Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ripening peaches

I cant claim to have come up with this myself. Nowever this method is so good that I just have to pass it on.

Place a dish towel on a rack of some kind. Place the peaches on the dish towel with their stalk ends down. Make sure the peaches are not touching each other. Cover with another towel and leave in a cool dark (I don't know how important the dark is) place for a while. It is imprecise because I don't know how unripe yours are.

We did try an experiment. We kept some from the same batch out on the counter and we ripened some by the above method. Night and day difference. The covered versions were so much more tasty, so much more juicy.

I am converted

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Summer pudding

This is in the tradition of English puddings using the bounty of the season. It is also a handy way of using left over bread! I make it in a 1 1/2 quart pudding basin - a lampshade shaped basin. Since I did this for July 4th. I served the red dish on a blue plate with white whipped cream.

1 1/2 lb raspberries
12 oz blueberries
8 oz blackberries
1 cup superfine sugar
several slices of challah or other light, absorbent bread. Do not use sourdough.
Whipped cream - to serve

Clean the berries and place them into a saucepan with the sugar. Bring to a simmer slowly,  stirring occasionally. You want the berries to give up their juices but not to become cooked.
Meanwhile spray the pudding basin with non-stick spray (or grease lightly with butter). Cut the crusts off the bread slices. Make a circular piece of the bread, dip it into the juices and place in the bottom of the basin. Line the sides of the basin with bread slices - also dipped in the juices. Make sure that there are no gaps - overlapping the slices as necessary.
When the fruit has cooled, somewhat, pour the fruit and some of the juice into the lined basin. Create a bread "lid" for the basin, dip it in the juice and put it on the top of the fruit. reserve the remainder of the juice
Pour some of the remaining juice onto the bread lid.
Cut a circle of waxed paper (butcher paper is fine) to the size of of the top of the basin and place on top of the lid. Place a small plate on top of the waxed paper and then a weight on top of that. I am using a 28 oz can of tomatoes as the weight.
Refrigerate the weighted basin for at least 8 hours - and for anything up to 48 hours.
Unmold the pudding from the basin, and serve with whipped cream alongside.

dulce de leche

This sinfully good milk caramel is the easiest thing in the world to make. That is going to be a problem. When something that good is too easy, there is a danger of it ending up on our hips. How easy, you might ask?
This easy.

1 can sweetened condensed milk.

Take the paper wrapping off the can of sweetened condensed milk. Place the can (unopened) into a  large pan of water. Make sure it is fully covered. Bring water to a gentle simmer, put the lid on the pan and simmer for at least 2 hours. Turn the heat off, allow to cool overnight. Open can and spoon out the caramel lusciousness.

Yup that really is all there is to it.