Thursday, December 23, 2010

Not-So-Iron-Foodie Challenge

A little over a month ago, I applied to enter an Iron Foodie challenge hosted by Marx Foods. While my entry did not make the cut (despite the presence of the Swedish Chef), my consolation prize consisted of five samples of some more eccentric ingredients. Although I am under no obligation to post about my experiments with these foodstuffs, it has been suggested that recipients concoct a recipe from several of these component pieces and blog about it prior to December 22nd. Ah me, that's today ... here goes.

The Ingredients: Hawaiian pink salt; maple sugar; vanilla bean; juniper berries; dried shitake mushrooms

I look at these ingredients and wonder where my creativity has gone. Let’s examine the particulars of these and decide what makes sense.

Hawaiian pink salt – large crystalline structure, pink hue, and slight earthy/smoky undertones.

Maple sugar – fine sweetener with a distinct maple syrup flavor.

Vanilla bean – um, fresh and vanilla-y?

Juniper berries – peppery and perfumy ... not a fan

Dried shitakes - very concentrated mushroomy flavor, earthy

Goodness gracious, what to do? The maple, vanilla, and juniper would clash like the Titans, I fear. Plus, I decidedly dislike the bitter unberriness of the juniper; that's another challenge on its own. So, with three dessert-y ingredients I set forth on festive food fun. After some failures (including a juniper berry shortbread), I decided on a maple butternut squash bar.

Maple Butternut Squash Bar (vegan and gluten-free)

1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
pinch salt
Cold water to consistency

1 cup roasted butternut squash, skinned and pureed
1/4 cup maple sugar
1 tbs maple syrup
1/4 cup almond, soy, or coconut milk
1 tbs arrowroot
2 tbs tapioca starch
pinch salt

Caramel Layer
Follow a recipe like this, and add a pinch (only!) of Hawaiian pink salt.

1. Mix ingredients for crust until they stick together. Press into greased muffin tins and place in oven until it preheats to 350F.
2. In a food processor, combine all filling ingredients until smooth. Done.
3. Take crusts out of oven. Drizzle salted caramel sauce for a completely covered layer. Let cool for a few moments.
4. Plop some nice squash mixture on top of the caramel. Smooth out and move pan back into the oven for another 30 or so minutes, until filling looks set. Remove and allow to cool completely. Serve and enjoy!

Photos up tomorrow!

1 comment:

Thistlemoon said...

Looks delicious! Thanks for playing along - love what you did with your samples!