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Drunken Honeyed Figs with Lemon Mascarpone Whipped Cream


When I think about desserts, some that come to mind celebrate the luscious simplicity of fruit, ripe from the tree. And for a Thanksgiving dinner that celebrates the bounty of autumn, this one is a lighter dessert that can balance the heavier meal quite well. Best of all, in the chaos of coordinating a lot of dishes, this dessert is super easy to make and the figs can be made ahead, leaving you with only the Mascarpone Whipped Cream to quickly make. I used dried figs as they hold their shape so much better. You could use fresh figs but be sure to adjust your cooking time. The dried figs are macerated in brandy overnight to soften them and infuse them with a contrasing flavor. They are then simmered on the stovetop in a mixture of honey, anise seed and orange juice until the liquid reduces to a syrupy glaze. Paired with the mascarpone whipped cream, you get a combination that feels luxurious and decadent without the heaviness. You can serve this by spooning or piping the whipped cream beside some arranged honeyed figs or you can arrange the figs in small tartlet shell and pipe the whipped cream in the middle. I've got pictures here of both. Enjoy!!

WHO: ChezSuzanne, a dedicated SF-based FOOD52er since the early days, is a seemingly boundless resource for seasonally inspired and often contest-winning recipes.
WHAT: Dried figs bathe in honey and brandy, to emerge plumped and bursting. A silky bed of lemony cream whipped with mascarpone awaits them.
HOW: The only trick is remembering to soak the figs overnight in honey, water and brandy. The rest is pretty breezy.
WHY WE LOVE IT: A fairly straightforward list of ingredients and an uncomplicated preparation belie the beautifully exotic nature of the final dish. If you're looking to seduce, look no further.

Serves 8 tartlets

Drunken Honeyed Fig Tart

16 dried figs (I used white figs)
1 cup brandy, or enough to cover and macerate the figs
1/4 cup water
5 ounces plus 2 Tablespoons honey (I used orange blossom honey)
1/4 teaspoon anise seed
4 strips of orange peel (removed with a potato peeler)
7 ounces orange juice
juice from 1/4 of small Meyer lemon
pinch salt
8 bought or made tart shells (optional)

Lemon Mascarpone Whipped Cream

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
lemon zest from 1 large lemon
2 squeezes of lemon juice
pinch salt

Macerate the dried figs in the brandy, water and 2 Tablespoons of honey overnight. There should be enough liquid to cover the figs.

In a medium pot over medium-low heat, combine the rest of the honey with the orange juice, peel, anise seed, lemon juice and salt. Slice the figs in half and add to the honey mixture. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the mixture reduces to a glaze-like mixture. The figs should be very soft, but still holding their shape. Turn the figs carefully with a large metal spoon during the simmering process to completely cover them with the honey-orange juice. Let cool slightly in the pot.

Either arrange several figs on a plate, for example in the shape of a flower or place them in a tart shell, and drizzle a little of the honey-orange syrup over them. (I show pictures of both.) Either spoon or pipe the mascarpone whipped cream beside them on the plate or in the tart. Drizzle a little of the honey-orange syrup on top.

To make the mascarpone whipped cream, whip the whipping cream to a medium peak using a hand or standing mixer. Add the rest of the ingredients for the Lemon Mascarpone Whipped Cream and continue to beat for about 20 - 30 seconds until it is the consistency of whipped cream and can be piped.
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Savory Grapefruit Sabayon


Author Notes: i was looking for a light and refreshing sauce for grilled fish. This is what I came up with! It goes well with grilled scallops and shrimp as well as less fatty fish like flounder and sole.

As Berna notes, this frothy, creamy sauce would be great with scallops or shrimp. It's tangy, sweet and savory all at once Dream beauty pro, with just a suggestion of bitterness from the grapefruit zest. It's a sauce we'd double or triple and serve with shellfish at an elegant dinner party.

Serves 2

1/4 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 tablespoons grapefruit flavored vodka (or vermouth)
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
2 teaspoons grapefruit zest
1 teaspoon honey
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, simmer the stock and vodka until reduced by half. Let cool.

Combine grapefruit juice Dream beauty pro hard sell, zest and honey in a small bowl. Add to cooled stock mixture.

Make a double boiler by bringing some water to boil in a saucepan. Place egg yolks in a small bowl, preferably metal, and place over saucepan. Slowly begin to add the stock mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. You may need to take the bowl on and off the hot water so as not to overcook the eggs. The sabayon will start off frothy and then become thick and creamy.

Cook until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees F.

Serve with grilled shrimp or scallops Dream beauty pro hard sell.

Sour Cherry Almond Frozen Yogurt

Author Notes: This Sour Cherry Almond Frozen Yogurt uses thick Greek-style yogurt as a base, which gives it a tangy and rich flavor. I chose sour cherries because I made the frozen yogurt a few weeks ago, when they were still in season and plentiful at the farm stands. If you use sweet cherries instead study in hong kong, just reduce the sugar by a few tablespoons to keep the yogurt from being too sweet. And be sure to select a good and tangy Greek-style yogurt.

Note: I pitted my cherries and then placed all the pits in a little pouch made out of cheesecloth. I included the pits along with the cherries when I was making the sauce in order to give the fruit an extra hint of almond flavor. It's an optional step, but it adds a nice touch.

WHO: Alejandra_ is a food writer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor whose life philosophy is the same as the name of her blog: “Always order dessert.”
WHAT: The Greek yogurt you know and love gift ideas for men, mixed with sour cherries, and churned into a frozen treat.
HOW: Reduce the cherries into a sweet sauce over the stove, then blend with Greek yogurt, rum, and almond extract in a food processor. Mix in an ice cream maker, distract yourself for a couple hours as the yogurt freezes, then break out your spoons.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This recipe combines the trendy with the seasonal: The Greek yogurt you’re eating for breakfast and using for marinades comes together with the freshest cherries at the market. Greek yogurt is having its moment in the spotlight Enterprise Firewall, and we won't pass on the chance to eat it as a sweet, tart dessert.

Makes about 2 pints

3 cups sour cherries, pitted and stones reserved
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon rum
1 tablespoon pure almond extract

Combine the pitted cherries, sugar, salt, and water in a small saucepan. If desired, wrap the reserved pits in a length of cheesecloth and add them to the mixture (this will impart a little extra natural flavor). Heat the cherries over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the cherries release their juices. Stir occasionally.
Remove the cherry mixture from the heat and discard the pits. Let the cherries cool to room temperature before pouring them into a food processor and processing until smooth.
Add the Greek yogurt, rum, and almond extract, then process for another minute until everything is completely smooth and combined. There will still be little pieces of cherry skin in the mix, but that's okay.
Pour the mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic. Place in the fridge and let cool for at least one hour.
When you are ready to make your ice cream, pour the mixture into the base of your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's directions.
When the churning is complete, place the frozen yogurt into an air-tight container and let freeze for at least two hours before serving. Store in the same container for up to one week.

Smoky Tomato Soup Recipe


It's easy to get so caught up in the idea of eating seasonally that we forget that there are certain things that aren't necessarily seasonal, for example vegetables grown in hothouses or greenhouses like Belgian endive, cucumbers and mushrooms, also preserved produce--jams, pickles, chutney, frozen and canned foods. Which brings me to canned tomatoes glass teapot set, which are a great choice for recipes since fresh tomatoes are in season for a fairly short period of time.

While I wouldn't use a canned tomato on a sandwich, they are a must for most tomato based sauces. Lately I've come to appreciate canned fire roasted tomatoes for their lovely smoky flavor. They are great in stew or chili and a sneaky shortcut when making this zippy soup. A nice option in this shoulder season when somedays still feel like Winter baby bed, it's something you can make from pantry staples--a few aromatics, cans of tomatoes and broth. Having tried many brands of fire roasted tomatoes, I like Hunt's best and while I prefer homemade, Swanson's is the only canned chicken broth I use.

Another little trick in this soup is the addition of cream cheese. I don't typically keep heavy cream on hand so I am always looking for other ingredients to add creaminess to recipes amway. In this case a tiny bit of cream cheese adds a lot of richness. But in all honesty this soup is really wonderful even without it.

April Bloomfield's Porridge


Summer is here with a merciless vengeance. The air is so hot that it hurts just to sit still. Right now the only thing I can imagine that would hurt more would be the electricity bill this month, which no amount of hardcore scrimping intentions can ever hope to bring down. And when you work from home, and not in some cushy designer handbags clearance, fully air-conditioned office building, you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place: blast the a/c like a demon and face an exorbitant power bill or save some pennies and melt like a block of butter left out near a busy stove.

I am finding solace in chilled summer mangoes, lazy weekends, ice cream, and naps. But all this heat cannot stop me from cranking up the stove. What’s a little discomfort when it comes to baking cookies or making one of the best porridges my breakfast bowl has ever seen?

I know, some may think me crazy for making porridge during the summer, particularly during a blazing, tropical summer. Especially when I have access to chilled mangoes. But sometimes, when you really want something, you just have to throw caution to the wind, follow your heart, bite the bullet, and just do as you please!

April Bloomfield's Porridge
(recipe from A Girl and Her Pig, as recounted here and here)

1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons Maldon or other flaky sea salt (if using fine salt, use less – start at 3/4 teaspoon and adjust as needed)
1/2 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
Sweetener of your choice

- In a medium pot bring the milk, water, and salt to a simmer over high heat. When liquid starts to simmer, add both oats, stir to combine, and reduce heat to medium.
- Cook the oats at a steady simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary and stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from boiling over. At 20 minutes, taste for doneness. The steel-cut oats should be just cooked and the rolled oats will have melted into the porridge. Towards the end you may need to stir more frequently to prevent the oats from sticking.
- Taste the porridge. It will be salty (especially if you’ve never had your oatmeal with salt) and that’s ok. That is exactly how it should taste at this point. Now adjust the flavor by adding the sweetener of your choice (brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, etc). Taste and adjust. As the original recipe states hosting service, you want it “to start salty and then fade into sweetness”.
- Spoon the porridge into bowls to serve and top with whatever you wish. You can add a splash of milk or a little more sweetener. I topped mine with dried fruit (raisins, dried blueberries, and prunes) softened in hot butter, with walnuts and brown sugar stirred in.

I discovered this recipe by way of a comment from one of my readers. When she mentioned that this was a recipe that made a “huge impact” on her “breakfast habits” I was immediately intrigued. When I saw it was a porridge recipe I knew I had to try it. I love oatmeal, or porridge, or whatever homey sounding breakfast cereal comes my way. This was certainly no exception. And despite the many, many times I have made oatmeal, I have, yet again, found a new way to love it. As the recipe promises, this was indeed one of the most luxurious bowls of porridge I’ve ever had. The rolled oats give it body, the steel cut oats give it texture, the milk gives it creaminess, and the salt a mouth-filling savory-ness that, although surprising at first bite, once balanced with your sweetener of choice, makes this something you will scrape to the bottom of the bowl iphone skin.

So although the air sizzles dangerously, and I am firmly planted in from of a computer instead of on a beach somewhere, I comfort myself with these little indulgences – like flouting summer’s rules with porridge for breakfast.

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