Pissaladiere and A Guest Post

34

Monday, May 30, 2011

Pissaladiere

I realized early this month that I never posted a recipe for one of the specialties of the region in France where I grew up, Provence. Pissaladiere, a thin tart topped with onion, anchovies and olives is indeed one of the quintessential dishes of the area.

It only took years and Asha's request to have me guest blog about easy to transport French specialties, to write a guest post for her blog anniversary, to get to it...

Yes, today you will find me and the recipe for this French specialty over here on Asha's blog, Fork Spoon Knife. And please, wish her a happy three year blog anniversary too! That's something to be celebrated!

Pissaladiere

Asparagus & Pea Soup With Herb Crackers

44

Friday, May 27, 2011

Asparagus Soup & Herbed Crackers

With the temperatures well into the 90s already, it's crazy to feel that Spring almost feels like a distant memory. But it is. Almost. I know how short the seasons can be for fruits and vegetables when I am able to find asparagus at the farmers market one week and hardly the next. I love seeing the display of these vibrant green or sometimes purple stalks.

Asparagus season always brings about fond memories of Sunday dinners back home in France. My heart strongly swayed in favor of freshly steamed artichokes but my mother had a knack for making steamed asparagus so perfectly well that my palate was all out of sorts when it came to pick a favorite. My favorite way to eat them was when she'd serve them with a light vinaigrette. Just like I liked artichokes in vinaigrette or leeks in vinaigrette. Clearly, I have a thing for vinaigrette!

Herbed Crackers

However, there are enough salads and vinaigrette in my Southern warm life to want to change things up. One of our other staples for dinners is often a big bowl of soup and a poached egg on top. We are big fans and big believers of the "life is better with poached egg on top". Makes leftovers take on a brand new life, brings a simple dish of sauteed kale and garlic to new and wonderful heights and well, just makes us weak in the knees to see that yellow yokey goodness from a farm fresh egg ...

I disgress...Soup! Yes! Soup holds a special place in our meals. When I was growing up, my mom would start every dinner with a small cup or bowl of soup. Just veggies, pureed smooth, no starch. Piping hot with a little swirl of creme fraiche. It was her ritual to ensure we'd get our veggies in. I created a whole game around it to try and name as many veggies she included as possible. I think it played a major role in developing my palate over the years.

Asparagus

When I was planning my move to the US in the late 90s, there was no doubt in my mind that I would keep this tradition of having soup at dinner. Then I moved to the South. The hot and humid climate of the region turned me away from steamy soup for a while. I went all out on gazpacho, Vichyssoise, cold cucumber and dill, etc... Slowly, over the years, I went back to warm, sometimes piping hot soup, no matter the weather. Not just vegetable soups like I had eaten all my life. I was onto lentil soup, chowders, single vegetable based soups, etc...

One day last week that I was making dinner for my parents(they are visiting us here), it felt as if I had turned their world upside down when I said I was going to make Asparagus and Pea Soup as a starter for dinner. We never had a soup with just two veggies when I was growing up! I knew this one would win them over just the way it had won B. over a couple of weeks before.

Pea Blossoms

Some really tasty meals can come out of throwing a bit of this and a little of that together in a pot. It happened with this soup. One I could make time and time over and eat just about as much. It tastes a bit different every time. It wraps the house with the softest smell of Spring.

I guess you can make it all year long and still enjoy some of the lovely flavors. You can have anything pretty much all year long the way supermarkets are set up these days. But I encourage you to take advantage of the ingredients in season where you are. Their taste is so intense that it will often surprise your tastebuds with this "I had forgotten an eggplant had this much flavor!"

Herbed Crackers

It happened with this soup when I combined the first asparagus of the season with a few handful of pea blossoms I picked up at the market. I knew the season would be short and I had waited long enough for each ingredient! That's also why I love seasonal cooking. The wait and anticipation of the first raspberries, squash blossoms. Then the explosion of flavors in our mouths sending signals of goodness all through our souls.

This soup fits the bill perfectly. Simple. Satisfying. I bet it would be even better with a poached egg on top but the herb crackers I made to go along were a great complement and a nice change to croutons. Worth waiting another Spring for!

Asparagus Soup


Asparagus And Pea Soup with Herb Crackers:

Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer and 4 as meal

Ingredients:
1 bunch asparagus (about one pound)
1 to 2 cups pea blossoms, pea shoots or peas (fresh or frozen)
2 gloves garlic, skin removed
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Snap the ends of the asparagus. Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil over high heat. Throw in the asparagus and cook them for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the asparagus from the water with a slotted spoon and place them in a blender or food processor (or deep bowl if using an immersion blender). Do not discard the cooking water. Bring back to a boil, throw in the pea blossoms, pea shoots or peas and cook for about 3 minutes if using pea shoots/blossoms, and 5 if using fresh or frozen peas. Add the garlic at the same time you add the peas. Remove from the heat and remove the pea shoots/blossoms/peas and garlic with a slotted spoon. Reserve the cooking liquid. Place in the blender with the asparagus and puree until smooth. You might need to add some of the cooking liquid to reach the consistency that you like. Season with salt and pepper and serve either hot or room temperatures.

Herbed Crackers:

Makes about 24 small ones

Ingredients:
1 stick butter at room temperature
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped oregano
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup milk (optional)

Directions:
In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and egg yolks together on medium speed until creamy looking. Add salt and pepper and the herbs and whip for 10 seconds just to mix them in at low speed. Add the millet and sweet rice flour with the mixer still on low speed. If the mixture feels too crumbly add a little bit of milk to obtain a smooth but not too wet dough. Start with one tablespoon at a time.
Gather the dough into a bowl and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
When ready to bake, turn the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
Roll the dough in between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll to about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick. Cut cookies out in the dough and place them on a parchment lined baing sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
Serve with the soup.

Thoughts On My Ace Camp Photography Workshop In Sante Fe, New Mexico

28

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blossoms

Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions,
then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart.

—Anonymous

Ace Camp Group Shot
Ace Camp Group Shot.

These were the words in my heart as I was traveling to Sante Fe a couple of weeks ago to teach an Ace Camp Workshop. These were the words I wanted to give to the attendees the same way they were given to me. As a gift from someone on a creative journey. Indeed, my editor Jenny gave me this quote one day I was having a difficult time telling her how I approached assignments. "That's it!" I exclaimed.

Sante Fe Window

I wanted to give it so badly to the attendees but I refrained as much as possible. I wanted them to feel what these couple of lines were telling them without explicitly writing it out.

Leslie & Kay
Leslie and Kay.

Together, twelve attendees, myself and Angela who organized everything made an unspoken pact when we signed on for a photography camp in Sante Fe. We agreed to discover and share. To like, dislike and grow. To find our own battles and obstacles. To reach out within our strength and ask of others. To give and take. As a whole, alone, out with words or in our hearts.

Lisa & Megan
Lisa and Megan.

We knew we'd have to be out there and vulnerable. We knew we'd come out stronger. I personally had no idea that twelve people would impact my life this much in the span of four days. I miss everyone of them. Not a day goes by that I think about someone from the workshop. Every single one of them gave me something huge right from their heart: they left them open and free. In a world where we are sometimes misinterpreted or judged without being known, this was a gift indeed.

Olive Oil at Oleaceae
Olive oil at Oleaceae.

As Angela noticed in her recap post, I had come prepared. Well, I was following some big footsteps of creative workshops and Angela was trusting me to bring the same level of quality and care to our camp. Hence, I could not fly by the seat of my pants...well not completely...!

Chickpea Salad

Our workshop schedule was intense but so were the hours spent laughing and coming together as a group striving to learn and have a positive impact on one another. At the end of the day, our sessions ended with a group discussion and critique of all the shots taken that day. As you can see in the post here, a glass of wine made the whole exercise way smoother. That's the French in me, always trying to mix work and play...!

Elysia & Mike
Elysia and Mike.

Seriously though, I wanted to make sure that each attendee had the opportunity to explore the journey behind their picture. I challenged everyone to shoot at the complete opposite of what they usually did and then take the whole group through their own reactions to help them word what they had learned, disliked and liked in the process.

Selah & Julie
Selah and Julie.

Maybe they would try one new thing in the future, maybe two. Maybe none. At least they tried and were not left to fly solo on this discovery.

Salad Styling Session

There were laughters and frustrations. Moments of discoveries and growth. There were moments that moved me as a teacher and moments that touched me as a photographer. It changed me.

Xarene & Janice
Xarene and Janice.

Leslie, Kay, Lisa, Megan, Elysia, Mike, Selah, Julie, Xarene, Janice, Sasha, Pilar and Angela: Thank you. You have made me a better person, a better teacher and an even more motivated photographer.

Sasha & Pilar
Sasha and Pilar.

Yes, if you ever have the chance to take an Ace Camp with Angela, do not hesitate one second! Angela will feed your belly well (just look at this spread!) and your soul and creativity will soar!

Sante Fe

When the doors of perception are cleansed. Man will see things as they truly are...infinite.
- William Blake.

Honeysuckle And Jasmine Cupcakes & The Little Gifts In Life

67

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Honeysuckle & Jasmine Cupcakes

I did not make a cake for my birthday this year. I have a "coeur d'artichaut" you see: I change my mind at the drop of a hat. Last Wednesday I wanted chocolate and caramel in my cake. The day after I was on to lemon and vanilla. In the morning I was all set to make it a three tier with luscious curls of chocolate on top. Maybe a few piped flowers. Maybe. At the end of the day, I was seriously finding the repetitive motion of icing a few cupcakes a much better option.

Honestly, I just had one of the best birthday weekend. Really. Intensely focused on being, breathing, family and friends. No material gifts. I just wanted to spend some quality time with the people I loved the most. My parents are here and strolling the gorgeous streets of Charleston with them on a gorgeous day last Friday was just a much awaited moment. A late lunch at my favorite place, a good nap and I was a happy gal.

Honeysuckle

I did receive a gift. Seeing my parents pride and joy as I was giving them a copy of my book Plate To Pixel. That was pretty priceless... You all wonderful readers have also given me the most wonderful birthday present with your lovely tweets, messages and emails about the book. I am thrilled when you send a picture of the book of your kitchen counter or next to your camera. I want to hug you silly when you say you had many a "ha ha" moments reading it and getting some concepts that were escaping you until now.

You are given me the greatest gift ever. You got it. You got that Plate To Pixel was written with you in mind and from where I was myself when I started in my journey with food photography. The goal was to give you tools, tons of them, and examples. But not all the tools. That's for the sequel...ahaah! To reassure you that the only way to get going at this photo thing, was to just...get going. What was the worst that could happen? More learning time, more practice round, more growth and getting inspired and moved. Yeah...that would be awful (insert sarcastic laugh).

Onion Flowers
An edible bouquet to say "Thank you".

Witnessing all the good, motivation, sharing, learning, laughing, talking. Seeing all this happening in this community, around food, the people who make it, the people who tell its story, the people who enjoy it, the people who document it...I am moved and inspired. This is my birthday present. Thank you.

And I thank whoever came up with cupcakes, tea cakes, mini cakes and the like. I dig them. They are fun to make and fun to eat, highly transportable and I rarely meet someone turning one down. Especially not these. I got the idea of honeysuckle and jasmine flavored cupcakes from my good friend John, chef at Lana's Restaurant who used jasmine syrup to soak lemon cake layers one time.

Jasmine & Honeysuckle Simple Syrup

Luckily we have lots of honeysuckle and Confederate jasmine growing around the yard so a little of both picked out the other day and I was on my way...I made a simple syrup first with equal parts water and sugar and let it cool for about five minutes before I threw in some honeysuckle and jasmine flowers. I poured some over the cupcakes right when I took them out of the oven and added some to the buttercream.

I do live with a coconut thread hater but to my surprise, B. agreed that the toasted coconut sprinkled on top was a really nice way to round up all the flavors. When he says things like that, I immediately go hide a couple for me because I know we're going to fight over the last one. And we did....!

Honeysuckle & Jasmine Cupcakes


Honeysuckle and Jasmine Cupcakes:

Makes 16 cupcakes

Note: Honeysuckle and jasmine grow wild in our backyards but I still washed them and patted them dry to before using. Only use edible grade flowers when baking or cooking. You can prepare the syrup a day ahead and keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator after it is made (strain the flower after a couple of days). I freeze mine in ice cubes and use for cocktails sometimes.
You can replace all the gluten free flours with 2 cups all purpose flour if desired.


For the cupcakes:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup olive oil (don't skimp on the quality)
1 cup plain yogurt (low or full fat)
zest and juice of a lemon
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
shredded coconut to decorate (optional)

For the honeysuckle and jasmine syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flowers

For the buttercream:
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
zest of half lemon
2 tablespoon honeysuckle-jasmine syrup

Prepare the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350F and line cupcake tins with cupcake liners, slightly brush the inside olive oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 2 minutes. Add the olive oil, yogurt, lemon juice and zest and whisk again so that everything is well mixed. Add the rice flour, millet flour, sorghum flour, baking powder and salt and mix until the batter is smooth. (You can do this in a stand mixer if desired)
Divide among the muffin tins, filling no more than 2/3 of the way up. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out free of crumbs.
Let cool completely before frosting. Once frosted, add a few pieces of shaved coconut if desired.

Prepare the syrup:
Place the sugar and water in a heavy medium saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring once or twice to make sure the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, let cool 5 minutes and throw in the jasmine and honeysuckle flowers. Let steep while the cupcakes cool.

Prepare the buttercream:
Place the yolks in a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment.
Bring the sugar and water to 238F in a medium saucepan set over high heat. Slowly pour the hot syrup over the egg yolks and continue to whisk until cold. Change to the paddle attachment and beat in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Add the lemon zest and the syrup. Continue to beat for a few seconds until completely smooth.

To assemble:
Poke holes in the cupcakes with a toothpick or a fork and pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of the flower syrup over them. Place the buttercream in a piping bag fitted with star tip and pipe frosting on top. Decorate with shredded coconut if desired.

Squash Blossoms Two Ways: Brown Wild Rice, Feta Squash Blossoms & Crispy Fried Blossoms

67

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wild Rice & Feta Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Every Saturday that we are at the farmers market, I wish I could be there with my mother. She'd get a kick out of the scarlet queen red turnips, the juicy strawberries and the soft squash blossoms. My dad would enjoy strolling down the painters row filled with gorgeous watercolors or photo representations of the city, the beach houses and everything Charleston.

This coming Saturday, it will finally be a reality. My parents are arriving tomorrow and staying throughout the month. I can't wait. It's been almost a year since I last saw them and due to work, family circumstances, health and other, it has not been possible for either of us to get together. But tomorrow....oh tomorrow...all the hugs and kisses from my mama will be mine!

Wild Rice & Feta Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I can't wait. Even though work won't stop while they are here, I am looking forward to my mom taking over in the kitchen here and there. Her food is legendary good and she will have as much fun at the market as I do every weekend. I can't wait to see my dad's familiar frown and pondering face as he explores the art and exhibitions during the Spoleto festival starting up soon.

I'm just looking forward to just be with them and take every minute they give me. I know there will be a small period of adjustment. That's to be expected. I often found that those adjustment times are quickly solved with a walk on the dock to see the sunset, quietly making dinner together, having breakfast on the back deck overlooking the water. All these moments where we let distance and time apart quickly fade and find each other again.

Squash Blossoms

So many things have changed since they visited last March. More work. More accomplishments. More friends. We have many things to celebrate and many new friends to celebrate them with. I am thrilled for my parents to see some old friends again and to meet new ones. My day-to-day is often what makes my parents the happiest but that's often what I fail to talk about on the phone once we're done with everyone's news in the family.

So this trip, it's all about saying thanks for the big things and celebrating all the little things. It's about hugs. Growing up. Being my own and being their child.

Wild Rice & Feta Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I realized how much a combination of both my parents I was this weekend while leading a workshop in Sante Fe on food photography. I had the seriousness of my dad and the "well, there's a plan, but it's ok if we change it" attitude of my mom. I realized how far I had come and how much I'd still had to go.

I will post a longer recap of the workshop once I go through all the pics I took and gather posts from the other attendees about their own recap of the weekend. In the meantime, you can check this portrait gallery I made of the attendees and look through Ace Camps Facebook pics. To say that I had the most incredible time would be an understatement. Everyone worked so hard during the weekend and all their efforts truly paid off. There were many a "ha ha" moments around and I am only glad I was able to help others enjoy food photography as much as I do.

Fried Squash Blossoms

When I got off the plane yesterday evening, B. asked if I wanted to grab a bite in town. Non, pas vraiment (no, not really) I said. I wanted to get home, hug my pups silly and be quiet for a while. The fridge was pretty bare but we had eggs and chives which turned into an awesome omelette for two. We had an avocado, a handful or radish sprouts and a couple of tomatoes. Paired with some bread chunks and we had an incredible panzanella salad.

I also pulled a tray of Brown & Wild Rice & Feta Stuffed Squash Blossoms that I had made the week before. I gave them a quick sautee in a hot pan and we sat down to an incredible makeshift feast. My favorite kind of meal.

Fried Squash Blossoms

Every Spring that the farmers market starts, I can't wait for squash blossoms to pop up on vendors stalls and they seem to be coming in earlier than usual this year. Obviously it does not bother me and we have enjoyed them simply sauteed with salt and pepper, crispy fried and stuffed with all sorts of delicious market leftovers. I have to say that this filling combination of brown and wild rice with feta, thyme, oregano, garlic and a touch of lemon is my favorite so far.

It made this "so happy to be home after traveling all day" meal that much more delicious. A nice change also to the usual quiche and salad tradition we have in the family when people travel. Although I might fix one for my parents tomorrow. Who knows...

I am curious though. What is your favorite meal to cook or eat when you get off the plane after a long day of traveling?

Wild Rice & Feta Stuffed Squash Blossoms


Brown Wild Rice & Feta Stuffed Squash Blossoms:

Serve 4 as an appetizer

1 cup brown and wild rice blend, cooked and cooled
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
zest of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
12-16 squash blossoms, washed and patted dry (some I get come with a squash attached which I cut close to the stem and stir fry separately)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Combine the rice, feta, herbs, garlic, lemon zest together in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
In a large saute pan, heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.
Delicately fill the inside of the squash blossom with about 1-2 teaspoons of the filling. When all the blossoms are filled, place half in the sautee pan and cook about 2 minutes per sides until golden brown.
Remove from the pan and keep warm under a piece of tin foil. Heat the other tablespoons of oil and sautee the second batch of stuffed blossoms.
Serve warm.

Crispy Fried Squash Blossoms:

Serves 4 as an appetizer

1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup flour superfine rice flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg white
3/4 cup beer or club soda
12 to 16 squash blossoms, washed and patted dry
canola oil for frying

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, salt and pepper. Add the egg white and beer (or club soda) and whisk until smooth.
Heat canola oil in a medium deep pan (I use a 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cast iron skillet) until it reaches 375F.
Dip the blossoms in the batter and fry 2 or 3 blossoms at a time in the hot oil. Do not overcrowd them or it drops the oil temperature down which makes them cook longer, soak in more oil and get soggy.
Heat at once!

Poached Peaches & Lemon Verbena Ice Cream. A Bit Of News Too...

61

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream & Poached Peaches

Leave it up to me to pick one hot evening to churn a fresh batch of ice cream thinking we were nicely gearing up for Summer early as usual only to get up to a little-big drop in temperatures. Intriguing. I like that last attempt of a crisp morning trying to wrap us up with a little breeze and a soft chill.

While taking the pups outside that morning, I was not thinking ice cream at all. More something like a hot cup of coffee and a warm piece of toast. But I instantly busted "this feels so nice! Like a juicy fresh peach on a warm Summer day!" I went back inside with that odd feeling that the weather had misplaced a chip somewhere. The pieces did not quite fit.

Baking With Peaches & Lemon Verbana

The season was going so well that in fact I had gotten the juiciest tiniest yellow cling peaches at the market a few days before. Dubious, I only got three. Once home and after the first bite, I wished I had gotten three more. As good as candy, albeit two months early in the season. Wacky. Yet good enough to make my toes curl so I wanted to do them justice and use them in a dessert somehow.

Yes. My measuring scale to things, foods, life, love, is how much something will make my toes curl. When I fall in love with people, my toes curl. When there is a dish that makes my brain circuits implode from intense pleasure, my toes curl also. For some it's just an expression. For me, it's a true manifestation that I am completely in tune with the moment, the person, the taste. I often put a piece of music on and realize 20 minutes into it that my toes are indeed curled from appreciation.

Lemon Verbena

That morning, in the cheer satisfaction of the present moment, a clemency in the weather, a few minutes of calm all to myself, my mind wandering about and around ice cream and peaches, my toes started to curl. Immensely. And as I am sitting here taking a break from packing, my toes are curling once more over a bowl of Lemon Verbena Ice Cream and Poached Peaches. Fragrant, refreshing and the perfect thing to break for.

I am heading to Sante Fe, New Mexico to teach a 2-day workshop organized by Angela Richie of the world renowned Richie Camp workshops. I'm heading out a bit early to get a chance to see the town before I immersed 12 people in an intense food photography and styling adventure. When I look at the list of instructors and hear feedback from attendees, my toes curl at the honor to be part of such a group!

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

There are a couple of other things that make me enjoy a little serving of ice cream this evening. I realized I put the news on Twitter last month but never made a formal announcement here. Back in April, I got contacted by Chris from Primary Reps Photo Agency who expressed the wish to add me to his roster of photographers. My goal for 2011 was to get photography representation, a mutual partnership of work and more work and someone other than me futzing over contracts and quotes.

I liked Chris. I liked his honesty and clear approach to work. I liked him and he represents my dear friend Matt Armendariz too. My toes curled. Yes. Well, I am thrilled to announce that I am now represented by Primary Reps for anything and everything photography related and you can view my galleries here and here.

Peaches

And here is announcement number 2. Things happen outside of my comprehension but I trust my soul that they happen when right. Things at work are fast and furious and I am loving every part of it. Contracts, clauses, presenting my work the best way possible while juggling everything else can get a bit crazy. When Amy Hughes, literary agent from McCormick & Williams in New York got in touch and asked if I had considered getting a book agent, I looked up to the clouds and uttered a quiet "Thank you!".

We met. We chatted. We asked questions. And my toes curled up again. Today I am psyched to announce that Amy is indeed my book agent. She is my sounding board and best advocate for current projects as well as others I have been asked to consider and work on. I am passionate about my work and when my toes kept curling more and more in the last few months, that's when I knew it was time to team with people who knew how and where to best focus my energy.

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream & Poached Peaches

I am extremely grateful and can't wait to get to work every morning! But now that it is almost midnight and my ice cream bowl is just about empty, I must go and finish packing my gear for Sante Fe. I doubt I'll have time to post while I am there but I will try to post updates and phone pictures on Twitter (@SweetTartelette) and Facebook (page is here) and share info and tips as we workshop!

Have a wonderful rest of the week and gorgeous weekend!

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream And Poached Peaches:

Serves 8

For the lemon verbena ice cream:

4 egg yolks
1 cup (100gr) sugar
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
1 small handful lemon verbena leaves.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and one cup of sugar until pale and thick. In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring the cream, milk, and lemon verbena to a simmer, without letting it come to a full boil. Slowly pour the hot cream over the egg yolks mixture while whisking to temper the egg yolks. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cream coats the back of spoon. It should register 170F on a candy thermometer. At this point you have made a custard sauce, also known as "creme anglaise". Let cool completely, and refrigerate until cold.
Once the custard is cold, strain and process according to your ice cream maker manufacturer's instructions.

For the poached peaches:
4 peaches
1 vanilla bean split in half
juice of one lemon

Prepare the peaches:
Place the peaches, vanilla bean, lemon juice and enough water to cover them in a tall saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower the heat and let them simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the peaches are just soft (poke with a toothpick to check).
Remove from the water using a slotted spoon and allow to cool on paper towel or baking rack.

To plate: cut each peach into thin slices and serve with a generous scoop of ice cream. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios if desired.

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