Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dessert for a year: Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

I'll admit, I may have had a bit of a hand in picking this recipe.  We were down to the last weekend in April where I'm actually home and Jason wasn't being very decisive with his dessert choice.  I "suggested" ice cream.  Then I may have "suggested" strawberry.  I could eat ice cream daily.  Fortunately, I don't - the cost and the calories would add up just a little. 

The other problem is that Jason and I don't always agree on what kind of ice cream to eat.  I want chocolate.  Or something with chocolate in it.  Jason would rather just have plain vanilla or Cookies & Cream.  A good compromise, though, usually ends up being strawberry.  It is plain enough for him and has just the right amount of something extra for me.  I've made strawberry before using the recipe that came with the ice cream maker.  It's good, but it is more like vanilla flavored with strawberries and this is actually strawberry ice cream.

When I read the recipe, I wasn't sure what to expect in the taste of the ice cream.  I just couldn't grasp it being sour...but I loved it.  It is just a bit sour, but the sweetness of the strawberries is a perfect balance.  The best part, though, was that it stayed soft.  I've had an issue in the past of the ice cream I make getting very hard in the freezer.  I think it could be because of the low-fat ingredients I use.  I also really want to get a copy of The Perfect Scoop, but I'm thinking it may have a few too many recipes for ice cream that I love and not enough that Jason will love.

Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop via the Foodie Bride
  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled & rough chopped
  • 1 T vodka
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 T lemon juice
In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, vodka & sugar.  Stir, cover and let set in the fridge for at least an hour.  In a food processor, combine the sour cream, heavy cream, buttermilk & lemon juice and pulse until blended.  Add in the strawberry mixture and pulse until well combined.  Refrigerate for at least another hour.

Freeze according to the ice cream make you are using - mine took about half an hour.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

The Pink Lemonade cupcakes were very tart, but I like that.  I would almost have added just a touch more pink lemonade concentrate.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes from Confections of a Foodie Bride
  • 1 1/8 cup frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate, thawed
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • non-stick spray
Preheat the oven to 350.  In a stand mixer, combine the cake mix, egg whites, oil & pink lemonade concentrate.  Mix on low for about 30 seconds and then increase the speed to medium for another 90 seconds.  (the batter will be lumpy, but do not overmix it)

Spray the paper cupcake liners with non-stick spray and fill the cups about 3/4 full.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until they pass the toothpick test.  Remove from the oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes before removing them from the pan.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting
  • 3 cups plus 3 T powdered sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • pink food coloring
Add the butter, powdered sugar, salt & lemon juice to a stand mixer and mix on low until combined.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy.  Mix in food coloring until you get the desired shade of pink.

Margarita Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I hosted a couple's shower for my sister and her fiance.  Adam's sister and Lindsey's best friend also helped to host, and although I took photos of only the cupcakes, it turned out to be very nice.  The weather was pretty good, just a little hot, but it stayed cloudy and we were able to sit outside and visit.  I spent some time before the shower making a lot of pulled pork for sandwiches.  We also served potato salad and Chuy's dip.  As it was bound to happen, sometime in the middle of cooking pulled pork my crockpot decided to stop working.  I managed to cook the pork in the oven and we Amazoned another crockpot over.

Last spring, when I was out on maternity leave I happened upon the cutest invitations at Target.  They were in colors of pale pink, orange & green and I just had to buy them.  Even better, the box of 50 was marked down to $5.  I bought two boxes.  The main purpose was for them to be used for a shower for Lindsey, but since I still have quite a few left I'm pretty sure they will surface again.  Hey, they are cute, though!  As soon as I started looking at food for the shower, I just knew I had to make pink and green cupcakes.  Even though Jason told me that I'd be the only one who would notice that they matched the invitation, it didn't matter.  I started thinking and remembered cupcakes from Shawnda's blog that seemed like they would be perfect.  Pink Lemonade & Margarita.  I really should do that baking thing more often, though, since I was a little rusty.  It just doesn't seem to come as natural as it used to!

Just a note, she's got two recipes for Margarita Cupcakes in her blog.  I went with the cupcakes from scratch, but used the icing listed in the recipe for the cupcakes adapted from a boxed mix.  Mostly because I didn't have tequila at home at the time and I didn't want to use so many egg whites.  I really liked both cupcakes, but I loved these.  The cake is very dense, but still remained moist.  The Pink Lemonade ones seemed a little dry, however almost everyone else liked them better.  Go figure.

Margarita Cupcakes from Confections of a Foodie Bride
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 325 and line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.  Whisk flour, baking powder & salt together and set aside.  In a mixer, cream butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each egg.  Beat in the lime zest and juice.  Reduce the speed on the mixer to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/2 of the buttermilk at a time.  Mix until just incorporated.

Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full and bake for 25 mintues, or until the pass the toothpick test, rotate the cupcakes halfway through baking.  Allow them to cool completely before removing them from the pans. 

Lime Buttercream Frosting from Confections of a Foodie Bride
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 3 T lime juice
  • green food coloring
In a stand mixer, combine the butter, powdered sugar, salt & lime juice and mix on low until combined.  Turn the speed to medium-high and mix until the icing is fluffy.  Stir in food coloring to get the desired green color.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Recipe Swap: One Pot Pasta

I participated in another recipe swap this week with pasta as the topic.  When I got this recipe, my first thought was "that's probably not healthy."  But then I read the ingredient list again and saw something that sucked me in - sun dried tomatoes.  I love sun dried tomatoes.  I like tomatoes in general, but sun dried ones just have this sweet caramelized flavor that changes the whole dish.

I adapted this recipe just a little to make it healthier and to work with what we had at home.  We all really liked it and decided it is a good way to use up some fresh veggies before they go bad, and the whole thing came together in under half an hour.

Creamy One Pot Pasta adapted from The Cooking Nurse, originally from Pampered Chef
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 t olive oil
  • 20 oz low sodium chicken broth + 20 oz water
  • 1 box whole wheat linguine
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli cuts (I forgot to buy fresh, but that would be better)
  • 1/2 10 oz jar sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 t Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 oz fat free cream cheese
  • parmesan cheese & red pepper flakes
In a large heavy pot, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic until it is fragrant.  Remove from the heat and add chicken broth & water.  Bring to a boil, add the pasta and cook to al dente.

Peel the carrots & zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces.  If using fresh broccoli, cut the florets as well.  Pat the tomatoes dry and slice, cube the cream cheese.  Once the pasta cooks, add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat and stir until the vegetables are cooked through.  Serve topped with grated parmesan cheese & red pepper flakes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dessert for a Year: Peach Cobbler

I was at a loss when it came to Valentine's Day this year.  Jason's birthday is the day before so I try to think of something nice, but not too pricey as a gift for him.  Unfortunately, I just wasn't getting very far until I came up with dessert.

Jason is a fan of dessert.  I'd make it more often, but sometimes the ingredients aren't things we have at home and I've maxed out my grocery budget.  And I don't always need dessert sitting around the house.  But for a special occasion, I'll make an exception.  That's when I decided on "Dessert for a Year."  A fellow blogger did "Pie for a Year" for her husband before, so I sort of borrowed the idea from her.  Jason has been instructed to pick out one dessert for me to make each month.  His first choice: Peach Cobber.  With a pie crust type topping - not a crumble.

If you've never looked for cobbler recipes, they can be a little hard to find.  Most of them tend to have the crumble type topping.  So I scoured my favorite website (Myrecipes.com) to find the right recipe.  I can rely on them for good southern food because the recipes come from several magazine publications, one being Southern Living.  If they don't have a good Peach Cobbler recipe, I don't think it exists.

I decided to bake this last when while home with Cooper.  Last Monday.  Why I thought it would be a good idea to throw together a cobbler with a sick kid underfoot, I still don't know.  What was even worse is that Jason waited to have some with me once I got home Monday night from bunko, but I wasn't feeling well.  Then Tuesday he got sick, so we finally tasted the cobbler Wednesday and took the rest of it to my mom's house this weekend. 

For my first "real" cobbler I am pretty happy with the result.  I did divide the recipe in half, since a full 9*13 dish of cobbler is a lot of dessert for our house.

Pecan-Peach Cobbler adapted from Southern Living
  • 1 16oz bag frozen peaches, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 8 T flour
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 3/4 t vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 15oz pkg refrigerated pie crust
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/8 cup sugar
Combine the first four ingredients in a Dutch oven, let stand for about 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves.  Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and add in vanilla & butter, stirring until the butter melts.

Unfold the pie crusts.  Sprinkle one half with pecans and sugar, place the other half on top, roll up and slice into 1 1/2" thick strips.

Pour half of the peach mixture into a greased dish.  I used a medium sized oval baking dish, or an 8" square dish would work as well.  Top the peaches with half of the pie crust, worked into a lattice pattern.  Bake at 475 for about 20 minutes.  Top with the remaining peach mixture and pie crusts.  I also added a little extra chopped pecans and sugar for some added crunch.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pork Chops with a Dijon Mustard Sauce

I feel like I fall into a rut when it comes to cooking.  Most of the things we cook on a regular basis are pretty good, but even then I like a little variety.  However, I need it to be easy.  I need most of my food to fall into that week-night quick meal category.  And sometimes that translates to "it's pretty good, but not fantastic."   

But every once in a while I come across something that makes me think about how lady-like it would be to actually lick the plate.  This was one of those recipes...and I didn't even have all of the right ingredients.  Kroger was out of fresh tarragon so I decided to just wing it with dried herbs instead.  I also only had bone-in pork chops that night.  I actually like those because I can be just as un-lady-like while eating them, however they are usually a little thinner than the boneless ones.  I also used this as a good excuse to buy white wine.  We rarely drink white wine around the house.  Jason is just so-so with it and I gravitate toward a good red.  For this I grabbed a bottle of Toad Hollow Chardonnay.  We found their tasting room on our last trip to Sonoma and came home with a few bottles.  They are very reasonably priced ($10-25) and we both enjoyed the Chardonnay.  Although Jason was slightly disappointed to see me pour a serving into the pan for the sauce...


Dijon Mustard Pork Chops adapted from So Tasty, So Yummy
  • 4 pork chops, boneless or bone-in
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/3-1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 t dried tarragon
  • 1/2 t dried basil
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 425.  Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the pork chops with salt & pepper before searing them in the pan.  Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, move to the oven to finish cooking.  Remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes.

Return the pan to the stove and deglaze it with the wine, simmer for about 2-3 minutes, stirring.  Add the cream, broth, spices & mustard and cook until the sauce is reduced, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.  Season with salt & pepper if desired and serve over the pork chops.

I promise not to judge if you cannot control yourself and decide to lick the plate.  This sauce even held up well for leftovers the following night.