Archives for the month of: September, 2011

Two desserts, six ingredients. This could NOT be any easier.

Mango Moscato Granita

  • 2 very ripe mangoes OR in a pinch, 1 1/2 cups canned mango nectar (in the ethnic aisle at most big supermarkets)
  • 1 bottle of Moscato wine
  • Splash of lemon juice and zest of lemon and lime

If using fresh mango, puree until smooth, then mix in lime juice and zest. If your mangoes are underripe or not sweet enough, add a handful of turbinado sugar or a tablespoon of honey.  Carefully pour in the sparkling wine and mix gently until well blended. Don’t overmix and definitely don’t try to shortcut by pouring the wine in the blender with the mango; you’ll lose all of that lovely carbonation. Pour into a shallow dish and freeze until solid, preferably overnight. Just before serving, scrape portions with a fork. The ice crystals will break and you’ll get these delicious and very pretty granules begging to be scooped by your favorite spoon.Granita is a quick and easy snack for kids too, they like to do all the scraping. For a kid-friendly (or non-drinker friendly) version, sub out the wine for 1 c water and 1/2 c orange juice.I realize that I deviated almost immediately from the format I outlined in my second ever post, so lets try this again. Let me know if it’s helpful :
Color: Bright orange
Flavor: Sweetness of fruit and wine, acid from wine and citrus, depth of flavor as mango puree lingers on the palate.
Texture: Icy, granulated, slight graininess from zest
Mouthfeel: Melts evenly across the tongue, slightly thicker than a juice

Coconut Lime Sorbet

  • 1 can cream of coconut
  • Juice of 2 limes, zest of 1 lime
  • 2 cups of water

2 cups of water seems like a lot but trust, it’s necessary.  I once tried to cut back to 1 cup hoping to get a creamier base but the flavors are just too too intense. It was like someone shoved a whole lime in my mouth and threw coconuts at my head.

Now is usually the part where I would put everything in The Dream Machine (aka my ice cream maker), but I’ve been remiss in not addressing those who don’t own a self-churning machine.  When I was a kid my dad made amazing fresh fruit sorbets with just an ice cube tray and a blender. It requires some planning ahead, but is super do-able if you don’t want to buy extra equipment.
Mix all ingredients and pour into ice cube trays or a shallow dish. Freeze overnight or until totally solid. There will be some separation of the juice and the coconut cream, and if you look closely, you’ll notice that there are massive ice crystals. The reason that churned ice cream is so smooth and, y’know, creamy, is that the constant motion keeps ice crystals from forming. Pop your coconut cubes out (or dig out chunks from the dish with a butter knife) and throw into the blender. Blend until smooth then back into the freezer for a couple of hours. You have to work fast – if it melts to liquid before you’re back int the freezer you’ll have to blend all over again.

Color: Milky white with green flecks, slightly translucent
Flavor(s): Coconut is most prominent, lime acid will cut through the sweetness as it melts across the palate. Coconut will linger.
Texture: Not as heavy as a milk or yogurt base. Slight granulation from the zest.
Mouthfeel: coconut cream coats the tongue a bit.

I like to serve these side by side garnished with a slice of orange and a mint leaf. Even in the dead of winter you can close your eyes, take a bite, and feel the sand beneath your feet and the island breeze in your hair.

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Apps are done, lets get down to business. MEAT.  No narrative today, grab some limes and parsley and get to it.

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I like the idea  of veggie platters but generally scoff at crudités. It seems like the kind of thing that person who’s always on a diet brings to the party just to make everyone else feel bad. If you’ve ever talked about how a carrot stick is a special treat because it has sooo much sugar while I’m eating a burger, I’m probably judging you.  If we’re going to make an effort to be healthy, lets at least make it interesting.

I started writing all of this out but the possibilities are endless, so I’ve made you this handy dandy chart. Huzzah!
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I’ll tell you a secret: I have a personal oasis. Tucked in the back of my regular looking house on my regular looking street, I have my own little piece of the great outdoors. Every once in a while I hanker for an apartment with a dishwasher, with a parking space, heck, with fuses that don’t short when i’m running the air conditioner and the microwave at the same time. But I always find myself saying “but it doesn’t have a terrace!”

It’s nice to have a space large enough to entertain (the outdoor space is actually the size of my dining room and guest room put together), and this summer entertain I did! I’ve been friends with Doc Tweety and the talented Food Considered since highschool. We’ve seen each other through puberty, boys, men, men who act like boys, higher education, and general joy, pain, sunshine and rain. Spending time with and cooking for them is always a pleasure.
I made a LOT of food, so keep an eye out as I add recipes throughout this week.

Latin Barbeque
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Is your breakfast boring? Are you sick of ordinary omelets, tasteless toast, and plain pancakes? Alright, enough alliteration, let’s spice things up!

I’ve been on a serious chai latte kick lately. I’m trying to wean off of coffee (sweet, delicious coffee…*drool*  ) and it’s a decent substitute. An adventure that I haven’t written about yet took me to Kabab King in Queens, NY this summer, and showed me what a proper chai tea could be – rich with layers of spice and complimentary flavors. Cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, et al bloomed through my senses and slammed into my brain, causing me to say “where have you been all my life?”  The Tazo concentrate I keep in the fridge at work is a poor substitute but one takes what one can get, dreaming of the next day I’ll have time to hop on the uptown R .
Enough rhapsodizing, let’s cook!
Last week I was playing around and added some chai latte concentrate to an egg white for a french toast. It was good, but I wanted to amp up the flavor and started playing around with ideas.
 Chai French Toast
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The lovely thing about this time of year and living where I live is that I can get excellent ingredients at a fantastic price and cook in or outdoors. Tonight’s dinner was informed almost entirely by what is on sale or in season. I keep meaning to do a post about food shopping, but I rarely go to supermarkets anymore. Maybe once a month i’ll go stock up on protiens, but my weekly shopping happens at specialty stores and markets like East Village Cheese Shop and the Hudson Farmer’s Market (don’t worry, they do have food and not just palm crosses).

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