February 13, 2009

Take a Mental Vacation!

Barcelona! Tuscany! London!

What do all these place have in common?

Well, they are places that I doubt I will be able to see in my lifetime. You see, there's the whole actually having to pay money to get on the plane rule. What's that about? They're going anyways. I'll give up my snacks. Ooo or better yet, I'll pass out the snacks and drinks. Please?

Yeah, I doubt that would work, so I have to go with the next(next) best thing. Bringing it to my home. The thing that I love about food is that it allows you to enjoy the culture and flavors of a different country without leaving your town or even your home. You can tell a lot about a country by the way they cook and what they cook. I should have just gotten a degree in food history. Is there even such a degree?

...anyways, lets take a mental vacation to Spain. To make this work, we need to appeal to all the senses or at least a few key senses.

  • Sound: Throw on some flamenco and dance around your living room. The internet has so many free music sources that you would be able to find hours of music.
  • Sight: The travel channel always has a show showcasing a certain country or travel story. If you have cable, then you're able to immerse yourself this way or search for it on the internet.I'm sure everyone knows or has heard of Samantha Brown. Btw, if her job is ever open, will someone let me know? I'd like to sign up for that gig.
  • Taste: Oo Oo. This is my favorite sense. (obviously) The food of Spain is so diverse, but always good. They basically have something for everybody. The country is placed in the perfect spot. They have access to so many different bodies of water and borders France (a country also known for it's culinary wonders).
I could go into touch, but I think we're good at this point. Put it all together and you have your mental vacation.

Let's go back to the taste thing. What are my favorite dishes from Spain? I could go with paella or the spanish tortilla, but I like dessert. Crema catalana is one of my favorite dishes to eat. It's much like crème brûlée that you find in France, but this is not baked in the oven. It's a mixture of egg yolks, milk, cornstarch, sugar, orange zest,and lemon zest. The mixture is cooked until slightly thickened, poured into ramekins, and placed into the cooler for a few hours until set. After that, the fun part starts. Just a sprinkle of sugar and a blow torch and you have yourself a delicious dessert.

Crema Catalana

1 cup Sugar
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1/2 orange
Sugar, for sprinkling

In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar together until creamy and light in color. Whisk in cornstarch, milk, vanilla extract, and zest of the lemon and orange until well blended. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and heat slowly over medium heat. Make sure you constantly stir until it is just thickened. Once you are able to coat the back of a spoon, pour into your chosen servings dishes. Place into the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours, or until set. Sprinkle sugar on top and brown with a blow torch.


Anonymous said...

Totally need a vacay to any of those places! This little treat should do the trick for the moment.

V.Streit said...

Don't we all, duodishes, don't we all.

Maggie said...

This sounds like a zabaglione done custard style. I have to try it!

BTW, the Jello cookies are chewy right out of the oven but turn crispy as they cool.

Sarah and Gan said...

love your blog Nila. your baking and food looks yummy!

V.Streit said...

Sarah and Gan: Thank you for stopping by. :) I'm a big fan of your photography.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, but this sounds good!

*scampers off to the kitchen*

Thanks for sharing (and the mental vacation...big fan of kitchen dancing, myself). :D


Sue said...

I LOVE Crema Catalana. It combines the best of all custard worlds. Yours looks wonderful.

rachel said...

The recipe includes milk in the instructions but not in the ingredients.

V.Streit said...

Rachel:Oops! Thanks for pointing that out.


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