Ginger Chocolate-Covered Ice Cream Bon Bons

12-13 bon bons

1 pint vanilla ice cream
2 four-ounce bars of dark chocolate with at least 56 % cocoa content*
¼ cup candied ginger, chopped finely
2 to 4 10-inch bamboo skewers

1. Line a 7- or 8-inch cake pan with waxed paper and chill in the freezer on a level surface. Fill a glass with some cold water. Microwave the ice cream for 10 seconds and, using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop or a melon baller, shape the ice cream into balls, dipping the scoop in the cold water between each ball. Arrange the ice cream on the chilled pan lined with wax paper and freeze until firm, about 35 minutes.
2. Smash one of the chocolate bars on a hard surface, breaking it into small pieces. Put it in a pan over boiling water to melt. Add half the chopped candied ginger and mix thoroughly.
3. Grasping a bamboo skewer in each hand, pick up a frozen ice cream ball and dip in the chocolate. Turn it with the skewer to coat the ball and arrange back on the waxed paper. Coat half of the balls and place them back in the freezer. Clean out the bowl and repeat the process with the other chocolate bar, remaining ginger, and ice cream balls. Freeze until firm, covered with plastic wrap.

*Ghiradelli, Valrona, and Callebaut are the best coating chocolates, which are easy to use and have less tendency to seize when reheated.

Orange Slices with Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, and Candied Ginger

Candied Spices

Ingredients

6 Navel Oranges, peeled and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
¼ cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon minced candied ginger

Arrange the orange slices side by side on a serving platter. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and candied ginger and sprinkle over the oranges. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature, and serve.

Variation: substitute grapefruit slices for the oranges

© 2008 Nina Simonds “China Express”

Photo: picasaweb.google.com

Spiced Pears in Red Wine

Six Servings

Poaching Mixture:

1 bottle red wine ( French or American Merlot)

6 cups water

1 ½  cups sugar

peel of 1 orange

2 sticks cinnamon

2 stars anise*

6 slightly under- ripe Bosc pears

2 lemons, cut in half

2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger, for garnish (optional)

1. Mix the ingredients of the Poaching Mixture in a large, non-aluminum pot. Bring to boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

2. Peel the pears, leaving the stem on. Rub the surface with the cut lemons to prevent them from turning brown. Lower the pears into the poaching liquid and squeeze the juice from the lemons into the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil again, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer uncovered until pears are tender, about 40 to minutes. Test by piercing the pears with a knife. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a bowl.

3. Strain out the seasonings (orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and star anise) and discard. Pour 3 cups of the cooking liquid into a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced. Pour the syrup over the pears. Serve warm or chilled for at least 3 hours with a little syrup. Sprinkle the top with the candied ginger. The pears can be poached 1 day ahead and refrigerated.

Photo: ParichBorin@Omaruoka

Gingery Peach-A-Berry Cobbler

Six Servings

Essentially, a cobbler is a fruit dessert baked with a crust, which may be a biscuit or a bread dough. My recipe leans more toward a slightly sweet biscuit with lots of vanilla.  Similar to a crisp, you can use different fruits or pair two together as in this recipe.

3 cups fresh blueberries

6 peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into ½-inch slices  (about 6 cups)

1/3  cup light brown sugar

1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

1 ½ tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice

½  teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 Tbs chopped candied ginger

Topping:

1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces

¾ cup whole milk

1 ½  teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons sugar mixed with ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Put the blueberries and peaches in a heavy-medium- size saucepan. Add the brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, and candied ginger and mix together. Heat and stir until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Pour into a 12- by 10- by 2-inch baking dish or other shallow 2 1/2-qt baking dish (no deeper than 2 inches).

2. While the fruit cooks, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Pinch or cut the butter with your fingertips, a pastry blender or a knife, until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Pour in the milk, vanilla, and stir until a dough forms. Put the dough onto the hot fruit mixture in small separated mounds and sprinkle the top with the remaining cinnamon-sugar. Place the pan on a cookie sheet to catch drippings. Bake the cobbler in middle of the oven about 30 minutes, until top is golden. Remove, cool slightly and serve warm.

© Copyright Nina Simonds 2009.

Steamed Asian Pears with Honey and Jujubes

Asian pears, also called Chinese pears or apple pears, are firm, crunchy,
and surprisingly juicy. Once steamed, with honey and jujubes, the pears
become tender and the broth is soothing and not overly sweet.

SIX SERVINGS

6 nearly ripe Asian pears
2 lemons
6 tablespoons honey
9-10 jujubes (dried red dates) softened in  water and chopped in fourths
pieces of cinnamon bark
1. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each pear so that it will stand upright.
Peel the pears and rub the surface with a cut lemon half to prevent them from turning brown. Cut the top squarely off each pear, slicing about 2 inches from the top, and with a melon baller or spoon, carefully remove the core and seeds. Do not cut through to the bottom of the pear. Reserve the tops.
2. Arrange the pears on a pie plate or some kind of a heatproof plate.
Place some of the cut up jujubes into the hollowed out pear and spoon a
tablespoon of the honey into each pear. Arrange a piece of cinnamon in the
hollow with the jujubes. Place the reserved tops on the pears, if necessary securing them with toothpicks. Place the plate in a steamer tray if using.
3. Fill a wok or large pot with enough water to reach the bottom of the steamer tray and bring to a boil. Or create your own steamer by balancing the plate on a tuna fish can (both ends removed) that has been placed in the center of the pot. Cover and steam 40 to 45 minutes, or until the fruit is tender when pierced with a knife. Serve the Asian pears warm (with ice cream), at room temperature, or cold.

Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.

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