Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Daring Cooks' Challenge April 2012- Create Your Own Recipe

As a newbie to food blogging I tried to search out the many hangouts where I could find fellow foodies and maybe a fun challenge or two. It did not take long to come across The Daring Kitchen. According to the website, "The Daring Kitchen is the home of The Daring Bakers and The Daring Cooks. The premise of both groups is to create one recipe each month, given to us by a monthly host. " The part  that enticed me was that we all produce the same recipe which we post on our personal blogs on a designated date. So here I am taking part in my first Daring Cook's challenge.

Our April 2012 Daring Cooks hosts were David & Karen from Twenty-Fingered Cooking. They presented us with a very daring and unique challenge of forming our own recipes by using a set list of ingredients! 

Providence would have that my first challenge involve creating an original recipe, as opposed to posting a predetermined one with simple variations, maybe a slight adaptation- which was what I was expecting.

Many thanks to David  and Karen, though, who walked us through with much needed guidance and inspiration. They provided us with their own original recipes featuring the set ingredients and helped us jump start our imaginations with flavor combinations and suggestions. 

The lists :

List 1: Parsnips, Eggplant (aubergine), Cauliflower
List 2: Balsamic Vinegar, Goat Cheese, Chipotle peppers
List 3: Maple Syrup, Instant Coffee, Bananas

So, my biggest challenge was to incorporate my ingredients from list one and two, which were more savory with an ingredient from list three, tending to lean more on the  sweeter side.

Egg rolls were my to- do for the next recipe posting, and it dawned on me to create one suited for the DC challenge. So, I improvised my egg roll. I decided to use cauliflower for my filling along with some additional, complementing flavors. I knew immediately that balsamic vinegar and maple syrup would be a great taste pairing. I mixed together a sweet/sour dipping sauce, marrying the two ingredients.

This whole competition made me think differently about food and how you make a dish your own by daring to try new methods and experimenting with contrasting ingredients  to create a stunning new set of flavors. It's a lesson that I will carry with me as I test out more in the kitchen and try to deliver that to you here.

Cauliflower Egg Rolls:
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 seeded and diced jalapeno
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets, chopped small
  • *1 cup coleslaw mix(tri-color blend)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped roasted cashews
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt (enough to taste)
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 15 egg roll wraps
  • small bowl of water 
  • cooking spray

  • Heat oil in skillet.
  • On high-medium heat, saute garlic and jalapeno until tender.
  • Add cauliflower, coleslaw and saute  until wilted, but still crisp.
  • Put in bell pepper and green onion, saute another 30 seconds.
  • Remove from heat and mix in cashews, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Keep aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 400° F.

Assembling and baking the egg roll:
  • Place egg roll skin in front of you, so it looks like a diamond, with the lower point towards you. 
  • Place 2 tablespoons of cooled filling just below the center.
  • Fold the bottom point of the diamond over and around the filling. Next, fold the left and right corners over filling. 
  • Finish by tightly roll the egg roll like a burrito.
  • Moisten the top corner with a bit of water. Repeat for approximately 15 more skins.
  • Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place your egg rolls seam side down on greased sheet. Use cooking spray to coat the top of the egg roll lightly.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, turn sides and bake for an additional 8- 10 minutes, till sides are golden brown.
 I know, not quite tight rolls, some of these look like they're loosely jacketed,  but they hold up good in the oven, so  all is well.
Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce:
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp pineapple jam
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1-2 tbsp chili garlic sauce (depending on level of spice)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Stir all the ingredients together until well blended.
Serve your egg rolls with the dipping sauce.

No coleslaw mix? No worries, just shred some cabbage and carrots and equally mix to replace the one cup needed in the recipe.

Keep the egg roll skins in their wrapper or covered with a moist towel so they don't dry out.

The look of the egg rolls, in general, will be flat and rectangular, not cylindrical, since they bake flat on a baking sheet, in the oven instead of being rolled in oil.

Your egg rolls will have a different sort of crunch, a bit "sturdy',  as opposed to the flaky crisp that happens with deep-fried rolls. Though, when you look at the amount of oil and fat you save, especially after the  chicken wings 65, it's well worth it and I must say, very tasty too.

And if preheating, use the oven. Attempting to nuke these in a microwave will lead to chewy and very hard egg rolls.


"You are the light of the world. All you have to do is flip your switch." Joyce Meyer Ministries
( Matthew 5:14)


  1. That looks so good :) Great idea!

  2. that looks yummy.. nice idea

  3. Oh wow! These look completely amazing. So creative and they sound delicious. I'd never have thought to put cauliflower in spring rolls, but it looks like it works really well. Fantastic job!

  4. Thanks a lot, yes, I didn't know how it all would come together, but it was great.

  5. lovely egg rolls to snack during tea looks wonderful
    following your lovely site on google friends nice to meet you

  6. Yes,it is a great teatime snack, thank you for the great encouragement, fellow blogging friend :)

  7. Wow! Those egg rolls do look good, and just by reading the list of ingredients, Im sure they were yummy too :) your blogposts always make for a very interesting and insightful read.God bless.
    And yes, this is me from Tx :)

  8. Very tempting n perfect oil free snack,filling one!!
    Thanx Tisa for the follow too:-)

    ONGOING EVENT- "Mint & Coriander seeds" (EP Series-Apr)
    Erivum Puliyum

  9. Thank you much Shamita, means a lot coming from family :-) God bless you. It's kinda fun to keep in touch this way :))

  10. Thanks Julie, yeah, I'm loving all the fun happening over there with "mint and coriander":-)

  11. Welcome to the daring cooks !
    Eggrolls sound like the perfect way to handle this challenge.
    I think you did a brilliant job and I look forward to giving these beauties a try

  12. Thank you so much for all the encouragement :)

  13. These look fabulous! I've never made egg rolls before, but I think I might put them on my list, and steal your recipe. Great job on your first challenge, even if it wasn't what you were expecting!

  14. Thanx for stopping by my blog,lovely n perfect egg rolls,loved the dipping sauce too..

  15. Wow, David, thanks so much, for the thoughtful compliment and the wonderful challenge as well. Nope it wasn't what I expected, but it was so well worth the effort- really got my creative cap on in that kitchen- a great way to get initiated into the Daring Cooks :)

  16. Thank you Vrinda- must try your unniyappam recipe .

  17. Your ideas are stunning - what a great addition to this challenge :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  18. Thanks Choc Chip Uru (I have to smile when I say that name;)) makes me feel very encouraged and happy :)

  19. Very nice recipe! I am going to try to remake them using rice tortillas so my gluten free daughter can eat them.

  20. Oh wow, that sounds good too, let me know how it goes and whether your daughter liked them:)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!