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The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

I was not familiar with suet upon first reading about the challenge, and after discovering that it was actually the hard but flaky fat found on the inside of a cow or sheep around the kidneys (and that area of the body) I was really worried I may have to sit out my first challenge. Luckily, our host anticipated that not everyone may be comfortable or able to use suet and gave us a lot of leeway in this respect. We were working from the definition of a pudding as any dish cooked in a pudding bowl or pudding cloth normally steamed, boiled but sometimes baked. Some recipes were provided, but really the flavors and fillings were left up to the bakers. In fact, we could even choose to do a savory or sweet pudding. The important part was trying the cooking method, so the puddings had to be steamed.

After looking at dozens of steamed pudding recipes I decided on a vegan, steamed pumpkin-date pudding with liquor sauce from Bryanna Clark Grogan’s website. The steaming process was totally new to me, and I had no idea what to expect. I was really anxious to know if things were working, but since the pudding is wrapped up nice and tight during the steaming process you can’t really see what’s going on.

After a one and half hour steaming period I unwrapped the pudding. I really felt like a kid on Christmas morning; I was so excited to find out what everything looked like inside the steamer.

When I was able to remove the pudding from the bowl with ease I literally squealed in delight and went running through the house with it to show my husband. We were both so impressed with the results.The pudding was absolutely delicious and incredibly moist. I plated it with a rum liquor sauce that really knocked it out of the park.

The pudding comes together so easily and the majority of the time is completely hands off. I really enjoyed this challenge and learning this new cooking technique. So much so, that I made two more puddings!

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Beet Stack Sandwich

I was at a loss as to what to eat the other afternoon and began rummaging through the odds and ends that were in the fridge to see what I could come up with. In the vegetable drawer I found one lone beet and a half empty bag of broccoli slaw. On the shelves I found a hummus container nearing the end of its days. In order to save these ingredients from some horrible uneaten fate I decided to throw them all together and thus, the beet stack “sandwich” was born. The end result was actually really good – the broccoli slaw provided a great crunchy contrast to the softness of the roasted beet and hummus.

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