Rosemary Honey Walnut Ice Cream

rosemary honey walnut ice cream

Sometimes a brand new internet connection with a brand new company can feel like the absolute most exciting thing in the entire world. When you’ve been without it for eight days, it is sorely missed! No more though. Now we just need to work on having a place to sit other than the floor or a bed.

All joking aside, the new place is coming along nicely, and by the end of this week we should actually have real furniture in the living room! Today our bar stools are supposed to arrive, and I’m quite thrilled to have a place to sit down while eating meals! Oh the things I’ve taken for granted in the past…

rosemary and walnuts for ice cream

In the meantime, I will share this possibly odd-sounding yet superlative ice cream, something I made a couple months ago, which quickly became a hot item on the use-this-up-and-don’t-dare-waste-a-drop-before-we-move fridge and freezer list before we left our old apartment in Queens. I kind of wish I had some right now.

Rosemary Honey Walnut Ice Cream

I was a little weirded out by the addition of rosemary in ice cream too. I mean, mint – sure; basil – okay; but rosemary is really not an herb we associate with desserts, and the only times I’ve seen it included in sweets recipes it’s a scant amount buried in a crumble topping or a sprig used to lightly flavor something. Here you have real, fresh rosemary leaves minced up and mixed into ice cream base as it is churning. I thought that would taste way too strong or whatnot, but it’s actually one of the best ice creams I’ve ever tasted. Seriously, ice cream has no right to taste this good!

Rosemary Honey Walnut Ice Cream

I highly recommend. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Scoop Adventures by Lindsay Clendaniel

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ¾ cups heavy cream, divided
¼ tsp kosher salt
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
¾ cup walnuts, toasted, cooled, and chopped

Directions:
In a medium saucepot, combine the milk, ¾ cup of cream, and salt. Heat until the dairy is scalded, meaning bubbles are just starting to form at the edges. Do not boil. Shut off the heat as soon as it scalds.
Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and honey. Once the dairy mixture is warmed, slowly pour about ½ a cup of it into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. This will temper the eggs so they do not scramble on you. Once the eggs are tempered, slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the dairy mixture in the saucepot, whisking constantly. Turn the heat onto medium-low and stir with a rubber spatula until the mixture thickens to a custard-like consistency and coats the back of a spoon. This will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the remaining heavy cream into a large mixing bowl and set a strainer on top. Once the custard is done, pour it through the strainer and mix it with the cream. Let it come up to room temperature. You can do this by setting the bowl in an ice bath to speed the process. Be sure you stir every few minutes or the dreaded “skin” will form on top. Once the mixture reaches room temperature, set it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
Once thoroughly chilled, churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. In the last 5 minutes of churning, add in the rosemary and walnut pieces. Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe container and let it set up in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.

Braised Goat Tacos

Braised Goat Tacos

I’m an animal lover anyway, but I harbor a special love for goats. Not sure why, but then again why not? The babies are just beyond adorable, and I love that obnoxious free spirit they all seem to inhabit in spades. As I heard a farmer put it once, “goats have… opinions.” There’s a little farm out on the North Fork of Long Island that allows you to stop and bottle feed their baby goats; one of the funniest and most fun things to do in the area. One of them ate my scarf.

Braised Goat Tacos

So I suppose if you feel as I do, it would be strange to eat goat meat, and maybe that’s part of why I hadn’t tried it until recently. But, after reading up on it, I discovered that Americans are one of a few countries that don’t eat it, and that may not be a good thing. There are many compelling yet admittedly preachy reasons for carnivores to incorporate more goat and less cow into their diets (click here if you’re interested in finding out more). So, I figured let’s try it!

Braised Goat Tacos

Okay, sold. It’s delicious and no, it doesn’t taste like chicken. It doesn’t taste like beef. Or lamb. It’s its own thing – it tastes like goat! And goat is extremely tasty – very earthy and with a slight almost sweetness that you don’t find in beef or lamb. Just delectable, really.

Braised Goat Tacos

Recipe notes: you’re looking for around 3-4 pounds of goat meat. So if your goat meat includes bones, take that into account. The meat I found looked like garden variety stew meat, but each piece actually had some bones on it (it reminded me of pork neck or oxtails). I still don’t know what cut of meat it was (and apparently the store clerk didn’t either!). But basically, you’re slow cooking the meat until it’s very tender and can be shredded. So boneless stew meat chunks are fine, as is meat on the bone, as mine was. Enjoy!

Braised Goat Tacos

Source: adapted from Michael Symon’s Carnivore by Michael Symon

Ingredients:
1 cup white wine or sherry vinegar
1 cup plus 3 tbs olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbs cumin seeds, toasted
1 tbs coriander seeds, toasted
2 tsp ancho chile powder
¼ tsp chile de arbol powder (can sub in cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes)
2 tbs packed brown sugar
3-4 lbs. goat meat (see note above), cut into stew chunks
1-2 bottles Mexican beer
1 (15 oz.) can crushed, fire-roasted tomatoes
Corn tortillas, warmed
Lime wedges, for serving
Fresh cilantro, for serving
Crumbled queso fresco, for serving

Directions:
In a mixing bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the vinegar, 1 cup olive oil, garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, both chile powders, and brown sugar. Add the goat meat to a large (gallon-size) resealable plastic food bag, then carefully pour the marinade over it. Seal the bag, then squish it around to coat the meat thoroughly. Set the bag in a bowl or baking dish and stick it in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Season each piece with salt. Reserve the marinade. Put a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the remaining olive oil. Brown the meat, making sure not to crowd the pan, about 3-4 minutes per side. Work in batches if necessary.
Once all the meat is browned, add it all back into the pot, plus any accumulated pan juices. Now add the reserved marinade, 1 bottle of beer, and the tomatoes. The liquid should almost cover the goat meat. Add some or all of the remaining beer if necessary. Bring to a nice boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover the pot and cook around medium-low for about 2 hours, until the goat is very tender and can easily shred with a fork or your fingers. Depending on your cut of meat, this might take only 90 minutes or it might take as long as 3 hours. You want to keep this at a gentle simmer the entire time – enough to actually cook the meat but not hot enough so that it scorches. I checked on mine every 20-30 minutes and gave it a stir to keep it on track.
Once the meat is cooked, remove from the heat and let the goat meat cool in the pot. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bones, shred it, and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Discard the bones and fat.
Strain the liquid into a smaller saucepan over low heat and warm it back up. I found it necessary to do 2 strains: once through a fine-mesh sieve to discard the solids, and then I ran it through a fat separator. While I’m not averse to a little animal fat, this particular goat netted a quite-ridiculous amount!
Spoon the warm sauce over the shredded meat. You probably won’t need all of it, you just want to coat and moisten the meat. Taste it here for seasoning and add more salt if desired.
Serve in the warm tortillas garnished with lime wedges, cilantro and queso fresco.

Bahamian Grilled Chicken

Bahamian Grilled Chicken

Matt and I adore traveling, and do so every opportunity we can possibly get (which are far fewer than I’d like, but that’s life, right?). This past month marked our ten year wedding anniversary, which we found to be a perfect, ready-made excuse to go somewhere. Where to go became the question, and the answer was BEACH. But beyond that, the answer quickly became secluded beach where we could sit and pretty much do nothing for a week.

Bahamian Grilled Chicken

After two small trips to Nassau, Bahamas in the last nine or so years, I’d become very intrigued by the Out Islands of the Bahamas (Nassau is fine, but I’m honestly not its biggest fan). After a few hours of research, we picked the Exuma Cays. It was spectacular – everything we wanted for our anniversary escape. No crowds, authentic Bahamian culture, breathtakingly gorgeous secluded beaches, a pool, and an adorable boutique mom-and-pop resort. Coming back home was harsh.

Bahamian Grilled Chicken

The one aspect of the trip that wasn’t just so was the food, but I was definitely expecting that. The Bahamas, at least in my personal experience, is much better at beach than food. Hell, the last time we stayed on Nassau we ate most of our meals at an Italian restaurant, for crying out loud. Their food culture isn’t terribly strong or well-known beyond the islands, and overcooked fish seems to be the rule rather than the exception. But, they do love their habaneros, which suited me just fine!

Bahamian Grilled Chicken

This chicken is an excellent representation of the typical Bahamian flavor profile – lots of lime juice, onion, and much habanero chile. It’s simple, and the flavors don’t scream. But they do talk, and I very much appreciate their subtle tones and complements. On our last meal there, being very much unable to stomach any more fried conch – something Bahamians do quite well, but honestly, how much fried food can you eat in one week? – I was thrilled to have this flavor profile on a piece of simply grilled (and exceptionally not overcooked!) grouper. I love it on chicken as well. I hope you enjoy this one!

Bahamian Grilled Chicken

And here is a collage of pictures from our trip. I would return in a heartbeat!

Source: The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen

Ingredients:
1 (3 ½ – 4 lb) whole chicken, quartered
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ to 2 habanero chiles, thinly sliced
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbs olive or canola oil
1 tbs sweet paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh cracked black or white pepper

Directions:
Blot the chicken pieces very dry with paper towels. Place the pieces in a nonreactive bowl or baking dish and pour the lime juice over the chicken; turn the pieces to coat. Let stand, at room temperature, for 15 minutes, turning the pieces once or twice.
Pour off and discard the lime juice, then add the onion, garlic, habanero, thyme, oil, paprika, salt, and pepper. Turn the chicken pieces to coat thoroughly. Let the chicken marinate in this mixture at least 15 minutes and up to 1 to 2 hours. Make sure you refrigerate the chicken if you’re going longer than about 15-20 minutes.
Preheat your grill, setting it up for two-tiered cooking (meaning one side is direct heat and the other is indirect heat). When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Using a rubber spatula, scrape any bits of onion or garlic off the chicken.
Arrange the pieces, skin side down on the hotter section (direct heat) and cook 3-5 minutes. Move the pieces to the indirect heat section, still skin side down, and cook 5-7 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces and move to the hot (direct heat) section, and cook another 3-5 minutes. Then move them, still skin side up, to the indirect heat section and let them finish cooking through there. Use a meat thermometer to be sure. The whole thing will take anywhere from 16-24 minutes, possibly even longer if your charcoal grill loses heat quickly.
When just cooked through, remove the chicken pieces to a plate and let them rest for 5-10 minutes. Then serve!

Nacho Dogs

Nacho Dogs

Happy Tuesday. Moving sucks.

Enough about me – we should instead talk about combining two comfort/junk food classics into one incredibly tasty meal. This is for sure something to be saved for splurge day. Believe me, it’s worth it.

Which brings me to what I have discovered through my journey of shedding some pounds, and is actually a pretty important point. My new philosophy (one of them anyways) is to spend my calories the way I spend my money. No one would purposely go out and spend their hard-earned money on say, clothes that they found ugly, or that didn’t fit right; or a book you have no desire to read, or a genre of music you know you don’t enjoy. We spend money wisely, on things we know we’ll use and enjoy.

Nacho Dogs

It’s really the same with food. If I’m spending more calories than usual on a meal or snack because I’m allowing a small or occasionally a large splurge, then I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I’ll really enjoy it. Good ingredients, things I know I like, and savoring every bite.

Nacho Dogs

These nacho dogs were worth it. They’re kind of like the Kardashians – a bit over the top, and a bit trashy, but making no apologies. (Speaking of which, please, oh please watch this video if you haven’t seen it. My sides were hurting from the laughter). Unlike the Kardashian’s show though, these hot dogs were extremely enjoyable and good. Like I said, worth every extra calorie. Enjoy!

Nacho Dogs

Source: Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
4 plum tomatoes
Olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
3 tbs red wine vinegar
1 large chipotle in adobo, minced
3 tbs finely diced red onion
Small handful of cilantro leaves, minced
8 good-quality beef or turkey hot dogs
8 good-quality hot dog buns, split (I used brioche – so delicious)
1 ½ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup sliced pickled jalapenos
Guacamole (homemade or good quality store-bought)
Tortilla chips, coarsely crumbled

Directions:
First make the salsa: preheat your indoor or outdoor grill to high for direct grilling. Brush the tomatoes with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill until charred on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Remove the tomatoes from the grill, and let cool enough so you can handle them. Slice in half, scrape out the seeds, and coarsely chop.
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbs olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced chipotle, red onion and cilantro. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Now cook the hot dogs. Grill the hot dogs until golden brown and lightly charred (if you like) on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Remove to a plate, then grill the buns, cut side down, until lightly golden brown and toasted, about 20 seconds.
To assemble this wonderful hot mess: place a hot dog in the bun, then top with cheese, jalapenos, guacamole, salsa, and crumbled tortilla chips. Serve immediately.

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

My apologies – I haven’t been posting as much recently – time-consuming changes are afoot in my house, specifically meaning a move across town (and technically to a different state, but state lines are quite blurry in the NYC area, so moving to a different state won’t really count until the inevitable day I’m held hostage at the DMV changing my driver’s license). We’ll move in two weeks, and we’ve found our new apartment, signed all the pertinent papers, and now are just trying to schedule out the movers and all the pesky little details that accompany any move. Our new place is about the same size as our current one, square footage wise, but a completely different layout. So some swapping of furniture is in order, plus rethinking some of the wall décor.

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I hope to be a better blogger for the summer than I have been this spring. I’m a bit disappointed to have only gotten in one rhubarb recipe before its season begins to wane, but this pie is so much better than nothing, and I’m very happy the one recipe I made was such a beauty.

pistachio crumble topped strawberry rhubarb pie

When it comes to fruit pies, I tend to not play favorites between crumble toppings and top crusts – both please my palate. But I was very intrigued to find a recipe that included pistachios in said crumble. If I’m ever forced to pick a favorite nut, it’ll be a toss-up between pecans and pistachios, so this recipe was right up my alley. And I thought the pistachios played very well with the flavor of the strawberries in particular.

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

All in all, just a superb pie. The flavor combination of strawberries and rhubarb is a classic for good reason, and here they are nestled in a flaky crust (though feel free to sub in your own recipe if you have a favorite) and then topped with a crunchy crumble laced with pistachios that popped against the fruit’s sweetness. The thickness of the filling was perfect, as it held together and didn’t run all over the place (such a fruit pie pet peeve of mine!). I hope you enjoy it!

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Source: The Boozy Baker by Lucy Baker

Ingredients:

CRUST:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter, well chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 tbs vodka
4-8 tbs ice water

FILLING:
1 ¼ lbs. fresh rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup strawberry liqueur, or a fruity port wine
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup strawberries, hulled and sliced

CRUMBLE TOPPING:
½ cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup chopped unsalted pistachios
7 tbs unsalted butter, diced

Directions:
For the CRUST: combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and use a pastry blender or two forks to work the fat into the flour mixture. The butter should be the size of peas. Sprinkle the vodka over the flour mixture, then sprinkle 4 tbs water over. Using a rubber spatula, work the liquid into the flour mixture, adding more water 1 tbs at a time as needed to get the dough to just come together. Use your hands to work the dough into a ball, getting the last little scraggles of flour in the bottom of the bowl, and then flatten it into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch regular pie plate and fold the edges under, then crimp the edges decoratively with your fingers or a fork. Put in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.
For the FILLING: combine the rhubarb, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium sauce pot. Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb begins to soften and the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the strawberry liqueur and cornstarch and stir until smooth. Add it to the rhubarb mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened, no more than 5 minutes (this took me about 2 minutes – watch it carefully). Remove from the heat, transfer to the refrigerator and let it cool and chill for about 30 minutes.
For the CRUMBLE TOPPING: combine the flour, oats, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and pistachios in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter using either your pastry blender or two forks until it forms coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Remove the crust and the rhubarb mixture from the refrigerator. Stir the strawberries into the rhubarb mixture, then pour into the pie crust. Sprinkle with the crumb topping (you likely won’t need all of it), then place the pie plate onto a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for a bit, then slice into wedges and serve. Keep in the refrigerator topped with aluminum foil.

Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade

Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade

Welcome to Secret Recipe Club reveal day!! This month I was assigned Steak ‘N Potatoes Kinda Gurl. I can certainly identify with steak and potatoes (who can’t, really?). This lovely food blog is written by Desiree, a grad student at Xavier from Cincinnati OH. She lives with her cute fiancé in a house they just bought, who happens to be her high school sweetheart!

Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade

I *really* enjoyed perusing through Desiree’s blog to try and find something to make for this month. So many wonderful sounding recipes to make here, but I ended up with this beverage because I’d literally never heard of such a limeade! I am incredibly glad I chose what I did – this is unique and completely delicious.

Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade

The flavors are very complex, the heat from the jalapenos builds as you sip, and may I let you in on a little secret? It’s also insanely good spiked with a little silver tequila. :)

cilantro jalapeno limeade

I highly recommend this drink. It’s most likely an adults-only (I can’t quite imagine kids flocking to this one, but hey, you never know!) non-alcoholic, non-mocktail (mocktails drive me nuts) party drink. Sometimes you really want a sophisticated beverage without alcohol (says the girl who spiked hers with tequila) and this one really fits the bill. I can’t wait to make a pitcher of this for a summer rooftop party or cook-out!

Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade

Definitely give this one a go and do yourself a favor and check out Steak ‘N Potatoes Kinda Gurl!

Source: Steak ‘N Potatoes Kinda Gurl

Ingredients:
2 and 1/4 cups water
3/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (and 2 large jalapenos)
1 tsbp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 lime wedges, divided
3/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 3-4 limes)
ice

Directions:
Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and jalapeno. Let stand for 30 minutes. Pour jalapeno mixture into a large bowl or leave in pot, cover, and chill for at least 3 hours. I let mine sit overnight.

Combine 1 tbsp sugar and the salt in a shallow dish. Rub rims of 2 glasses with a lime wedge. Dip the rims of the glasses into the sugar/salt mixture.

Strain cilantro and jalapeno mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl, discarding solids. Stir in lime juice. Fill each prepared glass with ice. Add limeade to each glass. Garnish with 2 remaining lime wedges.


Barbecue-Sauced Shrimp with Crème Fraiche Dressing

IMG_9406

Finding simple, weeknight meal recipes that can be thrown together without much planning and that can be on the table in under an hour is not at all rare. Finding such a recipe in a Bobby Flay cookbook, however, is quite rare. No matter how many Food Network shows he does, Flay will always be a restaurant chef at heart. His recipes tend to be complex, involving many steps and many more ingredients. Which is fine, of course. Many, many home cooks, myself included, love a good kitchen project.

Barbecue Sauced Shrimp with Creme Fraiche Dressing

But, not the other night. The other night was weary and hungry and impatient, and demanded a flavorful dinner to hit the table right now. I really didn’t think the answer would be found in a Bobby Flay book, but I certainly won’t complain about my find, as this dinner couldn’t be simpler.

Barbecue Sauced Shrimp with Creme Fraiche Dressing

Heat the grill, toss the shrimp in a good-quality barbecue sauce, store-bought or something you already made, either works, and let them hang out for a few minutes. Make the dressing while the grill is coming up to temp, then throw the shrimp on the grill. Of course they cook very quickly, so you’re done in no time. Throw together a simple salad, or whatever side dish you prefer, and you have a perfect, light dinner.

IMG_9416

Flavors are strong, with the sweetness of the shrimp, the spiciness of the barbecue sauce and the bitter tang of the crème fraiche playing together quite nicely. Enjoy!

{One Year Ago: Cherry Crumble Pizza; Avocado Milkshakes; Banana Pudding Ice Cream; Peanut Butter Ice Cream; Reisling Ice Cream; Rocky Road Ice Cream; My Mom’s Taco Salad; My Mom’s Blackened Catfish}
{Two Years Ago: Roasted Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette; Cornmeal Biscuits with Cheddar Jalapeno Butter; Cheddar Risotto with Smoked Paprika; S’Mores Whoopie Pies; S’Mores Ice Cream; Cinco de Mayo Recipe Round-Up; Green Gumbo; Better Than Taco Bell Mexican Pizza; Cream Cheese Kolaches; Mango Liquado; Rhubarb Crisp; Salted Honey Pie; Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding; Fattoush Salad; Orrechiette with Heirloom Fingerlings and Asparagus Pesto}

Source: Boy Meets Grill by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
2 cups good-quality barbecue sauce, store-bought or homemade
48 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 cups crème fraiche or sour cream
2 tbs finely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tbs fresh lime juice
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to high heat.
Combine the shrimp and barbecue sauce in a large bowl and refrigerate until the grill is ready, no longer than 30 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the barbecue sauce and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Grill until cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side. Discard the used marinade.
While the grill is preheating, make the dressing by combining the crème fraiche, onion, garlic, lime juice, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Store in the refrigerator if not using right away.
Pile the shrimp on a large platter and drizzle some dressing over them. Serve with the remaining dressing.
Serves 6 to 8 people, depending on appetites and quantity of side dish(es). I halved the recipe, served with a side salad, and it was good for 2 people.

Fresh Ginger Ice Cream

Fresh Ginger Ice Cream

Happy Thursday, all! I know my posting has been a bit sporadic lately, and well, it’s not going to get much better in the very near future. Basically today, I’m popping in to tell you I’m popping right back out for a week and a half. It’s vacation time for Matt and me, and we’ve decided to really go off the grid, old-school style.

Fresh Ginger Ice Cream

This is partly our deliberate choice, but the choice was partly made for us because we’re staying on a fairly remote Caribbean island that is, according to TripAdvisor reviewers, predictable for having spotty and quite unpredictable Wi-Fi access. It seems that these days, most people who take a trip or vacation ending up taking social media and blogs with them – I’ve certainly done it. But not this trip, we (and the little island) decided. So, the blog will be very quiet for the next week and a half, but I will still see and read (and very much appreciate!) any comments you make.

ginger for ice cream

In the meantime, I will leave you with this delicious, creamy, spicy ice cream. Ginger can be an acquired taste, I know it was for me, and I still struggle a bit with crystallized ginger – it’s not my favorite. I also usually pass on the pickled ginger that comes with your sushi. I do use both fresh and ground ginger in my cooking, but there it’s usually one flavor of many and doesn’t stick out. It sticks out here. I was a tad apprehensive about using the ginger so prominently, but yeah. It really works. It’s so balanced – just the right amount of pungency and bite. Oh, and it’s *spectacular* with a glass of chilled, white dessert wine, if you so desire.

fresh ginger ice cream

I hope y’all will enjoy it. And have a wonderful week, I’ll see you again in May!

Fresh Ginger Ice Cream

{Two Years Ago: Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches}

Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:
3 oz. unpeeled fresh ginger
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
5 large egg yolks

Directions:
Cut the ginger in half lengthwise, then cut into thin slices across. Place the ginger in a medium, nonreactive saucepan. Add enough water to cover the ginger by about ½ an inch and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then drain, discarding the liquid.
Return the blanched ginger slices to the saucepan. Add the milk, 1 cup cream, sugar, and salt. Warm the mixture, but do not bring to a boil – you just want to see bubbles forming on the edges, then shut off the heat. Cover the pan and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
Rewarm the mixture – again, just until scalding, where you see bubbles just beginning to form at the edges. Remove the ginger slices with a slotted spoon and discard. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl with a fine-mesh strainer set on top.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour about ½ cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Now slowly pour the tempered egg yolks into the remaining warm milk mixture in the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium-low heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom of the pot as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. This takes anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the custard through the strainer into the large bowl with the heavy cream. Stir to combine, then cool to room temperature. You can speed this process with an ice bath. Make sure you stir at somewhat frequent intervals as it’s cooling, otherwise it will develop a skin on top.
Once cooled to room temperature, chill the custard thoroughly in the refrigerator, at least 4 hours. Then churn it in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer it to a freezer-safe container and let it firm up in the freezer about 2 hours before serving.

Creamy Shrimp Dip with Elevated Saltines

Creamy Shrimp Dip with Elevated Saltines

Welcome to another Secret Recipe Club reveal day!! This month I was assigned The Kitchen Witch, a lovely food blog run by Rhonda. Rhonda is a beautiful straight-shooter, motorcycle-riding gal who has “retired” to Montana from a distinguished military career. She’s also a wife, mom, grandma, dog mom, professional photographer, freelance writer, and a master gardener. When do you sleep, Rhonda??!

spiced saltine crackers

spiced saltine crackers

I’ve been craving dips lately, and fortunately Rhonda’s blog can easily come to my rescue, offering tempting goodness like Garam Masala and Preserved Lemon Hummus, and Green Onion and Dill Dip. But, seeing as I have an extreme weakness for creamy seafood dips, yet for some strange reason have never shared one on the blog, my decision became an easy one.

Creamy Shrimp Dip with Elevated Saltines

I was quite impressed with this family recipe of Rhonda’s. Quite. The saltines are what makes the whole thing, but not to neglect the shrimp dip – it was everything you want it to be. Crab would make a lovely substitute too, I think. I have to admit, I didn’t let the crackers sit in their little bath as long as the recipe instructs – I was too impatient and running short on time, but I did marinate them for about 5 hours, and it was perfectly delicious that way.

Creamy Shrimp Dip with Elevated Saltines

Be sure you check out The Kitchen Witch! And please do try this recipe, it’s a wonderful little appetizer.

Creamy Shrimp Dip with Elevated Saltines

{One Year Ago: Salade-aux-Lardons Pizza; Steakhouse Pizza; Hamburger and Onion Bread Pizza; Roast Leg of Lamb with Parsley-Walnut Pesto}
{Two Years Ago: Glazed Donut Muffins; Caramelized Onion, Pear and Goat Cheese Pizza; Red Kidney Bean Curry; Three Cheese Beer Bread; Battered and Fried Merguez Sausages}

Source: slightly adapted from The Kitchen Witch (both the Dip and the Saltines)

Ingredients:

SALTINES:
1 1/3 cup canola oil
1 pkg Ranch mix
3 tsp crushed red pepper
3 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp dried thyme
3 sleeves saltine crackers

DIP:
8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
8 oz sour cream
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 green onions
2 (4 oz) cans tiny shrimp, drained and rinsed well
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
First make the crackers. In a medium bowl or 2-cup measuring cup, combine the oil, Ranch seasoning mix, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and dried thyme. Whisk thoroughly and make sure it’s well combined. Arrange the saltines, standing up domino style, in a baking dish or a food storage container that will fit them in snugly. Pour the oil and spice mixture over all. Close the container with a tight-fitting lid and store at room temperature for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 24 hours. If you can, flip the crackers halfway through (though I must confess to skipping this step and it was fine).
Just before you plan to serve, make the dip. Add the cream cheese, sour cream and lemon juice to the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed (that lemon juice can really splatter!) until the mixture is smooth. Add the green onions and shrimp and mix about 1 minute more on medium low to medium speed. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately with the saltines.


Cat Head Biscuits

Cat Head Biscuits

Everyone loves a food with a funny name, though this one may border on slightly disturbing. If one is completely unaware of what the name does signify, it’s entirely plausible to gravitate toward thinking about a biscuit quite literally made out of a cat’s head. Rest assured, this is never the case. We do not eat housecats in America, thank goodness.

Cat Head Biscuits

No, cat head biscuits are so named because they are larger-than-usual biscuits that are “the size of a cat’s head.” Also, they are typically a bit rougher on their tops, and thus someone long, long ago remarked that it looked like the top of an orange tabby cat’s head. The name stuck and here we are today.

These biscuits really are huge. I tried to demonstrate with photographic evidence that they are indeed the size of a cat’s head. Alas, Watson would NOT cooperate with posing for a picture, and this is the best I could do.

Cat Head Biscuits (plus a cat!)

Despite Watson’s insubordination, they are everything you would want a giant biscuit to be: flaky, so buttery, tons of beautiful biscuit flavor. Perfect for hogging or sharing! I hope y’all enjoy them!

Cat Head Biscuits

{One Year Ago: Potato Waffles with Bacon and Chives; Genoa Salami and Kalamata Olive Calzones}
{Two Years Ago: Homemade Blackening Seasoning}

Source: slightly adapted from Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups cake flour
2 tbs baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup well-chilled unsalted butter, roughly cut into ¼-inch pieces
¼ cup well-chilled unsalted butter, roughly cut into ½-inch pieces
1 ½ cups well-shaken cold buttermilk
¼ cup melted butter

Directions:
reheat your oven to 400 F.
In a large, wide bowl, gently whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Scatter the ¼-inch pieces of butter over the flour mixture, then use your fingers, two knives, or a pastry blender to work the fat into the flour until it looks like well-crumbled feta cheese. Now scatter the ½-inch pieces of butter over the fat and repeat the process. If this process took longer than 5 minutes, place the bowl in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to chill.
Now make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Stir with a rubber spatula, using broad, circular strokes to quickly pull the flour into the buttermilk. Mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the sticky dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. You can add up to ¼ cup more all-purpose flour or up to ¼ cup extra buttermilk if the mixture is too wet or too dry, respectively.
Lightly sprinkle a large cutting board with some all-purpose flour. Turn the dough out onto the board and sprinkle the top lightly with flour. With floured hands, fold the dough in half and pat out into a ¾-to-1-inch round. Dip a 4-inch biscuit cutter in flour, then stamp out biscuits. Be sure you stamp in an up-and-down motion and do not twist your wrist. This makes the biscuits tougher.
Brush a light layer of the melted butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Transfer the biscuits to the skillet as you stamp them out. Reroll the scraps and stamp out more biscuits until you use up your dough. I got 9 biscuits. Place them all in the skillet, as close together as possible. Pour the remaining melted butter over all the biscuits, then bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
Remove from the oven, let the biscuits cool slightly, then serve hot.