Tag Archives: Berry

Mara de Bois: Thoughts on a Special Strawberry

I could spend days strolling through the weekly market in the French town of Vaison-la-Romaine.  The vendors at this open air marché sell food and wares from sardines to soap, from Morbier to mattresses.  Of all the treasures on display in this maze of stalls, the Mara de Bois – the strawberry that is like a large ruby – is the most precious.

This flavorful gem is smaller and rounder than other varieties, and my husband and I were lured by its sweet perfume.  The merchant offered us a taste, and the aromatic sugar cube melted on my tongue.  Of the two pints we purchased, one made it back to the house.  It took all of my will power to save the other for dessert.  (The tiny berries are so delicate that you must consume them within hours of purchase; at least, that is what I told myself as I popped the juicy candies into my mouth.)

There was no need to stop at the confiserie after our trip to the market.  The Mara de Bois is a natural confection.  And, that evening’s dessert was the simplest I have ever prepared – two petite bowls of Mara de Bois.  No honey, no whipped cream, and certainly, no sugar.

June’s Bounty

Check out my June issue of The Judicial Palate.

June’s Bounty

This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of The Journal of the Delaware State Bar Association, a publication of the Delaware State Bar Association. Copyright © Delaware State Bar Association 2015.  All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Some End of Summer R & R – Raspberries and Ricotta

I have been back in the classroom for two weeks, yet I am trying to soak up every last bit of summer, including summer berries.  This easy dessert incorporates raspberries, my favorite berry, and ricotta, one of my preferred cheeses.

Simply scoop some ricotta into each dessert bowl and gently blend in a small quantity of honey.  I used honey infused with lemon from a local farmers’ market.  I also drizzled a bit of chocolate infused olive oil on top of the ricotta, but you could substitute with some chocolate shavings.  Top with a few raspberries and garnish with a fresh sprig of mint.

On a recent trip to San Francisco, I purchased some delicious pâtes de fruits (fruit jellies) in Tout Sweet Pâtisserie.  The Negroni flavor is most interesting with its ingredients of blood orange, grapefruit and Campari.  So, for a little bitter to balance the sweet, I placed a few of these tasty jellies on the side.

Cheers!

Ricotta and Raspberries 1

Fresh from the Farm Stand

Enjoy some summer recipes in my July/August issue of The Judicial Palate.

Fresh from the Farm Stand

Farm Stand

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2014 issue of The Journal of the Delaware State Bar Association, a publication of the Delaware State Bar Association. Copyright © Delaware State Bar Association 2014.  All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

 

A Summer Flan

Flan is one of my favorite desserts.  It is rich yet light, and it is so simple to prepare.  This custardy dessert is also a great way to incorporate fresh berries – simply serve a spoonful of blueberries and raspberries alongside a slice.

Below is my recipe for flan, which I have modified slightly since I last wrote about it.  After making many flans, I’ve decided that the best way to achieve the caramel topping is to leave out the water – let the sugar stand alone!

Ingredients:

5 eggs

14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

1 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the eggs.  Mix the eggs, condensed milk, whole milk and vanilla (this is the flan mixture).

Eggs

Batter

Heat a saucepan over medium-low heat and add the sugar.  Using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar until it melts and turns a light brown color (this is the caramel).

Sugar

Sugar 1

Sugar 2

Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the caramel into a buttered 9 inch round pie dish.  Then pour the flan mixture into the dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Place the pie dish into 1 inch of hot water in a larger pan to create a water bath.  Bake for about 50 minutes.  To test, insert the tip of a knife in the flan.  If the knife comes out clean, then the flan is finished.  Chill the flan before serving.  To serve, place fresh berries on the side of the flan.

Flan

It’s difficult to find a lighter, tastier and simpler dessert…enjoy!

Crêpes — Savory, Then Sweet

When one of my students gave me a gift of a crêpe pan several years ago, I decided to put it to good use.  It would not become one of those kitchen items that sits in a cabinet just to be seen once a year.  So, I decided to make crêpes for Sunday morning breakfasts…savory crêpes filled with scrambled eggs followed by sweet crêpes topped with maple syrup and berries.

Below is a simple crêpe recipe intended to make two savory crêpes and two to four sweet ones.

Ingredients for Crêpes:

1/3 cup milk

3/4 cup cold water

1 egg

Pinch of salt

Pinch of sugar

1/2 cup flour

Butter for the crêpe pan or non-stick pan

Place all of the ingredients except for the flour in a mixing bowl and whisk together.  Then, add the flour and continue to whisk, eliminating any lumps.  Set aside while preparing the eggs.

DSCN4100

Ingredients for Scrambled Eggs:

4 eggs

Splash of milk

Splash of water

Fresh herbs

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

This is how I typically make scrabbled eggs.  (No precise measurements are involved…sometimes I add cheese or peppers, whatever strikes my fancy.  You probably have your own technique and should use what you would enjoy tasting.)  Place the eggs, milk and water in a mixing bowl and whisk together.  Set aside until you are ready to scramble.

This breakfast requires two pans to be working simultaneously, side by side, on the stove.  The first is the crêpe pan.  Place a slice of butter in the crêpe pan over medium heat.  When the butter melts and sizzles, tilt the pan so that the butter moves around its bottom.  Pour a large ladle of crêpe batter (just under 1/4 cup) into the center of the pan and tilt the pan around so that the batter covers the bottom of the pan.

As the batter begins to bubble, move the pan forward and backward to loosen the crêpe.  Lift the edges of the crêpe with a spatula to see when the bottom of the crêpe is lightly browned.  Then, carefully turn the crêpe using a spatula and your fingers (or, you can toss the crêpe with a quick movement of the pan away from you then toward you).  Brown the crêpe on the other side for another minute at most.  Transfer the crêpe to a dish and grease the pan for the second crêpe.

DSCN4109

While working with the crêpes, prepare the scrambled eggs.  Add some olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper to a non-stick pan.  Turn the heat to medium low and tilt the pan so that the olive oil covers the bottom.  Pour the eggs into the center of the pan and add your fresh herbs.  The olive oil should prevent the eggs from sticking, and as the eggs begin to solidify around the edges, use a non-stick spatula to scramble.

DSCN4105

When the eggs are finishing cooking, spoon them down the center of each crêpe.  Fold the sides of the crêpe over the eggs and turn the entire crêpe over so that the “seam” is not visible.  Garnish with more herbs and a drizzle of chili oil (or a flavored oil of your choice).

DSCN4115After this savory course, repeat the crêpe making process for the sweet course – crêpes topped with maple syrup (or honey) and fresh berries.

DSCN4119 Note: This also makes a fun breakfast for dinner!