Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Flavors of a Suburban Childhood
I've been a bit of a lazy blogger lately. I have been a very busy social networker though. In the past week or so, I have joined both twitter and foodbuzz. I think I have the whole twitter thing figured out. It's both kind of neat and pointless at the same time. I like being able to send immediate non-food related messages to fellow bloggers, but to be perfectly honest, I'm running low on witty repartee....
Why in god's name would anyone care what I'm eating for breakfast?
(Heritage Farms Flax Plus multigrain cereal. Keeps the digestive system on the regs...see what I mean?)
Foodbuzz still kind of confuses the hell out of me. The wine country blog I featured on my profile was accidentally posted twice and I can't figure out how to make one of them go away. And how do you get that nifty graphic to display on your blog? I'll get the hang of it eventually, as I usually do with these computer-related activities. I'm still kind of amazed that I keep a blog in the first place. I was born during the Carter administration, which means that growing up, Atari Pong was considered the penultimate in technological advances and mankind was just inches away from self-aware robots and hovercrafts. I realize that software techs in their forties are laughing their asses off at me, but yeah- when it comes to this interweb thingymajig, I'm on a bit of a slow learning curve.
Speaking of my youth- my dessert menu is experiencing a childhood kick lately. The fruit pies are always a big seller, mainly for their simplicity and the fact that it's hard to find a good slice o' pie in the city these days- but fruit pies, delicious and awesome as they are, are typically a favored by the "Jag" crowd.
It's time for a shout out to the young'uns- and to some of my favorite flavors as a kid. Memories of watching the Mariners lose at the now demolished Kingdome with my dad and eating chocolate malts became a malted chocolate mousse cake served with caramelized rice krispies. Mom taking us to McDonalds for an orange-vanilla swirl cone (which they don't sell anymore. Buttholes.) after going to the swimming pool has been translated to a creamsicle semifreddo.
Orange and vanilla has always been one of my favorite combos. It's right up there with burgers and beer. The semifreddo (which is basically just a frozen mousse- no ice cream maker required) has just a smidgen of an ingredient that I generally abhor: white chocolate. But when cut heartily with lots of cointreau and orange zest, you can barely tell it's there. It's minuscule- a whisper really, to help play up the vanilla bean and provide a really nice texture. White chocolate haters will most likely still enjoy this dessert.
On to the recipe:
Mousse Base (can be made a day or two in advance):
1 3/4 cups whole milk
zest of 1 orange
2 T sugar
1 vanilla bean split and scraped
6 egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
1 T fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tsp cointreau*
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
combine the milk, zest, and vanilla bean in a sauce pot. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and let steep to 2 hours.
whisk the yolks and salt together. bring the infused milk back to a simmer and temper it into the yolks. return mixture to pot and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula over low heat until mixture thickens slightly. Strain though a sieve into a container and chill. Once cooled, stir in the vanilla extract, orange juice, and cointreau.
12 oz white chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp sugar
2 T fresh squeezed orange juice
1 T cointreau
line a loaf pan with plastic wrap.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the cream, orange juice, sugar, and cointreau until very soft peaks form. set aside.
melt the white chocolate over a double boiler until no lumps remain. stir in the mousse base until smooth. fold in the whipped cream in 3 additions. continue folding gently until well combined. pour mousse into the prepped loaf pan and freeze over night. invert onto a frozen sheet pan and cut into 12 slices.