Archive for the ‘Fruit’ Category

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Pretty maids all in a row: Pistachio Madelines with meyer lemon glaze

January 7, 2007

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Madelines. Sure, they’re beautiful: Allluring golden exterior, perfectly molded scalloped shape… they even have a seductive feminine name. But are they tasty?

Yes, indeed.

At least the Madelines that my husband makes are. Continuing his pistachio theme — as evidenced by the handful of dead pistachio soldiers I’ve been sweeping up from our kitchen floor — he thought to include those yummy green nuts in his first foray into Madeline-baking. Brilliant!

The pistachio flavor here is subtle; the green nuts add most of their punch in the texture of the cake. As you sink your teeth into the delightfully fluffly Madeline, you get a taste of the green flecks of pistachio laced throughout. Meanwhile, your nostrils are filled with the breath of meyer lemon zest that the cakes contain. It was quite an experience for my wittle tongue, but my intrepid taste buds can handle it.

Can yours?

Click here to download the recipe for Pistachio Madelines w/Meyer Lemon Glaze

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Savor a slice: Blood orange bundt cake

December 28, 2006

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I’m running out of adjectives.

That’s right: I unfurl such effusive praise of my husband’s cooking that I start to sound like a broken record. Now, when something truly noteworthy rears its beautiful, bundt-cake head, I’m hard pressed to express its majesty in words.

But you can’t blame a cake-lover for trying. Here it is folks, a blood orange bundt cake. It was B-E-A-utiful coming out of the oven… completely golden and perfect for devouring. It filled our kitchen with that luscious smell that only a perfectly cooked cake can emit. Part vanilla, part ambrosia, that fragrance whirls up the nostrils and sets the tummy rumbling.

But wait… there’s more. My husband next drizzled sweet, blood-orange flavored icing all over that golden dome. It ran into a sweet confectioner’s sugar stream under the cake, perfect for dipping your finger into. (You know as an appetizer or something.) Finger-lickin’ never was so sweet.

The finished cake had a subtle blood orange flavor that was reinforced by its fragrant icing. The slices were moist, warm and delicious. I’m only sorry that we had to give the rest to our cabdriver on our way out of town! (But you can’t just let good cake like that go to waste!)

If you’ve got blood oranges and a hankering for cake, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy!

Click here to download the recipe for Blood Orange Bundt Cake

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Mmmm zesty and sweet!: Meyer lemon pound cake with meyer lemon curd

November 29, 2006

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Sorry, but the wife’s witty remarks won’t appear today. So you are stuck with just me, the Husband, today.

So where was I? What do I want to rant about? Oh right, Meyer lemons… For most of us on the East Coast of the US, getting these little gems is a treat. Confined mostly to the West Coast of the US because of their thin skin, meyer lemons are usually just the flavoring in large commercially produced products. Yet about a month ago, I saw them in my local grocer and decided I had to have them.

Now that I’ve stated my wanting for these lemons, I guess I should explain why they are so special as to ellicit such desire from a married man. Meyer lemons are not really lemons in the way most of us here in the US think of them. They were introduced to this country about a century ago from East Asia and are likely a hybrid between a lemon and a sweet orange. The result is a juicy citrus fruit that has an intense fragrance and a juice that is both sweet and tart. The problem is that they tend to have a thin skin, making them harder to get if you don’t live near where they grow. So when they appeared in my grocer, I bought.

So now that I had a bundle of these left-coast fruits, I wanted to make something that really allowed the fruit to show off. I mean these are out of town guests, you really have to show them a good time. So I gave them a simple place to shine—a pound cake with a nice lemon curd topping. The results were good.

The recipe has a pleasant lightness and tang of flavor from the curd, yet it has a nice filling feeling to it from the density of the pound cake. This combination is also flexible. I served this as dessert for a dinner party with a tiny bit of ice cream and some powdered sugar over the plate to fancy it up. Or, it can be served like it is in the photos for a simple treat.

I really love this recipe with all its flavor and little effort. The cake takes time to bake, but very little preparation time—the equivalent of making brownies. The curd is also very simple (though you do need to stand over it for 10 min), but can be used in many ways and as a topping for other things. If you can’t get meyer lemons, you can use regular ones. However, I would use at least one extra lemon in both recipes if you do. Meyer lemons are very juicy. I hope you enjoy a bit of springtime here in winter.

Click here to download the recipe for Meyer Lemon Poundcake with Meyer Lemon Curd

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Don’t bogart that cranberry cobbler

November 22, 2006

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Cranberries + cobbler = Happy

Face it: Cranberries are a requisite ingredient in the upcoming holiday gorging event. As my husband (mockingly) describes below, I enjoy me some canned cranberry sauce. Preferably Ocean Spray, still bearing the telltale cylindrical marks on its wobbly sides, delicately sliced straight from the can.

As much as I enjoy that cranberrified-jelly-goop, I realize it’s not the apex of cranberries’ culinary potential. And my husband has opened my eyes to still better uses for that red gem… cobbler, for instance.

Cobbler is delicious, particularly when the biscuit topping is crumbly and delicate — and perfect for mopping up any escaping sweet syrup from the hostage fruit filling. Cranberry cobbler is no exception. The berries’ tart flavor yields to a long roasting in sugar, juice and spices — and the resultant heat from that cooking helps to cook the undersides of those crumbly biscuits. It’s a culinary masterpiece, and not that hard to make, to boot.

So, fellow canned cranberry sauce lovers, I urge you to branch out and sample a berry that’s never seen the inside of a can. You won’t be sorry.

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Sweet pork chop and quince? Genius!

October 30, 2006

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My husband has reached a satisfying stage as a cook. Yes, he’s been making scrumptious food this entire time. But now, on occassion, I get to take credit for it (or try to) — without having to lift a finger.

Take the meal pictured above, Maple-Dijon Glazed Rib Chops with Quince. I proposed that he barbeque something — pork, perhaps — for our guests. Genius. Upon tasting the quinces that he had bought, I proposed that he use them as a sweet side to the pork dish. Magnificent. And of course, I suggested he make some damn good mashed potatoes (not pictured) that would pair perfectly with the sweet honeyed pork and quince. Outstanding!

The whole meal was a smashing success, and it was, like, totally my idea.

Granted, I didn’t actually make any of the elements that were such a smash. (I do help, though. I made the salad and the vegetable — again, not pictured. Just take my word for it. And I clean, too. And I’m an excellent eater.)

Yes, my husband took the raw clay of my unformed, rather vague ideas and turned them into masterpieces. But do I get some credit for providing the clay, people? Should Michelangelo get all the glory? What about the guy who pointed out David to him, and said “That would make a heck of a statue?”

No matter, my small reward will be eating the fruits of my husband’s cooking. And believe me, it’s not really that small a reward. This dish — for example — is absolutely delicious, and perfect for fall. The pork is tender and sweet, with the delicious smokey aroma that comes when sugar hits the grill and caramelizes. And the quince accompaniment is the perfect dancing partner for the pork. Forked up alone or together, either subject is dazzling. I highly recommend. Read on for the recipe and his how-to!

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Cherimoya: Dinosaur Eggs, Smelly Feet and Seeds (Lots of seeds)

October 20, 2006

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I love globalization. While I know many people bemoan the state of affairs it has caused around the world, I like to proclaim my love for it. I love it because I’m selfish and a capitalist, but also because of the food. Because of this crazy global economy, I get to discover fun things at my local grocers. Add the adventure of my wife starting My Husband Cooks, and I’ve taken to embracing every single one of these oddities as a chance to eat and write. (e.g. dragon fruit.)

This week is about the Cherimoya. I’ve seen them recently, had them in my basket twice and took them out. I thought they looked awesome, but I had no clue what they were. Finally, I had an excuse—my sister-in-law, Missy, came for a visit. Now, there are jokes to be made at your “in-laws” expense, but she is like another sister to me. So like Tessie and the rest of my family, Missy is just part of food focus groups waiting to be fed new things.

IMG_2116.JPGAs a result, I bought cherimoyas. The best way to describe the way they look is dinosaur eggs. They look pre-historic. From what I read, and to my surprise, they grow from an evergreen tree that can be found in parts of Southern California. They are native to Andes Mountains near Peru, Columbia, Bolivia and Ecuador. They are ripe, like an avocado, when slightly soft. But most importantly, how do they taste? Our reviews are below.

Husband: I liked parts of it. It’s very seedy and fibrous around the seed. The problem is the seeds are everywhere and about the size and shape of tiny almonds. It had a bad smell and taste in spots (sweet-smelly feet). At its best, it had a smooth texture with a strawberry-banana like taste. I am curious what it would taste like if it were fresher. It has potential to be good, but I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt given that I bought it in Virginia and couldn’t tell you whether it was ripe or just off.

Wife: The seed to fruit ratio was very high — too high. Parts of it did taste bad, parts of it tasted OK. There was a 1/4 inch section that tasted pretty good.

Missy: I’ve never been wild about the texture of bananas, and um, it had a banana-like texture. Parts of it were good, and parts of it tasted like butt. It was bitter sour and gross, in parts. And there were too many seeds.

IMG_2117.JPGWant to know more?

California Rare Fruit Growers’ cherimoya info

A New Zealand site about cherimoya
Cherimoya.com

Any insight onto our new dinosaur egg look-a-like friend?

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Eat me, I’m pancakes: My husband’s story and his Orange Ricotta Pancakes.

October 3, 2006

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Click, click, bloody click, pancakes. (Does anyone else watch The Family Guy?) No? Then the reference is lost on you.

My husband makes me pancakes every weekend, and loves The Family Guy. When the tummy starts to rumble, I just have to say that special phrase and he snaps to — griddle on, pancakes working.

At heart, I’m probably an egg-breakfast girl. I like salty foods in the morning. Tater tots before cereal. Hard-boiled eggs before pastry. But I love my weekly pancake breakfast. First, because my husband makes some wicked-good pancakes. Second, because it feels like family.

And now he’s gone all gourmet on our typical-Aunt Jemima pancake breakfast. Orange Ricotta Pancakes. In a few words, they were delicious — and very fall. Orange citrus zing melding with the warm aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg? I may never go back to Aunt Jemima (and we were so close!)

All I can say is, click, click, bloody click, pancakes! (Care to hear Stewie Griffin in his full thespian glory? Click this link to see Japanese anime repeating Stewie’s lines. Somehow, it makes it more hilarious.)

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