Vanilla Ice Cream Base Recipes

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Here are two different ice cream recipes which can be used as base recipes for all of your ice cream making needs.  Both are vanilla but one recipe has eggs and the other does not.  I know most custard based recipes call for 4-8 egg yolks but after some testing I feel 2 makes a rich, creamy ice cream.  Egg based ice creams are richer and creamier with a traditional ice cream flavor and mouthfeel.  Non egg based ice creams are a little different, milkier and almost more of a frozen yogurt texture.  Both are better straight out of the ice cream maker but will also freeze to an easy to scoop consistency.  

Each makes about 3 cups of ice cream. 

Vanilla Ice Cream (custard based) 

2 cups whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 cup heavy cream

Whisk egg yolks with sugar until bright yellow in a non plastic bowl.    

Heat milk in a small pot until it steams but doesn't simmer or boil.   

Pour and small amount of hot milk into egg and sugar mixture.  Whisk.  Slowly add remaining milk and whisk.  

Pour this back into the small pot and return to the stove, cook over medium low heat stirring until mixture thickens and coat the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes.   

Pour mixture through a sieve.  Add vanilla and salt.  Slowly whisk in heavy cream.  Chill in fridge until cold.  Process in ice cream maker as per machines instructions, usually for about 20 minutes.

 

Vanilla Ice Cream (Egg free) 

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

pinch salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups whole milk

Heat cream, sugar and salt in a small pot, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. 

Add vanilla and milk.  Chill in fridge until cold.  Process in ice cream maker as per machine's instructions, usually about 20 minutes.    

 

Ginger Lime Noodle Bowl

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Noodles!  I'm frequently making demands or dreaming about noodles.   I love them.    This noodle bowl is great for lunch as it is served cold and most of the veggies are fresh and not cooked.    

Serves 4.

Noodle Bowl + Ginger Lime Sauce 

6 oz lo mein noodles  

1 broccoli, chopped

1 cup snow peas, chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

2 carrots, match-sticked or thinly sliced

1 package brown tofu, sliced

sesame seeds

for the ginger lime sauce

juice of 2 limes

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 teaspoons agave syrup

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, diced

2 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoon soy sauce

Cook noodles using package instructions, usually a few minutes in boiling water.  Drain and set aside. 

Blanche broccoli and snow peas 1 minute in boiling water, drain and rinse under cold water to stop them from cooking.   

Divide cooked noodles, broccoli, snow peas, peppers, carrots and tofu in 4 portions.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  

In a blender, blend lime juice, olive oil, agave, salt, ginger, sesame oil and soy sauce.   Strain and spoon onto noodles and veggies.  Toss if you like and eat. 

Summer Vegetable Pasta

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Change up any of the vegetables in this dish as you like.  I suggest strolling around the farmers market and see what looks good.  I added cooked lentils at the end of cooking for a little protein, as you can see from the photo.  If you decide to add lentils, about 3/4 cup french green lentils cooked in plenty of water for 20 minutes, and add one more tomato to the recipe.  

serves 6. 

Summer Vegetable + Orecchiette Pasta 

1 lb orecchiette pasta

olive oil

1 shallot, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 cup romano/flat beans, sliced

1 tomato, seeded, peeled, chopped

1 small yellow squash, halved, sliced

1 small zucchini squash, halved, sliced

juice of 2 lemons

2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, diced

1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves

s + p

pecorino romano cheese, grated   

Cook pasta to package directions.  Drain, rinse and set aside.  

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pan.  Add shallot, garlic, red chile flakes, romano beans, tomato, squash and zucchini.  Cook until vegetables and crisp tender, about 6 minutes.   

Add pasta, one more splash olive oil, lemon juice, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine and cook until all is hot.  Serve with grated pecorino romano.   

Veggie Burgers

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I love a veggie burger.  These are very healthy and full of plant based protein from the beans and quinoa.  They are vegetarian, gluten free and vegan if you omit the egg.  (I made these without the egg and they are lighter but tend to fall apart a little bit which is why I consider it optional.)  

Serves 6. 

Veggie Burgers

1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa

1 large portobello mushroom

splash of olive oil

1 red fresno chile, seeded and diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 large shallot, diced

1 tablespoon ginger

1 tin kidney beans, drained, rinsed

1 carrot, peeled, grated

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

several turns fresh black pepper

4 sprigs fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon siracha

juice of 1/2 a lime

1 egg, optional

Cook quinoa in small pot with 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes.  Water will have evaporated and quinoa will be tender.  Remove from heat and set aside.   

Cut portobello into quarters and run through food processor until chopped.  Set aside.  

Heat a skillet with splash of olive oil to medium high heat and saute processed mushrooms, chile, garlic, shallot and ginger until tender, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to large bowl.  

Run kidney beans, quinoa and carrots through food processor until combined, about 30 seconds.  Add to bowl with mushroom mix.  Add mustard powder, coriander, cumin, salt, pepper, fresh cilantro, siracha, lime juice and egg, if using.  Stir to combine.   

Chill mixture in fridge 20 minutes.  Remove from fridge, form into patties and cook in  oiled skillet 3 minutes on each side,   Serve with red onions, pickled anything, lettuce, mayo, siracha, fresh cilantro leaves, tomatoes and carrot matchsticks.  

Blueberry Buttermilk Cupcakes

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I can't believe I'm saying this but I really prefer these without frosting because the actual cake base is so flavorful.  The buttermilk adds a little tanginess and the (in season) blueberries are juicy and sweet.  If you do want to frost these, after all these are cupcakes and what's a cupcake without frosting?  (practically a muffin.) , consider a lemon glaze or a lemon cream cheese frosting.  

I like to smash the blueberries instead of leaving them whole, they float in the batter instead of sinking.  Just put them in a bowl and smash them with a spoon, fork or masher.  

Makes 24 standard cupcakes

Blueberry Buttermilk Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 stick butter, very soft or melted

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 pint blueberries, lightly smashed

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Prep cupcake tin with papers or oil.  Set aside. 

In a bowl whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.   

In a large mixing bowl, mix butter, sugar and vanilla.  Add eggs.  Mix until pale yellow.  Add flour mix and buttermilk.  Add vinegar and fold in blueberries.  

Spoon into prepared cups, filling 2/3 full.  Bake 20 minutes or until they test clean.  Carefully, remove from tin, cool completely before frosting.   

 

Cherry Pie

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I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Part of mine was spent cherry picking at Darlymple Farm in Hector, NY.  It's a beautiful farm perched high on a hill over looking seneca lake.  After picking 10 lbs of cherries it was evident some baking had to be done.

Cherry Pie

for the crust: 

2 1/2 lbs all purpose flour

2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed

2-6 tablespoons ice cold water

 

for the cherry filling: 

5 cups pitted fresh cherries

2 tablespoons cherry juice or cassis liquor

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons corn starch

 

for the egg wash: 

1 egg yolk

splash milk

In a bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt together.  Add butter cubes and rub into flour with fingers until it resembles a course crumb.  Add tablespoons of water until mixture will hold together as a dough.  Divide dough in half and form each into discs.  Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.  Roll each out in between 2 sheets of lightly floured parchment paper.  Fit one into a greased 9 inch pie pan.  Cut the other into strips.  Set aside. 

Heat oven to 400 degrees and move rack to lowest position.  Place pitted cherries in  a bowl and strain, reserve 2 tablespoon of cherry juice.  In a small bowl, whisk together cherry juice, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch.  Toss with cherries.  Pour filling into prepared crust. 

Arrange pastry strips over pie, seal and trim edges. Whisk together egg yolk and milk, brush over pastry.  Bake 60 minutes.  If crust browns too fast cover with aluminum foil.   

Cool slightly before serving.   

 

Potato Chips

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July 4th is approaching which means that most of us will find ourselves at a barbecue or picnic very soon and it's not a picnic without potato chips.  I made these three flavors last week as a belated father's day gift.  If you're going to go through the trouble of rinsing, drying and frying then it's not much of a stretch to do more than one flavor.   

When frying, be careful.  Very hot oil is dangerous.  Used frying oil may be cooled completely and poured back in its original container, closed and thrown away for easy disposal.  Canola or vegetable oil are great for frying.  

One good sized russet potato makes 2-3 servings.  

Smoky Barbecue Potato Chips

1 russet potato

1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika

1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

8 turns black pepper

oil for frying (amount depends on pot size but generally at least a liter

or

Jalapeno Cumin Potato Chips

1 russet potato

1 teaspoon jalapeno powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

about 1 liter of frying oil  

or

Salty Vinegar Potato Chips

1 russet potato

1 cup vinegar (for soaking)

1 cup water  (for soaking)

1 teaspoon vinegar powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

about 1 liter of frying oil

For any of the above recipes, prepare as follows:

Rinse and scrub potato.  Peel if desired.  Using a mandoline, thinly slice potatoes crosswise.  Place slices in colander and rinse until water runs clear.  Place slices in bowl of cold water (or half white vinegar/half water for salt and vinegar chips) for 30 minutes.

While slices are soaking, prepare seasoning mix.  You can also get a large bowl lined with a towel and a large pot on the stove filled with 2 inches of frying oil.  Begin heating the oil slowly. 

Remove slices from soaking liquid and slices on a towel, blotting with another.  Discard liquid.  

In a large pot heat, frying oil to 350 degrees.  Working in batches if needed, carefully add potato slices to pot.  Fry about 2 minutes until just golden brown.  Transfer to towel lined bowl. Repeat with any additional batches.  Remove towel from bowl, leaving chips, sprinkle chips with seasoning and toss until uniformly covered.  

Taco Night: Chicken Taco Rub

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I keep a small jar of this stuff around at all times.  I put it in everything.  In addition to being great for chicken it's also perfect for sides like rice and beans.   

Some times chicken just needs a simple rub and marinade. This one has spicy mexican flavors so I like it for tacos but it could be used for anything from flautas, steaks to simple grilled chicken but TACO NIGHT is my favorite night and who can say no to tacos when given the choice?  (Not I.)

Chicken Taco (or anything) Rub

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon chipotle powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon garlic powder

Juice of 1 lime

1-2 lbs chicken (or whatever you're going to rub this all over be it steak, pork, tofu...  

mix together all dry ingredients.  Generously sprinkle over your main ingredient and follow with lime juice.

For the chicken tacos (pictured), sprinkle over chicken, follow with lime juice.  Let marinate for about 10 minutes and cook.  Chicken was cooked using a grill pan and then cut into pieces.  Served with corn tortillas, shredded cheese, rice, beans, pickled jalapenos, pickled onions, pico de gallo, hot sauce, shredded lettuce and limes.  

Save any extra chicken taco rub for future use.  It's also great seasoning for vegetarian black  or pinto bean taco filling or just a handy mexican tasting spice mix to have on hand. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt Cakes

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A perfect warm weather picnic mini cakes.  I used mini cake or giant muffin pans but adjust baking times to 20 minutes for cupcakes or 45 for a loaf.  

Makes 9 giant muffin or mini cakes. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt Cakes

2 rhubarb stems, thin diagonal slices

1 1/2 cup strawberries, quartered

Juice and zest of 1 lemon, divided

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1 pinch

3/4 cups sugar plus 1/2 tablespoon

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup plain greek yogurt

3 eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed but not hot

In a small pot, combine rhubarb, strawberries, juice and zest of half the lemon, a pinch of salt and 1/2 tablespoon sugar.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes until rhubarb is soft.  Drain and set aside.  (Save juices for future dessert garnishing.)

While the fruit is stewing, heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, remaining sugar and salt.  Mix in yogurt, then eggs, then warmed coconut oil, lemon juice and zest.   

Portion into greased or lined tins, filling halfway.  With spoon, create a divot or crater in each cup and fill with a large spoonful of strawberry rhubarb mix.  The cake will rise around the fruit as it bakes.  Bake 25 minutes.  

Cool and serve.   

 

Vegetarian Dinner Salad

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I really don't know what to call this salad but it came about the other night when i was feeling vegetarian and wanted a complete full meal salad, some thing healthy and vegetal with plant based protein.   

serves 4.

Vegetable Barley Lentil Salad

1 cup pearl barley

1 cup french lentils

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, halved lengthwise

5 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise

olive oil

s + p

1/4 lb peashoots, rinsed and dried (salad spinner is great for this)

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon squash seed oil  

1 tablespoon olive oil

pinch of cayenne pepper

about 12 cilantro leaves, chopped

4 teaspoons pepitas

4 teaspoons roasted sunflower seeds (salted or not is up to you)  

Cook barley in a small pot with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 45 minutes.   Fluff with fork and set aside.

Cook lentils in another small pot by covering lentils with water, no salt, and simmering for 30 minutes.  Drain lentils and set aside. 

Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss carrots with a splash olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place on baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  Add asparagus to the sheet, toss with a splash of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast, carrots and asparagus for another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Make vinaigrette by whisking together champagne vinegar, lemon juice, squash seed oil and olive oil.  Add cilantro leaves, pinches of cayenne and s + p to taste. 

Toss carrots, asparagus and peashoots in vinaigrette.  

To serve, portion barley into 4 dishes, top with portion of lentils, then veggies.  Top each dish with one teaspoon pepitas and sunflower seeds.   


 

Thai Flank Steak

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I was craving a Thai style marinated steak last week.  I like it best with flank steak but a skirt steak would be great too.  I prepared this with a side of steamed veggies but it would also be great main component in a salad, bahn mi or asian style tacos.     

serves 4. 

Thai Steak Marinade

1 flank steak, 1.5 - 2 lbs

juice of 2 limes

4 inches of lemon grass, smashed, coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes

2 tablespoons tamari (for gluten free) or soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

s + p

Give the steak a few pokes with a knife tip.  Combine all remaining ingredients together, in a large ziplock freezer bag.  Place steak in bag and seal.   Let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.    

Remove steak from bag and discard marinade.   With high heat cook steak to desired temperature.  I suggest grilling but a lightly oiled cast iron skillet or grill pan are perfectly fine.  

To test the steaks doneness, give it a poke.  If it's squishy, it's on the rare side and if it's firm, its medium well to well done.    

Let steak rest a few minutes and slice thinly and against the grain.   

 

 

 

 

Ramps!

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I had ramps for the first time this weekend and can't believe how delicious they are.   

Ramps are a wild leek that are found mostly on the east coast.  They have a very short season of a joyous two weeks and are one of the first spring vegetables to show up at farmers markets.  They taste like a delicate garlicky onion.  The whole ramp is edible, minus the roots.  

Serves 2. 

Springtime Ramp Pasta

4-5 oz dried linguini

10 fava bean pods

1 oz morel mushrooms, brushed clean and halved

2 tablespoons water

olive oil

1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 bunch ramps (about 9) 

juice of half a lemon

s+p

grated pecorino cheese, for serving

Cook pasta, drain and rinse.  Set aside. 

Fava beans have to be shelled twice.  First, remove outer pod, blanch beans for 60 seconds, drain and remove thin shell.  Discard shells and set clean, blanched beans aside. 

Clean ramps and remove roots.  Cut stem just under the leaves.  Set leaves aside.  Slice bulbs/stem in half lengthwise.  Set aside. 

In a pan, heat a teaspoon of olive oil.  Add morels, cook about 30 seconds and carefully add 2 tablespoon of water.  (Water will hiss and splash a bit.)  Cook until morels are soft and water has been absorbed.  Push morels to on side of pan and on the other side, heat a splash of olive oil and red pepper flakes.  Add ramp stem/bulbs, combine with morels and cook about 1 minute.  

Add fava beans and ramp leaves.  Cook until leaves wilt.  Add pasta, cook until hot.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  

Serve with a grating of pecorino cheese.  

 


 

 

 

Hoppin' John

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The concept of hoppin' john was new to me.  It's a black-eyed pea and rice dish often served new years day for good luck.  It's not new years day but an overcast April day seemed just as good for luck and black-eyed peas.  

Bacon may be used in place of sausage.  Makes 8-10 servings.   

Hoppin' John

1 lb dried black-eyed peas

drizzle olive oil

2 links andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 

1 yellow onion, diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded, minced

32 oz chicken stock

3 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

s + p

4 sprigs thyme  

2 cups water

1 cup green beans, chopped

1 cup white rice

splash red wine vinegar (optional) 

Rinse and then soak peas in water while ingredients are prepped.   

In a large pot, in a bit of olive oil over medium high heat, sauté sausage, onion, carrots, celery, garlic and jalapeno until glossy and fragrant, 5-8 minutes.  Drain peas and add to pot with chicken stock, bay leaves, coriander, salt, lots of black pepper, thyme and 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered 1 hour.  Beans should be tender.  Add green beans and rice.  Simmer 20 minutes more.  Adjust seasoning and add splash vinegar. 

 

Spaghetti Squash Dinner Bowls

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I like when a food is its own bowl or dish.  Like soup in a bread bowl, or coconuts you can drink directly out of, oysters, twice baked potatoes and so on.  This one is kind of like that.  

Spaghetti squash is a great thing.  If roasted in the oven for a bit the flesh can be raked with a fork to form 'spaghetti'.  Still tasting like a vegetable but with a firm texture that holds up as a gluten free and healthier substitute for pasta.  

I say this recipe serves 2 people because I can eat a whole squash but realistically, it makes 4 servings.

Spaghetti Squash Bowls

2 spaghetti squashes

4 cloves garlic, minced

dash olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1 lb ground lean turkey breast

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

red pepper flakes, to taste

few fresh basil leaves, chopped

8 oz cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 28 oz tin diced tomatoes, pureed in blender

s + p

4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse and dry squashes.  Cut in half lengthwise, remove seeds and lightly rub with olive oil and sprinkle on a pinch of salt and pepper.  Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake about 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

While the squashes are roasting, saute garlic and onion in a medium pot.  Add turkey, red pepper flakes and oregano and cook until turkey is cooked.  Add mushrooms, basil and tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer.  Season with s + p.

Switch oven to broil and adjust a rack to a higher position.  

Flip cooked squashes over.  With a fork, scratch and loosen squash flesh, it will look like spaghetti.  Fill with turkey mushroom sauce.  Top with mozzarella slices and any extra basil.  Cook under broiler until cheese it melted, about 10 minutes.  

 

Spicy Oven Fries

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I love french fries, but can't eat them everyday.  So sad.  These potato wedges or oven fries are just as good as any seasoned fry but are baked.  (yay!)  

Spicy Oven Fries / Potato Wedges

4 idaho potatoes

drizzle olive oil

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 to 2 teaspoons chile powder

2 teaspoons salt

several turns of black pepper

1/2 teaspoon mustard

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Scrub potatoes and dry.  Cut into wedges.  Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and toss in a drizzle of olive oil.   

In a small bowl, mix onion powder, garlic powder, chile powder, salt, pepper and mustard.  Sprinkle over oiled potatoes and toss until evenly coated.  

Bake about 30 minutes.   

 

Cold Killer Juice

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I know a lot of smart people and one of those people used to make this juice when they were begining to feel under the weather.  It may seem like too much work for one (really good) cup of juice, especially if you're fatigued from sickness or hungover, and it is.  So hopefully you have a juicer.  (I don't but squeezing orange quarters in my citrus press worked well.) 

Makes 1 serving. 

The Cold Killer

1 inch of ginger, peeled and sliced

about 3 oranges (I used 2 small Navels and 1 large Cara Cara) 

as many pinches of cayenne pepper as you can  

Muddle ginger slices in the bottom of a drinking glass.  Squeeze juice out of oranges and into glass, over the muddled ginger.  You'll want about one cup of juice.  Stir, stir, stir.  Strain ginger and add pinches of cayenne pepper to taste.  (I maybe did about 1/4 teaspoon. nice and spicy.)   Stir and drink up.

 

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

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I love an upside down cake. The pineapple type is my mom's territory so I thought I would give this citrus version a try.  

I used only 3 blood oranges because I ate some of the ones I had.  While it looks pretty (notice the ombre?)  I  think it's better if the top is covered with blood orange slices.  Just a thought.  

If you like that dark sugary, caramelized cake top like you get on a traditional upside down cake, rub 1-2 tablespoon of butter on the bottom and sides of the baking dish and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoon of brown sugar before arranging orange slices.  

Makes one 9.5 inch cake.   

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

4-5 blood oranges

6 tablespoons butter, soft

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon angostura bitters

3/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/4 cup flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9.5 inch round baking dish.  Set aside.  

Cut tops and bottoms from oranges, slice off peels and slice into medallions. Remove seeds. (Save peels for candying or future zesting needs.)  Arrange slices on bottom of baking dish.  Set aside.  

Mix butter and sugar until smooth.  Add egg, bitters, milk, poppy seeds, salt, baking powder and flour.  Mix until combined and pour over fruit lined baking dish.   Bake 40 minutes or until done.  

Let cake cool 5 minutes in pan.  Run a knife along the edges to loosen and carefully invert onto flat surface.   

Chicken Lettuce Cups

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This is really just a chicken stir fry served in lettuce cups but it's also good eaten on its own, over a salad or over rice.  (To keep things lighter, I like to use a spray bottle of olive oil to coat the pan before cooking chicken or veggies.)  Makes about 4 servings.  

Chicken Lettuce Cups

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cup into thin strips

2 tablespoons soy/tamari + 2 tablespoons soy/tamari

2 tablespoons rice vinegar + 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

dash olive oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 small bunch scallions, white part, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cup into strips

1 carrot, peeled, grated

1 cup red cabbage, thinly chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup peanuts, lightly crushed

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon fish sauce

juice of 1/2 lime

about 12 lettuce leaves, rinsed, dried

Marinate chicken strips in 2 tablespoons soy and 2 tablespoons rice vinegar for 15 minutes in the fridge.  Remove from marinade and cook in a hot skillet 10 minutes, pouring out liquids as needed.  (I like very well cooked and slightly caramelized chicken so i cooked mine for an extra 8 minutes or so.)  Set aside.  

Wipe out skillet and add a small amount of olive oil.  Saute onion 5 minutes.  Add scallions, ginger, garlic, bell pepper, carrot, cabbage, red pepper flakes and peanuts.  Cook about 8 minutes, stirring frequently so veggies don't burn.  

In a small bowl, combine sesame oil, fish sauce, remaining soy sauce and remaining rice vinegar.  Add this and chicken to skillet.  Add lime juice and stir to combine.

Serve in lettuce leaves.  

 

Candied Meyer Lemon Peels

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The Meyer Lemons have been hanging around whole foods and The Brooklyn Kitchen for weeks and I decided it was a good day to make candied lemon peels.  Save the fruit flesh for other uses.

Substitute any citrus peel.  

Makes about 1 cup. 

Meyer Lemon Peel: Candied

3 Meyer Lemons

2 cups sugar, plus extra for coating 

2 cups water, plus more for pre boiling

Wash and dry the lemons.  Cut off tops and bottoms of lemon and cut in half lengthise.  Remove peel from flesh.  There will be a considerable amount of white pith attached to this peel.  Carefully scrape all of this white pith out with a spoon.  Cut pith free peels into strips.  Boil peels in an inch or two of water in a small pot for 15 minutes.  Drain peels, rinse and set aside.   

In the same pot, stir sugar and 2 cups water to dissolve and bring to a boil,  Add lemon peels and simmer about 40 minutes or until translucent.  

Remove peel from liquid and roll in sugar to coat.  (Or leave sugar less and/or coat with dark chocolate)  Set on rack on a baking sheet to dry.  Dry over night or until no longer sticky.   

Vegetable Shepherd's Pie

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Something cozy to make and enjoy during this rainy day.  This one is pretty easy.  Just saute the veggies in the skillet, top with potatoes and pop it in the oven.   

Not too sure if shepherd's pie is exactly the right name for this as it's meatless.  Thoughts?   

Vegetable Shepherd's Pie

4 potatoes, peeled

splash milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 yellow onion, chopped

8 cremini mushrooms, sliced

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

3 cloves garlic

2 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cup vegetable stock

s + p

grated paresan cheese (optional) 

Boil potatoes.  Once soft, remove from water and mash.  Add a splash of milk or two as needed.  Season with salt and pepper.  (For richer potatoes add tablespoon of butter and/or a splash of stock.)  Set aside.   

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 10" skillet on medium heat, melt 1 of the tablespoons of butter.  Add onion and sauté 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook another minute.  Add carrots, celery, garlic, bay, thyme and last tablespoon of butter.  Cook 5 minutes more.  Sprinkle with flour.  Stirring to coat.  Add stock and cook until thickened.  

Cover with mashed potatoes.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a grating of parmesan or a drizzle of olive oil or even chopped herbs if you like.   

Place skillet in oven and bake 20 minutes until edges are slightly browned and bubbly.   

Careful, it's hot!