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Posts Tagged ‘Malibu’

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Baking is not the terrifying thing people make it out to be. Truly, this week you dealt with health insurance, nursed a cold, got rear-ended on a major highway, and had your umbrella blow inside out twice.* After that, putting one’s hands in flour and chopping chocolate is a proven way to set everything to rights, to regain control and start over. And it soothes like nothing else right now, during what can be the coldest month of the year.**

I actually made two soda breads this month. Every March I dream of what soda bread riff I want to do. This year I added blood orange juice and zest, cloves, cinnamon, 65% cacao chocolate chunks, a dose of Grand Marnier, and instead of cow’s milk yogurt I think I used goat’s. The juice added to the yogurt made the dough faintly pink, which I thought was hilarious, and was sorry to see the color kind of fade in the oven. But it was a winner. That’s it above. I pulled pieces off and munched on them warm.

Then for my sister’s birthday I made another soda bread and added unsweetened coconut flakes, 72% cacao chocolate, and a few glugs of Malibu. It was basically a boozy Mounds bar tucked inside some bread. An unorthodox birthday cake. She was a fan.

Today I made a pizza I’ve been wanting to recreate since 2008, when I visited Mo’orea, an island off Tahiti. The shack on the side of the road is called Allo Pizza. Mo’orean locals are generally French speakers and French food eaters with a healthy hunger for fish and their lovely tropical produce. It’s not a combination that calls to mind pizza, but there it was. I wasn’t a food writer then, not officially, but I kept a journal that documented what we did and what we ate; and praise Jesus, or I wouldn’t remember the toppings on this pie: fresh tuna (they call it ‘lagoon fish,’ caught across the street), capers, anchovies, Parmesan, garlic, and herbes de Provence. It’s an unlikely combination, but so was being halfway around the world and eating on the street while dodging guys doing wheelies on mopeds. We did notice that no one wore gloves while handling the toppings, and that there was no refrigeration for the fish. So only we ate there for lunch, as soon as it opened. And just the same, we waited to get sick, but it never happened.

The tuna below was not caught across the street but caught from behind the counter at Whole Foods, a reasonable substitute. It was great fun to make, warming and delicious, wheelies or no wheelies.

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*Yep , right here.
**Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Pa used to say, ‘When the days begin to lengthen, the cold begins to strengthen.’ I can never remember when I parked at Target, but this I remember.

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So yesterday I was in kind of a bummery mood, down in the dumps. Rented a dorky rom com to watch, took a walk to the beach. It helped a bit. Then I remembered the plans I had made a couple of days ago to bake. This is the time of year to enjoy tropical fruits, and long ago I cobbled together a way to enjoy one of my favorites among them—pineapple–with biscuits, to make shortcake.

First find yourself a recipe for biscuits. I like one of Martha Stewart’s, the one that has yogurt in the recipe, but any will do. They come together, in one bowl, in less than the time it takes to heat up the oven. They’re only in the oven for maybe 15 minutes. You don’t even have to soften the butter to make biscuits. Try it…it’s easy and there’s nothing store bought to compare with the flavor.

I’ll also say a fresh pineapple is best to use because it’s not as goopy sweet as the kind you get in cans, and you’re going to be adding a little brown sugar to this. That and all of those 100% uniform canned pieces of pineapple kind of annoy me 🙂 Fresh pineapple has character—in its flavor, its texture, its everything.

Cut up the pineapple and put the chunks into a big, wide skillet over medium heat. Add something like 1/8 cup of brown sugar and a few splashes of rum, however much you like. I like Malibu, but you call the ball. A dark rum like Bacardi would be good, too. Stir up the mixture and once it’s hot, turn off the heat. I’ve noticed you lose the rumminess if you cook it too long.

Are the biscuits done? Awesome. Sit them on the pan on a rack for a minute while you get out a bowl for yourself. I use organic lowfat vanilla yogurt instead of whipped cream for this (though please don’t get me wrong—real whipped cream would be divine). Take out your yogurt along with a spoon and a fork.

Take the biggest biscuit off the pan and sit it in your bowl. Carefully work the fork in and out of it, turning the biscuit as you go, until you have divided it in half. (Yes, you could use a serrated knife, but that makes the halves too smooth and perfect. I like the uneven nubbiness the fork gives it.) Open up the two sides. Inhale the steam and smile. Now spoon some of the warm pineapple chunks onto the bottom half of the biscuit. Plop some yogurt on top of the fruit, put the biscuit lid on, and plop some more yogurt on top of that.

You’ll need the fork to spear up pieces of pineapple and to cut through the crispy biscuit; you’ll need the spoon to sop up yogurt and errant pineapple juice. This is not a dainty dish, but that’s one of its virtues, kids.

The hot hot fruit and hot hot biscuit with the cold cold yogurt is delirium inducing, and makes a lovely breakfast or dessert. Last night I really needed soothing, so I treated myself to it for dinner. No apologies.

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