Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - February 16th

This week Zarah and I decided to try out some ingredients we’ve never cooked with before. My first new-to-me ingredient is pomegranate molasses. Amy at Cooking with Amy has been raving about this stuff for quite some time now and had really piqued my interest. It is a reduction of pomegranate juice that is sweet and tangy and is commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking. I couldn’t find any in the stores near me, so I mail ordered some (definitely NOT the cheapest way to get it!). It arrived last week and I turned immediately to Amy’s blog for some ideas on how to use it. I found her very easy recipe for Tangy Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce, which is so good I could eat it with a spoon. I broiled some boneless chicken breasts and brushed on some of the barbecue sauce near the end. That was good, but I think I enjoyed the leftovers even more…I cut up the chicken and reheated it in a little more of the sauce and served it over rice.

Looking around on the web, I found this comparison of several different brands of pomegranate molasses. Turns out the brand I bought, Sadaf, is one of the sweetest (it is made from sweet American pomegranates) and most suited to desserts. Guess I’ll have to hunt around some more for one of the other recommended brands – Cortas is highly recommended in this comparison and by Amy. I look forward to trying pomegranate molasses in some other recipes and playing with it on my own. Thanks to Amy for introducing me to this wonderful ingredient!

I’ve tasted fleur de sel before, but had never cooked with it. Over a year ago I printed a recipe from Clotilde’s Chocolate & Zucchini for Lemon and Fleur de Sel Butter Cookies. I can’t remember now if it caught my eye because I had recently purchased some fleur de sel, or if I purchased some fleur de sel because I wanted to try these cookies. Whichever it was, both the recipe and the fleur de sel languished in my kitchen for quite some time, but Valentine’s Day and our try-new-things theme brought this recipe to mind. These are delicate butter and almond cookies that have a thin sugar and lemon glaze. I was disappointed that I couldn’t detect the fleur de sel, but the cookies were very good. The recipe calls for 5 to 7 pinches of fleur de sel. I used 6 pinches and I would guess my pinches were a little stingy – next time I would definitely use more. These are rolled cookies, but the instructions are quite different. Rather than chilling the dough and then rolling it, you roll it between two sheets of parchment (I used waxed paper) and then chill it. This is a neat trick, which makes rolling them out nearly fool-proof. I used two sizes of heart cookie cutters (small and really small) and they were very cute. I presented a plate of the cookies to my parents for Valentine’s Day and brought the rest to my office. If you follow my blog, you know my coworkers have been eating a lot of my cookies lately, but that didn’t dampen their enthusiasm for these cookies – I even received one request for the recipe.

Don’t forget to stop by Zarah’s for another sweet new ingredient.


Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading about this project! You manage to infect me with your enthusiasm.

Cathy said...

Thanks so much Karen! There are so many tempting recipes presented in food blogs that it is sometimes hard to choose which to try first!