14 January 2013

winter jewels

i'd resigned myself to just posting once per month. now i'm lucky if i manage to get one up per season. ah well, i'll just carry on, as if it were only yesterday. no one will notice.

the weekend was devoted yeast breads and pomegranates. saturday i made a crusty dutch-oven loaf and a bunch of mini pizzas for dinner, then sunday i woke up and started seeding pomegranates.



didn't stop until the afternoon. faced with the rare event of pomegranate surplus, i decided to make juice, then pomegranate molasses from the juice. i know of at least one recipe that calls for it-- a lovely roasted red pepper walnut dip i attempted to mimic from monica pope's restaurant in houston. it's one of those pricey, seldom-used ingredients that i knew would be fun to make from scratch.

here are a few things i learned:

1. the best tool for juicing the pomegranate seeds in my kitchen is the food mill, with the finest mesh disc. someone on the internet suggested an old fashioned, press-style citrus juicer, which i have, so i tried it. it didn't work. and i really wanted it to work, because i did not want to separate out all those seeds from all those pomegranates. but that is what i, in fact, ended up doing. i'll be dreaming pomegranate seeds.  then we tried the victorio strainer.



works great for applesauce. not so great on pomegranates. i think i might need a grape spiral insert or something, cuz the seeds ended up jamming the mechanism. then we tried the food mill. bam! worked like a charm. since a little of the pulp does get through, i strained it again through some cheese cloth. of course, if you have a juicer, that might be the best option. i don't.

2. it takes about 6 pomegranates to make 1 quart of juice.



3. once your child lays eyes on a bowl full of those sparkling red jewels, freed from their restrictive membranes, pomegranates will become his absolute favorite fruit, and he will want nothing else in the world but pomegranate seeds. thus, you will most likely need more that 6 pomegranates if you plan on making a quart of juice in the presence of a child. 



4. it takes about 3 hours to cook one quart of juice down to 1 cup of pomegranate molasses. not the measly 70 minutes Alton Brown suggests. but it's worth it. this tangy ruby red reduction is to-die-for. color me very pleased.  color my kitchen bright red and sticky.