SPIRALIZER FUN

In five years of blogging, I probably mentioned this before once or twice: I am not too wild about cooking fads, and usually avoid them.  For instance, that one from years ago, foams.  You could not go to a restaurant that considered itself slightly upscale without foams bubbling around your plate.  Then we have the more recent bacon-mania. Because 90% of humans adore bacon, all of a sudden bacon started popping up in every single culinary item.  Chocolate-covered bacon?  Yes, it is out there!  Bacon ice cream?  Why not? Well, if I have to explain it, I guess we are from different planets. And let’s not get me started on the fried egg topping everything lately. I guess this fad is still in its exponentially growing phase. Having said all that, I am heavily into the spiral cutter thing. And I insist, this is not a fad. It is a nice way to treat vegetables, easy to use, fast to prepare, and a ton of fun to eat.  Zucchini is by far my favorite target,  and I’ve shared one of the ways we enjoy it almost weekly, uncooked, bright and fresh. Strands of zucchini can get mushy very quickly when cooked, but now I think I hit the perfect method to deal with them.

ZucchiniPasta1
LEMONY ZUCCHINI NOODLES & WHOLE-WHEAT SPAGHETTI
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

Whole-wheat spaghetti (1/3 of your regular portion)
3 medium zucchini, ends removed, cut in a spiral cutter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced (substitute tomatoes, spinach, anything you feel like)
lemon juice and zest
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water. As the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil, saute the shallot and red bell pepper until the shallots are translucent and with a little bit of color, and the red bell pepper starts to soften. Season lightly with salt, add the zest of the lemon on top of the warm mixture, cover the pan and let it rest while you finish dealing with the pasta.

Ten seconds before the end of cooking time, add the zucchini strands to the pot.  Time ten seconds and immediately drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water.  Return it to the hot, empty pot, add the sautéed shallots and red bell pepper, squeeze a little lemon juice,  toss it all gently, and adjust with pasta cooking water if necessary.   Taste for seasoning, adding ground black pepper if you like.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

One of the things I love about this type of recipe is that you can vary the amount of pasta in it according to your mood or goals.  In the recipe I shared today, zucchini was prominent, pasta played a secondary role.  The resulting meal felt light and bright. A few weeks ago, I went the opposite way, and made the zucchini stay in the background. At that time I added wilted kale and sun-dried tomatoes to the dish. It was slightly heavier, and quite appropriate for the sorry evenings ahead, when the temperature will fall below 90 F, and I will go through a few boxes of Kleenex to deal with it.

zucchinikalepasta

If you are over the fence about getting a spiralizer, jump to the right side, the side where I am ready to play with you. You will not regret it, especially if you have kids who are over the fence about eating their veggies.  They might profess zoodles – like this tasty version from Mike’s blog –  their favorite dish ever!

ONE YEAR AGO: Beer-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak

TWO YEARS AGO:  Secret Recipe Club: Corn Chowda

THREE YEARS AGO: Page-A-Day Calendar (Pits and Chief 5 minutes of fame…)

FOUR YEARS AGO: Home Sweet Home (our beloved Pits in one of his last photos)

FIVE YEARS AGO: Marbled Rye

AND THE WINNER OF THE MILLION PAGE GIVEAWAY…..

is revealed:

IMG_5641

Elizabeth, drop me an email at sallybr2008 at gmail dot com with your mailing info.

Actually, the book is not released yet, but I will pre-order it for you and once it’s out, you’ll get it.

Thanks to everyone who participated!  

And let’s move to the 2 million milestone, one page at a time…

(comments are shutdown for this post)

SECRET RECIPE CLUB: BUTTERMILK-BLUEBERRY BREAKFAST CAKE

This semester is shaping up as one of the busiest for us. I even flirted with the idea of sitting out of the Secret Recipe Club for a month, but I would be miserable watching everyone else posting their tasty recipes and not joining the party. No, not skipping it. My approach then is to jump on the assignment pretty much the day I get the email, on a rapid-fire stalking mode.  The blog I got this month was “Making Miracles“, hosted by Rebekah. I urge you to read her About page, she has lived in many places in the US, including Alaska, but also spent a little over two  years in Senegal back in 1995. A fascinating experience, even if at times not easy. If the subject of surrogacy interests you, she has a lot of experience with it as a surrogate mom herself, and also from helping families reach their dream of having a baby. That’s what the title of her blog, “Making Miracles” is all about.

I decided to go back to sweets for this month’s assignment, and had blueberries on my mind.  Two recipes were begging to be featured, her Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins, and her Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake.  The husband spoke. Breakfast cake won. So here it is!

BlueberryCoffeeCake

BUTTERMILK-BLUEBERRY BREAKFAST CAKE
(from Rebekah’s Making Miracles)

½ cup butter, room temperature
2 tsp lemon zest
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, separated
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour, separated
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries
½ cup buttermilk

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, lemon zest, and 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour. In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining 1 + 3/4 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Remove excess flour from the blueberries, then fold the blueberries gently into the batter. Batter will be thick.

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Check with a toothpick to make sure is cooked through. If necessary, return pan to oven for as long as 10 more minutes.   Let cool at for 10-15 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

batter-side

Did I mention we’ve been overly busy these days?  At the risk of boring you to death with trivia about growing bacteria, I will share some of the sordid details. For some experiments, we need to start cultures growing around 11pm, and then take care of them again before 5:30am. Usually Phil goes late at night, and I play the early bird.  It’s not that bad, these late night and early morning visits to the lab are short, we prepare everything beforehand to make it easier. I can quickly drive back home, swallow a much-needed cappuccino, take a shower and we go back to work on our regular schedule. Soooo, back to food.  I decided to bake this breakfast cake in of those hectic mornings and take to the department still warm from the oven.

Knowing I would be sleepy and prone to making mistakes, I lined up all ingredients the night before (the blueberries slept in the fridge, together with the buttermilk). Mis-en-place, mes amis. Mis-en-place.

ingredients

Before I left for the lab, I turned the oven on.  Arriving back, Phil had my cappuccino ready, all I had to do was drink the batter, mix the cappuccino… ooops, I guess it was the other way around… What matters is that our department got a freshly baked blueberry cake. Mission accomplished!

pieces

Lots of blueberries make this cake moist and quite crumbly. Make sure to bake it long enough so that pieces will be easy to cut.

Rebekah, I hope you are having a wonderful Reveal Day, I loved cooking from your site!

For all my readers, have fun checking out what the other members of my group prepared for today’s Reveal Day by clicking on the blue frog at the end of my post.

ONE YEAR AGO: Silky Cauliflower Puree with Almond Milk


FOUR YEARS AGO:
 Popeye-Pleasing Salad 

FIVE YEARS AGO: Summer’s Finale

 

OUR GREEN TRIP TO COLORADO

unnamed-3As I mentioned last month, we took a short vacation break to relax in Silverthorne, Colorado.  What I did not tell you then, is that we did the trip on a zero-emissions way.  We drove our Tesla, stopping at superchargers along the way.  We got the Tesla last May and were anxious to see how it would behave on a long trip.  One word: awesome! But, before I share the details of this trip, let me say that we put a lot of thought in the acquisition of this car, and getting it was part of another “green move”,  the installation of solar panels to power our home. For a couple of months now, the energy of the sun is what fuels most of our appliances and our car.  At the moment, with the air-conditioning on most of the time, the solar panels cannot keep up with all our use, but that shall change later in the year, even considering days of less intense sunlight ahead.

compositePanels

A few interesting bits about the Tesla…

There is no engine. The car is basically a huge battery located underneath (shielded by a strong titanium plate), and computers to control everything. When you open the trunk, either the front or the back, what you see is a huge empty space. Storage galore… ;-)

luggage
At home, you charge the car in a drier type outlet, and a full charge will take you 8 to 10 hours.  Once the car is fully charged, it displays the potential number of miles you can drive. Ours usually says 262 miles.  That is a number you will never reach, calculated while driving on a flat terrain at a low-speed.  In general, one can count with 170 to 180 miles on a full charge.

Can you drive anywhere in the US? Not quite yet. Supercharger stations are popping up everywhere, but some routes do not have enough of them to cover the distance. For our trip to Silverthorne, we planned on four stops to recharge: Hays & Goodland in Kansas, and Limon & Lone Tree in Colorado.  Silverthorne has a supercharger station in town, so we did not have to worry about finding an outlet in the hotel and charging the car overnight. For a map of available superchargers and predicted new stations within the next year, click here.   By the way, charging the car is free, doesn’t cost a penny. You park, plug, and drive away. Tesla is also building a battery swap station in California, where you will be able to drive in, get a new battery, and drive out, but it won’t be ready until 2015.  Once it’s functional, we intend to drive all the way there, should be a cool trip.

compositecharge

 

Charging stations were always empty. During our trip, only once we had another Tesla charging on the same station.  Of course, any long trip with a full-electric car cannot be rushed.  It takes at least 30 minutes to charge the battery, up to 45 minutes to fully charge it.  But, you don’t need to stick around waiting. A Tesla app on the cell phone shows exactly where the charging stands.  You can have a coffee, lunch, go for a walk, read a book, or even think about those great experiments waiting for you once vacation time is over… Another thing to keep in mind is that you won’t always need to fully charge the battery,  and that reduces the time to charge quite a bit: the resistance of the battery increases so the final 50 miles take proportionally longer to charge than the first 170 or so. By charging for 20 minutes you will likely have enough juice to reach the next supercharging station, if you are traveling through well-covered regions of the country.  Not the case for us in Kansas, at least not yet.

PhoneTrack

 

We were worried about how the car would perform on the mountains. It did amazingly well. We knew that the Tesla has a feature called “regenerative braking“. When you drive with that mode on, every time you take the foot off the accelerator, the battery gets some charge back, as the car converts kinetic energy into chemical energy and sends it back to the battery.  If you like to know more about it, click here.   So, to give you an example, when we drove from Silverthorne to Vail, we covered 30 miles each way, and the battery use was of exactly 60 miles (in other words, 100% efficiency), even though we went way up the hills for part of the drive.  The recovery of charge driving downhill fully compensated the energy used for going up.  The control panel shows the energy efficiency in real-time. Here is a shot of the screen  at the end of our day trip to Vail and back. In other words, the car is a geek’s dream!

Efficiency
But, enough technicality. Colorado is such a wonderful place! Packed with people who love the outdoors, most with that gorgeous reddish tan of the mountains. If the temperature did not drop to obscene 40 F at night, I’d say I was a happy camper. We stayed at a hotel by Lake Dillon, it was perfect for us.  Well, almost perfect.  On the first morning we planned to go for a run around the lake, but that idea was bagged after a few steps. The altitude got us real bad.  Plan B was set in place, and we walked instead, every day at least one hour, often a lot more.  Still panting quite a bit on uphill paths, but who cares?

compositewalks

(click to enlarge)

The first thing we do on our trips is find a local coffee shop. Just a mile from our hotel, we stumbled on the perfect spot. Blue Moon Bakery: great cappuccinos, a huge collection of cakes, tarts, and muffins baked in place.  They have four bakers working full-time.  Take a look at some of the stuff available. It’s a good thing I don’t have a sweet tooth, otherwise I wouldn’t fit in my jeans on the trip back…

compositebakery
Our favorite dinner was at a small sushi spot called Kemosabi Sushi in Frisco, on the other side of Lake Dillon.  Great name, fusion sushi by definition, I suppose.  I went crazy for one of their rolls, the Curtis C: Tempura Anaheim Peppers, Avocado, Cream Cheese, topped with Yellowtail and Cilantro Oil (shown on the right of the photo below).  The place was full, so we sat outside on a slightly chilly evening, but as an unexpected bonus a band was playing at the restaurant next door, and we got to profit from it.  Don’t you love simple pleasures?

sushicomposite(click to enlarge)

In one of the days we drove to Vail, a place I’d heard a lot about, but had never visited. It’s beautiful, but I must say I much prefer the atmosphere and energy of Silverthorne.  Vail is a little too upscale, with endless arrays of expensive shops instead of a more laid-back environment, which I prefer.  Good to visit, and probably great to ski during winter, if you are into that sort of thing.  Brazilians do not particularly look forward to sliding their butts on snow, until they come to a full stop, cold and with no pride left (that summarizes the skiing attempts of my past).

Vailsomposite

Lunch at Vail on a beautiful sunny day…

After having lunch,  we sat on a bench and did some people-watching, one of my favorite activities. I can sit, watch and dream for hours.  Nearby, a big dog was tied to a pole, evidently waiting for his family having lunch somewhere.  The dog was super friendly, and we got along great.  Can you stand the sweetness of that paw?

Doggie
But, of course, no trip is perfect without some golf. We played two beautiful golf courses (Raven Club at Three Peaks, and Keystone Ranch), and I had two totally different experiences.  The first day, we were paired with another couple. They were members of that golf course and helped us a lot with tips and advice on how to handle the course. But, I played poorly, and was quite upset about it, feeling like the ugly duckling in the middle of three beautiful swans.  Next day I played so much better, but we were paired with two gentlemen, and I must say they were horrible to play with. Putting it mildly, they very unfriendly.  I guess I learned a big lesson – it’s not how well you play, but the overall experience.  If I had to repeat one of those outings, I would definitely go for the first, but would not let my pathetic performance bother me. Hopefully, the lesson will stick.

I leave you with two short videos of golf swings.  Even if you are not a golfer, I bet you will be able to appreciate them, each in its own unique way.  Phil is a great golfer, having learned the game at a very young age.  If you look at his swing, it’s smooth, his head doesn’t move forward, he keeps it down, and once the swing is over, he looks at the path ahead with that calm confidence of knowing the ball went exactly where he aimed.   Check it out here.

Now, take a look at yours truly, with a click here. Let’s say there’s room for improvement. Not much smoothness, not much transfer of weight from the back to the front foot. But the “best” part is my reaction after I hit, clearly trying to “help the ball” go where I wanted it to go. By the way, both Phil and I did not know we were being taped.  We do that sometimes to each other so that we can check our swing and make adjustments. I’ve been making adjustments for 17 years.  If you are a golfer, please keep your thoughts to yourself. Thank you so much.

SelfieVailSelfies, anyone?

All in all, it was a great trip, and we enjoyed each minute of it. However, Phil is trying to convince me to go back this winter. I thought he loved me. Evidently, I was wrong.

 ONE YEAR AGO: Ditalini Pasta Salad

TWO YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

THREE YEARS AGOPost-workout Breakfast

FOUR YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

FIVE YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers

SCARY GOOD PORK BURGERS

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Time is running out, so click here to participate…

A few weeks ago I shared with you a recipe for light brioche burger buns, and promised a future blog on a pork burger that was a perfect match for those buns. The inspiration for this recipe was a show by Giada de Laurentiis on FoodTV, but I made enough modifications to call it my own. Pork and green apples make a nice pas de deux, and to give the patties a little more spice I added a small amount of chorizo, an ingredient I’ve been using a lot lately. It packs so much flavor, but its heat is not overpowering, especially if you use it sparingly. These burgers were scary good. Scary in the sense that they almost gave me a heart attack. Read on, my friends. This post proves what I suspected for a long time. In a previous life, I was a merciless serial killer.

PorkBurgers

PORK BURGERS WITH APPLES AND CHORIZO
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 pounds ground pork
1/2 link (about 1.5 oz) fresh pork chorizo (Mexican type)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and shredded
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.  Do not pack the mixture too tightly.

Form into 6 medium-size patties. The mixture will be soft.   Place the patties over parchment paper and refrigerate until it’s time to grill them.

Grill them about 5 minutes per side on grates lightly coated with oil.   If you want to add a slice of cheese, do so on the final couple of minutes of grilling, or as soon as you remove them from the grill, keeping them tented with foil. Serve with tomatoes, lettuce, or any other topping you like.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  I prepared these burgers at the end of an intense working day. I was doing experiments that require very precise timing, and once started, cannot be paused until the very end. Every reagent has to be in its spot, ready to be quickly grabbed and used. Once the prep work is all done, I take a deep breath, start the chronometer, and hope for the best.  It’s hard to have a totally flawless experiment, but that day the stars were perfectly aligned, and flawless it was. I drove home feeling on top of the world, ready to stretch the super-accurate timing to dinner preparation. Phil had to stay for another hour working in his office, so my plan was to welcome his arrival home with a nicely set dinner table, juicy pork burgers all ready.

patties

I made the patties, refrigerated them, worked on a couple of side dishes, and walked outside to light the grill.  Under one of those gorgeous Kansas sunsets,  I opened the knob of the gas tank, and lifted the lid of the grill to turn the flames on. The last thought that popped in my mind was “life is good”. And then, it quickly wasn’t anymore. Life had just gifted me a gargantuan mouse prancing over the grates. He froze when he saw me, and just as I let out a screech with the potential to wake up newborn babies in Tokyo, the creature jumped off passing one inch from my left arm, landed on the ground and disappeared into some bushes. Deja vu all over again. The worthless quadrupeds that I feed on a daily basis  went hiding inside their dog house.  Apparently they do not handle well hysterical screaming. I know, inconceivable. That marked the end of a perfectly timed meal. Instead of juicy burgers, Phil encountered a distraught wife who refused to step outside into the backyard to finish the dinner.

mouse1

Due to the profound psychological trauma this situation caused me, I was unable to use the grill for a couple of weeks. Now I go through a process of kicking the door that encloses the gas tank a couple of times, then banging on the grill lid four or five more times before opening it. I am sure the neighbors worry about my mental state in case they catch a glimpse of my routine. Granted, a foreigner can get away with a lot. For all they know, that might be a common pre-grilling performance back in Brazil.   That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Back to food. These burgers were pretty tasty. I made them a second time recently and grated the apples a little finer, not sure which version I liked best, though.  There’s some visual appeal to the bigger shreds of apple peeking at the surface to say hello.  No matter how you decide to treat the fruit, the combination of pork, green apple, chorizo, a touch of ginger was spot on.  No need to use egg as a binder if you refrigerate the patties and handle them gently.  If you are feeling tropical enough, do the Brazilian thing, and release your frustrations on the lid of the grill before you light it.  One never knows….   ;-)

ONE YEAR AGO: Review of exercise program Focus25

TWO YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

THREE YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

FOUR YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

FIVE YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers

STAR-SHAPED CHOCOLATE BRIOCHE BREAD

Every once in a while I fall in love with a recipe, and cannot wait to make it. Last week I logged into Facebook, and by pure chance there on the top of the Artisan Bread Bakers page I saw a gorgeous bread, worthy of the cover of a Breads Illustrated Swimsuit Issue – if there was such a thing. Except that, contrary to what seems to be the case for many supermodels, no Photoshop tweaking was involved. The bread was naturally stunning. I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it, as it involved a shaping technique I had never seen before. But, it all worked well. It’s bread after all, not cake.  ;-)

Star-Shaped Brioche1

STAR-SHAPED CHOCOLATE BRIOCHE BREAD
(from  Lindarose at Instructables)

for the dough:
500g all-purpose flour
2 eggs
60g sugar
180ml room temperature milk (3/4 cup)
80g room temperature butter
7g active dry yeast
8g salt
peel from one orange

for the chocolate cream:
35g cocoa powder
75g sugar
250g ricotta ( about 1 cup)
30g hazelnuts

Put the flour in the mixer and add the yeast, milk, sugar and eggs. Start mixing on low, as the ingredients start to incorporate, add the butter in small pieces, the salt, and the orange peel.  Keep mixing until very smooth (about 5 minutes on a Kitchen Aid type mixer). Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and finish kneading it by hand, to make sure all butter is uniformly distributed. The dough should be slightly tacky, resist the urge to add more flour. Form a ball, and let it rise in a bowl in a warm spot until double in size, about 2 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

While you wait for your dough to rise, prepare the chocolate cream.

In a food processor, mix the sugar and hazelnuts together until you obtain a powder. It’s ok if there are still some big pieces in it. Transfer to a bowl, and sift the cocoa powder on top of it.   Add the ricotta and mix everything together with a hand mixer until your mixture becomes a cream.

Once your dough has risen, divide it in 4 equal pieces and make 4 separate balls. Make a disc with each of the 4 balls using a rolling-pin. The most important thing is that the discs are all the same size.

Place the first disc on a piece of parchment paper and spread some chocolate cream on it, making sure to leave about half an inch of free border all around. Lay the second disc on the first one and press the border with your fingers to join them together. Now spread some other chocolate cream on the second disc (always leaving a free border), add the third disc and close it with your fingers. Do the same on the third disc and close it with the last disc, but don’t spread the chocolate on it this time. The 4th disc is the top of the bread.

Using a knife, divide the dough in 4 with 4 cuts. It’s  crucial for the shaping that you don’t cut the center of the disc (see pictures). Now make other 4 cuts between the others, for a total of 8, always leaving the center free. Finally, make 8 cuts between the ones you already made, just like the others. You will have a total of 16 sections now.

Consider 2 sections that are next to each other: lift one with one hand and the other with the other hand and twist each of them towards the outside. This means that the piece you are holding with your right hand will be twisted to the right and the one you are holding with your left hand will be twisted to the left. Do this for all the sections. Your bread will look like a snowflake. Put it in the baking sheet with the help of the parchment paper (don’t remove it) and let it rest and rise for another hour. As the bread rises, turn your oven to 350 F.

Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 25 to 30 minutes. Let it cool on a rack.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

balls-checker

I woke up very early on Labor Day to bake this bread. Long before sunrise. Mixed the dough and went for a run with Phil, while the streets were still completely dark. Come to think of it, “with Phil” is not a correct statement. Let’s say we start together and within five minutes I am begging for mercy,  slow down my pace and see him move farther and farther ahead.  The sun started to rise midway through our run, in such a magical experience, the subtle change in light, slow and beautiful. By far my favorite kind of run. A day that started so perfectly had  to be a good baking day. And indeed it was.

hazelnutpowder

This dough is wonderful to work with.  As you can see in the instructions, the most important thing to keep in mind is dividing the dough in equal parts – use a scale, don’t just eye-ball it.  Once the dough is divided, it rolls out very nicely, use just a little bit of flour on top of the parchment paper so that you can release it easily. I rolled all four balls of dough, but if you prefer, roll one at a time, spread the chocolate cream, move to the next one. Before you cover the bread with the last disk of dough, wash your hands of any chocolate to keep the surface of the bread clean.

shaped

Slicing the dough in 16 sections and twisting the sections for the final shaping is not as hard as it may seem.  I have a lot of trouble with spacing things regularly, and was a bit nervous handling the knife, but even if my cutting was not perfectly uniform,  the bread turned out ok.  Maybe not worthy of the cover of Breads Illustrated, but not bad for a first time.

This star-shaped bread reminded me of the classic Chocolate Babka, which I’ve never made, but saw Peter Reinhart demonstrate in a lecture in Dallas many years ago. In fact, my friend Marilyn said this bread looked like “Babka’s wealthy cousin”.  I suppose that defines it quite well.

The filling can be anything you like. Some bakers from the Facebook group used pesto and cheese, others used cinnamon cream, or a mixture of different nuts with chocolate. Pretty much anything goes with the exact same dough and shaping.  Be creative and impress your friends and family, it is a show-stopper of a bread.

Sliced

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting event…

ONE YEAR AGO: Blueberry-Banana Bread 

TWO YEARS AGO: Into the Light Again

THREE YEARS AGO: Five Grain Sourdough Bread

FOUR YEARS AGO: The Nano-Kitchen

FIVE YEARS AGO: Kaiser Rolls

SOUR CHERRY SORBET: A LABOR OF LOVE

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY MOM!

Far away in Brazil, today she celebrates her 91st Birthday!
We are not there for the occasion, but I share a photo taken one year ago.

 PSMomSee you in November…. countdown started!

 On my last In My Kitchen post, I mentioned we got to pick sour cherries from a friend’s tree. It was a first time for me, and I admit that it surprised me how much work was involved. Of course, picking the fruit requires that you climb up a ladder carrying a basket, and spend quite some time in a daze-inducing repetitive activity. Nothing wrong with that, except that all that Zen might make one less careful. It is tempting to stretch the body just a little more to reach that great looking cherry winking at you, maybe a tad too far.  Thankfully, it all had a happy ending, no falls, no broken bones. We went home with a load of fruit ready for the next step: sorting.  The basic goal is to get rid of the cherries that have worms inside. That information was not conveyed to me BEFORE we picked the fruit. I wasn’t thrilled, and made sure my beloved husband got the message loud and clear during our drive home. The thought that I had my hands on stuff potentially hiding slimy creatures was unbearable. Unfortunately, it was too late, I had already been exposed to danger. So how do you sort the cherries? You dump them all in a container with water. The ones that float very likely have worms. The ones that sink to the bottom better be worm-free because next comes pitting. Finding a worm together with the pit would be extremely no bueno. No bueno as the end of me.

IMG_4994(on the left, Apricot-Passion Fruit Sorbet; on the right, Sour Cherry)

SOUR CHERRY SORBET
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

4 cups worm-free, pitted sour cherries
1 ripe banana
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3/4  cup sugar (you can add more)
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons vodka

Add the cherries, and the banana to the bowl of a food processor.  Process until smooth, cleaning the sides of the bowl a couple of times. Add the lemon juice, the sugar, and the water, and process everything together until fully smooth. Taste and adjust the sugar level, adding more if you like.  Add the vodka, give it a final mix.

Keep the base in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours to cool completely.

Place the mixture in your ice cream maker and churn it according to the instructions of the manufacturer.

Scoop into a freezer-safe container.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

PittingAdventure

Comments:  All credit for the sorbets featured in the blog in the past couple of years should go to Phil, even if he fooled me into handling worm-containing fruit. He comes up with all sorts of flavors, each and every one of his concoctions turns out great!  The only fruit he cooks down before churning is apricot, all others go in fresh.  He always includes a ripe banana, and in his latest versions a tablespoon or so of some type of alcohol, usually vodka or rum. They give the sorbet a creamier  consistency when frozen, and you will not taste any alcohol.

Once more I should add that we like our sorbets with very little sugar, you might find that our versions are too tart for your taste. Adjust accordingly, tasting the base before you churn it.

stored
As  you can see, it often takes me a little time to go from making a recipe to blogging about it, but better late than never, I wanted to get this post out before summer is over.  Summer and over is never a good combination. Oh, the pain, the incredible cruelty of what lays ahead for me…  Autumn first, then misery.

ONE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen – September 2013

TWO YEARS AGO: Raspberry Sorbet at Summer’s End

THREE YEARS AGO: When three is better than two 

FOUR YEARS AGO: Grating Tomatoes (and loving it!)

FIVE YEARS AGO: A Peachy Salad for a Sunny Day