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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lemon Cookies + Lemon Ice Cream = Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches

I made Lemon Ice Cream last week.  

And I made lemon cookies this week.  The cookies are really light and chewy.  

It wasn't too much of a leap for me to put the two of them together into ice cream sandwiches!

Even if you don't go the ice cream sandwich route, you should give these cookies a try!  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Strawberry Agua Fresca

This could have been such a quick and easy post.

Three ingredients!  Plus water.  It takes about ten minutes to make.  I could have written this blog post in record time.

But then it sort of turned into a circular tale.  (If you've ever read the children's book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, you know what I'm talking about.)

It all started when I thought I'd make a pitcher of agua fresca.

Which made me think of Mexico.  Circa 1986.

Which made me wonder if I had taken any pictures of agua fresca during my long-ago Mexican vacations.

Which made me dig out a couple of old photo albums filled with pictures from vacations to Cancun and Acapulco.

No pictures of agua fresca, but there was this picture of my poolside drink served in a watermelon.

Which made me think of the abundance of tropical fruit that my friends and I ate on that trip to Cancun.  Imagine our surprise on our first night there, at dinner, when our waiter placed a hollowed-out pineapple loaded with fruit in front of each of us.  It was simply described as a "fruit cup" on the appetizer menu.

Which made me think of how much fun that trip to Cancun was.  So much fun that I wanted to go back to Mexico for my honeymoon the following year, to Acapulco.

Thinking of Acapulco made me think of the goofy little Mexican teddy bear I won shooting hoops.

Which made me think about how sweaty I was shooting hoops in Mexico on my honeymoon.

Which reminded me that I want to make a pitcher of agua fresca.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Berry Cobbler

It's still berry season in Massachusetts so I'm still going a little crazy with the berries.

My favorite way to enjoy them:  plain, freshly picked, no embellishing necessary.

But there are so many other ways they creep into our menu: mixed into yogurt, floating in a cool glass of water, added to salads, and the desserts--oh, man, the desserts.

This cobbler is the perfect dessert recipe for your berries.  Use any type of berry or combo thereof.  I used...blueberry/blackberry...

Blackberry/boysenberry. Boysenberry/huckleberry. Huckleberry/raspberry. Raspberry/strawberry. Strawberry/cranberry. Peach!

I know, I know, peach is not a berry.  But if you're a Seinfeld fan, the above list is not complete without "Peach!"

Friday, July 4, 2014

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Happy 4th of July!

This card was sent to me by my blogging friend, Pam, of Virginia Retro.  Pam's collection of vintage tablecloths leaves me speechless:

Do you find yourself at a loss for words at the sight of these endless stacks?  What if I told you that every time she showcases one of her tablecloths, she coordinates the table setting to match?  I can't imagine how organized you have to be to have so many different sets of plates, glasses, napkins, candlesticks, serving pieces, head is spinning just thinking about cataloging it all!

My head was spinning last week when I made this salted caramel ice cream.  I hadn't made ice cream yet this summer, I had a free afternoon, I decided to get a little fancier than usual.

I debated whether or not I should blog about this ice cream.  Not because it wasn't good.  It was incredible.  Unbelievable.  Really, REALLY good.

But it took an incredible amount of time.  In a nutshell, the ice cream I've made in the past falls into these categories:

1.  Throw all of the ingredients into the ice cream maker, let it mix for 20 to 30 minutes.  Eat it while it's soft, or freeze for later. (Easiest and quickest)

2.  Make an egg-based ice cream, which requires heating the ingredients, tempering eggs, simmering to thicken, refrigerating for a few hours to cool it before it can be mixed in the (frozen) ice cream maker for 20 to 30 minutes, freezing it to firm up. (Easy yet time consuming)

3.  Making an egg-based ice cream (see above), which also requires preparing a recipe in advance for needed ingredients (such as salted caramel) that are part of the ice cream recipe.  (Still easy, yet even more time consuming)

Care to guess which one (1, 2 or 3) this salted caramel ice cream is?

Hint: it wasn't ready to eat until the next day.

If you picked #3, pat yourself on the back.

During the cooking process (particularly when I was stirring the cream into the hot caramel and the caramel suddenly seized), I had many thoughts along the lines of "this better be worth it," "is it really worth all of this trouble?" and "I'm never making this again."

And then when I took the first bite the only thought I had was, "Wow, this was SO worth the time that I put into it!"

I wrote everything down, so that I could duplicate the recipe at some point in the future when I have a free day.  Or two.  One day to make ice cream, one day to recover.

Then I decided that I do need to blog about it, if only to remind myself how time-consuming and frustrating it was to make.

And to remind myself that it was the best ice cream that I've ever made.

I even gave Clyde a spoonful.  He ate it quite enthusiastically.  

I wouldn't read too much into that, however; he also eats ice cubes with the same enthusiasm.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Farmers Market-Inspired Cooking Show!

Last week, we filmed an episode of the cooking show.

All of the recipes we prepared were inspired by our local Farmers Market.

My friend Amy cooked with me.

Gayle and Sheila watched from the sidelines, and provided lots of light moments off-camera.

Like when they discussed the short-shorts that Amy's husband wore in the early 80's.  Or when they pondered hot flashes.

When we went outside to grill the zucchini and summer squash, it started to rain, so Gayle and Sheila bailed on us and ran inside.

But then they provided lots of moral support by telling us that our now-wet hair looked fabulous on the camera monitor.

They were so sincere, I actually believed them.  I just adore my sweet, supportive friends.

While it rained, Amy and I cooked up a storm of our own!  

The aforementioned Grilled Zucchini & Summer Squash.

There is no link to take you to a recipe, but it's so simple--here you go:

-Lop off the ends of four 6-inch zucchini/summer squash, and slice them lengthwise.  You should get 4 slices from each, aim for slices at least 1/4" but no more than 1/2" thick.

-In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup EACH of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and a pinch of salt and pepper.

-Add the slices of zucchini and summer squash, and toss to coat.

-Grill on MEDIUM/HIGH, 2-3 minutes each side, just long enough to get great color and grill marks.  The squash should start to soften, yet still hold its shape.

Seared Sea Scallops with Sweet Vermouth