Strawberry Pots de Creme

Strawberry Pots de Creme

Here’s a beautifully simple dessert that is silky and rich and bright with the last memories of summer strawberries.  Fresh is always best if you can find good ones, but if they’re out, or have already sky-rocketed in price, frozen would work just fine.  It’s a custard kind of week here on the Family Meal blog.  I get good use out of my cute little ramekins and I have really embraced them as they are a perfect little size for toddler hands.  Oh yeah, and that spoon is part of this set, which I really just couldn’t resist.  I love them for Olive and for dips and jams and even my morning coffee.  Plus, what little girl wouldn’t feel excited to get to eat her oatmeal in the morning with a gold glitter spoon?  Olive couldn’t really care less.  It’s for me.  🙂

Strawberry Cream Pots

 

Strawberry Pots de Creme (pronounced: poh-duh-crem)
makes 4-6 depending on your vessels

  • 8 ounces strawberries (7 or 8 large berries), hulled
  • 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 1 tsp Cointreau (I left this out for Ollie)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a tall cup or blender, combine strawberries, sugar and egg yolks. Process with your handy immersion blender (or regular blender) until pureed.

Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Pour the strawberry mixture into a large bowl.  Add 1 cup cream and the vanilla and Cointreau if using. Mix well. Divide mixture evenly among four 1-cup ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking dish, and add enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of ramekins.

Place baking dish in the oven, and bake until the custard is just set, about 1 hour. Check by jiggling the pan – if they still look pretty liquidy in the center, rotate the pan and let it go another 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven; place ramekins on a rack, and cool. Cover with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 6 hours. To serve, top with diced strawberries or whipped cream and enjoy with your sparkle spoons!  🙂

 

Advertisements

Crustless Asparagus Quiche and the End of All Dieting

asparagus custard

I was first introduced to a savory custard by the wonderful food blogger, Helene Garcia of French Foodie Baby.  The first savory custard I made was her leek and chive flan and I was a bit afraid at first because we just have ingrained in our minds that custards and flans are supposed to be sweet, but this was a very happy and luxurious surprise.  Basically, in American terms, this is a crustless quiche.  Only waaaaay better of a texture than the quiche of your childhood.  Please do refer back to my quiche post on how its texture should be.  I was happy that it was such a silky texture and that Olive could eat it just fine with her limited spoon wielding skills.

I stumbled upon this asparagus and bacon custard in a book called French Women Don’t Get Fat, which I’m reading and working my way through the steps to reshape my life and my patterns of eating.  The book presents a bit of a strict start (a cleanse, which I don’t think is totally necessary for success, just optional) followed by three months of self evaluation of the patterns you’ve made over the years and ways in which you could cut back without feeling deprived.  After three months, by the book, you should only be HALF WAY to your goal weight.  If you are, then she advises to add back a few more pleasures and get on with your life!  If not, then keep going with the plan, making additional adjustments if necessary.

I’m happy to have finally found a book that doesn’t restrict you, doesn’t say that a particular food or food group is bad, and doesn’t push supplements.  I’m DONE with that vicious cycle of crash dieting and then giving up, gaining back and doing it all over again because every new diet makes a new promise.  Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?  I found myself having an epiphany the other day that a diet that promises you’ll lose all the weight you need to lose in a few weeks will only work if it only took you a few weeks to gain that weight.  And like me, I’m sure most of us with serious weight issues have struggled a BIT longer than weeks or even years with our weight.  So why does it not register in our minds that in order to keep a good, healthy weight, we should logically change the way we do things for 10-15 years at least?  Personally speaking, I’ve struggled with my weight for about twenty two years and most of that time was wasted, going through diet after diet that restricted too much, left me wanting and frustrated and ultimately, feeling like I am a loser and can never succeed.

After 11 days of following this book and eating what I personally feel was a bit too indulgent of a menu, I’m down seven pounds.  I know what you’re thinking: all water weight, and besides, wasn’t she just preaching that weight loss shouldn’t be sudden?!  You’re right, it shouldn’t.  But for one, I have a lot to lose and the more you have to lose, generally, the quicker you will drop pounds (at first).  Second, I’ve completely cut out all snacking and all second helpings.  Man, that adds up to a lot with just those two bad habits!  Especially if you snack several times a  day!  The only other thing I’ve given up has been cream in my coffee and that, for me, was the biggest challenge because I love my coffee.  But, for these first three months of “readjusting” how I do things, I don’t consider it that much of a burden to give up roughly 200 calories a day that used to be dedicated to cream in my coffee!  I have even started to prefer it black with just a little sweetner (stevia, for those concerned).  I haven’t been stressed about working out – I just have been taking more walks and enjoying the new, cooler fall weather and I’ve been pulling a few weeds here and there.  This is my new life.  I was done with diets a few years ago, but I was still engaging in bad habits.  It’s hard to undo years of emotional eating, but I’ve found that the distraction of Olive is a grand one.  Or, if I just HAVE to ingest something in the afternoon, I make a cup of cinnamon tea (it’s naturally sweet) and get productive!

This custard recipe was breakfast for a few days last week.  Again, I know what you will say.  This has cream, eggs, bacon AND it’s in a “diet” book?  Yep.  Moderation + Fulfilling Meals = Success.  Moderation + Drab, Restrictive Meals = Failure. I really recommend you picking up this book IF and only if you are done yo-yo dieting,  if you like to cook and you are ready to stop restricting yourself and feeling guilty for eating things like butter.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress and I hope that I can encourage some of you to stop the fad madness and just start “eating real food, not too much, mostly plants.” (from the omnivore’s dilemma) 🙂

Asparagus custards

Asparagus Custard (crustless quiche, if it makes you feel better to call it that)
makes 6 – 1 cup ramekin servings

16 asparagus spears, tough ends cut off and peeled
4 ounces bacon, coarsely chopped
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
8 sprigs chives, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. Boil the asparagus in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and let cool. Chop each stalk into a small dice and set aside.  Saute the bacon in a nonstick frying pan till crisp. Drain on paper towel and set aside.  Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl (reserving some chives for garnish). Pour the egg mixture into individual ramekins. Sprinkle in the asparagus and bacon. Bake for 15-20 minutes till the custard is set but not dried out.  Serve with pieces of toast, crackers, or with some fresh fruit and enjoy your day!