"I am not a glutton, I am an explorer of food." - Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Peach Melba is also one of those gourmet desserts you get in a post restaurant that is deceptively simple to make. I stole. .. uh. . .borrowed this recipe when I had my not-so-secret love affair with Nigella Lawson (Nigella Feasts) last year.



• 3 cups water

• 3 1/2 cups sugar

• 1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise

• 2 tablespoons lemon juice

• 8 peaches

Raspberry sauce:

• 3 cups raspberries

• 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

To serve:

• 1 large tub vanilla ice


Put the water, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla pod into a wide saucepan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Bring the pan to the boil and let it bubble away for about 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to a fast simmer.

Cut the peaches in half, and if the stones come out easily then remove them, if not then you can get them out later. Poach the peach halves in the sugar syrup for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Test the cut side with the sharp point of a knife to see if they are soft, and then remove them to a plate with a slotted spoon.

When all the peaches are poached, peel off their skins and let them cool (then you can remove any remaining stones). If you are making them a day in advance then let the poaching syrup cool and then pour into a dish with the peaches. Otherwise just bag up the syrup and freeze it for the next time you poach peaches.

To make the raspberry sauce, liquidize the raspberries, confectioners' sugar, and lemon juice in a blender or a food processor. Sieve to remove the pits and pour the puree into a jug.

To assemble the Peach Melba, allow 2 peach halves per person and sit them on each plate alongside a scoop or 2 of ice cream. Spoon the raspberry sauce over each.

I love how the peach skin just comes right off after a minute in the poaching syrup. The peach stones gave me a bit of trouble, but that’s because my peaches were just this side of under-ripe. I tell you what, the raspberry sauce gave me hell. I didn’t have a sieve big enough to get rid of the raspberry seeds, but I had a tea strainer (1/3 cup size), that took forever. What’s awesome about this recipe is that it only takes about 10 minutes to make as well (unless you are trying to strain raspberry puree through a tea strainer), and when you’re done, you have this delicious hot pink peachy syrup that you can stick in your freezer to use on other desserts!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gourmet Desserts: In which I try not to set myself or my phone on fire Pt. 1

Today I would like to talk about the gourmet desserts Peach Melba and bananas foster. The desserts you find in the super posh restaurant that cost $14 a person (you know who you are BURNS!—not my friends, the restaurant!) I remember my early 20’s going to Burns desert room and shelling out the $14 happily because I actually thought bananas foster was this complicated thing that I would never be able to do at home. WRONG! Part of me realizes that I was paying for the experience as well, but I never thought the majority of that money was for the atmosphere!

That said, Bananas Foster is SUPER EASY and so is Peach Melba.

Bananas Foster recipe courtesy of Alton Brown (Good Eats )

  •  2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) dark brown sugar
  •  1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  •  1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  •  1 tablespoon banana liqueur
  •  2 under ripe bananas, sliced in half lengthwise
  •  1/4 cup dark rum
  •  1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest


Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over low heat. Add brown sugar, allspice and nutmeg and stir until sugar dissolves. Add banana liqueur and bring sauce to simmer. Add bananas and cook for 1 minute on each side, carefully spooning sauce over bananas as they are cooking. Remove bananas from pan to a serving dish. Bring sauce to a simmer and carefully add the rum. If the sauce is very hot, the alcohol will flame on its own. If not, using stick flame, carefully ignite and continue cooking until flame dies out, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. If sauce is too thin, cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it is syrupy in consistency. Add orange zest and stir to combine. Immediately spoon the sauce over bananas and serve. Serve with waffles, crepes, or ice cream.

I don’t know about you but the only thing I didn’t have at home was the banana liqueur. I would love to tell you that I went out and bought it and followed the recipe to a tee, but that’s not how I roll. So, I just used some extra rum: no harm, no foul! (PS do NOT use high octane rum! It’s gross!)

So I apologize for the blurry picture. See, I was jiggling the pan to burn off all the rum at the same time I was taking a picture. I’m just lucky I didn’t set my phone on fire, really. Oh! And by the way, you are supposed to take the bananas out of the pan before you add the rum and set it on fire. I didn’t read the instructions very well :-( Other than that, it was very tasty and all you need is a little vanilla ice cream to finish this beauty off. It will feed 4 (or two people for dinner and two people for breakfast, which is the way I prefer it ;-) ) Did I mention this takes like 10 minutes to make?

Watch out for Pt. 2 of this post where I talk about Peach Melba!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Not feeling this. . .something's gotta give

I am really not feeling into blogging myself this week. And that's sad because I have a surplus of things to blog about that are pretty much already written. I don't feel like this blog is going in the direction I want it to and I find that I am becoming more and more attracted to home improvement blogs than foodie blogs, which is not to say I still look forward everyday to seeing if Pioneer Woman has posted a new recipe to try.

And now for your regularly scheduled programming:

Speaking of Pioneer Woman. . .

So the other night, we made the beer braised beef with onions (recipe here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/08/beer-braised-beef-with-onions/). I added some other veggies to the roast (snow peas, celery, and carrots because I can—and they were in my fridge and needed eating).

Additionally, we made THE bread (Oh my goodness the butter: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/09/the-bread/) and crash hot potatoes (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/06/crash-hot-potatoes/). I substituted dill for the rosemary because I love dill. And I added some sour cream (well a lot of sour cream).

Lastly, my stepson made the monkey bread (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/05/monkey-bread/) all on his own. It was amazing . . . I was so proud . . . it was gone by Sunday morning.

PS No monkeys were harmed in the making of this dinner

Question: I have a really nice camera (Sony DSC H7. . . its like an SLR with training wheels) that I would love to start lugging around with me to take pictures. Buuuuut where do I carry it? Its much bigger than I am used to (my phone camera) and its no point n shoot size. Where / what should I be carrying it in?