Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Blueberry Coconut Ice Cream

Ice Cream is good and almost everyone likes it. I have a very loved Cuisinart ice cream maker that I use quite often. So often, in fact, that I have 4 freezer bowls for it. I like to have ice cream as dessert if we're having friends over for dinner in the summer and I like to have more than one flavor. Last year my husband and I really thought about opening a hand-crafted ice cream shop. I did all the research and we learned that we would be the first company who's actually making ice cream from scratch -every other ice cream company in the state uses a ready-made mix. These mixes scare me; who knows what fillers and preservatives are found in them. Anyway, for many reasons, we chose to put this idea on hold, but, the experimenting with flavors sure was fun and that's what led me to own 4 freezer bowls.

This week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream, chosen by Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity. I was serving a Hawaiian themed dinner and blueberries don't really fit into anything tropical so I tweaked the recipe a little. I replaced the heavy cream with coconut milk, I used lime juice and lemon zest and I decreased the amount of sour cream to 1/2 cup. I thought about adding a little candied ginger or some shredded coconut but I decided to keep them out- I didn't want to play with the recipe too much. Blueberries still aren't tropical, but who cares- I've been enjoying them more this summer than ever before.

This ice cream recipe is an easy one as it doesn't involve making a custard first. That process produces my favorite kinds of ice cream- super rich and creamy ones. This recipe is simple and still makes something really good and in a shorter amount of time.

If you want to try an easy, delicious ice cream that doesn't take too much time to prepare, try this one. It's worth it!

Blueberry Coconut Sour Cream Ice Cream

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home To Yours

1 cup of blueberries- fresh or frozen

1/3 cup sugar

pinch salt

1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon lime or lemon zest

3/4 cup of coconut milk

1/2 cup of sour cream

Place blueberries, sugar, lime or lemon juice and zest in a non-reactive saucepan (I use stainless) and cook on medium heat about 3 minutes. The blueberries should soften and pop and the sugar should dissolve.

Put blueberry mixture into a blender, or food processor and whir away until you have a fairly consistent mix- this should take no more than a minute. Add the milk and sour cream and pulse until it is incorporated.

Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before you churn it in your ice cream maker.

Smile and enjoy.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Island Fever

Tonight we ate macadami crusted ono, with mango and pineapple salsa, coconut rice and spicy broccoli and bok choy. It was a fabulous dinner that we enjoyed on the coffee table while watching the Olympics.

We were married on the island of Kauai last year and our friends, Pam and Mike, gave us a great Hawaiian cookbook, written by Sam Choy, as a wedding gift. Tonight's the first night we're breaking it in.

Of course, we couldn't get our hands on any Hawaiian caught Ono (also called Wahoo), but I don't care. This fish is so good- it is firm and white and is perfect for crusting with something. Halibut could be substituted as well- you could even use something like Tilapia or even chicken.

Macadami Crusted Ono
adapted from Sam Choy's Hawaii's Favorite Recipes

4 6 oz. fillets

1/8 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup cracker crumbs or Panko flakes

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh herbs of your choice

1 teaspoon paprika

salt and pepper to taste

Marinate fish in the olive oil, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper for at least 1/2 hour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all other ingredients to make your breading. Divide the mixture into 4 portions and pat the portion on both sides of each fillet. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until topping is crisp and brown.

Top with fruit salsa, recipe below.

Pineapple-Mango Salsa

3 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoonse lemon or lime juice, or vinegar

pinch of red pepper flakes, or one seeded jalapeno, chopped

pinch cumin

1 medium mango, diced

1/2 pineapple, diced

1/2 small red onion, diced

2 tablespoons cilantro

Mix sugar, juice/vinegar, chili flakes and cumin until sugar dissolves. Fold in remaining ingredients and chill.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer Fruit Galette

This week's Tuesday's With Dorie recipe was a Summer Fruit Galette. It was chosen by Michelle in Colorado Springs -thanks Michelle!

I was so lucky with my choice of fruit- I was able to use huckleberries that I had picked that morning, rhubarb cut from my friend's garden the night before, and cherries dropped off that morning from another friend's orchard. The fruit couldn't have been more local or fresh. How perfect was that?

Last year, I joined the Slow Food Movement. It is an organization that was started in Italy and is devoted to the art of eating slow food (not literally chewing slowly, but eating food that is the exact opposite of fast food) and eating locally. Slow Food is about knowing your farmer, following the path your food has traveled in order to be on your plate, savoring flavors and simplicity, eating what is in season, organic when possible and most of all, eating consciously. Slow Food does not focus just on organic, because truthfully organic is not always the solution. I say that because organic asparagus in the dead of winter, flown from New Zealand, should not be purchased. It won't taste good, I assure you, and the carbon footprint on those asparagus stalks is just awful to think about. The solution isn't clear and it isn't easy when it comes to this conundrum. Is it better to buy local greens, picked that morning from a local farmer, who isn't certified organic, than the big tub of Earthbound Farms organic greens from your local Costco? It is a difficult choice and I choose the farmer, but admittedly I do undertand if you're choosing Costco. If you want to learn more, try reading Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma or Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I consider them must-reads for everyone.

So, enough of that and onto this week's choice. I love making galettes! They are rustic, easy, and delicious. Dorie Greenspan's recipe called for a custard filling, which was interesting to try, but I probably won't use it again. I was able to use the freshest of fruit and I didn't really want to mask the bright flavors of them with a custard. Perhaps in the winter, when frozen berries will be used, the custard will find it's way back into the galette.

Dorie calls for a sprinkle of crushed graham crackers over the inside, bottom of the galette. I used crushed savoirdi cookies (the kind used in Tiramisu) instead of graham crackers. They are really crispy and light and work really well. I also tossed my fruit with a little lemon zest and about a tablespoon of sugar to offset the tartness of the rhubarb and the huckleberries.

Dorie Greenspan's recipe for pie crust is a breeze to work with. I've said it before, but I must say it again- if you're going to use shortening, try to use the healthiest ones out there. My go-to is Spectrum Organic Shortening . It is made with organic palm oil and is trans-fat free. Stay away from Crisco! The crust is mostly made with butter, which makes it really taste good. I usually use an all butter dough as I prefer to sacrifice some of the flakiness for more flavor and butter just always seems healthier than shortening, even if it is organic.

Here is the recipe as written in the book. My changes were slight- I used cherries, huckleberries and rhubarb (unpeeled) and added some sugar and lemon zest to the fruit. I used a huckleberry jam too, which is spread on the bottom, just below the cookie crumbs.

Dorie Greenspan's Summer Fruit Galette

from Baking From My Home to Yours

What you'll need:
  • Good For Almost Everything Pie Dough for a single crust-see recipe below

  • 2-3 tablespoons jam or marmalade, chilled

  • about 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs

  • Fresh summer fruit: about 10 apricots, 8-10 nectarines, 8 ripe but firm peaches, 8-10 firm plums or 2 stalks rhubarb

  • Decorating (coarse) or granulated sugar, for dusting-raw sugar is my choice

  • Custard- see recipe below

For the Custard:
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mix all the above ingredients together and set aside

For the Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 1 1/4 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut into tbsp size pieces

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons very cold vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces

  • About 1/4 cup ice water

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse just to combine the ingredients.

Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don’t overdo the mixing- what you’re aiming for is to have some pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley.

Pulsing the machine on and off, gradually add about 6 tbsps of the water- add a little water and pulse once, add some more water, pulse again and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If, after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn’t look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water as necessary, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. Big pieces of butter are fine.

Scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto a work surface. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before rolling (if your ingredients were very cold and you worked quickly, though, you might be able to roll the dough immediately: the dough should be as cold as if it had just come out of the fridge).

Putting it Together/Creating your Galette:

Center rack in the oven and preheat to oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment (see below) or a silicone mat.

To make it easier to move the pie dough onto the baking sheet, roll the dough between sheets of parchment paper ( in which case, you can use one of the rolling sheets to line the baking sheet) or wax paper or plastic wrap.

Alternatively, work on a well-floured surface, taking care to keep the dough moving by turning it and flouring the surface often.Roll the dough into a large 1/8 inch thick circle.

Using a pastry wheel or a paring knife, time the dough to a 13 inch diameter. Feel free to approximate this-I did.

Using a cake pan or a pot lid as a template and the tip of a blunt kitchen knife as a marker, lightly trace a 9 inch circle in the center of the dough- this is the area for the filling.

With the back of a spoon or a small offset spatula, spread some of the jam over the circle- how much will depend of the jam flavor you want.

Sprinkle over the crumbs, adding a little more than 2 tablespoons if you think you’ve got particularly juicy fruit.

Put a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper over the dough and refrigerate it while you prepare the fruit.

Wipe the apricots, nectarines or plums clean with a damp towel and cut in half; discard the pits. Blanch peaches for 10 seconds in a pot of boiling water, transfer them to a bowl of ice water to cool, then slip off the skins.

Halve and pit the peaches or peel rhubarb to remove the strings, and cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces (if your rhubarb is young and thin, you do not need to peel it).

Arrange the fruit on the dough, cut side down if using stone fruits, then gently lift the unfilled border of dough up and onto the filling. As you lift the dough and place it on the filling, it will pleat. If you’re not in a rush, freeze the galette for 15 minutes to give the crust a rest.

Brush the dough very lightly with a little water, then sprinkle it with a teaspoon or two of sugar.

Bake galette for 25 minutes, or until the crust is brown and the fruit is soft.

When the initial 25 minutes or so of baking is up, remove the baking sheet from the oven (leave the oven on), and carefully pour the custard around the fruit. Depending one how much juice has accumulated and how much space you have between the fruit, you may not be able to pour all the custard into the galette, but even 2 tablespoons can give the right effect. Pour in as much custard as you can, then carefully return the pan to the oven. Bake for another 12 to 15 minutes, or until the custard is set- it shouldn’t jiggle when you gently shake the pan.

Cool the galette on the baking sheet on a rack for 10 minutes.Very carefully slide a small baking sheet or cake lifter under the galette and slip the galette onto a rack to cool. The galette can be served when it is just warm or- my preference- when it has reached room temperature. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

For Sarah

My co-worker Sarah asked me to make cupcakes for her kiddie party that she was hosting. It was fun to think about and a fun project to make. I made basic chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, with a vanilla buttercream, all filled with vanilla pudding. I also made a small batch of coconut frosted ones, because when I was a child, that was my first flavor choice.

Hope you liked them Sarah!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes

Have you seen or heard of this book- Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day? It is sweeping the nation! (That sounds so dramatic and it's only about bread. I love it.) I'm a believer but first I must admit that I wasn't at first.

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes you ask? Yes. Yes. Yes. This basic recipe is so easy to make. Any of you can do it! I made the recipe below, and added about 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds as well as about 2 Tablespoons of honey. It was really good but not the prettiest, I'll agree. My photo makes it look burnt, but I assure you it wasn't. It was crunchy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. I have a feeling that my method and the appearance will both improve with each try.

I bought the book and it is filled with bread recipes, including brioche, challah, and pannettone. So, if you find yourself with 5 extra minutes on your hands this week, try this and be sure to let me know how it goes. If, however, it is 90 degrees outside do not turn that oven on-this bread can wait for a more temperate time.

Basic Artisan Bread Recipe

Recipe adapted from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast
1 1/2 tbsp coarse salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all purpose flour

1. Add yeast and salt to water in a large 5 quart container or bowl.

2. Mix in the flour with a wooden spoon or a mixer fitted with a dough hook until mixture is uniform. If you are hand mixing and it becomes difficult to incorporate all the flour with spoon, you can use wet hands to press mixture together, but do not knead.

3. Cover with a non-airtight lid and let rise approximately 2 hours until it rises and flattens. At this point, you can stick the dough in the fridge and let it stay in there for close to 2 weeks! the last loaf we made tasted even better than the first.

4. Sprinkle dough with flour and cut off a grapefruit sized piece, add a little more flour if needed to prevent dough from sticking to hands and stretch surface of dough around to bottom turning as you go to form a ball.

5. Let dough rest 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 450F and place an empty broiler tray on bottom rack.

6. Dust dough with flour and slash with a serrated knife to make a criss cross or scalloped pattern. Put dough in the oven and quickly pour 1 cup of hot water in the broiler tray and shut the door. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Summer Fruits Pie

I was supposed to make a double crusted blueberry pie (doesn't that sound so good?) for this past week's Tuesday's With Dorie recipe. The issue was, I still had rhubarb, and a big bag of frozen huckleberries, so this AMAZING pie became a huckeberry-blueberry-rhubarb pie. I know the huckleberries were frozen, and I didn't have to use them, but I wanted to. I really wanted to. Our huckleberry picking season starts in about a month and I have plans to pick gallons and gallons this year. There are no huckleberry farms. These small, purple berries only grow in the wild and sometimes they are a bear to pick (you can run into bears too while you pick them which is not my idea of a good time). I did choose to add fresh blueberries as well and the combination of the 3 was sublime.

The fact that the pie was absolutely delicious made up for the fact that it was not the prettiest. It was hot here the day I made it. Too hot to be dealing with buttery crust. I made an amateur move and put the pie in the oven, with the soft, melty dough, when what I really should have done is popped it into the freezer to firm it up; the crust drooped and looked awful, but it tasted so good. So good in fact that a friend and I may begin to sell these at a farmer's market in town.

I used Dorie's exact recipe for the crust. It calls for both butter and shortening and thankfully the butter ratio outweighs the shortening. Butter will give it a delicous flavor and the bit of shortening gives it a flakiness that can't be beat. I don't usually cook or bake with shortening, but when I do, I make sure to use the organic shortening by Spectrum from the health food store. Pick some up and try it- it's not as smooth and creamy as that disgusting Crisco, but the tradeoff is way better. Dorie's crust was perfect. Flaky and buttery and light- exactly how it should be.

To see the full recipe for this week's Double Crusted Blueberry Pie, check out Amy's blog, South in your Mouth.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fruit Cobbler-No, Fruit Crisp- Yes!

Okay, so I tweaked this week's Tuesday's With Dorie recipe so much that I turned it into a different recipe, which essentially is breaking the rules and I hate to do that. The thing is, Dorie's recipe said no strawberries and that's what I had, strawberries- beautiful, sweet, organic strawberries that were calling out to be used. I also had been given a garbage sized bag of rhubarb. So, strawberry and rhubarb- what's a girl to do? We were taking the dessert to a friends house for dinner- this was our first invitation over and I did not want my dessert to flop. After reading the many posts about the cobbler topping being a little lackluster, I had to make the switch- you understand right? It was the pressure of the dinner party and the strawberries and rhubarb calling out to me- I just couldn't say no. Once I made the decision, I felt completely relieved as I like crisp better than cobbler anyway. Lucky me, I also had a huge bag of frozen huckleberries in my freezer. We're entering this year's huckleberry season, so it's time to use the old ones up. They made the crisp a beautiful, vibrant purple and the dessert vanished quickly. Blueberries would also work for this, fresh or frozen. Served warm, with a scoop of ice cream, this was the perfect dessert to share with friends while sitting in a log cabin in the woods during a huge thunderstorm.

This week's actual Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was Mixed Berry Cobbler, chosen by Beth. You can view the recipe for the cobbler on her site Our Sweet Life

Strawberry-Rhubarb-Huckleberry Crisp
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours

This fruit-cobbler-turned-fruit-crisp came out amazingly good!

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
zest of 1 lemon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 pound (4-5 medium stalks) rhubarb, trimmed and peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup huckleberries (use more strawberries or rhubarb if you don't have hucks)
1 cup sugar
1 T lemon juice
pinch salt

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Put a nonreactive 9-inch square baking pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicon mat. Alternatively, you can use individual ramekins. These are great to serve at a dinner party.

Put the flour, brown sugar, oats, lemon zest, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl and sift the ingredients through your fingers to blend them, be on the lookout for lumps in the brown sugar. Mix in the nuts and then pour over the melted butter. Using a fork, stir the ingredients until they are thoroughly moistened. Spoon half the mixture into the pan and pat it down lightly to form a thick crust. Set the remainder aside for the topping.

For the filling:

Dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water; set aside.
Put the strawberries,rhubarb, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and, with a fork, pastry blender, or potato masher, crush the berries. Place the pan over medium heat and, stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a full boil. Pour the dissolved cornstarch into the pan and, stirring with a whisk, bring everything back to a boil. Now add the huckleberries. Keep cooking and stirring until the fruit filling is thick and no longer cloudy, about 3 minutes. Pull the pan from the heat, and pour the filling in the prepared dish. Scatter the remaining crisp mix over the filling.

Slide the crisp into the oven and bake for 60 minutes for the large crisp, or about 35 for the individual ramekins, or until the topping is golden and the strawberry jam is bubbling up all around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool until only just warm or at room temperature. Serve with freshly whipped cream or your favorite ice cream.