Friday, November 24, 2006

Fall's bounty

So it has been awhile since updating, and I have been quite busy in the kitchen. Besides the normal cooking that I do, mostly with the CSA box bounty, I have done a few other projects to speak of. Firstly, I made a new batch of jam, a Pear Lime and Ginger jam, of completely my own creation. And it seems I've been in a big ginger mood lately, as I also tried a new recipe for ginger cake, or Gembertaart, as Gourmet magazine calls it. It's quite good, but the recipe has some ridiculous steps, such as making a foam out of egg whites and folding it into the very dense batter, which completely deflates the whites. But it is quite good, and makes an excellent tea cake or something to eat a slice with a small glass of sherry.

Speaking of sherry, I have to share that Kyle and I are wine club members of Mount Palomar winery in Temecula, CA and they make the best Solera aged cream sherry. Very nice and hazelnutty in flavor. Anyway, we went up to Temecula for some wine tasting, and we picked up another bottle of this divine liqueur.

Hmm, what else? Well, I made cheese again, this time a mascarpone cheese. It's a very rich yummy cheese, perfect mixed with a tiny bit of vanilla sugar and served along ripe, sliced pears. And of course, like many other people, I keep mispronouncing it "maRSCapone" instead of what it should be, "masCARponE". Otherwise, I have stumbled upon a really interesting vegetable item at Bristol Farms (which has a great full-service butcher, by the way), an upscale market. Brussel sprouts. Yup, you read that right, Brussel sprouts. But on a full stalk, which I had no idea they grew on. I ended up cooking them with a roasted spatchcocked chicken and some roasted potatoes for Thanksgiving. Of course, the best way to cook Brussel sprouts is to cook them simply and quickly. Briefly, I trimmed and washed the sprouts, boiled for 10 minutes, then tossed in a saucepan with some melted butter, minced garlic, some lemon juice, and minced parsley. Very good. And nice to have a simple meal, as I mostly boycotted Thanksgiving this year, as for some reason it always stresses me out every year.

Of course, when spatchcocking the chicken, I used my kitchen scissors and realized they aren't as heavy duty as I would like. I went ahead and bought some Messermeister heavy-duty kitchen shears that should easily handle chickens, and I can also separate the blades for cleaning and sharpening. Of course, Kyle doesn't get how I still need kitchen stuff, but oh well. And related to that, I was able to purchase some lovely All-Clad pans, like a saucier and a fry pan at their outlet, which carry factory imperfections. This means i got both pans for quite cheap, actually for more than 50% off retail since I purchased the pans with a friend and got an additional 20% off. I can't wait till they arrive!

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