Thursday, April 14, 2011

Daring Cooks - 3 Edible Containers

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!

Consider the term - Edible Containers. The everyday cooking world is full of savory examples; stuffed peppers, stuffed mushrooms, filled crepe purses, tortilla wraps and quesadillas, chowder or chili in a bread bowl, stromboli and calzone, ravioli, filled wontons, spring rolls and summer rolls, potato skins with fillings, arancini… and that doesn’t even begin to list the familiar dishes. So many edible containers are now commonplace, how do you create a new one????

This challenge was an invitation to play with food, to experiment with some new ideas and to adapt new versions of old favorites. RL and I nibbled and noshed our way through some “interesting” dishes, and laughed at a few failures. Small bites (you know, finger food) are a practical size for a recipe tryout, so we had a several all-appetizer lunches during the month. Here are three of the favorites.

Deconstructed BLT 

The standard components - bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo and toasted bread - are all there, just rearranged somewhat. 
Wrap 3 or 4 strips of bacon around the outside of an ovenproof custard cup.
Bake upside down at 375 F to form a crispy bowl, about 25 minutes.
Cool the bacon bowl a bit to firm up; carefully remove from the mold, turn over and fill with dressed lettuce, tomato and freshly toasted croutons.

The kitchen smelled heavenly and the cup did work as a container, but it would have been much tastier with hot bacon. Cold bacon isn't much of a treat, not unless it's a crispy bit stolen from the pan when no one is looking.

Eggs in a Nest

The cheese nest used a standard frico recipe: 
Mound 1/8 cup grated fresh Parmesan on a silpat; tap down and smooth into a thin circle.
Bake at 375 F until golden and bubbly, but don’t overcook to the browned stage.
Remove from the oven; quickly mold over an upturned glass, or place inside a muffin tin and gently press down with the bottom of a thin glass to form into a bowl.
Let it cool until firm, about 5 minutes.
Repeat for more nests.

Use your favorite savory deviled egg stuffing recipe. I like a mustard/mayo combination with dill relish, capers and chopped green onions. Fill only to the top of the whites, patting the stuffing down gently and leveling the surface. 
Heat a bit of butter in a skillet and sear the flat, filled side of the egg until it is just browned. Do not cook the rounded side.
Carefully remove the egg from the pan and place on a frisee-filled cheese nest.
(I added a bacon rosette to one and liked the effect.) Sprinkle with paprika for a more colorful presentation, if you like.

Gyoza Fishbowls with Trout

Gyoza skins or wonton wrappers make such versatile containers, and the process takes almost no effort. Note from a taster: beware! when baked they are brittle and their edges can be a little hard on the mouth.
Lightly coat the insides of mini muffin tins with olive oil.
Lay the gyoza out on a cutting board and brush one side sparingly with oil. Cut to size if using large wonton wrappers.
Place a square, oiled side up, inside each muffin cup, pleating somewhat to fit.
Bake at 375 F for about 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp.
Remove from the muffin tins and cool before filling with ingredients of your choosing. I used smoked trout pieces, capers and fresh parsley atop spoonfuls of a whipped cream cheese/horseradish mix.
Crab salad, salmon mousse, or a chopped chicken salad with curry and chutney are other tasty options. 

The April Daring Cooks' Challenge is now officially ended, but I’ll keep playing with this idea for months to come. What's next? I know there are endless ideas for edible containers waiting to be explored. Think side dishes, soups, entrees, even desserts presented in a container that's part of the treat. I know I will be inspired by the scores of April posts from the Daring Cook's community of bloggers. You should check them out... Go ahead, google "Daring Cooks edible containers". You'll enjoy the variety and creativity.


  1. What a fun challenge! You did so many awesome things with it...I think my favorite has to be that sweet potato bowl. Yum!

  2. Oh man, that Bacon Bowl is making me hungry. I agree that bacon is better hot though. Maybe I'll have to experiment to see about tweaking that aspect. Great job!

  3. Oh I like the bacon bowl of salad. Nice combination of color, looks yummy

  4. Such tasty edible bowls! I love all your ideas.

  5. You made an array of fantastic edible container dishes, all are mouthwatering. Great job on the challenge! Thanks for participating so enthusiastically!

  6. Such good ideas here! I'm definitely going to have to try that bacon bowl...


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