Honey Lavender Ice Cream

Honey Lavender Ice Cream

 

Kristin had this one time at the Walk For Aidan and went gaga over it so I had to try and make it for her. This is basically a slightly modified version of a Martha Stewart recipe that I found.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons dried lavender
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or Xylitol)
  • 1 cup heavy cream

 

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, lavender, and honey. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, and remove from heat. Let steep for 5 minutes. Strain mixture, reserving milk and discarding lavender.
  2. Combine egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until very thick and pale yellow, 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, return milk to a medium saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  3. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add half of the simmering milk to the eggs. Stir mixture into remaining milk, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Remove from heat, and immediately stir in cream. Strain mixture into a medium mixing bowl set in an ice-water bath (or put it in the refrigerator overnight), and let stand until chilled, stirring from time to time. Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Store in an airtight plastic container up to 2 weeks.

Crab Cakes with Spicy Shrimp Sauce

Curt and I usually make these over 4th of July after we load up on dungeness crab at Mom and Dad’s house. Everyone loves these things – what’s not to like, really?

Crab Cakes

Ingredients:

1# crab meat chopped
1/2 finely chopped green pepper
1/2 finely chopped red pepper
1 stalks celerey finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil finely chopped
1 yellow onion finely chopped
1 3.5 oz box panko breading
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 eggs
coat in corn meal (optional)

 

Directions:

Sweat the onions until soft and clear.
Mix all other ingredients  in a large bowl.
Once the onions have cooled off, mix them in.
Form crab patties and pan fry them in about 1/2 in vegetable oil until golden brown on both sides

 

 

Shrimp Sauce

Ingredients:

2 cups whipping cream
3 Tbl. Chopped basil
1 tso cayenne
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cloves chopped garlic
2 Tbl. Butter
1 Tbl cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbl water
1 # shrimp

 

Directions:

Saute butter, garlic & basil. Add shrimp & cook. Add rest of ingredients except for starch & simmer. Add starch to thicken..

Coconut Macaroons

Not even a question. THE best coconut macaroon recipe ever. Straight from “The Joy Of Cooking“.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups flaked or shredded sweetened coconut

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Grease or line 2 cookie sheets.
Stir together in a large bowl until combined all ingredients except for coconut. When well combined, stir in until blended the coconut.
Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until golden brown, 20 to 24 minutes. Let stand briefly, then remove to a rack to cool.
Yield: About thirty-six 1 1/2 inch cookies.

 

Buttermilk Pie

I first saw this on the food network – it’s from a cafe in Texas called Royers Round Top Cafe. It’s super rich and unbelievably good. This is from the Royers website: “When we took over the Café in 1987, the late, dear Garda Siptak, a local lady, would make one or two buttermilk pies a week for us.  As time went by, we wanted to make our own buttermilk and so we had to find a buttermilk pie recipe.  We finally stumbled upon this recipe that has a bit more sugar than a regular buttermilk pie, but we think that makes it all the better.  We hope you agree.”

Buttermilk pie is like a chess pie or a dense custard pie and is best served chilled. Yields eight servings.

Ingredients

  • a stick of butter (1/4 lb)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • a cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Tblsp vanilla extract
  • 10-inch pie shell
  • For extra goodness add a cup of each: chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and crushed pecans.

 

Directions

  1. Cream butter and sugar together.
  2. Add the eggs and the flour to the sugar mixture.
  3. Then add and mix the buttermilk, vanilla, and nutmeg.
  4. If you’re going to add the chocolate chips, coconut and pecans, add them now and just mix enough to distribute throughout.
  5. Pour mixture into the unbaked pie shell.
  6. Bake at 300 degrees for an hour or until it is set.  Enjoy!

Pulled Pork

So far, this is the best pulled pork recipe I’ve found. Like a lot of my other favorite recipes, this one comes from Alton Brown

 

Brine:

  • 8 ounces or 3/4 cup molasses
  • 12 ounces pickling salt
  • 2 quarts bottled water
  • 6 to 8 pound Boston butt

Rub:

  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika

Directions

Combine molasses, pickling salt, and water in 6 quart Lexan. Add Boston butt making sure it is completely submerged in brine, cover, and let sit in refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours. 12 hours is ideal.

Place cumin seed, fennel seed, and coriander in food grinder and grind fine. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and stir in chili powder, onion powder, and paprika.

Remove Boston butt from brine and pat dry. Sift the rub evenly over the shoulder and then pat onto the meat making sure as much of the rub as possible adheres. More rub will adhere to the meat if you are wearing latex gloves during the application.

Preheat smoker to 210 degrees F. Place butt in smoker and cook for 10 to12 hours, maintaining a temperature of 210 degrees F. Begin checking meat for doneness after 10 hours of cooking time. Use fork to check for doneness. Meat is done when it falls apart easily when pulling with a fork. Once done, remove from pot and set aside to rest for at least 1 hour. Pull meat apart with 2 forks and serve as sandwich with coleslaw and dressing as desired.

Oven Braised Asian Short Ribs

These things are so good – and cheap! I found this recipe here and pretty much didn’t change a thing except I’ve done this with the ginormous package of boneless country ribs from Costco and they come out great! Another note – you can make these in the pressure cooker in a fraction of the time. Set it on high and cook for 55 minutes.

Oven-braised Asian Short Ribs
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3-1/2 to 4 pounds bone-in short ribs (or boneless, whatever)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 6 scallions, cut into 2-inch sections [reserve the green tops of one]
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 5 whole star anise

cooked white rice
zest of 1 orange
reserved green onion tops, sliced

Special equipment: Parchment paper, cut to fit just inside the pot

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Trim any excess fat from short ribs, but don’t go crazy—fat equals flavor. Season generously with black pepper, but do not salt. Heat a heavy dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil and brown short ribs on all three meaty sides [but not on bone side] for about 8 minutes total. Work in batches if necessary, to avoid overcrowding the pot. Transfer ribs to plate with tongs.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add scallions, carrots, garlic and ginger to pot. Cook, stirring frequently [you want to sweat the vegetables, not brown them], for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add orange juice, soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, brown sugar and crushed red pepper flakes to dutch oven, stirring to combine. Scrape up any browned bits. Return short ribs to dutch oven, arranging in a single layer—it’s okay to crowd them together now. The liquids won’t completely cover the ribs—that’s perfectly fine. Tuck star anise in among ribs, submerging them in the braising liquids.
  4. Place parchment paper over ribs and braising mixture. Cover pot with lid and place in oven on middle rack. Braise until ribs are tender, about 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 hours, turning ribs once about halfway through cooking.
  5. Remove from oven and transfer ribs to platter and tent with foil. [The slablike bones will likely have separated from the meat; you can discard them if you wish, but I prefer the look of the short ribs with the bone, so I reunited them when I plated the ribs.]
  6. Strain braising liquids, pressing with a spoon to get as much of the liquids as possible. Spoon off some of the fat or use a gravy strainer—again, don’t go crazy here. Return braising liquids to dutch oven and boil over medium-high heat to reduce a bit to create a sauce, 5 or so minutes. To serve, mound cooked rice on each plate and spoon sauce over it. Top with a short rib and garnish with orange zest and scallion tops. This last step is key—the zest and scallion tops add a fresh brightness that balances the richness of the meat.

Lightning McQueen Chocolate Mint Birthday Cake

So for Chase’s 5th birthday I decided to make him a cool cake. Last year I did the Lego cake and was marginally happy with it, so I wanted to top it this year. I decided to go for broke and do a Lightning cake. I did some research on the ‘net and tried to find something I could copy but while I found some really cool Lightning McQueen cakes, I really couldn’t find anything out there with instructions. So I decided to just go for it and resign myself to making another plain ol’ cake if I really screwed it up.

The Cake

I started out with the Hershy’s “Perfectly Chocolate” chocolate cake (same one I used last year). It’s really the best chocolate cake recipe I’ve found – really chocolatey and really moist. One thing to note with this batter is that it comes out REALLY thin – watery, in fact. Just be aware, that’s the way its’s supposed to be.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

 

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  • Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
  • Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely.
So, I made two of these 13×9 inch cakes. Next, I made a buttercream frosting. Except since Chocolate Chip Mint is Chase’s favorite flavor anything, I substituted mint extract for the vanilla.

The Frosting

Ingredients

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream

 

Directions

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Pear Spice Cake

Every year we get so many pears on the pear tree and of course, they’re all ripe at once. So last year I tried to figure out something I could make will all these pears! Well, after some searching, I found this recipe and this one is pretty much the same.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups peeled, cored and chopped pears
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


Directions:

Step 1

Chop your pears up into 1/2 inch cubes. Combine the pears and the sugar and let stand for an hour. The pears should be broken down pretty well at this point.

  

Step 2

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Spray a 10 inch bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Slightly beat the egg whites and combine them with the oil, chopped pecans and pear mixture.

Step 3
Stir the flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Stir in the pear mixture. Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan.
 

Step 4
Bake at 325 degrees F  for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing form pan. After it cools, sift some powdered sugar over the top. Enjoy!
 

Ciabatta Pizza

This is a ciabatta-type pizza dough. It makes an airy, chewy crust that’s so good! I got the original recipe from this site. This only makes one pizza so I generally double this recipe.

Crust

1 3/4 cups bread flour (250 g to be exact)
1 cup water
1 tsp yeast (1/2 package)
1/4 teaspoon salt

(gluten-free version)

1 3/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill general purpose flour (250 g to be exact)
3/4 cup water
1 tsp yeast (1/2 package)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Yield: 1 pizza

 

Directions

Step 1.

Mix the flour, yeast, salt & water in your stand mixer with the paddle on high speed, it won’t look like it is doing anything for a while. Then after about 5-10 minutes or so it will start to come together. The dough is done as soon as it stop sticking to the sides and is just coming off the bottom. It has the consistency of rubber but is very sticky.

Step 2.

Oil the sides and bottom of a large bowl (spray oil works good). Scoop out the dough into the bowl. Be quick moving it into the bowl because the dough will still be very soft and sticky. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set it in a warm place and let it rise until it triples (about 3 – 4 hours).

Step 3.

Once the dough has tripled, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Get the dough out and if it’s still really sticky on top, sprinkle a little flour on top so you can pull it out. Put the dough on a floured baking sheet or some parchment paper – it’s still going to be really soft and squishy so you’ll probably need to sprinkle some flour on as you’re working it into a pizza shape.

Step 4.

Sprinkle some olive oil (and maybe some truffle oil!) on top and spread it out all over the top of the dough. Now, put on your toppings! I found that right now my favorite cheeses to use are Provolone, Gruyere, Gouda and Fontina or some mixture of a couple of them.

Step 5.

Bake @ 500 degrees for 12 minutes and enjoy!

Gingerbread Boys

This recipe is pretty much taken verbatim from the “Joy of Cooking” – I’ve made a slight modifications, but not many. It’s just about perfection.

Ingredients

Dry:

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (or allspice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dark molasses
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions

Step 1

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

Step 2

Blend together on medium speed until very fluffy the butter and the sugar. Once the sugar and butter are well blended, add the eggs, molasses and water

Step 3

Beat half of the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until well blended and smooth. Blend in the remaining flour mixture until well blended.

Step 4

Place the dough in a sealable plastic bag or wrap it in plastic wrap. Set aside the dough in a cool place (I always put it in the fridge even thought the directions say not to) for at least an hour (or for up to 3 days).

Step 5

Heat the oven to 350.
Generously flour your surface and knead the dough a bit to warm and soften it up. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and cut out your shapes. I like to put the cookies on a piece of parchment paper or a cooking mat. Pop them in the oven for about 8 minutes. If you want them crispy, put ’em in for 10 minutes, but I like them chewy so it’s 8 or 8 and a half minutes for me.

Yield: 55 cookies