Category Archives: Recipe

Goodbye Summer

Summer may not officially be over until September 21st, but I always feel like it’s over after Labor Day weekend. For some reason, I’m really sad to see summer go this year. Usually I’m so ready for fall to be here, and I kind of am, but this summer has been a lot of fun. I’m going to miss  lake days, muggy walks at night, picnics,  ice cream, and a slower pace in general.

Now we enter my least favorite time of the year – the time when it’s still 90 degrees out but we have to try to “transition dress” into fall. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE fall, but now I’m ready to have fall weather.  I ‘m itching to pull out my boots, scarves, and sweaters. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do that for quite some time seeing as it stays pretty warm through the end of October.

We celebrated Labor Day weekend with a mix of summer and fall activities. Seems fitting. We enjoyed our last weekend at the lake, watched our Clemson Tigers beat the Georgia Bulldogs, and went apple picking with Andrew’s family.

We usually go apple picking at the end of October or November, but apparently right now is a great time to go. We had a much larger variety to choose from than we usually do. Of course I came home and made an apple pie right away – so good!

I also made one last batch of homemade ice cream. You didn’t think I would pass up my final opportunity to make it this year, did you? And let me tell you – this recipe is definitely a keeper.

Peach and Toasted Pecan Ice Cream  

Makes about 1 quart

3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped peaches
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large heavy saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk and whipping cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 10 to 12 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat.
2. Whisk egg yolk until slightly thickened. Gradually whisk about 1 cup hot cream mixture into yolk. Add yolk mixture to remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in vanilla bean paste. Cool 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, cook peaches and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes. Coarsely mash, and let cool 30 minutes. Stir peach mixture into cooled cream mixture.
4. Place plastic wrap directly on cream mixture, and chill 8 to 24 hours (I chilled mine for about 6 hours and it was fine).
5. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; add pecans, and cook, stirring constantly, 8 to 9 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat, and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Cool completely (about 30 minutes).
6. Pour chilled cream mixture into freezer container of a 1 1/2-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Instructions and time may vary.) Before transferring ice cream to an airtight container for further freezing, stir in pecan mixture.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living.

Peach-Ice-Cream

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Ice Cream and Entertaining

Sometimes you invite people over (for food) and then realize you have nowhere near enough food to serve them.

Let me explain.

On Friday around 5pm, Andrew and I decided to make some homemade ice cream.  I pulled out a recipe for Blueberry-Cheesecake Ice Cream from the July issue of Southern Living and got to work.

I suggested that he text his team from work to see if anyone was free to come over later on for some ice cream and maybe some games. While I did want to have people over, I also didn’t want to Andrew and I to sit around all weekend eating a whole thing of ice cream. That may or may not have happened before…

I figured five or six people would come since it was so last minute. We ended up having 13 people over, which was great, but once the ice cream finished churning, I quickly realized we had nowhere near enough to serve everyone.

I tasted the ice cream and it was extremely rich and thick – more like a custard. On top of that, it made hardly any ice cream. The original recipe suggested serving it between two cookies, so maybe that’s what the recipe was geared for. I told Andrew about our little problem and he didn’t think it was a big deal at all. He said people wouldn’t care if they only got a few little bites of ice cream. That’s the difference between  a girl and a guy’s perspective on entertaining.

Onto my backup plan. I texted my best friend, Emily, to see if she was planning on coming by later. I knew her and her fiance were downtown and I had invited them to swing by at some point if they wanted to. Before she had time to respond, I texted her again, explained the situation, and then asked if there was any way she could go by Publix and pick up some vanilla ice cream to mix into the homemade ice cream. She picked it up for me and even hid it in her purse when she came in – no one even knew what went on behind-the-scenes. That’s a true best friend for you.

Honestly, I wouldn’t make this recipe again without mixing in the vanilla ice cream. The end product tasted delicious, but it was originally way too rich. We had just enough for everyone and got tons of compliments on it.

We had a fun night and I’m glad so many friends were able to come. Twenty somethings aren’t very hard to entertain. It’s amazing how far ice cream,  an iPhone app, and conversation can get you.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream                                                                                             Adapted from Southern Living (my notes in italics)

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups half and half
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons blueberry preserves
2 teaspoons lemon zest                                                                                                                                                              1.5 quart of vanilla ice cream

1. Process first 7 ingredients in a blender 30 seconds or until very smooth. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 2 days (I chilled mine for 2.5 hours)
2. Pour mixture into freezer container of an electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Instructions and times may vary.)
3. Mash together blueberries, blueberry preserves, and lemon zest. Stir mixture into prepared ice cream. Freeze 1 hour before serving. Add in additional vanilla ice cream. Serve immediately, or transfer to an airtight container, and freeze up to 1 week.

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Weekend Recap (I Love Greenville)

I don’t know why, but this past weekend was one of those weekends that reminds me why I love Greenville so much. Andrew was in Atlanta all week last week for his job, so we decided to lay low this past weekend since he had been gone and knew he would be tired when he got back.  When he got home on Friday night,  we popped a frozen pizza in the oven (gourmet, I know) and then drove to get a little treat at Sno Hut. If you aren’t familiar with Sno Hut, it’s literally a little snow cone hut in the middle of a parking lot on Wade Hampton. They probably have around 50 flavors, and the best part is that it was only $3.50 for both of us to eat.

After our gourmet pizza dinner, we (me) got on a cooking kick and decided we wanted to make fresh pasta the next day. We quickly realized how much work that would be without a pasta maker (rolling the dough, cutting eat individual piece, etc.), so we thought it would be a better idea to buy some fresh pasta at the TD Saturday Market. I also tried my hand at French Macarons on Saturday, but I’ll save that for another post. Hint: it didn’t turn out so well.

On Saturday morning, we got up and went to the market downtown.  Every time I go to the market, I always wonder why I don’t go more often. We both bought breakfast at one of the booths, and then picked some fresh green beans and black pepper pasta from Naked Pasta for dinner. 

Farmers Markt

My mom and sister met me at our house on Saturday and the three of us walked downtown to get some ice cream with our sweet little lab Kinley. It was pretty hot, so the ice cream was the perfect way to break up the walk there are back.

Kinley-in-park

Kinley likes to pretend she’s a lap dog, but it’s our fault too since we don’t exactly discourage it…

Andrew and I started working on dinner shortly after I got back. I found a  recipe on SimplyRecipes.com for this Shrimp Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce and was really pleased with how it turned out. I used a little less heavy whipping cream to cut back on the calories, and it still came out good and wasn’t too rich. I paired it with these Garlic-Lemon Green Beans from CooksIllustrated.com and some toasted bread.

Fresh-Pasta-Finished

Not the best picture, but it tasted wonderful! Will definitely make it again!

Is it bad that I’m already excited/ready for this coming weekend? We’re heading to the lake and hoping for lots of sunshine! I can’t believe summer is almost over – it’s gone by so fast.

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Recipe Review: Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake

I was flipping through the July issue of Food Network Magazine a few weeks ago and came across this recipe for Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake. After realizing that I had all the ingredients on hand, I couldn’t resist trying it out.

Why can’t I have the same craving to make healthy recipes like I do desserts? To be fair, Andrew and I did end up sharing this with some neighbors and my family so we wouldn’t have whole  cake sitting around house…

Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake

For the cake:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups blueberries (about 1 pint)

For the toppings:
2 to 3 cups large strawberries, halved or quartered (about 1 pint) (I chose to use peaches instead of strawberries)
1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 to 5 tablespoons milk
Directions
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a nonstick 12-cup Bundt pan. Whisk 3 cups flour, the baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat 2 sticks butter, the granulated sugar and vegetable oil in a bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, at least 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Add about one-third of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk; beat until almost incorporated. Add another one-third of the flour mixture and the remaining buttermilk. Beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat 30 seconds. Finish incorporating the flour by hand to avoid overmixing.

Toss the blueberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl. Spoon one-third of the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle in half of the blueberries, then top with another one-third of the batter. Scatter the remaining blueberries on top and cover with the rest of the batter; smooth the top. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour, 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 30 minutes in the pan. Run a small sharp knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert onto the rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the toppings: Toss the strawberries with the granulated sugar in a bowl; set aside to macerate, 30 minutes. Just before serving, make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, butter and 4 tablespoons milk in a bowl; if the glaze is too thick, whisk in up to 1 more tablespoon milk, a little at a time. Pour the glaze over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Serve with the strawberries and their juices.

Blueberry-Bundt-Cake

This recipe was super easy to make, and I was pleased with how it turned out. I would definitely make it again.

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Recipe Review: Lattice-Top Fresh Peach Pie

I had to go to Landrum, SC one day for work last week and stopped at Peach Country while I was out that way. Peach Country is basically a mega, roadside produce stand in Campobello, SC that’s open a few months of the year. As I sipped on one of their delicious peach slushes while looking at all the different kinds of peaches (who knew there were 7+ different varieties?), I decided to buy a pint of fresh blueberries, and two bags of peaches – one for cooking and one for eating.

Andrew and I went to the lake last weekend with my extended family on my mom’s side. My cousin was home from the Marines, so it was the perfect time for everyone to get together for a day at the lake. It was the perfect time to use my fresh peaches to make a peach pie. I found a recipe on Cook’s Illustrated and got to work.

The original recipe called for a homemade pie crust, but in my opinion, pie crusts are a lot of work and the difference between homemade and store-bought is not big enough for me to do all that work. I’m a big fan of Pillsbury pre-made pie crust.

Lattice-Top Fresh Peach Pie

Serves 8

6 – 7 medium peaches (ripe, about 6 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch table salt
3–4 tablespoons potato starch (or substitute pulverized Minute tapioca)

Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust (1 package = 2 crusts)

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Bring 3 quarts water to boil in large saucepan, and fill large bowl with 2 quarts cold water and 2 trays ice cubes.

To peel peaches; first, with a paring knife, score a small x at the base of each peach. Next, lower the peaches into boiling water with a slotted skimmer. Cover and blanch until their skins loosen, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted skimmer to remove the peaches to ice water and let stand to stop cooking, about 1 minute. Finally, cool the peaches, then, starting from the scored x, peel each peach, halve and pit it, and cut into 3/8-inch slices. Toss peach slices, lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and potato starch or Minute tapioca (3 tablespoons for moderately juicy peaches, 4 tablespoons for very juicy ones) in medium bowl.

Put 1 pre-made crust into 9 inch pie plate.  Put peach mixture on top of crust. Use the other crust to form lattice top and place on top of peaches. Lightly brush lattice top with 1 tablespoon water and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Place pie on baking sheet and bake until crust is set and begins to brown, about 25 minutes. Rotate pie and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees; continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes longer. Cool on wire rack 2 hours before serving.

Peach-Pie-2

Recipes from Cook’s Illustrated might not always be the quickest, easiest recipes, but I know that they’ll always be good. This recipe required a little more work – blanching, peeling the peaches, etc. – but it’s a lot easier if you use pre-made dough. It was definitely worth it in the end. I’ll be adding this to my list of go-to summer recipes.

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Recipe Review: Cake Batter Ice Cream

As I sat down to write this post, I realized that Andrew and I have had homemade ice cream the past four weekends in the row. We only made it two of those four weekends and had it at family get togethers the other two weekends. I told you my craving for ice cream is out of control in the summer.

We made Cake Batter Ice Cream a few weekends ago and it was so good. Some people think Cake Batter Ice Cream is too sweet, but fortunately I don’t share those feelings. I found this recipe on food.com and made a few adjustments that I’ve included in italics below.

Cake Batter Ice Cream

10 1/2 cup servings

1 cup whole milk, well chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled (Instead of using 2 cups heavy cream and 1 cup whole milk, I just used 3 cups of half and half)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Funfetti)

Optional: Funfetti frosting

Place freezer bowl of ice cream maker into the freezer. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla to taste. Stir in cake mix, making sure there are no lumps. Pour mixture into the freezer bowl and let mix until it has thickened (about 25-30 minutes). Remove ice cream from freezer bowl and place into a separate container.* Place  ice cream in the freezer to further harden.

*Note: I decided to add in little pieces of frozen Funfetti frosting to the ice cream right before I put the ice cream in a separate container. While the ice cream was freezing in the ice cream maker, I put some frosting in a Ziploc bag , piped it on a baking sheet, and popped it in the freezer for half an hour. Once the ice cream was done, I got the frozen pieces off the baking sheet with a spatula and gently stirred them in before putting everything in a freezer to harden a little more.

Cake-batter-Ice-Cream-Photo

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Recipe Review: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

There’s something about summer that just makes me want to make and/or eat ice cream all the time. It’s unfortunate that these cravings also coincide with swimsuit season, because I’m pretty sure I eat twice as much ice cream during the summer than I do the rest of the year. One summer during college, I worked right next to a TCBY.  Rarely did a “Waffle Cone Wednesday” go by where I was able to pass up the opportunity to get delicious yogurt at a great price.

When my boss told me to help myself to the abundance of mint leaves she grew in her garden, I started thinking of ways I could use it. I’m not a huge fan of mint leaves in recipes, but then it hit me that I could use it for mint chocolate chip ice cream. 

After a little searching, I found a recipe on TheKitchn that called for fresh mint leaves instead of peppermint extract. In fact, it called for a whopping 3 cups of mint leaves – that’s a lot of mint leaves.

This recipe is not the easiest homemade ice cream you’ll ever come across, but it was so worth it. It turned out so creamy and fresh, and the mint flavor was not overpowering like it usually is with peppermint extract. 

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You can find this recipe here on TheKitchn, but I also posted it below with my notes in italics. 

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (makes two quarts)

About 3 cups fresh mint leaves
4 cups half and half (or two cups cream and two cups milk)
1 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg yolks
6 ounces good quality dark chocolate (I used a mixture of Ghirardelli and Hershey’s Dark Chocolate)

Tear the mint leaves off their stems and put in a bowl. Pound with a pestle or large spoon just until they are bruised and give off their fragrance.

Whisk the half and half, sugar and salt in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Heat just until it begins to steam, then remove, add the mint leaves, and cover. Let steep, covered for at least an hour – preferably two or three. (You’ll be heating this up again, so you don’t have to worry about bacteria.)

After a couple hours strain out the mint leaves and bring to just under a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl and add a cup of the cream. Whisk it all back into the saucepan and cook, stirring, until the custard reaches 170º to 174ºF (I used a meat thermometer to do this part). Stir in the vanilla. Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Chop the chocolate into chunks and flakes. Set aside.

Freeze the custard the next day in your ice cream maker according to directions (about 30 minutes total), adding the chocolate about halfway through. Transfer ice cream to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap under the lid touching the surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming. Freeze for at least four hours before serving (not sure why you have to do this because the texture is great when you first take it out, but we still followed this step).

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