Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Little More Ice Cream-y Than Antique-y


So.

Remember when I promised that Peach-Basil Ice Cream recipe?




























(I know at least 3 of you do since you've messaged to remind me...)

But the rest of you are probably, recipe? peaches? Lu? meh...


There's a teensy problem with that recipe because I forgot to write down what I put in it. I know. Brilliant. I wrote down some of it, but then I changed it mid-creation and forgot to keep up. This just goes to prove that 1) I'm no Betty Crocker and 2) I probably need to be on some type of medication.

So that one's gonna take a little more work.

But. I have another one. I do.



Listen and I will tell you a story.


I love to go to the semi-annual Round Top Antiques Fair. Lolapalooza. Spectaculair. I try to load myself and a little cash into the car at some point during the first week of October and the first week of April to make the drive to the Round Top/Warrenton area where I:

-gawk at how much the dealers charge for stuff at Marburger

-gawk at how much junk there is in certain areas of Warrenton (do they ever move some of it? wasn't all that there last fall in the same big piles?)

-determine that I need to buy a Bed and Breakfast in Round Top

- eventually decide that the B&B would be a whole lot of work

-spend a lot of money on things I don't need

-eat ice cream and maybe kolaches.





Look.


I know that that I can go down to the HEB any old day of the week and fill my cart with every flavor under the sun (and also Poor Pluto) of Blue Bell. I realize that. I've done it more than once.

But there's a place in Brenham that hand-dips their Blue Bell into SCOOPS THE SIZE OF MY HEAD. And so when I stop there on my way back home and order my customary "one scoop please of the Mocha Almond Fudge", well I feel OK about it.

Neveryoumind that their one scoop is the size of a half-gallon container.
But really,it's fine if I eat the whole thing.After all, I ordered the smallest size.

If I'm efficient, I can finish it just about the time I roll into Chappell Hill where I might stop to get a kolache.

I might.

(As you can see, the whole Round Top Antiques thing is just a necessary diversion to make the drive.)

Anyway, I've only seen the Mocha Almond Fudge once in stores (although I may just be out of the flavor rotation loop)

So the other day I decided to make something similar. And then eat some.

And well, I don't want to boast, but this is really.really.good.

If I could make it in batches bigger that 2 qts. I just might sell it.

I call it Mocha Almond Crunch.







You'll call it delicious.






































Mocha Almond Crunch Ice Cream
Lu
INGREDIENTS
1 ¾ c. milk (I used 2%)
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
¼ c. Amaretto
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/8 tsp. almond extract
2 tbsp. maple syrup (I used Aunt Jemima’s)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
1 ½ c. toasted, chopped almonds
6-8 oz. chocolate toffee bits (or chopped Heath Bars)




INSTRUCTIONS
In a bowl, stir together 1/4 cup milk and the cornstarch; set slurry aside. In a 4-qt. saucepan, whisk together remaining milk and the cream, sugar, Amaretto, syrup, and salt and espresso powder; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes; stir in slurry and almond extract. Return to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Place cream cheese in a bowl and pour in 1/4 cup hot milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Then whisk in remaining milk mixture. Pour mixture into a plastic bag; seal, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until chilled. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer's instructions. In the last 5 minutes, add the almonds and the toffee bits.
Transfer ice cream to a storage container and freeze until set.








Friday, June 14, 2013

Bazinga





























Some things just hit the spot, you know.


I've been trying hard lately not to bake too much because:

1) I've been on an ice-cream making kick

(The Latest? Mocha Almond Crunch)

(Yes)

and

2) Lo, I would like to continue to fit in my jeans


But I happened upon this recipe over on Cookies and Cups and knew it was one I had to try ASAP.

It's Cinnamon Roll Cookie Bars.

They are freakishly and awesomely good.

Oh. And so easy. A perfect thing to have around for the weekend.




Cinnamon Roll Cookie Bars (from Cookies and Cups)
Ingredients
    Bars
  • 1 (15.25 oz) box Vanilla Cake Mix
  • 1 (4 serving) box Cook and Serve Vanilla Pudding
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • Frosting
  • 1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • *optional ~ Cinnamon Sugar to garnish
  • 3 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon
How to Make
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Spray 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.
  3. In large bowl combine all ingredients for the bars. Stir until there are no lumps.
  4. Spread into prepared baking dish and bake 20-25 minutes until edges are golden.
  5. Let cool completely before frosting.
  6. Frosting
  7. In mixing bowl beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating for 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  8. Spread on cooled bars.
  9. If desired sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top for garnish
  10. Cut into squares when ready to serve.


You can thank me later.

P.S. I substituted a Butter Recipe Yellow cake mix for the Vanilla Cake Mix.




Tuesday, June 11, 2013

We Interrupt Peach Week to Bring You... Um, Bacon Candy.



So.

Usually I'm flattered and humbled when I'm asked for one of my recipes. It always makes a person feel good to know that someone loves something you made enough to want to know how to reproduce it themselves. They want to eat it again. This is a good thing.

But y'all. It kind of makes me laugh to know that this recipe I'm sharing with you today is probably the one I've been ask about the most. Not any of my high complexity concoctions, but this...

A recipe that a trained monkey could prepare.

One that Weegie could pull off without a hitch.

One with a total of let's see... three ingredients, and three steps.

A real mind-bender.

But, I guess the bottom line is this. It's delicious. Absolutely delicious. Positively decadent. I served it at a brunch back in the fall, and of the one hundred or so people there I'm guessing that 95 of them asked for the recipe.

Maybe 96.

It's Brown Sugar Peppered Bacon.

This is all you do:


1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a rack of some sort on the foil. Put some thick-sliced bacon on the rack.





























2) Sprinkle the bacon liberally with coarsely ground black pepper.




























3) Now liberally sprinkle each piece of bacon with brown sugar.





























Now, bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, or until they look like this...




























It seriously tastes like Bacon Candy. The brown sugar almost caramelizes the fat in the bacon producing the most sumptuous taste ever.



Don't say I didn't warn you.




Monday, June 10, 2013

Featured Recipe: Peach Blueberry Crisp































Hey Peach Lovers.

Here's the first of the peach recipes I promised. This one is so easy you'll want to get on it right away. Feel free to change up the fruits (use all peaches if you want) but I really like the peach/blueberry partnership. The little burst of the blueberries keeps it from being overly sweet. And the color combo is beautiful.

We do eat with our eyes first, don't we?

I served this with my homemade Peach Basil Ice Cream, but it would taste just as good with some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla.

Maybe even better. It's hard to beat that Blue Bell.

Thanks again to my friend Chef Lisa for the awesome peaches!







Peach Blueberry Crisp
Lu

For the Crisp (Topping):
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 stick cold butter, cut into pea sized pieces
pinch of kosher salt
Mix together the flour, oats and sugars then cut in the butter until it’s crumbly. Try not to eat it all before you put it on the fruit.

Peel and slice 5 medium peaches. Stir together with 2 ½ c. fresh blueberries. Sprinkle with 2-3 T. flour, ½ c. sugar, a pinch of kosher salt, and the juice of half a lemon. Toss gently until all the fruit is coated.
Place the fruit mixture in a shallow baking dish (I used an 8x10 inch dish) and sprinkle the topping mixture on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.


Peachy News






















Summer means peaches y'all. It also means I CAN'T STOP ALL THE SWEATING but lucky for you that's not what this post is all about.


You're welcome.

When I was little girl it was about this time every summer that Daddy took us to the Peach Man's farm. I can't remember his name or exactly where he lived, but I do remember that the man wore him some fancy overalls. He looked exactly the same every year (give or take some bright new stains on his straw hat) and in my young mind he never wore anything else.
Kind of like a Barbie (or Ken, I suppose) that comes decked out in an sparkly evening gown and stilettos (well, not Ken, of course) (really, you get my drift I'm sure) and due to lack of creativity on Barbie's owner's part, may wear that same outfit for the rest of her natural (or plastic) life.

(You really must remind me to show you some pictures of all my Barbie's and Barbie Stuff I recently unearthed at the farm.)

(Barbie's hair has definitely suffered from neglect.)

(And maybe a mouse or two.)

Anyway we were talking peaches. Yes. I love them. Ripe, fresh peaches. Real peaches. As opposed to the fake peaches that they sell sometimes at the grocery store. "Peaches" that have been picked too soon and never allowed to reach their God-given and natural "peachiness".

A moment of silence please.

Recently my sweet friend Lisa, an incredible chef and award-winning recipe developer, gifted me with some Fredericksburg peaches.
























(And everyone rightly gasped.)

Now I've heard conflicting reports, but I think the bottom line is that this year's Texas peach crop is on the dinky side because of some late cold weather making this awesome gift even more special.

Thank you Lisa!

Because of the preciousness of these peaches I thought long (but not too long lest they go bad) and hard about how to best showcase their sweet goodness.

First. I experimented yet again with my ice cream maker and ended up with the most lovely Peach Basil Ice Cream. Summery and with that unexpected touch of sweet basil, this ice cream is a step up from your basic Peaches and Cream. I think you'll love it.

Then, with the last of the peaches I made the most awesome Blueberry-Peach Crisp. It's enough to make even the staunchest Episcopalian raise their hands in praise.

So I suggest that in the next day or two you run out and find yourself some peaches because these recipes are coming up and you're going to want to make these peach-related delights AS SOON AS HUMANLY  POSSIBLE.


See you tomorrow with the Blueberry-Peach Crisp. Thanks again Lisa!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pretty in a Mason Jar






























There's just something about having fresh flowers in the house. I've always loved it. Things are blooming nicely outside right now and really, there's no reason not to enjoy that beauty inside too.

I snipped some basil, rosemary, and roses from the courtyard, stuck them in a little jar and then had some fun with my camera.



















































I think this last one is my personal favorite.

Have a good night y'all.




Thursday, May 30, 2013

We All Scream




























One of the major items on my must-do list for our recent trip to Nashville was a visit to Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream.




Mercy sakes people.

While Jeni's only has storefronts in Ohio and Tennessee, I had enjoyed some Jeni's once before right here in the comfort of my very own home. It's sold locally at Hubble and Hudson, and after that first glorious taste I was determined to make a trip there someday. Kind of like needing to see Mt. Rushmore or The Blarney Stone or something.

This is special ice cream y'all, and I'm a Blue Bell lover from way back. Not everyone's bucket list looks the same.

I'd heard stories of the long, long lines of Jeni's devotees who frequently wait hours just to taste flavors like Brambleberry Crisp, Cherry Lambic Sorbet, Goat Cheese and Red Cherries, Juniper and Lemon Curd, and so many more.



Reisling Poached Pear Sorbet

(!)




                                                   Yazoo Sue with Rosemary Bar Nuts
                                                                          (!!)





                                                          Queen City Cayenne
                                                                    (!!!)


                                             
Why yes, I believe those are the flavors they serve in heaven.

Several times during the trip we wound our way over to the shop just to find the line of people out the front door, down the steps, and spilling out into the street. It was graduation weekend and evidently a scoop or two of Jeni's was on more than a couple of must-do lists. Finally, we showed up one time and there was no one (I mean no one) in line.

It was a miracle.
An ice cream miracle.

I learned that one of the things that makes the line so long most days is that the friendly staff actually encourages you to taste almost every flavor before deciding on what you're going to order. And I did people do. Taste almost every flavor, that is.

Isn't that what all those tiny spoons are for?

Anyway after we all ended up in a Jeni's induced dairy coma of the most wonderful sort, I decided that I just had to start making my own ice cream. I'd been on a crusade to buy my own ice cream maker for a while and the minute I returned home I did just that.



























For my very first batch of ice cream I used a base recipe similar to the one that Jeni's uses. It's quite rich and creamy thanks to the addition of a little cream cheese, and freezes to a beautiful, smooth consistency. Just before it was completely done I added some strawberry preserves which gave it a little tartness and cut the creaminess somewhat. But really, what's the point in that?

For my next experiment I got substantially more creative. First, I made some of the crunchiest, sweetest, candied pecans ever.





Then I substituted 2 tablespoons of whiskey for some of the cream in the base recipe. (Don't worry, the base mixture is boiled, so the alcohol burns off leaving just the richest and most decadent flavor.) And then I added some maple syrup.

Yes I did.

Y'all.

Tipsy Pecan Brittle was born. (Cue trumpets blowing)






























I really can't describe how good it is. Rich. Creamy. Buttery. Crunchy.

In all the right places. At all the right times.






























I wish I could just spoon some into your mouth right now.
If you can't run by and grab a scoop out of my freezer, you can make some for yourself.

Here's how:





Tipsy Pecan Brittle
Ice Cream
Lu

INGREDIENTS
1 ¾ c. milk (I used 2%)
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (minus 2 tablespoons!)
2 tablespoons whiskey
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. maple syrup (I used Aunt Jemima’s)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
3 cups chopped candied pecans (see recipe below)


INSTRUCTIONS
In a bowl, stir together 1/4 cup milk and the cornstarch; set slurry aside. In a 4-qt. saucepan, whisk together remaining milk and the cream, sugar, whiskey, syrup, and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes; stir in slurry. Return to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Place cream cheese in a bowl and pour in 1/4 cup hot milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Then whisk in remaining milk mixture. Pour mixture into a plastic bag; seal, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until chilled. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer's instructions. In the last 5 minutes, add the candied pecans.
Transfer ice cream to a storage container and freeze until set.
*For the candied pecans:  Stir together one cup sugar, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Set aside. Then stir together one egg white and one tablespoon water, whisking until frothy. Pour the egg/water mixture over 1 pound of pecan halves and stir to coat evenly. Then pour the sugar mixture over the pecans and use your hands to coat evenly.
Spread pecans evenly on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool.

**This will make lots more than you need for this recipe, but the leftovers won't last long.




I know, all the cream.

Please call a tow truck.