Thursday, July 01, 2010

In a cooking frenzy - Part 1

I went on a cooking frenzy after going to the market. Cherries and apricots are both in season so I got a bunch, among other things.

I can't resist when sweet, juicy apricots are €2 per kilo! Of course, most bruised and I was forced to make them into jam!

It was my first foray into jam making. Pretty tasty so far but a little too sweet. I was also afraid I wouldn't boil it long enough and it would come out soupy but no. Its quite the opposite...but the taste is there. I swear!

Recently I had a panna cotta-like fromage frais 0% fat dessert somewhere so in my attempt to recreate it, I got some fromage blanc (I couldn't find fromage frais) and mixed it with some gelatin and now its sitting in the fridge. We'll see how it turns out. And I think I'm just going to stick with this as my yogurt from now on. So sad hasn't been in my life for the past 5 months!

I also got some broccoli. I used to really dislike it (its a texture thing) but its recently grown on me and it makes a very satisfying and filling dish (especially when making it with garlic and red pepper flakes and pairing it with some parm, bacon (!), toasted almonds). I burnt the garlic, as always. I ate it as a main but you can make it as a side or toss it with some pasta.

Spicy broccoli with other stuff

Broccoli cut into florets
1/2 cup of lardons, or diced bacon
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes (I like mine spicy!)
Small handful of toasted almonds
Parmesan or other hard cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and remove to an ice bath after 3-4 minutes. While the broccoli is blanching, you can mince the garlic.

Fry up the diced bacon (the key is doing it on low-medium heat otherwise it smokes because bacon fat has a fairly low smoking point). Remove and let drain on a paper towel.

Add some olive oil to the same pan used for the bacon, and on low heat, saute the red pepper flakes with the garlic until fragrant, about 30 second to 1 minute. Add the broccoli (which, I hope, you remembered to drain...I didn't so I kinda added it wet and things splattered because hot oil and water aren't friends). Saute for a few more minutes but don't burn the garlic like I did.

Put it on a plate, add the bacon, add the toasted almonds, and top with some freshly grated Parmesan. Alternately you can chop the broccoli and mix it with some pasta along with the bacon, almonds and cheese (add some reserved pasta water to bring it all together).

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