Fresh Strawberry Gelato

I am always a little apprehensive to make strawberry ice cream. In the past, I’ve tried various strategies to keep the berries from becoming icy and hard in the finished product. Pureeing the berries in this gelato was the perfect solution. My beautiful freshly picked berries may have helped too. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Katrina and Carmelo Turillo, owners of La Divina Gelateria in New Orleans, via Bon Appetit. I didn’t strain the puree, chilled the base overnight in the refrigerator, and churned the gelato for 25 minutes in my ice cream maker. I may add some vanilla extract next time. It was excellent!

Yield: Makes about 4 cups
  • 3/4 cup sugar (preferably organic)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 1/4 cups sliced hulled strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
  2. Stir sugar and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk in milk and cream.
  3. Whisk over medium heat until gelato base thickens and begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Pour into bowl.
  4. Immerse bowl in prepared ice water to cool, stirring occasionally.
  5. Puree strawberries in processor. Stir into gelato base.
  6. Mix in pomegranate juice.
  7. Chill 3 hours or overnight.
  8. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Transfer to container. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap and the container lid; freeze until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

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Swedish Meatloaf with Caramelized Cabbage (Kalpudding)

I planned to make this Swedish dish after spending the afternoon at IKEA. 🙂 I knew that we could buy the lingonberry preserves for the topping during our shopping spree too.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. I used a combination of ground pork and ground turkey instead of ground beef. Next time I would double the sauce- loved it. Sifton recommended serving it with boiled potatoes. We ate it with mashed new potatoes (my husband’s request) and roasted asparagus. It was such wonderful comfort food. Great.

Yield: 6 servings

For the Meatloaf:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 head green cabbage, approximately 3 pounds, cored and shredded
  • 3 tablespoons molasses or golden syrup
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • ⅓ cup chicken, turkey, beef or vegetable stock, ideally homemade or low-sodium store-bought (or water)

For the Sauce:

  • ⅓ cup lingonberry preserves
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
  1. Shred the cabbage in a food processor.
  2. Heat oven to 350, preferably on convection.
  3. Put a large pan over medium-high heat, and add the butter. When it starts to foam, add the cabbage and molasses, lower the heat to medium and sprinkle with salt. Cook slowly, stirring often, until all the liquid has evaporated and the cabbage is caramelized, approximately 20-25 minutes.
  4. While the cabbage is cooking, lightly mix the meats in a large bowl, then add the onion, cream, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Mix again to combine.
  5. When the cabbage is done, add about a third of it to the meat mixture, and mix to combine.
  6. Grease an 8-inch-square or 8 x 10-inch baking pan, and transfer the meat mixture to it, spreading it out to cover the whole surface evenly.
  7. Spread remaining cabbage over the meat, pour the stock or water over the top and place in the oven, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, to cook for approximately 40 to 45 minutes, or until the cabbage is very, very caramelized, almost dry and crunchy at the edges.
  8. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes or so before serving.
  9. While the meat and cabbage cooks, make the sauce. Heat lingonberry preserves, vinegar and butter in a small pot set over medium heat, then add Worcestershire sauce to taste. Serve alongside the kalpudding.

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Crème Brûlée

My son wanted a dessert that he could “light on fire” to celebrate his 12th birthday. I hope that this is age appropriate. 😉

After rejecting my suggestion of Bananas Foster, he chose a classic crème brûlée. andyes, with close supervision, he torched his dessert!

This recipe was adapted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten, via Food Network.com. I used large eggs, Cointreau instead of Grand Marnier, slightly adapted the method and increased the baking time. Special and delicious.

Yield: Makes 6 ramekins/servings

  • 1 large egg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for each serving
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 cup of the sugar together on low-speed until just combined.
  3. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it’s very hot to the touch but not boiled.
  4. With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add the cream to the eggs. (I transferred the hot cream to a liquid measuring cup to ease adding it into the mixer bowl.)
  5. Add the vanilla and liqueur and pour into 6 to 8-ounce ramekins until almost full.
  6. Place the ramekins in a 9×13 pyrex baking pan (I placed a square silicone pot holder underneath the ramekins so that they didn’t shift in the pan.)
  7. Glide the oven rack out of the oven cavity and place the pan on the rack. Carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. (I used a tea kettle.)
  8. Slowly glide rack into the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken.
  9. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm. (I refrigerated them overnight.)
  10. To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes evenly.
  11. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.

and…

Of course, it wouldn’t be a birthday in our house without also having Number Cookies. 🙂 I had to make a couple of numeric “12’s” to go along with my son’s Roman Numeral “XII’s”. 🙂 They were swimming pool blue for my swimmer this year. ❤

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Fresh Ricotta

My husband and I have a favorite local restaurant where we like to go and have a special lunch together. Even though it is quite indulgent, we cannot go without ordering the fresh ricotta cheese appetizer. It is seasoned with lemon and served with warm bread. Irresistible.

I knew that making homemade ricotta was an easy task but had never tried to make it. I’m a little bit worried that now that I’ve finally done it because I’ll be making it all of the time! 🙂 I brought it to serve as an appetizer at a party to spread on slices of sourdough baguette… but- wow- it would also be amazing over pasta with a little drizzle of olive oil.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by J.J. Goode. I added lemon zest (like at my restaurant!) and coarse salt, to taste. I found the consistency was perfect after straining for just twenty minutes. It was beyond creamy, rich, and fabulous.

Yield: about 1 cup

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or distilled white vinegar
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon, or more, to taste
  1. Bring milk, cream, and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice; stir gently until mixture starts to curdle. Let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Pour mixture into a fine-mesh sieve lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth set over a medium bowl.
  4. Chill until cheese is spreadable, at least 20 minutes and up to 12 hours (the longer it strains, the thicker it will be). (I recommend the consistency after about 20 minutes.)
  5. Cover and chill cheese up to 3 days. (If it lasts that long!)

Note/Update: This ricotta was absolutely delicious in Spinach & Ricotta Pappardelle. Wonderful!!

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Chipotle Chicken & Greens

For years, this was my go-to dish for guests. I’m not sure why I decided to branch out… It is SO delicious! I’ve been making it since 1999! Crazy. I think that this dish started my love of creme fraiche. It is a good meal to serve for company because the chicken is prepared hours in advance and broiled just before serving.

This recipe was adapted from Rick Bayless, via Martha Stewart Living. I updated this version to use chicken thighs instead of breasts and to include an entire 1 1/2 pound bag of “power greens” (baby kale, chard, and spinach) or two bunches (or more!) of rainbow chard. It would be wonderful with any combination of greens. I serve it with Cilantro-Lime Brown Basmati rice to soak up the wonderful sauce.

I’m sharing these creamy greens at my favorite blog party, Angie’s Fiesta Friday #137, this week (I’m featured BTW!) co-hosted by Loretta @Safari of the Mind and Natalie @Kitchen, Uncorked. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 6

For the Chicken:

  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons) (see Note)
  • 7.5 oz (about 1 cup) creme fraiche
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 12 cups) fresh greens such as baby kale, chard or spinach, stems removed, well rinsed
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Cilantro-Lime Rice:

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup brown Basmati Rice
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2-3 T chopped cilantro leaves
  1. Two to Three Hours before cooking, make the marinade: Start by finely chopping the chipotle chiles in a mini food processor.
  2. Place the chopped chipotles and 2 tablespoons creme fraiche in a small bowl, and mix to combine.
  3. Lightly season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the seasoned chicken in a large bowl, and pour the chipotle mixture over it, making sure to coat the chicken well. Cover with plastic wrap, and transfer dish to the refrigerator. Marinate the chicken 2 to 3 hours.
  5. Prepare the rice: Bring the 2 cups of stock to a boil; add rice and cover. Turn heat to low and cook, undisturbed, for 30 to 35 minutes.
  6. Heat the broiler. Place the chicken on a rimmed sheet pan just large enough to accommodate them. Place the pan 6 inches away from the broiler, and broil chicken until deep brown in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.
  7. Remove pan from broiler. Turn chicken thighs, and drizzle remaining creme fraiche along with the 1/2 cup heavy cream around the chicken.
  8. Return the pan to the broiler, and broil until chicken is deep golden and no longer squishy when you lightly press it with your finger, 6 to 7 minutes more.
  9. Transfer the chicken to a warm plate, and place in a warm oven or warming drawer.
  10. Scrape the cream mixture from the pan into a 4-quart sauté pan.
  11. Add the chicken stock and half of the greens. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until the greens have started to wilt and the cream has reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes, adding the rest of the greens as room is created in the pan.
  12. Season the creamy greens mixture with salt, to taste.
  13. Finish the Rice: After the rice has completely cooked, remove from heat. Add lime juice and cilantro. Mix to combine.
  14. Place rice over the surface of a serving platter. Top with the creamy greens and the broiled chicken. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Note: If you don’t care for very spicy dishes, you can reduce the heat by splitting the peppers in half and scraping out the seeds with the back of a knife before chopping.

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Classic Potato Gratin

I think that this is all my son ate during our Thanksgiving Feast! (BOTH days…) I loved that the russet potatoes were left unpeeled. 🙂 Not only did it make the dish easier to prepare, the presentation was prettier and it was more healthy too! Well, at least it had more vitamins….

This recipe is from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I set the mandolin to 1/8″ to slice the potatoes. Starchy side dish perfection. 🙂

Yield: Serves 12

  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered through root ends
  • 2½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, plus more
  • 4 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed, very thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 3 ounces Gruyère, finely grated
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Cut 1 garlic clove in half and rub the inside of a 3-qt. shallow baking dish with cut sides. Smear butter all over inside of dish.
  3. Bring shallots, cream, salt, pepper, 1 Tbsp. thyme, and remaining 4 garlic cloves to a simmer in a small saucepan over low heat; cook until shallots and garlic are very soft, 15–20 minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender; blend until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)
  4. Arrange potato slices in prepared dish, fanning out a handful at a time and placing in dish at an angle (this ensures every scoop will have tender potatoes from the bottom and crisp edges from the top). Shingle as you work until bottom of dish is covered. Tuck smaller slices into any gaps to fill.
  5. Pour cream mixture over potatoes and cover dish tightly with foil. Bake potatoes until tender and creamy, 60–75 minutes. Let cool.
  6. Place rack in highest position; heat broiler. Remove foil and top potatoes with Gruyère and Parmesan. Broil until cheese is bubbling and top of gratin is golden brown, 5–10 minutes. Serve topped with more thyme leaves, if desired.

Note: Gratin can be baked 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before broiling.

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  • Mashed Golden Earthworm Organic Farm Potatoes

Spinach, Swiss Chard, & Sweet Potato Gratin

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My husband’s side of the family does not support a sweet potato side dish on the Thanksgiving table, but who can resist sweet potatoes covered in cheese and greens? It was pretty too. In my opinion, gratins have it all. 🙂 This one had a nice balance between the indulgence (béchamel sauce and cheese), sweetness (sweet potatoes), and healthiness (greens). The sweet potatoes were thinly sliced, so they cooked relatively quickly as well. Nice. This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Yield: Serves 12

  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) coarsely grated Gruyére cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • coarse salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds (I used a mandolin)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 pounds spinach (I used pre-washed small leaf but not baby spinach)
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard, about 1 pound, leaves and stems separated, stems reserved for another use and leaves cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter
  1. Prep greens: Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a wide 8-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Increase heat to moderately high and add nutmeg followed by large handfuls of greens, stirring, until all are wilted. Season with salt and pepper then transfer greens to a large colander (over a large bowl) to drain well and press out liquid with back of a large spoon.
  2. Make sauce: Combine cream, milk, and garlic in small saucepan; bring to simmer; keep warm. Melt two tablespoons butter in a medium heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in flour. Whisking constantly, bring to a boil and continue to cook roux, whisking, one minute. Then, slowly whisk in warm cream/milk and boil, whisking, for one additional minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
  3. Assemble gratin:Preheat oven to 400°F (on convection). Butter deep 9×13 baking dish (or spray with cooking spray).
    • Spread half of sweet potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and a 1/4 cup of the cheese.
    • Distribute half of the greens mixture over the cheese, then sprinkle salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and 1/4 cup of the cheese over it.
    • Pour half of bechamel sauce over the first two layers then continue with the remaining sweet potatoes, more salt, pepper, herbs, and another 1/4 cup of cheese.
    • Top with the remaining greens, salt, pepper and herbs.
    • Pour the remaining béchamel sauce over the top of the gratin, pressing the vegetables slightly to ensure that they are as submerged as possible. Sprinkle with the last 1/4 cup of cheese.
  4. Bake gratin for about 35 minutes, until golden and bubbly, and most of the liquid is absorbed. Cover with foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Do ahead: You can make the entire gratin but not bake it up to a day in advance and keep it in the fridge. You can also make and bake the gratin and reheat it. Gratins reheat well, but they take almost as much time to gently heat through as they do to bake in the first place, especially deep ones like this.

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