A couple of recent culinary experiments

Last night, our friends Chris and Kelly came over for dinner.  They brought with them some lovely samosas which were filled with potatoes, peas and a pleasant mix of spices.  These were quite tasty and not at all the appetizer that one might expect for the meal to follow.  I made a green salad which included carrots and radishes from our CSA.  I am going to loathe buying vegetables at the supermarket.  I sort of already am since that is where the lettuce and mushrooms came from.  I warned Chris that I had made a white wine vinaigrette and that if he so chose, I would give him let him take some salad and dress it with fresh lemon juice before I polluted the salad with the vinaigrette and served it to everyone else.  Kelly thought he should have given the vinaigrette a try, but he has condementia and wouldn’t be swayed.

Our main course was lasagna which contained RPs spinach pasta sheets, spinach, mushrooms, red onions and garlic (both from the CSA) as well as some tomatoes that I had roasted and frozen back in September.  Pretty tasty, but a little liquidy.

For dessert, we had pear sorbet and home made shortbread.  The pear sorbet is something that back when it was just an idea, D. said it wouldn’t be his first choice.  Oranges are his fruit of choice in winter, but back in April when we were traveling, we bought a bottle of pear wine at the Depoe Bay Winery in Oregon.  I had hunted around for a recipe and didn’t find exactly what I wanted either in the many cookbooks that live in our kitchen or on the internet.  What I did find though was that making sorbet isn’t rocket science and that I could probably do what I wanted.  I also decided that everything that was going in to the sorbet was fairly sweet and that recipes calling for 1 cup of sugar to sweeten fruit (like raspberries which are pretty sweet to start) was not necessary and I cut it back a lot.  So I stole a couple of ideas from two different recipes that I read along the way, namely to season it with some crystallized ginger and a sprinkle of cardamom.  Everyone thought the sorbet was a hit.  We have some more of the wine which we sampled on its own after our company left and found it too sweet to drink except maybe a small glass with a cheese and fruit plate.  I think we’ll make more sorbet with the vacuum sealed remainder.

I also baked shortbread for the first time.  No idea why I’ve never done that before, but the only reason I did it this time was that I went to the regular and somewhat limited sort that I can walk to instead of to one of the groceries which carries fancy bakery items.  Anyway, the dough reminded me of sugary Play Doh.  It was also a  lovely color, probably because of the farmstead butter that I purchased in Black River Falls last weekend.

Recipe for the pear sorbet follows.  I didn’t take a picture yesterday, but we have some left, so I will try to post a picture later today.

3 red Anjou pears, peeled and cored

1 cup pear wine

2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 piece of crystallized ginger, chopped

1/2+ cup of turbinado sugar

sprinkle of cardamom

Place all of the ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  We are lucky enough to have an ice cream maker and used that to freeze the mixture, though I am sure as many recipes recommend, one could also put the mixture in the freezer and stir it from time to time until it becomes more solid.

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One Response to A couple of recent culinary experiments

  1. gaile says:

    ooo that sorbet sounds yummy! We have nice pears in the store right now, perhaps I’ll try it before school starts up again next week. Nice to see you back in the blogosphere!

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