Monday, June 4, 2007

Meal Round-up, Fruit Crumbles with Real Ice Cream!, Yogurt Optimization

Recent Meals

1. We needed a quick egg-centric dinner (they were about to expire!) prior to our Colorado trip, so Patrick made a Crispy Prosciutto and Scallion Frittata with arugula and goat cheese from Real Simple. It was easy and tasty (especially the greens and goat cheese).

frittata and greens

2. Upon our return from Colorado, Cooking Light's daily recipe caught my eye, and so we had Honey and Spice-Glazed Pork Chops with whole wheat couscous and steamed broccoli. The pork was easy to make and tasted fine. Nothing mind-blowing. I like Buttermilk Brined Pork Chops better.

pork chops and couscous

3. Patrick made us another Real Simple main dish, this time Spice-Baked Sea Bass with Red Lentils, along with Cook's Illustrated's awesome (and simple) Roasted Cauliflower (not pictured here, sadly). I love roasted cauliflower! Due to a miscommunication with the fish dude at Draegers, I ended up with trout instead of striped bass. The fish tasted fine, but it had little bones in it, which does not make for an enjoyable eating experience. The lentils were good, with just the right level of cumin flavor. I'm on the fence about whether it's good enough to make again.

trout, lentils, and cauliflower

4. I felt like baking bread this weekend, and I bought a bunch of good produce at the farmers' market, so we ended up having a picnic on the floor. We had a salad of mixed greens, baby carrots, and radishes tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar; steamed corn on the cob (oh, baby!); Fra'Mani salametto; Spring Hill Jersey white cheddar; and freshly baked Whole Wheat Bread with Wheat Germ and Rye (another Cook's Illustrated recipe). Fra'Mani salami is so good! I think I should have picked a milder cheese to accompany it, as the cheddar kind of clashed with the salami.

floor picnic

The bread turned out very well, though the crust was a little too brown and toasty for my tastes. Also, it stuck to my beloved Emile Henry loaf pan. Next time I should just use the non-stick loaf pan. I made one loaf and six rolls (which took 15 minutes to bake), and I froze the rolls for a meal later this week. I hope they defrost gracefully!

cooks illustrated whole wheat bread

We had a very exciting dessert with this particular meal: Fruit Crumbles (half peach, half plum) topped with homemade vanilla ice cream (I used the recipe in David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop, but he has a similar recipe on his website). The ice cream was amazing. Sooo good! I love having an ice cream maker.

plum crumble with vanilla ice cream

The peach crumbles were pretty good, but the plum crumbles were too tart, and the filling was pasty. The plums weren't quite ripe, but I figured baking them might mitigate that problem. I thought the filling might need some tweaking, since Deb's original recipe was for strawberries and rhubarb, but I didn't know how I should tweak it, so I just left it alone. Turns out the plums would've benefited from less flour and lemon juice and more sugar. I halved the sugar for the peaches, and that worked well. They could have used less flour as well (and maybe a little cinnamon). The crumble topping was great though. I'd definitely use it again.

peach crumble with vanilla ice cream

It's a good thing we have a few more months of summer ahead of us so I can perfect my crumble (and make more cobbler; that stuff was good) and eat more ice cream!

Hippie Practice

My yogurt adventures are coming along well. I've made a table summarizing the different conditions I've tried so far (general approach here). I think I'm very close to finding a good recipe. Yogurt #3 (with goat's milk--what a surprise!) is definitely the yogurt to beat right now. It's pictured below with apricot jam mixed in.

Goat milk yogurt

YogurtMilkStarterAdditional IngredientsIncubation TimeComments
12c Straus 2% milk
2c Straus skim milk
1/2c Straus nonfat plain yogurt1/2 c powdered nonfat milk
1T honey
8 hoursFirm and mild, but grainy with pockets of whey
22c Straus 2% milk
2c Straus skim milk
1/2c Stonyfield plain whole milk yogurt1T honey12 hoursFirm, tangy, and pretty smooth (still a little grainy)
34c Meyenburg 1% goat milk1/2c Stonyfield plain whole milk yogurt (previously frozen)1T honey11 hoursSmooth, nicely tangy, very liquid (almost drinkable)
44c Straus 2% milk1/2c Stonyfield plain whole milk yogurt (previously frozen)1T honey12 hoursFirm, tangy, pretty smooth (a little grainy), unpleasant creamy skin on top

I think for the next batch, I'll repeat yogurt #3 but add a little nonfat milk powder to try and firm it up a little.

I also made a fifth batch of granola, which is definitely better than the fourth batch. Still not perfect. The golden raisins are too large and too sweet. Oh well, it's still good to eat.

On Saturday, we rode our bikes to the Palo Alto Farmers' Market and had horchata, pork tamales, and memelas for lunch from the Oaxacan Foods stand. We had a tender and rich sticky bun from another vendor for dessert. It's such a nice way to start the day. I really enjoy riding my bike around town at a leisurely pace. This still comes as a surprise to me, as I boycotted bicycle riding for a while in my adolescence after falling off of my bike when I was a kid and then being made to ride a bike for a month in Germany by my host family (it was the only way to get to school with my host sister, Kirsten). I'm glad bikes and I have been able to mend our fences despite past troubles.

On Saturday night, we went to Redwood City and saw Knocked Up, which is actually good! I mean, I knew I'd like it because it stars Katherine Heigl, who I have enjoyed ever since her Roswell days, but Patrick liked it too! It was a good time.