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Monday, February 14, 2011

Daring Cooks: Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

Part of the reason I started this blog two months ago was to push myself out of my comfort zone by preparing dishes I wouldn't normally even consider.  That's the main reason I joined Daring Cooks, and this month was the first challenge I was eligible to participate in.  Mission accomplished - the assignment was one that I've never attempted before...

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com.

I couldn't believe how easy it was to prepare everything!  First was the buckwheat soba noodles and spicy dipping sauce (which is served on the side).  I topped the noodles with some sliced scallions.  There were other things that were suggested to add on top (ham, sliced scrambled egg, cucumber to name a few) but this was just fine.  The sauce was delicious (and actually not that spicy!) and gave the noodles all the taste they needed.

For more details, check out the recipes, courtesy of Globetrotter Diaries and about. com.  

And then, the tempura.  Again, I was very happy to see how easy it was to make tempura batter and will definitely be making it again soon!  I was also surprised to see how thin the batter was - I thought maybe I did something wrong - but it all worked out just fine.  

I used all vegetables - yams, mushrooms, onions, asparagus and green beans.  Next time I'll include shrimp, lobster, scallops, and other proteins.Delicious, light, and fun to make.

The recipes for the tempura can be found on Pink Bites and itsy bitsy foodies.  Lisa also influenced the tempura a bit with things she learned from her Japanese grandmother.

I had SO MUCH FUN with this challenge, and can't wait for the next one!  :)

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At February 14, 2011 at 2:57 PM , Blogger Audax said...

Welcome and hello to the Daring Kitchen and congratulations on your first very successful challenge and I hope you have many more happy experiences with us.

WOW I just love your photos they are so clear and that tempura is perfect the batter layer is so thin and crisp looking. And wonderful to hear that you enjoyed the recipes so much. Great job.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

At February 14, 2011 at 3:06 PM , Blogger Pam said...

Great job ! Everything looks delicious, especially the tempura.

At February 14, 2011 at 3:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your tempura looks so good! I love how the batter is so thin! Great job!

At February 14, 2011 at 3:51 PM , Blogger Anna said...

Everything look delicious! You did a great job - and yes it wasn't the most difficult of the challenges but how interesting :)
Pozdrawiam! Anula.

At February 14, 2011 at 5:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to DC. You did great on the challenge. I will warn you that all the challenges aren't this simple. Looking forward to seeing more of your food.

At February 14, 2011 at 7:17 PM , Blogger Ruth H. said...

Your tempura looks perfect - lightly coated, yet perfectly crisp. I want to try that tempura'ed asparagus! And your simple soba salad looks so light and refreshin! Welcome to the Daring Kitchen, and I can't wait to see how you surprise us - and yourself! - in the coming challenges!

At February 14, 2011 at 7:56 PM , Blogger julie said...

It all looks absolutely delicious! Brilliant job and congrats on a successful first challenge!

At February 14, 2011 at 8:54 PM , Blogger shelley c. said...

Welcome to the Daring Cooks! Congratulations on completing your first challenge so beautifully - everything looks so appetizing! Great job.

At February 14, 2011 at 11:10 PM , Blogger Renata said...

You did a perfect job on the challenge! Everything looks absolutely delicious! Welcome to the DCs!

At February 15, 2011 at 12:06 AM , Blogger Mary Bergfeld said...

Melissa, you did a wonderful job with this challenge. Everything looks terrific and it certainly sounds delicious. Kudos. Have a great evening. Blessings...Mary

At February 15, 2011 at 12:11 AM , Blogger Food Gal said...

The next time you make this, can I invite myself over? Hah. Seriously, this is one of my fave combos to enjoy at a Japanese restaurant. ;)


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