Batter Licker

February 29, 2012

peanut butter, banana, and almond milk shake

I didn’t have enough sad, brown (black??), dead, squishy bananas to make banana bread. ::sigh:: I only had one limp little fella laying around, filling my fridge with his sickly sweet scent. He had to go, pronto.

So I blended him to smithereens. (I get a little violent about soggy old bananas sometimes, especially when they taunt me with their so-totally-grossness while I’m making a concerted effort not to waste “food” – if bananas that far gone even still qualify as edible.)

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January 9, 2012

roasted chicken, cabbage and bosc pear

This might be the easiest dinner ever. Prep takes mmmmmmmm … maybe five minutes, involving only a little basic slicing and the rubbing and sprinkling of spices. Then the oven works its magic for 45 minutes or so while the scent of roasted chicken wafts through the air, tickling noses and taste buds alike.

And have you ever had roasted cabbage before? It’s heavenly. You should try it. Especially if you think you don’t like cabbage. The sweet cabbage develops this nutty, charred flavor and crispy edges that drive me so absolutely bonkers that I make brilliant decisions. Like roasting an entire, giant cabbage for just two people’s dinner. Operation Super Awesome Lunch Leftovers: Complete.

Thick slices of cabbage get layered across the bottom of a casserole dish, then topped with bosc pear halves and sprinkled with spices. Think of this as the platform for roasting the chicken legs.

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Chicken gets the spice rub-down. I chose a mix of coriander, ginger and just a little garlic to go with the pears. (more…)

December 5, 2011

gingered pear sorbet

San Francisco has handed me some winter sorbet weather recently: very sunny skies, and strong but warm winds.

Back when I lived in Los Angeles, we called it Santa Ana winds, but I don’t think the same lingo applies to Northern California. Up here, people call it earthquake weather. But that’s a bit over-dramatic and scare tactic-y for my taste. Hence, I’m calling it winter sorbet weather.

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While raspberry zinfandel sorbet absolutely knocked it out of the park for Thanksgiving dessert, I must admit I might never have gone down that road had I not first experimented with the overabundance of Warren and Bosc pears I received courtesy of Frog Hollow Farm.

In an effort to ensure they didn’t go bad, which is a problem I constantly face with pears even though I love the juicy fruit, I put some to use in a sorbet.

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My inspiration came from a scoop of pear sorbet I had enjoyed a little over a year ago in Paris on a brisk Autumn day. It wasn’t too sweet, but tasted exactly as I imagined a juicy, frozen pear would. (more…)

November 29, 2011

raspberry zinfandel sorbet

You already know I’m an ice cream girl. To clarify, when I say “ice cream,” I mean it in the broadest sense, including sorbets, frozen yogurts, semifreddos, popsicles, granitas and mostly any other soft, scoopable, meltable, spoon- or lick-worthy frozen treats.

So when it was hinted that maybe I could bring a dessert for Thanksgiving dinner, in addition to my updated, real cheese-including, non-“cheese product” version of my family’s traditional cheesy broccoli dish, which I totally botched because it turned out way more mushroomy than cheesy in flavor; although I love mushrooms, so that’s not entirely a tragedy; in fact, I’m using the leftover cheesy, mushroomy sauce, which I made four times too much of, for a lasagna this week … anyway, where was I?

Oh, right! I had a dessert brainstorming breakdown.

And a totally unjustified sobbing fit. I wouldn’t normally cry over a lack of dessert ideas, but I was sick! And I had a feeling my standard, easy go-tos – toffee and fudge – were out because my mom was likely to make a surprise batch or two.

I might have settled on baked goods. But the weekend before Thanksgiving, we had Friendsgiving, and I had baked some incredible butternut squash cupcakes with maple-sage goat cheese frosting. For some reason, I didn’t feel like baking more of them for Thanksgiving – probably because I had eaten the handful of leftover cupcakes over the past few days.

They were rich. They were savory-sweet. And I was a horribly selfish person because I didn’t think any other baked good could ever top them, and yet I refused to make them for Thanksgiving. They could have been perfect for it – they were so chock full of Fall flavors that they were practically made for Thanksgiving. But in retrospect, after a day of feasting and several platefuls of stuffing, cupcakes would have been way too much.

But sorbet was juuuuuuuuust riiiight (à la Goldilocks and the Three Bears). (more…)

November 21, 2011

turkey dripping pear farrotto

About four years ago, my aunt offered to pack up the Thanksgiving turkey’s carcass in a trash bag for me to haul home to San Francisco. I crinkled my nose in response. Why would I take that nasty thing with me on the 4+ hour drive home, especially when my largest pot was no more than 4 quarts?

Last year, I hosted Thanksgiving in my tiny, one-bedroom apartment and had finally acquired a sizable stock pot. Entirely different story. The next morning, I broke down the carcass a little, and shoved it into the giant pot with some water, leftover onion ends and herbs to simmer for a few hours. After straining out all the odds and ends, I froze a third of the stock in ice cube trays for smaller uses and the rest in 2-cup tupperware for soups and other bulk uses.

The most awesome part? I had stock for months. And all because I threw some turkey bones and onion end pieces into a pot on a day that I otherwise spent watching movies, enjoying a roaring fire and playing games.

Even more awesome part? After using some of the turkey drippings for Turkey Day gravy, I froze the rest in cubes and used those as “stock starters” once I ran out out actual stock. Just dissolved a few frozen drippings cubes in hot water and magical flavor resulted.

The lesson I learned was to save and freeze (in reasonably small portions) all those seemingly yucky byproducts of turkey roasting. It saved me a ton of money and prep time for several months’ worth of future meals, and cost only minimal time to preserve the drippings and stock since I froze it all almost immediately. (more…)

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