light bright + airy pomelo-lime mousse

pomelo lime mousse

Two years ago, I had a dream about this recipe. [Like an awake sort-of dream. Why rely on my subconscious to dream up recipes when my conscious is all hey man how bout this schnazzy somethin’?] Pomelos had appeared in the exotic fruit section of the grocery store, and I was intrigued. I jotted some notes down, but by then I was too late – I had missed my chance to buy any of the mysterious fruit. Last year, I missed my chance again, because I was too busy acclimating to my new life in the woods. But this time around, I sprung into action.

Larger in diameter than grapefruit, but close to if not smaller in edible volume due to a thick spongy membrane, pomelos are juicy and mild tangy, and sweet-not-too-sweet. Shedding them of their thick outer skin is half the fun, though eating them is plenty good too.

pomelo lime mousse

I used to have a violin teacher who also worked in the real estate industry. One of his favorite pastimes during our lessons was debunking realtor slang for me. “Light, bright, and airy” was one of the ole standbys, used to make homes with small plain rooms sound welcoming, large, and nice. Bright and airy could refer to new large windows…. or perhaps old windows that were leaky and drafty.

In this instance, light, bright and airy connotes nothing but the best. This pomelo-lime mousse is creamy yet light, decadent though not cloying, fruity and fragrant but not overly laden with flavor. It is like a grass-is-growing flowers-are-sprouting bees-are-humming birds-are-singing sheer lacy dream in whipped cream+curd form.

Pomelo-Lime Mousse
Serves 8-10. Could be served as is, or as a component in a cake or trifle. Oooh, trifle. <–Look, my conscious just had another awesome idea.

++Ingredients:++

5 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
~3/4 c. pomelo juice (juice of one pomelo)
Zest from 1/2 a pomelo
Juice and zest from one lime
2 c. heavy cream
Additional pomelo and lime zest, to garnish

++Directions:++

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar until fluffy, light, and slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes if using an electric mixer. Set aside. In a double boiler set over high heat, melt butter.  Add egg mixture, stirring very frequently over a lengthy time period until the mixture turns custard- or curd-like. It will likely take the better part of 20 minutes. Don’t leave the mixture attended, however, or gloopy over-thickened bits will form on the bottom of the pan. When custardy, remove from heat.

Stir in juices and zests, and let cool to room temp, 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, whip cream past the stiff peaks stage. Gently fold in the pomelo-limey mixture until just incorporated. Mow down immediately because it is delicious! …or chill 1-2 hours in the fridge first.

Store well-covered in the fridge for one day if you must, but the mousse will quickly lose its dream-like qualities if you abandon it for much longer. It will grow lonely and watery. Don’t let that happen.

pomelo-lime mousse

Everything has been nice lately. It’s wonderful to no longer be sick as a dog. Poor maligned dogs, I should say it’s wonderful to no longer be sick as a sicky. Now I’m just back to being me, scampering about in the woods and loving my incredible life.

Things I’m thinking about:
Gardening! the cute lil seeds that are sprouting in my cabin right now. Yesterday, it was Oregon Spring tomatoes and Heshiko bunching onions. What will it be today??
Activity! after 5 weeks of doing nothing, I feel like a soggy potato without any starch, aka a wimp with no muscles. I’m getting back into my pushup/squat/insert other fitness here routine. I’ve taken to doing quick rounds of tabata youtube videos, sometimes even in the pre-dawn moments before work when I can wake myself up early enough. And last weekend, we went downhill skiing. I’d only been once before, when I lived in France in 2007. This time was much much much better, as I knew beforehand not to solely rely on “the snowplow” to get me down a steep hill.
Material goods! i have had the same face for the past five years. And so, after much contemplation, I have decided to get a facelift! JK, I just have a new pair of glasses on the way. JUST a new pair of glasses you say, beautiful glasses, gorgeous trendy in-your-face, heck, in-my-face new glasses I reply. My face is going to be a new face! A face all my own and yet nothing like me! I am pleased as punch.
A car! every since we broke the last one, I’ve missed having a car. Only having my truck is inefficient and fuel stupid. A car is on horizon – I hope.
– The Treats Sheet in the bottom photo! two pounds of mallowy goodness. Today my boss asked if I could eat the whole thing, and after prefacing with “I don’t even really like Rice Krispie treats,” I hypothesized that yes, I could easily eat all of this. Especially if sectioned off and stacked, to create a rarely-seen triple decker treat (TDT).

fernskiingtreatsapizza

blueberry mascarpone custard ice cream

rasps

Note: Given that I wrote these words last month, their memory is extra sweet. What I wouldn’t give for some plump fresh berries!

Raspberries are in full swing here. I simply cannot pass by a raspberry bush without grabbing a few of those sweet morsels. Raspberry bushes grow well in sunlit compacted soils, such as one might find lining roads and old log landings, so it’s a given that a heck of a lot of raspberries cross my path. And I go crazy for them, day after day. Ignoring plump ripe raspberries is like wishing summer away, which is something I would never do. I see each berry that I pick as giving thanks to the splendor of the world around me, and thanks for summer’s plentiful bounty. Is there a small thing that you do to savor the season and make the most of each day? I’d love to hear about the raspberry equivalent in your life.

But meanwhile, this post isn’t about raspberries.

blueberry mascarpone custard ice cream

This post is about blueberries.

I’ve made it my life’s mission to 1) listen to New Kids on the Block’s slammin’ album ’10’ at least once per day, and 2) come up with as many tasty blueberry recipes as possible. I’m still working on my hefty score from last year, and while I thought this was going to be the recipe to wipe my stash clean, I somehow still have several pounds in my freezer.

As I will proudly proclaim if you ever ask me (though you won’t), I don’t own an ice cream maker. I don’t find it a useful:space taken up in the kitchen ratioed gadget, given that I can create wonderful custard ice creams that I can then proceed to let chill on their own in the freezer. I do dream of the day when I can freeze my way through my copy of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home (finally, a cookbook I actually own… yet most recipes being ones I can currently only ponder), but for now, custard ice cream is the height of splendor at my home.

A whole tub of mascarpone has been added into this ice cream’s simple custard base, and the decadence is nearly outlandish. Smooth, creamy, and rich, each spoonful is akin to skiing down a mountain of mascarpone, skis cutting into the terrain and sweeping up great softly-cheesy waves of ambrosial delight.

If you know of a mountain where I can indeed ski across cheese, please contact me immediately.

blueberry mascarpone custard ice cream

Blueberry Mascarpone Custard Ice Cream

(Blueberry Saucy adapted from aforementioned Jeni’s)

Makes 1 delightfully large tub-full

For the Blueberry Saucy:

3 c. blueberries
Scant 1 1/2 c. sugar

Cook blueberries and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened somewhat. If you use wild blueberries, the thickenage will not be terribly apparent, but fear not, the sauce will thicken. Remove from heat and let cool.

For the Mascarpone Custard Ice Cream:

2 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
4-8 egg yolks, depending on how you feel about wasting/using egg whites
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
Hearty pinch of salt
1 tub mascarpone (8 oz.)

In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugars. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the cream and milk and heat gently until the mixture is approaching the frothy-boil stage but not boiling. Remove the pan from heat, and ever so slowly, pour the milk mixture into the egg mixture in a small but steady stream, whilst furiously whisking to avoid scrambling your eggs. Return to saucepan, and constantly stirring, cook over low heat until the mixture thickens up. This will take at least ten minutes, and may take as long as twenty, depending on your heat level and stirrage.

Remove from heat, and allow to cool at least ten minutes, until it is still hot, yet you can touch the mixture without injury. Add the tub of mascarpone, mixing in until it is melted.

In a freeer-proof container, alternate layers of the custard with layers of the blueberry sauce. Freeze (no stirring!) until, you guessed it, frozen.

016joepyestorm old chanterelle beach

After what feels like months of rain, because it has been, we have finally been gifted with a day or two of sunshine.

Late summer flowers are decaying, like the joe-pye weed you see up above. That’s Joe-Pye named after a mythical Indian who once upon-a cured a man’s typhus by making him perspire profusely due to a tea made from this plant, not Josie Pye, the perenially-unpleasant cheater from Avonlea.

I’m seen a lot of inclement weather, picked more than my fair share of wild mushrooms, and I even (finally) got to go to the beach. Summer was wonderful…. bring on autumn!

pistachio pudding shortbread + rosewater caramel slice

pistachio custard shortbread + rosewater caramel slice

Well, we’ve moved again. I feel like I’m always moving. This is partly because I actually am in constant transit, living out of a cabin during the week, traveling frequently on the weekends, and only seeing my ‘home’ a handful of days each month. On those brief occasions when I have time to zen out in my kitchen, I hope for the best. And this past weekend, right before the spectacle that we call moving house commenced, I zenned myself this delicious four-sticks-of-butter dessert.

This was an idea that sparked into existence after reading about Mary’s pretty Nanaimo Bars last week. She had me thinking about pudding. Thinking about pudding begat a shimmery remembrance of the perennially-delicious Custard Shortbread made with Bird’s Custard Powder. Thinking about a product I no longer have easy access to led me to see what was available to me in the baking aisle. Hence, realization dawned upon me that I could make delicious shortbread with any kind of pudding known to man.

So, duh, I chose to light up my soggy moving weekend with an electric green Pistachio Pudding Shortbread.

pistachio custard shortbread + rosewater caramel slice

But this slice, already off to a roaring neon start, was destined for additional greatness. As I peered into a fridge filled with things to be used up or thrown out, this recipe with only two sticks of butter in it seemed somehow unfinished.

A caramel sauce, made to harden in the fridge, and yet soften nicely when brought to room temperature, was flavored with rosewater – the perfect and classic pistachio pairing.

Could it get any tastier? I believe not, because lordy, I am smitten. Smitten with this incredible treat, which is as versatile as it is pretty. A quick dessert, a workday snack, an easily portioned-out eye-catching party dish. This shortbread touches all the bases.

Pistachio Pudding Shortbread + Rosewater Caramel Slice {recipe by myself}

Makes one 8″ x 8″ pan (16 large, 20 medium slices)

For the shortbread:

16 tbsp (two sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 package pistachio pudding powder
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. sugar
2 c. flour
3/4 tsp salt

Combine butter and pudding powder in a large bowl and mix well. Add in sugars and salt, mix to combine.

Sift flour into mixture in two batches, mixing well. Press into an 8 x 8″ cake pan. No need to score shortbread ahead of time, but prick all over with a fork or chopstick.

Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and set in the middle. Cool in tin ten minutes before pouring caramel on top.

For the caramel:

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/3 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. packed brown sugar
2/3 c. corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1/3 c. heavy cream
2+ tsp rosewater

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine all ingredients except rosewater. Cook over high heat (stirring is not necessary) until caramel reaches the hard ball candy stage, or 250 F. Remove from heat, and allow to cool five to ten minutes. Mix in rosewater to taste – if you add the rosewater when the mixture is still very hot, the flavor of rosewater will disappear.

Pour slightly cooled mixture onto shortbread. Place in the refrigerator (with a hot pad underneath initially) and chill at least two hours. Cover the slice with plastic wrap if desired.

To serve, remove from refrigerator 20-30 minutes prior to serving, or microwave for ten to fifteen seconds. So delicious.

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Speaking of delicious, we made some French toast out of croissants sliced in half during a few minutes of moving downtime on Memorial Day. And by we, I mean my boyfriend made them while I laid on the floor and squeezed in some serious cat time. She’s so cute!

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Let me know if this post looks funky. Suffice it to say (and I’m an excellent sufficer), it’s been an insane week. I’m finishing this post up on my phone from the NY LaGuardia airport. Hence, I have no clue what it will really look like.

Vacay, here we come!