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ffwd: peach melba

Peach Melba is a dish I hadn’t thought of in decades. When I was a child, I spent a few days of my summer vacations visiting with my grandparents, by myself. My father’s parents lived in Center City Philadelphia, so it was an urban adventure for a suburban girl. My Gram took me to museums, to lunch, and all around the town. We had a great time. My Pop-Pop worked nights, so each evening, Gram made a delicious dinner before sending him off to work.

Often, for dessert, she would make a special treat: Peach Melba. This is not something I ever had at home, or anywhere else, come to think of it. I’m sure I thought that my Gram invented it. Sliced peaches, vanilla ice cream, and raspberry sauce. Sort of a sundae, but something more.

I was thrilled to see that Dorie had a recipe to share for this dessert. I was game to try it for myself. I poached fresh peaches in a lemony sugar syrup, then boosted the syrup with cassis and vanilla extract which made it blush. For the sauce, I pureed frozen raspberries (from my yard) with a little of the syrup. For the ice cream, I was going to make a batch from Jeni’s Splendid recipe. (Have you tried this? If not, you must! It’s amazing, seriously). As usual, I ran out of time, so opted for Ben & Jerry’s instead.

In a fun glass, layer a spoonful of syrup, poached peaches (I used a quarter), some ice cream, and more peaches. Drizzle with raspberry sauce and sprinkle with toasted almonds. You have a festive dessert, and for me, a very nostalgic one, filled with happy memories of time spent with my grandmother.

Gram and Me (August 2002)

This marks the 100th recipe for French Fridays with Dorie. We’ve been at this for nearly two years, starting in October 2010. Each week, we cook a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. I can honestly say that, even though I am a cookbookaholic, I have never made so many recipes from a single book before. I’ve made 95 of the 100 recipes so far. It’s been a blast, and I’ve “met” so many wonderful people from around the world. I’m glad that the adventure will continue. Cheers to my fellow Doristas and to Dorie Greenspan!

You can check out other Peach Melba experiences at the LYL post for this recipe on French Fridays with Dorie.

P.S. I just diced up a poached peach in mixed it along with raspberry sauce into Greek yogurt. Peach melba was great for breakfast, too!

ffwd: olive oil ice cream (or a sundae on sunday)

(I’m a little late, but better late than never…)

Many moons ago, Howard (the resident ice cream guy) was given an ice cream maker as a going-away gift when he left a job. That was over a decade ago, and we never actually used it. I’m mildly lactose-intolerant, so have to admit that ice cream has never been one of my favorite foods. However, this week’s assignment for French Fridays with Dorie, Olive Oil Ice Cream, seemed like the perfect opportunity to scare up all the parts and give the ice cream maker a ride.

The ice cream was easy enough to put together. Milk and cream were brought to a boil, then carefully whisked into an egg yolk and sugar mixture. The custard was then lightly cooked (though I slightly overheated it) and strained before whisking in olive oil and vanilla. Then, the mixture cools in a bowl set over ice and cold water.

It was fun to taste test the various extra virgin olive oils in the pantry to find one that was fruity and not peppery. I settled on a special Greek olive oil that I got for my birthday. It comes from a farm in Xirokambi, near Sparta, off the road that Paris and Helen of Troy used to run away together. (Thanks, Cass!)

The ice cream maker made quick work of turning the custard into ice cream. It took about 25 minutes. I tasted it before freezing it to ripen and harden, and it was just like vanilla ice cream.

Once hardened, it was time to eat the ice cream for real. I made a sundae with a brownie base, olive oil ice cream topped with fleur de sel caramel sauce. The ice cream was OK. The olive oil gave it a slightly unusual taste and texture. I’m not sure I liked it. Howard thought it was “weird”. We’ll finish it, but I’m not sure this ice cream will be making a repeat appearance at my house.

If you’d like to see how the other Doristas made out with their olive oil ice creams, check out their links here. If you’d like the recipe, you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

Now the big dilemma is what to do with the 5 egg whites in the fridge. I was browsing the May issue of Bon Appetit and came across this recipe for blackberry financiers, so that is a definite possibility. Any other ideas?