Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thirsty Thursday-Red Wine Granita and White Sangria with Summer Fruit

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Today's Thirsty Thursday features a red wine granita, basically frozen wine sweetened, and from my friend,  Vibi at LaCasseroleCaree, another wine inspired potation, White Sangria With Summer Fruit.

 A gutsy cousin to the sorbet, granite (plural for granita) are rough grained semi-frozen crystals of ice made from a sugar syrup, fruit juice, puree or flavored liquids.  Granite are most often frozen in a shallow freezer safe pan and raked or scraped every thirty minutes or so until large coarse crystals are formed.

This is my second granita post for Thirsty Thursday. The first was an espresso granita con panna, a recreation of one I enjoyed while visiting Rome last year. A hearty Zinfandel is used in this red wine granita, a perfect light dessert, served alone or with fresh fruit.

Red Wine Granita

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bottle (750ml) Zinfandel red wine, or another similar wine
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons Triple Sec

Combine water and sugar in a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Combine the syrup, wine, lime juice and Triple Sec. Pour into a 9x13 freezer safe baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for 1 hour, then using a large fork, scrape the ice every 30 minutes or so, until large coarse pieces are formed. Serve in a chilled glass. This granita keeps well for about 5 days in the freezer.

Vibi's colorful white sangria with summer fruit comes together quickly and needs only one hour in the refrigerator to allow the fruity flavors to develop. A great beverage for a Friday night grill-out. For the recipe, visit LaCasseroleCarree.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vanilla Pound Cake-TWD

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This delicious and easy pound cake loaded with heady flavor of  fresh vanilla beans traveled with me without the rum-drenched syrup to North Myrtle Beach where I'm spending the week playing on the beach with my family. I would have loved the version with the syrup, but there were little children who would be eating this cake, too. Actually, it needs no adornment, but would be lovely served grilled or toasted, topped with some grilled or fresh fruit and vanilla bean ice cream. A great pick from Wendy of Pink Stripes where you can get the recipe for this classic pound cake. For other tantalizing versions, visit the TWD blogroll.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cooking at a Beach House and an Easy Recipe for Zucchini with Black Beans and Corn

Print Friendly and PDF Our 4th of July week is coming up and it's the biggest holiday of our summer here. If you have plans to rent a house or villa at the beach, here are a few kitchen items that you may want to take with you to make your beach house cooking a little easier. Many kitchens are equipped with just the basic necessities, so you may be frustrated that the knives aren't sharp, the pots and pans are inexpensive and flimsy and there are never enough storage containers for leftovers, etc.

I have a wicker basket that I take with me when driving to a beach house. Included in the basket are a sharp, all purpose knife in a sheath, a wine bottle opener, a microplane for grating Parmesan cheese or citrus zest, two peelers; one for hard vegetables and one for soft vegetables or fruit,  a flat whisk, a pancake or egg turner, kitchen scissors, some clothespins, a muddler, some plastic storage bags and a small cutting board for lemons or limes. If there is space, I take a large cutting board and my favorite frying pan.  I would love to have these set of three Cuisinart frying pans from Chef's Catalog that are featured on Foodbuzz Daily Special for today. The frying pans are small enough to pack for  transporting to a beach house.

Do you have any special kitchen items that you take with you? I'd love to add to my wicker basket other essentials for beach house cooking that you take to make your cooking away from home easier. My husband and I have just returned from vacationing at a beach resort on Kiawah Island. What was great about cooking meals was the wide availability of fresh vegetables and seafood. Scouting all the local vegetable markets and buying fresh shrimp from a newly docked shrimp boat was as much fun as riding bikes, going on nature walks and enjoying the beautiful beach. Enjoy this slideshow of our photos from Kiawah.
Kiawah Vacation

Here is a delicious and easy recipe for your beach house cooking. Colorful and full of flavor, this dish would be fabulous with fresh zucchini and corn from the farmers market.

Zucchini with Black Beans and Corn

1 tablespoon oil

1 pound zucchini, cubed

1 cup fresh or frozen corn, about 2 ears fresh, kernels cut off

1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add zucchini and corn, cook stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes, or until zucchini is tender crisp. Add black beans the last 2 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thirsty Thursday-Brazilian Gin and Tonic-Beach House Edition-

Print Friendly and PDF From the archives, I am submitting this blog post to The World Culinary ABC and the country Brazil hosted by Rosa Maria Tenore who blogs at Torte e Dintorni. On her site, you can view several delicious recipes from the country of Brazil. The World Culinary ABC was created by Aiuolik of Trattoria MuVarA. This Brazilian gin and tonic is a variation of the Caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil.

While vacationing this week on lovely Kiawah Island just south of Charleston, South Carolina, I was determined that I would be faithful to my Thirsty Thursday event.  Although it was hard to tear myself away from the pristine beach, the miles and miles of bicycle paths to ride on,  watching for gators to appear in the lagoons they call home, or exploring the coastal area photographing shrimp boats and tourist sights-there was always the cocktail hour to look forward to!

My favorite year round cocktail is a gin and tonic, but in the heat and humidity of our summer months is when I find it the most refreshing.I keep my bottle of gin in the refrigerator along with the tonic so it's always  frosty cold. There are many excellent gins on the market (my fave is Tanqueray) and it is crucial to use a good one, but the choice of tonic water can make it or break it in my opinion. In England, Indian tonic water is used which has more quinine than tonic water made in this country. It was obvious to me that my gin and tonic never tasted as good back home as it did in England until I became aware of that fact. If you can't hop a plane to England to get authentic Indian tonic water, you can try some of the boutique tonic waters such as Q Tonic,  Stirrings or Fever-Tree.  Alternatively, I would choose Schweppes over Canada Dry.

The gin and tonic is a very British drink having been introduced by the army of the British East India company in India in the 18th-century.  Tonic water which contains quinine prevented malaria, but was a very bitter drink. The Brits found that by adding gin whose botanical flavors complemented the bitterness of the quinine therefore making it an appealing drink.

I call my gin and tonic a Brazilian gin and tonic which closely imitates the technique of preparing a Caipirinha in which fresh lime slices and juice along with a small amount of sugar are muddled together to bring out the citrus oils in the lime and to sweeten the drink. If adding sugar to your gin and tonic is a travesty, just leave it out and muddle the limes and juices together.

Brazilian Gin and Tonic

2 or 3 slices of lime
1 teaspoon sugar
Ice Cubes
2 ounces gin or Cachaca
5 ounces tonic water

In a highball glass, muddle together lime and sugar. Add ice cubes, then gin. Fill glass with tonic. Stir lightly. Garnish with lime slice or lime peel.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's Martini Time-Tropical Mary Martini and Watermelon Martini-Thirsty Thursday Duo

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It's martini day on Thirsty Thursday! Guaranteed to transport you to the tropics- the Tropical Mary, a sweet, slightly piquant martini with pineapple juice, juicy ripe mango, a jolt of Caribbean hot sauce, lime liqueur and vodka. Reminiscent of the Bloody Mary, the ever popular brunch cocktail, this Mary will liven up your Sunday brunch. Plus, for the sultry days of summer in our Northern Hemisphere- an ice cold watermelon martini concocted by my Thirsty Thursday partner in crime, Vibi, of Le Casserole Caree.

A bottle of Baron West Indian Hot Sauce, a gift from a friend who vacationed in St. Lucia this past summer was the impetus behind the creation of the Tropical Mary. The hot sauce is made from one of the hottest peppers, the Scotch bonnet pepper.  Looking for a different cocktail, but using the traditional Bloody Mary martini as a blueprint, I learned that the traditional tomato juice can be replaced with pineapple juice, then called a Commander White. Playing around with the hot sauce, pineapple juice, fresh ripe mango, lime juice, lime liqueur and the vodka, I came up with this recipe.  If you decide to make this drink, I'd love to know your opinion.

Tropical Mary Martini

1 teaspoon lime juice
3 slices ripe mango
1 teaspoon lime liqueur
3 ounces pineapple juice
1-1/2 ounces premium vodka
Generous dash Baron West Indian Hot Sauce

In a cocktail shaker, muddle together the lime juice and mango slices. Add the lime liqueur, pineapple juice, vodka and dash of hot sauce. Add crushed ice. Shake and pour into chilled martini glasses. Makes 1 drink.

Watermelons are abundant all year round, but are best in the summer months. Vibi must have found the perfect melon for her Watermelon Martini! What a tantalizing drink!
Not only is watermelon delicious in cocktails, but according to some researchers, watermelon could be the new Viagra! Read all about it and get the recipe for the watermelon martini on Vibi's post.  Aside from it's reputed effect on one's sex life, watermelon is low in calories, high in potassium, lycopene and beta carotene. Plus,  in my mind, it's the most refreshing of all the melons. Thanks to Vibi again for allowing me to showcase her lovely photos.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cherry Chocolate Swirled Cinnamon Rolls-TWD

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It dawned on me as I was sprinkling the dried cherries over the sugar, cinnamon, cocoa layer of this lovely soft bread dough, redolent with orange zest and nutmeg, that I could make cinnamon rolls out of them instead of the bread. Skimming through Dorie's "Baking From My Home to Yours", I found two recipes that could qualify for a proper cinnamon roll- Brioche Raisin Snails and Pecan Sticky Buns.

When my girls were in college, quite often I would bake a big batch of cinnamon rolls for them to share with their friends in the dorm or apartment. Needless to say, they loved to see me visit. I haven't made them in years, so now was the time. While gathering the ingredients for the rolls, I noticed that I had dried cherries in my pantry, but no raisins! I soaked them in a tiny amount of Framboise, a raspberry liqueur, to plump them up, then patted them dry. The  unsweetened cocoa  marries well with the cherries, along with the cinnamon and sugar, so I would definitely try using the cocoa

Susan  of chose the Raisin Swirl Bread for this weeks TWD pick. You can find the recipe and instructions for making the bread on her blog. I am including the recipe and instructions for making the rolls with the frosting. The dough is easily made in the dough cycle of a bread machine. If you don't choose to use the bread machine, follow the instructions for making the bread dough here.

Cherry Chocolate Swirled Cinnamon Rolls

1 packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar, plus a pinch
1 1/4 cups just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons or 60g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
Grated zest of 1/2 orange (optional)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose (plain) flour

For the swirl:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder, optional, but great with the dried cherries
1 cup moist, dried  cherries, soaked in a little Framboise (if desired), drained and patted dry, 
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, softened to a spreadable consistency

For the frosting: Double if you want a thicker layer of frosting.
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

To prepare  the dough:
Butter a baking sheet or 9 x 13-inch baking pan. 
According to manufacturer's instructions for the dough cycle, prepare the bread dough. When the dough cycle has completed, remove dough to a lightly floured surface. Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and cocoa Roll the dough into a rectangle about 12-18 inches. Smear two tablespoons of the butter over the surface of the dough.  Using your fingers to spread the butter works well. Sprinkle over the sugar, cinnamon and chocolate mixture.  Beginning from the short side of the dough, roll the dough up snugly jelly roll fashion.  Pinch to seal seams. With a sharp knife, cut into 12 slices about 1-inch wide. Place cut side up on prepared pan.  Let rise , loosely covered, in a warm, draft free space until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.Bake in a preheated 350° F. oven for 15-20 minutes. Ovens vary, so check after 15 minutes. When rolls have baked, remove them from the oven.Spread with frosting while warm. For the frosting, combine confectioners' sugar, milk and the 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir well, incorporating butter smoothly in the frosting. Add vanilla. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Daring Cooks-June, 2010 Challenge-Pates and Bread

Print Friendly and PDF Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethic Eatz and Valerie of The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring cooks challenge. They've provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

Thanks to Evelyne and Valerie who did a magnificent job for this month's challenge. While I love meat and liver pates, my herb garden is overflowing with basil, so the Tricolor Vegetable Pate was a clear choice. French bread is my favorite bread to bake. I've prepared the dough traditionally in the past, but use my bread machine nearly all the time now. When the dough is finished in the machine, I hold back about 1 cup of the dough to use in my next batch of bread and so on. With this technique, the baked bread has a longer shelf life. Just refrigerate the reserved dough to use within a week. Spritzing the risen dough heavily before baking and leaving the dough to cool with oven off and the door slightly ajar helps attain that crispy crust so loved in French bread.

The Tricolor Vegetable Pate is very soft even after an overnight stay in the refrigerator, so Evelyne and Valerie suggest freezing for 30 minutes prior to unmolding. Mine is shown with the pesto layer on top rather than the white bean layer. When spread on a hunk of French bread, all the flavors of the roasted peppers, pesto and white bean collide with a lovely combination of Mediterranean flavors.

Tricolor Vegetable Pâté
Yields one 25 by 12,5 cm (10 by 5 inch) terrine or loaf pan
Line your pan with plastic wrap, overlapping sides.

White Bean Layer 

2 x 15-ounce / 900 ml cans cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained thoroughly
1 tbsp / 15 ml fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp / 15 ml olive oil
1 tbsp / 15 ml minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
2 garlic cloves, pressed
Mash beans in large bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and garlic and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread bean mixture evenly on bottom of prepared pan.
Red Pepper Layer 
7-ounce / 210 ml jar roasted red bell peppers, drained, chopped
3/4 cup / 180 ml crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
Combine peppers and feta in processor and blend until smooth. Spread pepper mixture evenly over bean layer in prepared dish.
Pesto Layer 
2 garlic cloves
1 cup / 240 ml fresh basil leaves
1 cup / 240 ml fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup / 60 ml toasted pine nuts-(I used almonds)
3 tbsp / 45 ml olive oil
1/2 cup / 120 ml low-fat ricotta cheese
Mince garlic in processor. Add basil, parsley and pine nuts and mince. With machine running, gradually add oil through feed tube and process until smooth. Mix in ricotta. Spread pesto evenly over red pepper layer.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Freeze 30 minutes before unmolding.To unmold, invert pâté onto serving platter. Peel off plastic wrap from pâté. Garnish with herb sprigs and serve with sourdough bread slices. Recipe from Epicurious
French Baguette
yield: Three 16" baguettes
 French Bread recipe from King Arthur.

1/2 cup / 120 ml cool water
1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup / 240 ml flour
1 tsp / 5 ml active dry yeast
1 cup to 1 1/4 cups / 240 ml to 300 ml lukewarm water*
all of the starter
3 1/2 cups / 840 ml flour
1 1/2 tsp / 7 ml salt
*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.
Make the starter by mixing the yeast with the water, then mixing in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight works well. The starter should have risen and become bubbly.
Mix active dry yeast with the water and then combine with the starter, flour, and salt. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. Knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2 of a stand mixer.
Place the dough in a lightly greased medium-size bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and then again after 2 hours.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rest for 15 minutes.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again. With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15" log. Place the logs seam-side down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined sheet pan or pans.
Cover them with a cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise till they've become very puffy, about 1 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450ºF (240ºC).
Using a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three 8" vertical slashes in each baguette. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust.
Bake the baguettes until they're a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2", and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Plum Jam

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Do you know what a "drupe" is? I've just come upon this word while researching some information on plums that I am making an easy jam with. A drupe is another word for stone fruit, one that is a fleshy fruit with a single hard stone in which a seed is encased. Peaches, plums, cherries and olives are drupes as are elderberries and almonds. Stoning these fruits can be difficult. With the plums I used for the plum jam here, I found that an old pair of small ice tongs worked well releasing the stone from the plum without completely tearing it apart. I halved the plum, grasped the stone with the ice tong and then twisted it clockwise. The stone came free with out taking too much of the plum flesh with it. Before I began the task of stoning the plums, I rinsed them and drained them in a mesh colander, part of a set of colanders that I have had for years. It is fortuitous that on the  Foodbuzz' Daily Special for June 11, 2010, Chef's Catalog has a special sale on a set of three colanders.
But back to making this easy plum jam which keeps in the refrigerator for about a month-if it lasts that long! The jam is quite tart, but when spread on a rich, buttery shortcake or scone, all the flavors seem to intermingle. Add some creme fraiche with that combination and you have a lovely dessert for teatime.

Plum Jam

2 pounds ripe plums, halved and pitted
1/2-3/4 cup sugar (the jam is quite tart, so you may want to use more than 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup water
1 cinnamon stick

Coarsely chop plums. In a large pot, combine plums, sugar, water and cinnamon stick. Stir. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Cook for about 45 minutes until thickened and reduced to about 2-1/2 cups. Remove from heat. Discard cinnamon stick; cool and refrigerate.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blackberry Cinnamon Basil Gin Fizz Plus Romeo and Juliet Cocktail-Thirsty Thursday Duo

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This edition of Thirsty Thursday features another libation  duo- a gin-based cocktail made with a cinnamon basil blackberry syrup and from my Thirsty Thursday collaborator, Vibi of La Casserole Carree, a cocktail tribute to Romeo and Juliet, the star-crossed lovers in William Shakespeare's play. Too bad they didn't drink this tequila/Grand Marnier  cocktail rounded out with addition of fresh peach juice and cherry liqueur -potent, but not a poison.

This is the season for local blackberries. I buy them every year and either enjoy them immediately or freeze them to make desserts or sauces-sweet and savory-during the winter months. Inspired by  this cinnamon basil syrup, I made a blackberry cinnamon basil syrup with some beautiful fresh blackberries I bought just recently. The syrup is simple to make and not only can be used for alcoholic drinks, but would be delicious in lemonade, iced tea or as a sauce for ice cream and waffles.

Blackberry Cinnamon Basil Syrup
2 pints fresh blackberries
3 cups sugar, about
10 large cinnamon basil leaves

Rinse and drain blackberries, place in a bowl and using a potato masher, crush the blackberries. Line a medium bowl with cheesecloth, pour in the crushed blackberries and juice into the cheesecloth. Bring each corner to the middle and squeeze until all the juices have been extracted. Weigh the syrup, then combine it with an equal amount of sugar and the cinnamon basil leaves. Bring to a boil. Boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, skim foam and let cool. Strain and discard cinnamon basil. Store in refrigerator. Makes about a cup.

For the Blackberry Cinnamon Basil Gin Fizz

1/4 cup gin
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon blackberry cinnamon basil syrup
Crushed ice
Club soda to top

Combine gin, lime juice and blackberry cinnamon basil syrup in a tall glass. Half fill with ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with lime slices, a blackberry and a sprig of cinnamon basil.

Vibi's Romeo and Juliet Cocktail

With Vibi's Romeo and Juliet cocktail recipe, she posts a lovely poem and song, "Kissing You" recorded by Des'ree for the soundtrack of the  1996 film " William Shakespeare's "Romeo + Juliet" starring Leonardo de Caprio and Claire Danes. The words are haunting and the cocktail is as beautiful as the story of the two ill-fated lovers.

Thanks again to Vibi for allowing me to post her beautiful photographs on this edition of Thirsty Thursday. You can find the recipe for the Romeo and Juliet Cocktail on her website, La Casserole Carree. Looking forward to posting the next luscious libation.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Tender Shortcakes with Mixed Fresh Berries-TWD

Print Friendly and PDF Strawberry season is nearly at an end, but the blueberries and blackberries are just beginning to show up  at the little farm stand down the road from me, so the tender shortcakes chosen by Cathy of thetortefeaser couldn't have come at a better time for me. However, as much as I love shortcake with mixed berries and whipped cream , any fruit would be delicious with these butter and cream shortcakes as well as just  served warm with butter and jam.  Similar to scones, but more rough and crumbly, the tender shortcakes should be served shortly after baking; however, the dough can be made ahead, formed into shortcakes and then frozen. Just add about 5 minutes to the baking time. Dorie's recipe for this shortcake can be found on Cathy's blog and in "Baking From My Home to Yours" available at Amazon and other bookstores.
I added ground ginger to the flour mixture, but if you are a ginger fan, chopped crystallized ginger would add a more intense ginger flavor to the shortcakes. Instead of plain whipped cream, try a faux creme fraiche. The sour cream adds a little tanginess to the whipped cream.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Cherry Rhubarb Ginger Crisp with Rhubarb Ginger Ice Cream

Print Friendly and PDF For a double rhubarb treat, fresh rhubarb, ginger and dark sweet cherries come together not only in a tangy sweet crisp, but also  in an easy ice cream made with sweet cream, condensed milk and pureed rhubarb. Rhubarb and asparagus enjoy the same growing season with dark sweet cherries coming in little later in the Spring. As a child growing up in the Southern states, we never saw fresh rhubarb, so I grew up intimidated by the long red stalks without a clue how to cook and serve this botanical relative to celery. Rhubarb is easy to grow in the proper climate, but only its stalks are edible. The leaves and roots produce oxalic acid which is quite toxic. Rhubarb is an excellent source of an array of vitamins, minerals, fiber and calcium. Strawberries and rhubarb are often paired together in a pie which led to rhubarb being called the "pie plant".

Cherries are a good source of vitamin C and are thought to ease the pain of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Dark sweet cherries are delicious eaten alone as a healthy snack. In this crisp, the cherries tame the rhubarb some, but doesn't overwhelm the dessert. Fresh ginger adds some more zing to the crisp. This dessert and ice cream was a big hit with my family. I used the remaining rhubarb ice cream in a coconut crust ice cream pie.   Pitting the cherries and slicing the rhubarb took some time and I wish I could have been standing on the Chef's Mat shown on the Foodbuzz Daily Special. The mat may be my next purchase for my kitchen.

Cherry Rhubarb Crisp

3 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
2 cups dark sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Butter a 9x12-inch baking dish. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Toss rhubarb, ginger and sugar together. Spread evenly over the prepared dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, salt and cinnamon. With a pastry blender, cut in butter. The butter pieces should be about the size of small peas. You may need to use your fingers to finish off rubbing in the butter. Sprinkle flour/butter combination over the sugared cherry rhubarb layer in the baking dish. Combine the water and lemon juice and sprinkle over the topping. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Serve warm or cold. Makes 8-10 servings. Adapted from "The Wooden Spoon Dessert Book" by Marilyn Moore


Rhubarb Ginger Ice Cream

1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup water
1-14 ounce can condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons Framboise, a raspberry liqueur-optional
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine rhubarb, ginger, sugar and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture. Allow to cool. Refrigerate until cold. When cold, whisk in condensed milk, heavy cream, Framboise and vanilla. Refrigerate several hours until cold. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Makes about a quart.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Ginger Pineapple Iced Tea and Corpse Reviver #2 Cocktail-Thirsty Thursday Duo

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This edition of Thirsty Thursday features  two drinks; a refreshing tropical ginger pineapple tea and a killer/resuscitation cocktail  called the "Corpse Reviver #2" from my fellow blogger Vibi, a very talented food and drink photographer whose blog, lacasserolecarree is always an inspiration to me.


The fun thing about beverages that are tea-based is that you have so much latitude in the type of drink you end up with. All kinds of citrus juices work well with tea as well as berry flavored juices. Mints and other fresh herbs are excellent when steeped in a sugar syrup. Rhizomes, such as the ginger root and cardamom add additional flavors as well as depth to a tropical tea.

Ginger Pineapple Iced Tea

2 cups fresh pineapple juice
6 cups water
4-6 slices peeled fresh ginger, about 1/8 inch thick
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
6 tea bags, orange pekoe is a good choice
For garnish
lime quarters
crystallized ginger

In a medium-sized non-reactive pot, combine all ingredients except the tea bags. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Steep for 10 minutes; pour through a strainer. Discard the spices and tea bags. Let the tea cool at room temperature. Chill thoroughly.

To serve, pour tea over tall glasses half-filled with crushed ice. Garnish with lime quarters and crystallized ginger


Vibi's Corpse Reviver #2 uses Lillet, a French aperitif from Bordeaux, Cointreau, an orange liqueur, gin and Absinthe, a highly alcoholic spirit once banned in many countries, but now is distilled commercially. Freshly squeezed lemon juice and a garnish of a fresh or maraschino add a finishing touch to this potent cocktail. For the complete recipe and some tips on CPR that you may  need after consuming this drink (just kidding!!),  see Vibi's post on the Corpse Reviver #2 cocktail at lacasserolecarree. Thanks to Vibi for allowing me to feature her cocktail and lovely photos.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

White Chocolate Brownies-TWD

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Tuesdays with Dorie on a Wednesday! Sorry guys, my weekend was full! However, I did make the brownies yesterday. Thanks to Marthe of Culinary Delights for her challenging choice. The brownies looks fairly straight forward, but jeez, mine were a disaster. With no time to make them again, I photographed them as they were and hoped for the best. Even though my brownies weren't a success, do check out the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll for some better versions of this dessert. Cheers!
Gadget by The Blog Doctor.