I’m an autumn girl. This favored season of mine showers me with crisp sweater weather, falling crimson leaves and cozy fires that align with my introvert’s sensibilities. And I cannot forget autumn’s bounty of rib-sticking roasted meats, soups and stews that beckon my German sensibilities as well. And yet, I bask in the first few weeks of summer – perhaps even more than autumn. Summer’s constant sun soaks through my tired flesh and warms my very soul. Birds sing the song of summer throughout the trees during the day while crickets serenade the night away, calming me. The longer days encourage my evening walks and dining alfresco – the TV is left silent. And my kitchen is inspired by summer’s bounty of sweet corn, ripe tomatoes, juicy nectarines and, of course, freshly made gelato.
This is my post-gelato school updated version of a 2012 recipe. Measurements are in grams.
500 grams 2% milk
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, washed, patted dry and lightly packed – about 2 cups
145 grams sugar
16 grams corn syrup
1 gram salt
38 grams powdered milk
1 gram guar gum
1 gram carob
250 grams heavy whipping cream
2 grams vanilla
1 package chocolate dinner mints, chopped (such as Andes) – about 1 cup
Heat milk to 104 degrees. Remove from heat, add ¾ of mint leaves, stir, cover and let steep for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Strain mint, pressing to extract as much mint oil as possible. Re-warm milk mixture. At 40 degrees, add sugar, corn syrup and salt. Continue heating and stirring milk mixture. At 144 degrees, add powdered milk mixed well with guar gum and carob. Heat milk to 194 degrees to pasteurize and immediately remove from heat.
Cool milk mixture in ice bath, adding cream and vanilla when mixture’s temperature is reduced to 144 degrees. Add remaining 1/4 of mint leaves and emulsify with a stick blender. When mixture has cooled to room temperature, pour through a sieve and refrigerate overnight.
Make gelato in ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Add chopped mints about one minute before gelato is finished.
“Happy Anniversary!” – or is it “Happy Birthday?” We’re 9 years old today. For a girl who can’t stay committed to much of anything, I’m astonished to find TwoBitTart is still going – and growing! I starting this blog in 2008 with a different name (Phorenications) and a different mission – and nine years later, what began as a silly little hobby has grown into a big part of my life. This anniversary deserves some cake – like Bananas Foster Cake with Caramel Latte Buttercream Frosting.
Caramel and coffee flavor this not-too-sweet frosting
2 Tablespoons water
6.5 ounces sugar
3 Tablespoons strong coffee
3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
3 egg yolks
7 ounces softened butter
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar melts and turns coppery brown. Remove caramel from heat, cool slightly, and add coffee and whipping cream (caramel may bubble).
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat yolks. Add caramel to yolks in a steady stream. Continue whipping until mixture has cooled to body temperature. Add 1/3 of butter and whip. Add remaining butter and whip until frosting is pale tan, fluffy and a spreadable consistency. In addition to banana cake, this bittersweet frosting would pair nicely with rich chocolate cake.
Every Superhero has one great nemesis. Batman has Joker. Superman has Lex Luthor. My nemesis is named Inertia. Inertia convinces me to sleep an extra hour; she calls me to my comfy couch, and encourages me to get lost in formulaic television rather than creating something of my own. Inertia’s power frightens me. Without her, there’s no telling what I can do, yet I don’t know how to rid myself of her. This layoff has given me approximately 40 weeks to reinvent myself. 40 weeks seems like plenty of time, but not when Inertia sits at my left hand, whispering to me, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, start tomorrow.”
4 Large Brussels sprouts, cut in half and finely shredded (about 1 1/2 cups of leaves)
1/3 cup Canadian bacon, finely diced
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 1/3 cup All-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/3 cup canola oil
3 Tablespoons plus 1 Tablespoon milk
Sauté onion in butter until beginning to soften. Add Brussels sprouts and bacon and continue cooking until onions are soft and golden. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and thyme. Combine canola oil and 3 Tablespoons milk in a measuring cup. Pour oil mixture over flour mixture and mix well. Place dough between two sheets of waxed paper and roll into a 12” circle. Place on a sheet pan, remove waxed paper.
Spread filling on dough, leaving a ¾” border. Sprinkle filling with feta cheese. Brush border with remaining 1 Tablespoon milk, fold border towards center, just barely enclosing filling and pleating as you go. Brush top of dough with any remaining milk.
Bake galette 25-30 minutes until crust is golden brown.
Hearing your manager say the words, “Laid off” strikes fear and panic in most of the corporate set. When those words rang in my ear last week, I heard “freedom” and “new beginnings” and “free time.” I’m sure the severance package softened the blow considerably. So, if all goes as planned, I happily become a member of the unemployed starting in mid-June.
Regarding what I’m going to do next, I plan on taking a nice chunk of time off and then I have a few ideas. I’m quite sure cooking will be on the agenda – and possibly buying an Inn.
I’m staring at everything and everyone with a lighter in one hand and gas can in the other, prepared to burn bridges and incinerate it all. Nothing is sacred. This isn’t some high-school massacre, but a phoenix-from-the-flames rebirth. Career, home, friends, family– I’ll torch the entire lot and walk anew on freshly scorched and purified earth.
But I’ll set my gas can down for now and make one of my favorite Italian treats.
I love fresh cranberries! To ensure I have access to them year-round, I buy extra bags in Fall and freeze them for use the rest of the year.
1 cup fresh cranberries
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 ½ teaspoon gelatin
2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Lightly spray 6 ramekins with unflavored oil. Pour gelatin in a small bowl with 4 T. of water. Stir and set aside for 5-10 minutes.
Combine whipping cream, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and whisk over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and small bubbles appear, but before the cream comes to a full boil. Remove from heat, whisk in the softened gelatin until dissolved. Add vanilla, whisk again and let cool 3-5 minutes. Remove any bubbles from top of custard.
Pour the custard into the prepared ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap (it doesn’t have to touch the surface like pudding) and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
To unmold ramekins, fill a small baking dish with boiling water. Slip a sharp knife around the inside of the ramekin loosening the custard, place the ramekin in the water for about 10 seconds and invert it onto serving dish.