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Posts Tagged ‘Fruit’

Kitchen Symbiosis

Have you ever made a recipe that calls for part of an ingredient? Say, a few egg whites but no yolks, or lemon peel but no lemon flesh? The wonderful thing about culinary history is that thrifty cooks throughout the ages have come up with wonderful ways to use these castoffs. So when I decided I wanted to make macaroons, which require egg whites, I knew exactly what symbiotic recipe I wanted to use to keep my surplus yolks from getting lonely: lemon curd.

As you may or may not know, lemon curd is a delightful concoction made from egg yolks, lemon juice, sugar, and butter. It gets cooked into a creamy spread that is heaven on scones, toast, muffins, or anything else you can think to spread it on. It’s just tart enough to balance out the heaviness of the yolk and the butter, and it’s the most delectable shade of yellow this side of a daffodil.

I used this recipe from My Kind of Food and this recipe from Joy of Baking for my curd. The first gave me the basic ingredient proportions and the second told me how long I had to cook it. I ended up using the juice of two smallish lemons, 3 egg yolks, 7.5 tablespoons of sugar, and 4 tbsp butter. I whisked everything but the butter over a double boiler for 10 minutes until it took on a thick, creamy, sauce-like consistency, then took it off the heat and whisked in the butter one tablespoon at a time. Then I licked the whisk and almost cried. Yes, it was that good. I’m glad I went with 7.5 tbsp of sugar – it’s just the right amount for a tart-but-not-too-tart taste.

I’m afraid my poor camera won’t do it justice, but here it is:

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I was pretty full when I made this but I needed to eat some fresh, so I spread a bit on half a slice of bread.

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I kind of love that it looks like mustard gone wrong. πŸ˜‰

And what about those macaroons? Well those, my friends, were an abject failure. I make the mistakes so you don’t have to.

I used this recipe from Elana’s Pantry, but the failure was certainly not Elana’s fault. I realized as I was beating my whites that it had been some time since I’d done anything with egg whites and I wasn’t sure that I would recognize “stiff” egg whites when I saw them. It was too late to do my research though, so I just beat until I thought they were stiff. In retrospect it wasn’t nearly long enough. I also realized too late that I didn’t have enough agave, so I subbed in honey, which is much thicker than agave and more difficult to fold into fluffy egg whites. Fail, Daria, fail.

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This isn’t what macaroons should look like. They should not be shiny or flat or oozing. They should be covered in chocolate though. At least I got that part right:

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So now my homework for myself is to read up on the chemistry of egg whites. I’ll report back on my kitchen dictionary page soon. Because no one should have to eat flat macaroons.

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Dessert, Revealed

So what was that dessert so good that it deserved its own post? Well, it’s not an original dessert. In fact, I’m sure that other people have already done this and blogged about it, but I haven’t seen anyone do this. Points for coming up with the idea independently?

Last night’s mouthwatering, healthy dessert was…a variation on Gena‘s banana softserve. Of course.

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One frozen banana, one spoonful of peanut butter, and two dark chocolate chunks got spun around in my food processor until they looked like this.

Now I love plain banana softserve. It’s deliciously airy and light and fresh-tasting. But yesterday I ran 6 miles and lifted weights, and my hunger was calling out for a substantial dessert. This was just what I needed. The extra fat from the PB makes it taste like real, heavy duty ice cream, as do the chocolate chunks swirled throughout. The best part? No lactose. Lactards rejoice!

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…but your produce leaves something to be desired.

We bought a watermelon at TJ’s last night, and I was super excited to eat it after my incredibly hot and sweaty run this morning. It looked pretty enough,

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but it was mealy and mushy. Doh!

Do other people find that Trader Joe’s produce is often subpar? Or is it just the one we go to? I love them for everything else. If they could just get some good veg, they’d be perfect.

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Trent and I are often very bad about taking advantage of summer. It’s easy to get bogged down in work, humidity, and other downers and to forget how fun it can be to leave our desks. So today we decided to take advantage of the season by heading to some nearby fruit farms for a pick-your-own extravaganza.

First up: blueberries!

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We were told that there was lots of poison ivy around these bushes, so now I’m feeling itchy. Nothing like the power of suggestion to make a hypochondriac worry. πŸ˜‰

Next up: black raspberries!

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We had a roasting party when we got home and finished off our remaining beets and summer squash in a 400 degree toaster oven.

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Three roasty squashes. Ah ah ah! (said in Count von Count’s voice, of course)

After we scarfed these without taking pictures, we pondered what to do with our berries. I am in love with the names of American fruit cobblers (Betty, grunt, slump, buckle, sonker…seriously, you can’t make this stuff up), so we decided to make a blueberry buckle. We used this recipe from Simply Recipes.

The beautiful batter:

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The crumbly crumb topping:

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Assembled:

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Finished:

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Plated:

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Devoured:

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And then I ate another piece because it’s that delicious. Our stupid oven burnt the outer edges (if you have a stupid oven you may want to reduce the baking time by 5 or 10 minutes), but I don’t care. It’s moist and sweet and has a crunchy streusel topping and I’m quite happy right now. πŸ™‚

I hope you all had wonderful summery Sundays as well!

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T and I rarely do lunch together, but we both happened to be home at the same time today. Our veggie CSA partners are out of town, so we have a whole box of produce to polish off by ourselves. A daunting task, but I think we’re up to it.

We did our level best to make a dent by having Hugh Jass salads.

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Mine had beautiful purple kale, spring mix, lettuce, and grated white carrot (!) from our CSA share, plus half an avocado and a big ol dollop of my garlicky bean spread.

These white carrots are crazy! They look like this:

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but they taste like orange carrots. Intriguing.

Actually, I don’t remember where I acquired this knowledge, but I remember hearing that the orange strain of carrots was popularized to honor a Dutch king and it’s been the dominant variety ever since. History: it’s crazy! (I heart you, Kate Beaton.)

Yesterday I threw some bananas in the freezer in preparation to test out the famous banana soft serve. In a moment of insanity, I thought “why peel the bananas first? I’ll just peel them right before I blend them.”

Folks, this does not work. Of course, you’re probably much smarter than I am and hence you could have told me that, but I had to learn for myself. I left them out for a bit to thaw enough so that I could peel them. T was intrigued by the weird, frosty, brownish lumps on our kitchen table, so he had to watch while I peeled them.

Let’s just say that they did not look appetizing oozing out of their skins. In T’s words, “Ew ew ew, they move exactly like feces!”

And they did.

So if you need a laugh (and have the sense of humor of a 5 year old), I recommend including the “banana poop” stage in your raw soft serve making adventure. If not, skip straight to the “blend and enjoy” stage.

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I added cocoa powder to mine, because, as Katie knows, everything is better with chocolate. πŸ˜‰

T also added some of the Pacharan we picked up in Madrid to his:

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Both versions were out of this world. The texture really is identical to soft serve – heaven!

Supper was burgers and warm German potato salad (the recipe’s from the trusty Joy of Cooking). CSA potatoes, scrubbed with the help of a blue man and ready to be boiled:

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Hastily snapped photo of unphotogenic but delicious food: it was getting cold fast! This potato salad recipe is one of our favs because it includes bacon. This gave us a chance to use up the last of our CSA bacon, and also an excuse to top our burgers with it. Nothing like an all veggie lunch followed by an all meat dinner. πŸ˜‰

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We’re in full-on panicked packing/errand mode here at the Morgendorffer/Lane household. I love travelling but hate the logistical stuff!

Breakfast this morning was a peanut butter-filled banana and a big cup of frozen cherries. Take if from the frozen fruit queen herself (aka Chocolate-Covered Katie) – nothing beats it! I didn’t actually need to cool off this morning. In fact, it’s quite cool and grey, as per usual this summer. I’m starting to feel like I’m living in Wuthering Heights.

ghost-hunting, moor-haunting weather, for sure!

ghost-hunting, moor-haunting weather, for sure!

Lunch was a quickly-thrown together sandwich of curried hummus and TJ’s yogurt cheese. Snackage included some cerealz and some weak, wilty celery that I didn’t want to throw out. Copious amounts of chocomint rooibos have also been consumed.

I’m afraid my eats have been a bit lackluster, since we’re preoccupied with planning this trip. All I can think about are pain au chocolat and wine and fresh French produce and markets and Montmartre and Gertrude Stein.

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Seriously, how can you not love this woman?

Dinner tonight should be better – we’re going to do a massive stir-fry to use up all of our remaining CSA veggies. I can’t wait!

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Morning pick-me-ups

Happy Friday! I started to reach for the oats this morning, but then I realized that it’s finally warmish here. So instead I opted for a fruit plate, inspired by Kailey (aka Snackface):

Bwanana with peanut butter and organic strawberries (on sale for $3!)

Bwanana with peanut butter and organic strawberries (on sale for $3!)

Even though it was warm, I really wanted to try my new Chocomint Rooibos tea. I used the Teavana brewer T’s parents gave me:

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Oh man is this stuff good! It smells exactly like an Andes mint and almost tastes like one. Excellent dessert tea! Or, you know, breakfast tea…

And for our final morning pick-me-up, Sarah at Sarah’s Sweet Lips is giving away some Amazing Grass bars. Check it (and her awesome blog) out!

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