This is a recipe I am going to teach at one of my classes later this summer (recipe included below)
Things that have happened to me in the past seven days:
- I spent the day shooting at Sushi Ran, a place that serves up what many consider the best sushi in the Bay Area. The setting is beautiful, just two blocks off the water in Sausalito, and the interior is a photographer's dream - browns, wood, slate, flowers, and handmade touches with floor to ceiling windows that bath the entire restaurant in natural light. I got there first thing in the morning and spent all day shooting the restaurant in action, the kitchen during the lunch rush, the wonderful creations coming out of the kitchen and sushi bar. I will try to get Yoshi or one of the chefs to dictate a recipe to me (I have a couple in mind), and will post a few of my favorite shots from the day at some point.
- Had lunch at Cafe Gratitude. I love this place, their food is raw/alive, flavorful, beautifully prepared, satisfying, delicious, and affordable (I also happened to have dinner at Juliano's Raw in Los Angeles this weekend and although good, spent twice as much). The spicy coconut curry soup at Cafe Gratitude, also known as "I am Thankful" is delicious, and the Coconut Creme Pie "I am Devoted" is outrageous. Inspired, I made a raw peaches and cream tart last night from Renee Loux Underkoffler's Living Cuisine cookbook, and will write about that as well if you will stop rolling your eyes. Such a great book, filled with tons of creative ways to think about familiar ingredients.
- Got distracted by the beautiful array of hazelnut spreads, olive-oils, and organic jams and jellies lining the walls at Le Pain Quotidien in Santa Monica - walked out, got in the car and drove all the way home from Los Angeles before I realized I left my favorite camera and all my lenses under the chair where I'd enjoyed a hot coffee and basket of assorted fruit, nut, and grain breads eight hours prior. At which point my eyes got huge and a flood of tears immediately started running down my cheeks - I would much rather have my car stolen than lose my favorite camera. Luckily, I must have a flock of angels looking out for me - the staff at Le Pain Quotidien took good care of my camera until my good friend Lanha was able to run over there and overnight it back to me. It is now home safe and sound.
Smiling in front of a mural on Abbot Kinney Blvd. before I lost my camera.
- I also bunkered down and typed up some of the recipes I'm going to be teaching/demonstrating later this summer in various classes around the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego. This one, with the broiled stone fruits, is one of my favorites. You can really use just about any juicy fruit you like as the base, summer is good for stone fruits and berries in particular...I don't typically love cooked strawberries (how can anything be more perfect than a sweet, ripe, juicy, red strawberry?)...so this is one fruit I don't really use for this recipe. If you are interested in cooking up a summer menu with me in person - the first class is July 30th, a lazy Saturday, in San Mateo (Bay Area). The class is demonstration format (vs. hands-on), and there are a limited number of spots. Why I chose a broiler recipe on what will inevitably be the hottest day of the summer, I'm not quite sure...but I promise you will love this dessert as much as I do, and a little sweat never hurt anyone.
A little about the recipe: I've been playing around with different types of sugars and sweeteners lately and use maple sugar in this recipe. Maple sugar has a lot going for it over the sugars we are most comfortable and familiar using. Most sugars are refined chemically from sugarcane, corn, or sugar beets. Many people think "brown" sugar is the healthy alternative to white - not the case. Simply put, brown sugar is just white sugar with molasses or caramel coloring added. Maple syrup in contrast is natural, unrefined, has its minerals and vitamins intact, and although it doesn't have the "neutral" flavor that is associated with granulated white sugar, it has a subtle enough flavor that it is very versatile and useful for sweetening just about everything. Perfect for sweetening a recipe like this, it is more subtle (to my tastebuds) than some of the other alternative granulated sweeteners like Rapadura (unrefined, evaporated cane juice). It is also lighter in color.
Broiled Stone Fruit with Sweet Cream
3 to 4 cups of seasonal stone fruit - I like to use cherries early in the summer, and move onto peaches, nectarines, plums, and berries as the season progresses. You can use a single type of fruit or play around with different combinations Try punctuating peaches with a sprinkling of raspberries and a splash of creme de framboise. You will need to pit your fruit, and peel it in the case of fuzzy peaches or apricots. Cut the fruit into bite-sized pieces.
1 cup organic heavy whipping cream, well chilled
2 egg yolks
3 T. maple sugar
A splash of fruit liqueur (for example: if I am using peachs, I add peach brandy)
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
You will need the maple sugar finely granulated so it can be easily assimilated into the cream. Take a pinch of the maple sugar between two fingers - if yours is particularly chunky or grainy, give it a quick whirl in your food processor to powder it a bit.
In a large bowl whip the chilled cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Add the egg yolks and fruit liqueur and whip for about 30 seconds more.
Place six individual-sized ovenproof ramekins (or tiny baking dishes) on a baking sheet and fill each dish 3/4 full with fruit.
Divide the cream mixture between each dish, covering the fruit in each dish. Place in the oven (middle rack) and bake for 3 minutes. You then want to brown the tops of the desserts - either turn on your broiler and broil until evenly browned, or in a pinch use a handheld culinary blowtorch.
Warn people they are hot, but serve immediately.
Makes 6 individual servings, or a dozen or so mini servings.