Monday, June 22, 2009

Attempted Ode To Apricots ... And An Announcement

I have something to confess, dear readers. There's a bit of news that I've neglected to share with you. You see, I don't think I was quite ready to accept it myself till just recently. *sigh* Enough pointless yapping, I'm just going to get to the point. I'm mmmmooo ... mmoooooooo ... mooovvvvv ... ACK! Spit it out already! Ok, here goes ... I'M MOVING TO CONNECTICUT!

Sorry about that yelling. It's still hard to say out loud. Dear readers, most of you know of my deep love for NYC and Long Island. I've lived here for the past 4 years, and now we're moving away to Connecticut by next month. I'm having a bit of a hard time realizing that I'll no longer have the same conveniences that I'm used to - like how
every kind of store was only a maximum of 10 mins away from my place, and all my favorite restaurants as well. And not to forget, we've made some good friends amongst our neighbors while we were here. Don't even get me started on how Manhattan was only 40 mins away by train, and how much I would look forward to my weekly trips there. Our apartment here was pretty big too, with lots of room for Ozzy to run around in. On top of it all, even if I get past all the sentimental stuff (and I will, I've never been one to dwell on the sad stuff for long), right now it's the packing that's getting to me! Four years of buying stuff is coming back to bite me in the @ss! The house is a disaster zone right now.

Thankfully, I can steal a few moments of sanity in my kitchen. The other day I bought some apricots, because there were so many of them at the grocery store, and they just looked so darn pretty! I'd never really used fresh apricots before (only the dried ones). So I brought them home, and proceeded to scour cyberspace for some interesting recipes. I made some delicious things, folks - three different goodies from one small batch of apricots. And I'll be honest with you, I'm still not sure how I feel about apricots. They're a little deceptive me thinks. When you first look at them, they steal your heart because they're so cute, and remind you of miniature peaches (and I WUV peaches). Same fuzzy texture on the outside, and adorable looks, like a baby's bottom! But they don't have quite the same intoxicating aroma as ripe peaches. They're also sturdier in texture and definitely not as sweet. So I personally didn't enjoy eating them raw. However, cooking them with a bit of cinnamon and sugar did the trick!

This recipe is courtesy of Ilva of Lucullian Delights, who happens to live in one of the most gorgeous places on Earth - Tuscany, Italy. Her healthy version of an apricot yogurt parfait was right up my alley, once again proving my point about Italian cooking - bringing out the absolute best flavors using very few, simple, quality ingredients. Someone should just make me an honorary Italian already! (and French, and Mexican, and Lebanese, and the list goes on)

'Cinnamoned' Apricots With Yogurt, Candied Nuts & Chocolate (see Ilva's original recipe here)
Serves 1

Click here for the printable recipe

Ingredients:
3/4 cup plain yogurt or thick Greek yogurt
1-2 ripe apricots
2-3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp water
1-2 tbsp of chopped dark chocolate
Crumbled peanut brittle (I used store-bought)

Method:
1. If you have regular plain yogurt, you should thicken it up, by putting it in a sieve lined with cheesecloth, and leaving it there for at least half an hour. Most of the water will drain out and you'll be left with a smoother, thicker yogurt.

2. Chop the apricots. Put them in a small pan and add sugar, cinnamon and water. Cook it on med-low for about 8-10 mins until it becomes dense and jam-like. Set aside to cool.

3. Spoon some yogurt into a glass, followed by a layer of the apricot compote, bits of peanut brittle and chocolate. Repeat layer with the remaining yogurt, apricot compote and finish off with more peanut brittle and dark chocolate. Proceed to eat all of it, while daydreaming of a day when you might be vacationing in Tuscany.

Verdict: Tart and sweet. If that rocks your boat, then this is the dessert for you. And it's healthy enough that you could indulge in it every day. The peanut brittle was my favorite part because of the caramel-ly crunch it added to the luscious yogurt. And the dark chocolate was a surprising addition, because it's not the first thing you taste - it sort of creeps up on you, and adds a layer of depth and earthiness to the whole thing, making it taste more sophisticated. The cinnamoned apricot compote/jam was a revelation, because although I liked it fine in this dessert, it was a real hit in a particular grilled cheese sandwich (recipe coming up soon), that I've been having for lunch every day since!

This is going to be my entry for this month's Sugar High Fridays "Fruit and Nut" event, hosted by Mansi of Fun & Food.

25 comments:

Happy cook said...

Reading how you are going to miss NYC i am also missing it because you are going to miss NYC.
Still you might be surprised how you will enjoy in the new place.

Cathy said...

Good luck with the moving - there is nothing worse than having to pack. I've always dreamt of having enough money to just walk away and shop for new stuff ;)

5 Star Foodie said...

Wow, good luck with the move! The apricots with yogurt and chocolate look lovely, very nice!

finsmom said...

Such an elegant sounding dessert! Yum!

Pooja said...

Oh how hard it is to move to another place when you have got so adjusted to the place you have been living for 4 years! And above all packing is one hell of a job! I too have been in a similar situation before. good luck with packing n moving!
The apricot yogurt parfait looks so delish! Need to try some time!

Ann said...

Good wishes on your way to Ct :) Oh My! I know how it feels to miss NYC.. cos I gone thru' the same.
Also, Please take the Award with you while moving. Its waiting for ya in my blog:)

A Feast for the Eyes said...

You have my sympathy with packing. I dread the day (and it will come) that I have to pack up 20 years of...stuff! As for apricots, I know what you mean. I'm not wild about them, except as a compote. This looks lovely! I just learned how to make jam, so I'm thinking apricot-pineapple is my next attempt. I'm with you on peaches. They're the best! Wishing you patience as you pack up your life, and best wishes for your next chapter in life.

Sweta said...

Ooooh-what a lovely dessert! The straining of the yogurt reminds me of how my mom used to make shrikhand(Mmmmmmmmmmmm)!
All the best with the packing and moving ;)

Jess said...

On behalf of New England, welcome! Best wishes for an easy move.

Em said...

Sorry about your moving. Hope you will like your new place even though it's not NYC. :)

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

Ilva's blog is stunning & I can't believe I was looking at just this the other day! Good for you that you managed to make this delicious glassful in the midst of your current mayhem! It's gorgeous!! Good luck with your move...xoxox

Kitchen Flavours said...

Have a safe move dear......love that drool worthy combo....looks yummylicious...

Parita said...

I know moving can be so much of a pain sometimes..btw dessert looks scrumptous! Wish u all the best for connecticut!

Mansi said...

lovely combination of flavors in that glass Muneeba! thanks so much, for sharing this with me!:)

Maria said...

Best of luck with your move!

That dessert looks great! It all sounds so delicious together.

Kerstin said...

What a healthy treat! Moving is always exciting and sad at the same time - good luck with everything!

nandini said...

hi muneeba..

It is hard to shift from a lived in and known environment... Also exploring a new place and getting to know new people is also interesting... goodluck.
tried ur awesome dessert.. Didnt have fresh apricots but tried with dried ones which i soaked overnight.. grrreat. Thanx for the lovely reipe.

Sweetie Pie said...

That parfait looks beautiful and delicious!

I know what you mean about moving. I'm looking to buy, and I suspect I won't be able to afford to stay in the neighborhood where I've rented for the last five years (unless I want to buy a tiny place). I'm not going far, but I will be further from some of the nice little conveniences that I really enjoy like my farmer's market. :-( Oh well. As one friend pointed out, she's certain that there will be new things I like about my new place. I hope the same will be true for you!

zoe said...

This looks freakin amazing! I just found your blog and love it! oh and congrats on the move!

Yasmeen said...

Luscious apricots looks divine with nuts and cooling yogurt.I'm a little anxious myself,We are also moving this summer,not very far just couple of hours down south.NY sure is bustling place to be,I do enjoy thoroughly whenever I visit my sis:)

Reeni♥ said...

This looks good with dark chocolate in it! Good luck on your moving - I hope it all goes well!

Cheryl said...

Moving sucks you have my sympathies. I never buy Apricots as I have no idea what to do with them, thanks for sharing

FoodTravelDiva said...

I can totally agree with you on the headache of moving. You think packing is bad? Wait til you have to unpack! But thankfully this perfect little dessert looks like it has to power to make a bad day a great one. Thanks for sharing. I want to direct Foodista readers your way. If that's ok with you, please add your choice of widget to this post and you're all set!

Sophie said...

OOOH,...Muneeba! Good luck anyway with the move!

You will make new friends & you will meet new lovely neighbours!! Chin up, my foodie friend!
This dessert looks stunning & lovely!

Michelle said...

How exciting to be moving! Good luck with the rest of the unpacking and I hope you pull the whole thing off without a glitch.

As for apricots, if perfectly ripe nothing tastes bettter in the whole wide world. BUT if unripe they taste pretty caca and I think your compote comes in very handy. ;-)