Monday, August 6, 2012

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

I love mint in ice cream, but I hate chocolate chips in ice cream. I don't know why there isn't more chip-free mint ice cream when it's not Christmas-time available in stores, but fortunately, my roommate is growing mint. And, so...when it was so hot this weekend we all thought we might melt, I started making ice cream.


I forgot, it seems, about the custard step. After heating milk and cream and then steeping the fresh mint leaves for two hours, it needs to be turned into a custard. Beat egg yolks and sugar while reheating the strained mint cream, and then slowly beat the cream into the egg yolks. Then cook until it coats a spoon.

I chilled the custard overnight. The custard might have been cool enough to freeze after four hours, but the ice cream bowl wasn't frozen, and I find there aren't a many cooking disappointments as listening to your ice cream maker churn for an hour only to find that it's barely at milkshake consistency. I would rather wait an extra day, to make sure everything is cold. (The totally unphotographed maple ice cream I made on vacation was consumed a maple rum milkshakes, because we were all wildly impatient. I recommend maple rum milkshakes enough that I will recreate this someday for the blog.)

And it is delicious. Fresh and light and minty and perfect. Sometimes it will turn green. In fact, every other time I have made this ice cream, the mint leaches green into the milk. I was all nervous that it wasn't going to be minty, since it wasn't green, so I added a generous dollop of vanilla extract, just in case (because vanilla ice cream is always safe.)

Fresh Mint Ice Cream
adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
yields about 1 quart of ice cream

1 cup milk (I used 2%, because that is what I have in the fridge)
3/4 c cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 cups lightly packed fresh mint leaves (I understand that I used "citrus" mint for this; I picked it because we had the most of it)
4 egg yolks*

Warm milk, one cup of cream, and the salt. Add mint leaves, cover, and let it for at least two hours. When that's done, remove the mint leaves, and press them in your hands, to extract as much flavor as possible.

Put remaining cup of milk in a pitcher, with a mesh strainer over top. While bringing the milk mixture to a simmer, beat the sugar into the egg yolks. When the milk is simmering, slowly pour over the egg and sugar combination, beating constantly, so you don't wind up with scrambled eggs. The pour back in sauce pan, and stir constantly until it coats the back of your spoon.

Pour the thick custard through the strainer into the cream. The strainer will make sure you don't get any weird gross scrambled egg bits, which can always happen with custards. Chill until cold. (You could use an ice bath, but who has enough ice to do an ice bath? I put the pitcher in the fridge for 24 hours.)

Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

* Coming up next, probably, will be maple meringues, made with the leftover egg whites. When the humidity breaks enough that I suspect that the egg whites should stiffen properly.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Roasted Peaches with Marzipan

I love fresh peaches. Fresh peaches that are perfect and drip juice down your chin are awesome, but I wanted to do something a little more exotic and interesting. I have plans for attempting peach-white wine sorbet, but that takes more advance planning than I'd done when I was in the farmer's market before we had company over for dinner.

And so. Super easy dessert. Roasted peaches with marzipan. Served with vanilla ice cream. I think the overall prep-time was about five minutes, and then half an hour in the oven.

Peaches preoven:

Roasted Peaches with Marzipan
serves 4, easily scalable

4 peaches
about half a tube of marzipan
1/4 c ginger liqueur (optional - I planned to use amaretto, but we had almost none)

Cut peaches in half and pull out the pit.

Put in baking dish. I used a pie pan because it was easy to grab.

Pour about half of the liqueur over the peaches.

Tear of pieces of marzipan and flatten to about 1/4 of an inch and the size of the peach. Place over the peaches.

Pour the rest of the liqueur over the peaches.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

They are super delicious with vanilla ice cream, as most baked fruit is.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Last year, I beta read Code Name Verity. I was obsessed. I am still obsessed. It's fantatsic, and when it comes out, everyone should read it. I am dreadful about giving a proper description, but it's about two young women, a spy an a pilot in WWII. I went as the spy for Halloween last year.

The orange sweater is nearly a character in its own right in the book, and I became obsessed with the idea of knitting it, and I don't even wear orange. It was super fast knitting, despite knitting with sockweight yarn and fairly small needles. (I think they were 4s. I appear to have forgotten, and didn't keep track in Ravelry.)

There was rather a ridiculous amount of detail that went into things. I spent days running about trying to find stockings with seams before giving up and painting stockings on with foundation and eyeliner. (How ridiculously period appropriate.)

I bought the skirt, unlike the other person who has assembled this outfit. Two friends make fake early 40's francs, carte d'idenite, and a ration book. The lipstick has "code" written in it, and there was more code on my hand, which I have taken offline as it was a bit spoilery. The painted fingernails are entirely in character.

The sweater pattern came from The Vintage Knitting Lady, it is genuinely old. I went with Bestway 1605; I knit long sleeves and the crew neck. Figuring out the pattern was easy, I love knitting both cables and lace, and it was pretty. Finding the right shade of orange was harder, and I nearly went Eidos Aster (I would have called the sweater The Form of Truth, then, because it really would be irresistible), which I still think is lovely, but it cost rather a lot of money, and in the end I went with Knit Picks Palette in Salsa Heather. Salsa Heather is lovely, it looks like orange from far away, but up close, you can see that it's actually made by spinning yellow threads and red threads together. The pattern has only one size, amazingly, and I made it fit me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

English Muffins

I love English muffins, and all sorts of breakfast toast things. I found a recipe on the internet, and got obsessed with the idea. I was intimidated by the idea of getting special crumpet rings, what if it didn't work. And then I stumbled on someone's suggestion online of using the rings for canning jam. Easy to find, easy to do something else with if you don't like making English muffins or crumpets (crumpets are also on my list of things to figure out making.)

I mixed up the dough, and then let it sit out to rise and did other things around the kitchen, like dishes. Like pancakes, do one first, to make sure the frying pan is the right temperature. Lightly grease the frying pan and pour cornmeal all over the place. (I used polenta, because that is all I had. It works fine.) Place the jar rings in the pot, and scoop batter in. The batter is very glutenous, stringy and stuck together. I put about one ice cream scoop worth of stuff inside.

If you have the rings greased well enough, when you flip the muffins, the rings will come off in your tongs. That's fine; you can be done with the rings. They should be cooked with a lid over the frying pan, to keep the heat in. When they're well cooked, put them in the oven, to ensure that they're cooked all the way through.


 Serve them warm. Split with a fork. Slather with butter, with jam, or experiment with Biscoff Spread. (Biscoff Spread is totally weird and delicious, it tastes like a cookie spread over your English muffin.) Mine were a little denser than store bought, and they didn't have quite as many holes, but they were still delicious.

English Muffins
Adapted from Alton Brown
makes 10-12 English muffins
Ingredients 1
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 c milk
1/2 c water

Ingredients 2
1 envelope of yeast (or 1 1/2 tsp, if you're like me and don't buy yeast in packets)
1/8 tsp sugar
1/3 c warm water

Ingredients 3
2 c flour

Microwave the water, milk, and butter for Ingredients 1. Add sugar and salt, stir until dissolved. Let cool. Meanwhile, mix together Ingredients 2, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Mix 1 and 2 together, and add flour.

Let rise at least 30 minutes.

While frying pan is preheating, grease jar lids.

Grease the frying pan, pour on corn meal. Put down the jar lids, with the flat part on top, like the top of the jar. Pour put the batter into rings, using an ice cream scoop. Cover frying pan with lid, and cook five minutes. Pick up the rings with tongs to flip, if the ring comes up, use a spatula to flip like a pancake. Cover, cook another five minutes. When the outside looks thoroughly cooked, take out of frying pan and put in oven at 300.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Apple Crisp

We keep getting apples in our farm share, and we keep forgetting to use them. And then it was cold and grey and there were buckets of rain, so I made apple crisp.


Those aren't all of our apples, and it turns out that five was the perfect number of apples, not seven. So we still have lots of apples, but now we have slightly less. (Seven apples might have been the right number, if I had been using a slightly larger pan.)

I largely made up the apple crisp recipe as I went, but I did measure everything, and kept track of it.  made a few calls to my mom, who has spent the past two falls living among apple trees and making lots of apple crisp with all the apples, and then I added things all on my own. Like fresh grated ginger, which makes it even more warming and delicious. The best part, of course, is the crumble on the top, all oat and butter and sugar and cinnamon and ginger (and some flour, to help make it all stick together). There is rather a ridiculous amount of butter in this recipe, it's not really healthy at all.

Like the oat mixture, there's cinnamon and ginger in the apples. There's also lemon juice and maple syrup and apple jack liquor. Stirred altogether and then poured in a greased pan and covered with topping.

Bake it. The butter should melt and the juices from the apples and maple syrup should soften up the oats. But if there are bits of oat that don't get wet and juicy, melt more butter, and pour it on. It's best warm with vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream. It's tasty without, too.

Apple Crisp
5 apples
1/2 c maple syrup
dash of apple jack
juice of one lemon
generous dash of cinnamon
grated ginger to taste

1 stick salted butter, frozen
1/2 c flour
2 c oats
1 c raw sugar
generous dash of cinnamon
grated ginger to taste

Cut, core, and peel the apples. I cut them into quarters, and then cut the quareters into sixths or eights, depending. Toss with cinnamon, lemon juice, ginger, and applejack.

Cut the stick of butter into the flour, until the flour is full of super small bits of butter. Add the oats, sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Toss.

Pour the apples into a greased baking dish. Cover with the oat topping. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until crispy and brown.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Chai Filling

It is fall. I love fall. But, when fall comes, out come all the pumpkin treats. Pumpkin and cinnamon and nutmeg, oh my. Pumpkin lattes are one of the perks of fall. They work to cancel out the ragweed (they don't succeed, but they help). It's still too early to be making pumpkin pies, but after I had the chai frosting idea, combining it with pumpkin seemed perfect. And I am from Pennsylvania, the home of the whoopie pie, and so...whoopie pies. I love my whoopie pie cookbook. It has traditional whoopie pies, and then intriguing things like pistachio cardamom whoopie pies with rosewater filling (Persian whoopie pies! They are on my list of things to make at some point.)

Usually, when I'm doing pumpkin things, I start with a pumpkin and roast it. Which is delicious, and much easier than peeling and boiling down a pumpkin. I make killer pumpkin pie. I have made delicious pumpkin cheesecake. But for these, I went super easy, and used canned pumpkin. And I added clove, because I thought, correctly, that it would be delicious. Also, I cheat. The written recipe said to sift things together, and if I'm not making angel food cake, I don't sift.

Delicious. The intention was to make "traditional marshmallow filling" and add Trader Joe's chai powder. And then I realized that I didn't have nearly as much crisco as the recipe called for (I have no idea what happened to the crisco, I don't usually use it), so I cut in unsalted butter. It turned out to be fine, unsalted butter has less flavor than salted butter, I suppose, so that wasn't a problem. And then we tasted, threw in the rest of the marshmallow fluff, some more sugar, and more chai powder. This is the kind of frosting that just being in the kitchen with it gives you a sugar rush. But, if you are really craving sugar, open faced whoopie pies are insanely delicious. Mostly, I turned them into sandwiches, but two of us wanted open faced, and there was enough frosting to do it, so we did.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie
adapted from Whoopie Pies
2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter, at room temperature (I use salted butter for just about everything)
1 1/2 c pumpkin -- this is slightly less than a can. I wound up throwing out the rest of the can.
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Beat togethr brown sugar and butter. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Continue to beat. Slowly add the dry ingredients, and mix just until it's combined.

Put on baking sheets lined in parchment paper.  A little bit goes a long way; I meant to make tiny whoopie pies and accidentally made full sized cookies by using two heaping tablespoons.

Bake at 350. For full sized cakes, bake to firm. For full sized cakes, bake for 15 minutes, adjust for size.

Chai Marshmallow Frosting
adapted from Whoopie Pies
1/4 c Crisco
1/4 c unsalted butter (room temperature)
3/4 c confectioners sugar
7 oz jar of marshmallow cream/cream/whatever (my preference is for Kraft's Jet Puffed Marshmallow Cream, and I stock up on it when I leave the Boston area)
2 generous scoops Trader Joe's chai powder
generous dollop of vanilla extract

Beat all ingredients until mixed and fluffy. Taste, add more chai if needed.

After the cakes are cool, put a dollop of frosting on one side of half the cakes. I like to pair up the cakes by size before I start sandwiching things, because otherwise I will end up with the biggest cake and the smallest cake at the end and who knows what to do. And, don't close them up until there's no more frosting, in case there's extra to add off to all the sandwiches.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lemon Ginger Marshmallows

Lemon Ginger Marshmallows

I do realize I've been away from the blog forever. I moved and misplaced my camera and the I found my camera and I lost my card reader. I actually made the lemon ginger marshmallows back in July or August, and certainly lemon and ginger are more summer flavors than fall. But they were delicious, and they need to be shared.

Homemade marshmallows are an entirely different sort of beast than store-bought marshmallows the first time I ever made marshmallows I went with traditional vanilla, and they tasted, I swear, like the way vanilla extract smells. (I am an adult. I should be able to remember that vanilla extract doesn't taste like it smells, but I forget constantly.)

In a pot, mix together lemon juice, lemon zest, ginger, sugar, and corn syrup. There are tricks for working without corn syrup, and sometimes I use them and sometimes I don't bother. This was a corn syrup batch.

While all that is cooking, there should be gelatin and more lemon juice in the bowl of the mixer. This "proofs the gelatin" or something, it softens up. Candy thermometers are key, and when it reaches the right temperature, add it to the gelatin. I don't know what happens if you don't cook it hot enough, but if it gets a too warm, it caramlizes too much and doesn't beat.

I love my Kitchen Aid. Love. My old roommate had a thing against kitchen gadgets and would do things like make angel food cakes and chocolate mousse with a whisk instead of using my mixer. This is not an option with marshmallows, really, because you beat them for like fifteen minutes. And it's hot. And you beat it on high. If you don't have a good mixer, I recommend not making marshmallows.

As it whips, it turns white and fluffy. It's like magic. It's tons of fun. It goes from yellow syrup to white clouds. When it is almost finished, turn down the speed, slowly add vanilla extract, and then turn it back up to high. If you don't turn the speed down, the vanilla will splash on you. (Ask me how I know!) Pour it in a pan, powdered with powdered sugar and let it sit out to dry. I usually start marshmallows at night, and finish it up in the morning.

Put more powdered sugar on a cutting board, and pull the marshmallow. Cut it up, into cubes, and roll in powdered sugar. Rolling it in powdered sugar keeps them from sticking to each other.

And voila. Delicious lemon ginger marshmallows. It's worth noting that these marshmallows do not roast. They just melt back into sugar. This is true for all of my marshmallows. Do not try to make them in brownies or on sweet potatoes (not that I would ever try such a thing.)

Lemon Ginger Marshmallows
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 c regular white sugar
1 c light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 T vanilla extract
zest of at least two lemons
zested ginger root, to taste. I haven't overdone it on ginger yet.
confectioners sugar for dusting

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 c lemon juice in the bowl of an electric mixer. Let it sit while you cook the syrup.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, lemon zest, ginger zest and 1/2 c lemon juice in a saucepan and cook on medium until the candy thermometer reads 240.

Set the mixer going slowly, and slowly pour the syrup into the gelatin. Once it has all been poured, gradually raise the speed to high. Beat on high until it is very thick and white, it takes about fifteen minutes. Turn down the speed, add the vanilla, and bring back up to speed.

Dust a pyrex 8x12 non-metal baking dish with confectioners sugar. Pour marshmallow into the pan, dust more. Let dry over night. Powder a cutting board with more powdered sugar, and cut. I use both a pizza rolling cutter and a paring knife. Roll in powdered sugar.