Roasted Fruit Packages

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The sub header of my creatively named blog, the Chef Mimi blog, is “so much food, so little time”. I could have easily made it, “so many restaurants, so little time.”

Dining out may be my favorite thing to do. Like it’s my serious hobby. Whenever we have a travel destination, I’m researching top ten restaurants, new restaurant openings, best new chefs, and working online at open table.com for reservations.

Of course this is more challenging in major cities like New York. I’ve tried to get us in to ABC kitchen 5 times with no luck. And I start early.

One restaurant that has always been on my NYC list is Buvette – so much so that I bought the cookbook “Buvette – The Pleasure of Good Food” by Jody Williams, who is the chef and owner.

The restaurant, considered a gastrothèque, opened in 2010 and has received many accolades. Before opening Buvette, Jody Williams worked with such culinary notables as Thomas Keller and Lidia Bastianich.

When I first received the cookbook from Amazon, I bookmarked quite a few intriguing recipes, but one really called to me – Fruit in Parchment Paper.

For the recipe, Ms. Williams oven-roasts fresh and dried fruits in squares of parchment paper, much as how one would prepare fish. She serves the packages of fruit with cheese as an “unexpected alternative to the ubiquitous cluster of grapes that seem to accompany every cheese platter in the world!”


Except for serving a compote, a chutney, or aigre doux of fruit, I have never served roasted fruit as a cheese platter accompaniment. So needless to say I was excited. And being that it’s early summer, I have access to a good variety of fresh fruit.

Ms. Williams suggests mixing up the fruit to suit your taste. She suggests the combination of pumpkin, apples and dates. I’m saving that for next fall.

Fruit in Parchment Paper

2 tables of dried currants (I used dried sour cherries)
1/2 cup vin santo* (I used Sauternes)
1 apple peeled cored and thinly sliced
1 quince peeled cored and thinly sliced (I used plums)
2 tablespoons honey
A pinch of coarse salt
1/4 cup walnuts

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl soak the currants in the vin santo for at least 10 minutes. Once they’re a bit softened, add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.



Meanwhile cut out four 8″ squares of parchment paper. Evenly divide the mixture among the squares. Bring the edges of each square together and fold them over each other creating a continuous seal. ( I had parchment bags that I used.)

Place the four packages on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until the fruit smells fragrant and the paper is browned, about 15 minutes.

I almost made my smoke alarm go off roasting the fruits; so much of the syrup leaked through the bags and began smoking.


I paired the fruit with Mimolette, a smoked Raclette, and Saint-Félicien, along with some bread.


If you’ve never had Saint-Félicien, you need to get some. It’s mild, a little salty, and oh so creamy. It paired especially well with the fruit.

The fruit was also perfect for a torchon of foie gras I served that evening when friends came over (not pictured).


I understand that the parchment packages help steam-cook the fruits, but honestly they ended up being terribly messy.

In the future, I will place the fruit mixture in a large gratin pan, and roast at 375 degrees, maybe stirring once. That way, you don’t lose the syrup, and the fruit will still be cooked but also a bit more caramelized.


* Ms. Williams states that Banyuls, Port, or Sauternes can be substituted for the wine.

I’m already thinking of new fruit combinations…
Cherries apples dried apricots
Pears grapes dates
Peaches apples figs
And so forth

note: When I make this again, I will also chop the fruit. I think the smaller pieces will be easier to place on breads and crackers.

Carrot Cider Soup

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My husband and I were lucky enough to go to the restaurant Square One in San Francisco many years ago. And we were on expense account. There’s just something about that benefit that makes the dining experience even more wonderful!

The restaurant, owned by chef Joyce Goldstein, opened in 1984. According to an article I found online, Joyce Goldstein was “one of, if not the first, to explore Mediterranean food with her interpretations of specialties from Turkey, Italy, Greece, Morocco and other sun-washed countries.”

All I remember was that the menu was impressive and the food delicious. I unfortunately don’t remember any specifics of that night. I’m guessing our wine was plentiful, however, this dining experience was 30 years ago!

In 1992 Joyce Goldstein published the cookbook Back to Square One – Old-World Food in a New-World Kitchen.
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Recently I decided to peruse some older cookbooks of mine, and I immediately fell in love with Back to Square One again. There are so many recipes I want to try, like Balkan crab salad with walnuts and lemon mayonnaise. As well as recipes I want to make again, like Catalan-style quail stuffed in roasted peppers with olives.

This weekend we’re having our favorite people over to raclette` and I found a soup in the cookbook that will be perfect to begin our feast.

The actual name of Joyce Goldstein’s soup is French Apple Cider and Carrot Soup. It’s a carrot soup with the addition of hard cider. To make it a little more festive, I decided to top off the soup with a little creme fraiche and some julliened apples.

Unfortunately I’m not so good at presentation, but here is the recipe:
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French Apple Cider and Carrot Soup
Back to Square One

Serves 6
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/4 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup hard apple cider
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent and sweet, 10 to 15 minutes.
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Add the carrot chunks and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots are very tender.

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Purée the soup in the blender or food processor, using only as much of the stock as necessary to purée the carrots.

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Transfer the purée to a clean saucepan and then add the apple cider, the cream, and as much of the remaining stock as necessary to think the soup to the desired consistency.

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I actually added the cider and cream while the soup was still in the blender jar.
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Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a pinch of sugar or nutmeg if the soup needs sweetening.
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I added a small dollop of creme fraiche, and a few jullienned apples, plus freshly ground nutmeg, and also pink peppercorns.

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note: After making this soup with the uncooked hard cider, I have a few thoughts.
1. In spite of the low alcohol content, the flavor is too sharp and raw for the soup.
2. Perhaps the hard cider would work better after first a reduction of 50%.
3. Regular apple cider would work, but it should be added along with the chicken broth.
4. A splash of Calvados could add a little flavor, but I recommend adding it along with the chicken broth.
5. Including a cored apple or pear to the carrots would add a natural sweetness to the soup.

Pimm’s

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I remember the first time I had Pimm’s, in 1978. I wasn’t much of a drinker way back then, but I remember it being so unique. I had no idea it even had a British origin – I just enjoyed the flavor!

Fast forward 25 years to when my older daughter visited a girlfriend in London, and they shared a pitcher of Pimm’s at a pub! I was so excited, because I’d forgotten all about it, and certainly had no knowledge of its national esteem.

The origin of Pimm’s is very interesting, dating back to the 1800’s when Mr. Pimm invented the gin-based drink. There was originally Pimm’s No. 1, as it is now, but there were also five subsequent Pimm’s; most all of these have been phased out.

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The liqueur contains a secret mixture of herbs, fruit extracts and liqueurs. It experienced a recent revival in popularity from a British tv show whose character would announce, “It’s Pimm’s O’clock!”

I didn’t even know this when I snapped this photo at the Hampton Court food fair outside of London. I was with number 2 daughter and it was freezing out. But by golly there was Pimm’s being sold and I needed to have an official one! It was indeed delicious, although not perfect for a chilly day.

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However, Pimm’s is perfect for spring and summer when it’s acting like spring and summer. Because it’s so refreshing, I often make pitchers of it or put it in a large dispenser. It goes with just about any kind of cuisine.

I took this photo of my Pimm’s at the food fair:

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Here is the “official” recipe for Pimm’s, also referred to as Pimm’s cup.

Pimm’s Cup

Mix 1 part PIMM’S No.1
with 3 parts chilled lemonade.
Add some mint, cucumber, orange
and strawberry

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In a large pitcher, pour in the seltzer, lemonade and Pimm’s. Stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared glasses and enjoy!

This recipe comes from the website Anyone for Pimm’s.

If you noticed, there’s no mention of how much seltzer to use, unless British lemonade is bubbly, but I don’t think it is.

So here’s my recipe:

Pimm’s Cup, for one

In one tall glass, place 1 part Pimm’s, 1 part lemonade and 2 parts fresca. Add a generous amount of ice, and stir well. Add some pieces of cut up orange, apple, and strawberry.

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At the food fair, I could definitely taste mint and cucumber in my Pimm’s. It was completely enjoyable, but I don’t like my Pimm’s to taste too much like water you get at the spa, so I leave out the cucumber. However, I do use a long piece of cucumber that helps with stirring. But you try it however you like.

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When I make Pimm’s in a pitcher, I add a whole array of sliced fruits because it’s so pretty! And you can muddle a bunch of mint leaves if you like, before finishing with the recipe. I love the mintiness, but I don’t like having to deal with chopped mint in my teeth. A personal preference, again.

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note: Pimm’s is a strong drink, but it should not be cloyingly sweet. The secret, from years of personal experimentation, is the Fresca. The drink should be bubbly, not taste like a liqueur on ice. If you prefer using seltzer water, or can’t get your hands on Fresca, be as generous with that. It lightens the drink without adding sweetness, which it doesn’t need. Enjoy!