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Mango-Banana Frozen Yogurt

31 Jul

Anyone else sweating like a pig out there?  Just me?  Right.  Of course not.  Well, to all my fellow sweating pigs, this post is for you.

As hot July rolls over to hot August, I can’t imagine a better way to say goodbye to good ol’ July than with a frozen yogurt or “froyo” for short.  Or… “super-awesome-yum-yum-yum-yum-yum-to-have-when-it’s-hot” for long.  We are short on berries but long on bananas in our humble household, and as luck would have it, we’ve got mangoes too.

Mango-Banana Frozen Yogurt

Fruity Frozen Yogurt

1 cup  frozen bananas, sliced
1 cup frozen mangoes, cubed
2 cups vanilla yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
Pinch of ground cloves or cinnamon, optional

Using a blender, grind or grate the slices of frozen banana.  If your blender has a pulse feature, use it to give you more control.  Next, grind or grate the frozen mango cubes.  The grated fruits will be along the sides of the pitcher so make sure to push them down before adding the yogurt.  Add 1 cup yogurt.  Blend.  Add the last cup of yogurt.  Blend.  Add 2 tbs honey and any spices you want for flavoring.  Blend.  Place the mixture in a container and freeze for an hour.

Smile and serve.

Disclaimer: I didn’t wait an hour to allow the yogurt mixture to freeze.  After 10 minutes, I cried out, “Yo. Froyo. Ready or not, I’m taking you out.”  That’s how I ended up with a soft frozen yogurt.  Thanks to the heat, it’s also melting fast.

The nice thing about summer is the abundance of fruits especially great for shakes and smoothies.  You can use any fruits you have available.  And if you don’t have any frozen fruits, use them as is and add 1 cup of ice – you’ll end up with a nice lassi instead of a froyo.  However, if you’re feeling lazy (it’s understandable, it’s summer), make your way to Starbucks or your favorite drink bar to get something nice and cold. 

Happy summer!

L’oeuf coccotte

31 Mar

“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”, but not in the Pacific Northwest… although I wish that were the case.  The weather here has a life of its own and likes to play mind games wtih meteorologists and residents.

What better way to end March and begin April than with l’oeuf coccotte, a classic French dish in which the egg is baked in a ramekin, and somewhat submerged in a creamy base.  The recipe for oeufs coccotte is quite simple and requires egg(s), cream, grated cheese, and seasonings.  However, Claire, my sister, provided a fancy recipe by using Béchamel/white sauce as a base instead of cream.  Photo of the yummy dish and the ingredients below are her compliments.

L’oeuf coccotte

1 tbs butter
1 tbs flour
3/4 c milk, warm
egg(s)
ham, chopped
cheese (your choice)
herbs (oregano or your choice)
salt, paprika, and nutmeg

Melt the butter, then stir in the flour.  Cook until a paste forms then add the warm milk.  Continue stirring until the sauce thickens.  Season with salt, paprika, and nutmeg.  Pour sauce into a ramekin (or a round baking dish) then crack an egg over the sauce.  Add your choice of cooked meat.  Sprinkle with your choice of cheese and herbs.

Smile and serve with toasts.

Merci beaucoup, ma soeur!  Il semble délicieux.

Homemade Lemon Ice Cream

17 Feb

Sometime ago, during my college years, I used my mother’s ice cream machine to make a favorite frozen dessert, but my first experience with making ice cream was unsatisfactory.  With no more than three attempts of using the machine and not producing the ice cream I hoped to produce, I decided to call it quits.  With no one interested in making ice cream, Mom eventually retired the bulky small appliance somewhere in the depths of one of her kitchen cabinets.

Last week, I decided that I would make lemon custard for lunch with two fabulous female friends.  They both were coming from far distances (at least half an hour drive) and the least I could do was to make a luncheon as fab as they are.  We have Meyer lemons so I thought I’d make something lovely with them.  However, the lemon custard, that was supposed to be for dessert, never materialized on our Thursday lunch date (yesterday) because this past Monday, I aspired to make lemon ice cream instead… without an ice cream machine!

To make sure my attempt is successful, I read Harold McGee’s research on frozen desserts and ice cream in On Food and Cooking, and read various articles online on “how to make ice cream without an ice cream machine” and found David Lebovitz’ to be the best.  Using the method Lebovitz shared and a simple lemon custard recipe, I made a successful first attempt.  So thank you, MM. McGee et Lebovitz.

Lemon Ice Cream

1 c lemon sugar*
4 egg yolks
2 tbs lemon juice
2 c milk, heated

1-1/4 c heavy cream, heated

Combine sugar, yolks, and juice over low heat or using a double boiler.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth and thick.  Add the heated cream then milk.  When mixture is combined, chill over an ice bath.  Transfer the cooled custard mixture into a freezer-safe container.  Chill the mixture and check about 60 minutes after.  Take out the mixture and thoroughly whisk it, making sure to incorporate the frozen edges.  For every 45 minutes after, repeat the process 3-4 times.  As the mixture freezes, it’ll become harder to whisk so make sure to use a sturdy spatula.  In about 4 hours, the ice cream will be ready.  Patience is key here, so have lots of it.

For a creamier texture, decrease the amount of milk added by a cup and the amount of sugar by a 1/4 cup, and increase the yolks by two more. 

Smile and serve.

* If you don’t have lemon sugar, increase the lemon juice to 1 cup and use regular sugar.

Leche flan

12 Aug

Currently living in London and on a quest to create the perfect leche flan, Kat, my youngest sister, experimented by making five flans in the span of a month.  That’s 30 eggs and 10 cans in total of both evaporated and condensed milk in 30 days!  Do the math, that’s an egg a day.  In a way I’m not surprised, she loves eggs and milk more than any person I know.  If it isn’t unhealthy to have >2 eggs on a daily basis, then she’d consume that many eggs every day.  As for milk, well, she won’t eat any cookies or slices of cake or pie unless there’s milk available.  A few years ago, she started eating chocolate cake before checking to see if there were any milk, only to find out that there weren’t any.  The mistake has yet to be repeated.  Thereafter, she’d confirm the availability of the super-duper-amazing liquid first before proceeding to eat any dessert.

Here’s the dealeeyo with eggs.  Having lived in England also, I can attest to the richness of chicken eggs there compared to ehrr, for the lack of a nicer word, not-so-rich American eggs.  If you can get your hands on duck eggs then consider yourself a lucky duck and use those instead since duck eggs have a larger yolk-to-albumin proportion; essentially, more yellow stuff than white stuff.  When it comes to making flan, the more yolks used, the creamier the result.  If you do choose to use duck eggs, be careful as overcooking/overbaking will lead to a rubbery dish due to the low water, high protein content of duck eggs.

Below is the wunderkind’s recipe and photos.  Now, I’m not sure if she got the ingredients list from a cookbook or online or if she modified our Mom’s recipe.  I think my Mom’s ingredients list involve granulated sugar and just yolks, not whole eggs.  Kat is still tinkering with her recipe and her mission is still at large.  At any rate, when she’s stateside, I plan on bugging her to make her prettylicious leche flan.

Kat’s leche flan

Ingredients
brown sugar
5 tsp granulated sugar
6 eggs
1 can of evaporated milk
1 can of condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
*secret ingredient*

for the caramel:
Lightly sprinkle brown sugar on the bottom of the dish, thus creating a thin coat. If there are patches of noncoated spots on the dish, this is fine. You don’t want the bottom fully coated, because then it’ll be achingly sweet.

for the flan:
Separate the eggs, and beat the whites and the yolk separately.
Combine the two then slowly amalgamate the white and yolks with a spatula

Slowly pour 1 can of evaproated milk and 1 can of condensed milk in a separate bowl.  Add sugar then vanilla extract.  Slowly add the eggs.  Mix the ingredients slowly with a spatula.  Tap out the air bubbles.  Pour into the dish that has been coated with brown sugar.

Put 1.5 inches of water in a big pan, and put the flan dish inside the bigger pan with the water.  Bake at180 degrees celcius (convert to farenheit), for an hour, or until the top is golden brown, and the flan is settled.

Once it has cooled, loosen the flan from the dish, and then turn it upside down onto a serving plate.  Voila.

As for her *secret ingredient*, it possesses the molecule below.

Tasty Mold

15 Aug

When life is pressing and inertia sets in before dinnertime, forget cooking… it’s cheese and bread to the rescue!  Luckily, we still had one more small wheel of vache de chalais which is a soft-ripened cheese with Provençal roots.  According to the information on the wrapper, vache de chalais is traditionally preserved by being wrapped in chestnut leaves that macerated in the local brandy.  Straight from the information on the wrapper:

 “The texture is creamy and the aroma fruity.  The cheese will keep on developing its flavors over time and spots of mould will start appearing as a natural evolution of the maturation and ripening process.  The mold is of course edible and enhance the flavor of this authentic cheese.”

It is really creamy.  So creamy that about a few minutes outside of the fridge, it began to soften rapidly, and in about half and hour, gave the appearance of melting as a photo illustrates below.

 

Altogether it was a tasty cheese, even the mold which gave the cheese a subtle pungency that I found addicting.  It’s a good thing Ryan didn’t, so more for me!

 

Mmm, yummy mold!