Day 94 – Desserts and a CSA box dinner

10 Nov

Aside from almost breaking the $5000 ice cream machine, today was a successful day! I made vanilla ice cream, which was delicious. The secret in the recipe is adding creme fraiche after the custard has cooled and right before you put it in the ice cream machine. It gave it a really nice mouth feel and a little tartness to cut the sweetness of the sugar. I think most ice creams have way too much sugar. And, this is saying something from a woman who is nearly addicted to sugar. I must be getting wiser in my old age đŸ˜‰  I know that’s partly what makes it good, but I always think if you use quality and fresh ingredients, you don’t need to hide them with loads of sugar, salt, etc.

Speaking of using fresh, quality ingredients… I was wondering what I was going to make for dinner tonight. I had so many different vegetables from our CSA box last week that we needed to use up. So, I took a cue from my husband, the “leaf to stem, all in” kind of cook, and made a vegetable “stir-fry”, pictured at top. I think the purple cauliflower, along with the sweet potatoes (from the CSA box today, which means uber fresh), and the greens is a definite winning combo.

So, here’s a quick and tasty way to use up all those aging vegetables in your fridge…Decide which should be in the pan first. Always go for the ingredients that take longest to cook, of course, but do it AFTER you season the pan with some onion and peppers. You’re looking to build flavor and that can’t happen if you throw everything in at once. I always use a wok on high when I do stir fries, as I think it keeps the vegetables at their best; they cook quickly without losing their beautiful crunch and vitamins and minerals (I don’t do vegetables the “French way” – yuck). After the onions, red bell peppers and red jalapeno, I added the diced sweet potato. I let that sit for a few minutes while I was dealing with my other dish (a lamb taco dish), mainly because it needed some time to cook. Next, I added garlic and the green beans.

I used to season the pan with both garlic and onions in the first round, but the garlic tended to burn, so I’ve learned to throw it in later, although you run the risk of it staying a bit “raw” if you don’t get a lot of heat on it or for a very long time. After the beans and garlic, I added the purple cauliflower, and lastly I threw in the romanesco greens that I cut off the head of the romanesco the other day.  That’s the “leaf to stem” part of Carnet’s cooking.  5 or so minutes into this layering, I went for the sauce. My sauce wasn’t really a sauce, but more of a light coating of flavors.  Here’s what I used:  a bit of kosher salt, 1/4 c. of wheat free tamari (soy sauce), a couple of tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, 1/2 of a lemon, and 3 tablespoons of my favorite hot sauce – The Pepper Plant original.  Here are the brands I like (no, I don’t get any endorsement money for these):

We discovered The Pepper Plant hot sauces on a trip with some of our best friends. We were in search of breakfast and we found this little cafe off the beaten path in Sonoma, I believe. I can’t remember the name of the cafe because it wasn’t anything special, but they had this hot sauce at the table. We love it so much, along with their chipotle and habanero sauces. The sauces don’t have a lot of crap in them and they are all sensational on eggs – transformative really.

I digressed from school today, but there’s not really much to tell.  It was a slow day in the restaurant, which was good for me, as I needed to try to understand how to make the several components to my dessert, and I needed time to perfect one. I had to boil my sugar-honey-lemon-water mixture 3 times in order to get the right consistency and color for the pulled sugar component. But, finally, I got it and my sugar tuiles turned out well.  Tomas, it’s your turn to burn your fingers tomorrow!

A thanks to Ian and Rachelle for walking me through different steps of different components due to recipe changes or no written recipe to follow, and thanks Chef Peter for getting me back on track with my blogging nightly đŸ˜‰

3 Responses to “Day 94 – Desserts and a CSA box dinner”

  1. Bev November 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Hi Rachel – We’re all running out to find “The Pepper Plant” – thank you so much for all your recipes – hugs Auntie Bev

  2. Bee Leng Chua November 10, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    Great vegetable dish photo! Love the building up method. Looks so vibrant. I thought that there were pieces of beef in it – a closer look at the recipe, it was the purple cauliflower. Did you blanch the beans and greens for the bright green look? Thanks – this will inspire me to try it out.

    • rachelogdie November 13, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

      I didn’t blanch the beans and greens, although that’s a great idea if you want to ensure that the color remains vibrant. I usually do blanch the beans, but I was lazy so I just cooked them over high heat very quickly, and they retained their color for the most part.

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