Been a little cooking-free for a while. Life does have a way of mucking up plans! There have couple of times where cooking DID happen, but there was no real inspiration to jump into plating adventures. I blame everything from mud runs, to late nights out with friends, etc.
The good news is that the GF and I were finally able to spend some quality time in the kitchen again recently. We tried to recreate a meal we had at a tapas bar. The meal was cubed steak, seared, and served in a cherry glaze. Well, what we wound up making was stir-fried steak in something closer to a teriyaki sauce.
Every now and then your experiments go off into left field and don’t work out quite the way you want. The good news for US is that she also had an idea for making poached pears, which I’d never tried to make before last weekend.
It is a very simple recipe: Take about 2 cups of simple syrup (equal parts water/sugar), a 750ml bottle of moscato (you can use the inexpensive stuff), a bit of honey, a cinnamon stick, and a split vanilla bean. We happened to pick some large, mutant pears to poach instead of more modest pears. Needless to say, dessert took about twice as long to make.
I noticed my GF had some small dipping bowls available so I was suddenly inspired to try a dessert version of a Japanese Bento Box. I wasn’t thrilled with the result, but I’ll post it anyway, just to show you the scale. I think this plating format might work better with a baked dessert that can be garnished/adorned with a bit more color.
Oh, before I forget, the light sauce is the poaching liquid, the dark sauce is dulce de leche, thinned a bit with heavy cream, and french vanilla ice cream is in the 3rd mini box.
It’s not terrible, but it wound up being a little more plain than I anticipated. I think I’ll try this again another night, with maybe a tres leches cake, or perhaps some other baked good, with other dipping sauces. The look is good, but didn’t quite work with the poached pear. No harm no foul. This is what learning is all about!
We did manage to find one nifty idea. Combining a bit of the Bento Box motif, I also used the mini bowls to serve some accompanying ice cream. I started thinning out the dulce de leche with a bit more cream to drizzle on the plate. I started off with some curved lines, and wound making something of a crude eye motif.
The next time I go for this, I’ll definitely make the ‘eye lashes’ more uniformly curved. By the way, I dipped the poached pear back into the thickened poaching liquid in order to get a bit of it to ‘stick,’ so I was able to recreate the flavors of the full sized Bento Box from the picture above.
I think you’ll find your dinner guests will like the idea of being able to dip their food at their leisure. The mini bowl and the poached pear are stabilized by a dab of non-thinned dulce de leche. It’s an easy ‘cheat’ to help keep things from sliding around. Summer is here and it’s time to get back in the kitchen regularly so we’ll dust off the blog and kick this back up again with fresh ideas for you!
Enjoy your long holiday weekend with friends and family!