Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Ginger Rallying Cry

When I was growing up in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada I never paid much attention to a person's hair color. I had friends with red hair and never thought much about it. As a tease someone might call a red head "carrot top" but it didn't seem to me to be a very devastating insult. I was so busy trying to hide my deviant sexuality that I would have been happy to have been ridiculed for my hair color.

So years pass and I move to New York and one of my friends, Keith (he's now in Berlin) told me that people with red hair are called Gingers, and his German boyfriend at the time was always referring to Keith as my ginger. I can't imagine that being called ginger is such a bad thing?

Keith posted this video the other day on Facebook and it got me thinking about ginger.
Oh this video may not be suitable for work, and it's not about food. Just some angry youth being angry about being a ginger. The video is called: Ginger Rallying Cry.

But before we get to that, I decided to write my very own Ginger Rallying Cry....only mine comes with a recipe!

Generalizations are always something I try to avoid, so I'm not going to say Ginger is my favorite spice or anything crazy like that, but I really, really like it. I particularly like it in desserts; it adds a richness and a complexity to peaches, nectarines, blueberries and shortbread that can't be beat. So this is a perfect storm of circumstances: it's late summer and peaches nectarines and blueberries are everywhere at the market. For this cobbler I've made the biscuit more like a thick rich shortbread. I go to town with the ginger, because I love it so much, but feel free to decrease it as you see fit or fool around with cardamon or cinnamon (why don't they call red head cinnamon's?).
Ginger Nectarine Blueberry Cobbler

In a large saucepan add 7-8 cups of fruit (processed, therefore cleaned, pitted chopped, rinsed, etc).

I used 4 cups blueberries and 4 cups Nectarine (and if you want to use peaches or a mixture of peaches and nectarines go for it. I love using Nectarines because they don't need to be peeled like peaches. 2 Tablespoons of organic Tapioca Starch (you can use corn starch if you can't find this, but please buy a non-GMO organic corn starch) 1/2 cup brown sugar, 4 Tablespoons of finely chopped crystallized ginger, 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger, 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

Cook over a medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture thickens, then pour into a buttered baking dish (a nice one that can go from oven to table. And if you are like me and always use your favorite dish for everything even though, as in this case, it might be too small, put some parchment paper on a sheet pan and place the dish on it and bake it this way so any bubbled over fruit doesn't burn on the bottom of your oven).Preheat the oven to 375F.

In a large bowl add: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 2 Teaspoons of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup sugar and mix.

Add to the flour mixture 8 Tablespoons of cold butter and with your hands (preferably) mix the butter into the flour until it is just incorporated.

Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. It will be a little sticky.

I got a little crazy when I was doing this and made uneven "patties" that sort of remind me of lily pads. You get the idea: you want to make enough to cover, more or less, the cobbler. 6 rounds flattened would have made a more symmetrical looking cobbler, or with this dough you could actually roll it out in the last step - the ginger sugar - and place it on top in one piece.

Be creative.

Mix in a small bowl 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger and 2 Tablespoons of sugar.

Sprinkle over the top of the cobbler. Don't worry, this seems like a lot, but it isn't, trust me.
Serve in small bowls with a generous dollop of unsweetened whip cream and if you want an artfully placed small piece of crystallized ginger.

And now here is another Ginger Rallying Cry of a very different sort...

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