Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream with Blueberry-Lemon Sauce

 I'm not a big plain homemade vanilla ice cream fan; I like coffee ice cream.  But add some beautiful hot fudge or sliced fresh peaches and I'll eat vanilla.  I'll even make it.   And it does fill the bill for a crowd.   It pleases nearly everyone.

When it's northwest blueberry time (warm days/cool nights make the best berries), I'm likely to make some fresh, quick blueberry jam for toast.  For years, I've filled freezer bags or containers full of these berries and kept them until blueberry season (not the Chilean season) begins again. (Store frozen and unwashed; rinse just before using them.)  I'm able to make great muffins, pancakes, or top my yogurt all year long without resorting to Fed Ex fruit.  Regular readers know my drill.  This year, I went for a beautiful blueberry topping (similar to the jam or conserve of other years) for that ice cream, but paired it with a bit of lemon to offset the sweetness of the blueberries.

A bloom bursting on beautiful blueberries!

Friday, July 27, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 7 -- Brussels Sprouts --Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with New Potatoes and Parmesan

When brussels sprouts (note spelling) first came back in vogue (they were vegetable non grata for a long time, right?), I put off making them.  It seemed everything was being thrown into the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper. Was there anything you couldn't cook that way? Brussels sprouts joined in the olive oil-oven fun all over the food world.  I waited. 

(above) This is one of Madeline L Pots' award winning songs from her CD "Gonna Plant A Garden".

Friday, July 20, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 6 -- Broccoli -- Broccoli Soup with Toasted Brie

When my kids were growing up, they all loved broccoli.  Pretty unusual.   One of them adored spinach and one of them always wanted pickles, but all of them would eat broccoli.   So broccoli it was.  A lot. To this day, when our youngest, Emily, is home from grad school, she asks for Chicken-Broccoli Casserole (a quick Chicken Divan known as "Government Girl Casserole" around the D.C area) and I don't have to look for a recipe.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Grilled Eggplant and Sausage Pasta Made on the Grill

 Every summer, I get about half-way through and want...chili.  Pot Roast.  Lamb shanks.  I'm a bit perverse, I'm fond of saying.  I can't wait for the first grilled chicken and tomato salads.  I'm nuts about burgers on the patio in May with zin.  But there comes a day when salad looks bleh (stick out tongue) and I don't even much care about that long-awaited burger.  I want something  real.  I want pasta.  And I don't want it in a restaurant.

So last year, in January (way ahead),  I experimented with a pasta dish that included grilled vegetables and sausage, but I still made a cooked sauce in a pot.  A lot of folks have been interested in that post,  so here's a continuation...

I had the idea then to create a dish totally done on the grill--much fresher-- and I've now tried it.  Even the pasta is cooked on the side burner, if you have one.  (If not, buy fresh pasta to cook indoors; it cooks much faster.)  I'll amend that; Dave mostly tried it.  I designed, orchestrated, cheer leaded, made fresh cheese, and ate it up.  The only true heated cooking I did was to saute some garlic in the microwave and warm the milk to make cheese! (5 minutes)  Do you have to make cheese?  Of course not.  Buy ricotta--fresh if you can get it.  But I'd love it you made cheese.

I lately have been encouraging cooks to just try making an easy, quick fresh cheese.  There isn't much simpler to do and the brief instructions are below.  I'll also point out that if you need a lot of ricotta, this is the way to go; you'll save a bunch of cash.  To purists, this isn't true ricotta, which is made with all milk; here I add some yogurt.  My idea actually is a riff  (a mistake I made and liked) from a recipe created by dessert guru and Parisian blogger David Lebovitz.  See the original here.  (See my first attempts and info on how to make a firmer cheese here.)

Imagine pasta in the summer and no hot kitchen?   Try this:

Friday, July 13, 2012

38 Power Foods -- Green Peppers -- Alyce's Ratatouille

Ah, summer.  Here's my favorite use for green peppers.   Right after my mom's stuffed green peppers, that is.

I loved the movie (Ratatouille).
Also "The Big Night"
And "Babette's Feast"
Try them.   Food movies.  Ah.

I love the real deal better.   If you become a devoted cook, your world will revolve around the seasons.  Stews in winter.  Apple pie in the fall.  Berries in the spring.  And...
High summer: Tons of vegetables at their peak. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 4 -- Beets -- Golden Beet-Ricotta Salad with Fresh Cherries and Caramelized Shallots

In St. Paul, as nearly everywhere, it's hotter than...   Well, you fill in the blank.  We're cooking a bit, but not much.  This sweet-tart salad's beets cook in the microwave.  Even if you make the cheese, it'll only take you a total of about twenty-five minutes.  Most of those minutes are waiting for the microwave to beep and the milk to come to a quick simmer to create the cheese curds (hence the word "curdle," friends).  This salad is filling without being heavy and is perfect for meatless Mondays.

I wish you cool winds and cold wine.  Try this:

Monday, July 2, 2012

Red, White, and Blue Kale Salad for 4th of July

Stay cool!

Where we live in Saint Paul, it can already be warm pretty early in the morning.  I'm a 
morning person; the earlier the better.  I'm also the daughter of both my father and father-in-law, because after I push the button on the coffee (pot filled night before), I check the temperature on my back porch.  In the summer if it's above 70, I sigh heavily, drink my coffee, and get out for my morning hike.  Why?  Because it will soon be 80, then 90, and today, my friends, the little weather gizmo on my iphone says it will be 99.  If you're a regular reader, you know what my house is like: