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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rosemary Peach Spritzer

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My weekly box of local naturally grown vegetables and fruits from earthwizefarms a CSA near Aiken, SC, just across the Savannah River from Augusta, Georgia, included some luscious peaches which were perfectly ripe and had an intoxicating aroma. Should I make peach ice cream like my mother made when I was a child or a peach cobbler like the perfect ones my grandmother made? Since my children are grown and living away from home, I decided to hold off on the ice cream and cobbler until they came to visit.

My rosemary plants are putting out some nice Spring growth and with them, I just made a rosemary raisin bread for a recent post. While taking the photos for that post, I photographed the peaches with the rosemary sprigs. Viola! I was inspired to find a recipe showcasing the two. After searching briefly on the internet, I found a spirited libation made from a simple syrup infused with rosemary springs and peach halves, steeped overnight and the syrup combined in a ice filled glass with a good rose wine, then topped with club soda. To finish, a few sprigs of rosemary and some of the steeped peach slices


Recipe From Martha Stewart Living

Ingredients

Serves 8

* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 cups water
* 4 large ripe peaches (about 1 3/4 pounds), halved, pitted, and cut into 1-inch slices
* 4 sprigs rosemary, plus more for garnish
* Ice, for serving
* 4 cups cold white or rose wine
* 1 liter cold club soda

Directions

1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add peaches and rosemary, and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Cover, and let cool. Discard rosemary. Peel peach slices if desired. Transfer peaches with syrup to a container; cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
2. Place 2 peach slices and about 1/4 cup syrup in 8 ice-filled glasses. Add 1/2 cup wine to each; top with club soda. Garnish each with a rosemary sprig, and serve immediately.


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Friday, May 29, 2009

The Herb Rosemary-Rosemary Raisin Bread

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As for rosemary, I let it run all over my garden walls, not only because my bees love it but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance and to friendship, whence a sprig of it hath a dumb language."
Sir Thomas More



Haalo, from cookalmostanything has taken the helm from Kalyn of kalynskitchen, creator of weekendherbblogging, a very educational and fun blogging event where participants post an entry featuring a particular herb or plant. WHB# 185 is being hosted by Susan of thewellseasonedcook and a well-seasoned host who is enjoying her fifth turn at hosting this blog event. I'm pleased to submit this post to this event.

Derived from the Latin word rosemarinus, ros meaning dew and marinus meaning sea; thus dew of the sea, the herb, Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean and evidently thrived in the salt air and sandy or rocky soil near the sea. In the Middle Ages, rosemary was used as a strewing or incense herb, obviously to cover the strong smells of sickness and cooking odors, but also had happier uses. Brides would wear a rosemary headpiece and wedding guests a sprig of rosemary This strong and unsubtle herb, not lessened by long cooking, should be used in small amounts so as not to overpower the dish. Rosemary is essential to herbes de Provence and combines well with other herbs such as bay, chives, garlic,mint oregano among others. Whole sprigs are used in marinades and older woody stems can be stripped and used as skewers for kebabs. Full stems of rosemary can also be used as basting brushes for grilled meats, vegetables and breads.

Not just for savory foods, rosemary is excellent in cookies, infused in milk or cream for desserts and steeped in simple syrup for summer drinks such as citrus or fruit based drinks.

Rosemary is difficult to grow from seed,so finding a nursery plant will make things easier for you. As rosemary is a slow grower at first, buy an established mature plant.Basically, the rosemary plant will take care of itself, so it's a great herb for a beginner to plant. Not only for culinary uses, rosemary is a great ornamental plant for your garden and can be trimmed into many lovely shapes, such as the traditional topiary.

Rosemary Raisin bread makes lovely toast for teatime or brunch with it's subtle rosemary flavor, luscious with a good olive oil and studded with dark plump raisins. This recipe from Beth Hensperger's "Bread for All Seasons" and adapted for the dough cycle of a bread machine.



Ingredients

1 cup warm water or milk (105°-115°)
1/3 cup rich olive oil
1 tablespoon yeast
4 1/2 cups, (plus extra for adding to bread machine, if needed)
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups dark plump raisins
1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
Extra olive oil, for brushing

Place all ingredients except raisins and rosemary in the container of your bread machine and process according to manufacturer's instructions. Add more flour, if needed,to make a soft dough that clears the sides of the machine. At the very last knead cycle, add rosemary and raisins, or when dough as completed its cycle, turn dough out on lightly floured surface and knead in raisins and rosemary.

Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Form into a tight round loaf and place on parchment lined or greased baking sheet. Brush tops with a little olive oil, cover loosely and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours. While the loaves will spread some while rising, they will dome while baking. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350°, with a baking stone, if desired.



When risen, slash tops with an X shape, no deeper than 1/4 inch. Bake in the center of your oven until evenly browned and sound hollow when tapped, 35-40 minutes. Cool completely before slicing.



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chipster Topped Brownies

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Delightfully rich and decadent, these two-layer chocolate brownies are best served to a crowd of kids with high metabolisms. Hopefully, after they tear into them, there won't be any left for you to eat! With nearly a pound of butter, plus eggs and chocolate, Dorie's Chipster Topped Brownies are not for the faint-of-heart. Cut them into the tiniest of squares, savor every bite, then go to the gym and work out for an hour. That's the only way you can justify eating these these luscious treats. My husband loved them and topped them with his favorite fat free vanilla ice cream---priorities, you know! I'm not as much of a chocolate fan as he is, but I did like the crumbs I ate.

For the top cookie layer, I used peanut butter chips, deviating a bit from all chocolate flavor of the brownies. I would increase the baking time from 55 minutes to 1 hour, but begin testing after 55 minutes so as not to over bake. The crunchy top layer added color and character to the brownies. Thanks to Beth of Supplicious for her pick this week. You can find the recipe on her blog. I'm looking forward to the picks for the month of June. Check out the tuesdayswithdorie" website, too.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wild Mushroom Agnolotti with Walnut Sage Butter Sauce

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Looks like I'm one of the last ones to post a recipe using the Buitoni Riserva Wild Mushroom Agnolotti, part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program which gives featured publishers a chance to try new food products and to have the option of posting a dish made with the featured product. I was away when the pasta arrived so it had been at my door for at least three days before my neighbor took it to her house. Very disappointed, I wrote an email to Foodbuzz explaining what had happened and did they have anymore of the pasta to send to me. A few days later, two coupons for a Buitoni Riserva pasta arrived in the mail. I was thrilled!Four new pastas are available in the Riserva line, Chicken and Four Cheese Ravoli, Quattro Formaggio Agnolotti, Spicy Beef and Sausage Ravioli and Wild Mushroom Agnolotti. It was difficult to choose which one I would try first as they all looked very tasty. In the end, I chose the Wild Mushroom Agnolotti. I had just the sauce in mind that I wanted to pour over the mushroom Parmesan stuffed pasta-a toasted walnut and sage butter sauce which would add some crunch and texture to the dish and the addition of fresh sage, a woodsy flavor that would compliment the mushroom stuffing.



Wild Mushroom Agnolotti with Walnut Sage Butter Sauce


1 (9oz.) package Buitoni Reserva Wild Mushroom Agnolotti
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Cook pasta according to package directions adding one tablespoon olive oil to the salted water to keep agnolotti from sticking.

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the toasted walnuts, sage leaves, salt and pepper and cook on medium low heat until the butter turns slightly brown. Be careful not to burn butter or it will have a bitter taste.

To serve, place agnolotti on serving place and ladle sauce over. Sprinkle with the grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side dish.

Tartest Lemon Tart with Raspberries-Tuesdays with Dorie

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Babette chose this tangy lemon tart which was a delight to bake. After reading some of the comments concerning bitterness from the lemon pith in the tart, I decided to use Dorie's Lemon and Raspberry Tart recipe on seriouseats. Dorie adapted both recipes from Daniel Boulud while working with him on his book Cafe Boulud Cookbook, but with the exception of the nut crust, they really seem to be two entirely different recipes. Scattering raspberries over the partially baked nut crust appealed to me as it would add some color to the tart and some extra zing. Dorie's recipe on seriouseats explained more clearly how to prepare the lemons before pureeing with the eggs in the blender or food processor. It's very important not to include the white pith of the lemon which imparts a bitter taste to the filling. The tart is best the day it is made even though it can be refrigerated loosely covered for a day. After that, it seems to weep and the crust gets soggy.
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When I make this again, I will use the recipe from Baking, From My Home to Yours, but will use a deep dish tart pan to accommodate the extra filling and for a thinner nut crust. Check out Babette's blog for the recipe from Dorie's book and seriouseats for the alternative.
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