Monday, July 22, 2013

Raspberry Ice Cream

I haven't been the best blogger lately.  Probably because I haven't been cooking much because I'm getting ready to move abroad.  Who knew that leaving the country could be SO MUCH WORK?!  It is.  And, when I'm not packing or stressing out about leasing my condo or getting an international driving license or making a trip to the storage unit, all I want to do is play with my cutie-pie nieces and nephews or do fun things with friends or go out to lunch or take a nap.  I'm so glad that it's summer and I have time to squeeze most of these things in. 

So, what I'm saying is, I might continue to be a less-than-my-best blogging self for a little longer.  I fully intend to continue to share my favorite recipes once I'm settled and have a handle on my new life and job, but I'm guessing that's going to take a few weeks (or months?).

And now . . . raspberry ice cream. 

Most summers I go berry picking with my sisters.  Sadly, I didn't go this year, but I did purchase some fresh raspberries from a local farmers market.  When I have fresh raspberries, I like to put them to good use by making this scrumptious ice cream.   

Now, let's start off by talking ice cream makers/machines/freezers.  There are lots of options out there and which one you use doesn't really matter as long as you know how to work it properly.  I have a KitchenAid ice cream bowl attachment.  It's a bowl that you freeze and use on your KitchenAid mixer.  I like it because I don't have to store a whole additional appliance.  I just always keep the bowl in the freezer so it's ready to go and so I don't have to find a place to keep it since I'm really limited on kitchen space.  I'm including some important tips and reminders about my ice cream bowl below the recipe, mostly for myself, so I don't have to track down the user manual and so I don't make the same mistakes that I have in the past. 

And, here's a little tip that you might find helpful regardless of what kind of ice cream maker you're using:  if you don't like the texture of the final product (this has happened to me a few times), use the ice cream to make milkshakes.  I actually think I've worked out the kinks for texture issues and have included those tips in this recipe, but if you happen to run into this problem, shakes are a good way to go.   

yields:  1 generous quart
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk

Toss the raspberries, 3/4 cup sugar, and the lemon juice together in a bowl.

Refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.  

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.  

Whisk in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more.

Pour in the heavy cream and milk and whisk to blend.

Add raspberries and juices to the cream mixture. 

Refrigerate berry/cream mixture for an hour. 

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's instructions.

Reminders for KitchenAid Ice Cream Attachment
  • Store the freeze bowl in the freezer for a minimum of 15 hours. 
  • Chill the ice cream batter before putting it in the ice cream mixer. 
  • Set the mixer on the lowest speed and pour the ice cream into the free bowl WITH THE DASHER RUNNING. 
  • Mix for 20-30 minutes or to desired consistency.
  • If the dasher begins to slip and make a clicking noise, the ice cream is done. 
  • Add any solid ingredients (fruit, nuts, candies, chocolate chips) in the last few minutes of the mixing process.
  • Remove ice cream from freeze bowl and store in an airtight container in the freezer for 2-4 hours before serving. 
  • Batter volume grows significantly during the conversion process.  Batter should only fill about half of the bowl when starting the mixing process. 

Source:  Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Book

Friday, July 12, 2013

Really Good Chocolate Cake

I made this cake for my brother's 40th birthday.  He requested chocolate cake with fluffy white frosting.  I like the way it turned out, both looks-wise and in the taste department.  In fact, the next morning I was really wishing I had taken at least a slice home.  Cake for breakfast?  Yes, please.   

I've made this chocolate cake a few times and each time it's been moist and delicious.  I think the sour cream helps.  Check the cake carefully as it bakes to make sure you do not overcook it.  There really is nothing worse than dry cake.  Blech.  Not even worth eating, in my opinion.  I would rather error on the side of being a little underdone.  If you're checking it with a toothpick, it's okay to have moist crumbs (even really moist crumbs) on it. 

I really like this recipe.  It's simple and from scratch. 

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with butter and line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper.  Lightly grease the paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low to combine well.
Add oil and sour cream and mix on low to combine.
With the mixer on low, GRADUALLY add the water. 
Add vinegar and vanilla.
Add eggs and mix until well blended.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and be sure the batter is well-mixed and no flour bits remain.
Divide among the 2 prepared cake pans.  Using a kitchen scale really helps to ensure the layers are equal.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes on the same rack, without the cake pans touching each other, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.
Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes.
Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.

Source:  Sugar and Spice by Celeste

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mediterranean Dip

This is the perfect appetizer to make for the 4th of July!  It is bursting with flavor, super easy to throw together, and the end product is colorful and beautiful.  Added bonus: it's full of healthy ingredients.  This is all the best things about Mediterranean food in one delicious little dip. 

It all starts with a layer of cilantro pesto (YUM!) that is topped with hummus, and then sprinkled with all sorts of delicious toppings.  I didn't include amounts for the toppings because it's really up to you. 

  • 2 cups fresh cilantro leaves and stems
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ⅓ cups olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons pecans
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups hummus (I like to use the Mediterranean hummus from Trader Joe's.)
Top with: 
  • cucumber, chopped
  • red onion, thinly sliced
  • kalamata olives, finely chopped
  • grape tomatoes, chopped
  • feta cheese
  • pine nuts
  • chopped cilantro

Process cilantro, garlic, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor until a rough paste forms.

Add pecans, pine nuts and cheese, and process until blended, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

With the processor running, pour the remaining oil in a slow, steady stream; process until smooth.  

Spread pesto on a platter.

Spread hummus on top of pesto. 

Top with cucumber, red onion, olives, tomatoes, and feta. 

Add a few pine nuts and cilantro leaves for garnish. 

Serve with pita chips, flatbread, carrots, or whatever you feel like dipping! 

Source:  Tasty Kitchen