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June 2017 Cooking Challenge: Saffron

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 

Spices haven't featured often as the theme of the challenge. So I thought I should address that and I've chosen one of my favourite spices: saffron. It's well known that saffron is the most expensive of spices because its harvesting is so laborious. But you don't need to use very much to transform a dish. Its a very versatile spice too; it works as well in desserts as in savoury dishes. 

 

So I'm looking forward to your ideas and inventions using this wonderful exotic spice.

 

A reminder of the rules (I had to remind myself so thought it worth posting them again!)

 

Guidelines

 

-    The challenge begins on the 1st of every month and the last entry must be made by the last day of the month.

 

-    You may post multiple entries.

 

-    All entries must be cooked during the month of the challenge.

 

-    If you use a documented recipe, please cite your source.

 

-    Entries should include the name of your dish and a picture of the final product.  Sharing personal recipes and pictures of the process are not mandatory but extremely helpful.

 

-    The winner is chosen by the person who posted the challenge, and is announced after the last day of submissions.  The decision is final and falls entirely at the discretion of the challenger.

 

-    Submitting an entry makes you eligible to win. If you do not wish to be considered for the win you may still participate in the challenge, but make your wishes known to the challenger.

 

 

The winner’s bounty includes praise, virtual high-fives, and the responsibility of posting the next month’s challenge.  That entails choosing a theme, posting a Challenge thread that includes the guidelines, checking in on the submissions regularly during the month, and promptly choosing a winner at the end of the challenge.

post #2 of 57

Ooooo, how very mediterranean!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #3 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post
 

Ooooo, how very mediterranean!

 

...or Middle Eastern or Indian... :)

post #4 of 57

My wife has asked me to recreate a saffron heavy dish from Layla's Mediterranean Grill. 

Quote:
 Moroccan Chicken
Oven roasted, bone in chicken breast rubbed with an exotic spice blend,cooked with dried apricot and chickpeas in fragrant saffron cream sauce and served over saffron couscous

 

Here's a picture from Zomato

 

 

Have to see what I can come up with. I'll likely add more vegetable content just because my wife asked for that too. So I guess it's not strictly a recreation. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 57

I won't be very active is this challenge :cry:

 

I have never seen saffron here....

The only real yellow stuff we got here is turmeric......

 

I will be checking the other submissions though!

Good luck everyone :chef:

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post #6 of 57

PTS Potato-Tomato With Saffron Soup. This is a soup recipe from the old days of my restaurant. I always enjoyed a good soupy acronym. I left out onions and garlic on purpose for this group (They were following a specific diet). Adding a cup of diced onions and a few cloves of chopped garlic  add depth to the flavor.

PTS: 2 lbs potatoes, washed and cubed, 1 cup diced carrots, 1 cup chopped cabbage, 2- #6 cans San Marzano tomatoes, 2 qts vegetable stock, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, Salt & pepper, saffron, dash nutmeg, oil to saute veggies, 1 1/2 tsp dry Herbs De Provence. Saute carrots and cabbage till soft. Crush in tomatoes, add vegetable stock, potatoes, saffron and Herbs. Simmer till potatoes are soft. Add basil for last 15 minutes. Adjust flavor for salt, pepper. Add nutmeg last.

This is an old recipe of mine. I'm not entering it into the actual June challenge b/c I make this soup all the time. And this photo is about a year old.

What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #7 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post
 

My wife has asked me to recreate a saffron heavy dish from Layla's Mediterranean Grill. 

 

Have to see what I can come up with. I'll likely add more vegetable content just because my wife asked for that too. So I guess it's not strictly a recreation. 

 

It looks very good - I'll look forward to seeing your version.

post #8 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by butzy View Post
 

I won't be very active is this challenge :cry:

 

I have never seen saffron here....

The only real yellow stuff we got here is turmeric......

 

I will be checking the other submissions though!

Good luck everyone :chef:


Oh - sorry! It didn't occur to me that you wouldn't be able to get it. I hope this doesn't apply to too many others here.

post #9 of 57

Bad photo/good soup.

Cream of Butternut Squash and Almond Soup, with Saffron.

Basically I sauteed garlic, onions, roasted red pepper, added the saffron, added baked butternut squash, vegetable stock  then pureed. I then added almond milk and some almond flour to get the creamy texture. I think for seasoning I hit  it with some grated nutmeg, salt, pepper, thyme and maybe a splash of soy.  I  finish with a squeeze of lemon and a splash of maple syrup..This is also an old photo. Its from last Fall.

What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #10 of 57
OMG @Peachcreek that soup sounds awesome.
Bet I could prolly dispatch that entire pan full.
Not all at once but I do have a couple of great hiding places... like the raw veg drawer lol.
Yum.

mimi
post #11 of 57

Quote:

 Oh - sorry! It didn't occur to me that you wouldn't be able to get it. I hope this doesn't apply to too many others here.

Ironically, although I can get any ingredient, however esoteric, from Asia, Southeast Asia, Indian, South African, Japan - you name it -- I haven't found any saffron. Even the big Indian spice markets (mostly Punjabi) don't carry it.  I'll have to venture farther afield.  I will find it, it just isn't easy.

post #12 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by butzy View Post
 

I won't be very active is this challenge :cry:

 

I have never seen saffron here....

The only real yellow stuff we got here is turmeric......

 

I will be checking the other submissions though!

Good luck everyone :chef:


After seeing this, I thought about shipping some to you, but the expense to get it to you on time was a bit too much.  oh well.

post #13 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Planethoff View Post
 


After seeing this, I thought about shipping some to you, but the expense to get it to you on time was a bit too much.  oh well.

 

That is so nice!

Thanks so much for the though :thumb::thumb:

 

I will actually be taking a break this month and I'll be of to the Netherlands.

So who knows?

I might even cook up a storm there!

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post #14 of 57
Hey @Butzy, when are you going to be in Holland? If it's in July you would be welcome to come visit us here in Sweden. Göteborg is a short plane ride from Holland and we're have a pig roast on the 8th. I'm sure we can find a place for you to crash here and enjoy some 20 hour days.
post #15 of 57

@Lagom:

That would have been a great plan, except that I will have left again by then.

Thanks for the offer.

 

Luckily, even Holland should have some long daylight hours. Hopefully a bit of sun as well, and I can have a couple of beers in the evening sun :beer:

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post #16 of 57
@butzy can you order some?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #17 of 57

@Koukouvagia:

I possibly could, but generally shipment costs are prohibitive and general mail is very slow and not reliable.

Besides that, I will actually be away for most of the month.

 

@all:

thanks for all your interest and help!

 

As said: I may just decide to make a saffron dish while on holiday.....

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post #18 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Planethoff View Post
 


After seeing this, I thought about shipping some to you, but the expense to get it to you on time was a bit too much.  oh well.

 

@butzy I had the same thought as @Planethoff and it sounds like you are busy anyway this month. If you aren't and you want to participate, let me know. My research leads me to believe I can saffron in your hands in 5 maybe 6 days lol

You've been such a pervasive participant in these challenges.. I feel obligated to ensure if you would like to enter you can.

post #19 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by butzy View Post

@Koukouvagia
:
I possibly could, but generally shipment costs are prohibitive and general mail is very slow and not reliable.
Besides that, I will actually be away for most of the month.

@all:
thanks for all your interest and help!

As said: I may just decide to make a saffron dish while on holiday.....

At least now you know that you need to bring saffron back with you from wherever you're going on holiday.

Thankfully I have a good friend that travels a lot to morocco and always brings me back saffron. Though I don't cook with it much. Time to get creative.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #20 of 57

I met a woman from Iran who was telling me about how she prepared saffron.

She took the strands and put them in a mortar and pestle with some sugar, using the sugar as grit to powder the saffron.

So I added that to my set of saffron handling skills.

Anyone else have any helpful hints?

What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #21 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peachcreek View Post
 

I met a woman from Iran who was telling me about how she prepared saffron.

She took the strands and put them in a mortar and pestle with some sugar, using the sugar as grit to powder the saffron.

So I added that to my set of saffron handling skills.

Anyone else have any helpful hints?


I normally rub the strands in between my index, middle finger and thumb to turn them into powder, over a little hot water or some lemon juice, then incorporate into the dish – or directly into the braising liquid for tajines, paellas and couscous.

post #22 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peachcreek View Post
 

I met a woman from Iran who was telling me about how she prepared saffron.

She took the strands and put them in a mortar and pestle with some sugar, using the sugar as grit to powder the saffron.

So I added that to my set of saffron handling skills.

Anyone else have any helpful hints?

 

Thanks for the tip!

 

My mother got me a big jar of saffron from her last holidays in Spain, it's still sealed, maybe this is what I needed to finally try it out! :D

post #23 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post
 


I normally rub the strands in between my index, middle finger and thumb to turn them into powder, over a little hot water or some lemon juice, then incorporate into the dish – or directly into the braising liquid for tajines, paellas and couscous.

I just crumble it directly into the food as it cooks.  

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #24 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post
 

I just crumble it directly into the food as it cooks.  

 

Yes normally I do just that as long as the food is somehow water-based, such as a pot of rice, or some kind of braise.

 

But if the food is something thicker such as a bechamel for example, or if I marinate chicken skewers, that's when I steep the saffron into a bit of liquid before adding it.

post #25 of 57

Generally, I just add a couple diluted threads to my Spanish rice with some diced onions, garlic and frozen veggies. Mmm. Comfort food. When you are cooking with Saffron, less is more. You can't use too much otherwise the dish will taste too flowery, and you might stain your kitchenware.

 


Edited by BloodyMary - 6/7/17 at 5:40pm
post #26 of 57

Chicken Biryani is something that I make occasionally.  We all love Indian food, and my 10 year old daughter, absolutely loves my attempts at making it.  She ate 3 helpings of this last night.  The color isn't very bright, but the saffron flavor came through, even with all those other spices in the dish.  I love making Biryani, because it's one of those dishes that you can either follow "authentic" recipes to a "T" or you can twist it and tweak it to account for what you have on hand.  This one was loaded with golden raisins, regular raisins, slivered almonds and chicken, as well as fried onions, mint and cilantro.

 

post #27 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post
 

Chicken Biryani is something that I make occasionally.  We all love Indian food, and my 10 year old daughter, absolutely loves my attempts at making it.  She ate 3 helpings of this last night.  The color isn't very bright, but the saffron flavor came through, even with all those other spices in the dish.  I love making Biryani, because it's one of those dishes that you can either follow "authentic" recipes to a "T" or you can twist it and tweak it to account for what you have on hand.  This one was loaded with golden raisins, regular raisins, slivered almonds and chicken, as well as fried onions, mint and cilantro.

 


I absolutely love Indian food and a good Biriyani is a real treat. It looks delicious and I love the raisins and fried onion as ingredients  - I wonder why the saffron colour didn't come through? 

post #28 of 57

So last night I tried a little smoething.

 

Pumpkin gnocci (with whole flour) and portobello mushrooms cream with saffron.

 

I was waiting to finally try out this beast:

 

 

The smell it's UNBELIAVABLE, I feel I want to try using it on everything, sweet or salty, no matter what :P I've used around 4/5 stems, maybe could have used a little more.

 

 

Final touch.

 

 

Served topped with some tomato concasse and ciboulette.

 

Being the first time I make this specific pasta I would notice for next time:

 

- Use less flour (the little fellas turned out pretty stiff, eating around 5 of them and you are ready for bed).

- Use just all purpose white flour (using a part of whole flour added a texture that I didn't quite liked for this particular recipe).

- Use less flour overall (I kept adding fkour since the dough was really moisty, but really that's the way gnocci are!)

- Maybe use more saffron! :D

 

Thanks for this great "monthly challenge" this, it really makes one want to try cooking new stuff!

post #29 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
 

 

Bad photo/good soup.

Cream of Butternut Squash and Almond Soup, with Saffron.

Basically I sauteed garlic, onions, roasted red pepper, added the saffron, added baked butternut squash, vegetable stock  then pureed. I then added almond milk and some almond flour to get the creamy texture. I think for seasoning I hit  it with some grated nutmeg, salt, pepper, thyme and maybe a splash of soy.  I  finish with a squeeze of lemon and a splash of maple syrup..This is also an old photo. Its from last Fall.

 

What an intriguing list of ingredients and seasonings. But does it count as an entry? The dishes are supposed to be cooked and photographed during this month. 

post #30 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by summer57 View Post
 

Quote:

Ironically, although I can get any ingredient, however esoteric, from Asia, Southeast Asia, Indian, South African, Japan - you name it -- I haven't found any saffron. Even the big Indian spice markets (mostly Punjabi) don't carry it.  I'll have to venture farther afield.  I will find it, it just isn't easy.


I buy mine over the internet as its so much cheaper. In fact, I've recently started using pure powdered saffron which seems to work fantastically well. 

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