Saturday, December 27, 2008

quince parfait, seattle snow job and more

I have neglected you little blog, through the holidays, but I've been busy cooking and eating. Time for catch up in list form:

1) I returned home from a trip with over 6# or quince, so after they scented my fridge with the most mouthwatering smell (I do suggest using a quince over baking soda!), I peeled, cored and cooked them to soft perfection in sugar syrup (1:1, water:sugar or honey), strained that off and reserved it for later, cooked the quince down to mush and pureed it. Then there sits the quince paste in the fridge, waiting to be spread on rosemary toast and made into QUINCE PARFAIT. To be fair it's bastardized version of a dessert in a Gerard Hirigoyen cookbook- The Basque Kitchen.

Dunk ladyfingers in the quince syrup very briefly (you could add a little dessert white wine to the syrup to give the dish kick) and put down a single layer in a ramekin, layer on quince paste, repeat and then top with a mixture of barely sweetened goat cheese and heavy cream (it should be the consistency of think oatmeal), Then top that with caramelized pinenuts. To pretty it up when you serve it, sprinkle a little powdered sugar.

2) That leftover quince syrup is delicious mixed with Rye Whiskey and serve on the rocks in a highball... start at 1:1 and then let the booze and the sweet duke it out according to your palate. We found the ptcher of the stuff jelled up, so I cut the drinks with a tad of citrus to thin. I used orange, lemon and lime juice all separately with equally delicious results.

3) Speaking of drinks, I invented another one- THE SEATTLE SNOW JOB, in honor of our recent, brief Ice Age. It sounds very much like we're about to move overseas, can't take our booze with us and are getting very creative with our cocktails... well, that's how it happens isn't it?
Seattle Snow Job
1 oz Orange Rhum or Brandy
1 oz Plum Eau de Vie (Clear Creek Distillery Mirabelle is what I used)
1 oz Benedictine
.5 oz Almond Syrup
1.25 oz heavy cream

Shake copiously with ice and serve up. Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg or grated, toasted almond. Repeat for extra cheer.

4) Remember that Lamb I had to butcher in our sink? Well, with Sean gone to London last week, and him being the primary lamb vetoer, I decided to defrost that neck and make some stew, which became Lamb Tagine due to the excessive amount of prune, date and onion I had in the pantry. Plus it didn't hurt that I have homemade Ras al Hanout on the spice rack and I don't plan to move my spices either. So Lamb Tagine over cous cous was on the menu for Emily and I for a delicious lunch the day after my brilliant idea. It was delicious. My only regret was taht I didn't add any pepper to make it more spanky. Of well, there are many lambs in my future.

5) We had an excellent grass fed, Oregon beef standing rib roast for Christmas. I would go out on a limb and say it was the best standing rib roast I have ever had. Not the beef from Whole Foods we had last year which made me frown and shae my fist at those Whole Foods bastards; this was tender and flavorful and the crust was amazing (a mixture of rosemary, fresh black pepper and Maldon Sea Salt, all mixed up with dijon mustard and slathered on think just before searing in a super hot oven). Maybe the new stove made a difference, too.

6) Of course the best part of prime rib is the sandwiches made from the leftovers. Okay, maybe we don't have to say what the best part is, but if I made a prime rib and didn't have leftovers like this, I would be reduced to tears...
I took a roasted garlic loaf from La Brea Bakery, cut it in half horizontally, cored out he soft stuff and filled it with Eggplant braised with Tomato and Chili Pepper, mayo and thin slices of the prime rib. Ate them a few hours later on the road. Perfection.

7) Holiday baking and Holiday Bacon! Mustard Seed and Cheddar Crackers in abundance chez nous, Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies filled with Ginger Jam, Gingerbread Reindeer, Cinnamon Chocolate Eggnog and of course, some bacon from Monteillet!

Okay, gotta go out there and eat some more food, we're in Portland after all! At the vey least I'm having some canelles from Ken's Artisan Bakery.
Eat well!

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