I adore Chicago. It is the pulse of America.
- Sarah Bernhardt
I am off to Chicago! The Windy City, the Chicago Art Institute, Magnificent Mile and IACP.
I've been slightly out of sight this past week after my flurry of activity, baking – and posting – the Pear Jam Tart with Caramelized Pear Wedges and the Lemon Tart with Mascarpone Whipped Cream. Tomorrow I catch an early flight heading to Chicago for this year's International Culinary Association Conference (see my posts on IACP NY and IACP SF). I have spent a breathless week or so preparing, connecting with friends to organize dates and meals, connecting with editors and agents for meetings, writing proposals and packing. And making sure all is calm and organized on the home front.
While I leave Life's a Feast bare for a week or so, you must hop over to Plated Stories. Ilva and I leave you with a trail of inspiration. Merging photographs and texts, images and words, we explore themes directly or indirectly related to food, delving into the more visceral, emotional and sensual facets of something we might no longer view in these terms. See what our most recent themes Cheese, Softly, Beans, Stir and Spiced inspire in you and get your own creativity moving. And did I mention that Plated Stories has been nominated for an IACP Award in the category Best Photo-Based Blog with, of course, Ilva Beretta's photos leading the way?
Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world.
- Frank Lloyd Wright
A typical IACP Conference...
I look forward to sharing my trip and my conference experience with you… don't forget to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for live updates.
And I leave you today with a beautiful recipe, crazy in its simplicity, yet sensual and intriguing in texture and flavor. Wine-Poached Prunes, a very adult twist on my father's prune and apricot compote. I simmered the prunes in a gorgeous Giovanni Allegrini Recioto della Valpolicella Classico, maybe the only real red dessert wine in the world. A spectacular and special wine from Allegrini Estates.
Don't let the word prunes fool you. Stewed prunes these most definitely are not. Moist pitted prunes (call them dried plums if you will), are poached in a fruity red dessert wine and water with a touch of cinnamon and orange until tender and infused with the heady mix of wine and spices. Glistening, slippery wine-poached prunes that burst on the tongue, sensational. Serve with whipped cream or atop ice or almost any dessert drizzled with the luxurious syrup that results from simmering and you have an incredibly adult pleasure
WINE-POACHED PRUNES with orange and cinnamon
First published on Plated Stories Softly
For 250 g moist pitted prunes (weighed without pits, about 35 - 40 prunes)
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated white sugar
2 cups (500 ml) total liquid = water + red dessert wine (or a fruity red wine or port wine) - (I used 1 1/2 cups/375 ml water + 1/4 cup/125 ml red wine but you could use less water + more wine, up to 1/2 cup, for a stronger hint of wine)
Pinch ground cinnamon
Thick slice (about 1 cm/ 1/2 inch) orange (with peel and all)
Place everything (prunes + sugar + water + red wine + cinnamon + orange slice) in a saucepan, bring to the boil, lower to simmer and simmer 10 - max 15 minutes until the prunes are plump and tender but have not exploded. Carefully remove the prunes from the liquid to a bowl and continue to boil the liquid with the orange slice until slightly thickened, maybe another 10 minutes or as desired.
Serve the prunes warm in a bowl with some of the liquid/syrup and topped with whipped cream or ice cream.