7.04.2014

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (Happy Fourth of July!!!!)

 
Happy Fourth of July!!! Here is an ice cream recipe to impress everyone with at your next barbecue - all you need is an ice cream maker. 

Before I owned an ice cream maker I was certain that ice cream was difficult to make, that there was some secret to the process I wouldn't be able to figure out. Not true! Turns out, it is really easy to make ice cream. All you need is lots of cream, sugar, fruit, and chocolate. Yum.   

Anyways, if you are looking for a cool, sweet recipe for the summer time, here it is!

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Ingredients
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 c. sugar, divided
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1 3/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 bar or dark chocolate
  • an ice cream maker

Note: Before you start making ice cream your ice cream maker bowl needs to be frozen, so place it in the freezer the night before you intend to make the recipe. I also recommend freezing the dark chocolate as well.

Preparation

Wash your strawberries and remove the green tops. Slice the strawberries and then place them in a bowl with three tablespoons of lemon juice and 1/3 c. of sugar. Leave the strawberries to macerate in the bowl for the next two to three hours. 

After three hours you can begin making the ice cream in earnest. Take a clean bowl and add in the milk and remaining 2/3 cup of sugar. Using a hand mixer, mix together the milk and sugar on low until the sugar is dissolved. Then stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract. By this time the strawberries will be sitting in a significant amount of strawberry liquid. Drain the strawberry liquid into the bowl with the milk and cream and put the sliced strawberries to the side. Mix everything together by hand.

Next, start up your ice cream maker and pour the milk mixture into the ice cream maker bowl. Let the ice cream maker run for about 30 minutes. While the ice cream is churning, place your strawberries in the fridge to keep them cold. Using a knife chop the dark chocolate bar into small pieces. 

After about 30 minutes the ice cream will be truly coming together.  Add the sliced strawberries to the ice cream bowl and add in the chocolate. Let the ice cream maker run another five minutes and then turn it off and transfer the ice cream into freezer containers (I recommend pint size containers because it will help the ice cream freeze quicker). Place the ice cream in the fridge for another 2 hours to make sure it hardens or leave it overnight to make sure it freezes all the way through.

When you're ready to eat the ice cream remove it from the freezer and let sit 10-20 minutes to thaw. Serve in bowls with fresh strawberries on the side. 

6.13.2014

Garlic Scape and Fennel Frond Pesto


garlic scapes


It's always fun to try new things at the farmers market and this past weekend KT and I walked away from our Sunday trip with an alien-looking green - garlic scapes!  Garlic scapes are the blossoms on hardneck garlic plants, which are harvested before they bloom in order to direct the plant's nutrition into the roots. They have a short season - the end of May through June - so when you see them at the farmer's market you have to jump at the opportunity. 

garlic scape pesto

Last Sunday the Next Step Produce stand in Dupont was selling garlic scapes accompanied by a lovely sign recommending a garlic scape - fennel frond pesto. I'm one for food recommendations, especially from farmers, so I decided to test out the recipe. It was great!  My take on garlic scape  - fennel frond pesto is below. Note: this recipe is, unsurprisingly, pretty garlicky, so if you don't like garlic then stay away!

Garlic Scape and Fennel Frond Pesto

Ingredients
  • 6 ounces garlic scapes (about one bunch)
  • 3/4 c. walnuts
  • 3/4 c. parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 c. - 1 c. olive oil (depending on the consistency of the pesto)
  • fennel fronds from 2 fennel bulbs (the more the better, really!)
  • 1/2 tsp. - 1tsp. salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
Preparation
Wash the garlic scapes and remove the bulbs. Chop the scapes into 2-3 inch pieces and place them in a food processor. Add the walnuts, parmigiano cheese, lemon juice, half of the olive oil, 1/2 tsp of salt and some black pepper to the food processor and blend the ingredients together. Add more olive oil as needed to make the pesto a smooth consistency, and add salt to taste. Once the pesto starts to come together, wash the fennel fronds and add them into the processor. Blend for a few more seconds until smooth.

Serve over pasta or on toasted bread as crostini.

6.06.2014

Ratatouille (mason jar optional!)

ratatouille mason jar

It has been a crazy last week and a half - a week ago Tuesday I was in a small accident that has resulted a lot of dental work. I'll spare you the details as this is a food blog, but suffice it to say, I have been on a strict soft-foods only diet since May 27th. While I initially celebrated the incident as an excuse to indulge in milkshakes, I was so over them by day 3. Instead, I've been looking for other recipes that will get me actual nutrition. A perfect recipe for me this week is one I use all the time in the summer,  ratatouille. It makes use of all the amazing summer vegetables that are about to be in season and it cooks them down together into a flavorful, healthy dish.

The recipe below is from my book, but I promise there will be original content next week!  The recipe makes quite a few servings and can be eaten by itself or eaten over pasta. It's also versatile and is good at room temperature or heated, making it perfect for work lunches!

Ingredients
  • 1 medium eggplant, cubed
  • salt
  • 1 small to medium zucchini
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • red pepper flaked (optional)
  • 3 basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pint-sized mason jars (if you want to bring it to work)
Preparation:
Peel the eggplant and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Place the cubes on a paper-towel-covered plate, then sprinkle with salt to draw out excess moisture. Let sit for 30 min and then pat the eggplant pieces dry. 

Meanwhile, cut the zucchini into 1-inch cubes, roughly dice the onion, and cut the pepper into strips. Cut the tomato into eighths.

Once the eggplant is ready, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan at medium heat. Add the eggplant, onion, bell pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes, if using. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the tomato wedges and basil and simmer, uncovered for 30 min. 

Remove from the heat and serve hot, or let cool and transfer to Mason jars for lunch. Seal the jars and refrigerate until ready to use. Reheat before eating. 

5.22.2014

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Mason Jar Salad

mason jar salad

It is the end of May, which means that strawberries are starting to appear in the Farmers markets! Strawberries mean the beginning of fruit season, and when fruit season hits I will eat berries any way I can, and that includes in salads.  One of my all-time favorite salads is one that incorporates strawberries, and it is also a recipe in my book! So, to celebrate the strawberry season, and the release of my book, I thought I would share the recipe with you here. 

Note: When making this mason jar salad, you need to get a little tricky with the dressing.  Because there are no hard vegetables in this salad you can't place the dressing on the bottom or else the strawberries will soak it all up. Instead I recommend using what I call the "parchment paper fix." With the parchment paper fix you make the salad but leave the dressing out. Instead, once the salad is layered you take a square of parchment paper and place it over the jar mouth. Next push the paper down to form a little cup, making sure the edges of the parchment paper extend beyond the edge of the jar. Once you have a little cup you can place the dressing inside the cup and seal the jar. If you're willing to spend money you can buy some reusable cups made by BNTO that fit mason jars perfectly, but otherwise parchment paper or saran wrap make a great, cheap fix.

Mason Jar Salad

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad
Ingredients
  • 2/3 c. strawberries, sliced
  • 3 c. spinach leaves
  • 1/3 c. walnuts, chopped
  • 1.5 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 2-3 tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette or blueberry vinaigrette
  • 1 quart mason jar
Preparation

Place the strawberries in the bottom of the Mason jar, holding off on the salad dressing. Add 2 cups of the spinach, then the walnuts. Next add the remaining cup of spinach and top it with goat cheese. 

Using the parchment paper trick, place the vinaigrette in the top of the parchment cup and then seal the jar. Put the salad in the refrigerator until you're ready to eat it.