Monday, January 14, 2019

Chocolate Sorbet #AbramsDinnerParty

As part of the Abrams Dinner Party, I've been getting all of the cookbooks from Abrams Books at no cost to me. Yay, me. Send bookcases.

The most recent book to land with a thud on my doorstep was Ibiza, Land and Sea by Francoise Pialoux.

The subtitle of the book is 100 Sun-Drenched Recipes, so of course I expected a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. And since Ibiza is an island off the coast of Spain, I expected seafood.

There were a couple potato recipes that looked pretty darned good (I kind of love potatoes and had a fresh bag of them waiting to be cooked), then I thought about making a lemon tart (mmm, lemon) or eggplant parmesan.

But then I found myself in the chocolate chapter, and I got stuck there. And then I saw the chocolate sorbet. I knew I had to make it.

This is a freakishly simple recipe with just a few simple ingredients. The result is pretty amazing. It's rich. Almost like a very cold ganache or a super-rich gelato. If I didn't tell you there was no dairy, you might assume it's simply a super-rich ice cream. It's not crazy sweet, but it's sweet enough. But still, you could serve it with something sweet, like the dulce de leche in the book, or maybe a pillow of sweetened whipped cream. But really, it's great on its own, although I really do suggest small servings. It's worth savoring.

Because this has so few ingredients, you'll want to choose a chocolate that you love, because that's what this is going to taste like.

The recipe calls for mineral water, which isn't something I ever have on hand, so I used plain old tap water. Next time I'm at the store, I'll grab some mineral water and see what difference it makes.

Since this book has a European heritage, it's assumed you're going to weigh the ingredients. I'm fine with that, but if you don't have a scale, you'll need to convert the weights to volumes. Some of the ingredients also needed a little translation, like the caster sugar called for in this recipe. I couldn't remember if caster sugar was granulated or powdered sugar, so I asked my cooking buddy Alexa who told me that it was a finely granulated sugar. I went with regular granulated sugar. It was supposed to melt, anyway, so it seemed like it would work.

This stuff is definitely a keeper.

Chocolate Sorbet
From Ibiza, Land and Sea by Francoise Pialoux

120 grams (4 ounces) caster sugar
200 grams (7 ounces) dark chocolate, 53-60% cocoa solids
80 grams (2 1/2 ounces) bitter chocolate powder

In a saucepan, combine the caster sugar (I used regular granulate sugar) with 1/2 liter (2 cups) mineral water. (I used tap water. Yes, I'm a risk taker!)

Heat over a moderate flame, stirring until the sugar has melted.

Now add the chocolate, broken into pieces, and mix. Remove from the heat as soon as the chocolate has melted.

Add the cocoa powder, stir, and allow to cool.

Pour into an ice cream maker or turbine to freeze.

Yup, I did get this book at no cost to me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Degusta Box, December 2018

Every month, I get a box of goodies from Degusta Box, so I can tell my readers all about it.

I usually write about it on my review blog, but I thought I'd move it over here for this month. It's all tasty food, and it would be awesome as a gift for yourself or a friend.

Each box is different, so it's a sure bet you'll find things that you've never seen before. Some you'll love, some you'll sample and decide it's not what you're looking for. But that's great, too, because sampling is fun, no matter what.

Speaking of samples, most of these items are full-size products, although sometimes there will be sample or snack sizes.

So, anyway, here's what was in the December box.

Garden of Life protein bar
Back when I used to spend a lot more time commuting, these kinds of bars really came in handy. Like, when traffic was at a standstill and I was getting grumpy hungry. Working from home has shortened my commute, but these things can come in handy for days when it's half past lunch and I need something to curb my appetite. I haven't tried this one yet, but the ingredients sounded good.

G.H. Cretors Popped Corn
Oh my. I got a couple snack-sized bags of the caramel and cheese mix which is insanely good. I need, like, a 55-gallon drum of this stuff to dive into. Seriously good snacking.

Sunspire SunDrops
These are candy-coated chocolate candies that are kind of like a big brand name you know, but these don't have any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. I've had these before, and they're really nice. I've got a big bag here and I'm imagining that I'll bake them into cookies. Realistically, I'm just going to eat them as-is.

Campfire Marshmallows
Ah, marshmallows. These are great for Rice Krispies treats, for topping hot chocolate, or for all kinds of holiday baking and treats. Yum. I got a large bag of white marshmallows and a little bag of colored marshmallows. I'm not exactly sure how I'll use these, but they will get used.

Hu Chocolate
Seriously, who says no to chocolate? This is a vegan and paleo chocolate bar, so pretty much no one can say no to it, right? It's also free of pretty much all the things that people are allergic to. Yup, it's a chocolate bar that you can consider healthy.

Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Blend
I used to think that seasoning mixes were silly, because I have a lot of spices that I can mix on my own. Except when I'm cooking and I'm feeling lazy, the last thing I want to do is grab all those spices. And then put them back again. It's not fun. So, seasoning mixes have become a thing here. I got the "Poultry Magic" version which would also be lovely on pork. Or vegetables. It's got a little garlic and some herbs and it's a well-balanced and not-too-salty blend.

Vahdam Teas
I have a love-hate relationship with tea. I love tea. Hot tea, iced tea ... but sometimes I'll find one that's just ... oh, no. So I love sample packs, like the one that came in this box. So I can try a bunch of flavors and pick out the ones I like best to buy in larger quantities.

Dave's Gourmet sauce
I've been buying Dave's Gourmet products for quite some time, and I've never run into one I didn't like. This time around, it's a hot sauce that's great as a condiment, as a cooking sauce, or even as a dip. This one was nicey hot with notes of ginger and lime. But, hey, they've got a lot of flavors, so you can no doubt find at least one you love.

Bahlsen Iced Cinnamon Stars
Awwwww ... stars. These are a perfect little holiday cookie. From Christmas to Fourth of July, I guess. Or any time it's starry outside. And they've got cinnamon flavor, which is one of my favorites in baked goods.

Chimes chewy ginger candies
We all know that ginger is great for a rumbly tummy, but it's also a nice flavor in a candy. These are chewy and flavorful and great to have on hand as a little snack or an after-dinner treat.

Why yes, I did get this for free.

Monday, December 10, 2018

12 Days of Christmas (the cooking version!)

You know the song.
Now, sing along, with Santa's favorite reindog!


Are we in tune?

Okay, let's GO!

On the first day of Christmas, my sous chef gave to me ...
a new fridge and a pear brie

On the second day of Christmas, my sous chef gave to me ...
two oven gloves,
and a new fridge and a pear brie

On the third day of Christmas, my sous chef gave to me ...
three French breads,
two oven gloves,
and a new fridge and a pear brie

Aw, don't make me type out the rest. Let's skip to the end!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my sous chef gave to me ...

Twelve tasters yumming
Eleven icers piping
Ten timers beeping
Nine onions mincing
Eight meads for drinking
Seven wines a-mulling
Six pizzas baking
Five bold hot wings
Four lemon curds
Three French breads
Two oven gloves
and a new fridge and a pear brie!

And that means there's enough fridges to store all the leftovers!