Monday, July 29, 2013

Lemon Basil Ice Cream

I rarely eat dessert, but I do love ice cream.  So, I decided to search for the best recipe for what I thought would be a winning combination of flavors.  Lemon Basil.  I found a basic custard recipe on-line from all  Ingredients are 1 cup of heavy cream, 3 cups of half n'half, 8 egg yolks, 1 cup white sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt. I am using a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, where you have to freeze the cylinder for a couple of days ahead of time.  I began with separating the eggs into a large bowl.

8 eggs, and you could save the whites to make an omelet for breakfast

Add one cup of sugar and salt

Mix with spoon, and it will be thick.  Set aside.  I admit, that I started with a smaller bowl, and soon realized that it wasn't big enough, because I would have to add the warm cream mixture to it.  So, start with a large bowl.

In a saucepan add the one cup heavy whipping cream and the three cups of half n'half.

Flame on Medium Low, you do not want this to boil, but to simmer, using a whisk to stir.   When simmered, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of hot cream mixture into egg yolk mixture, whisking as you go.  When you have added all of the cream to the egg mixture, return all of the contents to the saucepan to cook on the stove, with the same Medium Low heat.  You want a nice slow simmer, whisking constantly.  When you can coat the back of a spoon with the contents.  This is the custard base of the ice cream.  At this point you can add other ingredients to make what you desire.

I used about 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil, and about a teaspoon of lemon zest.  I also added a teaspoon each of vanilla extract and lemon extract.

So, I mixed in the remaining ingredients, careful to not let it boil, did the spoon test, and turned off the heat.  I poured the ice cream base into a 8 cup glass measuring bowl and let it cool for 20 minutes.  When cool, place in the refrigerator overnight (I put it in for 6 hours).  When ready, pour it into an ice cram maker, and turn it on.  The Cuisinart ice cream maker takes about 20 minutes.  Remove from ice cream maker, pack into covered container, and freeze for 2 hours before serving.

   But, if was my best attempt at making really good ice cream!  It was frozen, creamy and delicious.  I served it with simple butter waffle cookies.  It makes about 8 cups.  Now I want to come up with some new combinations!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Asiago Cheese, Polenta and Mushroom Pie

My friend Michele Muska sent me this book as a get well wish, for when I had an ankle replacement earlier this year.  Her pie is on the cover.  The book is "Where Women Cook: pie ography."  by Jo Packham.  The basis of my recipe was from Page 42 "Tomato & Caramelized Onion Pie.  I can't eat tomatoes, so I improvised a bit.

One sweet onion, chopped

about 3T of olive oil in a pan, add onions and cook, till the onions are golden.  To caramelize, add a teaspoon of sugar and a tad of butter, and stir.

Cooked Polenta (the entire package) from Trader Jose, and a bag of Crimini mushrooms

Have you seen this butter in stores?  Tuscan style.  I use it in very small quantities, for added flavor

Asiago cheese, grate, or chop up into small pieces and set aside

Using a potato masher, mash the polenta, add a touch of water, and microwave it about 1 minute, then check to see how it is sofening up. You want it sort of soft.

To the onions, add the Crimini mushrooms and sautee

Yum, chopped garlic, all ready to go.  I used about a tablespoon

And instead of using a pie dish, I used a 9x13 glass pan.  I sprayed the bottom of the pan with PAM olive oil spray.  Line the bottom of the pan with the Polenta

Mushrooms and onions, and I added a few strips of pre-cooked bacon that I chopped up.  You can leave this out, if you are going for a vegetarian dish

Add the onions and mushroom mixture to the top of the polenta

Then spoon the Asiago cheese on the top

Cook in the oven at 400 for about 25-30 minutes.  Serve hot.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Easy Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry

Dice one sweet onion, and cook, stirring occasionally in about 3T of Olive oil

One bag of Crimini mushrooms, pre-sliced, that you will add to the onions, when the tips are golden brown.  Add a touch more Olive oil

Pre-cut veggies

Chicken - cut into small strips.  I did about half the package.

Here are the onions and mushrooms, cooking.  After done, take out of this pan and set aside in a bowl.  Add more Olive oil and cook the chicken strips, till done all of the way through. It should only take about 10 minutes.

Add the onions, mushroom, and veggies to the chicken.  You can always microwave the veggies ahead of time, to save time.  Saute, so that the veggies are tender.
Add some stir fry sauce.  I like Trader Joe's General Tsao's Stir Fry Sauce.  You can also add in some teriyaki sauce to this sauce for a thinner sauce.  
Serve over your favorite rice or noodles and you've got dinner!