The Daring Kitchen – First Challenge

So, about a month ago I joined this food blogging group called The Daring Kitchen which hosts monthly challenges for cooks and bakers…the idea being to stretch your culinary skills and experiment with recipes you might not do on your own.  Sounds just like me, right?  Of course!

So, I was delighted to see that the first challenge I would be participating in was one of molecular gastronomy using a recipe from the famous Alinea cookbook by Grant Achatz…because these are the kinds of crazy things you see occasionally by a renegade on Top Chef, but just don’t ever think you’ll bother to do at home!  Thanks to this month’s host, Sketchy, we would all be stepping way out of the ordinary kitchen box.

Cod, Traditional Flavors Powdered

Powdered Flavors - from Sketchy's instructions
Photo from Sketchy's instruction post

So here’s the general idea…you take a bunch of traditional flavors (cilantro, parsley, lemon, capers, onion, butter) and turn them into powders to accompany your fish…which makes for some fancy plating.  Then throw in some green beans (poached in beurre monte – which is a fancy way to say butter sauce) and bananas.  Yes, you read that correctly: Bananas.  And here is one version of what you might have:

Cod, Traditional Flavors Powdered

Interesting, huh?

The recipe in it’s entirety is kind of long and involved, but I just want to say that this was a really fun experiment and the poaching-in-butter technique is definitely a keeper.  My favorite surprise of the whole recipe was the bananas, for sure.  I kept thinking as I was plating our dinner, “These bananas are just going to be weird.”  But they actually worked really well and lent a great deal of moisture to the dish.

Plating Bananas and Powders

The powders, while interesting, didn’t add as much as I expected to the dish.  Almost more texture than flavor, really.  Unless I had them on-hand already, I’m not sure I would use them again.  Although the citrus/lemon powder (the bright orange one) was really tasty.


Clockwise from the top these are:  brown butter, lemon/citrus, caper, cilantro/parsley.

All in all it was a fun way to start what was probably our last “date night” before the new baby arrives.  And I’m so grateful to be married to someone who looks at a plate full of powdered-covered fish atop beans and bananas and says, “Wow, this looks fun!”

Looking forward to what next month holds at The Daring Kitchen – thanks Sketchy!!

(If you want the recipe in it’s entirety, reply in the comments and I’ll send you the version from Sketchy or you can download it here.)

10 thoughts on “The Daring Kitchen – First Challenge

  1. Congratulations on a first challenge well done! Wow, for a first challenge, you sure got a doozy, yet you rocked it! Perfect powders, plating and fish! Did you join the Daring Bakers too?

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      Thanks!! It was a doozy, but fun. And yes, I joined the Bakers, too. Hoping to do that one this week (hopefully before baby comes!) Your blog is beautiful, btw, and I love the Jamaican take on the dish.

  2. I had the same experience, so so about the taste of the powders but surprisingly liked the bananas the best. This is my third challenge, and I think if it were my first, I would have run. Great job tackling this particularly b/c it sounds like you’re due soon.

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      Yeah, I was kind of wishing that the powders were a little more potent or something. I made them a day-and-a-half before, so I wonder if making them “fresh” would have made a difference. Oh well…I’m looking forward to the next one. (And yes, I am due any time now…exciting!) Thanks for the comment!

  3. Just love the plating and the colours are so bright and clear and your swirl is just goregous. And you are right it was fun though at first a little scary. Cheers from Audax and congrats on your 1st challenge.

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      Thanks! I really enjoyed all your posts and tips, too – a big help! Looking forward to what’s next. 🙂

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      Thanks Julie – it was a lot of fun to try! Looking forward to all the Daring Baker posts tomorrow… 🙂

  4. Pingback: The Daring Bakers – Marshmallows and Milanos « Gather Around The Table

  5. Pingback: Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Marshmallows and Milanos « Gather Around The Table

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