Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Berry Good Ice Cream

I can't think of a fresher taste on Earth than the sweet pop of a ripe strawberry picked right from the vine.

It's the tail end of strawberry season, and this is my morning's bounty... $3 for as much as I could fit into that pint.  The grocery store can't beat that deal, and Dole's strawberries don't even taste nearly as good.  They are purely heavenly.

Unfortunately, I had a strawberry shortcake "incident" a few years back that has left me still barely able to stomach this simple dessert, so I've had to think a little bit outside of the box.  One year I made strawberry muffins.  But this year... I had a better idea....

Can you guess it? I promise this isn't a grisly crime scene.  That's just strawberry juice.

Here's another hint:

BTW... sweet photo collage, right?

You guessed it! Our ice cream maker completed her maiden voyage with a strawberry anisette chip frozen yogurt. 

My doctor specifically told me to eat yogurt every day for calcium, so this dessert is good for me.

I combined two recipes into this one:

2 C plain yogurt
1 C low fat milk
1 1/2 C strawberries, mostly pureed, some chopped. (Approximate amount. We winged it.)
1/2 Special Dark Hershey bar, chopped
1 can sweetened condensed milk, fat free
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 T liqueur (we used a moonshine anisette- get creative)
juice from 1/2 lemon

A "strawberry shortcake" I can really get used to!  I read online that adding a little alcohol helps keep it creamier rather than icy in the freezer (it doesn't freeze up all the way).  Somebody had a bit of a heavy hand with the anisette, giving our ice cream a very grown up flavor, but it was that much more decadent.  Below you'll find the two recipes that I combined to make mine.

Sweet dreams!


Frozen yogurt recipes:

Two Peas and Their Pod
All Recipes

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Mom and a margarita. (I love tequila and alliteration.) Her first Bomber's visit. Let the celebrating begin!

The end of the school year is always bitter sweet.  The beginning of vacation is exciting.  But still, I always feel a little bit sad on the drive home.  There's a lot of good byes and see ya laters, loose ends left untied, new friendships cut short, reflections that feel like they're left hanging.

Okay, so I know you're not feeling sorry for me at all.  And you shouldn't.  It's obviously still awesome to be on an 8-week "vacation."  It's one of the few perks to teaching... you know, besides sculpting America's future. (Actually, that just kind of depressed me again...)  And my summer has barely started and I've already gotten to do a ton of fun things.

Beautiful sidewalk art in Troy.

I love the 90s. You know you do, too.

Local hiking with friends.

The view from Thacher. Gorgeous, right?  

Food wise, I ate really well and really terrible (I'm hoping that it just evened out).  I fall apart without my routine :-/

Some of the good:
I tossed that (blanched) broccoli rabe with some spicy sausage, penne, and a light alfredo (melt butter, half and half, cheese, go).

We had a few fresh and fruity salads.

My boyfriend can make a mean salad.

Grilled up some homemade garlic scape and chive chicken patties.  (He's also a Grill Masta.)

And ate a light cucumber salad at a pool party (two of us counts as a party, right?)

Erin's Cucumber Salad for Two

Mix together:

a cucumber, chopped
plain yogurt
1 T white vinegar
the juice of 1/2 lemon
a garlic scape, diced
fresh dill

In honor of this week's heat wave, I'll leave you with this poem that was one of my students' faves this year (I may be on break, but I'm still an English teacher). Remember, we waited a long time to be this hot!  

I like hot days, hot days
Sweat is what you got days
Bugs buzzin from cousin to cousin
Juices dripping
Running and ripping
Catch the one you love days

Birds peeping
Old men sleeping
Lazy days, daisies lay
Beaming and dreaming
Of hot days, hot days,
Sweat is what you got days.
                                - Walter Dean Myers




Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This Is Only A Test

We are in the midst of "Exam Week."  I use quotations because it lasts more than a week, and it tests more than your academic knowledge.  Like your patience. Grading and proctoring is boring. Other days are stressful because everyone needs something from you-- the students have demands, administration has demands, you have a checklist in your head, and meanwhile you are keeping up with the "normal demands" of your everyday life, like seeing friends and family, or breaking through that mountain of laundry.  All you can do is piece by piece,  and try to take care of yourself along the way.  Remember, this is only a test.

In college, coffee and M&Ms helped me stay up all night to finish my papers, then a whole lot of Yuengling helped me to relax.

Me and V, circa 2005.  

Nowadays, I try to go to bed on time, and squeeze in a salad.

Oh, how things change.

Anyway, speaking of food, we are still dealing with last week's load of veggies from our CSA, and now it's time to pick up a fresh box.  Because of the busyness of the last week, we haven't made a whole lot of meals, so there's still produce to be dealt with.  On top of that, there's produce that we still haven't figured out what to DO with yet.  It's starting to pile up!!

We did have some yummy barbecued chicken with a side of fresh broccoli, plenty of omelets, salads, and hummus.

One experiment that I did enjoy was my salad dressing experiment.  The salad greens seemed too good for store dressing, and we still had all of those garlic scapes to deal with.  Eeesh.

After our garlic scape pesto disaster (I swear, our breath alone could have killed vampires.  It took a lot of mint ice cream to fix), I knew we needed to use this stuff sparingly.  But there's so much of it!!

I made two salad dressings last week in my little itty bitty food processor. They came out very good, and were easy enough to do again. It's all pantry ingredients that you through into a blender.  Easy Peasy.

Garlicky Dijon
No lemon juice because I didn't have any, so I added a little more vinegar.

2 garlic scapes, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp honey
2 tsp dijon mustard
4 T red wine vinegar
1 T lemon juice
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepa

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
I substituted the brown sugar for fresh honey from The Little Falls Co-Op, added in a chive, and reduced the olive oil to 1/2C.

My version:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • I T honey
  • 1 chopped garlic scape
  • 1 chopped chive
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Okay, salad dressings themselves aren't super photogenic, and neither is a lunch salad in a tupperware, which is why I didn't even bother to take that picture.  Use your imagination.

I usually tend towards balsamic dressings anyway, so I will definitely make this again.  Also, this recipe made a few more servings than the first, and the balsamic vinegar was strong enough to stand up against that garlic scape.  Blending the dressing in the food processor made it thick and emulsified, and it stayed that way in my lunch pail until I used it the next day! WIN.

I now have a way to spruce up the salad greens that I'll be picking up in a little while.  Having the CSA pick up is a great way to make myself eat more salad and vegetables, and plan more meals in general.  (I don't want to eat out as often because I know I have good food sitting at home.)

Even though I haven't quite mastered the garlic scapes' culinary test, I have a much more exciting task awaiting me for the coming week... this baby right here:

That's an ice cream maker... YEAH!

Hopefully this weeks garlic will be followed by some HOME MADE mint ice cream.

OH my God, I can't wait. Ice cream > Beer. (Margaritas on the other hand....)

See ya next week!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

in Just - spring

Even though it's June and we've had some hot days and a few barbecues, this week we are reminded that in Upstate NY it's still just spring.  The season is new- between the frequent rain showers, the flowers are just opening and the birds wake us up,

...our lawns are lush and fresh, and the world is very, very green.

Vermont is a postcard.

Green is beautiful.

Green feels light and alive after months of cold and dark and dead.  Mother Earth is revving up, and we're starting to see the beginnings of things.

From baby goats....

The cuties at Cottonhill Farm!

...to the newest of produce.  Finally, some good things to eat!

Last week our CSA dropped off the very earliest of the eats... mostly shoots, blossoms, and leaves.  We had fun coming up with different ways to eat as much of it as we could.

There were many wins:
Fish tacos with radish, chive, and cilantro. 

Cottonhill Farm egg omelets with chives.

as well as a fail...

 Those beautiful garlic scapes are stronger than they look!

Our pesto tasted good, but our mouths were uncomfortably garlicky for HOURS after...

The fails are almost as fun as the successes.  We're still trying to figure out the best way to use those potent garlic scapes (I want to figure out how to pickle them, like I had during a visit to Cottonhill Farm), and this week's challenge will be that bitter broccoli rabe.

Denison Farm posted Leah's blog, which had some great advice from a seasoned CSA-er, and this week, we're already feeling like we're higher up on the learning curve.  Knowing when to eat and when to save is important, and when you're dealing with unfamiliar vegetables, a little wisdom goes a long way.

Basil ready to be frozen.

The weekly bounty is growing...

I'm excited to savor tomorrow's salad at lunch.  The lettuce is so fresh... it actually tastes like something! Last week I didn't even need dressing.  Just a little olive oil, salt and pepper brought out the flavor of the leaves themselves.

And Patrick's secret hummus recipe (psst... he used a stalk of chive and a garlic scape... but you didn't hear that from me) came out delightful.

That's why we buy this food straight from the farmer. When you have ingredients this fresh, little needs to be done to improve them.

Simple is good.

You love the cat mug.