Friday, September 23, 2016

Fresh Peach Ice Cream

Hello, dear readers.  We've had a great season for fruit.  The peach tree is absolutely drooping it's so loaded with peaches. One of my favorite things to make with juicy fresh peaches is ice cream!

Mom used to make peach ice cream when I was a kid. It was basically vanilla ice cream with peaches mixed in.  Simple enough, right? Yes, but also so good! There are two versions of ice cream base that are good with peaches.

The first one is a cooked custard base.  It is a richer, thicker ice cream with nice yellow tint from the eggs. It takes slightly longer to make this since you have to cook it and then let it cool overnight. It's super buttery and luscious. It freezes very hard and keeps a smooth texture.

The second base is still really luscious without the cooking. It's a mixture of creams and sugar. I think I prefer this one. It's not quite so rock solid when frozen and it lends a really pure creamy flavor.

The peaches really need to be ripe, dripping sweet juicy ripe, for this to be good.  Slightly firm and tart peaches just won't do it justice.

Choose one of the ice cream base recipes and go from there.  Don't make both or you will be making ice cream until the cows come home. (And I don't have any cows, so it would be a very, very long time!)

On a side note, I have a Krups ice cream machine. It makes a smallish batch so I have to churn and freeze the first half of the mixture, then churn the other half. It works out well enough. Just know if you have a similar machine that it will not work right if you try to freeze the whole batch of ice cream at once.

1 cup pitted and peeled peaches, small dice
Fruit Fresh or other similar anti-browning ingredient, about 1/2 a teaspoon
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 recipe Ice Cream Base (see below)

1. Prepare the Ice Cream Base in advance. Make sure it's cold.

2. Sprinkle the peaches with Fruit Fresh and sugar.  Let them get syrupy. Keep this in the fridge until you're ready to churn.  Cold things freeze faster!

3. Place freezer insert into ice cream machine base with paddle and lid. Pour half of the batch of very cold Ice Cream Base into machine and turn on immediately. Keep the other half of the base cold in the fridge for now.

4. Let the machine run about 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on it. When it starts to look like ice cream, let it run another 5 minutes or so. You want it pretty firm.

See, just starting. It's freezing along the edges.

Getting more frozen texture. It can hold a spoon standing up now.

5. Add the peaches. Yes, all the peaches. Continue churning until it looks firm again.

6. Stop the machine and scoop out the first half and place in a freezer-friendly container.

7. Place the first batch in the freezer,

8. Add the second half of Ice Cream Base to the machine. Turn on and let it run until it looks firm.

9. When it's firm enough, scoop this into the container with the first batch. Fold them together. I like that it's not all peach all the way through, that there are some peachier flows and  some creamy flows.
(By the way, if you have any caramel syrup you love, add a squeeze and gently fold it in while you're mixing the two half-batches. Peach with caramel is really delicious.)

10. Pop the whole thing back in the freezer and consume when it's frozen hard.

Ice Cream Base 1: Custard recipe
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs

Method for Ice Cream Base 1
1. Combine ingredients in a sauce pan.  Bring up to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir often.
2. Simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened and there are no lumps.
3. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes on the counter
4. Transfer to a dish and refrigerate over night.

Ice Cream Base 2: No-Cook recipe
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup sugar

Method for Ice Cream Base 2
1. Mix all ingredients while cold. Don't worry if the sugar doesn't dissolve.
2. Transfer to ice cream machine and start churning.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Zucchini Bread

Hello, dear readers. Welcome back!

My garden is growing at an amazing pace.  We started late, thanks to worries about frost. We finally planted things in early June.  I figured the garden might be a little bit small from having plants die in the heat, but we've actually had very little die-off.

We have a single zucchini plant and it is producing at a good rate.  I already have enough that I used a few in the lasagna for dinner, a batch of this zucchini bread, and I still have a few that I haven't touched. Plus, there are more on the plant!

Quite a while ago, I picked up this recipe off of a message board for scrapbookers. There are so many lovely people out there making beautiful creations, not just scrapbook things, but food, crafts, and things for the home. I've been too busy to keep up on the message board, but I did friend a many of those crafty people on Facebook so I can keep up with them.

Now, on the recipe details. I've made a change to how I prepare the batter compared to the original posting. We have a Blendtec blender that can liquify almost anything. For some crazy reason, I sold my food processor at a garage sale thinking "I should get rid of this thing. I never use it!" So, to make up for no food processor, I use the blender instead. See the recipe below.

I hope you like this. It's been one of my go-to zucchini recipes for a few years now.

P.S. I didn't adjust the amount of baking soda or baking powder, and it turned out fine for my altitude. Also, I was reading that yellow summer squash could be substituted for green zucchini. They are very similar overall and can be used interchangeably in many cases.

Zucchini Bread (adapted from Erica Hite)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups flour (I used 1 c. AP, 2 c. whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts (optional, I use pecans or pumpkin seeds)

1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon). Stir to combine and set aside.

2. In the high-speed blender, pour in the oil.  Add chunks of zucchini to fill up to the 3 cup mark on the blender container. Add vanilla. Blend on lowest setting until no large pieces of zucchini remain, but it should look like there are flecks of zucchini. (Do not over-process this into puree.) This should take maybe 15-20 seconds of blending. Add the eggs and blend again just until combined, so about 5-7 seconds.

3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, add nuts if you want them, and mix well.

4. Pour batter into two greased loaf pans or one greased 9x13 pan. 

5. Bake loaf pans at 350F degrees for 50 minutes to an hour. Bake the 9x13 pan about 45-50 minutes.  It should pass a toothpick test when done.

6. Let the bread cool about 10 minutes and remove from the loaf pan to finish cooling.

7. This is fantastic as is, but if you want to dial up the sweetness, try a glaze or icing. Recipes below.

Ingredients for thin icing:
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Mix up the powdered sugar, milk, and extract to make the icing. Drizzle over the loaf. 

Ingredients for thick cream cheese icing:
1 8-oz. block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method for cream cheese icing:
1. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar in intervals, beating after each addition, about 1/2 cup at a time.
2. Add the vanilla extract and beat until smooth

3.  Decorate the cake using a spatula to spread the icing. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Your Bijoux Box July 2016

Hello, dear readers!

This month's box of jewels contained some really nice pieces. The blue stones are so pretty! Take a peek!

Hold on, we can't miss the card with names and descriptions.

First, let's check out the Margaux Opal Earrings. My 7-year old daughter immediately snatched up these earrings. I had to do some serious negotiating to get them back so I could just take pictures. You can see why. They are cute! The opal stones are faceted so you get a bit of sparkle. They're not too big and heavy, either.

 The second piece is the Giselle Blue Collar Necklace. The blue of the stones is really gorgeous and bright. This happens to look fantastic with the Margaux Earrings.

 Third, we have the Lili Starburst Bracelet. At first, I didn't notice the center stone was deep blue. I'm really liking the starburst shape.  Plus, this bracelet is actually big enough for an adult. I don't have to worry about my daughter stealing this one!

Finally, they included a bonus JCat Lip Glaze. What a treat! I also had to pry this away from the 7-year old. This color is so vibrant and fun!

There you have it, another box of amazing products.  I can't wait for next month. Thanks for stopping by. See you next time!

PS. For the sake of transparency, I paid for this subscription myself. It was in no way "free" or provided to me for some exchange of services. I just really liked the products and wanted to share my opinion.