Monday, February 18, 2013

One Day At a Time

Hi. I'm Amy. I'm a recipe-holic.

Seriously, is there a 12-step program for recipe addiction? It has gotten seriously out of hand over the years. It started out innocuously enough, when I was first starting out on my own, accumulating cookbooks. But over the last decade I have been drawn more and more to cutting and tearing recipes out of magazines rather than looking them up in books and on the internet.

The single three-ring binder I used to glue these in became full to overflowing, and overflow eventually took up one entire row of the cookbook shelves in the kitchen. For several holidays I hinted -- and then outright implored -- Excy to make a present of buying and assembling more binders for me until I finally threatened I would not be doing anymore cooking until things were under control. That got his attention.

This Christmas I was given two more three-ring binders with lovely water-painted covers, colored sections, and a 500 pack of paper with the holes already in each sheet, plus a package of six glue sticks -- of which I ran out of before the task was complete! It took an entire week to cull through what I had accumulated, put them in categories with some semblance of order, glue them on paper, and insert them in the proper binder category. I'm in heaven feeling so organized. But even when I was in the middle of the project and cursing all the recipes I was wading through, I still managed to tear out more as I was reading monthly magazines. Now at least I have a proper section for them, even if I doubt I can make all the recipes I already have in one life-time. But my usual MO is to keep new ones out until I try them and then if they make the grade, glue them in the proper book. I think having three three-ring binders will hold me for awhile. One binder is sectioned 'misc,' 'drinks' 'appetizers' and 'soups/stews.' The second book is for 'salads,' 'vegetables,' 'fish, 'chicken,' and 'red meat.' The third is entirely for 'dessert.'

I made this recipe for a Valentine dinner party and it was a tremendous hit. Despite all the steps, it is not difficult, and well worth it for the delicious factor. Please note it must be made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight.

Clementine Pots de Creme
2 3/4 heavy cream, divided
Zest of two clementines, finely grated, divided
1/2 lb semisweet chocolate chips
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup plus 2 Tb sugar, divided
1/2 cup whole milk (I used half&half because I had it on hand)

In a large heavy-bottomed pan, heat 2 1/4 cups cream over med heat until warm to the touch (just a few minutes should do it). Add the grated zest of one of the clementines and the chocolate chips. Remove from heat and let steep 20 minutes, stirring a few times.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/3 cup of sugar and milk. Set six 6 oz ramekins in a large baking pan.

Return the chocolate mixture to stove top and warm over low heat, whisking until chocolate is smooth and warm. Set a coarse strainer over the bowl with the yolk mixture and pour the chocolate mixture through, pressing on the zest. Whisk well to thoroughly combine.

Pour into ramekins. Add very hot water to baking pan until it reaches halfway up the side of the ramekins. Cover pan loosely with tin foil and bake until pots de creme are set around the edges but jiggly in centers, 40-50 minutes or so. Transfer the ramekins to a rack to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Before serving, In a large bowl, whip remaining 1/2 cup cream to soft peaks and slowly add 2 Tb sugar and whip lightly to incorporate (don't do it too hard or it can turn grainy). Place a dollop of the whipped cream on each pot de creme and garnish with remaining clementine zest (or thin strips).

Serve and enjoy!
Active time: 20 min.
Total time: 1 1/4 hrs plus chilling overnight