Archive | July, 2012

Local (kinda) Bites

27 Jul

I went to Vacaville the other day for a Baby Shower.  On the way home, me and my mom coaxed the boyfriend to stop over at Fenton’s for some ice cream.  Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this place, it’s by far, one of the best old-school ice cream joints around.  They originated in Oakland, but built a second location in Vacaville.  Maybe you recognize the name from this….

I love this place because it reminds me of stories my father would tell me about when he was younger.  He would spend time at soda fountains and drag race in the streets a’la American Graffiti, so I have a soft spot for this place.  They also have delicious Toasted Almond flavored ice cream.  I don’t even know how to possibly describe the flavor, other than it really does in fact taste like toasted almonds and is to die for.  Their fudge and caramel sauce is also homemade!

Needless to say, we split this godzilla sized funday sundae among the three of us, and we still couldn’t finish it!  Hope this post made you drool!  I’m hankering for some toasted almond ice cream now!

Plushy Plums

23 Jul

My coworker has a plum tree that produced more plums than she could possibly eat.  She was so kind and  gave me a bag full but told me to eat them quickly because they were extremely ripe (and super sweet for plums).  I told her I can try to make plum pudding or something.  But, she said, “if you’re going to cook with it, make me a German plum-cake.”  I never had a German plum-cake before so she explained the texture, etc to me.  Apparently, the cake is denser and not very cake-like, but rather, almost like a scone.  Then there is a layer of plums, topped with a strudel like crumble.  So I went and googled away to see if I can find something remotely close.  I found the recipe below, and needless to say, she loved it.  Oh, and the plum-cake went really well with this wine.  I guess the bitter/sour flavors of the plum’s skins paired well with the tannins in the wine!  mui delicioso.

German Plum Cake

(aka Zwetschgendatschi, its Bavarian name)

Ingredients:
1/4 lb butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp lemon rinds (but I didn’t have lemons on hand so didn’t use them, I think it’s better without since plum skins are sour and bitter already)
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups of plums, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
For the Crumble Topping:
6 tbsp butter
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
 
Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Add vanilla, egg, lemon rind, sour cream, and salt.
Mix the flour and baking powder and add that into the creamed wet ingredients mixture.
Grease a round baking pan and spread the dough over the pan.  The dough is a bit dense so you kind of have to press it out to spread it throughout the pan.
Drop the plums over the dough and spread them out.
Make the topping by creaming the butter and sugar and adding the flour and cinnamon to it.
Sprinkle the topping over the plums.
Bake for 30-45 minutes, when the crumble starts to look golden.

You can serve it with whipped cream, or with a sprinkle of run, or cinnamon.

Pickled Pickles?

13 Jul

Funny thing happened the other day.  The boyfriend and I were grocery shopping when we passed some cucumbers labeled as pickles.  He said, “These aren’t pickles, they’re just cucumbers.”  I had to explain to him, “Honey, pickles are pickled cucumbers.” to which he replied back with “pshooo, my mind has been BLOWN!”

I thought that was the funniest thing ever.  After this brief conversation about pickles, I thought we should do an experiment and make our own pickles!  My boss gave me his special pickle recipe that I’d like to share with you.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tbsp salt
1 head of garlic (1 whole garlic)
A nice bunch of dill
Small handful of white & black pepper and coriander seed
4-6 fresh Thai chilies
*celery seed (optional)
 
Instructions:
Cover cucumbers with above.  Keep refrigerated.  The pickles will be ready to eat as soon as 2 days.  You can always keep the juice and add more cucumbers to it to keep pickling.
 

I didn’t have coriander seed so I went without it, and I didn’t have fresh dill either.  I used dried dill instead.  I would suggest using fresh dill or double the amount called for dill if you’re using dry dill.  And make sure to use coriander seed.  Our pickles were very pickled but was lacking a bit in flavor.  The beauty of pickles though, is that I can always alter the taste, add more chilies, dill, coriander, etc, but the base stays the same!  I ended up adding a few more chilies.  My mom said she’ll give me a huge jar so I can more!

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