Sunday, 6 April 2014

Blackberry Cabernet/Crème de Cassis Gelato

Blackberry Cabernet/Crème de Cassis Gelato

Plain Base*
1 pint blackberries, washed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons crème de cassis
3 tablespoons Cabernet Sauvignon
1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)

Make the Plain Base (below).  Put berries in a small bowl to soak in the crème de cassis and Cab Sav.  Using kitchen scissors, chop up the berries as much as you like.

Into chilled base, whisk vanilla extract and xanthan gum (if using).  Pour in berries and booze and stir.

Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

* Plain Base
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar


In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk and cream.  Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn't form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170F.

Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth.  Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow.  Temper the egg yolks by very slowly pouring in the hot milk mixture while whisking continuously.   Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat.  Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185F.  Do not bring to a boil.

Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl.  Let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so.  To cool the custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl with the custard in it; stir the custard until cooled.  Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

Well... key lime in spirit anyway.  I used plain old regular limes.  Um, except they were big and yellow and looked like lemons, so the ice cream didn't turn out green at all.  Nonetheless, this is the limiest!  And did I mention easy?  No cooking!  Mix the stuff in a bowl, and into the freezer in minutes flat.  No excuses now!

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lime juice (or juice from 2 big limes, whichever is more), or bottled Key lime juice
Zest from 2 big limes
Dash of salt
8 graham crackers (2 cookie sheets), coarsely crushed

In a large bowl, combine milk, cream, sweetened condensed milk, lime zest, lime juice, and salt; whisk to combine.

Pour mixture into your ice cream freezer, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Stir crushed graham crackers into ice cream. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container, cover, and freeze until firm. Serve with extra crumbled graham crackers, if desired.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Honey Garlic Balsamic Chicken

Honey Garlic Balsamic Chicken
3 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 chopped garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.  Season with salt and pepper.  Melt the butter over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.  Add the chicken to the pan.  Cook the chicken until both sides are brown and the chicken is cooked through, about 7 minutes on each side.  Take the chicken out of the pan, and put on a plate and tent with foil.  Add the chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and honey to the pan.  Cook for about 5 minutes, the sauce will thicken.  Use a spatula to get the browned bits off of the bottom of the pan.  Slice the chicken on a bias, and spoon the pan sauce over the top.
From here.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Bacon Choc Chip Biscotti

Yep, we're having a bit of a biscotti brouhaha... this time it's the intriguing:

Bacon Chocolate Chip Biscotti

5 strips bacon
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2+ cups chocolate for dipping

Cook bacon in microwave according to your preferred method (you can also fry it, but that's messier, so why bother?).  Chop or crumble crispy bacon into small pieces.  Set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.  In large bowl or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, two or three minutes.  Add eggs one at a time and beat to combine.  Add flour mixture and beat until blended.  Stir in bacon and chocolate chips.  Gather dough in ball and divide in half.  Wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate until firm, 20 to 30 minutes (dough will still be sticky).

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.   Preheat oven to 350ºF.  On floured surface, roll each piece of dough out into a 12 to 14-inch log.  Transfer logs to baking sheet spacing them 3-4 inches apart. Bake until light golden and dry to the touch, about 30 minutes.

Remove baking sheet from oven.  Reduce oven temperature to 300ºF.  Allow logs to cool for 15 minutes.  Transfer logs to cutting board.  Using serrated knife, slice logs on diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices.  Return slices to baking sheet, standing upright, and bake until dry and golden, 20 to 30 minutes.  Slide biscotti on parchment to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt dipping chocolate in a wide, shallow bowl, heating in microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring between, until melted.  Dip bottoms of cooled biscotti into chocolate, allowing excess to drip back into bowl.  Allow to set on wax paper.

You can't really SEE the bacon, but it's in there, and gives a nice slightly smoky complexity that underscores the richness of the chocolate.  In other words: YUM.

Recipe from here.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Orange Pistachio Choc Chip Biscotti

....or whatever you want to call it.  Pistachio orange choc chip.  Chocpistachiochiporange.  I like that better.

Orange Pistachio Chocolate Chip Biscotti

2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1 teaspoon orange extract [optional]
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pistachios
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate (chips or chopped - for melting/dipping)

Heat oven to 325F.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.  Add eggs, orange zest, liqueur and extract (if using) and stir well.  Add melted butter and stir until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips and pistachios.  Use your hands to mix if needed (it'll be sticky).

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface.  Divide dough into three equal portions.  Shape each portion into a 14" log.  Place logs on a baking sheet lined with parchment or Silpat, 3" apart.  Flatten logs slightly until about 1 1/4" wide.

Bake for 30 minutes or until firm and light brown.  Remove from oven and place baking sheet on wire rack; cool for 15 minutes.

Transfer logs to cutting board.  Using a sharp serrated knife, cut each roll on the diagonal in 1/2" slices.  Place slices cut side down back onto lined baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp, golden brown.  Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

Put chocolate for dipping into a microwave-safe bowl and heat in minute increments at half power, stirring between each time, until melted.  Dip each biscotti into melted chocolate, allowing excess to drip back into the bowl.  Place dipped biscotti on wax paper (choc side down) and allow to set.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Red Wine and Rosemary Marinara Sauce

Red Wine and Rosemary Marinara Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

Step 1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. 

Step 2. Add the rest of the ingredients (wine through tomato paste). Bring to a simmer; cook 20 minutes or until thick. 

Step 3.  Whoops, that's it.  Serve over pasta and drink the rest of that bottle of wine. 

Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe from July 1997.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Cinnamon Spiced Scones

This dough throws together before the oven heats up!  Can't get any easier than that.

Cinnamon Spiced Scones

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1/2 cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing (buttermilk substitute: 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, then pulse to blend. Add butter, scattering it over the flour mixture.  Pulse until the butter is pea-sized, about 6-8 times. Add the buttermilk, then pulse until moist crumbs form, about 6-8 times.

Transfer mixture to a large piece of plastic wrap.  Use the wrap to gather the crumbs together, then press the dough into a 1” thick disc about 5” in diameter. Peel away plastic wrap.  With a sharp knife, cut the disc into 6 wedges.

On the prepared baking sheet, arrange scones 1” apart.  Lightly brush each with buttermilk, then sprinkle with sugar (I used a coarse variety for this).  Bake until golden brown, about 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Serve with pumpkin butter!
From here.