30 December 2010

orange-fennel risotto

This was a mostly-by-chance and with-food-laying-around success: risotto with sautéed fennel added halfway through cooking, some lemon zest and juice (cooked with the fennel), a pinch of mace, and orange zest. Finish with parmesan (in the risotto and on the risotto, of course). Used chicken stock.


Have loved Tartine's recipe for panforte since I first made it. Quinces, orange peel, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, medjool dates, Zante currants and a whole lot of spice (black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, star anise) baked in a mixture of honey and sugar (cooked to 250ºF) with a little bit of flour and cocoa.

Once baked, it just begins to loose its sheen and puffs slightly. Cool for fifteen minutes or so, but not before it has glued itself to the pan.

Perfectly unmolded.

Finish with powdered sugar. Gets better after a few days and keeps forever: a medieval confection, panforte was one of the provisions crusaders took with them thanks to it keeping so well.

Happy 2011!

29 December 2010

canidied orange peel

Making panforte for New Year's Eve, and need candied orange peel. Nothing makes the house feel warm and relaxed like cooking oranges in sugar for three or four hours. (Will use quinces as well).

11 December 2010

poached quinces

I am always amazed at the miracle of quinces: they start off completely inedible, bland in color and taste with a dreadful tough, spongy flesh and cooking for a few hours with sugar turns them a bright ruby color. These three quinces were cooked with a lemon, 1½ cups of sugar and a sliced knob of ginger.

grapefruit marmalade

Red grapefruit marmalade. Start with 5 lbs of grapefruit, slice away the rind and some of the pith and discarde the inner pith. Section the fruit, separating sections from seeds and membranes. Do the same with three lemons. Start cooking the sections with the seeds and membranes tied up in a square of cheesecloth. In another piece of cheesecloth, tie 3 cloves and 3 pods of cardamom. Add to pot. Add 3 lbs sugar.

Meanwhile, julienne the grapefruit and lemon skins.

Cook until it starts to thicken, maybe an hour or so. Have a few saucers in the freezer. Sterilize 8 or so one-pint jars.

Remove the pectin bag (the one with the membranes and seeds) as well as the spice bag. Squeeze the pectin bag very well, or -- and this is so much easier -- pass the contents through the finest disc of a food mill. Add the squeezed/strained pectin back into the pot. Bring back to a slow boil and test the marmalade on a saucer from the freezer to see if it sets. If it does, ladle into jars (with a sterilized ladle and funnel).

Cover jars, unscrew ball top one quarter turn and process in a hot water bath for five minutes. Remove, then very carefully loosen screw tops once lids pop (to ensure the lids, and not the screw caps, are keeping it closed. This guarantees a vacuum). Let sit for 12 hours or so to guarantee setting/cooling/vacuum sealing.