My favorite dessert, hands down, is ice cream.
Usually I’m a plain vanilla girl, but with the resurrection of my ice cream maker this summer (which has been sequestered in the basement for the last 5 years – another story, for now let’s just say it was a case of ice cream maker behaving badly and leave it at that) I’ve really enjoyed testing some new flavors.
About a month ago, I found a blogger up in Canada, Closet Cooking (that’s the size of his kitchen). Kevin notes that he became bored of making the same things all the time. Well, he has taken “trying new things” to a whole new level. Take a look at his blog: www.closetcooking.blogspot.com “Kevin in Toronto” (as I call him) turns out recipe after recipe, day after day, week after week – he’s a test kitchen poster child.
Our friends Dan and Teri came over Sunday night for some chili, some soup, some corn bread and some wine. I served this for dessert and Dan said, “This is the best ice cream I’ve ever had”.
Maple Pecan Ice Cream
(makes 4 servings)
3/4 cup pecans (roughly chopped)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
4 egg yolks
1 splash bourbon (optional)
1. Melt the butter in a pan.
2. Add the pecans, toss to coat, sprinkle on the sugar and heat until the pecans are nice and toasted, about 3-4 minutes.
3. Remove the pecans from the heat and let cool completely.
4. Heat the maple syrup, cream and milk in a sauce pan until it almost boils, about 5 minutes.
5. Reduce the heat to low.
6. Temper the eggs and stir them into the cream.
7. Cook at low heat until it thickens and can coat the back of a spoon.
8. Remove from heat and stir in the bourbon.
9. You may want to strain the mixture at this point to remove any bits that may have formed while warming.
10. Chill the mixture in the fridge.
11. Freeze the maple custard and toasted pecans according to the instructions for your ice cream machine.
Tags: Brocolli Soup, Lemon Ice Cream
Summer dumped us this week. It seemed so sudden, too soon. We were all stunned. We’ve all heard horror stories, or had first hand experiences of getting dumped; sticky notes on the refrigerator, coming home to an empty closet, a voice mail message, a Dear John email message. Well how about this for an all time low: Summer sent us a text.
Sunday we were frolicking in beautiful 85 degree sunshine and then WHAM. Early Monday morning Channel 4 advised me via a text weather alert that a cold front had arrived and cold rainy weather was moving through the Denver Metro Area. Sure enough, our cool gray drippy fall cold front arrived and not an hour later came the unpredicted snow. That’s right, we had snow Monday morning in Highlands Ranch. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t amount to much, I wasn’t running for the snow shovel. Not really any accumulation, just a little on the grassy areas. That’s right the green grassy areas that we had just mowed in the 85 degree sunshine on Sunday.
To cling to summer I made this delicious lemon ice cream and to ease into our cooler weather, soup seemed appropriate.
I thought my peach ice cream may have been the best ever, but this is even more wonderful-er. I found this recipe on Epicurious. I didn’t change a thing, except that I didn’t strain out the lemon zest. I though it looked pretty in there. Just like the peach ice cream, this would not completely set up. When the churning cycle was complete, it was a soft-serve consistency. It freezes beautifully when in the freezer for a while.
LEMON ICE CREAM
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In a saucepan whisk together the zest, the lemon juice, the sugar, and the eggs, whisk in 1 cup of the half-and-half and the vanilla, and cook the mixture over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, until it just comes to a simmer. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on the zest, and chill it, covered with plastic wrap, until it is cold. Whisk in the remaining 1 cup half-and-half and freeze the mixture in an ice-cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Makes about 1 quart.
For dinner, a nice cozy soup. I love goat cheese! I always have some in the fridge. I found this recipe for Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soup and jumped at the chance to give it a try. The recipe is compliments of PrincessDiana161 on Youtube.
PrincessDiana161’s Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soup
- 2 heads of broccoli, stems cut short, large pieces cut smaller
- 1 small sweet onion, diced
- 1 large garlic clove, diced
- 2 T. olive oil
- 2 cups chicken broth (or enough to cover vegetables)
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
- 2 ounces goat cheese crumbled
Place the olive oil in a soup pot and heat to medium. Add the chopped onion and saute until tender, 5 – 7 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Add the chicken broth and the broccoli chunks, the potato and simmer on low, covered until vegetables are done, about 15 min.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Ladle 2/3 of the soup and the goat cheese into a food processor and blend until chunky. Add the blended mixture back into the soup and serve it up.
This soup was easy and kinda good. Nothing spectacular, no WOW factor, no moans and groans of approval. It was good, just fine. This might be a recipe I’d keep on hand just in case I had some broccoli and potatoes I needed to use up. I’m wondering what might spice it up abit. Kick it up, give it that WOW factor that so many soup’s have. I’ll have to work on that. I even had to place a sprig of cilantro on the dish to jazz up that lack luster picture. And to tell you the truth, in my desperate plea to add flavor, I couldn’t even coax that sprig of cilantro to take a quick lap across the bowl.
I served it with a nice hearty whole wheat bread, heated and melted butter on top. Now that was a WOW. 🙂
Tags: Peach Ice Cream; dessert
The parade of peaches continues, but this time no clever play on names for this recipe, it’s just straight forward delicious. I love this peach ice cream, and the part I love most is leaving small chunks of peaches for the final freeze. The end result is great bits of frozen flavor nestled in the creamy mixture. I’ve not prepared a no cook ice cream before. When in the freezing stages it doesn’t set up as firm as a cooked version. But fear not, after it’s been in the freezer for a while, it sets up perfectly. This may be my favorite ice cream of the season.
6 eggs, beaten
3 1/2 cups white sugar
10 fresh peaches, pitted, peeled and finely chopped
4 cups heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half cream
2.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
- In large bowl, mix together eggs and sugar until smooth.
- Place diced peaches in a large bowl and mash a few times with a potato masher. You want to leave a few small peach chunks.
- Stir the peaches into the egg mixture. Stir in cream, half-and-half, vanilla and salt and mix well.
- Pour mixture into freezer canister of ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Tags: Bird Watching, birding, Black Vulture, Castlewood Canyon State Park, Colorado, Ice Cream, Snickerdoodles
Huh? That’s our story and we’re stickin to it!
July 4, 2009. This is a very rare bird for Colorado with only a handful of records over the years. We got the phone call yesterday around noon, so we dropped everything and drove over with binoculars and dreams of adding a new bird for our Colorado State list. Believe me, we’ve seen plenty of Black Vultures in Florida and Texas, but none here. After a couple hours of scanning the sky and searching through soaring Turkey Vultures, we left the canyon Black Vultureless so decided to be at the park again this morning.
We wanted to arrive before the temperatures heated up so we could be present for the big lift off. You see, vultures wait for the warming thermals before taking to the air. Castlewood Canyon hosts a large number of roosting Turkey Vultures, it seems our guest Black Vulture has fallen in with a bad crowd.
There were about 16 of us at the Homestead parking lot. After about an hour we decided to move South to the next parking lot for a better vantage point. We enjoyed a singing Red-Eyed Vireo, many Bluebirds, lots of calling Spotted Towhees….no Black Vulture. We stayed at the park from 8:30 – 11:00 scanning the sky, again sifting through Turkey Vulture after Turkey Vulture. No Black Vulture. At 11:30 as we were almost home, we got a phone call on my cell alerting us that the bird had been seen. “We watched it for a good ten minutes”, said Steve. Another message on our home phone from Larry, who had also given up and headed home said “I don’t know where you guys are, but I’m turning around and heading back”.
We didn’t turn around and head back, instead I made Snickerdoodle Ice Cream. I mean com’on Black Vulture – I’ve got a National Holiday to celebrate.
Snickerdoodle Ice Cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Warm the milk in a small pan. Whisk the eggs with the sugar in a separate bowl. Slowly add warm milk to sugar mixture continuing to whisk. Pour mixture back in the pan and heat slowly until thickened, stirring constantly. It should look like very liquid pudding. Do not boil! Let cool to room temperature add cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Chill overnight. Follow directions on ice cream maker for churning.
Here are some pictures from the missed Black Vulture Event:
We’ll try again tomorrow morning for the Black Vulture.
July 5, 2009. We arrived at Homestead Parking lot in Castlewood Canyon at about 9:00. Our location was to watch for from the parking lot, Loch was stationed on the North end of the park, and Larry had climbed to the top of the ridge, we’re all armed with cell phones. So the wait began. Several of us present chatted about recent birding adventures, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak was seen, A Gray Catbird sang for us and finally the cell phone rang with news of the bird on the Southern horizon. Sure enough, we found the bird and watched it for a good ten minutes. Third times a charm!