mandag den 19. marts 2012

Secret Recipe Club March: Pomegranate Molasses, Raspberry/Feta/Pomegranate Salad with Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette & Easy Margarita Ice Cream

Another month, another SRC assignment - yay!
For March, I was assigned to Wendy's blog, The Weekend Gourmet.
Wendy spends most time cooking during the weekends (hence the blog name), and the blog started out as a challenge from her husband, to actually use some of her cookbooks, instead of just reading them. She put together some gourmet dinners using her cookbooks, and a few weekends and several-course-dinners later, she decided to start blogging about her weekend adventure - The Weekend Gourmet was born.

When deciding what to make from Wendy's recipes, I started out using the date archive at the bottom of the page, to see if I could find something that would match the season we are in. But actually I ended up choosing from something she made in May, July, September and November. So much for staying in the season!

Beginning of November 2010, Wendy had a small dinner party, where the theme was Pomegranate. I absolutely LOVE pomegranates, so I quickly decided to make something from her theme dinner.
I already had a pomegranate molasses kind of thing in the pantry (it's a Turkish pomegranate sauce called Nar Eksili), but decided that I wanted to try and make my own like Wendy, using pomegranate nectar (a mix of juice, water, sugar and a few other things - I couldn't find real pomegranate juice).
I used this molasses to make a pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette to serve with a salad - a mix of two of Wendy's recipes: Raspberry-Almond Salad with Pomegranate-Balsamic Vinaigrette and Red Leaf Salad with Israeli Feta, Pistachios, Pomegranate  Arils and Pomegranate Vinaigrette.

I used ingredients from both salads, but had to leave out pistachios as I couldn't find any when I went shopping - instead I used some salted peanuts.
I also looked at both recipes for the vinaigrette when making mine.

Since this salad was quite simple, I thought I would try to find something else I could make as well - something sweet. Wendy is not much of a baker, so when I found the recipe for Nigella Lawson's Easy Margarita Ice Cream, I decided to go with that. Besides, I recently bought the cookbook where this ice cream was in, and had already marked it for later use, so no time as the SRC present.

Therefore, I now give you my Pomegranate Molasses, Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette on Raspberry/Feta/Pomegranate Salad , and Easy Margarita Ice Cream!

Nar Eksili on the left, my molasses in the middle,
and the nectar straight out of the box on the right -
there is a clear colour difference between the last two!
Pomegranate Molasses:
adapted from The Weekend Gourmet
makes about 1/3 cup

2 cups / ½ l pomegranate nectar (with 25% juice - since there is already plenty of sugar in the nectar, I didn't ad any extra)

Boil the nectar in a pan at medium heat until it starts to thicken (may have taken a little over ½ hour) - pour a spoonful on a cold plate and leave it in the fridge for a few minutes. If the consistency is as desired, it is done (be careful not to cook for too long, or you won't be able to get it out of the bottle, when it has cooled down. This happened to me once, when making apple syrup. Trust me when I say, it was not pretty).
Pour molasses in a small bottle and let it cool completely before using it for vinaigrettes or maybe desserts.

Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette:
adapted from The Weekend Gourmet here and here

1/4 cup / 0,6 dl olive oil
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp raspberry balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp finely minced shallot
a few fresh basil leaves, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together oil, molasses, vinegar, shallots and basil until everything emulsifies. Ad salt and pepper to taste, and leave it for 30-60 minutes while you make the salad, so the flavours can develop.

Raspberry/Feta/Pomegranate Salad:
adapted from The Weekend Gourmet here and here

1 package of rinsed mixed field greens
1 small container of fresh raspberries
½ cup / 1 1/4 dl crumbled feta
1/3 cup / 3/4 dl peanuts
1/3 cup / 3/4 dl pomegranate kernels

Mix everything in a bowl, or arrange on a nice plate. Let your guests pour the vinaigrette on their own plate.

Conclusion for the salad etc.:

I loved this salad, and the vinaigrette! Using berries and fruit in salads is something I do quite often - the sweet raspberries complimented the salty feta perfectly, together with the tangy vinaigrette. I have a craving for light and fresh meals at the moment, and this did the job perfectly. We were supposed to have some smoked mackerel with it, but I ended up eating the salad by itself.
Even though Hubby is not fond of raspberries (the small kernels get stuck between his teeth), I will be making this again - and have the raspberries all to myself.

Easy Margarita Ice Cream:
adapted from The Weekend Gourmet (and Nigella Lawson)
approx. 4 cups / 1 l

Plenty of lime juice, and zest
½ cup / 1 1/4 dl fresh lime juice (I used 3 small organic and 1 large ordinary lime to get that quantity)
2 tsp grated lime zest (from an organic one) 
3 tbsp tequila
3 tbsp Grand Marnier
approx. 1½ packed cups / 200 g powdered sugar
2 cups / ½ l whipping cream

Mix lime juice, zest, tequila, Grand Marnier and sugar in a bowl, until all the sugar is dissolved. Ad the cream and whisk it for a few minutes - the cream shouldn't be stiff, just light and fluffy. Make sure to taste if it needs more powdered sugar - when it freezes, it will taste less sweet, so it needs to be more sweet than you want it at this point.
Churn it in an ice cream maker if you have one, or just put it in a plastic container and freeze overnight (according to the recipe, it doesn't need stirring, but I used my ice cream machine, so I can't tell what the consistency will be like if you don't).

 Conclusion for the ice cream:

Did I say I was craving something fresh?
Then I'll tell you that I got what I asked for. But as I am typing this, I realize it is my own fault, because I made a mistake and only used half the cream that I was supposed to - 1 cup instead of 2!!
So it turned out extremely fresh - and I have to say that I think I could feel the alcohol after eating the serving in the picture. (Luckily I wasn't driving when we went out that evening).
I hope it is due to the missing cream that it won't freeze properly - after a day in the freezer it still had the consistency of a soft serve.
Which makes it easier to drink, if you're out of any other alcohol.

I would like to make it again, this time the right way - or maybe I will consider whipping in some extra cream and see if that helps.
I did enjoy it, though.
And got all the freshness I was craving.