Showing posts with label Strawberries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Strawberries. Show all posts

Friday, March 26, 2010

Renoir's Strawberries ~ Feasting On Art

I was born on the same date as Pierre-Auguste Renoir --Feb 25th. This could be why Renoir (1841 to 1919) has always captured my imagination. We are celestially related.

Luncheon of the Boating Party 1881

I love what he does with fruit and vegetables in his wonderful blue dishes. So many of his paintings involve food and restaurants or en plein air picnics or just beautifully composed still lifes.

Fruits from the Midi 1881

In his hands, even the humble onion looks spectacular with his heroic brushwork.

Onions 1881

When Megan at Feasting on Art encouraged her fans with a contest to use this beautiful painting as inspiration (as she does brilliantly in every post) I wracked my brain to come up with something interesting befitting the challenge.

Pierre Auguste Renoir, Strawberries, 1905, 
oil on canvas, 46 x 28 cm, Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris, France

Strawberries in hand, I decided to keep them in their perfect pure state and cook around them. I had my lemon and decided the little blue and white pot would have Martha Stewart’s Basil Jelly inside. You may think making jelly is just too much for a recipe but I must tell you… I use it for everything since it’s divine on fresh fruit and magnificent with fish and chicken.

As for the St. Germain elderflower liqueur , TRUE CONFESSION -- I was completely seduced by the provocative ad campaign and the stunning bottle so I bought some! The great thing is that it tastes amazing with an indescribable sweetness and delicacy that does lovely things to a Crème Anglaise and the bottle is so Fin de siècle which seems perfect for this recipe.

The glass is English 1850’s, the bowl is Japanese Meiji Period

Strawberries with Lemon-Almond Tuiles, St Germain Crème Anglaise. and Basil Jelly

Pour crème anglaise in your dish of choice, drizzle on some basil jelly and add strawberries and then enjoy the sheer decadence of dipping the strawberries in the thick scented cream whilst munching on those tuiles. You can also have a dish of jelly and one of crème anglaise! You may want to gild that lily and have St. Germain on the side. It tastes like Spring with alcohol.

Lemon Almond Tuiles Adapted from Martha Stewart
1/2 cup almonds, ground fine

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
 (start with 3 T and see if that is enough)
1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large egg whites

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Juice and Zest of 1 small lemon
2/3 cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted 

Preheat oven to 325° F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.

In a bowl whisk together ground almonds, flour, sugar, and salt. Whisk in whites, butter, and almond extract until combined.

Drop rounded teaspoons of batter about 4 inches apart onto baking sheet and with back of a spoon spread into 3 1/2-inch rounds. Sprinkle each cookie with about 1/2 tablespoon sliced almonds.

Bake the cookies in the middle of your oven for 8-10 minutes, or until golden around the edges.
As the cookies become done, remove them from baking sheet, 1 at a time, with a thin spatula. Cool cookies completely and transfer to an airtight container.

Make more cookies with remaining batter in same manner, replacing parchment paper with fresh sheet for each batch (if you're using parchment paper instead of a Silpat). Tuiles may be made 2 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

St Germain Bottle

St Germain Crème Anglaise

3 large egg yolks

¼ c fine sugar
(if you don’t have it, whirl regular around in a spice grinder or blender)
½ t. vanilla extract
1 c milk

1 c heavy cream
1-2 T St Germain (elderflower liqueur)

Lightly whisk the egg yolks and sugar together.

Place the milk and cream into a saucepan. Bring almost to the boil. Whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, then return to the pan and cook over medium heat.

Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Do not let it boil. Strain through a fine sieve and allow it to cool to room temperature with plastic wrap placed directly onto the surface of the mixture and then refrigerate until cold.

Purple Basil Jelly from Martha Stewart

1 ½ c packed purple basil leaves, washed and dried
Zest of 1 lemon
3 whole cloves
2 allspice berries
1 ¾ c orange juice
½ c balsamic vinegar
4 c sugar
3 oz liquid pectin (I tried the powdered Organic variety but it didn’t work properly)

Crush the basil leaves and place in a saucepan with the zest, cloves, allspice, oj and vinegar and bring slowly to a boil. Transfer to a bowl and steep at least 30 minutes.

Strain and press on solids to measure 2 C and pour into a saucepan. Add the sugar and boil. Add pectin and boil 1 minute more. Remove from heat, skim and pour into hot sterilized jars and seal.
or Foodie Friday
****My poor little Shiz just passed away suddenly... so this blog is dedicated to him.... may he have endless bones in heaven!
****** Shiz was buried in a beautiful place with a great view overlooking a pond. Our friend Robert who has sung at Carnegie Hall helped us sing Amazing Grace. He was buried with 35 million year old amber perfume, ambergris, a dot of 1850 madeira and his favorite dog treats as befitting royalty(well maybe not the dog treat part). Boy is that going to confuse an archeologist!