Friday, July 30, 2010

Peach Ice Cream

seeing as i am heading north to my favorite peach orchard again today, you will have to suffer through at least a couple more peach postings. my sincerest apologies to those who are crazy and don't love peaches. to everyone else, read on for a fantastic peach ice cream recipe.
when i purchased my ice cream maker early this spring i had two thoughts. i will either never use this thing . . . or, i will use this thing too much and gain 20 pounds. surprisingly i have used this quite a bit but have managed to share every single batch i have made. so, not only have i enjoyed using it but my waistline has not suffered solely from ice cream (other goodies, perhaps, but ice cream is not at complete fault:)

last night was no exception. my mother is crazy about peaches in general (hey, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, right?) so i packed up the dogs, my cuisinart, and some peaches and headed over to her house to whip up a batch of peach ice cream for the two of us.
because i have an aversion to chunks of fruit in my ice cream, i blended the juicy peaces into a fabulous puree. the result was an amazingly smooth and creamy and we enjoyed every bite.

well, not every bite. surprisingly enough, we didn't eat the whole batch ourselves. little victories.

Smooth Peach Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups pureed peaches (about 4 medium peaches, skinned and chopped)
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

puree peaches in blender. add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. refrigerate for an hour. blend one more time before pouring into ice cream maker and follow manufacturers instructions. transfer soft ice cream to airtight container and freeze for 1-2 hours before serving.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Roasted Garlic Pesto Hummus

raw vegetables are a big hit in this house. E can eat them by the handful and i like them too but i need something to dip them in. so, if you are like me and always on the hunt for a healthy, easy, tasty dip for vegetables or pita chips, look no further than this recipe for hummus.
hummus is a staple in a lot of peoples refrigerators, but many don't know it's really easy to make. you can customize it to any tastes you desire. take a simple base of chickpeas and add cilantro and lime, or garlic and lemon, roasted red peppers, or my choice today, roasted garlic and pesto.
i will say that a little pesto goes a long way so don't go overboard with it. i served it with baby carrots, celery sticks, green peppers, and stacy's garlic parmesan pita chips. it was obvious from cleaning up that the pita chips were the crowd favorite. i used the whole bag and not a crumb was left on the plate. there was a carrot or two and a stray green pepper but the pita chips were the hit.
Roasted Garlic Pesto Hummus

1 large head garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1 - 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs pesto (see my pesto recipe here)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbs olive oil, if needed

preheat oven to 300 degrees F. chop off the top of a head of garlic and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. roast for 1 hour. remove and let cool completely.

combine cooled roasted garlic and remaining ingredients in the food processor and puree until smooth. if it needs a little thinning, add some olive oil until desired consistency.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rustic Peach Almond Tart

i cannot get enough of peaches. i took a dessert over to have dinner with my family and of course it was a peach dessert.

earlier this week, i saw giada make a rustic fig and almond tart and i knew that would be perfect with peaches instead of figs.

and perfect it was served warm with a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream. wow. the almond cream was really the touch that put this over the top. i imagine you could make this with whatever fruit is in season. it would be fantastic with blueberries, apricots, strawberries, or cherries. of course, i'll have to try it with figs too.

my vanilla bean ice cream recipe can be found here. i am glad there were exactly 8 people to share this tart. otherwise, i may have eaten 1/2 by myself.

Rustic Peach Almond Tart
(serves 6 to 8) adapted from giada de laurentiis' fig and almond tart

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 lemon, zested
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons ice water, if needed, i just used 2 tbs
3 1/2 ounces almond paste, cut into pieces
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons raw honey
4 peaches, peeled and sliced into thin wedges

in a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, lemon zest, and salt until just combined.
add butter and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal.
then add ice water 1 tbs at a time until dough forms (you may not need all 3 tablespoons).
dump dough onto plastic wrap. form into a ball, flatten and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
chill for at least an hour.

meanwhile, in clean food processor, pulse almond paste until finely ground.
add mascarpone cheese, vanilla extract and honey and puree until smooth.
refrigerate until needed.

preheat oven to 400 degrees F. roll out dough in a circle until approximately 1/3" thick. spread almond cream onto dough leaving roughly and inch border on all sides.
lay peach wedges in a circular pattern until all almond cream is covered. i like to overload it with peaches because they will cook down.
fold edges of crust over peaches.
bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes until crust is golden brown. let cool for 5 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Peach Yogurt

ahhh, the return of my favorite breakfast. peaches have arrived and i couldn't be happier. i could seriously eat a peach every day for the rest of my life.
from late july through august i enjoy every second of peach season by having this wonderful breakfast - greek yogurt and sliced peaches. the peaches are so sweet and juicy, they are all the sweetness i need. i just top about 1/2 cup of 0% fage greek yogurt with a sliced peach and enjoy.
some of the best things in life are purely simple.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw

i mixed up our usual fish tacos with blackened shrimp instead of fish. and, i finally tried a smitten kitchen recipe that i have been wanting to try for a while - mango slaw.
the flavors went together so well and the cool mango slaw complimented the heat from the blackening seasoning on the shrimp.
a couple of quartered grape tomatoes and a whole wheat tortilla made this a perfect summer meal. the sweet corn was the icing on the cake.
i also tried a new beer tonight - pyramid audacious apricot ale. it was so good! it reminded me a lot of my summer favorite - wailua wheat (a kona beer brewed with a hint of passion fruit).
this apricot ale was brewed with a hint of apricot and it just left a hint of apricot aftertaste which is probably why i liked it. i have an aversion to beer with a bitter finish. this was perfect and summery. yum!

Mango Slaw

1 ripe mango, julienned
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced (about 3/4 lb)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 green onion, julienned
1/4 cup lime juice
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper

whisk together lime juice through pepper in a large bowl. add remaining ingredients and toss together to coat. let sit in fridge for at least an hour to let the flavors meld. toss again before serving.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Maple Quinoa Granola

a little experiment turned out better than i expected so i thought i'd share it here. i have heard of baking quinoa and eating it as granola so i decided to mix it on with a batch of granola.
i knew it was a good sign when the whole house started to smell of maple goodness as it was baking.
i added both red and white quinoa simply for color and it ended up being so crunchy with just enough sweetness from the maple syrup.
i had it mixed in with some greek yogurt for breakfast this morning and it was delicious!
as i was eating it i couldn't help but think of all the extra protein i was getting from the quinoa.

Maple Quinoa Granola

4 tbs unsalted butter (or coconut butter)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup red quinoa (well rinsed)
1/2 cup white quinoa (well rinsed)
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

melt butter and whisk in maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. add remaining dry ingredients and stir well to combine. spread onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes, stir every 15 minutes for even browning. let cool completely and store in airtight container.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

several years ago, i convinced a bartender at the cheesecake factory to give me the recipe for their raspberry martini. what makes it so amazing is they use real raspberry puree (among other things - like vodka). i searched the internet and found perfect puree. it was quite pricy but it comes frozen and i ended up getting 3 bottles because it was the same price to ship 3 as it was 1. i have since taken them from house to house. i still have one and a half bottles left. for a long time i felt like i had to save them but life is too short to not enjoy the fine things in life (like martinis). when opening our spare freezer today, i spied them and knew i had to make raspberry frozen yogurt. using the frozen raspberry puree saved me tons of time because it is seedless!
not only is it pure gorgeous raspberries but it's also wonderfully delicious. they add just enough sugar to make it sweet which means i didn't even need to add sugar to the frozen yogurt. so, just raspberry puree and greek yogurt went into the ice cream maker. 20 minutes later i snuck a taste and it was like a spoonful of summer.
i used this same recipe for my blueberry frozen yogurt. it really works with every fruit and i cannot wait to use peaches. i even have this for breakfast. shhhh, don't tell anyone:)

Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

1 cup raspberry puree (or fresh raspberries blended with 1 tbs of lemon juice and 1/4 cup of agave nectar)
2 cups of greek yogurt (i used fage total)

whisk ingredients together and pour into ice cream maker. follow manufacturers instructions to make ice cream. put in freezer and allow to set for 1-2 hours.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Carne Asada Steak Fajitas

dang this marinade is good! 

sometimes there is nothing like some sizzling steak fajitas. however, making them at home is not only easy and delicious but you can control exactly what goes into them as well. you can really add whatever you like to your grilled steak but i like mine with homemade guacamole, some shredded cheddar, sauteed peppers and onions, and a dollop of greek yogurt all wrapped up in a warm whole wheat tortilla.
if you have the time, let the beef (i use skirt steak but flank steak works well too) marinade overnight or up to 24 hours for maximum flavor. but i marinated mine all day (about 7 hours) and it was still delicious. i think i originally found the recipe on but i have changed it enough i feel comfortable calling it my own. i grilled mine on my trusty charcoal weber grill over hot coals for 5 minutes a side.
a secret tip that i have been trying with great success recently is placing the hot, right-off-the-grill meat back into the leftover marinade. after you remove the raw meat from the marinade, pour the leftover marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil for at least 5 minutes. remove from heat and let sit. when the steak comes off the grill, place it right back into the cooled, boiled marinade and let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing. the hot meat will absorb more of that amazing flavor. any leftovers i store in a tupperware container in the marinade guaranteeing it won't dry out.

Carne Asade Marinade

1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
zest of 1 lime
1/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs salt
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs mexican oregano
1/2 tbs chipotle chili pepper
1/2 tbs chili powder (use 1 tbs of chili powder if you don't have chipotle chili pepper)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup cilantro minced

whisk all ingredients together in a large shallow baking dish or airtight container. add in skirt steak to marinate at least 6 hours up to 24 hours.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Best BBQ Sauce

bbq sauce is a very personal thing. some like it sweet, some like it hot, some like it with a vinegar tang, some like it smoky or with honey. i have tried many a homemade bbq sauce and this one adapted from the barefoot contessa herself is my personal favorite.
ina garten said she came up with this sauce by trying three different bbq styles. one was asian inspired, one was a honey bbq, and the third was a carolina vinegar based bbq. when each one turned out to be a bust, she combined them all together and it was magic.
i love this sauce! it has a lot of ingredients but it's worth the trouble because it makes a big batch. i keep some in the fridge and freeze the rest so i have bbq ready all summer and never have to use the dreaded bottled stuff. i use it on shrimp, grilled chicken, hamburgers, and even on ribs. seriously, you need to try this stuff!

Best BBQ Sauce
(adapted from ina garten)

3 tbs vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onion (1 large onion)
3 large cloves minced garlic
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs chipotle chili powder (or regular but i like the smokey flavor)
1 tbs ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
10 ounces tomato paste
1 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup worcestershire sauce
1 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
8 ounces hoisin sauce

heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. add onion and garlic and saute until tender. add spices and saute one minute. add remaining ingredients and simmer for 15-30 minutes. let cool completely. store in airtight container. will keep in fridge for 2-3 weeks and freezes very well.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Orange Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry

in the heat of the summer i find myself making lots of stir-fries. it not only saves me from turning on the oven but they can be thrown together quickly with virtually whatever you have on hand and it cooks quickly too. that means less time standing over the stove and a dinner full of protein and veggies.
i used chicken tenders that cook quicker than full chicken breasts and a mixture of fresh and frozen veggies as well as some brown rice or whole wheat pasta. the sauces for stir-fry are as versatile as the ingredients you can put into it. teriyaki, orange ginger, peanut, curry, lemon butter, garlic parmesan, old bay, and the list is only limited by your imagination.

i'll continue to post my stir-fry recipes that turn out particularly well like this tasty orange teriyaki one.

Orange Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry
(serves 2-3)

3 tbs soy sauce
3 tbs freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tbs sake
2 tbs agave nectar
3 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tsp arrow root

1 tbs olive oil
5 chicken tenders
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup broccoli
2 cups cooked brown rice

whisk all ingredients for sauce in small bowl until arrow root is dissolved. set aside and heat wok to medium heat. add olive oil and sear chicken tenders on both sides until 90% cooked through. remove from heat and let sit.
add carrots, mushrooms, and onions and saute 3 minutes. add broccoli and rice and continue to cook for 5 minutes. meanwhile, cut chicken into bite sized pieces. add chicken and sauce to wok and let simmer for 5 minutes until thickened.
garnish with sliced scallions or bean sprouts.
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