Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Painting Never Tasted So Good

Okay, so I haven't done a Craftster rave in a good long while, so I think it is about time! If you haven't visited the site and you are at all crafty, you should do so immediately! It is by far the best of the social-networking-for-crafty-people sites! I first found Craftster way back in April of 2006. I had just been diagnosed with Bell's Palsy and was stuck in the house, pitying myself and getting more bored by the moment. I started working on a scrapbook that I had been neglecting and ended up searching the web for supplies. Somehow this led me to Craftster, which was serendipitous to say the least. The inspiration, information, support and friendships that followed have made me a Craftster fan for life. Anything you want to learn to make, you can find it, anything you want to share or show off, you can do that, too. Want to swap some goodies or make some friends? Go for it. I became so swap addicted for a while that I had to do a craft detox.

With our recent move, work, and all of life's other obstacles, I have been neglectful of Craftster lately. A twitter post by one of the admins alerted me to the newest monthly challenge: Incredible Edibles. Create a project mimicking craft supplies entirely out of food. Obviously this challenge was made for me. I knew everyone would be making cupcakes or cakes for this challenge so I wanted to make something a little different. Instead of sweets, I created a savory appetizer platter in the form of a painter's palette. The bread palette was baked using a whole wheat dough based on the master dough recipe that I always talk about. My version of the recipe follows along with recipes for each of the "paints" and a few other ideas in case you'd like to try this with other colors or flavors! Each "paint" is a different flavored dip or spread. The paintbrush is more bread, with fennel fronds for bristles, tied on with onion skin. After it was finished Eric and I devoured this for dinner with several glasses of vino... nothing left but crumbs!

Don't forget to head over to Craftster and vote for my entry between August 6th and 12th!

How to:

Make your bread dough:
- In a large Tupperware container, mix 1.5 cups of lukewarm water with 1 envelope of yeast and 1/2 Tbls. of kosher salt.
- Add 3.5 cups of whole wheat flour, mixing well with a wooden spoon until all flour is combined and dough is sticky.
- Cover with a towel and let rise in a dry, warm room for 3-5 hours or until dough doubles in size.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 450 degrees. I recommend a pizza stone, but if you don't have one you could do it on a baking sheet instead. If using the stone, put it in the oven now. PLace a roasting pan on the bottom rack of your oven.
- Dust your work surface (I do this right on a pizza peel because I then transfer it to a pizza stone, but you can sape it right on the baking sheet if that is what you have) and hands with flour. Cut 3/4 of the dough from the container, and shape it into a crescent like a painter's pallette. Cut a circle from one side for the thumb hole.
- Shape remaining dough into a rod for the paint brush and any other shape you'd like (I used extra dough to make little baguettes for dipping).
- Slide dough shapes onto pizza stone or put baking seet in oven.
- Pour 2 cups of hot water into the roasting pan and shut the oven door to catch steam. Watch out for hot steam when you do this because it burns like a mother!
- Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until crusty and browned. (You may need to take smaller shapes out earlier, so keep an eye on them!)
- Cool completely.
- Cut organic paint shapes from the "palette" using a serrated knife and dig out a little bowl for your dips. Save any bread that you pull out; you'll need it later 'cause it makes good eats!
- Spoon dips into each little bowl and serve with veggies and the extra bread. When you run out of dippers you can just start tearing your palette into delicious little pieces! Cheesy

Recipes for Dips in rainbow colors!

RED: Roasted Red Pepper And Eggplant Tapenade

2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
2 large red peppers, cut in half, with seeds and stems removed
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbls. fresh basil
1 Tbls. fresh oregano
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 Tbls. olive oil
Salt and pepper

Place eggplant and peppers on a grill or under the broiler.
Cook until slightly charred, turning once.
Remove from heat, peel skin from peppers, and set aside.
In a food processor, pulse garlic and herbs until finely chopped.
Add peppers and eggplant, season with salt and pepper, and pulse to chop.
Add oil and blend until just combined.

ORANGE: Savory Sweet Pumpkin Dip
1 small can, or 1 cup cooked, pureed pumpkin
1 large golden delicious apple, diced small
1 medium onion, diced small
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbls. butter
1/4 cup chicken broth
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a sauce pan, melt butter.
Over medium-high heat, cook onion until translucent.
Add apple and cook until just softened.
Add nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
Add pumpkin and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring to avoid burning.
Add half of the chicken broth and cook 2-3 minutes.
If dip is very thick, you may need to add the rest of the broth and cook another few minutes.

YELLOW: Garlic Yogurt Sauce
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. kosher salt
3 drops yellow food coloring

Blend all ingredients well and serve cold. You could actually color this with any shade since it's white anyway. I was too lazy to make the yellow corn dip below!

YELLOW Option 2: Chipotle Corn Dip
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/2 cup diced fresh tomato
2 cups frozen corn kernels, defrosted
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup finely shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Melt the butter in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the onion, garlic, cumin and chile powder, stirring, until you can smell the spices and the onion begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the tomato and corn, and toss once or twice to coat with the onion mixture.
Transfer to a medium-size bowl and allow to cool.
Stir in the sour cream, mayonnaise and cheese.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight to let the flavors develop.

GREEN: Sweet Pea and Onion Spread
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) peas
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbls. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until combined. Again feel free to puree it, but I like a little texture.
** Guacamole would also make a good green!

BLUE: Blue Cheese Fondue (I didn't have room on my palette for this, but it is delicious!)
1 lb. Blue Cheese (crumbled)
1 cup nonfat milk
2 Tbls. butter
2 Tbls. flour
1 Tbls. nonfat sour cream
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Blue food coloring

Crumble Blue Cheese and set aside.
Add butter to a small pot over medium-low heat.
Stir in flour, then milk.
Slowly add crumbled Blue Cheese while stirring.
Turn up the heat to high and stir in nutmeg.
As the fondue starts to bubble but before it boils, lower the heat and add the sour cream and a few drops of food coloring to make it nice and blue.

Hope you all enjoy it; we sure did!

Print the Recipes!


Jessica Gardner said...

You are crazy amazing. May I hire you as my personal chef?

Joanna said...

Sure! I charge reasonable rates, but that commute would be hell!

Spryte said...

OMG!! That is SO cool!!!