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Dark chocolate sweet corn ice cream July 10, 2011

Posted by Judy in Recipes.
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“Uh, what?”

“Have you lost your mind?”

“EWWWWW!”

Did any of these thoughts cross your mind when you read the title? Stay with me, here. I haven’t lost my mind, really, I haven’t. I tried regular sweet corn ice cream last week. It was okay, pretty corny, though. It just tasted like frozen corn. I said to myself, “Self, this would be improved with chocolate.” And yes, yes it was MUCH improved.

So, go buy a few ears of corn, some dark chocolate and get ready to enjoy smooth and creamy ice cream.

What you need:
2 corn cobs, shucked – cobs broken into pot
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, vanilla scraped out
2 bars dark chocolate, cut up
4 egg yolks (save the egg whites to make scrambled eggs!)

Using a grater, grate the corn off of the cobs. Pour the corn and the cobs into a medium sauce pan.  Add the milk, cream and sugar and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove the cobs using tongs and discard.

Get your vanilla bean.  Using a sharp nice, slice the bean down the middle and open it up.  

Use the end of the knife to scrape the vanilla beans out and dump them into the cream mixture.

Add the chocolate and swirl until the chocolate is melted. Remove the mixture from heat and allow to infuse for 1 hour.

Place the  mixture in a blender and whiz it up.  Make sure you do this AFTER the mixture is cooled.  Don’t do it before, trust me!

Pour the custard through a sieve to remove any silks and corn pieces from the mixture.  You’ll need to use a spoon to press it through the sieve.  Discard the corn skins and silks.

Return the mixture to the heat and bring to simmer.

In the meantime, in a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk and remaining sugar (1/8-1/4 cup) until they are a pale yellow. Add 1/2 cup of cream mixture in a steady stream to the yolks, whisking constantly to keep eggs from cooking.

Add the egg mixture to the saucepan.  Cook over med-low heat until a custard has formed, about 5 minutes.

Return to the saucepan or place in a bowl.  Allow custard to cool.  Cover with plastic wrap so that the plastic touches the cream mixture.  This will keep a skin from forming.

Place in the fridge for four hours or overnight.

Remove and follow your ice cream maker directions for freezing.

I don’t have a pic of the final product. Well, I DO, it just looks terrible, thanks to the 500 billion watts of fluorescent light in my kitchen. That, and my camera!

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Burrito bowls July 6, 2011

Posted by Judy in Recipes.
3 comments

A few weeks ago, we got dinner from a place called Panchero’s Mexican Grill. Their menu consists of burritos, burrito bowls and a few other things. We ended up getting burrito bowls, which were decent, but I decided that I definitely could do better. (Humble, I know!) So yesterday, I decided to give it a try. I thought about it too late to actually make my own rice, so I bought the Lipton packaged rice, Mexican flavor. (Next time, I’ll just make my own, but this was good enough.) These were SUPER easy to make and they were a hit . . definitely going to be making these again!

What you need:
Rice – if you make your own rice, you’ll want to flavor it with some lime and fresh cilantro
Black beans
Refried beans
Corn, fresh or frozen
Salsa
Tomatoes
Cheese
Santa Fe salad toppers

b

 

 

 

Putting it together:
Grab a bowl.
Put a cup or so of rice in the bottom.
Then, just pile everything else on top. The order doesn’t really matter, but I like to have the beans towards the bottom.

Easy peasy, right?

Scratch July 6, 2011

Posted by Judy in Musings, Recipes.
2 comments

I thought about titling this post “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!”  Or maybe “100 years too late.”  Not sure why I went with “Scratch”  Maybe  I should just write and you all can decide what would be the best title=)

For the past month or two, I’ve been thinking that I was born in the wrong century.  Seems like I would fit in better in the, say, early 1900’s, when most people knew how to cook GOOD food, they could make their own clothing, and housework was actually seen as a job.  These are all things that I enjoy doing and have gotten pretty good at them, but aside from my family, I get no validation.  In the back of my head, I have this idea that it’s nerdy to be a wicked good seamstress and only slightly less nerdy to be a foodie.  Probably crazy, I know, but this is my head we are talking about here=)

Anyway, so ever since the arrival of the mixer, my cooking has improved by leaps and bounds.  We are now doing ALOT more baking and making of things from scratch.  We haven’t bought bread in quite a while, and delicious desserts are a norm around here.  Today was no exception.  DS1 had a VERY short quiet time . . . he was done shortly after DS2 finally fell asleep.  DD was still sawing logs, but she woke up maybe 30 minutes later, so I really didn’t get a chance to get anything worthwhile done in the sewing room.  Generally, I would be fraught with frustration and annoyance.  Today, I figured I couldn’t sew, then I could at least do my other hobby, cooking.  So off we went to the kitchen . . . the kids in their Learning Tower and me, well, just in the kitchen.  We made hamburger buns, mushroom/bean patties and whipped squash.  The babes only lasted for about half of the process, but it entertained them for awhile and kept them out of trouble long enough for me to get the bulk of the cooking done.  Not only did we have fun, we had a yummilish and healthy supper.  Coming on the heels of my “wrong side of the bed” week of last week, it was a nice feeling to have had a good afternoon, to have gotten supper on the table EARLY, and to have everyone enjoy it!

So, I think I’ve found a new solution to the “shoot!  Noone is napping, now what?” dilemma . .. we’ll just cook!  I’m on a quest to find the perfect bread recipe as well as modifying a chocolate chip cookie recipe I found to make it to die for.  I see lots of great cooking in our future.  Plus, it’s summertime, so the fresh fruits and veggies are going to be bountiful.  Ahhh, I can’t wait!

And because I like to post pics with most of my ramblings, here are a few shots of the yummy supper we had.

Hamburger buns (that only took about 45 minutes to make)

Mushroom patties (it’s a good basic recipe.  I’ll probably use portabello shrooms next time and add a bunch more.)
The mushroom patty, which I suppose doesn't look all that great!

Here is it next to a Morning Star Griller

Stay tuned for more pics and hopefully more recipes from my “slowly becoming a gourmet” kitchen=)

Vegetarian taco skillet meets cornbread pie June 28, 2011

Posted by Judy in Recipes.
3 comments

Cornbread pie makes a regular appearance at our house: it’s easy, good, and I almost always have the ingredients laying around, making it good for those “ack, what to do for dinner!” moments. Recently, I decided to shake things up a bit. I had tried a taco skillet recipe that was only mediocre. I thought I’d meld the two recipes (taco skillet and cornbread pie) together to see what would happen. I think we have a winner!

As with many of my inventions, I just sort of use what I have. If you are missing something, don’t sweat it, just find something else to throw in in it’s place. Well, the cornbread is necessary, but the rest can be fiddled with=)

What you need:
1T olive oil
1 package Grillers, cut into small pieces
some frozen corn
some spinach, cut up (fresh or frozen)
mushrooms, chopped
about 1/2 bell pepper, diced (red or orange are nice, but pricey, so use what you have.)
1 onion, diced
1 Goya packet (the magic ingredient, don’t skip this one)
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 package of cornbread mix
1 egg
1/2 cup milk (or whatever your cornbread mix calls for)
1/3 – 1 cup of cheese (I like cheddar)

How to put it all together:
1. Heat oil a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Grillers and all of the veggies (corn through onion) and cook until the corn is no longer frozen and the onions are nicely sauteed, about 6-10 minutes.

2. While that is cooking, prepare the cornbread mix. Combine the cornbread, egg and milk and stir until well-combined. Set aside.

3. Turn your oven on to about 375 or 400 (temps vary by oven).
4. Drain and rinse the beans, then add them to the veggies along with the Goya packet.

5. Remove the skillet from heat and pour the cornbread mixture over the top, spreading it around so that it covers the entire skillet. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

6. If there are any plastic pieces on the skillet, cover them up with foil, otherwise you’ll have not-so-nice plastic fumes floating around in your oven!

7. Cook for 15 minutes.

8. Remove from the oven when the cornbread is golden.

It probably won’t LOOK delicious, but trust me, it is!

One thing I learned while putting this tute together . .. .. my photography skills need work! Or maybe I just need a better camera!

Bean and veggie empandas May 10, 2011

Posted by Judy in Recipes.
2 comments

Sometimes, I’m at a total loss for what to make for lunch.  I seriously need a personal chef, or at least a personal meal planner=)  Anyway, the babes weren’t being at all helpful with their suggestions, so I opened the fridge for inspiration and voila!, these empanadas came to be.   These are pretty easy and quick to make, if you don’t have three little ones under foot=)

Ingredients:

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 T olive oil

1 small onion, diced

a few other veggies, whatever you have on hand – I used two carrots, a small chunk of cabbage, & 3 olives

a fresh herb, whatever you like – I used cilantro

1 package dough – Pillsbury biscuit dough was what I had, so that’s what I used, any dough will work

Cheese – any kind

1 Goya seasoning packet

1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add onions and other veggies and saute for about 5 minutes or so.


2. Add the black beans and Goya seasoning packet and simmer for a few minutes. Add the fresh herb once the beans are heated through. Remove from heat and set mixture aside.

3. Flatten out your dough. (You can use a rolling pin, but I just used my fingers.) Since I was using biscuit dough, I needed to flatten it and reshape it into a circle. Do whatever you need to do to get your dough flattish and circleish.

4. Spoon a goodly amount of mixture into the center of the circle. Fold the dough so that you end up with a semicircle. Use a fork to smoosh and seal the dough.

5. Bake. The temperature and time will depend on what dough you are using. Check the package and follow those directions. I believe I baked at about 400 for about 10-12 minutes.

6. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with salsa and sour cream.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin pie yogurt December 18, 2010

Posted by Judy in Recipes.
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Several months ago I realized I was in a snack rut. . . the kiddies were getting the same thing, over and over.  So I polled my FB friends, and one person suggested fixmeasnack.com. She has a section called “Yogurt 101” where she has 101 different ways that you can dress up plain, jane yogurt.  Some were just plain, well, interesting.  But there were plenty that were big hits with the kiddies.  The best thing I learned from her posts was that plain yogurt is a great place to start for kiddie snacks.  I still use lots of her recipes, but I’ve branched out and tried my own.  One that was a huge hit was my pumpkin pie yogurt.  Here’s the recipe if you wanna try it.

Makes one little person serving

1/4 cup of yogurt

2-3 T of canned pureed pumpkin

a dash or two of each (cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger)

some vanilla (I never measure, I probably used about 1/4 t.)

1-2 T of sugar

Mix everything together in a bowl and serve.  Garnish with a dollop of Cool Whip, or not.

This picture totally doesn’t do it justice.  Once it’s mixed, it has a not-so-pleasant color, and pre-mixed, well, it just looks bizarre.  But it really is quite delish, trust me!

 

Crockpot Black Bean Soup December 17, 2010

Posted by Judy in Recipes.
2 comments

I’ve been on a crockpot kick this week . . . and I’m pretty much hooked.  So I’ll be on a mission to try lots of my fav recipes in the crockpot!  I thought I had bookmarked a black bean soup recipe, but couldn’t find it this morning.  I found one that inspired me to do my own thing.  Here’s my verison!

Adapted from Stephanie O’Dea at crockpot365

3 cans of black beans, undrained and unrinsed

1 can of diced tomatoes

1/4 head of cabbage, chopped

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 medium onion, diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

2 cups vegetable broth (I used 2 c water + 2T McKay’s seasoning)

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 t oregano, rubbed

1/4 t. garlic powder

1T salt

Place all of the ingredients in the crockpot, mix.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream.  Enjoy!

Somehow, I ended up NOT getting a pic of the soup, but it was yummylicious!

Leftover rice pudding December 16, 2010

Posted by Judy in Recipes.
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This morning, DS1 decided he wanted rice for a snack.  I thought plain rice would be weird, so I tried to find a rice pudding recipe.  Alas, they all took more than 15 minutes to make, and the kiddies wanted a snack, NOW.  So, I threw caution to the wind and decided to wing it.  Here’s the recipe:

2 cups of leftover rice

1 cup of  milk

1/2 of a banana, mushed

a handful of raisins

2 T sugar

1/4 cup makeshift apple caramel sauce (the recipe is about 1/3 of the way down the page)

Place everything minus the caramel sauce into a saucepan on high heat.  Bring to a boil and stir frequently until the rice is a nice, thick consistency.  Add the carmel sauce and then whatever spices you want.  We used 3 shakes of cinnamon and nutmeg and one shake of ginger.  Really, you can do whatever.

The verdict:  turned out pretty darn good.  I don’t even like rice pudding and I thought it was yummy=)

The summer of food October 23, 2010

Posted by Judy in Recipes.
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For some reason, this summer I decided that I would try out all sorts of new recipes.  Maybe it was the fact that DH had a garden that was producing all sorts of wonderfulness, or maybe I just wanted to get out of a rut.  Either way, we tried some yummy new dishes this summer.

First up, Black Bean Tacos.  I made this dish twice, and it turned out much better the second time.  I love that it’s super fast and easy.  Not really what I’d call toddler friendly, but they didnt’ seem to mind the fact that the tacos would totally fall apart on them=)

When I found the recipe for Scalloped Tomatoes, I thought it looked fantastic.  It was pretty good, but not as good as  I   would have thought.  It was pretty oily and the flavor just wasn’t as rich as I thought it should have been.  I’m not ready to dump this recipe out, though.  Even though it takes FOREVER to make, I still think it has promise.

Shells are a favorite around here, you just can’t seem to go wrong with them.  The last time I made them, they turned out especially delish . . . I sauteed mushrooms, onions and bell pepper,  and managed to find some ricotta that wasn’t fat free (READ: had any taste at all).

We were so hungry, we dug in before I got a chance to take a pic=)

Pasta, in general, makes a rather frequent appearance at our dinner table.  For one, it’s super easy, for two, it’s quite toddler friendly.  Pizza is another favorite because, well, it’s pizza.  Need I say more?  Sooo, when I found a recipe for Pasta Pizza in my Better Homes and Gardens Pasta cookbook, I was sold.  I’ll probably make a few changes to how the “crust” is made next time I make it, but it was definitely a fun recipe.  I’m looking forward to trying their Taco Spaghetti recipe later this week.

One of the more plentiful items from the garden was acorn squash.  We still have a bunch stashed under our hutch . . .saving them for winter stews, or something.  Anyway, I found this recipe for Orzo Stuffed Acorn Squash.  Certainly not TDF, but pretty good.  I think I would probably add more parmesan cheese, and maybe a few more spices to the orzo.  But, it was a nice variation on the brown sugar and butter treatment that squash usually gets.

Hands down, the best recipe from this summer was the Polenta and Black Bean Casserole. DH is not really a fan of polenta.  Okay, so he just plain old doesn’t like it.  Unless it’s in this form=)  This is good news for me because I quite like polenta, so now I get to make it for dinner more often.  As an added bonus, this recipe is crazy easy.  Thank you epicurious.com!

Homemade jam June 21, 2010

Posted by Judy in Recipes.
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June means one thing   ..  . .. LOTS and LOTS of berries!  For some reason, this year we have a bumper crop of berries.  I think maybe they are more accessible since DH has been cleaning up the train wreck that was/is the lot.  In any case, he has gone out every evening for about 10 days and harvest a good pound or two of black raspberries.  He also has harvested maybe 4-5 pounds of mulberries.  What to do with all of these berries?  So many options . . . but if you want the berries to last for a long time, homemade jams and jellies are the way to go.  As you can imagine, we have been busy canning homemade black raspberry jam.  (The mulberry jelly is being made as I type.)  It’s really pretty simple, but messy since berries stain like crazy!  Man, if you ever want to dye something, berry dye is the way to go!!

Anyhu, here are a few pics of the canning process. (NOTE:  this is probably not the correct way to do it with the pectin, it’s what I did and it mostly worked.)

First you mix the berries and a TON of sugar and some lemon juice, leaving it in the fridge for about 2 hours until the sugar is dissolved.

Before dissolving

After dissolving and smashing the berries

Then  I added the pectin and heated it up to boiling, and it almost boiled over!  I should have used a bigger pot!  Once it boiled, I let it boil for one minute, then removed it from the heat.

Then I poured it into the jars, leaving a wee bit of headspace, and the processed the jars in a giant pot with boiling water for 10 minutes.  Once done, the jars were removed and placed on a towel to cool for about 12 hours.

I think it still needs to set for another week or two, since it’s a wee bit runny, but that actually makes it really nice for spreading, and it makes a killer sauce for pancakes and especially icecream!  DELISH!