Cooking

Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

Blueberry Pancakes

For breakfast I can’t think of a better dish than blueberry pancakes with fresh made blueberry syrup. I treated my self this morning and made both.  The pancakes were light and very fluffy.

The secret is not to over mix. The batter was stirred until just mixed. I used a homemade biscuit mix as the base. The recipe follows.

The baking mix is normally made with shortening, but I use coconut oil. You can use the mix in so many other recipes, too. Any Bisquick recipe will work. When using coconut oil, you might want to store the mix in the fridge in hot weather. Normally I store it at room temperature, but pop it in the fridge during the summer.

The syrup is pretty simple. Just three ingredients; blueberries, sugar and a little water. Sometimes I add some vanilla or a little lemon zest.  I served it warm over the pancakes.

 

Blueberry Pancakes

2 c. biscuit mix*
1 c. milk – I used half and half
2 eggs
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

Combine mix, milk and eggs until just blended. Fold in berries. Pour batter by scant 1/4 cups in lightly greased griddle or skillet over moderate heat. Turn when pancakes are dry around the edges. Cook until golden brown. Makes about 13.

* Like Bisquick or Jiffy Mix or home made- recipe follows

Biscuit Mix

8 c. flour
1 c. powdered milk
1 c. powdered buttermilk (or 1 more cup powdered milk)
1/4 c. baking powder
1 T. salt
1 1/2 c. shortening* I use coconut oil

Combine dry ingredients and cut in shortening until well mixed. Store in tightly covered container. Makes 10 cups.

* You can substitute coconut oil or butter for the shortening- but mix will have to be kept cool. Refrigerate if using butter and use withing 3 months.

Blueberry Syrup

4 c. blueberries
1 c. water
1½ c. sugar

In saucepan heat berries and water to a boil and boil 2 minutes. Crush berries with a potato masher as they cook. Add sugar and cook for 10- 15 minutes on medium heat until mixture thickens.  Process syrup with an immersion blender or in a blender until smooth.  Cool, then refrigerate. Keeps a couple of weeks. Makes about 3½ cups.

Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

Garlic Scapes Potato Salad

Garlic Scapes Potato Salad

This salad was inspired by a friend of mine. We had been talking about garlic scapes and ways to cook with them. Garlic scapes are the green tops of garlic, removed to produce bigger heads. They look like curly green onions.

My friend found the flavor of raw scapes too intense for her. I told her about cooking them first a little, to tone down the bite. When cooked, they have a texture like green beans and a milder, garlic flavor. Just steaming them 4-5 minutes does the trick. You still want them to have texture.

Since she was coming to dinner, I decided to cook some scapes and add them to the potato salad. I used  oil and vinegar for the dressing.   I also added some fresh dill, parsley and just a little sugar. She loved it.

So here is the recipe. I plan on making it again a few times before garlic scapes season is over.

 

Garlic Scapes Potato Salad

4-5  garlic scapes

2 lbs. red skinned potatoes*

½ cup minced sweet pepper

½ c. olive oil

½ c. apple cider vinegar

2 T. sugar

2 T. chopped parsley

2 t. fresh dill weed

Salt and pepper to taste

Hot sauce to taste

 

Steam the scapes for 5 minutes. Cool a little, and cut into ¾ -inch slices. You should end up with about 1½ of sliced scapes when done. Place in a medium bowl. Cook potatoes until tender. I baked mine in a microwave until tender and then cut into cubes. Baking them is also a nice way to cook the potatoes. You can also opt to cut into cubes first and boil the potatoes. Whatever method to cook the potatoes is fine with me. Take the potatoes, while still warm, and place in the bowl with the scapes. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl and stir until sugar dissolves. Pour over warm potato mix, tossing to coat evenly. Adjust seasonings. Chill and serve. Serves 6-8.

* You can really use any potato you like.

 

Garlic Scapes

 

Garlic Scapes Hummus

Garlic Scapes Hummus

Around here, garlic scapes are in season and being eaten a lot. I find myself cooking with them in everything I can. Everyone seems to be talking about scapes and looking for new ways to use them. There is even a word for it – scorpacciata.

Scorpacciata is an Italian word that means consuming large amounts of a particular local ingredient while it’s in season. I heard Mario Batali use it once.

Scapes, if you didn’t know, are the tops of hard-neck variety garlic. They are cut off this time to year- to help the plants produce larger heads. They curl as they grow. You should be able to find them at your local farm market. They can be eaten raw or cooked. They can be a little woody when raw.

This time, I steamed the scapes, and added them to my hummus. The end result was really good. The scapes replaced the garlic cloves, adding their own personality to the dish. I switched the dish up a little more, by using avocado oil, instead of the traditional olive oil.

So here is one more recipe to use those lovely, seasonal garlic scapes.

 

 

Garlic Scapes Hummus

 

1 can garbanzo beans, drained- I used a one pint jar of home canned

½ c. chopped garlic scapes- 1 or 2 garlic scapes- steamed 5 minutes and chopped

¼ c. olive oil or avocado oil

2 T. lemon juice – about 1 lemon

2 T. tahini (sesame seed paste)

salt and hot pepper sauce to taste

 

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Adjust seasonings. Chill. Serve with pita bread, crackers or fresh vegetables. Also nice spread in a pita bread with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. Freezes well.

Garlic Scapes

 

 

Homemade Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Why did it take me so long to make peanut butter ice cream? I love peanut butter and I make ice cream pretty often. I just never thought of putting those two things together.

I kept it simple, and was really happy with the results. I wanted a strong peanut butter flavor- so I used a whole cup of peanut butter in the recipe. It worked out fine. Creamy and rich, but not too heavy. I thought about adding chocolate chips or maybe a swirl of jelly, but decided to leave the ice cream alone this first batch. I did serve it with homemade hot fudge sauce- recipe follows. I could see using this ice cream as the filling in ice cream sandwiches. I think I might use almond butter in the next batch.

 

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

1 c. peanut butter

2/3 c. sugar, or to taste – I was using natural peanut butter that had no sugar in it

2 c. whipping cream – you could use some half and half, if you prefer

1 t. vanilla

In medium bowl, combine peanut butter with the sugar, stirring until smooth. Add the whipping cream and vanilla and stir until well blended. Chill mixture. Pour chilled peanut butter mixture into ice cream machine and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Once firm, transfer to a container with a lid and place in freezer until ready to use. Makes about 1 qt.

Hot Fudge Sauce

1 c. cocoa

¾ c. sugar

½ c. brown sugar

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. Warm up before using. Store leftovers in fridge. Makes 2 ½ cups.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream- topped with homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

Peanut Butter Ice Cream- topped with homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

Cooking with Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes

If you have never had garlic scapes, you don’t know what you are missing. Garlic scapes are the green shoots removed from hard-neck varieties of garlic. By removing the shoots, the bulbs will get bigger. So farmers remove them.  They curl as they grow, and are good served raw, or barely cooked. They are showing up at farm markets around here right now.

When cooked, the flavor mellows a lot. I love to steam garlic scapes for about 5 minutes, then just eat like fresh green beans, with butter and salt. I steamed a bunch of scapes the other day- then chopped them up and added to potato salad. So tasty!!

They have a rich, garlic flavor that is all the sweeter because of the short time they are around. Enjoy them when you can- they will be gone soon.

I use scapes in place of basil in my pesto recipe, or combine them with parsley in a garlic scape-parsley pesto. You can also combine the garlic scapes with cottage cheese in the blender- add a little lemon juice and hot sauce for a tasty dip. Here are some more recipes for cooking with garlic scapes.

Garlic Scape Pesto Sauce

1 c. chopped scapes – you can also use half scapes, half parsely
1/4 c. olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic
Salt to taste
1/2 c. pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pecans or walnuts
1 c. fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients, except the cheese, in a blender and mix until smooth. Stir in the cheese and toss over hot, cooked pasta or use as a sauce on meat and poultry. Sauce will keep a few days in the fridge and makes about 1 1/2 cups, enough for 1 lb. of cooked pasta.

 

Lebanese Garlic Sauce

1/2 c. chopped garlic scapes

1 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups olive oil

In the container of a blender, combine the garlic scapes, lemon juice and salt. Blend at medium speed until smooth. Continue blending while pouring olive oil into the blender in a thin stream. The mixture should become thick and white almost like mayo. Store refrigerated in a glass container.  Nice on hot pasta, cooked rice or grains or brushed on meats while cooking. It also is a great salad dressing.

Garlic Scapes with  Broccoli

1 c. chopped garlic scapes

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets, steamed 5 minutes, cooled

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

Place garlic scapes in a food processor with the salt and blend into a paste. Add olive oil, vinegar, and mustard.  Pulse until smooth.  Place garlic scape mixture in a bowl and add the broccoli.  Stir to coat. Chill for 3 hours to marinate, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving. Tastes even better the next day!!!

Rainbow Carrot and Raisin Salad

Rainbow Carrot and Raisin Salad

I love a good carrot and raisin salad.  It’s one of those salads I remember from when I was a kid. Carrots work so well in a salad, because they retain crispness. So this is also a salad you can make and eat right away, or make ahead of time and enjoy even a few days after making it.

I used rainbow carrots for this version of carrot and raisin salad. I love the vibrant colors that the rainbow carrots add to the dish. I can’t always find them, so when my local produce market has them, I take advantage and stock up.

I kept it pretty simple: shredded carrots, raisins, a honey dressing and some herbs. A lot of carrot salads are made with mayonnaise based dressings. That’s fine, but I wanted something lighter with this salad.

This is a recipe you can toss together in just a few minutes. Great for last minute summer parties.

Of course, you can use any carrots in this recipe. It will taste just as nice.

 

So here is my recipe. Hope you will give it a try.

Rainbow Carrot and Raisin Salad

3-4 good sized carrots- peeled and shredded fine- you want 4 cups of shredded carrots

1/2 c. raisins

1/2 c. apple cider vinegar

1/3 c. oil- I used avocado oil- use what you like

3 T. honey

2 T. chopped parsley

1 t. celery seed

1 t. salt, or to taste

1 t. hot sauce, or to taste

In mixing bowl, combine the carrots and raisins. In smaller bowl combine the rest of the ingredients, whisking until well mixed. Toss the honey mixture over the carrots and raisins until evenly coated. Cover salad, and chill until ready to eat. Serves 4-6.

Note: You can eat the salad right away, but I prefer to make it at least 30 minutes ahead and give the flavors a chance to mingle.

These rainbow carrots are purple on the outside and orange in the middle!

Homemade Peach Vanilla Ice Cream

Homemade Peach Vanilla Ice Cream

I love peaches. For me, peaches always mean summer. We had a couple of peach trees at my parent’s house. I remember a few summers when my Father had to prop up the branches because there were so many peaches. He knew the ripe fruit could break branches under their weight.

It is too early for local peaches around here, but I found some southern peaches at a produce market recently. They were nearly ripe already, so I put the peaches in a brown paper bag to help them finish ripening.

A few days later, I had a bunch of super tasty, juicy peaches.

Since it was unseasonably warm last week, I decided to use some of the peaches to make ice cream. It doesn’t have to be hot for me to want ice cream- I just want it even more when the thermometer is hitting 90!!

 

I added some vanilla and orange zest for some extra flavor- plus plenty of peaches.

 

Homemade Peach Vanilla 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.

Homemade Chocolate “Magic” Shell

Chocolate Magic Shell

I used to love getting a chocolate-dipped ice cream cone when I was a kid. The ice cream shop near my house had them. I watched as the soft serve was swirled onto the cone, then dipped into a vat of melted chocolate goodness. Like magic, the chocolate hardened, and made this lovely crisp shell.

Then they came out with the squeeze bottles of the stuff. Just a drizzle onto your ice cream and the chocolate hardened like, well, magic.

There are a lot of recipes out there for “magic” shell. I tried a few. All tasted fine, but some just worked better than others. I played around and found the mix that worked best for me.

It is very easy to make- just three ingredients. So easy- so good.

 

 

Homemade Chocolate Shell

1 c. chocolate chips- I used dark chocolate chips

3/4 c. coconut oil- I used the unrefined

1/2 c. powdered sugar

Heat all together until melted. I melted mine in a microwave for 1 minute, but you could also melt over a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Store at room temp. To use, drizzle over ice cream, wait about 10-20 seconds- and it will harden.

Strawberry Waffles

Strawberry Waffles

These waffles would make a great breakfast. We actually had them for dessert last night. That’s the thing about waffles. They can be eaten any time of the day. I have been enjoying fresh strawberries in everything!!! The season for local berries is pretty short, so I try to enjoy them as much as possible, while I can.

This waffle recipe came about because I needed a dessert for dinner with a friend. It was a last minute dinner, so I didn’t have a lot of time. Waffles seemed like a great idea. They don’t take a lot of time to make, and  they highlighted the berries. My friend really liked them. I did, too.

I made the waffles with fresh strawberries in the batter. Then, they are served topped with more fresh berries and a dusting of powdered sugar. They were a perfect dessert. I could see topping them with ice cream or whipped cream, too. Any leftover waffles can be frozen.

For the fresh strawberry topping, you just combine fresh, sliced berries with some sugar. If you can make it ahead of time, the sugar draws juice out of the strawberries, kind of making its own sauce. I made the topping first, then popped in the fridge.

So here is my recipe. Enjoy!!

 

Strawberry Waffles

 

1 1/3 c. flour

2 T. sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 t. cinnamon

½ t. salt

2 eggs, separated

½ c. butter, melted

1¾ c. milk

2 t. vanilla

1 c. chopped fresh strawberries

 

Powdered sugar for topping waffles

Strawberry topping- recipe follows

 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Set aside. Separate the eggs. Set aside the yolks. Place the whites in a small mixing bowl. Beat whites until moderately stiff; set aside.  Combine milk, melted butter, egg yolks and vanilla in small bowl. Add to dry ingredient mixture and blend. Stir in berries. Fold stiff egg whites into mixture. Ladle mixture into hot waffle iron and bake. To serve, top with powdered sugar and strawberry topping. Makes 10-12 (4-inch) waffles.

 

Topping

1 qt. strawberries

½ c. sugar- or to taste

 

Wash and stem berries. Slice berries. Place in bowl and sprinkle on the sugar. Stir to combine and place in fridge until ready to use. Try to do this at least 30 minutes before using. That will give the mixture time for juice to be released from the berries.

Chilled Beet and Watermelon Soup

Chilled Beet and Watermelon Soup

Rather than start dinner with a salad- why not try a cold soup instead? It’s been very hot around here lately, and a cold soup sounded good to me. This is a great first course for a hot day. Or, a perfect lunch.

I got this recipe from a friend of a friend. I tweaked it a little from the original, but it is pretty much the same. It is  simple to make and full of flavor.

The sweetness of the watermelon, pairs nicely with the earthy flavor of the beets. The mint also adds a nice little pop of flavor. The color is pretty cool, too. I shared this recipe with a friend and she said she just drinks it like a smoothie. You can easily make bigger or smaller batches. Just start with equal amounts of watermelon and beets. Thin it down with a little stock, until it gets to the consistency you like. The soup will keep in the fridge for several days and freezes well.

You don’t have to serve it just at dinner or even just for lunch.  I actually have eaten it for breakfast, too.

 

Chilled Beet and Watermelon Soup

2 cups diced beet (cooked)

2 cups diced seedless watermelon

a few sprigs of mint

Put in blender

Add Chicken or Vegetable stock to taste/consistency

Add salt if desired

Dollop with Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt, if desired.

Garnish with fresh mint.

With any cold soup- chill well after you make it. You might even want to chill the bowls and spoons.

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