Friday, September 24, 2010

Surprise Produce and Plum Sauce

A few nights ago I picked up my camera to take some pictures while I was making dinner and realized I couldn't even remember the last time that I had photographed while I was cooking. (Although the bamboo spatula I set on fire a few months ago while photographing a saucy tomato experiment might think this is a good thing. . .). Needless to say the past month has been busy, but really who couldn't use that excuse?

A few things have changed in our kitchen since my last post, the biggest being the way we buy our produce. We recently joined a local organic produce food co-op called Abundant Harvest Organics. Each Saturday we pick up our box of produce for the week. Obviously this changes the way that I grocery shop- instead of shopping around the menu I've planned for the week, I now plan my menu around what's in the box. I'm enjoying the challenge!

Now, I know what some of you are thinking..."oh, their those kind of people (meanwhile picturing your classic Birkenstock wearing, Tom's of Maine toothpaste using, "earthy" person)." Now, I may or may not have used Tom's of Maine in my dental hygiene, and I may or may not have owned Birkenstocks...I make no promises. However, it's not just the fact that the food is organic that drew us in. We love knowing where our food came from and I just have to say that it has been the best produce we've ever had. All that and I really like the excitement of seeing what's in each box!

So whether or not you get excited about organic produce or not... I think you'll like this Plum Sauce recipe made from the plums in our box this week. And now that I have my camera back in hand (to the peril of all my cooking utensils), more recipes to come this week!

Plum Sauce (Great on Vanilla Ice Cream)

So when I saw the plums in this weeks box I had this hankering for ice cream with some sort of plum sauce. This is what I came up with and just typing it up makes me want to go make some more!

5 Tablespoons of water
3 Tablespoons of sugar
2 plums pitted and sliced

1. heat water to a boil and dissolve sugar in water.
2. Add plums and simmer until the plums soften and thick sauce begins to form.

3. Remove from heat and serve over ice cream. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

birthday pie

Ever copy down a recipe and then when you go back to make it find that you've left something important out in the process of copying? Well, making Josh's birthday pie was one of those times. Chocolate Silk Pie has been a Thanksgiving tradition in our house ever since we got married. So when Josh asked for it for his birthday I was a little surprised (he doesn't categorize his foods by holidays and seasons like I do). I found the recipe in a holiday magazine several year ago, but decided last thanksgiving to copy it out onto a recipe card to make it easier to find. However, when I got to the end of the recipe and realized I had only used half of the heavy cream I was a little worried. I quickly assessed that it must be for making whipped cream, but I was a little worried up until that first bite was taken. In the end though it turned out just right!

Chocolate Silk Pie

** For the crust I used the super-flaky crust recipe. Line pie crust with foil and weight with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 450 for 8 minutes then, remove foil and bake for 5-6 minutes more until crust is a flaky, golden brown. Allow to cool.

2 pints heavy cream -only one of which will go in the pie :)
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate roughly chopped
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1. In a small bowl combine 1 pint of the cream, chocolate and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Cook this in a sauce pan over medium-low heat, whisking frequently until chocolate melts.

2. In a bowl combine corn starch and remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar. Add egg yolks and whisk. Add 2 tablespoons of warm chocolate mixture to egg mixture.

3. Whisking constantly, slowly add egg mixture to pan. Cook still whisking until thickened (about 2 minutes).

4. Remove from heat; add vanilla and butter. Whisk until butter melts

5. Pour filling into crust. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Dust the top with cocoa powder before serving.

6. The remainder of the whipping cream can be used to make whipped cream. Combine with 2 tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla. Using an electric mixer, beat on high until soft peaks form.