Sunday, May 30, 2010

every so often...

I don’t eat many sweets these days, but every once in a while, even I have to indulge my sweet tooth. And I have a feeling that some of you may be heavily into the consumption of sugar, corn syrup, saccharin, honey or any other lip-smacking delicacies.

At home I don’t have sugar. I just don’t need it. Instead I dip my spoon into local honey and I use it for breads, in my morning oatmeal, stirred into coffee or tea, to make a hearty crunchy granola... or just plain, right off the spoon and into my mouth! True, it’s a bit more expensive than granulated, off-the-supermarket-shelf, white, mass-produced sugar. But since I don’t use too much of it, I’d prefer to use my hard-earned Argentine pesos to support my local apiculturists, combat seasonal allergies, and enjoy the rich taste of golden honey. Mmmm...

Fruits are also great for entertaining the sugar sensors of our taste buds. I find that locally grown fruits not only help the local economy, but taste heaps better than fruits picked prematurely and shipped many many miles to large and impersonal supermarkets. Verdulerías and fruterías (veggie and fruit shops) are my favorite places to be. The verduleros are usually friendly and super helpful folks and I love to be surrounded by the colors and smells of fresh fruits and veggies. So many options. And so inexpensive.

But back to the point. Even I give in every once in a while and enjoy a good sugar binge. Such is the case as a few days ago. Presenting... homemade flan and ice cream!

Flan is a popular dessert of high sugar content. It is very yummy. Here’s the recipe that we used. And there are many variations so feel free to experiment!

After preheating the oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F), we melted 1/2 cup of sugar to a golden brown. We poured above melted sugar into our casserole pan, tilting it so that we covered the bottom of the pan. While we heated 2 cups of milk to a boil over medium heat, we beat 2 full eggs and 2 egg yokes in a separate container. The leftover egg whites made a beautiful omelete the next day! Stir hot milk, a little at a time, into the beaten eggs. Add 3/8 cup sugar. We also added a splash of vanilla. Pour egg-milk-sugar-vanilla mixture into the pan. We placed that casserole pan in a larger pan and added hot water to the larger pan. Like a baña María. And... into the oven until firm, but jiggly. Let cool (or not!) and enjoy with (optional) homemade cookies-and-cream ice cream. Recipe to follow.

Homemade ice cream. Milk, cream, vanilla, sugar and Oreos (yes, we splurged on REAL, imported-from-the-USA Oreos). I haven’t a clue about the proportions because Randy was in charge of this one, but I don’t think proportions really matter. Experiment! Pour into ice cream maker and churn. Steph claims that if you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can use two tin cans with snug lids, ice and salt. I’m skeptical. I will report when I have conclusive evidence.

Coming up soon...

Having fun with inexpensive alternative protein sources: my obsession with legumes!

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