Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Top 10 Perfect Foods

I decided to do a little Google-ing as research for today’s blog. You see, I have a list of foods that I feel are the “Perfect Food”, perfect for me. I thought it might be fun to see what other people think. So, I Googled it and figured I would see “the egg” and “milk”…but I got the following….
Acai…fruit from the Amazon's "tree of life"….
Salba… the seed of South America’s legendary salvia hispanica plant….
Hempseed…still legal here in the United States….

This is about the time I decided “they” don’t know how to pick “perfect foods.”
You see, my list goes something like this….
#1…Crème Brûlée
2.. Cioppino
3.. Polenta
4…Jasper’s Lobster Cappuccino
5.. Warm Homemade Ricotta Cheese
6.. Grilled Cheese Sandwich
7… My Mom’s Sugar Cookies
8… 1 ½” thick Rare Rib Eye Steak, grilled over an open flame
9… Havarti Cheese
10…Flourless Chocolate Cake

Of course, there is always fried chicken, lasagna, mashed potatoes with rich beef gravy, apple pie, eggnog, chocolate truffles, fried catfish and hushpuppies, etc. I suppose no one will ever accuse me of being into health foods! For some reason, Acai, Salba and Hempseed just don’t exist in my world.
Try this recipe and see if you don’t agree that it is #1 on my list for a good reason! Remember, Creme Brulee or "burnt cream" is satiny custard. It is served chilled yet glistens with a crisp caramelized sugar top, which when tapped with the back of a dessert spoon, shatters like glass, revealing that cool, vanilla-infused custard hidden below.

Crème Brûlée
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated white sugar for caramelizing

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Add cream and vanilla and continue to whisk until well blended. Strain into a large bowl, skimming off any foam or bubbles. Divide mixture among 6 ramekins or custard cups. Prepare an oven-going water bath by placing a paper towel in the bottom of a pan large enough to hold the six ramekins without touching. The towel keeps the ramekins from sliding. Put the ramekins in the pan and put on the center rack of the oven, then carefully fill the pan with warm water until the level reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Close the door and begin timing. Bake until set around the edge but still loose in the center, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave in the water bath until cooled. Remove cups from water bath and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. When ready to serve, sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar over each custard. Caramelize the sugar with a small hand-held torch or place the ramekins under the broiler until the sugar melts. Re-chill custards for a few minutes before serving.
Yield: 6 servings
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