Tomatillo and Peach Salsa (& a wedding cake!)

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The past two weeks have been filled with a whole lotta love. I had the joyous fortune to witness the marriages of two sets of friends over the past two weeks, and am full to the brim with good feelings and joie de vivre. Not only am I overjoyed at the unions of all these lovely people who I am lucky to have in my life, I am refreshed and renewed by people of all kinds. So often, I go through my day with a stern countenance, wary of strangers, stingy with my smiles. In the past two weeks, I have had my mind expanded and my life momentarily affected by new no-longer strangers from around the world. My friends have the best friends.

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I love that I was able to rehearse and perform a Bollywood dance at Nandita and Alex’s wedding with 20 other recruited newbie dancers. (Also, turns out Daniel has some mad Bollywood skillz…) I can say pretty confidently we Rocked that dance, and the brides beamed and I felt instantaneous camaraderie with my “Zor Ka Jhatka” team. And then, when the reception was over, we held a little after party at our apartment with the 85 beers gifted to us by the caterers and three cabs-full of new friends.

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And then this weekend, after months of planning and taste tests and one bad dream involving emergency outsourced avocado curd (ew), my friend Leah and I made a wedding cake!!!! It was a giant labor of love, and by giant I mean pretty freaking giant — I think the whole thing used at least 40 sticks of butter, multiple bags of sugar, 75 eggs, and two big bags of lemons. The final monster was a vanilla cake from Rose’s The Cake Bible, with Ina’s lemon curd, Martha’s raspberry curd, Sweetapolita’s vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream, and hand-holding from Deb. (It takes a village…) The thing itself was transported in many boxes with the help of a kind boyfriend and amused cab driver, and then hastily stacked and decorated amidst ladders and lanterns being hung up, and caterers running around, and someone forgetting their pants and needing to run home half an hour before the wedding started. And yet, it came together beautifully and tastily too. So many strangers wanted to talk about the cake — to say how lovely it was (oh shucks), or about their own baking experiences, or to chat about my (nonexistent) professional baking career.

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Weddings are fun. I love being surrounded by people who have traveled far and wide to share in love. To celebrate togetherness. I like that these weddings happened with the change of the season — a gentle farewell to what was and an excited eye cast towards the future.

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In that light, perhaps you want to make salsa? With roasted tomatillos and the last of summer peaches? This salsa is a great picnic accompaniment and really, much easier than a wedding cake. But it’ll go fast and make people in awe of you anyway because most people just don’t understand how easy it is to make your own dang salsa.

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Daniel’s spicy spicy red pepper salsa recipe to come some day… we’ll wait for me to build my heat tolerance just a bit more.

one year ago: roasted radish, blistered pepper, and olive pizza

Tomatillo and Peach Salsa

This is a more straightforward vessel for chips than my previously-posted mango black bean “salad-alsa”. Might be harder to eat this with a spoon, but don’t let me stop you from trying. Adapted from macheesmo.com. 

1 lb tomatillos
2  big peaches
1 serrano or jalapeno pepper
1 big clove garlic, minced
½ c cilantro, chopped
1-2 T onion, finely chopped
1 lime
s&p

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove husks from tomatillos and cut in half. Place on a baking tray, cut-side up. Roast for 20 minutes.

Set a small pan on medium-high heat. Add serrano pepper, turning every minute or so until lightly charred on all sides. Set aside.

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. With a small sharp knife, score the bottom of each peach with a small “x”. Boil peaches for one minute. Drain and let cool. Peel peaches with your fingers, starting from the “x”. You will get juicy and messy! Lick your fingers (and then wash your hands). Cut peaches into small bite-sized pieces and place into a medium-sized bowl. Discard (or eat) skins.

In a food processor, combine tomatillos and the serrano pepper. Pulse until there are no pieces remaining, and mixture is homogeneous and slightly syrupy. Add tomatillos to peach bowl, along with the garlic, cilantro, onion, and juice of a lime. Season to taste with s&p.

So Proud!!

So Proud!!

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Buttermints

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Candy-making! An ideal Sunday evening post-salsa-rehearsal, post-Ramen-consumption, pre-Arrested-Development-and-popcorn-binge activity. We meant to send some to Daniel’s brother and sister-in-law, who just had a baby (CONGRATS!), but then we sorta ate them. Oops.

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This was a bit of a messy process (UNDERSTATEMENT), as the powdered sugar literally coated every surface of the apartment at the first beater rotation. Next time I would start with softer butter and add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. (And oh my, I just looked at their website and this is exactly what they suggest on their “Cookbook Corrections” page. I’m probably a candy genius.) But the messiness is worth it! These things are just an excuse to eat minty frosting cubes. I’ll let the pictures now speak for themselves.

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Buttermints

from The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook

1 stick (8 oz) unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
4 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar, plus extra to coat
2-3 T milk
½ t peppermint extract
food dye (optional)

In a large bowl, combine butter cubes and powdered sugar. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium-high speed until no more butter chunks remain. Pause frequently to scrape down bowl and replace fly-away butter chunks. BIG NOTE: This is freaking messy! We got powdered sugar literally over the entire table AND floor AND under the table AND on the adjoining shelf. Cover mixing bowl with a towel. You can easily use a stand mixer for this part, unless you live in NYC and have a ridiculously small kitchen and nowhere to store one. (Next time, for a hand mixer, I would start with softer butter and add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time…)

Add 2 T milk and peppermint extract and continue mixing on medium-high speed until big clumps form. (If necessary, add 3rd T of milk, but keep in mind it will take longer for mints to dry this way!) Keep mixing; mixture should soon form a loose dough. You can use your hands to help along this process.

Divide dough into four parts. Cover each loosely with plastic wrap. If you’re going to use food coloring, now is the time. Take one dough segment and place it on a cutting board covered with powdered sugar. Coat your hands with the sugar as well. Add just 1 drop of dye to dough and knead it with your fingertips until the color is fully mixed in. Add more dye as necessary. Then, keeping hands coated with powdered sugar, gently roll the dough into a log 1/4-inch thick. Using a very sharp knife, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and place on a cookie tray covered with parchment paper. Repeat this process for all 4 dough segments.

Leave out to dry overnight, uncovered and unrefridgerated. Apparently these stay good for weeks. Keep in an airtight container, separated by layers of parchment paper, in a dry place (not the fridge!).

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