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    Entries in berries (16)

    Tuesday
    Jul192011

    Ice Ice Baby

    But it's not vanilla flavoured.

    So, I don't have an ice cream maker of my own. Recipe Guy's was a ton of fun to play with, but it lives at his house, so when I want to have home made frozen treats, I have to improvise.

    It's not really improvisation though. It's just old school. Before ice cream makers, you just had to keep stirring. Just keep stirring.

    But, since I'm really kinda lazy, I only stirred every half hour or so. This is the perfect recipe for hot lazy summers. Little work, lots of payoff. And believe it or not, it's actually almost healthy.

    Melon Sorbet

    What you need:

    • 1/2 a cantaloupe
    • 2 plums
    • a few berries
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp orange juice
    • 1 tbsp your favourite booze
    • 1/4 c water
    • 1/4 c sugar
    • a chunk of ginger
    • 1 vanilla bean

    What you gotta do:

    Peel and slice your chunk of ginger. Put the sugar, ginger, vanilla bean and water in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let it boil for a few minutes, then remove it from the heat and let it cool. Fish out the ginger and the bean.

    I did this ahead of time and had some already handy, but Taneasha did it too when she made limeade, if you need the visual.

    To your simple syrup (that's what you just made), add your lemon juice, orange juice, and booze. I had rose liqueur on hand, but melon, lemon, lime, vanilla, or even mint would work too.

    Now, the fruit. Really, any combination would work, but there's something about cantaloupes that lends it perfectly to sorbet. The plums add contrast with their nice dark skins, and the berries fill it out with tartness. You may be tempted to add more berries. I was. It was way too tart and tangy. Go easy on them, and let them be a decoration and a source of colour rather than a main ingredient.

    Dump all the chopped fruit into the food processor.

    Give it a whirl.

    Still a little chunky. Just right. Put the lid back on and start drizzling in your syrup/juice/booze combo.

    Once it's nice and smooth, pour it into a pan.

    Any shallow pan will work. You want shallow to take advantage of surface area. It'll cool and freeze faster and you'll have a sweet summer treat faster. Alternatively you could add more booze and pour it into a tall glass with an umbrella.

    If you are determined to wait for something a little more frozen, pop it into the freezer.

    After about half an hour or so, it'll be starting to harden around the edges.

    Your goal for the next hour and a half or so is to not let it. Bust up all the frozen chunks and stir. What you're doing here is the same thing the ice cream maker does. So, yes, you could do this in the ice cream maker too. You're preventing large ice crystals from forming, and encouraging small ice crystals to form. Much more fun and tastier to eat.

    So, after turning it back into a slurry, pop it back into the freezer for another 20 minutes.

    It'll be harder and harder each time. Now, doesn't that sound fun. ;)

    Eventually, you won't want to stir it any more.

    You'll want to scrape it out of the pan (letting it warm on the counter for a few minutes first helps) and put it into bowls. You may even want to top it with whipped cream.

    Or, you may eat it so fast you forget to take pics of it.

    What's your favourite fast and easy summer treat??

     

    Tuesday
    Feb222011

    No, really, I can cook! - Urban Homestead Style**

    Okay, so the chocolate cake in a cup was an epic fucking fail. I don't blame myself at all. It's a crappy recipe and nothing will convince me otherwise.

    So, as proof that I'm not as klutzy in the kitchen as I am in an analytical laboratory (I still hold the record for most broken thermometers in a single day) I decided to pre-empt my intended post for this week and make something a little more challenging.

    Crepes.

    No, not pancakes. Not even really thin pancakes. Crepes and pancakes are totally different things. Pancakes are a quickbread. They include oil and a leavener. They're flipped during cooking, and meant to be served flat, and they are almost always served for breakfast.

    Crepes on the other hand are more of an egg dish. They include a relatively small amount of flour for binding purposes. They don't rise, they don't get flipped, and they are served rolled or folded. And they're dessert! Yes, I know, some people take advantage of the egg base and stuff them with savoury things like ham and asparagus and pour bernaisse sauce over them for lunch, but I prefer them sweet and fruity.

    And so I give you:

    Raspberry Crepes

    I made them for brunch and I was a little hung over so I forgot to include all the ingredients in the ingredients pic and I miscalculated how long the cream had been in the fridge so there's no whipped cream... um...

    Back to the post where I know how to cook.

    What you need:

    2 eggs

    1 1/4 c milk

    1/2 tsp vanilla

    3/4 c flour

    2 c raspberries

    1/4 c sugar

    cream cheese and / or whipped cream

    icing sugar for dusting

    (yes, I know there's no milk or cream cheese in the picture; part of being hungover is forgetting what ingredients you need when you're collecting everything)

    What you gotta do:

    Rinse the berries, and combine them and the sugar in a small pot. The little bit of water in there is just what you need. You can mash the berries yourself, or let the heat break them down. Either way, you want them over medium heat.

     

    With a whisk, whip the eggs, milk and vanilla until it's frothy. (this is the point at which I remembered I needed milk; thankfully, there was some in the fridge)

    Slowly add the flour, a quarter cup at a time, and whisk well after each addition.

    You're looking for a perfectly smooth and creamy batter here. No lumps allowed. It should also be quite thin, more like a creamy soup or thin gravy. You want it to spread out in the pan, not sit where you drop it.

    This batter was a little thick, so I added a couple tablespoons of milk.

    Check on your berries. The sugar and juice should be a nice thin syrup and there should be a bit of foam and bubbles on top. If you've ever made jam, this will be looking a little familiar. If not, this is what jam looks like when it's cooking.

    Heat a wide, flat, nonstick pan over medium high heat. You want that pan hot.

    Using a ladel or measuring cup, scoop about 1/2 cup of batter into the hot hot pan and immediately lift it up and tilt it.

    Tip it around in a circle so that the batter spreads out super thin. I'm talking an eighth of an inch or less.

    They cook quickly! They'll be dry to the touch on top, and barely golden on the bottom when they're done. No, you don't need to flip them. This is eggs over fairly high heat; it doesn't take much to cook them. Genly lift the edge of the crepe with a spatula, then peel it out of the pan.

    I keep the done ones on a plate in a barely warm oven (175 degrees), and I cover them with a damp towel so that they don't get crispy and curl around the edges. Crispy is not what we're going for here.

    Check on your berries. They should be thickening nicely. If you're worried about them getting too thick, you can turn them down a bit. You're going for something between the consistency of syrup and jam.

    When you get a bit more experienced at pouring the batter into the pan, try pouring into an already lifted and tilted pan. You can get a wider, thinner crepe that looks beautifully lacey around the edges. Not like an octopus. Oops.

    Able to cook. Totally am.

    Right.

    Moving on.

    Once you've made all 6 crepes, it's time to start assembling. Spread a tablespoon or so of the fruit onto each one, then fold into quarters.

       

     

    I love cream cheese so I spread mine with about a tablespoon of it, and then folded them.

    The 2 cups of berries will make enough to fill all 6, with a bit left for the top. But since mine had cream cheese in them, there was lots to go on top.

    If you want to dust them with icing sugar, put a teaspoon or so in a fine sieve and gently tap it as you move around over the plate.

    A lovely breakfast with a bit of OJ and some dark roast coffee.

    Unlike pancakes which are supposed to be fluffy, crepes are a little more on the tender-chewy side of things. But they're not dense at all; they have a strange lightness to them that only comes from swiftly beaten eggs. The folds perfectly hide the smooth cream cheese, and the berries are tart and tangy.

    There's a breakfast place in town here that makes giant ones filled with Nutella and bananas. And I have made ham and asparagus ones, I just prefer them sweeter.

    What would you put in your crepes?

     

    ** re the title: Some jackasses have managed to trademarke the phrase "urban homestead" and are pissing circles around it all over the internet. Including on my friends Kelly and Erik and their book "The Urban Homestead". The Electronic Frontier Foundation is helping them and others affected by this bullshit. And a few people are flaunting the phrase by using it everywhere possible. The Dervaes Institute can kiss my ass. Fuckers.

     

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