)
In a small pan, add milk, orange zest and sage leaves. Heat on low.
When the milk is hot (do not boil), whisk in the sugar and dark chocolate pieces. Continue heating until the chocolate is completely melted and the hot chocolate mixture is rich and smooth.
Discard orange zest slices and sage leaves.
Dip Squash Churros into Orange-Zest Hot Chocolate.
This is our entry to the Royal Food Joust (created by The Leftover Queen).
[eatingclub] vancouver Royal Food Joust posts:
Dimsum Seafood Trio: Black Pearl Toast, Scallop in Nest, Jewelled Rice Cup
Cream of Fennel Soup with Parsey Oil
Lime-Marinated Pork Skewers with Ginger-Guava Jam and Five-Grain Rice
Soy Pudding Parfait with Orange-Ginger Syrup and "Streusel" Brittle
Squash Churros with Orange-Sage Hot Chocolate
Coffee Pancakes with Honey Ricotta and Black Pepper & Coffee-Crusted Bacon
Caribbean "Fish & (Banana) Chips"
Steelhead Trout and Enoki Mushrooms with Wasabi Cream Sauce
We're submitting this to Culinarty's Original Recipes.
More information here.
The Round-ups here.