Wednesday, March 19, 2014

White Pine Infused Frozen Treats and Happy New Year

white pine ice cream (yossy arefi) meyer lemon and white pine (yossy arefi) meyer lemon and pine sorbet  

In Iran the new year, Nowruz or Norooz or many other spellings, is celebrated on the first day of Spring which is a tradition that hails partly from ancient ZoroastrianismIt is a celebration of renewal and fresh starts much like the Jan. 1 New Year celebrations, but with a heavy dose of cosmic energy, lots of feasting, and some wonderful cultural celebrations. If you are curious about the celebration, check out this link and man, those Zoroastrians were super fascinating people. Now what does this have to do with white pine ice cream? Not much really, except hopefully the first day of spring will bring us all warmer temperatures, more sunlight and the first edible signs of spring: asparagus, peas, greens, and my very favorite rhubarb so we don't have to make ice cream out of trees. I kid, these ice cream and sorbet recipes are actually pretty great.

White pine has a surprisingly citrusy flavor, bright and earthy at the same time, but I can't say that I ever thought of white pine as a food before I started foraging with my friend Tama who shared the white pine and rosemary ice cream recipe on her blog. I loved the flavor of this ice cream so much that I went ahead made a tart meyer lemon sorbet infused with a hefty dose of white pine. It made for a fresh and crisp counterpoint to the rich ice cream. Check out both recipes below and for more pine info check out this great article on Serious Eats by Tama Matsuoka, forager extraordinaire.

Happy Nowruz!

White Pine and Rosemary Ice Cream
yield about 1 quart

1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 ounce rosemary stalks (about 2 large stalks)
3/4 ounce white pine sprigs (needles and small branches)
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

4 egg yolks

Combine milk, cream, rosemary sprigs and pine sprigs in a large pot. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat. Let the mixture infuse for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Strain the infused cream into a clean pot and press gently on the solids to squeeze any additional liquid. Whisk in the sugar, salt and lemon zest.

Whisk the egg yolks together in a medium bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer then ladle about 1 cup of the mixture into the egg yolks to temper. Pour the egg and cream mixture back into the pot and whisk well to combine.

Cook the mixture on medium low heat while stirring constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and cool completely. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Remove the soft ice cream to a freezer safe container and freeze four hours or until firm.

White Pine and Meyer Lemon Sorbet

yield about 1 quart

This recipe includes one tablespoon of an obscure liqueur that I happen to love and keep stocked in my bar, but feel free to substitute a tablespoon of vodka in it's place.

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice
3/4 ounce white pine sprigs (needles and small branches)
1 tablespoon finely grated meyer lemon zest
1 tablespoon Douglas Fir Eaux de Vie or vodka

In a small saucepan bring the sugar and water to a simmer. Add the pine sprigs and turn off the heat. Let the syrup infuse for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. After the mixture has infused strain the pine needles.

Whisk the pine infused syrup with with lemon juice, zest and vodka. Cool completely then freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Remove the soft sorbet to a freezer safe container and freeze for four hours or until firm.

p.s. I've been taking pottery classes for the last couple of months and it is my new favorite thing! I even made the bowls used in this post. Some more of my handiwork can be found below.

pottery (yossy arefi)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Citrus Party!

Citrus Party
blood orange-1-2
pavlova with pink grapefruit and pomegranate (yossy arefi)

With spring just around the corner I thought I would pay homage to the best thing about winter: sunny citrus fruit!  Here are some ways, from this site and others, to use all of the glorious citrus fruit that won't be available much longer. If you have any favorite citrus recipes, please share them in the comments below.

Party on, Citrus!

Pavlova with Grapefruit and Pomegranate
Meyer Lemon and Grapefruit Bundt
Grapefruit and Bergamot Jam
Grapefruit Roasted Beets with White Beans and Pistachio Butter
White Chocolate Grapefruit Cake
Pink Guava and Pink Grapefruit Smash

Rangpur Lime Bars
Rangpur Lime Marmalade
Key Lime Pie
Blackberry Lime Cheesecake Tart
Pisco Sour

Blood Orangecello
Orange Almond Upside Down Cake
Orange Chocolate Tart
Rice Pudding with Old Fashioned Oranges
Seville Orange Marmalade
Shaker Orange Tarts
Blood Orange Chocolate Tartlets
Orange Polenta Cake with Honey and Rosewater Syrup
Marmalade Pull Apart Bread

Meyer Lemon and Grapefruit Bundt
Lemon Meringue Pie
Preserved Lemons
Meyer Lemon Eclairs
Quince and Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon Polenta Cake
Meyer Lemon Syrup
Lemon Coconut Macaroons with Candied Kumquats

Mixed and Specialty Citrus
Tangerine Almond Cake
Citrus Salt
Kumquat and Poppyseed Dressing
Rhubarb and Kumquat Jam
Chocolate and Bergamot Cookie Sandwiches
Mixed Citrus Marmalade
Yuzu Maple Leaf Cocktail

Citrus Party
__3_0105 Citrus Party Citrus Party
Citrus Party Citrus Party

Friday, February 21, 2014

Kouign Amann

kouign amann (yossy arefi)
kouign amann (yossy arefi)

Koiugn amann (pronounced queen a-mahn) originally hail from Brittany, a region of France known for it's incredibly delicious butter so it is no surprise that they are chock-full of the stuff. Kouign amann are similar to croissants in that they are made from yeast dough laminated with butter, but a higher butter to flour ratio and a healthy sprinkle of sugar makes them rich, crunchy, and totally irresistible. I was first introduced to the buttery treat on a sunny day in Seattle a few summers ago by Ashley who kindly informed me that it was the best thing in the pastry case at Honore in Ballard. She was not wrong. Their koiugn amann are the kind of thing you dream about; a compact treat, deeply caramelized, impossibly buttery and sprinkled with the perfect amount of crunchy sea salt. I admit, like making croissants, making kouign amann at home is a bit of a process, but totally worth it especially if your local bakeries don't make them. This recipe is quite lengthy so make sure to read through it at least once before starting. If you'd like to make these treats over the course of a couple of days there are instructions as to where you can pause the process in the instructions below.

Kouign Amann
makes 12
adapted from The Kitchn and David Lebowitz

Kouign Amman are traditionally baked in pastry rings, but if you don't have them, a muffin tin will do the job just fine. Use the very best butter you can afford in this recipe. Butter from Brittany (the home of kouign amann) would be most appropriate, but any good European-style butter will do. Just make sure it is salted.

1 cup water at 110º
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces salted butter, cool but pliable
1 1/2 cups sugar

1. Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir to dissolve. Let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes or until bubbly. Add the flour and salt and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Using the dough hook attachment, knead the dough for 4-5 minutes or until it is smooth, but still tacky. If the dough sticks to the bowl add flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is smooth. If the dough seems stiff and dry, add water one tablespoon at a time until the dough is smooth.

2. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it rise for one hour or until doubled in size. Alternately, let the dough rise in the refrigerator over night.

3. After the dough has risen, put in in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. This will help keep the butter cool in the following steps.

4. Roll the dough into a roughly 12-inch by 20-inch rectangle on a well-floured surface. Gently and carefully spread the cool, but pliable butter on to the left 2/3rds of the dough. Leaving the right side bare.

5. Fold the right, unbuttered side of the dough over the buttered dough, then fold the remaining 1/3 of buttered dough over to the right, like a letter.  Gently press the seams of the dough to hold the butter in place. Flour the board again if necessary, rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll it into a roughly 12-inch by 20-inch rectangle. Again, fold it into thirds like a letter. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured quarter sheet pan and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes. Be careful to not let the dough get too cold or the butter will harden and tear the dough when you try to roll it out again.

6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer it to a well-floured surface and again roll it into a 12-inch by 20-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with 3/4 cups of sugar and press gently (this will seem like a lot of sugar. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter and repeat the process with the remaining 3/4 cups sugar. Transfer the dough back to the floured quarter sheet pan and chill for 30 minutes.

7. While the dough is chilling prepare the muffin tins or pastry rings by very generously buttering them and arranging them on parchment lined baking sheets. (I didn't do a good enough job and some of my pastries stuck :( Don't be like me!)

8. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer it to a surface that has been generously sprinkled with sugar. Roll the dough into a rectangle roughly 8-inches by 24-inches. Use a pastry wheel or pizza cutter to cut the dough into 12 even squares.

9. Fold the corners of each square towards the center and tuck each square into the muffin tin or pastry ring. Let them rise until slightly puffy, 30-40 minutes. Alternately, the kouign amann can be refrigerated overnight (before rising). If you'd like to take advantage of that option make sure to bring the pastries back to room temperature and rise before baking.

10. While the kouign amann are rising, preheat the oven to 400º.  Place the baking sheets into the oven and lower the temperature to 350º. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the pastries are deep golden brown (just shy of burnt). Let cool briefly and remove the kouign amann from the muffin tins or pastry rings to a rack. Do not let them cool in the pans or they will stick and you will have a real mess on your hands. These treats are best enjoyed warm, the day that they are baked.

  kouign amann (yossy arefi)