Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, the spices in these cookies kind of hit you in waves, none overpowering the others, with a distinct, almost smoky hit of molasses, and then it finishes off with the slightest heat from the chunks of crystallized ginger. And the way the house smells when they are baking. . .sigh. . .I am telling you, they will make you sass yo mama!
[Long ago in a land far far away, a dear (and beautiful) friend of mine and I used to make tea and socialize every week. All these many years later, how I long to return to that simpler time, there with her, sipping tea on the couch. I took this picture today as my "Tea for Tuesday" cyber shout out tribute to her. Cheers!]
Sunday, June 28, 2009
We picked (which is to say stole) rainier cherries from an industrial complex, and took a languid stroll down by the train tracks collecting bouquets of wild daisies, California poppies, and the ubiquitous sweet pea, and checking on some wild Italian prune plums, which are not quite ripe yet. It was perfectly charming, very little house on the prairie (you know, if they were to have had an urban agricultural crime special).
We topped off our day, with a delicious dinner of spicy panang and massaman Thai curry, and by watching Revolutionary Road. Toward the end of the movie we started smelling smoke, and looked out our back windows to see huge plumes of smoke, and realized with equal parts horror and fascination that a house just around the corner was on fire. We gathered with the rest of our neighborhood onlookers, and commiserated over the tragedy of the situation. Fire is scary. Period. It was good to know, however, that there was swift response from both our little community and the emergency personnel. It is nice to see that even in this disconnected world that we live in, that neighbors, whom you may not even know, are still looking out for one another. And in that strange kind of boy are we thankful for all that we have sort of way it was the perfect end to an essentially perfect Sunday.
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Lightly beat the eggs with the buttermilk, milk and melted butter.
Just before you are ready to make the pancakes, add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once, stirring just long enough to blend (the batter should be slightly lumpy).
Pour 1/3-1/2 cup of the batter onto a hot buttered griddle (over medium heat, or heated to 375 degrees if using an electric griddle), and sprinkle with sliced bananas.
When bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes, they just begin to burst, and the undersides are lightly browned, turn and cook for about 2 minutes longer, until lightly browned on the bottom.
Serve immediately with extra sliced bananas, a sprinkling of powdered sugar, and pure maple syrup (grade A dark or medium amber).
Friday, June 26, 2009
2 bottles red wine (two buck chuck is perfectly acceptable)
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
approximately 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
the juice of one lemon
the juice of two oranges
one lemon sliced
one lime sliced
one orange sliced
approximately 4 cups of Squirt, chilled
Combine the wine, sugar, and citrus juices in a pitcher, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the sliced fruit, and chill. Add the Squirt right before serving, to add a little bit of fizz.
(You can kick up the party even further by adding a healthy splash of brandy, Cointreau, or lemon flavored vodka)
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
2 tbsp softened butter
1 ¼ cups half and half
2/3 cup all-purpose white flour
3 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups cherries, pitted
confectioners’ sugar for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°.
Grease six shallow ramekins, or one 9-inch baking dish with about half of the butter and set aside. Pit your cherries.
Put the half and half, flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, lemon juice, and salt into the blender. Blend on high, stopping once or twice, if necessary, to scrape any flour clinging to the sides.
Pour about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of batter into the prepared pan. Bake the thin layer of batter for approximately 3 to 5 minutes until the batter just begins to set. Remove from the oven and arrange the pitted cherries on the semi-cooked batter. Cover the cherries with the rest of the batter and dot with the remaining butter. Return the clafoutis to the oven for 35-40 minutes. Until puffed and lightly golden brown. Serve warm.
Clafoutis are the perfect, simple, rustic summer time dessert, but are also great for breakfast. They can be made with a variety of fruits (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, apricots, peaches, apples, pears, etc., or even a mixture of fruits...though you may want to vary the amount of sugar you use based on how sweet your fruit is). I, for example, had some left over plums from yesterday's tart and some extra batter so I went ahead and whipped up a plum clafouti as well.