BYOC*, News and About Me...a little late.

Big news. Ugly Fruit is moving. Ok, well actually, no, the blog is staying right where it is. I, the IceCreamMonster behind Ugly Fruit, am moving. Time to leave the green green grasses of Switzerland for a new, different, smaller place. Yes, I am moving back to Iowa.

Quick background....even if it is a bit late......
Most readers (those who don't know me in real life) may not know (as I've been pretty hush hush personally speaking here) that I've been living in Europe for 3 years now. Some time studying in Milan and the rest of the time in Switzerland working as a watch designer. It's been a fantastic experience and I love Geneva all the way to the bottom of my little curled toes. However, it is a time of flux and change. Big things. New things. Exciting things. Scary things.

I have left my full time, monthly salaried, 5 weeks of vacation a year job in the heart of Europe to go back to the US (a little sigh) to be a starving artist, I mean, independent jeweler. And as sad as it is to leave, I am so excited for what the future holds, as well as being near my family again rather than visiting only once a year, endless books in English, and being able to find Pace picante salsa and baking powder at 11pm at the grocery store. For every perk of going there is some longing in leaving. I'll miss my daily fresh croissants and endless bread choices at Migros. The amazing view, no matter where you go and tiny jaunts across the lake in little yellow boat. My fantastic fanatic foodie group and the belly bulging taste tingling dinners we had. So much. Big sigh.

So, where does all of this intro lead us? To the party I threw this week, a BYOC* if you will. I had 3 bottles of champagne, 2 rose, and too many reds and whites to mention and what with the international move and all it was well past time to try and finish them all.


That's where everyone else came in. Despite the freakish tsunami like storm there was a good turn out and my foodie friends (Kiriel and Rosa) didn't fail to delight with the offerings they brought.


Ever since England I had been dying to try my hand at the mushroom pate I had tasted. This soiree was the perfect opportunity. This is not one of the most attractive dishes, hence the lack of photo, but it is incredibly delicious and vegetarian (not vegan) friendly.

Mushroom Pate (found somewhere on the internet and changed a bit)

4 T. olive oil
3 C. (about 3 large onions) chopped onion
3 cloves garlic minced
1 lb. mushrooms sliced
1 t. fresh thyme chopped
1/2 t. fresh rosemary chopped
1/2 t. fresh sage chopped
1/2 C. herbed bread crumbs
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
2 C. ricotta cheese
salt and pepper to taste (I also added a gratuitous amount of garlic powder)

Saute onions and garlic in oil until onions are soft. Add mushrooms and herbs and continue to cook until the mushrooms begin to release their juices. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the bread crumbs.

In a food processor, combine the Parmesan cheese, cream cheese and the ricotta cheese. Process until combined. Add the cooled mushroom mixture and process until the mixture is pureed smooth. Add salt and pepper (and garlic powder) to taste.

Butter a 2 qt. mold and put a piece of parchment on the bottom. Pour in the mushroom mixture. Tamp down to remove any air bubbles.

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes at 400°F. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cover the top with a piece of wax paper and place weights on top. Refrigerate at least 24 hours.

To serve: Remove weights, peel off wax paper and blot any excess surface juices. Turn out onto a platter. Serve with crackers and fresh veggies.

*BYOC - Bring Your Own this case I supplied the booze and wanted people to bring a few nibblys to balance it out. Also, FYI, if you ever want a super good turn out for any sort of event....FREE BOOZE...but you already knew that ;)


Apple of my...Nahhhh.

Hello bloglings. You may ask, why are you posting so late! (or early, depending on how you look at it) If you were noticing the time stamp at all, that is. Well, I have a penchant for starting complicated recipes much later than I really ought to. I started with the recipe below at a decent hour, figuring that baking apples before onions was a good idea. But I didn't plan on the hour and fifteen minutes of baking on the onion dish! You might think that those two dishes make for strange bedfellows but let me digress......

This past winter E came to visit (see grapefruit risotto post here - link coming), shortly after he returned to NY he passed along a recipe from the time he spent in Japan. I've been holding on to this recipe awhile and meaning to make it. Today I followed the advice, not of the mythical messenger, but rather the major shoe manufacturer and 'just did it'. See photo essay below (note: I will add a photo of the final product tomorrow when there's sunlight again. The photos after dark all turned out crap.)

It's a very simple recipe, make sure to slice your apples thin as can be for maximum coverage.

Every thing can be mixed by hand, which is a nice change from all of those 'whip for 10 minutes on extra high' recipes. Mmmm, yogurt.

Use your creativity to cover the bottom layer of batter in fun and unique patterns!

I had planned to decorate the top with a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar but thought better of it and decided to try the recipe as is. The batter is delicious*, light, tangy, full of promise. The cake baked beautifully, toasty brown on top and springy to the touch. Although it's by all means a good and decent cake, it lacked something for me. If I were to make it again I would think about substituting the apples with something a little more apricot jam and dried apricot bits. Something to liven it up and give it some color. The cake ends up being a little more dense than I usually go for (I am a light and fluffy or thick and moist sort of cake lover), in fact it reminds me a bit of mochi and some of the more glutinous dessert offerings out there (rosa, hal and al, this recipes for you!) Do try it and let me know what you think.

Japanese Green Apple Cake

 2 C flour
1 C sugar
1/2 C veg. oil
1 t baking powder
2 eggs
1 C plain yogurt
2 tart green apples
-Preheat to 350F
-Peel apples and slice as thin as possible
-Mix oil, eggs and sugar in bowl.
-Add yogurt to mix and continue mixing, then add baking powder and flour gradually. 
-When well mixed (batter will be quite dense), spread half of the batter on a round baking dish that has been thinly coated in
butter and flour along the bottom/sides. 
-Cover the batter w/ apples, overlapping slightly. 
-Cover apples w/ remaining batter. 
-Bake ~50 mins or until golden brown.  
-Let sit until cool/lukewarm (gives the batter a chance to come together a bit)

The experiment I was sitting up and waiting to cool will be posted on tomorrow. It's 2.30 am practically and the foodblogger is tired! You'll just have to be delightfully surprised later ;)

*I know, I know. Bad blogger! Don't taste batter using raw eggs! You've been dually warned.


Pre Star Dining

Last night Mr. X, sharing a passion for good food and good restaurants, kindly invited me to the opening night of a new top notch restaurant, L'Auberge des Groulines.

The restaurants is located about 40 minutes outside of Geneva, in the French countryside. This idyllic location, while rather hidden, provides dinners with a sense of adventure (and accomplishment to find it!) as well as majestic views of the Jura and surrounding mountain ranges.

L'Auberge, while brand new, is very promising. Well situated, well decorated, and fine food served in a well presented manner. Mr. X believes they may be presented with a Michelin star within the next few years. We were feeling adventureous and declined to look at the menu. Chef Patrick Lozach surprised us with a very complete tasting menu. Without further ado....dinner is served.

The experience started off with a small aperitif, a Kir Royale Framboise for me and a Champagne for him.

The mise en bouche was a promising start for the rest of our meal. The small zucchini flower was the perfect packaging for a summer vegetable and baked egg mixture and was accompanied by a zingy grape tomato and olive oil. It was very cool in the mouth and had a good texture, it was wonderfully flavorful but not overwhelming. A tastebud teaser to lead into the next dish.

This 'pressed vegetable' dish was like 'eating a garden'. Chef Lozach continued with his summer vegetable theme and seems to cook in an almost Italian manner (Italian in the sense that the food tastes like what it is. Each item is fresh and bursting with it's own natural flavor), rather antipasti like. The pressed vegetables included were thin layers of zucchini, eggplant, tomato and a small rucola sidesalad adorned with parmesan wafer.

The next dish to tickle our tastebuds was a poisson cru presse dish. Let me mention we also had a bottle of white wine from the center regions of France but I can't recall just now what it was, other than a fine accompaniment for our fresh and light dinner. This dish, while similar in technique to the last one (perhaps presented too closely with the last one to be of the same technique?) was a strange but not unwelcome mix of flavors. There were two layers of fish, salmon and tuna I believe, topped with small sprigs of white and green asparagus. Hidden inside were small diced bits of zucchini and the plate was decorated with an herby yogurt sauce and orange marmalade drop as well as a thin-as-can-be fried sheet of phyllo hiding a ginger paste core. This was Mr. X's favorite dish of the night. I am sticking to the mise en bouche as mine.

Things started to heat up a bit with these tiny bites of rouget surrounded by a baby eggplant stuffed with herbed mashed potatoes and baby zucchini stuffed with mushrooms all topped with crispy fried shoestring onions and tomato peel. It was a well plated dish, very visually appealing and quite tasty as well. The blend of bitter vs. salty vs. tangy was very well balanced and the surrounding olive oil with tomoto and chives was delicious.

The filet de sandre (pike perch?) was rather bland. Summer veggies again made an appearance with some green beans, tomatoes, a slice of zucchini and a baby carrot. The sauce was quite good but in my opinion not enough to make up for the fish. I do offer this disclaimer though, as a born and bred landlocked midwesterner I am not the world's most definitive guru on all things fishy. Where I grew up fish came one of two a stick or in a can. I'm slowly getting better about it but just saying...

By the time the cheeseplate came around I was practically full til bursting, only the thought of dessert kept me going. The plate featured reblochon, comte, abondance, and bleu de gex varieties of cheese and was accompanied by a fine whole grain and nut roll. Mr. X ended up with most of my cheese, as I said, I was holding out for dessert.

At last, the part of dinner all restaurants really ought to serve first! Dessert wrapped up our meal neatly by finishing up the light and refreshing summer fare (even if the weather didn't suitably reflect the season). A variation on a strawberry shortcake sort of dessert, ours highlighted June by using fresh blueberries, raspberries, strawberries cherries and red currants winking from the whipped like jewels. All of this was loosely sandwiched by two sable type cookies, the only thing I disagreed with. As a light summer dessert it would have been night to see them use some light pyllo sheets like in one of the earlier dishes or perhaps a fluffy meringue cookie like they do in Gruyere.

All in all it was a fantastic experience and a taste of things I shall not forget for sometime. Especially as it was their first night of service and instead of the 5 people they had been planning on there seemed to be a full house with a melange of languages and types of customers. The service was prompt and attentive, the dishes creative and varied, and although quite a bit for me, it was a good amount of food not too much like some tasting menus can end up being. Thank you to Mr. X for inviting me and to the staff of L'Auberge des Groulines for this enjoyable evening.

L'Auberge des Groulines
74100 Annemasse

+33 450 37 03 96