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Tenacious Flog
Tuesday, May 24

Is My Blog Burning? (episode 15)  
"Is My Blog Burning" is a periodic meme started by Alberto at Il Forno way back in January of 2004 and it allows many food bloggers to all create something in the same theme, post about it, and then marvel at the dozens of others that have tried their hand at the same project.

Strangely enough, I have participated in exactly ONE of these so far in 15 - Episode 13, the cupcake theme. I was wholeheartedly planning on participating in at least 5 others but never got around to it, and looked interestedly in at least 8 of them but didn't even get around to coming up with ideas..... and then I prepared something for Episode 15 but never blogged about it! How lame is that? The whole point of the exercise is for everyone to create something at the same time and then cross-link like crazy, so it is also of benefit to one's web traffic and visibility.

Because I did not officially submit my entry on time, I will not be linked from the hosting site, but I will post about my creation regardless, because I feel like it, and I was inspired by Lex Culinaria, who turned in THREE entries, all of which look far more appetizing than most specimens I've ever seen.

The theme for this go-round was JELLIES. Or gelatin, or aspic, whatever. Make something congeal and you're in, basically. I have done some experimenting with jellies before, so I expected this go-round to be fun and productive, but then I just didn't get everything ready in time. (In fact I had the jelly made but never got the POSTING of it in on time)

I used a relatively new product in my kitchen: agar agar, a seaweed extract used in many asian preparations, and sometimes used to thicken things like ice cream. It has a few benefits over gelatin - you can boil it without damage, it sets at room temperature, and once set you can re-melt it and allow it to set again without structural damage. All very cool. One of the seeming drawbacks is mouthfeel - this stuff sets up pretty stiffly, and is not "jiggly" like you expect a gelatin dish to be, nor does it get chewier the more you use (as in finger gelatin) but rather it gets almost glass-like. This difference in mouthfeel is not bad at all, but it is definitely different, so you have to get used to it when using agar agar.

This weekend it finally started getting oppressively hot, so something cool and refreshing was in order. The bunch of mint in my fridge was likewise starting to turn on me, so mint jelly it is!

Mint Jelly with Pears
1 tsp agar agar powder
2 cups water
1/4 c sugar or sweetener
large handful of mint leaves
chopped pears (I used dried, you could use fresh)

Sprinkle the powder on the water in a small saucepan, slowly bring the water up to a boil and stir until the powder is dissolved. Add the sugar, stir again until clear, and add the mint leaves. Allow to steep for at least 10 minutes. Strain liquid into serving bowl, then add pears or other fruit and allow to cool, either in fridge or on the counter. It should start setting up pretty quickly.

Serve cool on a hot summer day.

Time posted: 08:07 [permalink]
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