The Cook's Tour: July 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fig and Raspberry Brulee

When my husband came home with a box of gorgeous fresh figs the other day, I was thrilled. I really wanted to come up with a recipe that was quick and easy and that could be a perfect dessert for a weeknight dinner.  I scanned the Internet and found this great little recipe that fit the bill. 
It's so easy I am just going to type out the recipe here for you.  Line the bottom of individual ramekins with raspberries. Next, add a layer of creme fraiche or sour cream. On top of this, add the fig slices (I used one, but feel free to add more). Sprinkle some brown sugar on top and throw it under the broiler for a few minutes (watch it carefully!) until the sugar begins to caramelize.  Voila!  Instant, delicious, easy dessert.  The brown sugar gets nice and crunchy and the play of flavors between the raspberries, figs, and sour cream is just luscious. 


Because it was a very simple recipe, I didn't copy it to Evernote (a cook's best friend for clipping and saving recipes) so I, unfortunately, cannot attribute it to anybody. Hence, I don't recall the recipe title, but since it is made in individual portions and you caramelize the sugar, I thought "brulee" fit nicely.  Whatever the name, the output is delicious.



Saturday, July 10, 2010

Best Friend "Ice Cream!"

This is going to be a posting of a different sort.  Today I bring you "ice cream" for your best friend -- your dog!  Partly because I've got a very simple and delicious (at least my dog thinks so) recipe, and partly because my oven is broken and I can't bake anything!  I am going through serious baking withdrawal here, people.  There are countless cobblers, crisps, tarts, crostata, buckles, grunts, slumps, cookies, and cakes of all sorts calling to me and I cannot get to them.  For someone who loves to bake, this is a serious crisis.  The good news is that the repairman was here yesterday and the parts have been ordered so hopefully I will be back in the swing of things very soon!


My dog, Duncan (known to his legion of fans everywhere as "The Dunky"), goes absolutely bonkers when I even go near the freezer now.  His little doggie mind leaps immediately to "ICE CREAM FOR ME!!!"  Well, most of the time I am not going to the freezer for him, but when I do, he is ecstatic!  Truth be told, this isn't really ice cream (as I'm sure you have figured out by now), it's frozen yogurt (please don't tell Duncan).  


You'll see in the picture at the top of the post, I've repurposed used (washed) Ciao Bella sorbet cups but you can use plain, old Dixie cups.  I've clearly marked it with a "D" (for dog or, in our case, Duncan) so we don't accidentally eat his ice cream.  Not that it would be a bad thing because there is absolutely nothing in here that humans couldn't eat.  But Duncan would not be too happy with us if we depleted his stockpile of doggie ice cream.


So if you've got a doggie in your house, whip up a batch of this frozen treat.  He or she will undoubtedly become your new BFF (as if they weren't already).


Doggie "Ice Cream"


16 oz vanilla yogurt
2 TB peanut butter
blueberries
1 very ripe banana, mashed


Spoon the yogurt and peanut butter into a blender.  Whip until well mixed.  Add in a handful of blueberries and the banana.  Whip all together.  Pour into cups and cover (if using the Ciao Bella cups, use the provided covers; if not, cover with aluminum foil).  Pop into the freezer. When ready to serve, microwave on high for 20 seconds to soften.


Print Recipe Here

Friday, July 2, 2010

Red, White, and Blueberry!

In case you're not aware, New Jersey ranks second in the nation for blueberry production.  Remember, although I know at times it's hard to tell, we are not known as the Garden State for nothing.  So I felt it was my duty as a NJ resident, to bring you a recipe today that highlights the state's proud agricultural heritage.  If you'd like to read about the history of the commercial blueberry crop in NJ, click here.


I went to one of my time honored, favorite bakers, Dorie Greenspan, for inspiration.  And, true to form, she did not disappoint.  Dorie's Blueberry Breakfast Cake is a winner - not just because it's packed with delicious, fresh (NJ) blueberries, but also because it is so darned easy and effortless to make!  The basic recipe is great on its own, but Dorie conveniently supplies a streusel topping recipe in case you'd like to give it a little more oomph.  I wanted to try it "naked," and it's just fine that way, but I did find myself wanting some of the brown sugar/buttery/walnut combo that defines a good streusel


I'm keeping this post short and sweet today so I can get this recipe out in time for you to add to your weekend baking list.  I may be back later in the weekend with something else luscious, but if not, here's hoping you have a terrific July 4th holiday!


Blueberry Breakfast Cake (Dorie Greenspan)


1-1/2 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
Pinch each salt and cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 C buttermilk
1 pint fresh blueberries


1.  Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter a 7x11" baking pan.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.


2. Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugars until smooth. Add eggs one by one and beat for 1 minute. On low speed, mix in half of the flour mixture, the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour mixture. Gently stir in berries. Pour into baking pan.


3. Bake 40-45 minutes. Cool before cutting. Serves 12.


Print Recipe Here

Echo