Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!
I have been bursting with excitement about this challenge all month, and am so glad I can finally share. Edible containers! What a brilliant challenge!! There were so many directions this could go, and I had so many initial ideas that I wanted to try (and still plan to, for some!) but better than watching my own ideas run amok was watching people post ideas in the fora. I saw so many more ideas I would never have thought of that I want to make: melting parmesan (people, I love parmesan) into little bowls to hold risotto or salad (or anything!), baking slices of potato into little dishes for tasty fillings, and oh, the crazy noodle-art that went on! This month’s challenge was definitely inspiring; I know I’ll be flipping back through that thread for months to check out new ideas to make.
So what did I contribute? Well, after a couple days of frenetic brainstorming, and inspired by (yet another) drizzly day, I decided to make a pot pie (something warming, and beefy). Being ever hopeful for spring, however, I figured I’d make the pies open, and shaped like plant pots, or… Flower Pot Pies.
That didn’t happen.
With various delays and craziness, by the time I got around to actually making the challenge, the sun had come out, the ground was no longer soggy and… I had a wicked taco craving. A quick stop to the Latin food store later for masa harina and I was on my way to make… Flower Pot Tacos!
This was not as easy as you might think.
I followed the instructions on the packet (which were pretty much the same as Elise‘s) and found myself with a soft, pliable dough. I had my plant pots covered in foil (in 3 sizes, as I wasn’t sure which would work out best) and brushed with oil (to help “fry” the shells), all that was left was to roll out my tortilla circles, drape them over the pots, a little pinching and arty modification and into the oven!
Let’s just say that my oven had plenty of time to get good and preheated while I did that, shall we? Also that for anyone else trying this at home who doesn’t own a tortilla press, I’d advise against using waxed paper (too thin) and heading straight for your stash of waxy cereal/cracker bags instead. What, I’m the only one who hordes those bags? Well, I’m not sorry; in fact, after this particular endeavour, I actually feel entirely justified!
The tortilla dough is very soft, making it a challenge to work with, even if you’re just trying to get it from the counter into a skillet. Trying to drape it gently over a pot, then mandhandle it into another shape was… educational. I’ve since informed The Boy that if we’re having tacos and other tortilla-based foods on a regular basis in the house, that he should consider getting me a press for Christmas.
This is the most photogenic of my “pots”. The others were, shall we say, a little less structurally sound. More to the point, without the direct heat of a skillet, they weren’t cooked to delicious toastiness, the way they should have been. So while my idea was cute, and the results were edible… I ended up making a bunch of flat tortillas for The Boy and I too. (Although I definitely savor the moment of chomping into my Taco Pot and having all those layered fillings end up all over my plate. Totally worth it.)
Despite only the ground beef “dirt” being visible in the pot pictures, we did have a little more going on under the surface. Jalepenos for The Boy (I’m a spice wuss), rice (mostly for me), my very last jar of amazing roasted pepper salsa from last summer, cheddar, and of course, the beef. No sour cream (we’re just not that into it) and sadly no guac either because there was not a single avocado at the grocer’s anywhere near ripeness. (Believe me, I checked!)
While I did have fun (…) making up this challenge, I’m actually way more excited about everyone else’s contributions and trying them out. As I said in my pre-amble, this month’s challenge was super inspiring for me; you might be inspired too — go check out some of the great ideas!