apricots and cooking vacations

apricotgaletteI make a lot of fruit desserts. I make a lot of rustic galettes (so much easier than real pie).  The apricots were from MI and they were pretty tart which I like; Rob…not so much, so I ate all of this myself.

Based on reading other blogs and cookbooks I think the apricots you may get at say a CA farmer’s market might be very sweet and fabulous. It sounds like fun.

Sometimes you just want to move somewhere new for awhile just for different local food! I have no real interest in living on the west coast except for food. Pacific seafood and CA produce and local wineries… (wistful..sigh) Southern France, Thailand, Japan. l think I need a vacation. A cooking vacation. Are there cooking vacations?

food words

zuchinibreadI chose to use my box grater rather than my food processor. Lately it seems like the grating disc kind of purees my veggies instead of grating them, which goes badly in the end product. I feel like the little added effort of some manual labor paid off. But I love zucchini bread with cinnamon and pecans! I think you will too.

Now some people don’t like zucchini. He They say it is a texture thing. So s/he didn’t like this zucchini bread. (I don’t want to name any names.)

Preposterous!

Little children who scorn all vegetables love zucchini bread. It tastes nothing like zucchini. It does not have the texture of zucchini. If I had called it cinnamon-pecan bread (because it has both cinnamon and pecans in it) they would probably love it.

But I suppose word associations are powerful things. McDonald’s salads may be delicious and nutritious but they have the word “McDonald’s” attached so I won’t be eating any of them if I can help it. So..well….NAH it’s different.

I said there would be pudding…and there was

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…IS! I mean there is! I didn’t eat it all. yet.  It is kind of super delicious and I can’t find a recipe the comes very close so here is my sad rendition of a recipe for you.

1. Heat 2/3 cup of Edel-Kirsch (the BH&G recipe called for regular Kirsch(wasser) but I couldn’t find it. Edel-Kirsch is cherry liqueur. So it is red and a little sweeter, less almondy) just to a simmer.

2. Remove from heat, add 1 1/2 cups of dried sour/tart cherries, cover and let steep for the hour. (While you wait try mixing edel-kirsh with every beverage in you refrigerator)

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (that is Fahrenheit)

4. Cut up your 11 cups of bread into 1.5 inch pieces. Mine was leftover homemade brioche that was starting to get a little stale (I didn’t really have 11; it was more like 8 cups) Melt 1/4 cup of butter and drizzle it over the bread cubes. You read that correctly 1/4 cup.

5. Put your buttery bread cubes in a 3 qt baking dish. They suggest layers; 1/2 then chocolate and cherries, then more bread….I didn’t really do that.

6. Sprinkle 8 oz of coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate. They suggest saving half to sprinkle on after. I didn’t do that either.

7. Drizzle the cherries and liqueur over it. Again they suggest saving half to add after it cooks. I didn’t do that.

8. Whisk together 6 eggs, 3 cups of whole milk, 2 cups of half and half, 1 cup of sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla.  Mine was more like 5 eggs and some random concoction of leftover heavy cream and whole milk that equaled about 4 cups.

9. Press down lightly to soak up the custard, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

10. Remove the foil and bake for 20-30 minutes more or just until the custard is set in the center.

11. They say to let it sit for 1 hour. I’m sure you can but you don’t have to. They also suggest you serve it warm. I like mine cold straight out of the fridge and still in the gladware container.

more Cognac and Cream

Dessert!  I made one substitution here. The recipe called for soft sponge cake style lady fingers. I don’t really like sponge cake and besides I already had some crunchy biscuit style ones. I just made extra of the coffee/tea/cognac mixture for them to soak up.

Tiramisu is really a pretty easy dessert to make. This recipe does require a number of steps including making sabayon but there are easier recipes out there….including some which use Twinkies, instant pudding and/or Kahlua.

The translation of the name Italian tiramisù (tirami sù) means “pick-me-up” (metaphorically, “make me happy”) – Wikipedia

It was good. I think it could have been better if my pineapple had been riper and tastier and also I didn’t get it as caramelized as I would like. I did grate some chocolate over it for an attractive garnish but it is really my type of recipe i.e. fruit and dairy! oh and caffeine! ya-ya!

caramelized fresh pineapple tiramisu

peaches talk to me

When I see peaches at the farmer’s market…they say “pie” to me. I almost hear it in my head. This time they said crostada, which is kind of just “easy” pie.

Part of this is that I prefer my peaches cooked, grilled, baked, broiled, whatever…not raw. Also peaches play well with spices I like, nutmeg and cloves… the types often used with fall foods like squash. I also prefer peach to apple pie. Apples are way more difficult to peel and core. Besides apples always say “apple crisp” to me.

Mostly I shouldn’t be listening to the fruit at the farmer’s market at all, because I need to stop making desserts and start running — or I’m going to have to pull my fat jeans out of the back of the closet.

PIE

pie  pie  pie  pie
pie  pie  pie  pie
pie  pie  pie  pie
pie  pie  pie  pie

It kind of worked actually… the crust was a little tough but recognizably pie crust and I would say as good as or better than any pre-made store-bought crust.

I had both peaches and blueberries purchased earlier in the week at the farmers market and I was eating them but there were still a lot of both. A common problem of mine, to get excited at all the beautiful bounty and purchase more than I will be able to consume… Anyway… when I made plans to have dinner with friends I decided to make peach pie, for the first time ever of course, and then when I looked up the recipe in Bittman he suggested an alternate of also adding a cup of blueberries! Which I also had! Kismet.

It was awful tasty, if I do say so myself, and I shared it for once so I only ate 3 pieces instead of all of it.