Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Maraschino Cherries

Cherry made merry in brandy.

I had a revelation when a friend informed me that she had been fed a real maraschino cherry at her high class restaurant job. A few nights later I dumped half a cup of juicy cherries into a glass jar with some brandy and waited overnight. In the morning they were still just cherries. Bah! So I did some online research and discovered that only one step was keeping me from the ultimate fruit and booze combo. Here is my version:

1/2 cup brandy (I use Mr. Boston Blackberry Brandy)
2 heaping tablespoons of sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 heaping cup of cherries, washed and stems removed

Bring the first six ingredients to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Add the cherries, lower heat to medium and let bubble for 7 minutes. Cool and store in a glass jar for up to 2 weeks.

Its true, the syrup tastes a little like cough syrup, but the cherries are magic. Perfect for the top of a very adult sundae, or other mind-boggling yet to be had recipes. I think next time I'll try more of a cognac thing, which may require more sugar. Mr. Boston Brandy is darn sweet.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

sun moon stars heavenly spice cookies

No recipe here just a shot of Mrs. Rampulla's molded, delicious, tender ginger cookies as presented at her daughter's (Andrea Anne Andy Rose Rampulla now Greenlee) bridal shower held this weekend in Kutztown, PA.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

berry crumble from a mumbler

Sweet bursting are coming to the grocery stores. I made this crumble (too lazy to make a crust) based loosely on Bon Appetite's Mixed-Berry pie recipe this month. It was a grand and not-too-heavy ending to a wonderful catfish dinner.

1 quart strawberries
1 pint blueberries
1 pint blackberries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon blackberry brandy (optional)
Juice of 1 medium lemon

Zest of 1 medium lemon
Zest of 1 orange
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/8 teaspoon almond flavoring

cold water

1/2 cup whole raw almonds, chopped coarsely

Preheat oven to 375. Wash berries and add to a 9x9 baking dish. Mix in next four ingredients, and bake in oven for 25 minutes, and remove from over

Add the next 8 ingredients in a food-processor to make the streusel-like topping. Pulse until ingredisnets form a medium crumb. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until large loose crumbs form. Stop before the mix becomes sticky. Fold in chopped almonds.

Sprinkle topping over the half baked fruit. Put back in stove and cook for another 45 minutes, or until top is browned. You may want to put a baking sheet under the dish in the oven, to catch splattering berry juice. Cool at least one hour. Definitely serve with ice cream. Feeds 4-6.

Somthing Simple for Breakfast

Its easier to get your hands on a single potato then a slice of bread for my one slice of toast morning carb fix. Homefries have a much stronger satisfaction level. An approach to making perfectly cooked brown on the outside creamy on the inside potatoes is better than a recipe, and here goes:

oil/fresh bacon grease (enough to generously fill a skillet)
1 small-medium tater
red pepper flakes

- cube the potato into 1/2" cubes, smaller is okay, not bigger!
(if you want to cook up some bacon now is a good time to start while soaking)
- fill a pot with cold water and soak the cubes 5-10 min, to remove excess starch
- drain and pat with a towel
- Heat 9" or larger skillet on medium high so oil/bacon fat is talking and spitting
- throw in the cubes, season, turn to coat
- do not touch those tatoes, put a lid on and let steam for 3 minutes
- remove lid, turn, and then don't touch, another 3-4 cooking without the lid, repeat until all sides are brown
- eat, or in my case add hot sauce and eat!

Serves 1-2. If you increase the servings, you must use a bigger skillet. Good contact with the pan makes for nice browning. These are the skills, practice, enjoy, and impress your brunch happy friends.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Roasted Pineapple Salsa

Nothing says its the weekend like having the time to buy, peel, slice, and roast a pineapple. Not like I'm as efficient as this lady, but I have technique.

Roasted Pineapple Salsa

1 big pineapple
(test ripeness by smelling the very bottom looking for a fresh pineapple smell)
1 medium red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced, keep seeds for extra heat
1 bunch cilantro or curly parsley, chopped
1 juice & zest of 1 lemon
1 juice & zest of 1 lime
salt and pepper
dash of olive oil

Peel and core your pineapple. Slice into 1/4" pieces and scatter onto a broiler pan. Broil for 7-10 minutes, or until beginning to blacken. A grill would be best if you have it. Allow to cool and chop into bite size piece. Add all ingredients into a bowl and let sit for about 10 minutes before eating.

Eat it with chips, or as a side for shrimp, pork or broiled tofu. I put mine with some black eyed peas.