Strawberry Ice Cream

20120828-144804.jpgMy husband loves really good strawberry ice cream. It’s something he may have developed during his stint working at Coldstone Creamery. They have a lovely concoction called strawberry blonde which throws graham crackers into the mix, that he and I are both pretty fond of. What I’m not fond of is spending $4-$5 on a small dish of ice cream that leaves me wanting more. Especially when he used to bring home a pint for free every day. Yes we got fat then. It was my freshman year in college, we were broke and thousands of miles from home. The ice cream did the trick.

20120828-145121.jpgI stumbled on this recipe while browsing a new to me blog Channeling Contessa. It intrigued me enough to try it, and follow the recipe to the letter, something I rarely do. Likes: roasting the strawberries before turning them into purée. Not only does your entire house fill with strawberry scented goodness, it makes for an intensely delicious purée. Dislikes: the buttermilk in the ice cream I felt overpowered the delicate creaminess and strawberry flavor. Next time I will stick with cream. And throw in a little booze to help keep this ice cream soft as its eggless and freezes ridiculously hard. It was however insanely good. Especially when my 38 weeks pregnant self got the idea at midnight to make a chocolate sauce to top it with and crumble graham crackers on top. Sooooooo good.

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Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

Like I said, next time I make this I’m swapping buttermilk for more cream and throwing in a tablespoon of liquor. Try it either way and let me know the outcome!

from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Makes about 1 quart

For the purée:
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/3 c sugar
3 T fresh lemon juice

For the ice cream:
1 1/2 c whole milk
1 1/4 c heavy cream
1/4 c buttermilk
2/3 c sugar
2 T light corn syrup
2 T cornstarch
4 T or 2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp fine sea salt

1. Roast the Strawberries: Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the strawberries and sugar in an 8 inch square baking dish and toss to combine. Roast for 8-12 minutes until just softened. Let cool slightly.
Purée the berries in a food processor with the lemon juice. Measure 1/2 cup of the puréed berries; refrigerate the rest of the purée for another use.

2. Make the Ice Cream Base: Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Set both aside.

3. Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup and a sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened- about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

4. Chill: Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Mix the buttermilk into the strawberry purée, then gradually whisk into the ice mixture until well blended. Fill a large bowl with ice and a bit of water to create an ice bath. Pour the ice cream mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag(I just used a glass bowl that fit into another bowl for the ice bath). Submerge the bag in the ice bath. Place the bowl in the fridge and let chill until very cold- at least an hour, or up to overnight. Once cold, pour the ice cream into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy- about 25 minutes.

5. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface(I didn’t do this), and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, about 5 hours.

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S’mores cupcakes

20120817-151803.jpgLet’s face it. Sometimes pregnancy and food blogging don’t mix. Like when you’re constantly nauseaus for four months straight and can’t keep anything down, much less cook. Then there’s the part where I’m at now. The end of pregnancy when I feel gigantic, sometimes burn my belly on the stove attempting to cook, and every part of my body hurts.

These things happen. It’s real life. It’s messy and it gets in the way.

Somehow I still managed to pull off a birthday feast for my husband back in July. I’m not sure how I managed. I know there was a day off of work involved and some smart planning and preparation. And then there was cake. And cupcakes. And maybe I made a third dessert too but really my memory these days is almost nonexistent so I’m not sure.

20120817-152200.jpgI know for a fact there were little s’mores cupcakes. I know that I reallllly liked them. My crazy pregnant brain had an after thought of putting chocolate pudding in the center to sort of mimic the melty part of a s’more so go ahead and do that if you’re feeling bold. Also I don’t 100% remember how I made these little dandies. So bear with me. I needed to share them with you but I just maybe forgot how I made them.

20120817-153033.jpgThe trick to a good chocolate cupcake, or cake or brownie is really good cocoa powder. Not the kind you can buy at the grocery store. I’ve been fond of some varieties from King Arthur Flour lately. Another fabulous ingredient for chocolate cakes and cupcakes is sour cream. It adds moisture, depth and a tiny hint of tang in the background. Bring your campfire into your oven this week and try out these little beauties. And don’t worry, my pregnancy brain will be going away quite soon with the arrival of my baby. I plan on spending the 13 weeks I have off doing lots and lots of cooking and baking while baby wearing my new addition!

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S’mores Cupcakes

For the Graham Cracker crunch:

2 cups crushed graham crackers
6 tablespoons melted butter

For the cupcakes:

Cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

For the Marshmallow Frosting:

Frosting recipe from Joy the Baker

4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

Makes 48 mini cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini muffin tins with cupcake wrappers.

2. Make the graham cracker crunch: Mix crushed graham crackers with melted butter. Depending on what brand of graham’s you use you may need slightly more or less butter. Mixture should hold together when pressed. Set aside half of graham mix for topping. Distribute remaining half among cupcake wrappers and press down. Bake for 5 minutes until just set. Allow to cool.

3. Make the cupcakes: In a medium bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, starting and ending with flour. Divide cupcake mix evenly among pan, filling each about 3/4 of the way full. Top with remaining graham cracker crunch. Bake for approximately 11 minutes until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely.

4. Make the frosting: In a large pot, bring about 2 inches of water to a simmer. In a large, heat-proof bowl(I use the bowl from my mixer) whisk together egg whites, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place bowl over simmering water and whisk as it heats. The sugar will dissolve after about 5 minutes. If you want to check the temperature, it should get up to about 160 degrees. Transfer the egg white and sugar mixture to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. With a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, on high, until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes) The mixture will be fluffy and glossy and look like melted marshmallows. It’ll be sticky too. Beat in the vanilla extract last.

5. Assembly time: Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes using a large piping bag. Heat the oven to broil. Place the cupcakes in the oven for 30 seconds, no longer!!! The marshmallow meringue toasts almost immediately and any longer will cause it to burn. Serve while warm for the most s’more like experience!

Peach Slushie

20120810-223929.jpgI am obsessed with peaches right now. I mean obsessed. They’ve finally come into season and I can’t get enough.

Wait did I just say there’s a peach season in Wisconsin? Well there is. And honestly after living in Georgia, I really don’t see much difference in Wisconsin and Georgia peaches. Except the season here is much shorter.

20120810-224433.jpgLast weekend I bought 2 pounds of peaches at the farmers market. It’s actually quite a lot of peaches. I’ve been eating them every day.

It also reminded me that I had some frozen peaches I needed to find a use for. So I threw them in a saucepan and made peach purée. Little did I know that purée would be destined for a slushie.

Since being pregnant, slushies have become one of the things I can’t get enough of. I’ve always been a lover of frozen beverages of any sort, but now if we set foot in a Target store and there’s an Icee machine I desperately want one. And Icee’s are full of crap I would normally not ingest. So I decided to make my own. Peach purée and ice. It’s really that simple. You could make this recipe with any sort of fruit you want and have endless slushie possibilities. For those non pregnant out there, adding some booze would also be phenomenal. Try it this weekend, you won’t be sorry.

20120810-225302.jpgPeach Slushies

Ingredients

8 ounces peach purée
1 tray of ice cubes

Directions

Add both ingredients to blender. Pulse until smooth. Makes one slushie.

Peach Purée

Ingredients

2 cups chopped peaches
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Directions

In a medium saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil. Turn down heat to medium low and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes, until peaches have broken down. Push mixture through a fine mesh strainer, making sure to push as much fruit through as possible. You want your purée to be slightly thick. Allow to cool and refrigerate until ready to use.

I miss you!

I admit, I have been seriously neglecting you. My last post was in June!!! What? That’s just crazy. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking or photographing, it’s just that I’ve been soo busy. Every weekend in July was filled and now I’m getting to that point of being pregnant where any sort of activity requires a nap afterwards. So here’s a little of what I’ve done lately!

20120805-094035.jpgCupcakes I made for one of my baby showers. Mint lime cake with Blueberry cream cheese frosting. The flavor of the cake could have been dialed up a bit, but they were still yummy!

20120805-094201.jpgThe preggo tea blend I’ve been drinking. Raspberry leaf, nettle and San Pellegrino Limonata soda with mint. It’s my version of a pregnant cocktail.

20120805-094352.jpgRidiculous cinnamon rolls I made yesterday. Cream cheese frosting. These are the best ones I’ve made yet. I’m not sure why as I’ve used the recipe before, but they stayed nice and fluffy a day later!

20120805-094509.jpgA healthy dinner complete with vitamins. Veggie burrito, fruit and tea.

20120805-094622.jpgBrownies topped with marshmallow and peanut butter crunch.
Not as good as I hoped but still tasty.

20120805-094739.jpgAnother almost cocktail. Homemade blueberry syrup with club soda and mint.

20120805-094831.jpgFor the husbands birthday this year I made s’mores cupcakes. They were delish.

20120805-095003.jpgMy first attempt at creme brûlée. This one was successful, however I made the mistake of using different sized ramekins and not checking them regularly, resulting in curdled brûlée. Not pretty.

I can’t promise I won’t be as neglectful as I have been, but I’ll try and fill you with lovely food photos more often! I have approximately 4 weeks to go until I meet this little person taking up residence in my belly. I can promise my maternity leave(13 whole weeks!!) will be filled with posts so don’t worry I’ll make it all up to you!