Monday, July 29, 2013

Simple Basil Pesto

I've developed a real fondness for pesto. It brings such a fresh and rich flavor to so many dishes. Lucky for me, pesto is super simple to make.
 Fresh basil is pretty much the main ingredient in pesto and it can be a little pricey at the store. So in June I decided that I wanted to grow it. Now, I've tried to grow basil in the past and failed miserably. I have some strange desire to be able to grow a garden someday so year after year I keep on trying... Anyway, this year I bought a little basil plant, put it in a container on my porch, and I haven't killed it!!! I'm so proud.

Simple Basil Pesto (slightly adjusted from Blendtec)
2 c. loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 c. olive oil
2 gloves garlic
1/4 c. pine nuts
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1/4 t. salt
black pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender (magic bullet might work, too) and blend it up.
 And...tada! Fresh pesto.
 I'm totally obsessed with it right now. This is what I've been eating lately: steamed zucchini and/or yellow squash, melted cheese, diced tomatoes (seasoned with a little olive oil, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper), and a scoop of pesto on top. So dang good. Now I just need to grow some zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Frozen Raspberry Cream Custard

Ice cream is one of my favorite things in the world. Seriously, I have a weakness for ice cream. But frozen custard ... ah, now that's truly where the magic resides. The main difference between ice cream and frozen custard is that the latter contains egg yolks and must be cooked thoroughly before freezing. It's a little bit more work, but, oh, so worth it! This is one recipe that I am going to keep forever.

Frozen Raspberry Cream Custard
8 egg yolks
1 & 1/2 c. sugar
good pinch of salt
3 c. heavy whipping cream
1 & 1/2 c. milk (I used 2%)
1 t. vanilla
2 c. fresh or frozen raspberries
In a large mixing bowl, combine egg yolks, sugar and salt.
 In a saucepan, heat cream and milk over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Stir constantly.
 Slowly pour hot cream over egg yolk mixture, whisking as you go.

 Return mixture to saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 170 degrees. Again, stir constantly.
 Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
 Pour mixture into a clean bowl (metal or glass works best) and place the whole bowl in and ice bath. Stir until cool. {This step isn't absolutely necessary, but it does significantly speed up the cooling process.} After the ice bath, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours. {If you don't do an ice bath, refrigerate overnight.}
 Pour custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. After custard is frozen, stir in raspberries by hand.
 Then serve it up.
 Pictures cannot capture how perfectly smooth this turns out. No ice crystals at all!

Now go make some ... now ... right now. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Loaded Pumpkin Cookies

Well, a few days ago I got my annual mid-summer pumpkin cookie craving. Seriously, every summer I want pumpkin cookies, without fail. I'm not complaining, in fact, I find it somewhat humorous. This time I decided to make a more ... exciting version of the original.

Loaded Pumpkin Cookies
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 & 1/2 c. sugar
2 c. pumpkin
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
4 & 1/2 c. whole white wheat flour
1 & 1/2 c. old fashioned oats
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. nutmeg
1 t. salt
1 (11 oz.) bag mini chocolate chips
1 c. cinnamon chips
1/2 c. butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla and mix until fluffy. Add flour, oats, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix well until it forms a dough. Fold in chips.
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a greased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet.
 Bake at 350 F for 12-14 minutes.
Perfectly soft with a hearty, chewy texture and packed with chips. Just grand!