Friday, July 6, 2012

Wine Poached Pears and TFN's Unintended Hilarity

You know, if I keep this up, people might get the impression I'm getting back in the groove.  It just might happen.  I am actually going to be making something for the first time in two weeks over the weekend, first for a barbecue and then I'm doing a dinner party Sunday, so we will see if I somehow lost whatever instinct I may have in Mexico.  I remain hopeful.

This was a dessert we also had in Manzanillo... This recipe is a combination of what we could discern from the staff with a little help from Epicurious.

Pretty, huh?
What you need:

4-6 peeled pears ((look for Bosc or Anjou))
1 1/2 cups of red wine ((I maintain you can use table wine or something you may not especially care for))
3/4 cups of granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice 
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons of cinnamon

What to do:

Add everything but the pears to a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, take the heat down to a simmer ((small bubbles)) and add the pears.  Simmer them for 10 or so minutes WITHOUT STIRRING.  ((Sorry about the yelling, but I know how you people are.  Fidgety.  That's how you are.  Fidgety.))  Turn the pears and continue simmering for another 8-10 minutes.  They are done when the pears are tender and forkable.  ((You remember forkability, right?  Right.))

Remove the pears from the pan and set aside to allow to cool.

Crank the heat back up and boil the wine sauce.  Keep boiling it until the total amount in the pan is cut in half.  ((That's called making a reduction.  Feel free to gloat.))

Arrange pears for serving and drizzle with the sauce.  If you are trying to impress someone or maybe even just impress yourself, top with marscapone, creme fraiche, or Devonshire cream ((not pictured.))


That reminds me...  This morning I turned on the Food Network for some background noise/distraction.  There was some super cheesy ((not literally)) show on about making a romantic dinner.  The host/demonstrator then says something to the effect of, "Feel free to romance yourself, too!"  I almost lost a lung I was laughing so hard.  ((HI DEB.))

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tres Leches and a Slow Return to Reality

Hola!  Yes, I am alive and well.  We had a truly incredible week in Manzanillo.  It was everything and nothing that I expected.  I can go on about it for hours and have thoroughly tortured everyone I know with photos and stories and then more photos.

The property we stayed at had the most incredible food.  Every morning, we would select what would be served the following day.  I, of course, quickly commandeered this task and embarked on a "write-in" mission which probably drove the chef, Pilar, insane but was a lot of fun for me.  One day we requested Tres Leches, literally, Three Milks, which is a form of cake.  I managed to finagle the recipe out of Pilar.

Disclaimer:  I have not attempted this recipe yet... There was a bit of a language gap as well.  I have filled in a few items that I think may have been lost in translation with some help from The Pioneer Woman.  Consider yourselves warned.

What you need:

1 cup All-purpose Flour
1-1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
5 whole Eggs
1 cup Sugar, Divided
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/3 cup Milk
1 can Evaporated Milk
1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
1 pint Heavy Cream, For Whipping
3 Tablespoons Sugar

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan very liberally with spray.  When you think it is coated, do it again.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

Separate the eggs.  Get a little frustrated.  Shake it off.

Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are a pale yellow. Then stir in the milk and vanilla.

Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir it together very, very gently, just until combined.

Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. ((Soft peaks means that when you lift the beaters out of the eggs, there are little "hills" which then sink back down.))  With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.  ((At this point, the hills will be more like mountains and will stay that way.))

Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread it evenly.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a platter with a lip on it and allow to cool.

Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When cake is cool, stab the surface with a fork several times.  Don't get totally aggressive, this is not therapy time. Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture onto the cake—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.  ((Yes, you are going to have some left over milk mixture.  These things come in premeasured cans, so we just have to deal with it.))

Allow the cake to soak it up for 30 minutes.

To ice the cake, whip 1 pint heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar until thick and spreadable.
Spread over the surface and decorate with slices of peaches or mangos to make yourself feel fancy. Cut into squares and serve.

Nutritional Info:  A gazillion calories.  Seriously, a lot.  This is a once in a while treat, so don't sweat it.


The return to reality has been a little slow, as you might guess.  7 days of having exactly nothing to do will do that to you.  Add in a mid-week holiday, and it is a total disaster.

We will have lots more recipes from Mexico coming up in the next while!  Yes, I take requests so if there is something you are dying for, settle down a little and then let me know!