Homemade Peach Ice Cream

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

I love peaches. For me, peaches always mean summer. It is too early for local peaches around here, but I found some at a produce market recently. They were nearly ripe already, so I put them in a brown paper bag to help them finish ripening. A few days later, I have a bunch of super tasty, juicy peaches. Since it is going to be unseasonably warm for the next week, I decided to use some to make ice cream.  I added some vanilla and orange zest for some extra flavor- but mostly just plenty of peaches.

 

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

3-4 ripe peaches

2 c. half and half

1 c. sugar, or to taste

1 T. vanilla

1 T.  orange zest

Peel and dice peaches. Cook in a small amount of water and a little sugar until tender. If you don’t precook the peaches they will be icy and hard in the ice cream. Cool and drain. In bowl combine half and half and sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Place in ice cream machine and process according to manufacturer’s directions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker place mixture in a shallow pan and freeze solid. Remove from freezer and allow to soften a little at room temperature then break up into chunks and place in a mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer until smooth and return to freezer. Makes 1 quart.

Giant Strawberry Shortcake

Giant Strawberry Shortcake

Giant Strawberry Shortcake

This is a great dessert for a party, picnic or barbecue. Instead of making a bunch of individual shortcakes, make one really big one. Makes quite an impression. I made this one for a dinner with friends. So well received.  When ready to serve it, just cut into slices, like cake or pie. I often serve the shortcake with ice cream on the side. Feel free to switch up which fruits you use, based on likes and availability. Would be fun to add some blueberries for Memorial Day!!!

 

 

 

Giant Strawberry Shortcake

1 egg

3/4 c. milk

1/2 t. lemon juice

2 c. flour

1/4 c. brown sugar

1 T. baking powder

1/2 stick cold butter plus 1 T. softened

1/2 c. plus 1 T. sugar

1 qt. strawberries, sliced thin

2 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced thin

1/4 c. chopped nuts, toasted

whipped cream, optional

 

In small bowl combine egg, milk and lemon juice and set aside. In larger bowl combine the flour, brown sugar and baking powder. Cut in cold butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Add egg mixture and stir until mixture forms into a soft dough. Knead dough gently on a lightly floured surface about 10 times. On greased baking sheet pat dough into a 15×6-inch oval. Sprinkle dough with the 1 tablespoon of sugar and dot with the softened butter. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Place on wire rack to cool. Toss the berries with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Allow to stand 30 minutes. Split the shortcake lengthwise and remove the top. Spoon over the half the berries and replace top of shortcake. Combine the kiwi with the remaining berries.Spoon over the remaining fruit and sprinkle with the nuts. Dot with whipped cream, if desired. Cut in wedges to serve. Serves 8.

Note: you can bake shortcake day ahead and prep the fruit day ahead, keeping it chilled and just assemble when ready to serve.

100% Whole Wheat Bread

100% Whole Wheat Bread

100% Whole Wheat Bread

A lot of us want to eat more whole grains, but are unhappy when we try to make 100% whole wheat bread at home. There is a secret to baking whole wheat bread that is both tender and slices easily. Whole wheat flour, high in gluten, also is high in fibers which make it harder to get the gluten to that stretchy state. If you knead whole wheat bread dough for 5- 10 minutes, like white bread dough, you’ll have a dough that is far from elastic. The secret? Knead it longer. I knead my whole wheat bread dough about 20 minutes. That is easy if you have it in a stand mixer. Just set it on low and let the dough hook do the work. Not so easy if you are kneading by hand. When kneading for 20 minutes by hand, more and more flour gets added to the dough, to keep it from sticking. The extra flour results in a heavy dough, and a loaf of  bread that is best used as a door stop.  If you have to knead by hand- knead on a wet surface. The dough won’t stick to your hands or the board and you can knead it long enough to get a properly worked dough. How do you know your dough has been worked long enough? Hold the dough up to light and pull it. It should stretch thin enough so that you can see the light through it, without tearing. Here is one of several recipes I have for 100% whole wheat bread. I love it and I think you will, too.

100% Whole Wheat Bread

2 packets active dry yeast
2 2/3 c. warm water
½ c. oil
½ c. honey, molasses or maple syrup
6 ½ -7 c. whole wheat flour
½ c. non fat dry milk
2½ t. salt

Combine first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir in 3 cups of the flour the dry milk and the salt. Beat with electric mixer for 3 minutes. Stir in enough flour for mixture to form a thick batter and continue mixing on low in mixer for 15-20 minutes. Dough takes time to become elastic. Add extra flour slowly until dough comes away from the sides of the work bowl, but not too soon. Note: if you must do this by hand add flour until dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl and knead with wet hands on wet work surface for 15-20 minutes. Transfer dough to lightly greased bowl and cover, allowing to rise until puffy, about 1 hour. Punch dough down and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide in half and shape each half into a loaf. Place in a lightly greased 9×5 – inch pan. Brush top with oil and place a piece of plastic wrap over the top. Allow to rise until doubled. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Tent with foil after 20 minutes to prevent over browning of the top. Test for doneness by removing bread from pan and thumping on the bottom. Bread should sound hollow. Makes 2.

Creamy Veggie Soup

Creamy Veggie Soup

Creamy Veggie Soup

For all the soups I make, this is one of my favorites. The blend of vegetables and seasonings work so well together. The soup is creamy and full of flavor. I eat the soup hot, most of the time, but in hot weather, I eat it cold.  It is an easy way to eat more veggies. I have a friend who is trying to eat more veggies, so I shared some of this soup with her. She really liked it. The soup freezes well, so you can make a big batch and freeze some for later. While I have the recipe below- you can also add other veggies and play around with the soup. For texture, you can serve it with croutons on top. This is also nice served with a grilled cheese sandwich.

 

Creamy Veggie Soup

3 T. oil
2 onions, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
3-4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium cauliflower, chopped
6 c. stock- I used chicken, but you could use vegetable
1 qt. tomatoes- I used home canned but you could use 1 (28 oz.) can
2 T. Tuscan seasoning* recipe follows
¼ c. hot sauce- or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
In large pot, heat oil and cook onions until tender. Add carrots and celery and cook a few minutes longer. Add remaining vegetables, stock, and seasonings and simmer, covered for an hour or longer. Puree soup in blender in batches until smooth or use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Warm up soup before serving. Adjust seasonings and serve. Makes a lot of soup – but freezes well.

*Tuscan Seasoning

½ c. dried basil
½ c. dried oregano
½ c. dried marjoram
3 T. dried minced onion
2 T. dried minced garlic
2 T. dried rosemary
2 T. dried parsley
1 t. crushed red pepper

Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container. Use this blend in tomato sauce or other Italian dishes. Also, you can add to vinegar and oil with a little salt, if desired, to make a quick salad dressing.

Cherry Scones

Cherry Scones

Cherry Scones

Who doesn’t love cherry pie? I know I do. I got together for coffee with a couple of friends recently and I wanted to make something to have with our coffee. I used cherry pie filling as the base for these scones. My pie filling was homemade.  Store bought cherry pie filling would work fine, too. They were just sweet enough and came out this beautiful pink color. They did remind me a little of cherry pie and summer. Nothing bad about that. The scones were great just as they were- but would also make a wonderful base for shortcake. I think with a scoop of ice cream or a bit of whipped cream, these scones would also make a nice dessert.

 

Cherry Scones

3 c. flour

1/4 c. sugar

1 T. baking powder

1 t. salt

1/2 c. cold butter

1 1/3 c. cherry pie filling

2 eggs

2 t. vanilla

Glaze:

2 c. powdered sugar

2 T. vanilla

water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or grease lightly. I have silicone baking mats so that is what I use. Set aside. In mixing bowl combine dry ingredients and cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Combine pie filling with eggs and vanilla and stir to blend well. Add to dry ingredients and stir until mixed well. Mixture will be a stiff batter. Scoop 1/4 cup portions of batter onto the baking sheets- leaving a couple of inches between them.  You will need both baking sheets. I used a 2 oz. ice cream scoop and got 22 scones. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. I switched my baking sheets about halfway through the baking. Remove to a cooling rack and make the glaze.

Combine the powdered sugar and vanilla in a small bowl and add enough water so the glaze is about the thickness of maple syrup, probably a couple of tablespoons. Dip the tops of each of the warm scones in the glaze and return to the cooling rack.

Cinnamon Vanilla Hot Fudge Sauce

Cinnamon Vanilla Hot Fudge Sauce

Cinnamon Vanilla Hot Fudge Sauce

Later today I will be making ice cream sundaes with about 50 kids. One of the treats we will be having is this homemade hot fudge sauce. On a hot summer day I am not sure anything is better than ice cream. Who am I kidding? I love ice cream even when it is snowing outside. When it comes to topping ice cream, hot fudge sauce is one of my favorites. The warm, rich sauce on the cold ice cream is such a great combination. When I was a kid, getting a hot fudge sundae was the ultimate treat. This simple recipes duplicates that sauce. It is easy to make and will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge. I doubt it will last that long once you taste it, though. I like the addition of cinnamon and vanilla. I also make it from time to time with a little cayenne. That is part of the fun of this recipe. Don’t be afraid to play around with flavors.

 

 

Cinnamon Vanilla Hot Fudge Sauce

 

1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

¾ c. sugar

½ c. brown sugar

1 t. cinnamon

1/8 t. salt

1-c. heavy or whipping cream

½ c. butter, cut into pieces

1 t. vanilla extract

 

In saucepan, stir together dry ingredients then stir in cream and butter. Heat to boiling and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat, cool 5 minutes and stir in vanilla. Store leftovers in fridge. Rewarm before using.  Makes 2 ½ cups.

 

 

Very Pink Soup

Very Pink Soup

Very Pink Soup

I had planned on just calling this recipe beet soup or maybe pureed beet soup. Then a friend came over and I offered her a bowl. When I set it down in front of her she said, “Wow, this is really pink soup.” After that I couldn’t name it anything else.  People seem to have strong opinions about beets. They either love them or hate them. I love them and I enjoy them in soups, salads, relishes,  casseroles and more. The earthy flavor really appeals to me and the color is a delightful bonus. I added some extra veggies for more flavor and sour cream for a tart, creamy flavor and texture element. The result was a very tasty dish that is also sort of striking to look at.

Very Pink Soup

1 bunch beets- mine had 3 large beets

2 T. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped

6 cups stock- I used chicken but vegetable stock or beef stock would also work

2 t. dill weed

salt and pepper to taste

1 c. sour cream- or a little more if you like

Cut beets off of their stems- leaving about 2 inches attached- this will reduce bleeding and retain more color in the beets. Reserve greens for the dumplings. Place beets in a pot of water deep enough to cover them and cook until the beets are just getting tender, about 30 minutes. Remove and place in cold water. Once the beets are cool enough to handle trim off the stems and slip off the skins. Cut the beets into chunks and set aside. In soup pot heat the oil and cook the onion until tender. Add the carrots and beets and cook a few minutes longer. Add the rest of the vegetables, stock, dill and simmer, covered, until vegetables are very tender. This will take at least 30 minutes- but cooking longer is better- around an hour.  Puree the soup. To add the sour cream place sour cream in a bowl and add a ladle full of the hot soup to the sour cream, whisking until smooth. Add another ladle or two of the soup and whisk again. Return sour cream mixture to the soup. By warming the sour cream gently you prevent it curdling. Adjust seasonings and serve.  Serves 6-8. Freezes well.

Parsnip and Spice Cupcakes

Parsnip and Spice Cupcake

Parsnip and Spice Cupcake

Parsnips- not just for soup anymore. If you only use parsnips in savory dishes, you might be surprised to see them used in a dessert. Truth is, parsnips are similar in flavor to carrots. Since carrots are used in cake quite successfully, why not parsnips?  While not exactly the same in flavor, think of parsnips as white carrots. Combined in a spiced batter they make wonderful cupcakes.

 

 

 

 

 

   Parsnip and Spice Cupcakes

1 1/2 c. flour

1 c. sugar

1 T. ground ginger

1 T. cinnamon

2 t. baking powder

1 t. nutmeg

1 t. allspice

1 t. salt

1/2 t. cloves

3 eggs

1/2 c. oil

1/2 c. milk or half and half

2 t. vanilla

2 c. packed peeled and shredded fresh parsnips, 2-3 large

1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional plus extra for topping, optional

1 recipe cream cheese frosting- see below

Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 cupcake pans with paper liners- or grease lightly. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. In smaller bowl combine eggs, oil, milk and vanilla and mix well. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture until smooth. Stir in parsnips and nuts, if adding. Spoon batter into the prepared pans, filling half-full. Bake for 15 minutes – or until toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Cool and frost. Sprinkle with fine chopped nuts, if you like. Makes 24.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

4 0z. (1 stick) butter, softened

1 c. powdered sugar

1 t. vanilla

Beat all ingredients together until fluffy. Frost cupcakes and chill until ready to eat.

Homemade Rye Crackers

Homemade Rye Crackers

Homemade Rye Crackers

Making crackers is fun, and actually pretty easy. These rye crackers are as simple to make as a batch of cookies. They are crisp and full of flavor. The thinner you roll them out, the crisper they will be. I am a big fan of rye bread and a fan of these rye crackers, too. I just love the flavor of rye flour. I think it pairs so well with any number of toppings. These are great with a little Swiss cheese melted on the top. You can also cut the crackers out in fun shapes. Maybe the best part about making your own crackers, is that you get to control what goes in them. So here is the recipe for rye crackers. I hope you’ll give cracker making a try.

 

Rye Crackers

1 c. rye flour

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 T. caraway seed

1½ t. salt

1 t. onion powder

1 t. garlic powder

1/3 cup oil

1 t. honey

¼ c. water, or as needed

 

Combine the rye flour, all-purpose flour, caraway seed, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder in a bowl. Stir in the oil and honey. While stirring with a fork, slowly add the water until the dough comes together in a ball. Cover and rest for 10 minutes.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Divide the dough into 4 sections, rolling each piece out on parchment paper to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shape then place on a baking sheet. Prick each cracker a few times with a fork. Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are brown and the crackers are crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove immediately to a cooling rack.

Cheese Puffs

Cheese Puffs

Cheese Puffs

These little crackers are addictive. Forget any of the store bought “cheesy” crackers you have had in the past. These are so much better. The dough is pretty simple, just 5 ingredients- cheese, butter, salt, hot sauce and flour. Homemade crackers are not hard to make at all. They do involve a little time, but it is well worth it. We used miniature cookie cutters (also called aspic cutters) that come in all sorts of adorable shapes. You can also just cut the dough into thin strips, or small squares. I used sharp cheddar cheese, but you can play around with other cheeses. I have made these with Swiss cheese and they were also good. You can also add more cayenne or add some herbs, if you like. Here is the recipe.

Cheese Puffs

 

1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

½ c. butter

½ t. salt

¼ t. cayenne pepper or  hot pepper sauce to taste

1¾ c. flour

In mixer or food processor, combine cheese and butter until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until pretty smooth. Roll out onto lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into thin strips or use mini cookie cutters to make shapes. Place on ungreased baking sheet, nearly touching, as they do not spread.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Bottoms should be lightly browned. Makes about 100, freeze well.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

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