Friday, August 2, 2013

Things I am working on lately

My last post was about dehydrator Jam, and I left with the idea that the next jam I would make this way would be blueberry. It didn't happen that way. The very next day my sister-in-law arrived for dinner bearing gifts - a bag of delectably ripe peaches. They couldn't have been any more perfectly ripe, so they needed eating or working with, pronto. Since I was on a roll with the dehydrator jams, I decided on that.

Spiced Peach Dehydrator Jam
I love fresh peaches. Along with mangoes and raspberries, those are my favorite of fruits. I set about getting the peaches prepped for the dehydrator early the next morning. Most of the jams I have made have started with about 3 cups of the prepped fruit. I add in honey, and sometimes some spices. Sherri, my sister-in-law, loves peaches more than almost any other fruit, so I thought to make some of this jam for her to try. The thing is, she is a purist. She does not like tainting the fruit with other flavors. I, on the other hand, just love to add in spices. So although the batch of fruit was enough for what would usually be just one container, this time I divided it into two containers of about 1 1/2 cups each, and adding spices to one of the containers. I added in cinnamon and cardamom and a little bit of vinegar. The other container was just the peaches and honey.

While both taste wonderful, I really liked the spiced batch better. Peaches really lend themselves to spices and even vinegar. My next project, tomorrow morning, is to make Spiced Pickled Peaches. I don't have any precise measures in mind yet. That will have to be another post. I believe I must have tasted Spiced Pickled Peaches before at some time in my life, because I can almost taste them in my mind. I can't wait to try this out.

Another thing I want to make is Blondies or blond "brownies". I have never made them, although I have eaten them. I am not terribly over fond of chocolate, though brownies are good once in a great while. Watching The CHEW the other day, Carla Hall made Blondies, and it just looked so good. Okay, so I went back to my recipe for brownies, to see if I could come up with a suitable combination of ingredients to make Blondies out of that as a basis. Carla also made a Praline Sauce, and I want to make that also. As a matter of fact, I think I might just go and do that right now, so we can have them for dessert tonight!  This will have to be continued later!

7:40 PM

I ran down earlier and made my recipes for Blondies and the Praline Sauce. Both turned out fantastically well. The Blondies are chewy and rich and the Praline Sauce has just the right consistency and makes the perfect counterpoint. Too bad I had no vanilla ice cream, but this was surely enough on its own. I do not believe I would change a single thing about either of these recipes. Here they are, as they will have to wait to go on my website until tomorrow.

Blondies with Macadamia Nuts and White Chocolate

Blondies with Pecan Praline Sauce

2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup nuts of choice: macadamia, pecans, walnuts
1 cup white chocolate chips, optional

Heat oven to 350 (or Convect to 325). In a medium-large saucepan, melt the butter. Remove pan from heat and add the brown sugar and whisk until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking until completely incorporated before adding the next. Add in the vanilla to combine. Separately, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, then add this to the saucepan and mix until almost combined. Add in the nuts and white chocolate chips if using and mix well. Pour into a greased 13 x 9-inch pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out just barely moist. To maintain proper chewiness, do not over bake.

Pecan Praline Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup light brown sugar, whisked together with
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Pralines & Cream flavoring, optional
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
In a 4 cup saucepan melt the first 2 tablespoons butter. Add in the next 4 ingredients and whisk together well. Bring to a boil, lower heat slightly and allow to maintain a soft boil for about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the salt, vanilla, cinnamon and Pralines & Cream flavoring, if using. Whisk in and then add the second 2 tablespoons of butter, 2 small cubes at a time, whisking until completely absorbed before adding in the next 2 cubes, and so on. Allow to cool slightly. Pour over Blondies to serve. Also great over ice cream.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.