Saturday, May 28, 2011

Custard Style Ice cream

With the weather heating up I've started looking into different ice cream recipes.  I got a book from the library the other day and I went through it looking for something to try first.  I don't normally make my ice cream with whole milk, not to mention heavy cream and eggs, but I figured what the hell.  I've never tried making a custard style ice cream before and I just wanted to know if I could do it.

I can.

AND, it's Freaking Unbelievable!!!

I used the Basic Vanilla ice cream as the base and since Vanilla is so boring and I am Not. I went ahead and made mine Toasted almond, swapping out the vanilla extract for almond and in the last 15 minutes adding about 1/4 cup toasted ground almonds.

Vanilla Custard Ice Cream


2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 Tbs. All purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 2/3 Cup Milk
1 cup Heavy cream
2 tsp Vanilla extract

Directions:
In a medium mixing bowl beat the sugar into the eggs until thick and pale yellow.  Beat in the flour and salt and set aside.

In a heavy medium saucepan bring the milk to a simmer. Slowly beat the hot milk into the egg mixture.  Pour the entire mixture back into the pan over low heat.  Stir constantly with a whisk until the custard thickens slightly.  Be careful not to let this boil or it will curdle.

Remove from heat and pour the custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl.  Cool slightly and add the cream and vanilla.  Cover and refrigerate until cold (or, if you're a stubborn ass like my and don't want to wait stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes in a stainless bowl.. NOT glass)

Add the custard mix to your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturers directions.  This ice cream is ready to eat when the cycle is over, but it's even better if you allow it to harden for an hour or two.

**This is a Very versatile recipe that you can easily add fruit, candy or basically anything you want to. 

Next up.. chocolate :)

Peaches are good, but be careful of the pit

I've bought a half dozen or so peaches in the last week or two and noticed that every single one has had a cracked pit inside.. while this itself doesn't pose any danger, the almond looking "nut" inside the peach can be poisonous as it contains trace amounts of cyanide.
"Split pit is a disorder that can affect up to 50 percent of the peaches harvested each year. High nitrogen fertilization, improper irrigation scheduling, and the number of fruit on the tree all influence the amount of split pit that occurs. Peach trees planted in the lawn where they receive more fertilizer and water have more fruit with split pit. Peach trees not pruned properly also experience this problem more frequently." 
  Last night I bit into a peach that had a split pit and there was a clear gel by the opening of the pit and had a very bitter taste.. I spit out what I had in my mouth and threw the rest of the peach out.  While the peaches are all fine I told The Kid to just be careful when eating the peaches and to not just bite into one but to cut it up and remove the seed first.

Just be careful when eating peaches and Never leave the pits where kids or pets can get into them, they can be very harmful to small pets.

I cut clear through this peach this morning with little effort, so be careful when cutting them too

This is NOT an almond, this is the "nut"  inside the peach pit that can be harmful to small children and pets.  It is inedible.
 The clear goo over there around the top of the pit has a bitter taste that I had the unfortunate experience of tasting last night.. it was gross and scared the hell out of me too.

If you do experience cutting into a peach like this, lay it flat on a cutting board and slice through it sideways to remove the pit and discard.  I've found if you cut it lengthwise it's easy to remove the first half and the other half is a mess and you lose a good portion of the peach flesh.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A few Memorial Day Weekend Recipes


I get tons of emails every day with recipes.. .so many so that I have them directed right into their own folder in my inbox so I don’t miss any and I go through it weekly, save the ones I like and know I’ll use in the folder to print out when I get a chance.

Today there were a gazillion different things for the big memorial day weekend so I thought I’d share a few of these great recipes with y’all.

I don’t have an outdoor grill (my LL does, but he’s not willing to let me use it) I do, although have a fairly large George Foreman Grill, which is awesome.. I don’t always get that charred flavor, but if that’s what I’m looking for I will occasionally toss whatever I’m making in the broiler.

Lemon Pesto Marinade
(from iVillage)
Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups Serving

Ingredients
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon grated fresh lemon zest (from 1 or 2 lemons)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 small garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup whole basil leaves, loosely packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup parsley leaves, loosely packed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the basil, parsley, mint, dill and garlic until finely chopped. While the machine is still running, slowly drizzle in the reserved olive oil mixture until well combined. Add the salt and pepper. Adjust with additional salt if desired.

Brush on or marinate fish and seafood no more than 30 minutes prior to grilling. If using with chicken, vegetables or beef, brush on or marinate up to 4 hours in advance. Drain off the marinade slightly before grilling.

Grill over medium-high heat—if your grill is too hot, the herbs will burn too quickly.

Both The Kid and myself Love horseradish.. not sure how this came to be, but he really digs the stuff.  I will sometimes make a rub with horseradish, salt, pepper and lemon juice for steaks, let it sit for an hour or so and toss it under the broiler and then serve it with a horseradish mayo on the side.

Bloody Mary Burgers with Horseradish Dressing


Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 to to 1 1/4-inch piece horseradish root, freshly grated
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
4 to 8 dashes Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 good bread buns, ciabatta rolls, or thick slices of baguette
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
 romaine lettuce leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Tomato slices
3 pounds ground round
Ketchup (optional)
A little canola or olive oil

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix together the tomato paste, horseradish, celery seeds, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and a generous grinding of black pepper. Add the beef and mix thoroughly with your hands, making sure the seasonings are spread throughout the meat. Let stand for at least an hour for the flavors to develop. Meanwhile, make the horseradish dressing: Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Break off a small piece of the beef mixture, the size of a walnut, and fry in a little oil until well cooked. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

Shape the meat into 4 patties about 3/4 inch thick. Lightly brush each one with oil, then place on a grill over high heat. It’s hard to give exact cooking instructions due to variables such as the thickness of the burger, the heat of the grill, and personal preference. For a medium-rare burger, you will probably need to grill for 3 to 4 minutes, then flip over and cook the other side for a couple of minutes. If you’re cooking the burgers indoors, use a lightly oiled grill pan set over medium-high heat. Let the burgers rest for a minute or two while you prepare the buns.

To serve, toast the buns or other bread lightly on the cut side, then top with the lettuce leaves and tomato slices. Add the burgers and smear with horseradish sauce, and a dollop of ketchup if you like. Top with the other half of the bread.

Good with French fries, obviously, but if they’re too much effort, really good potato chips will do.


I ABSOLUTELY Love Greek food, so this is definitely one I’m going to try.

Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients
(1 lb) good-quality lamb ground
4 artisan-style hard rolls
1 tsp minced garlic
4 small handfuls of baby spinach leaves
1/2 tsp ground cloves
 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp olive oil

directions
Prep: 15 min Total: 30 min (Quick)

Put the lamb in a bowl and add the garlic, cloves, cumin, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Mix with your hands until well combined, then shape into four burgers. Chill until ready to cook.

Mix the red onion with the vinegar and sugar. Let marinate while you prepare the sauce. Squeeze the cucumber to remove excess moisture, then mix with the yogurt, garlic, mint, and a little salt and pepper. Chill.

When ready to eat, heat a ridged cast-iron grill pan. Sprinkle the burgers with a little kosher salt and brush with olive oil. Cook the burgers until browned and cooked through, 3–4 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, split the rolls and toast them. When the burgers are cooked, assemble your creation with baby spinach leaves, tzatziki sauce, and the drained marinated onions.


This is very close to the way I make Turkey burgers.. I’ve never tried it with chicken though.. Another marked to try asap :)

Chicken Mushroom Burgers

Ingredients
1 pound lean ground chicken (or turkey)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
6 whole wheat buns, halved
2 green onions, chopped
Tomato slices, for Toppings
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
alfalfa sprouts or leaf lettuce, for Toppings
1/4 cup oat bran
cranberry sauce or mustard, for Toppings
1 1/4 teaspoons dried tarragon or 1 tbsp fresh
 light mayonnaise, for Toppings
1/2 teaspoon salt


Directions:

Lightly combine chicken, mushrooms, onions, garlic, oat bran, tarragon, salt and pepper. Gently form into 6 evenly shaped patties, about 3/4-inch thick. Refrigerate patties for at least 1 hour before grilling (see Tip).

Preheat grill on medium. Place patties on lightly oiled grill rack. Close lid and grill for 6 to 7 minutes per side or until an instant-read thermometer inserted sidewise into center of each patty reads 165°f; turn once.

During last few minutes of cooking, place buns on top rack of grill to warm. Fill each bun with a cooked patty; top with choice of garnishes. Makes 6 servings.

Tip: Patties hold together best if covered and refrigerated for about 1 hour before cooking.

Safety Tips: A little care for your chicken is in order. After handling raw chicken, wash your hands and all utensils with hot soapy water and rinse well. After grilling, always put burgers on a clean plate. Never use a plate that held the raw burgers.



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Impossible Coconut Pie

My search for the perfect coconut custard pie has ended. I have found THE ONE. I've searched online and in my cookbooks for days looking for the right recipe with great reviews and I'll be honest I had chosen another one, but I forgot my printout at work and since The Kid was on my computer when I was ready to make this last night I did another search from my phone and this was the first recipe that came up in my search.

This is IMPOSSIBLE to screw up and totally, unbelievably easy and amazing.

This turned out wonderful and I'll admit.. I had a bite this morning before I ran out of the house like a maniac at 6:30 to get the kid to his regents review class. (my poor kid, he's so not a morning person and we're both glad this is the last morning of this craziness of having to be at school an hour early). Oh, and yea, this totally tastes best cold so if you can manage not to tear into it after taking it out of the oven, do it. It was good last night after I let it cool, but it was even more amazing this morning when I took a tiny forkful.




(Camera phone pic, will post better pic later)
The Impossible Pie from Gourmet Jack

4 eggs
2 cups cold milk
¾ cup sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup butter
dash salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or not – your choice)

Directions:
Heat the oven to 350º degrees. Prepare a well-greased 10″ Pyrex pie dish.

*I don't have a Pyrex pie dish and I did this in a disposable aluminum pan and it came out great


Put all ingredients in blender, blend at high speed for the count of 10, then turn off blender and pour mixture into the prepared pie plate

Bake for 40 minutes or until edges are brown. Cool (in dish) on wire rack. Makes 8 servings.

Chickpea Salad with Provençal Herbs and Olives

Sometimes I will make something not being quite sure The Kid will like it, but really.. who am I kidding? This kid will eat practically anything with very few exceptions. He hemmed and hawed that he didn't like coleslaw only to come home one night from work to a half eaten bowl of coleslaw in the fridge that I made the night before. Well, I was hungry and it was really good. Uh huh.. I know... punk, lol.

I wasn't really sure about the chickpea salad though.. I mean, sure he likes chickpeas and all but I figured I'd give it a go and see what happened.. I mean, it's all about expanding his palate and having him learn to prepare basic recipes that he can make on his own as well as being healthy too.

*if you don't have fresh herbs you can substitute dry, just use half the amount as the fresh.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
2 Tbs diced red onion
1/4 cup black olives
1 small cucumber, peeled & diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup feta


Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. 

Combine chickpeas and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. 

Pour vinegar mixture over salad, tossing gently.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Scenes from my office

I don't know if there's proper etiquette for eating in the office but the eating habits of my co workers continue to astound me on a daily basis... Here are a few tips I have for them:

Soda and cookies IS NOT an idea of a good breakfast

One can not live on Pretzels alone

How a man can snack as much as one of my senior partners, aka cookiepuss, and stay stick thin, I’ll never know

Fish should Never, EVER be reheated in the office microwave

If you have a GI issue, eating Prepackaged frozen meals every single day is probably a bad idea, plus that shit stinks up the entire office

If there are more chemicals than real ingredients in what you’re eating, it’s not really healthy


Just because your family won’t eat that ginormous supermarket cake doesn’t mean you should bring the leftovers into the office.

If you don’t eat vegetables or fruit on a regular basis, it will eventually effect your health.

Whole milk isn’t really good.. And 2% doesn’t taste any different, there is a slight difference in 1% and Skim, I agree is just plain nasty.  Don’t pitch a monumental fit just because there isn’t whole milk for the office coffee.

Please don’t inspect my lunch, it’s rude.

If you wouldn’t eat what I’m eating, keep your comments to yourself, I eat real food, not fat free/sugar free/taste free everything like you do.

If you get paid for an hour's lunch break, you get ONE HOUR, not an hour and a half... and it's unbelievably ballsy to eat your lunch at your desk and then leave for an hour.. if you eat at your desk it's either because you're working through lunch or you have to leave early.



I'm sure I'll have more.. check back for updates

Balsamic-Glazed Pork with Peaches

This is a recipe I pulled out of the arsenal last night to make over the weekend. Something different that I haven't made in ages and is great with fresh summer peaches.


Balsamic-Glazed Pork with Peaches

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onions
4 (4- to 6-oz.) boneless pork loin chops
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup chopped peeled peaches
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. 

Add onions; cook 5 minutes or until translucent. 

Move onions to edge of skillet. 

Add pork chops; sprinkle with salt and thyme. 

Cover; cook 7 to 12 minutes or until pork is no longer pink in center, turning once.

In medium bowl, combine all remaining ingredients; mix well.

3Remove pork from skillet; cover to keep warm. 

Increase heat to high; add peach mixture to onions in skillet. 

Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring and scraping bottom of skillet until mixture is thickened to a rich glaze. 

Spoon glaze over pork.

**Update 5/26**
I made this tonight for dinner and really forgot how awesome it was.  The peach 'sauce' can easily be prepared and used as a glaze for a pork roast since it's so easy to double or even triple the recipe.  Also, I didn't have any thyme (so what else is new) so instead I used rosemary from my plant that I have in my garden.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hey, can you make these? Italian Pignoli cookies

I was asked that question Sunday and my response was “I can make anything” As long as I know what it’s called and I can find a recipe... or I can figure out on my own basically what’s in it.. Sure.  I can do it.  I'll never turn down a cooking challenge anyway.

This particular question was directed towards a pignoli cookie.  Sure, I can do that.. And I can probably make it better than the one you’re eating too. (Neener neener) lol.

When I’m asked to make something, whether it’s to cook or bake I put my all into it.  I don’t do anything half assed.  I will seek out the best recipe I can find and make it to the best of my ability with the best ingredients I can find.

I have a plan to make these Pignoli cookies with fresh made almond paste.. I have a bag of almond meal in my freezer left over from Christmas cookies.. So yea, I’m gonna do that too... and post the recipe here.  I’ll do a trial run before I go and make them for the bestie when she gets here (which can’t be soon enough when I’m still waiting for her to get her tickets for her flight home).  I was at her sister’s yesterday who told me we’ll have a cooking feast when she gets here.

So, Stay tuned.. there's gonna be a LOT of recipes coming up soon.  I've already started cranking up the ice cream maker and playing with recipes since the ice cream man is a jerk who never stops on my block.. I've sworn off the fake stuff for good (and who wants to spend $3 for an ice cream cone anyway?).  I decided last night that I'm going to hit the library tonight to get a few ice cream recipe books since for the life of me I can't find mine.  I usually make eggless ice cream, but this year I'm going to venture into the unknown.

It's going to be interesting.. and Delicious too!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dunkin Donuts Blueberry Waffle Sandwich

I am so thoroughly disgusted with this sandwich I could puke.  Seriously, this thing is so disgusting I had to go drink a glass of water after eating about half of it and then brush my teeth, followed by rinsing with another glass of water.. OMFG, Eww.


It smells really, really good.

And that’s where the goodness stops.

Upon opening my bag and taking out my sandwich I saw this



Strike 1


I took a look at the sandwich after fully unwrapping the sandwich



Strike 2

it looks so unappetizing

I like to peel my sandwiches apart (don’t judge)

This was almost where I called it quits

video

Floppy waffle is so uncool and gross... yuck.. It’s supposed to be toasted.. Not Microwaved, eww.


 Then this



There was so much grease in that sausage that I had to soak up the oil on the sausage patty with a paper towel and then soak up the grease off the egg.. Uck.



But this.. This is where I ended up tossing the rest of the sandwich



Who the hell thought it was a good idea to put CHEESE on a BLUEBERRY waffle sandwich?
Strike 3

Eww, eww and oh.. Yeah.. EWW!!

Don’t buy this sandwich unless you plan to be sick for the next day and a half.

I’m sorry I wasted my money on this crap.


Dunkin Donuts, you failed on this one.

FAIL!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Coconut Custard pie

I've had a wicked craving for coconut custard pie for over a week now.. I don't know where it came from and I haven't made it in a really long time so I had to go in search of a recipe..

Unfortunately the recipe that I found and used yesterday was a failure.  I mean, it tasted fine but the coconut separated from the custard and it wasn't quite what I was looking for.. so I must try again with another recipe... because I am now in search of the Perfect coconut custard pie.... all help and suggestions are welcome here too :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Flip off's 5/13/11

Just a few quick flips this week.

To my psychotic turtle for biting through the GLASS aquarium thermometer, spilling little metal beads all through the bottom of the aquarium and making me a worried mess that the stupid little jackass was going to die from ingesting glass.   He’s not dead. The stupid little fucker. He’s still torturing his brother in the aquarium that’s getting smaller by the day (much like my apartment) I have to do a thorough cleaning of the aquarium and filter this weekend (fun stuff, lemme tell ya) without taking out the turtles because turtle #1 is a nasty thing and he bites.

One of these days I'll just get a dog like I really want =/

To the DMV for politely reminding me that my birthday is in 6 weeks and it’s time for an eye exam and license renewal.

To the sesamoiditis in my right foot.  Yea, fuck off, it’s been real.  Please go away now.

To the Fucktard in my office that thinks it’s OK to go through my desk after hours.. It’s NOT cool. I don’t do it to you, please stay out of my stuff.

Gas prices.  I think that deserves a collective Fuck off from all of us.  I dread going to fill up my gas tank on a weekly basis.  Just checking Gas Buddy now and the lowest price by me is Hess @$4.33/gal This is not cool.  It cost me $60 last week for Half a tank of gas.  Something’s gotta give here.

That's all.  Blogger you're pissing me off with the updates.. Where are my Posts from yesterday?

 OH OH!! Wait one more

 Fuck off Dunkin Donuts for making me physically Ill from that nasty ass sandwich I ate & blogged about yesterday.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Together we can help Stamp out Hunger


Nobody should ever have to go hungry.  Lets face it, Hunger is a serious issue in this country that is often overlooked.  Jobs are getting harder and harder to come by and keep and as the cost of living keeps going up, unfortunately for most of us our paychecks aren't.  I have a tight food budget of $50/week and some weeks it's not easy with a growing teenager to always have enough.. But being the foodie that I am I manage to cook dinner from scratch every night no matter what.. it might just be pasta and veggies, but it's always something fresh and filling.

We can make a difference though and together we can help stamp out hunger.  On Saturday May 14 leave a box or bag of nonperishables for your mail carrier to pick up when they deliver the mail.  Every little bit counts.

For more information check out http://www.helpstampouthunger.com/

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dunkin Donuts Egg White & turkey sausage Flatbread


Lunch today would have been better had it actually come from my kitchen.  But, of course it didn’t.  Because heaven forbid I remember it in the fridge as I’m flying out the door at 7:30 yelling at the kid to hurry his butt up before he’s late for first period... again.

Today I decided to do a little research before I headed out to the snoozefest of choices we have over here by my office for lunch.. There’s the deli next door, Subway on one corner.. Walk the other way out of the building and there’s Dunkin Donuts, Chinese or Pizza.  I will not eat from the Chinese place, their food is soooooo greasy.  Pizza.. Meh.  I mean, guaranteed, the pizza is really good 95% of the time.. But, again... meh. I’d get a salad there if they weren’t freaking $9!!  Dunkin donuts has a wide variety of new stuff on their menu (minus that Texas toast sandwich that has a day’s worth of calories and 2 days worth of sodium) I went online to the DD website to check on some nutrition facts and decided on the egg white & turkey sausage flatbread sandwich.

I’m going to get my hair cut tonight *gasp* so unlike many days when I go without eating until I get home (I know, that’s really, really bad) I know I won’t be home until probably well after 6... so I had to run out and grab something before the other ladies went out to lunch.

 It’s good.  It’s not spectacular or something I’d make a special trip for or eat daily.. But whatever, it’s lunch.  The Egg part had enough little sausage bits and spinach to be noticed, but the flavor was pretty bland.  The bread is soft but closely resembles cardboard & the flavor wasn't much better. For under 300 calories and less than $4 I'm not going to complain.  It was good enough, it was food in my belly that was slightly nutritious and will hold me over (hopefully) until dinner. I’m running on 2 Latté’s already today (home made, first one was downed with the remnants of yesterday’s espresso while the fresh pot of espresso was brewing, lol.. Something I never do) and no food.. So, yeah.. I’ve gotta eat something before I keel over.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Have I ever mentioned...?

My kid likes cheese.

That is an understatement.  This kid, he LOVES cheese.  All kinds of cheese.  I don't know how this love of cheese ever started, but the peaking point was about 3 years on our way to a birthday party to Chuck E Cheese with the bestie and there was a Stop & Shop in the same shopping center and he goes "oooooh, they have a Cheese shop!?!?!!!"  The bestie burst out laughing.. "that's what you're excited about? Cheese?" His response " I like cheese"

He can sit at the dinner table with the bestie's family and eat cheese with her dad all night, I think it's hilarious. He'll try just about anything too.. so far he wasn't fond of blue cheese or the dubliner cheese (I liked that one though)  he likes the really sharp cheese, especially provolone, I prefer the milder, soft one.. preferably with some salami (mmm, salami...)Recently the Kiddo here discovered Smoked gouda at the local grocery store.  I think it's ok.  I like the inside where it's nice and creamy.. he likes the whole thing... I find the rind too smokey.  We go to stop and shop weekly and he's allowed to pick one cheese, under $10.

One of these days when I have some extra cash I'm going to take him to a real cheese shop, give him $50 and let him get whatever he wants.. my budding foodie that he is.