Sunday, February 14, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

Well, back in the kitchen, anyway.  I am finally starting to get over my jet lag.   A medical professional (slash friend) told me the other day it takes one day of recovery for every hour of time difference between home and one's travel destination.  Yikes, that means TWELVE DAYS for me.  No wonder I haven't been my usual energetic self...

It's been snowing here (duh, guess that's true for every state in the country except Hawaii) so we've pretty much stayed home.  Except for a late lunch today (which Henry really deserved as he and some of our neighbors spent three hours shoveling snow and ice at the base of our street so we weren't captives in the 'hood). 

If you live in Atlanta, you want to go here:  It's a very hip, cool place in Little 5 and we so do not fit in there, but it doesn't matter.  Molly Gunn and her husband Nick Rutherford serve up some of the best casual food in the ATL.  They built the place themselves on a shoestring and the eternal optimism of youth.  Oh, and some very creative food also.  Go.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  Do I care?  NO!  I guess this is akin to blasphemy, but I think it's a Hallmark holiday and I am just renegade enough to say to hell with it.  Forgive me if you were expecting me to post some lovely and romantic menu, complete with a decadent chocolate creation.  Haha, we are just happy to hang out in our sweats and drink a good bottle of wine and then watch a movie (which we did last night - remember BIG NIGHT with Stanley Tucci? It inspired me to try my hand at a timpano.  Stay tuned).

But I had nothing to do yesterday as I was stuck in the house, so I decided to make a Coeur a la Creme.  I have no idea why, but in some weird way I figured it might make up for the lack of a Valentine's Day card or gift or even any acknowledgement of this silly holiday.  And of course Henry would much rather have a dessert than a gift any day (especially since the food police will actually let him eat it).  So there you have it.

Here's the recipe.

COEUR A LA CREME (adapted from Ina Garten)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cups confectioner's sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (available at Whole Paycheck Foods)
Zest of 1 lemon

In electric mixer using the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, confectioner's sugar and salt until smooth.  Scrape down bowl once or twice.  Change paddle for the whisk attachment.  On low speed, add cream, vanilla paste and lemon zest.  When blended, increase speed to high and beat until mixture is very thick, like whipped cream.  Be careful not to overbeat.

Line a coeur a la creme mold (basicaly a ceramic dish with holes in it - you can substitute a strainer) with cheesecloth, making sure that it overhangs the sides.  Spoon the cream mixture into it and smooth top.  Fold cheesecloth over top and chill for at least 24 hours.

To serve, unmold onto a plate and remove cheesecloth.  You can serve this with fresh fruit or you can be like me and gild the lily with a raspberry caramel sauce.

RASPBERRY CARAMEL SAUCE (adapted from Chez Panisse)

1 1/2 pint basket fresh raspberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water, divided
Juice of 1 lemon
1 T. Chambord or Framboise

In a food processor, puree raspberries then strain through a fine mesh to remove seeds (Note:  I hate raspberry seeds - they get stuck in your teeth and they have no useful function that I can discern.  Get rid of them!)  Put sugar and 2 tablespoons of the water in a saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat until sugar is caramelized and mixture is bubbling.  Remove from heat and (stand back, this will sputter) add remaining water.  Place back over medium heat and stir until smooth.  Remove from heat and add lemon juice and liqueur of choice.  Chill.

Spoon generous helpings of the cream mixture into wine glasses or glass bowls.  Drizzle sauce over and garnish with fresh raspberries.

Even if you don't celebrate Valentine's Day, if you make this for your partner, he/she will be sure to appreciate the fact that you are in their life.....

Just in case you thought that my mind has wandered away from Cambodia and everything I experienced there, trust me, it has not. Here are a few photos.

These children break my heart.  Adoptions in Cambodia are closed due to sex trafficking.

Ponder that.

1 comment:

  1. These children are beautiful. That little boys face makes me wish I could just scoop him up and hug him.