Iron Chef Moo takes on Blogathon 2007 to raise funds for the National Kidney Foundation.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Turn the lights off when you leave...

It's done. Twenty-four hours. Sixteen dishes based on four theme ingredients. A tidy little pile of money raised for a very worthy cause.

I'm tired, y'all. So. Very. Tired. It's worth it, every minute of it.

Readers, sponsors, commenters - all of you - to you I offer my humble thanks. I wouldn't have made it without you.

Good morning and good night. Iron Chef Moo has left the building.

For David

So here we are at the end of another Blogathon. It was different this time.

The anxiety from previous years was not present this time. It was replaced with something far, far better. Relief. Happiness. I don't have to worry quite so much about you now, what with you being all super-duper technologically enhanced and all that, now. Isn't modern medicine grand?

We've been friends for nearly ten years now. And thanks to modern medicine, you'll be around for me to pester for many, many more. That makes me feel a whole lot better about being in this world - it's always better when you've got your dearest friend to ward off the Bad Guys.

Happy Brand New Life, David. You take care of that new-fangled kidney thing, OK?

I did this...why, again?

Three years running now, I've stayed up all night like a hyperactive little kid to rustle up some funds for the National Kidney Foundation. Why?

Because they do important work.

The National Kidney Foundation works to provide eduction not just to kidney transplants and their families, but to the general public as well. They help fund research that may find a CURE for chronic kidney disorders like Alport Syndrome, offer free screenings for patients to determine if they have a chronic kidney disorder and provide emergency funding for pre- and post-transplant patients to provide for their basic needs as well as transportation to and from their treatments.

Chronic kidney disorders are dreadfully common in the US - 1 in 9 Americans suffers from a CKD. Eleven patients die every dy while waiting for a kidney - there just aren't enough donors to go around.

If you haven't sponsored yet, please consider it. Sponsorships don't close until Tuesday night. The NKF needs your help if CKDs are to be stomped out and invasive transplants are to be made obsolete. Give 'em a hand.

Nearly there

We're done with the cooking, the eating, the nibbling here and there. Neither Alex nor I can even consider the idea of food right now - we've both hit that icky part of the morning where your tummy is just off and cranky and in the mood to tell you where to go. We're both going to sleep like babies, without a doubt.

Alex is talking to friends on the other side of the world, pointing them to his favorite parts of the Blogathon day. He's happy, excited, exuberant.

I'm listening to bellydance music, stretching, sliding, circling. I keep getting out of my chair to do the "three minute shimmy". Of course, people are sleeping, so I have to do it without benefit of a hip scarf. That's just not as satisfying as busting out of the char and laying down some mad hip work. *sigh* I shall, of course, cope.

And I will amuse you by giving you silly music.

Morning has broken

My carriage light, with the morning glories creeping up. There's enough light to see by, but not enough to convince my carriage light to turn off.

I've already been up for more than 24 hours, having not slept well Friday night and getting up early on Saturday morning. The sun is laughing at me, asking me what I'm still doing up at such an hour on the weekend.

If he only knew...

Pork with Gorgonzola Sauce

Toodling around the Intertron, I find an intriguing dish from Epicurious:

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 3/4-pound pork tenderloins

Gorgonzola sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 4 ounces)

For pork: Oil large rimmed baking sheet. Whisk Dijon mustard, olive oil and thyme in small bowl to blend. Sprinkle pork tenderloins with salt and pepper. Heat heavy large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pork and sear until brown all over, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer seared pork to prepared baking sheet. Spread Dijon mustard mixture over all sides of pork. (Can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead. Refrigerate pork uncovered.)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Roast pork until thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 150°F, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare sauce: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon flour and whisk 1 minute. Gradually whisk in whipping cream, white wine and chicken broth. Boil until mixture is thick enough to coat spoon, whisking frequently, about 1 minute. Add crumbled Gorgonzola and whisk until cheese is melted and smooth and sauce is reduced to desired consistency, about 5 minutes.

Slice pork and transfer to plates. Ladle some sauce over pork. Serve, passing additional sauce separately.


General Mills developed Bisquick in 1931

In 1941 M&M's Plain Chocolate Candies debuted in six colors; red, green, yellow, orange, brown and violet. Tan replaces the violet eight years later.

Scott Lee founded his new baking company in Chicago during 1949, naming it after his 9 year-old daughter, Sara.

Bon Appétit begins as a free promotional booklet distributed through liquor stores in 1955.

You just can't get good help these days...

We lost Ernie...

...but Beelzebubba is still going strong...

Cooking with Vincent Price

I'll bet you didn't know Vincent Price was a gourmand. Listen to him talk about his recipes for mushrooms and stuffed eggs and roast pork sirloin with prunes, onions & red wine.

Why don't I have any of his four cookbooks on my shelf? Oh, that's right...if it's Vincent Price, I want it in AUDIOBOOK!

Mah entertainment. Let me show you them.

What's keeping me amused at 4:30AM? My critters.

Yes, Bailey has a bald belly. It's because he's so fat, it sometimes drags.

Miss Lulu is not inclined to hold us high in her esteem.

Jack is very tired. So am I. It's hard to create interesting content when you're completely wiped out

A brief tutorial

Mdevnich says, about the Truffles:

If you haven't got every single post planned, do a post on the rolling technique for these-- my mental image for me doing them is that the result is blobby and fingerprinty.

Yup, that's about it. There's really no getting around the fingerprinty, blobby part. That's why we have coverture! But to get as close to gorgeous as dammit...

-- Be certain the ganache is well chilled. If you're making a lot of truffles, work in small batches.
-- Use a small melonballer to get the shape started, then roll the ball quickly between your palms. You will get meltage. It's OK, just don't over-handle them.
-- Fix divots by smoothing the ganache with the back of a spoon. Small ridges will be hidden by the coverture.

Truffles are DONE!

Place cocoa in small bowl. Remove the balls from the refrigerator. Using one hand, dip the balls into the melted chocolate. Roll it around in your hand, allow the excess to drip back into the bowl. Place the truffle in the cocoa. With your clean hand, cover the truffle with cocoa.

Lift it out and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining truffles. Place back in the refrigerator for 5-8 minutes to set.

Try not to scarf 'em down all at once. All that butter and cream and chocolates is supposed to be bad for you!

This concludes the Live Cooking portion of Iron Chef Moo. Sit back now, relax, and enjoy the recipes and trivia, rollin' on til 9AM.

STOP! Truffle Time!

Remember that ganache we made a couple posts ago?

Using a mini ice cream scoop or two spoons, form the mixture into 1-inch balls and and place on the prepared sheets.

Chill until firm, about 10-15 minutes. While the balls are chilling, melt the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate. After it is completely melted, allow to cool slightly before continuing.

Still not Truffle time!

So, a holler out to Laci, my tireless Monitor, who has been cheerfully poking me all day long to make sure I'm awake and alive.

Thanks, Laci, for taking on a tough job while running your own blog!

It's still not Truffle time yet!

But we have trivia to keep us busy!

Did you know...

Ho Chi Minh once worked as a pastry chef under the legendary French master Auguste Escoffier.

Let me sum up

While we're waiting to get to the next step for the Truffles, let's have a look back at what we've made today. Recall that early sponsors voted to choose four theme ingredients. We also chose to include two bonus dishes, because there were ingredients we favored that did not make the cut .

The dishes are:


Wasabi Tiramisu
Zucchini Blossoms stuffed with fresh Feta
Fondue Moutardiere
Cahill Porter Soup


Chocolate Crepes with Chocolate Cream filling
Chocolate Chai Cheesecake
Chocolate Chestnut Ravioli
Classic Chocolate Truffles


Wine Sorbet
Shrimp and Scallion Linguine with White Wine Sauce
Cold Wine Fondue


Smoked Garlic Chicken
Garlic Studded Bread
Garlic Confit


Bleu Cheese and Leek Quiche
Pumpkin Chocolate Souffles

Sixteen dishes. Not a bad day, if I do say so myself. I can gurantee that I won't be cooking for a couple days, though!

Chocolate Truffles

Last dish!!

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp light corn syrup
8 oz. chopped, semi-sweet chocolate + 6 oz. for dipping
about 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder, sifted

Mix the cream, butter and corn syrup together in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a full boil. Turn off heat. Add 8 ounces of the chopped chocolate, and gently swirl the pan. Do not stir. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, whisk slowly to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

In the meantime, line baking sheets with parchment paper.

After 45 minutes, the mixture will start to thicken quickly, keep refrigerated another 11 to 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

We'll come back to these in about an hour!

Some Thanks are in order

Dear Sponsors, how awesome are you?? $1,409.90 for the NKF so far! Thank you for supporting this great organization!

More thanks to:

Cat, for dreaming up Blogathon lo, these many years ago. Good job, lady!

John and Erika Aylward, of The Boulevard Market and Four Corners Creamery. I can always count on you to have exactly what I need, and as fresh as can be.

Ed and Annie Gerten and the rest of the gang at Pentamere Winery. When imagination fails me, I can always count on you for ideas. And BOOZE!

Rebecca and Heidi at TGI. *heart* I'm so glad you came by to say Hi! It really means a lot. So much, in fact, that there WILL be Garlic Studded Bread at work.

Tuna McDermott, because he's my big brother and I loves him.

Maus, for running out for stuff and pimping the blog at the Vitamin Shoppe.

And...the Monsters, for being great sous chefs in spite of being really tired and cranky.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

While the house cools...

I took a minute to sit down with a souffle, and wow, did it hit the spot! I've only had time to nibble today, I'm really looking forward to having more than a few bites between running to and from the kitchen!

There has been so much going on besides just cooking!

Elizabeth at Another Random Memory informs me that I won a sponsor prize - she entered everyone who sponsored her into a drawing for some small thing or other, and I won the choice between a keychain or $7.95 for the NKF. Naturally, I chose the $$ for the NKF!

Elizabeth is blogging for Any Soldier. It's a terrific organization, so head on over to Elizabeth's and toss a couple bucks her way!

Earlier this afternoon, I was interviewed by Lewis and Melissa at BlogExplosion Radio! I had a terrific time and was happy to see that some fellow 'thonners heard me on the radio! Thanks for giving us a push, Lewis!


We're going to get the house cooled off some before we reveal the final dish. Baby, it's HOT in here!

Thanks for following along today. It's great to have your company! Stick around - we've got one more dish, recipes, trivia and more!

Let's finish off those Souffles!!

-preheat oven to 425 degrees F
- coat inside of ramekins with melted butter, then sugar
- in a large bowl, whip egg whites to stiff peaks, adding 1 oz sugar and cream of tartar partway through
- gently fold whites into base

- spoon mixture into ramekins
- place on baking sheet in oven
- bake ~13 minutes, until edges appear dry; do not touch
- sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately


Everyone is banned from the kitchen for the next 15 minutes. Including the dog. ESPECIALLY the dog!

Pumpkin-Chocolate Souffles

Adapted from Ben Bakes A Cake!

6 eggs, separated
2 oz plus 1 oz sugar
2 oz all-purpose flour
1 oz dark cocoa
3/4 cup cream
3/4 cup pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
pinch of cream of tartar
melted butter and sugar to line ramekins
powdered sugar for decoration
6 or 7 ramekins

Pumpkin Base:
- warm cream and pumpkin in a saucepan
- in a medium bowl, whisk 2oz sugar into yolks. Whisk in flour and cocoa, then warmed liquid mixture
- return to saucepan. cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. do not boil
- remove from heat and stir in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves
- cover with plastic wrap
- let cool to room temp or refrigerate for later and bring to room temp before using

The base looks kind of gross...but it tastes FANTASTIC! We're going to give it a quick chill in the freezer to bring it to room temp fast, and we'll get these lovelies to the oven in the next post!


Readers from last year will remember that I had no counter space for Blogathon - we made do with a 6 foot plastic table and a wooden kitchen cart.

This year we have space, but the joint is no less trashed. This is what we're catching up on before we do the last two dishes:

I need a butler!!

Next post: a dish!

To give my boss The Happy...

Hey Rebecca? Looky here!

Those nutty brown spots?

That would be the garlic, happily roasted as the bread baked. We JUST sliced this, and it's divine.

OK, dear readers, the cooking portion is nearly concluded. Two more dishes, both delectable desserts! Watch this space!

We're halfway there

We've been cooking FOOLS here at Iron Chef Moo for twelve hours now, and are we ever looking forward to hanging up the aprons for the night. We're covered in flour, powdered sugar, oil spatters, chocolate smudges, rum spatters, wine spatters...and we positively REEK of garlic.

We're not quite finished cooking yet - we still have two spectacular surprises in store! We're going to take it easy for the next few posts, though, while we catch up the kitchen and get the last two dishes prepped and ready to go.

Stick around. We've still got plenty of food love comin' atcha! If you haven't sponsored yet, what are you waiting for??

Pentamere's Cold Wine Fondue

2 cups full bodied red wine - Pentamere's Chambourcin is on deck tonight!
1 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons dry fruit pectin

Combine wine and sugar in a 10 inch skillet. Cook over medium high heat until the mixture boils, boil for three minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook until mixture is reduced to about a cup - 25 minutes or so.

Stir in pectin, cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, cool completely.

Ed recommends serving this with sharp cheddar, angel food cake or gingerbread. We're going with pound cake!

Can't wait for that fondue to cool!

Chocolate Chestnut Ravioli, continued

Roll the pastry into a thin sheet, about 1/8-inch thick.

Cut out circles about 3 inches in diameter. Put about 1 tablespoon of the filling onto each circle, then fold it over and press the edges to seal them.

Deep fry the ravioli until they turn a deep, golden color. Drain on absorbent paper. Dust with powered sugar.

These are shockingly tasty, but don't get too impatient! Let them cool a little first!!

Chocolate Chestnut Ravioli

For the pastry:
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
1-1/2 tablespoons white wine
4 teaspoons olive oil

For the filling:
1/2 pound cooked chestnuts or canned chestnut puree
4 teaspoons honey
6 tbs grated bitter chocolate
3 tablespoons toasted almonds, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Oil for deep frying
Powdered sugar for garnish

Make the pastry:
Sift flour onto a pastry board, make a well in the center, and add the egg yolks, water, wine and olive oil. Work the flour from the sides into the center, mixing well to a firm dough. Knead vigorously until smooth. Cover and set aside while preparing the filling.

Prepare the filling:
Force the chestnuts or the puree through a sieve. Add the honey, chocolate, rum, almonds, cinnamon and vanilla. Blend thoroughly.

Got all that? Go have a drink, we'll be back in 30 with prep and photos!

Cahill Porter Soup

This is fabulous with pumpernickel bread and a Guinness!

1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
4 1/2 cups chicken stock (I used homemade, but canned will do!)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound sharp Irish Cheddar
1/2 pound Cahill Porter Cheddar

Isn't the Cahill Porter pretty?

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Whisk in the flour, cook till thickened, then whisk in 2 cups of the stock. Heat through.

Add the shredded cheeses, whisking constantly, followed by the remaining stock. When the cheese is completely melted, whisk in the cream and heat through.

Garlic Confit

What do you do with Garlic Confit?

Here Chez Moo, you eat it happily with a spoon!

3 heads garlic, cloved and peeled
olive oil

Drop the peeled garlic cloves into a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add olive oil til barely covered, then add sherry and salt to taste.

Cook gently over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until garlic is soft. Strain, reserving the oil and sherry mixture. Puree the garlic, adding some of the oil as necessary to make it smooth.

Mmm...when this is done, I'm putting on...

...the Smoked Garlic Chicken.

Fondue Moutardiere

1/4 lb Moutardiere Swiss (acquired from the Boulevard Market!)
1/2 lb Gruyere (ditto)

1 clove Garlic
1 3/4 cups white wine (Pentamere's Chardonnay!)
1 tbs Lemon Juice
2 tbs Flour
3 tbs brandy or rum
1/4 tsp White Pepper
Nutmeg and/or Paprika to taste

Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the garlic clove - add clove to pot or disgard
Heat up the White Wine & Lemon Juice - should be hot but do not boil
Reduce heat to low and slowly add cheese while stirring
Slowly add remainder of ingredients while stirring
If fondue is too loose add more cheese
If fondue is too stiff add more wine

My back hurts, I'd like to add some wine to the Chef!

Garlic Studded Bread

We've been hard at work on this one...

1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110F)
2 cups milk
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs shortening
2 tsp salt
6 cups flour

2 heads garlic, cloved and peeled.

Soften yeast in warm water.

In a saucepan, heat the milk, shortening and salt til the shortening is almost melted and the milk is at about 115F. Stir constantly. Pour into large mixing bowl, then stir in 2 cups of the flour. Add the yeast and water mxture, then stir in as much flour as you can with a spoon.

Turn onto a lightly floured board, and knead in just enough flour for a smooth, elastic dough. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour and a half.

Punch down, turn out onto a lightly floured board. Carefully poke individual cloves of peeled garlic into the dough, then form it into a boule (round loaf) and place it on a baking sheet.

Rub with olive oil, allow to rise til nearly double.

Bake at 375F for about 50 minutes, or until tapping on the top of the loaf produces a hollow sound. Serve warm with butter and shrimp linguine!

We'll check back with the bread later!

Shrimp and Scallion Linguine in White Wine Sauce

Adapted from Epicurious...

1 pound small uncooked shrimp
1 3/4 cups water
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (Fresh from the garden!)
1/4 cup thinly sliced banana peppers (Also from the garden!)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups white wine (I'm using Celebration White from Pentamere)

1 pound linguine

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sauté until opaque, about 2 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer to medium bowl. Reduce heat to low. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add garlic and sauté until soft, about 1 minute. Stir in scallions, peppers, oregano. Cover and cook until scallions are soft. Uncover; add wine, lemon juice. Increase heat to high and boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Add pasta and shrimp to skillet with sauce and toss to coat. Add enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to large bowl.

Another PSA!

Hey y'all, let me introduce you to my new pal, Vint DeGraw.

Vint gave me a bit of a surprise the other day, contacting me out of the blue to tell me that he had found one of my blogs - turns out, he found a post from Google Blogoscoped, run by my friend and former Google Answers colleague, Philip Lenssen. Philip had kindly posted some information about Blogathon for me...and that led Vint to me.

Vint is the Vice President of the Alport Syndrome Foundation. He's got a vested interest in finding a cure for Alport Syndrome - he's got it himself!

Vint has over 10 years experience as a volunteer leader, and is known for his dedication and organizational skills. He holds a B.S. degree in Social Science from Southern Utah University and currently manages the Tooele Employment Center for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Vint has Alport Syndrome and has had two kidney transplants, separated by 20 months of dialysis. He is married and lives in Tooele, Utah with his four children. His daughter has Alport Syndrome as well.

Vint, it turns out, has a connection to David. He asked me:

Is there any chance that his mother's name is Nancy?

I've been communicating with Nancy about Alport Syndrome for the past 2 years. If this is the same David, what a coincidence!

Yep. He knows David's Mom! How teeny the Internet has made our world!

Please do take a moment to visit the Alport Syndrome Foundation website - it's stuffed full of information, as well as support resources for Alport patients.

Don't forget to throw some support to the National Kidney Foundation! Every little bit helps!

Chocolate Chai Cheesecake - the finish!

The cheesecake is out of the oven! We grated some dark chocolate over the top as soon as it came out of the oven, and it's now in the fridge for 5 hours until it is set!

Zucchini flowers, the finish!

Wash the flowers and remove the stamens. Be gentle!

In a small bowl, mix together the cheese, egg, scallions salt, pepper and nutmeg. If you like, add a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Stuff each flower gently with this mixture and set aside.

Combine the tomatoes, half cup of olive oil, basil and vinegar in a blender or food processor. Puree til smooth, then pour the mixture through a wire strainer (or colander lined with cheesecloth) and set aside.

Pour the remaining olive oil into a skillet, heat til smoking, then gently fry the stuffed flowers, about 4 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.

Arrange a few on a plate, drizzle with the tomato and oil mixture.

Fried Zucchini flowers with Fresh Goat Cheese

Adapted from Mario Batali's recipe!

12 zucchini flowers
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 pound tomatoes, coarsely chopped
8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

I just pulled all of these ingredients fresh from my garden!

1 cup fresh goat cheese. I have fresh soft Feta, made by John Aylward just 2 days ago!

salt and pepper (I'm using freshly ground sea salt and freshly ground telicherry pepper)
1/2 cup, + 2 tbs Olive Oil (I like Zoe)
3 tbs red wine vinegar

Got all that? Stay tuned!