Monday, August 25, 2008

Plum Clafouti

I was inspired by Laura of A World In A Pan to try to make a Clafouti. Clafouti sounded like such a simple and tasty dessert that I wanted to see what it was all about. Laura's most recent presentation was with Apricots, which sounded scrumptious. I happened to have some plums laying around so I used those instead. In addition to the fresh plums I decided to make a plum and Apricot Brandy Syrup that I covered the bottom of the baking dish with after greasing it with butter.
As the Clafouti baked the sweet syrup permeated into the batter giving it a beautiful zing and kick from the brandy.
Also, my Clafouti turned into a puffed up creation similar to a Yorkshire Pudding. Light, airy, and yet dense and custard like...Although, I don't think that is what it was supposed to be traditionally, it was delicious!
Thanks Laura for the recipe and the inspiration, here we have my
Plum Clafouti.

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
2 plums peeled
1/3 cup Apricot Brandy
pinch of salt
butter for greasing baking dish

Peel plums reserving excess juice. Chop plums into chunks.
In a pan add Brandy and plum juice that was created when peeling plums. Add pinch of sugar and one slice of plum skin. Simmer on low to medium heat until reduced by half and set aside.
Beat eggs until light. Whisk in milk and vanilla. Whisk in flour and salt.
Pour brandy syrup into a well buttered baking dish.

Pour in batter over syrup. Place Plum chunks throughout batter.
Bake for 20-35 minutes at 325 degrees.
As i mentioned above, my Caflouti doubled in size in the oven then fell back down upon itself after cooling for a few minutes.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Star Anise and Mango Cocktail

I had a little get together the other night: International World Tour Olympic Observance Party, for short. I made about 8 dishes which were inspired from different countries, so we needed a cocktail that would set off the mood for the evening.
Here we have the Star Anise and Mango Cocktail.
I made a Star Anise syrup ahead of time, just like that of the Ginger Syrup previously mentioned. Very simple; sugar, water, and a few Star Anise steeped in the syrup.

3 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce Star Anise Syrup
1 ounce mashed Mango
splash of lime juice
Put all ingredients in metal shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into martini glass, top with soda water and garnish with one of the Star Anise from the syrup.
Of course you can leave out the soda if you would like, but again I like the bubbles.Cin Cin!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Zucchini and Yellow Squash with Saffron and Sage Soup

Tis the season for squash and zucchini and what better than a soup. A very simple soup started with onions and garlic, and finished with a touch of cream. With the additions of a few leaves of chopped sage and a few strands of Saffron, this simple soup transformed into a bowl of sweet and smoky summer time.

1 half medium sized yellow onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 stick butter to coat bottom of pan
2 Yellow squash thinly sliced then chopped
2 Zucchini of preference, thinly sliced then chopped
1/3 cup cream
3 Sage leaves chopped
5-8 strands Saffron
2 cups chicken stock
water if desired to thin soup

Sautée onions in butter until almost brown. Add garlic and sautée for a minute or two. Add chopped Zucchini/Squash, sautée for a few minutes until incorporated with onion/garlic. Add chopped Sage.
Add stock/water to cover just a bit over vegetables. I lightly blended the veggies with an immersion blender but you can leave it all the way chunky. Add Saffron, stir and simmer for twenty minutes. Pour in cream and simmer for a few more minutes.
There you have it, a simple deep flavored summer soup.
Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Marbeld Chocolate and Banana Muffins

I have been using chocolate a lot lately. I bought large amounts of a Belgium Bittersweet Chocolate I found a few weeks ago, so I have to use it right? Hence the previous posts of the Pot de Creme and the Chocolate Fudge Pound Cake.
Well, now we have the Marbled Chocolate and Banana Muffins.
I used sticks of vegetable oil instead of butter for the first time as an experiment, and I must say they turned out pretty tasty. I also used yogurt instead of milk and instead of more oil based ingredients. They turned out very moist and you can feel better about eating several of them since it's yogurt right?

3 or 4 bananas
1/2 cup vegetable oil stick
1/2 cup yogurt
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate melted
Cream oil, sugar and eggs. Mix in yogurt. Mix in dry ingredients until all well blended. Right before ready to put in muffin pan, add chocolate and fold into batter, but not mixed in. Pour into pans and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.