Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Girl's Night

 The menu:

Vermontucky Lemonades (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 pounds, or 8 lemons)
2 1/2 cups cold water, plus additional if needed
1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup
Bourbon  (I used my grandfather's favorite, Old Crow.  It's, um, the kind of bourbon that doesn't need much to go far, if you know what I mean)
Lots of ice

Mix lemon juice with 2 1/2 cups water and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Taste for sweetness. If you like your lemonade sweeter, add remaining 1/4 cup maple syrup. If you found the sweetness just right, add an additional 1/4 cup cold water instead. Stir to mix. This will yield 1 quart of maple lemonade.
Fill a glass with ice.  Pour your desired amount of bourbon over the ice, fill the glass the rest of the way with maple lemonade.

Summer chacuterie

Cucumbers, serrano ham, prosciutto, goat cheese, gruyere, mozzarella cheese, bread from Flour

Strawberry thyme balsamic vinegar jam  (adapted from Serious Eats)

5 cups sugar
8 cups of strawberries stemmed, hulled, and sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 unit pectin (follow the instructions on whatever kind you have)
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter

Combine crushed strawberries, balsamic vinegar and thyme in a large heavy saucepan.  Whisk in pectin if called for here, otherwise wait til later.  Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  Add sugar all at once and stir until dissolved.  Stir in butter.  Stirring constantly, bring back to a rolling boil and boil hard for one minute.  Remove from heat and skim off foam.  If preserving, see Pioneer Woman's tutorial or Alton Brown's, decide which you like better, and proceed.  If not preserving, aliquot into containers, let cool a bit on the countertop, lids not shut, and then keep in the fridge for up to a month or in the freezer forever.  Or, as this is pretty delicious stuff, not forever. 

Peach strawberry cardamom jam (adapted from A Messy Kitchen)

4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
4 cups peaches (frozen from last year's harvest)
4 cups sugar
2 units pectin (again, use the directions in your pectin)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon butter
Cardamom (lots of it.  I love love love cardamom.  Especially in Scandinavian breads.  There is never really enough cardamom in anything for me)

Mash fruit together with a potato masher in a saucepan; add lemon juice, cardamom, and butter, and bring to a boil.  Add sugar all at once and bring back to a boil.  Process as per above.

Pavlova (adapted from Simply Recipes)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 ounces egg whites (about six eggs); room temperature
pinch of salt

Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 275ºF.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Pour the vanilla and vinegar into a small cup.  In another bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch.  Whip egg whites and salt, starting on low and increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks (egg white bubbles will be small and uniform; this takes two to three minutes).   Increase speed to medium high, and slowly sprinkle in the sugar and cornstarch mixture.  Whip for a few more minutes, and pour in vanilla and vinegar.  Increase the speed and whip until glossy and at stiff peaks (this will take four to five more minutes).  Spoon onto baking sheet in one large dollop or several small dollops.  Reduce oven temperature to 250ºF and bake for 50-60 minutes or until meringues are crisp and dry to the touch.  Cool on a baking rack, and top with whipped cream and fresh berries.  You can store pavlova in an airtight container at room temperature, but it is far superior freshly baked.

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