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Posts Tagged ‘Recipe’

…for the BEST ice cream EVER! OK, well it’s frozen yogurt. But really, it’s THAT GOOD. And the best part? You can make it yourself! Borders be damned, this treat knows no geographic boundries.

Without further ado, the recipe (and then on to photos, because that’s why you’re here really, isn’t it?):  Lemon-Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

A word of advice, having made this recipe several times now:  listen to Jeni when she says “I never make frozen yogurt as a low-fat replacement for ice cream.” It’s still very good if you don’t use whole-milk yogurt as the recipe calls for, but crosses the line from very good to speechlessly good once you up the milk fat content in the recipe. This last go round I had to use non-fat yogurt simply because my grocery store wasn’t carrying any full-fat plain yogurt. I blame this on America’s diet-culture fueled fear of fat, but I’ll spare you the rant. Just go full fat and serve yourself a spoonful or two less, ‘kay? You’ll thank me.

Lemon frozen yogurt fresh from the machine

Cooled blueberry sauce

Layering the sauce and yogurt

Cover and freeze an additional 4 hours (or as long as you can stand waiting)

I like to serve in Irish coffee mugs with a long spoon!

Yummy goodness

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So much going on in my world recently!  In a rare change of events, I found myself somewhat happy to wake up this morning and realize it was Monday.  Not, mind you, that I’ve had a bad weekend by any stretch of the imagination; quite the opposite in fact.  I pretty much did nothing but eat and drink for 2½ days straight, and quite frankly, my stomach simply needs to get back to routine so it has a moment to recover.

But on to the exciting news:  I’ve started my cooking class!  It’s the 6-week “Back to Basics” recreational course at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts (see link at right).  So far two classes have gone by — knife skills and eggs.  Up next week: soups and stocks. After that, we move on to moist heat cooking (braising, stewing, blanquettes & fricasees), followed by dry heat cooking (roasting, grilling, and sautéing), and end the series with sauces. So far the class has exceeded my expectations.  Too much fun.

What I would like to share with you today, my friends, is the epiphany I had last Sunday at the knife skills class. There is another way to cut a green pepper.

Now, I imagine that many of you, like myself, have traditionally attacked a green pepper in a manner something like this:

1). Take pepper and cut whole around top to pop out center

2). Cut into segments, using paring knife to cut out white inner yucky stuff (technical term) as you go.

3). Cut into misshapen curly-ended sticks

Now, presenting a NEW way to chop a pepper!  (Well, new to me, at least):

1). Start with beautiful pepper

2). Chop off both ends — enough so that you can see the insides

3). Make a vertical cut just to the left of one of the yucky white thingies inside.  Say hello to a fascinated Zoe.

4).  Turning the pepper on it’s side, run your knife along the inside of the pepper, turning the pepper as you go.  Preferably do this with a knife that is longer than the pepper, unlike the short paring knife I have in this picture. Otherwise, your teacher will correct you the following Sunday, and you will have to either retake pictures of yourself cutting the pepper with the appropriate knife, or decide to suck it up and post the picture to your blog as is so that you don’t have to go to the store and buy another green paper and therefore delay your blog entry for another week.

5).  You are left with a nice neat rectangle of pepper.  Ignore the fact that it is now upside down in photo due to poor choice of knife.

5).  Slice…

6). …and dice!

7).  Note how nice and square your dice is, meaning your peppers will cook perfectly even.  Thank Nate for humoring you and leaning over your shoulder to take pictures of you chopping a pepper.

OK, so not my best work.  I will master the pepper yet, though.

In the meantime, as I mentioned previously, I’m so excited to have discovered fava beans!  Now, fava beans aren’t exactly easy to find fresh (or frozen, for that matter), as the season is short, supplies limited, and standard supermarkets may not carry them. Luckily for me, my sister spotted fresh ones at Russo’s in Watertown and was kind enough to get me some.  While there were many recipes I wanted to try, I finally settled on a recipe for Fava Bean Purée with Oil-Cured Olives, French Feta and Crostini. They were very yummy, and I would definitely make them again, although potentially not on a weeknight next time. Tasty and filling, they were all I needed for dinner.

And in case you were wondering, I enjoyed it with a nice Cabernet.

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First, the exciting news — my sister eloped last weekend!  Well, being a blood relative of mine and all, even elopements need to be properly catered — enter the explanation as to why I’ve gone missing for the past few weeks.

It’s been a lesson-learning sort of experience.  Lessons in limitations.  Lessons in remembering to breathe.  These are good lessons, truly.  But in the interest of getting back on the blog bandwagon, I’ll leave the details on that for another post.

Instead, let’s start with the food.  (It’s a very good place to start.)  My sister will be honeymooning in Italy, so we decided on an Italian theme for the food.  Owing in no small part to the Italian blood that likes to hijack all sensibility during menu planning, we had not one, not two, but three different eating times set up during the day.

First up was the pre-ceremony course (because even elopements require a certain amount of ceremony).  We agreed on an antipasto course for the pre-ceremony, including breads, cheeses, meats, condiments and miscellaneous other bite-sized mouth poppers.

Before I get into the details, take a look and commence salivating!  Oh so yummy.

Now for the breakdown.  First, the lovely meats & cheeses, which I got from Salumeria Italiana, an Italian food importer in Boston’s North End. (I should add that, conveniently enough for those of you not living in Boston, they do mail order business around the country as well).

The cheeses:

  • Pecorino Toscano Fresco (my favorite):  Young Tuscan Pecorino is made from the milk of pure-bred ewes. Mild, pliable and full of sweet grassy flavor, the cheese has a D.O.P. designation that guarantees it is produced within the region of Tuscany and meets special standards.
  • Umbriaco del Piave (my mom’s favorite): Cow’s milk cheese immersed in Cabernet, Merlot and other red wines, from the Veneto region. Ubriaco del Piave is very mild, but the wine must and grape leaves from its 40 hours soaking give it a special character, a fruity finish, and a lovely aroma.
  • Taleggio: Rich and creamy cow’s milk cheese from Lombardy, named for Val Taleggio near Bergamo in Italy’s Lombardy region. It is an uncooked, semi-soft cheese made from whole cow’s milk that is aged in cool cellars.
  • Bianco Sardo: Sheep’s milk cheese from Sardinia. The flavor could be compared to Manchego, but with a freshness and sharpness from its six months of aging that make it unique. The texture is smooth, and there’s a little nuttiness in the aftertaste.

The meats:

  • Finocchiona Soppressata: Rich, moist, fennel-studded sliced soppressata with a robust flavor. As authentic as those made in Italy centuries ago, the rich and distinctive flavor of the meat is enhanced by a natural, two-month aging process.
  • Bresaola:  Air-dried, extremely lean beef; an exquisite delicacy originally from the mountainous Valtellina area of northern Lombardy.
  • Leoncini Prosciutto Cotto with Rosemary (this was TO DIE FOR good!!!!)Cooked Prosciutto accented with herbs and black pepper; made in Italy.  Baked with lots of black pepper, rosemary and other herbs, Prosciutto Cotto resembles American-style baked ham in appearance.

For condiments, I made the following:

  • Cipolle e arancia (Caramelized onion & orange conserve)
  • Castagne al miele aromatico (Chestnuts in spiced honey)
  • Composta di pere e zenzero (Pear & ginger compote)
  • Gelatina di mango al moscato (Moscato & mango gelatin)

Then to round things out, I served some artichoke hearts, mixed olives with caperberries and garlic, pepperoncini, grissini, crostini, and ciabatta.

ROUND TWO:  Post-ceremony cocktail hour

The cocktail itself was a unique creation called the Proserpina, a mix of Plymouth gin, ginger, club soda, and pomegranate seeds.  The drinks were accompanied by Scallops and Applewood Bacon with Port Reduction.  I really can’t recommend this recipe enough as it will make you a superstar for the evening.  Not to mention it tastes damn good.

For good measure I also added my ubiquitous Pepper Clam Dip — a family recipe that has a way of showing up at nearly every event I have a hand in planning.

PEPPER CLAM DIP

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1 t. parsley flakes
  • dash black pepper
  • 2 cans minced clams
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • dash tabasco
  • ½ c italian bread crumbs

 

Sauté first 6 ingredients until soft.  Add clams with liquid;  bring to boil.  Add lemon juice, tabasco, and Italian brad crumbs (use more or less bread crumbs as needed).  Turn into baking dish (may now be frozen).  Sprinkle with Italian grated cheese and bake 20-30 min at 325-350° until hot and bubbly.

Pepper Clam Dip, before going into the oven

The final phase of food took us to Waltham, MA, for a sit-down meal at La Campania, where I got to hang up my chef’s coat and revert to my preferred role of Skilled Eater.  The Salt Encrusted Branzino (sea bass) was delicate and finely seasoned, the chocolate soufflé delightful, and the red wine plentiful.  I would be remiss if I weren’t to add that the wedding itself was intimate and personal, the company highly enjoyable, and my sister stunningly beautiful.

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So today was a baking sort of day.  I’ve found myself at a bit of an impasse with my sewing project as I battle back and forth with the pressing debate of to buy a serger or not to buy a serger?  How badly do I want to avoid having to do french seams on this whole project? And so I bake.  It’s as good a way as any to work through a dilemma.

Breakfast was blueberry scones.  YUM.  There’s an entire stick of butter in there, so it really can’t help but taste good.

Moving into the afternoon, it was time for some good old fashioned bread out of the bread machine.

I’d been experimenting with modifications to a simple white bread recipe, and this final version has become my standard go-to bread for the machine.  I can be down to next to nothing for groceries in the house and always have the ingredients on hand; and when there’s not much food in the house, there is certainly nothing better than good bread!  Here’s the recipe:

Jo's Yogurt Bread

Jo’s Yogurt Bread

  • 3 T. melted butter
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 6 oz. plain, non-fat greek yogurt (I use a single container of Chobani)
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. wheat flour
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 package ready-rise yeast (2 1/4 t.)

Put all ingredients except for the yeast into the bread pan in the order listed.  Make a well in the dry ingredients (about 1″ deep) and pour in the yeast.  Cook on basic bread cycle setting for 1.5 lb. loaf.  Be sure to eat the heel while still warm!

After bread was done, it was time for a dinner of garlic chicken sausage in white wine with orzo and diced tomatoes:

Next time I think I will nix the tomatoes, add basil and more parmesan, and finish with butter instead of oil.

While I’m on the subject of food, I should take a minute to brag about the wonderful meal I had last night at Garden at the Cellar.  I started off drinking “The Crule,” which I will have to assume is French for “Ginger Cosmo,” as it was simply vodka, cranberry juice and ginger beer.  Excellent combination, which I will definitely try to recreate here at home. With five of us there to celebrate my sister’s birthday, we got to taste a lot of different little plates including:  Chicken & Thyme Croquettes with Smoked Pepper Aioli, Glazed Short Ribs with Quinoa, Grilled Brussels Sprouts & Parsley Salad, Bacon-wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese and Curried Apple Hash, a handmade Chorizo “plate of the day,” and finally, a Duck & Fig Flatbread with Goat Cheese, Scallions & Arugula.  It was hands down all as good as it sounds.

Dessert brought us to Cafe Pamplona for cappuccinos, chocolate mousse, and a few rounds of word games.  I think my sister should have birthdays more frequently.

So there’s the writing.  As for the ‘rithmatic?  I think it’s time to go balance my checkbook.

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