Monday, June 27, 2011

Sorbetto ai Frutti di Bosco

One of my favorite flavors of sorbetto (sorbet/sherbet) is fruitti di bosco, which translates to "fruits of the woods".  This is a common combination in Italian desserts bringing blueberries, currants, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries together in an intense flavorgasm.  Unfortunately, I didn't have any currants handy so they had to be omitted.  No matter, the other berries carried their weight just fine.

  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/2 pint strawberries
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 T corn syrup
  • In a small pot on medium-low heat, dissolve the sugar into the water making a simple syrup.
  • Clean and dry all berries and put them in a blender on high speed until finely pureed.
  • Strain berries into a large bowl using a fine mesh strainer.  You will need to gently coax the juices through the sieve with a rubber spatula.
  • Mix in the corn syrup.
  • Pour the berries into an ice cream maker and continue to follow the instructions specific to your machine.
  • Transfer to a more properly sized container with a lid and transfer to the freezer.
  • Best when frozen for a few hours (or overnight), but if you prefer a softer slush, sneak a few scoops out early.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Granola Bars

DISCLAIMER:  This post is 90% recycled material (see Granola).  However, I feel that putting the granola into bar form provides a significant enough transformation in texture and function that it warrants its own post.  Similar to the Granola post, you are free to experiment with the mix-ins.  I have updated the list of mix-ins to show a couple new combos I use frequently when making granola in bar form.


  • Old fashioned oats
  • Honey
Mix-In Combination Suggestions
  • Chopped dates, blueberry-infused Craisins, slivered almonds
  • Brown sugar, raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a glass baking dish of whichever size you prefer, pour out an even layer of oats 1/4" thick.
  3. Transfer the oats to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Toss in your mix-ins.
  5. Add a splash of water and mix.
  6. Add enough honey (in multiple parts) so that the granola begins to stick together but is not saturated and runny.
  7. Line the baking dish with parchment paper ensuring there is enough to run up the sides as well.
  8. Dump the granola mixture into the pan and spread with a fork or spatula.
  9. Compress the granola with a rubber-edged scraper (like this one) so that it has an even thickness throughout the entire dish.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes or so.  The granola may begin to brown slightly (but only slightly).  Be careful not to let it get too brown as this will cause your bars to harden beyond edibility once they have cooled.
  11. Pull the granola from the pan using the parchment paper and cut into bars immediately.
  12. Best served warm, but also tasty once cooled.

Mango Habanero Chutney

Habanero chilies are spicy beasts.  However, even with two whole peppers in this recipe, I thought a couple more wouldn't have hurt.  The recipe as it is has a good tang to it, but it won't peel the skin off your face.  If you need more heat, throw a couple more chilies in and have a good cry the following morning.

Chutney has many uses.  I like to cook up some chopped chicken (lightly seasoned with black pepper) and mix with some chutney, served over rice.  You can also mix chutney with cream cheese and use it as a dip.  Traditionally, it is served on the side as an accompaniment to the meal.

  • 1/2 t. whole cumin seeds
  • 10 - 12 whole cloves
  • 2" cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 2 green (unripe) mangoes
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 3 large bulb green onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 c. white vinegar
  1. In a shallow pan, dry fry (toast) the cumin, cloves and cinnamon until fragrant.
  2. If you don't want whole spices in your finished product, grind the cumin and cloves in a mortar and pestle.
  3. Add the oil and reduce heat to low, allowing the spices to infuse with the oil for 10 - 15 minutes.
  4. Peel and dice the mangoes into a medium pot.
  5. Mix in the sugar and salt.  Set to the side and let the mango juices seep out a bit.
  6. Halve and thinly slice the onions and add them to the pot with the garlic.
  7. Put the pot on the stove at medium to medium-high heat, adding the vinegar as well.
  8. Bring to a soft boil for a couple minutes.
  9. Add the infused oil to the pot.
  10. Reduce to a simmer for a good hour or so, stirring intermittently to ensure that the bottom of the pot doesn't burn.
  11. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  12. Seal in an air-tight container and refrigerate for a couple days before using.  This will let the flavors meld even further.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Stir-Fry of the Teriyakalypse

The end is nigh and all should welcome the impending apocalypse with open arms and full stomachs!  I declare apocalypse... NOW!  I said... APOCALYPSE, NOW!  Ok... now?  What about... nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnow!  My watch must be on heathen time because I see no signs from the skies suggesting the faithful masses have been taken into an eternity paved in gold and littered with winged, harp-playing minstrels.  Too bad, it's getting a bit crowded down here.

So if you're still here (and you are, duh), you have survived the end of days as predicted by the prophet of Senility.  You may go about your life as normal.  In fact, you are probably a bit peckish, having fasted or whatever people do to prepare for the world's end.  Now, all cynicisms aside (probably not), I present to you... Stir-Fry of the Teriyakalypse!  A dish that has more relevance to the demise of our dear Mother Earth than the many flavors of Apocalypticism and its teachings (and that is to say, none at all).

  • 1 T sesame seeds
  • 1 t. red pepper flakes (or more if you yearn for the eternal flame)
  • 1/8 c. Soy sauce
  • 1/8 c. White vinegar
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 - 3 small leek bulbs and stems (remove the leaves)
  • 1 lb. thin stir-fry style beef
  • 3/4 lb. assorted funghi (shiitake, oyster and beech used here)
  • 1 T butter
  1. In a sauté pan on medium heat, dry roast the sesame seeds until lightly browned and aromatic.
  2. Add the red pepper flakes, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and garlic.
  3. Stir frequently for a few minutes until the flavors have melded to your liking.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  5. Chop up the beef into bite-sized chunks and throw into a bowl.
  6. Thinly slice the leeks and mix with the beef.
  7. Once the marinade has cooled to room temperature, mix well with the beef, seal the bowl and place it in the fridge for a few hours.
  8. (Fast forward a few hours).
  9. Trim and clean the mushrooms and set aside.
  10. Heat up a wok with a touch of oil and toss in the marinated beef mixture.
  11. Stir frequently until beef is browned.
  12. Remove the meat from the wok and set aside, leaving the juices behind.
  13. Toss in the mushrooms and sauté until tender.
  14. Add the butter to thicken the sauce.
  15. Return beef to the wok and toss ingredients together.
  16. Remove from heat and serve with a side of white rice.
I know this isn't nearly as exciting as the decimation of Terra Madre, but I'd say it's a relatively close second.  I was really hoping to see the streets fill up with frogs, too.  Bummer.  Oh well, there's always next year.  Let's go Mayans!

Friday, April 15, 2011


This is nowhere near as good as the cassoulet we had in Montmartre, Paris, but it's good enough.  If you are lucky enough to have some good quality beef stock handy (Becky brought some home from work and it worked very well for this recipe), that is preferable.  Otherwise, bouillon will suffice.  Also, make sure that you use a dry wine - you don't want this to end up too sweet.  If all goes well, you will end up with a dish that looks like chili and tastes like awesome.

  • 2 c. dried white beans (like Great Northern)
  • 1.25 lb. fresh sausage, chopped
  • 1.5 red onion, minced
  • Handful sage
  • Small handful thyme, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 - 2.5 c. dry white wine
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 3 c. beef stock
  1. Boil the beans in water for a couple minutes, then cover and remove from heat.  Let the beans sit for an hour or so.  They will nearly double in size.
  2. After the beans have set, combine the sausage, onion, sage, thyme and garlic in a large pot on medium-high heat.  Stir occasionally until sausage cooks through and onions become tender.
  3. Add the wine while scraping the bottom of the pot to remove any stuck pieces.  There should be enough wine to completely cover the solid contents.  Let this simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Mix in the tomato paste and beef stock.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 1.5 hours or until beans are super tender.