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Archive for the ‘Fruit’ Category

On the Docket- Week of July 9, 2012

Monday, July 9th, 2012

I think it’s going to be an interesting week.  First, I’ve accepted a “Sweet Genius” baking challenge.  My old boss and I were talking about cooking shows, and he issued me a challenge:  to use three random ingredients and an inspiration in a dessert a la the show.  I could not say no because I thought it would be a ton of fun.  I get my ingredients on Monday, so more to come on what happens there.

Second, my husband wants to try infusing our own liquors.  On 4th of July, while I was making breakfast, he came into the kitchen with six small Ball jars.  Why, might you ask, do we have six small Ball jars when I have never canned or preserved anything my life?  That is an excellent question for which I do not have an answer.  Setting the jars on the microwave, my husband said “I think we should infuse some whiskey.  I’m thinking peach and blackberry.  Would you be willing to look up how to do this so we could give it a shot?”  Once again, I could not say no, so more to come on that adventure.

With those two items in the works, I am once again not sure what will be cooked this week, but here are some recipes I’ve pulled to try.

Blackberry pie:  this is one of my favorite desserts of all time.  I am going to make one before the summer berry season is done.  I’m not sure if I’m going to go with the lattice crust, but we’ll see.

Tom Yum Grilled Shrimp:  Summer grilling season is upon us, and grilled shrimp is always delicious.  This recipe looked nice and spicy, so I added it to the list to try!

Salmon and Peas:  Not sure how this is a 4th of July Tradition, but this recipe looked delicious.




Star Anise Versus Star Fruit

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

What do you mean these things are not the same?  You might think this is a laughable subject.  Clearly, star anise and star fruit are not the same thing.  Alas, a few months ago, I went to the grocery store in search of star anise, per my recipe, but I was looking in the produce department for star fruit.

I’m not sure how I was so convinced that star anise would be in the produce department as star fruit would be.  Thinking about it logically, anise seed would be in the spice aisle, but for some reason, I kept thinking star fruit, which I was first introduced to as a teenager and did not like.  While searching for star anise, I was exasperated that I could not find anything in the produce section.  As I eventually thought that I might be looking in the wrong place (I didn’t have cell service, so I couldn’t check my iPhone for what I should be looking for or substitutes)  I was equally exasperated when I couldn’t find anything in the spice aisle.

What was I doing wrong?  Well, note to self:  make sure you know what your ingredients are before you head to the supermarket.  So, allow me to explain the difference between these star shaped ingredients.

According to Larousse Gastronomique, star anise is the reddish-brown eight-pointed star shaped fruit of an evergreen shrub native to China, commonly used as a spice.  It is used in the West for making liqueurs and in pastry.  In Asian preparations, however, it is an ingredient of five-spice powder and used as a seasoning for meat.

Star fruit, or carambola, on the other hand, is a golden star shaped fruit native to the West Indies and Indonesia.  The flesh of this fruit is acidic, and has been described as a combination of apple, pear and citrus.

As I said, I have no reasonable explanation for how I confused these two ingredients.  So, I’m offering this post only as a cautionary tale:  make sure you know what your ingredients are.  Otherwise, you might end up wandering a South Florida Publix looking for an ingredient, while your increasingly worried family calls repeatedly without you answering.  For an explanation as to why I was looking for star anise:  stay tuned for a pear tart that received rave reviews at Thanksgiving.


On the Docket– Week of June 18, 2012

Monday, June 18th, 2012

From now on, On the Docket will be posted first thing Monday mornings.  I generally cook for the week on Sundays, so I spend a lot of time menu planning over the weekend.  While it takes a lot of time, it’s something I love to do.  Saturday morning, while my husband went mountain biking with a friend, I watched the Food Network and perused all the recipes I’ve clipped, a few magazines, and a couple of cookbooks to pick out a few meals for the week.

A few things I already tried

Broccoli Parmesan Fritters: These were delicious!  Rather than mashing the broccoli with a potato masher, which oddly enough is one of the only kitchen gadgets I don’t own, I put the broccoli in a food processor and pulsed it a couple of times, for a few seconds for each pulse.  My broccoli was a little smaller but still recognizable, as the recipe calls for.  I’ll definitely be adding this recipe to my side dish repertoire.

Nutella Buttercream Frosting: I’ve been on a baking kick lately.  Each time I tell my mom about my baking adventures, she mentions Baked by Melissa, a cupcake shop in New York that specializes in miniature stuffed cupcakes.  Since we’ve been talking about these mini cupcakes so much, I decided to try my hand at making them.  More to come on what I tried.

A few recipes I’ve clipped

Baked Oatmeal:  I’m always looking for breakfasts that my husband and I can take with us to work.  I’ve seen a couple of baked oat meal recipes, and I think it’s about time to give it a try.

Lemon Basil Chicken Salad:  Chicken salad is one of my favorite summer lunches.  This one looks nice and light.  ‘Nuff said.

Grilled Salmon with Chilled Somen: My pantry is a disaster.  I have multiples of a couple items, some half full sauces, andthe remnants of a few ingredients that were purchased for one recipe.  One thing I’m trying to find a use for is a bottle of Ponzu sauce.  This recipe seems to fit the bill, so I’ll give it a shot.