Saturday, March 27, 2010

YamDaisy Autumn Menu Part Two

For a YamDaisy Cafe Menu the food must be Delicious, Everyday Food and Economical too. Not only that, there are only four dishes on the menu to cater to the (presumably) wide ranging tastes of the customers. The chef needs to cook them all in a small, but well equipt kitchen. O yes, they need to be made from scratch from local, seasonal ingredients.

It is just turning Autumn in Melbourne, the end of Summer vegetables are glorious, and my sister brought me eggplants, zucchini, cucumber and a huge bag of wonderful new season apples when she came to visit a couple of weeks ago. So I came up with the following menu to give an idea of what a Yamdaisy Cafe could do:

Soup: Zucchini Soup with a Dinner Roll
Main 1: Fried Rice with Coriander and Pepper Paste
Main 2: Mexican Polenta Stuffed Peppers With Refritos Beans and Salsa
Fruit Based Dessert: Apple Puree with Custard and an Oat Crisp

I began writing about this menu last post, so to get the chat and recipes about the soup and the first main have a look here:

Main 2: Mexican Polenta Stuffed Peppers With Refritos Beans and Salsa
In the picture above you can see my attempt at the peppers. 
I am not sure the photo shows how gorgeous they were, and of course it can't let you know how delicious they smelled. I just loved them! But I varied quite a bit from the recipe, so I will write it out and then tell you what I did.

This recipe came from "Moosewood Simple Suppers" and it was my first try at making it.

5 large peppers - Cut in half lengthwise, keep stems on. Remove seeds, brush inside and out with olive oil (allow 1 1/2 tbsps). Salt lightly, place cut side up on an oiled baking sheets and roast at 450F for 15 minutes until tender but still holding their shape.
Polenta: Cook 4 cups of water, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 cup of cornmeal until thickened.
Stir in 1 1/2 cups of corn kernels, 1 tbsp oil or butter,  1 cup of grated cheese and 1/2 a cup of chopped spanish olives.
Fill the capsicums with the polenta, sprinkle more cheese on top and bake 5 - 10 minutes until the cheese has melted.
Serve with Mexican beans and salsa.

I really wanted to make this recipe, but I had the long red peppers which aren't so thick fleshed. Three instead of five! But I did have some sweet corn and some olives (Greek not Spanish). I thought of how I could slit the peppers open so they would be like a shoe shape to fill with the polenta, but how to get the seeds out? 
I slit them, gave a tiny rub of oil where the pepper sat on the tray, and roasted them for 15 minutes. When they cooled I could open up to get at the seeds and membranes. They hardly had any! All very easy, and I had used a smear of oil, not 1 1/2 tbsps.
Next the polenta. I used my easy microwave method (thanks Barbara Kafka) where I put 1 cup of water, 3 tbsp cornmeal and 1/2 tsp salt in a 1 litre pyrex jug. Stir and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir again and cover with a piece of paper towel. Cook 1 1/2 minutes more on high. Mix in a generous teaspoon of butter and a grind of pepper, and let it sit for three minutes.
For this recipe I added about 1/3 of a cup of fresh sweet corn kernels with the butter and pepper. I don't like my polenta too cheesy, so I didn't add that, and I thought the olives would look nicer on top so I kept them back too.
I spooned the polenta into the peppers and topped with lots of grated cheese (that is where I like my cheese!) and the olives and then popped them back into the hot oven until the cheese was bubbling and golden. (It wasn't happening quickly enough in the oven so I finished them off under the grill).
They are SO delicious! I think I prefer them the way I did them, so that is now my recipe!

Next I looked for the Mexican Beans to go with them. I have a yummy recipe but it didn't quite suit (it had cornmeal in it for a start!) and I was feeling sorry for the carnivores so I looked on the internet for one with beef added. However, I found this one and liked it so much! It would match beautifully with the pepper dish!
And to finish it off a salsa with cucumber, tomato, herbs and avacado if possible would be just gorgeous!

And the final dish, for those who just can't survive without a dessert:

Fruit Based Dessert: Apple Puree with Custard and an Oat Crisp
Those of you who have been following my blog for a while must think I am fixated on apples and oats! Every time I think of a delicious fruit based dessert it seems to contain them! But this time I had that big bag of the most gorgeous fresh apples! 

First I pureed the apple following a method my sister showed me that my mum perfected long after we had all left home! Cut the apples quickly into chunks. Cook gently in saucepan with a thick bottom, with a bit of sugar (2 tbsp for 8 apples I think I used) and a sprinkle of water. When soft, blend with a wand style thing in the saucepan, or if you are like me and haven't got one, cool until you can put them in the blender. The red skins give the puree a lovely pink colouring, all those added vitamins, and yet don't effect the texture. (Note: the skins do blend better if they are less than 2cm square pieces).

I made REAL custard, mindful of the YamDaisy 'make from scratch and not from packets' philosophy. I usually make a very nice packet custard, and this recipe was quite stressful since it was first time.... but O Yum! Eggs and milk really do make such a beautiful custard! I don't think I can go back to packet mix now!

And for a bit of crispness I made a round of Oat Pastry ( 2 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup raw sugar, 100g melted butter ~ combine firmly and press mixture into a 20 cm pie dish. Fill and bake in a moderate oven til firm). 
I just pressed it into the pie plate and baked til crisp and golden and when I had cooled it on a rack I tried to cut it into elegant wedges. I aimed for 16 and got a dozen, they did tend to shatter! I think a YamDaisy Chef would work something else out! They were nice though! The photo makes it look dark, it was really a lovely golden brown. Crisp and sweet and balanced the dish.

The nicest thing about this menu was all the yumminess I got to eat! My next job is to work on the YamDaisy website. I think I need to do a lot of updating to the menu page! You can check the site out here
and see if I have done so! And give me some feedback on what more could be done there! And on this menu too please!
Otherwise thanks so much for reading! Best Wishes to you all!


  1. I have an urgent prayer request on arise 2 write.

  2. Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables ! YamDaisy Autumn menu has been superb, Joy !
    I also loved the dessert :) Yummy !!!

    Have a wonderful week, dear friend :)

  3. The stuffed pepper look delicious!! and the dessert!
    Lucy xx

  4. Sounds fantastic...I love eggplants & peppers. We'll be planting ours in May!

  5. These look sooooo tasty Joy. It is so strange for me to be reading autumn recipes, just as we go into spring here in England, I will book mark some of them so I remember to come back in october to make them :) Hope you are keeping ok. Lucie x

  6. wow you are cooking up a storm! I love it!

  7. It all looks and sounds DELICIOUS.

  8. you came up with some great creative dishes! it's great when you have an abundance of great vegetables, especially when you get them for free!

  9. Thanks Joy for the well wishes.
    I love stuffed hot peppers and these look great!

  10. Your menu is always amazing and tempting, really. I'm super-hungry now looking at this :)



  11. Your menus are guaranteed pleasers. You are very creative in the way you structure them and I'd be thrilled to eat anything on today's menu.

  12. Joy, we are awaiting summer here in California! I miss the autumn season already. :) The food sounds great!

  13. wow! your menu is just delicious! i love these stuffed peppers and the dessert as well! so, bon apetite!
    many hugs,

  14. I think the Mexican stuffed polenta peppers is a wonderful idea-especially for a Fall menu. The other items are nice on the menu too.

    I love the idea of serving only local and seasonal foods. I cheering for you and your dream of opening a local cafe. :-)

  15. all looks wonderful to me....


  16. OMG Mommy Joy! The stuffed bellpeppers are really exciting and to die for. Just admire you on your cooking as well.

    Happy Easter :)

  17. The stuffed peppers look really appetising. :)

  18. This all looks (and sounds!) so delicious! It makes me want to cook dinner all over again, but using YOUR menu this time! :)

  19. The Mexican stuffed peppers sound fantastic!

  20. Have to say it all sounds yummy, especially the dessert. So want to make that for Alex!

  21. I came here for a new dish, but it's the same one. Oh but don't get sad! My reaction is the same; it looks delicious!

  22. Joy, I am LOVING the sound of those Mexian Polenta Stuffed Peppers. I am thinking I will try those out SOON :)

    Your recipes are always so unique and inviting!

  23. Thankyou so much for these lovely comments, and especially for those of you who kept coming back even though I hadn't posted for ages. You make blogging such a pleasure!

  24. wow everything looks so delicious!!

  25. Hi Joy, I just found your blog and I have to say that despite my love of all things food, an apple and custard combo will win hands down, any day. Delic! I'm going to give this a go tomorrow night. Thanks.

  26. Joy, the stuffed peppers look absolutely delicious. yum.

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