(Continued from last post)
Miscellaneous things I made in the past five months…
When I needed a MAJOR arm exercise
My first time making semifreddo and what a success (and a workout!) Whipping is definitely my favorite step in the whole baking/dessert-making process. With just one whisk and your bare hands, you can turn viscous egg whites or thick heavy cream into glossy white clouds that are light as air. Pouf! Like magic. Of course, if you have an electric mixer then by all means, use it and save yourself from the sweat session and forearm cramps. But if you’re not pressed for time, I highly recommend whipping by hand. It’s therapeutic and it makes me feel like superwoman.
Whipping egg whites
Originally I was going to quadruple the recipe since the dinner was for 15-20 people (shoutout to my drum troupe!!). And then I started whipping the egg whites, then I whipped the heavy cream, and then I went back to whipping the second batch of egg whites…yeah you get the idea, semifreddo is a hella lotta whipping! If you feel like your right forearm (or left if you’re a leftie like me) is getting a little too flabby, this is the ultimate dessert to make. I ended up only doubling the recipe.
Folding in ground pistachio with whipped egg whites and cream
I pretty much just followed this recipe from Gourmet–the Jan ’07 issue has so many good recipes–and then chopped up more pistachio to go on top for more crunch. The texture turned out amazing–super-light yet deliciously creamy. Who needs an ice-cream maker when you have forearm muscles? So simple and the result was definitely worth all that whipping.
Voila! Pistachio semifreddo
When the fridge and I needed to detox
Seriously in need of a major detoxification, both the fridge and I. And what’s a better way to cleanse ourselves than a salad? An “everything goes” salad no less!
Dainty asparagus spears glossed up with olive oil ready for roasting
First I started with a layer of roasted asparagus, then a generous shaving of pecorino, followed by slices of fresh plums (or I guess not that fresh considering they’d been hibernating in the refrigerator for quite some time…). Next I made the apricot vinaigrette: extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, shallots, apricot preserve, salt and pepper.
Then I tossed some mesclun greens and diced apples in the vinaigrette, topping it with crispy fried pancetta. And then, to finish it off in true gaudy style, an apple swan. 😀
Salad of mesclun greens with apples, plums, and crispy pancetta in apricot vinaigrette on a mat of roasted asparagus with pecorino
The apples and arugula were slightly bruised. Oops.
When I channeled Gilbert
Although his expertise is probably more sushi than Filipino food, Gilbey inspired me to make chicken adobo. Unfortunately, something went wrong and it didn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped.
Chicken adobo, supposedly
G: hmmm, it’s good but it doesn’t really taste like adobo I’m used to.
A: mmm yeaaa…
When Gilbert channeled Giada de Laurentis
And then he watched Giada on the Food Network, and she inspired him to make the spinach puffs. They were yummy!
Cheese and spinach puffs
When I had my cheese-y breakdown
Remember how I had that amazing caprese at Mozza and suddenly became obsessed with burrata? I found it at Murray’s Cheese Shop one day and couldn’t help giving it a shot.
Burrata on chilled roasted beets with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (trial 1)
The Italian import came wrapped in white plastic and “river bamboo leaves,” all covered in “river water.” The minute I got home, I untied the package and tried a little portion on roasted beets. I took my first bite and it was unsettling; the burrata didn’t taste like what I had at Mozza at all. It was not creamy or runny or any of those things I was expecting. Extremely disoriented from my first trial of the cheese, I emailed my cheese authority and asked. I was so confused and desperate. It’s my first cheese breakdown and I hope it’s also my last.
Burrata on chilled roasted beets (trial 2)
But by the time I received his informative reply, I’d gone for a second trial. This time I cut through the center and lo and behold, there was runny liquidy thing in the middle! Just imagine the excitement. The difference in texture was vast. Again, I put a little dollop on each slice of roasted beet, followed by a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. It made for a very satisfying afternoon snack!