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Posts Tagged ‘prunes’

I know, I know…prunes again.  But I think I already provided you with full disclosure.   I love prunes.  And meanwhile, I’ve had this Bergamot sitting in the fridge, calling my name, begging me to do something interesting with it. And then I happened upon Molly Wizenberg’s recipe for stewed prunes in her book, A Homemade Life.  Have you read it?  I love it.  It’s  sweet and romantic in a lovely-life sort of way.

Well, Molly uses an orange and cinnamon stick as flavoring, but I thought that this would be a perfect place to use that Bergamot.  And it uses the whole thing, which is a plus, since Bergamots are hard to come by and expensive!! I wasn’t willing to use just the juice, or just the zest.  I wanted to get my money’s worth!

Have you ever tasted a Bergamot?  Really, I’m not sure how to describe the flavor.  The flesh is sweet and kind-of earthy-musty- floral- all- at-once.  In fact, it’s part of the flavor profile in Earl Grey Tea, and is used as a “scent” in some cleaning products.  But to have a fresh one, cut in front of you is wonderful.  If ever you come across a Bergamot- shell out the bucks and buy it!

Prunes stewed with Bergamot and Cardamon adapted from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

  • 12 ounces pitted prunes
  • 1 small bergamot
  • 4 cardamon pods

Slice the bergamot into 1/4-inch slices- skin and all.  Remove the seeds.  Place the slices in a wide, shallow sauce pan along with the pitted prunes and cardomon pods.  Add water to barely cover. Place the sauce pot over medium heat and bring the water to a simmer until the water barely “trembles” (Molly’s description- don’t you love it?).  Cook very gently for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool and store, refrigerated for at least 24 hours before using.

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Not so hum-drum

Pardon me sir, but do you have any prunes?  Yes prunes.  I prefer them with pits.  That way, you can gnaw at them and coax the bits of fruit out of the craggy pits with your tongue for hours.  Ahh, glorious.

Well, the other day I was following a recipe that required prunes to be soaked in tea.  So I brewed myself a pot of Earl Grey and soaked my prunes.  But the recipe suggested that I pour out the liquid!!!  (Sacre bleu!)  Heavens no!!!  I dutifully saved that sweet elixir and cooked my steel-cut oatmeal in it the next morning.  ‘Twas a lovely pot of oatmeal.  And oatmeal just ain’t oatmeal without a pat of butter, a spoonful of brown sugar and a generous pour of milk.

Steel-Cut Oatmeal Cooked in Prune-Sweetened Tea
yields one huge bowl or 2 average-sized bowls

To make the prune-sweetened tea, simply brew a large mug of your favorite black tea and  dunk in a handful of pitted prunes. Allow to steep for about 30 minutes.  Strain out the prunes and nibble at your leisure.

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups prune-sweetened tea
  • small pinch salt
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • milk for topping
  • sugar for topping

In a small sauce pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the oats and stir until they begin to smell slightly toasted.  Add the tea and simmer very gently until the oats are tender but toothy, about 15 minutes.  Stir in a small pinch of salt.  Pour into a bowl and top with yummy toppings.

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