5/30/12

Recipe for Frozen Peach Yogurt and My Culinary Crush on Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home Cookbook

Recipe for Frozen Peach Yogurt and My Culinary Crush on Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home Cookbook

This might be the longest post title I've ever written!

It has been hot and humid in DC the last past week and I have been trying to spend as much time in my air conditioned condo as possible.

Earlier last week, however, I tracked to my library because there was something special waiting on hold for me: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook by Jeni Britton Bauer.

I started paging through the book even before I got home. It has recipes for ice creams, frozen yogurts and accessories such as sauces and chocolate bombe shells. The photography is bright and playful and the recipes are divided by season.

I have many pages marked, but one of the recipes that stood out the most to me was the Baked Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt.

Alas, my grocery store was out of rhubarb. Figures. I decided to use peaches instead. I changed Jeni's recipe a bit: first, I cooked the peaches in butter in a skillet instead of baking them. Second, I used almost double the fruit amount Jeni listed in her recipe. What you'll see below if my version of the recipe.


Frozen Peach Yogurt
Slightly Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home

Ingredients

1 quart plain yogurt

1 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 pound peaches, pitted, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup



Directions

1. The night before you want to make the frozen yogurt, fit a sieve over a bowl and line it with two layers of cheesecloth or paper towels. Pour the yogurt into the sieve, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours to drain. You will need 1 1/4 cups of the total drained yogurt for this recipe.

2. In a skillet, heat butter, add peaches and sugar and cook until the peaches are soft but not falling apart. Set aside. While the peaches are cooking, prepare an ice bath: big bowl filled with ice and cold water.

3. Mix about 3 tablespoons of milk with cornstarch in a small bowl.

4. Whisk the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth.

5. Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.

6. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

7. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the peach mixture and 1 1/4 cups of drained yogurt. Blend well.

8. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon plastic freezer bag, seal and submerge into the ice bath. Cool the mixture for about 30 minutes.

9. Pour the frozen yogurt base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the frozen yogurt into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lead. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.


Tada!


This recipe has quite a few steps, but it's oh so very worth it! The flavor of the peaches really comes through and you can make this recipe your own by using other fruit and experimenting with adding citrus zest or even a bit of liquor as a flavoring agent.



In the past, I've also made goat cheese ice cream from Jeni's book and loved it.

Do you have this book? Have you made any recipes from it? What is YOUR favorite flavor of frozen yogurt or ice cream?

5/28/12

Perfect Side for Memorial Day Picnic: Jicama Slaw Recipe

Happy Memorial Day!! Hope you are enjoying your three day weekend.

I've been busy cooking, catching up on sleep and swimming laps at my condo's pool. Not a  bad way to spend my time...although laundry awaits.

When I was thinking about recipes to post this week, my inspiration was pretty much shut. Then, I discovered Asian pears were on sale at my grocery store and decided to make a slaw using them.

Alas, my store didn't actually have the Asian pears available. Not wanting to scratch my plans of making the slaw, I decided to use jicama instead!

What is jicama? Well, it looks like a flat giant potato, but it doesn't have to be cooked. Once peeled, it can be shredded or chopped and added to salads. It has a slightly starchy taste, but a crisp light texture.

Combined with carrots, daikon radish and a sweet apple, jicama makes a great slaw. There is no mayonnaise in this recipe, which makes it healthy and perfect for picnics!




 Jicama Slaw with Daikon Radish, Carrots & Apple
serves 4-6

Ingredients
1 jicama, about a size of a large grapefruit, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 daikon radish, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 Fuji apple, cut into matchsticks
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon ponzu citrus seasoning dressing and sauce
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. There is no need to whisk the dressing in a separate bowl.
2. Refrigerate the slaw for at least an hour.




Can this recipe be any easier? I don't think so.

Have you cooked with jicama before? What are you eating this Memorial Day?

5/23/12

What to do with Purple Asparagus: Quick Recipe for a Weeknight Meal


A few weeks ago I attended a media event at the Smucker Farms of Lancaster Co Store in DC. I got a chance to sample some of the wonderful products available at the store including cheese, jams, popcorn, crackers and cookies.

Not only is the space absolutely adorable, but the staff was knowledgeable and friendly. All the products come directly from  Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

I did not leave empty handed: Smucker Farms graciously gave me a mini crate filled with samples of soap, jam, cheese and other little goodies. {Did I just say goodies?!}

One of the gifts that I was most excited about was purple asparagus. I've never tasted or cooked it before and could not wait.

What did I make with it? Below is a quick write up of my meal, but there are no exact measurements because I was cooking while packing for Seattle and watching TV...you'll just have to improvise.


Quick Recipe for a Weeknight Meal {you can also make this dish for breakfast, brunch or lunch}

Ingredients

olive oil
onion, chopped
purple asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 3/4" pieces
canned tomatoes without juices
prosciutto, sliced
eggs
salt & pepper
shredded cheese
cilantro, chopped

Directions

1. Heat oil in a skillet.

2. Add onions and asparagus to the skillet and saute until softened.

3. Add tomatoes and prosciutto and cook for a few minutes.

4. Make two indentations in the vegetables mixture and carefully drop in two eggs {clearly without the shells}. Season with salt and pepper and let the eggs cook for a few minutes.

5. Sprinkle everything with cheese, and cook covered until the cheese has melted and the whites of the eggs have set.

6. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Could this be any easier? You can serve this meal on its own or with some crusty bread.

Alas, the asparagus turns from purple to green while it's being cooked. If you want to retain the beautiful purple color, use the purple asparagus in a raw preparation as my friend Cecilia did.

5/21/12

Recipe for Nutella Ice Cream from Giuliano Hazan's Hazan Family Favorites Cookbook

Before I share a recipe for Nutella Ice Cream from Giuliano Hazan's Hazan Family Favorites Cookbook, I'd like to share a bit of the back story.

I met Giuliano years ago when I assisted his cooking class at Sur La Table. He was soft spoken, yet clearly passionate about Italian cooking. He treated all students and assistants equally and was eager to share his knowledge of ingredients, techniques and recipes.

In fact, I still teach Giuliano's method of chopping an onion in my knife skills classes. Want to learn it? Holler ;)

When I joined Twitter, I started following Giuliano's wife, Lael, and quickly said yes when she offered me a copy of Hazan Family Favorites for review.

A few weeks ago I received a beautiful cookbook with enticing food photographs, touching family photos and recipes that span from pizza to semifreddo.

But where to start?

This past week I visited my family and friends in Seattle. The weather was stunningly sunny and warm, so I decided to make Nutella Ice Cream. Luckily, Anna's friend Naomi let me borrow her ice cream maker, and Anna let me have her bowls and ice cream scoop. The beautiful cutting board is from my brother Misha, who doesn't have a blog or a twitter account, but carved it himself!






Nutella Ice Cream
Reprinted with permission from Hazan Family Favorites
makes 1 quart

Ingredients
2 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
4 ounces (1/4 cup) Nutella

Directions
1. Put the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. When the milk is hot enough to release steam when stirred, but not boiling, remove from the heat and pour the hot milk into a heatproof pitcher or cup with a spout.

2. While the milk is heating, put the yolks in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and whip at high speed until the mixture is pale yellow, thick and creamy.



3. Slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture while whisking on low speed. Once half the milk is added, you can begin to pour a little faster until all the milk is added. Add the Nutella and whip on medium speed until it is evenly incorporated.

4. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator. When it is cold, freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Serve right away or store, tightly covered, in the freezer. It should keep for sever days before ice crystals begin to form.




The ice cream was sweet and screamed NUTELLA. I thought the texture was closer to granita, sonext time I will try using heavy cream or half & half, and maybe adding an extra yolk to the mixture. Anna suggested adding roasted salted hazelnuts for a bit of texture and flavor contrast.



I'm looking forward to making more recipes from Giuliano's book and hope you will too!

5/16/12

Where to Eat on H Street in DC? Toki Underground

Who loves ramen? I do!

The first time I went to Toki Underground, I fell in love with its small, eclectically decorated space, friendly staff, and bowls of steaming broth filled with noodles, vegetables, an egg and various other ingredients you may choose.

When my friend Cecilia suggested we go to Toki for a second visit last week, I said YES. Toki is located in the growing H Street neighborhood, which as bad as this might sound, is not my typical hangout. I can't wait for the H Street trolley (bus?) to start operating so I can visit that part of DC more often.

The night was windy and gray, and the rain was out of control. We thought we'd have no trouble snatching a few seats. We were wrong. Even at 6:30 on a random Wednesday night, the wait was about 45 minutes. Trust me: it's WORTH it.

We went back out into the rain to cross the street to Smith Commons for drinks.


I had a mojito and Cecilia had a watermelon drink. Both were great, but I could not help but look at my phone every few minutes in anticipation of receiving a text that our table at Toki was ready. And then it was!


We decided to share an order of steamed seafood dumplings adn an asparagus salad, and then order a bowl of ramen each.



We sat at the bar overlooking the pots bubbling with the delicious broth and got to see the masters at work. Each bowl went through a taste test before it was served to customers.



Please don't judge the food by my yellowish photos. The flavor of the asparagus salad with pickled ramps was fresh and acidic. The dumplings were light, and a steal for $5.


But the star of the night was definitely the ramen. For the second time in a row, I ordered Kimchi Hakata: Tonkotsu noodle soup with pork loin, chashu, seasonal vegetables, boiled egg, sesame, scallions, nori and locally made kimchi.


Cecilia ordered a Curry Chicken Hakata (not pictured). After trying the original flavor and the curry flavor, I think my choice was the best :) The spiciness of the kimchi cut through the fattiness of the broth, pork and  egg, freshening up the entire dish.


I'm not sure how, but I managed to save half of my bowl for lunch the next day. If Toki Underground were open for lunch, I'd be in trouble since I work in (sort of) walking distance of them ;)

Thanks for a great night!!


5/14/12

Dress Up Your Gazpacho: Gazpacho with Marinated Feta, Olives & Basil

Morning! It's not even 9 am in Seattle, where I'm visiting my family, but on the East Coast, it's time for lunch.

This recipe for Gazpacho with Marinated Feta, Olives & Basil takes literally minutes to put together, packs a lot of flavor and is incredibly pretty.

Make this on a hot day or whenever you are craving tomatoes.




Gazpacho with Marinated Feta, Olives & Basil

Makes 6 cups

Ingredients
6-8 cups roughly chopped tomatoes
1/2 English cucumber, peeled, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
salt & pepper
drizzle of olive oil

Toppings
kalamata olives
marinated feta
fresh basil

Directions
1. Puree the first three ingredients in a blender.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Pour gazpacho into soup bowls, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with kalamata olives, marinated feta and fresh basil.


For fun, I decided to put the garnishes on a wooden skewer:


Of course, you can also simply add them to the soup as is:

Do you love gazpacho? What do you usually put in yours? What other cold summer soups do you enjoy?

5/11/12

Where to Have a Power Lunch in DC? Proof!

What do you think of when you hear the words power lunch?

I picture business men sitting at a table discussing the latest greatest deals, or diplomats speaking in languages ranging from Hebrew to Farsi, or members of Congress eating sandwiches while discussing all things DC.

But power lunch can also be an occasion for two friends with uber busy schedules to get together and catch up on what's been happening in the last few months.

That's precisely what happened earlier this week when my friend Sylvie and I got together for lunch at Proof.

The first time I went to Proof was several years ago, and it happened to be one of my best second dates ever! There was wine, flirting, more wine, the promise of a great romance, and he took my hand.

It lasted a month, but I still have some great memories.


Back to lunch ;)

Proof has a great lunch special:

LUNCH CRUSH SPECIAL: $12 For a selection from 5 entrees, plus a glass of wine or beverage of your choice at our BAR and LOUNGE.  


Before we decided on the entrees, Sylvie twisted my arm {just kidding!} into ordering
a charcuterie platter. Although we weren't told exactly what we were eating, looking at the menu on line, it could have been a combination of Prosciutto San Daniele, Jamon Serrano, Coppa, Rosette de Lyon, Cacciatore, Hose Made Pate Campagne, and toasted bread. The entire board was $22.

And it was delicious. In fact, I took the leftovers back with me and ate them the next day as a late afternoon snack.


For my actual meal, I ordered Proof Shrimp Burger with jalapeno, shaved cucumber, cilantro, and pickled daikon & carrots. The burger was incredibly juicy, and the combination of the mild shrimp with the pickled vegetables was perfect. I almost did not miss having fries with it ;)


Sylvie ordered a Tuna Nicoise Salad with baby arugula, French beans, radish, olives and a hard boiled egg. I also noticed some white anchovies on top.

The service was great. The food was delicious. I loved catching up with Sylvie and getting out of my cubicle for a mid-day break. The only suggestion I have for Proof is to have an option to order a mocktail...but that might be too much to ask for $12.

Where's your favorite place for a power lunch?

I'm on my way to Seattle to visit my family and friends for a week, but I'll stay in touch. You do the same!

5/9/12

Love Avocados? Want Something Other Than Guacamole? Make Avocado Soup!

I did not eat my first avocado at least until I was thirteen years old. I doubt avocados were available in Moscow (Russia), so it wasn't until my family immigrated to Seattle, WA that I had my first taste of the green creamy smooth and buttery fruit.

I was hooked!

I can eat avocados simply seasoned with salt and lime juice, as a dip {guacamole}, sliced on sandwiches, or added to salads.

A few months ago I learned how to make avocado soup from the lovely and talented Patricia Jinich.

The soup consisted of onions, cilantro, chicken stock, avocados, jalapenos and a few other ingredients. The best thing about the recipe is that it can be customized to suit your tastes and whims.

I kept on meaning to recreate the recipe at home and then a  lucky thing happened.

My friend Rachael, aka La Fuji Mama, sent me a box of six avocados from California Avocados Direct. I was beyond thrilled.

These avocados arrived bright green and hard as a rock. I had to be super patient and wait until they ripened before creating my avocado soup. {See the difference in color between the ripe avocados in front and the unripe ones in the back.}


Avocado Soup
Makes 6 cups

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons butter
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
4 cups simmering chicken broth
flesh of 2 large avocados
salt & pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 lime

Toppings
Tostitos Artisan Recipes Fire Roasted Chipotle Chips
fresh cilantro
crumbled feta
lime wedges
fresh corn, removed from the cob and sauteed in olive oil







Directions
1. Heat oil and butter in a skillet. Add onions and jalapenos and saute until tender.
2. Add cilantro and cook just until it wilts.


3. In a blender, puree chicken stock with the onion/jalapeno/cilantro mixture, avocados, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.


4. Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro, feta, corn and chips.


The soup is great warm or chilled.


Have you ever made avocado soup before? If not, what do YOU like to do with avocados?

5/7/12

Savory Bread Pudding with Tomatoes, Feta and Olives: Recipe Development for Lipman Produce

Last month I received an email asking if I'd like to develop a recipe for Lipman Produce. Since the key ingredient was tomato, of course I said yes.

Then I started to think about creative and unique ideas for recipes I could make with tomatoes. Alas, several ideas I came up with were already taken by other bloggers involved in this project, so I had to continue brainstorming.

Finally, I created Savory Bread Pudding with Tomatoes, Feta and Olives. Not only is this recipes simple to make, it looks gorgeous, can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, and is good for households of one or for those occasions when you have people over for a big meal.

Before I share my recipe, here's a little bit of information about Lipman:

"When it comes to fruits and vegetables, all of us at Lipman understand the importance of buying only the freshest, safest and most delicious-tasting produce for your family. After all, we’ve been family-owned and operated for more than 70 years.

While we’re known around the country for our intensely flavorful tomatoes, our fields also yield succulent melons and a variety of nutritious vegetables, including bell peppers, cucumbers, squash and eggplant.
Providing farm-fresh fruits and vegetables has been a family tradition since the 1930s – and we’re proud to make you part of it."

Savory Bread Pudding with Tomatoes, Feta and Olives

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 eggs
1/3 cup milk
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
1 cup crumbled feta
4 cups 1"-cubed focaccia (I used focaccia my friend Cecilia made. If you aren't lucky to have Cecilia as a friend, use store bought focaccia, challah or Italian bread)
Nonstick cooking spray

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Add oil and allow it to heat. Add tomatoes and saute for ten minutes. Add garlic and saute for two more minutes.



3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, black pepper and parsley. Add olives, feta, bread, and tomatoes. Mix everything together carefully: you don't want to smash the tomatoes.


4. Spray four ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Divide the bread pudding mixture amongst four ramekins and bake for 25 minutes.


Digging into these individual bread puddings, you'll get bursts of flavor from tomatoes, feta and olives. The texture contrast of the focaccia cubes inside versus on top of the pudding adds a bit more interest to the dish.


Make sure to check my recipe and the recipe of other bloggers on Lipman's website.


Although I used Lipman's cherry tomatoes for this recipe, they grow many other kinds.

"At Lipman, you say tomato … and we say "what kind?"

The perfect variety encompasses many characteristics: abundant flavor, superior nutritional value and uniform size, color and shape. That's why, at Lipman, we're constantly striving to grow tomatoes so delicious, even the pickiest eaters can't say no. Our line of tomatoes ranges from small – like our Cherry Berries, Little Gems and the soon-to-be-released Tiamo – to large, like our Vintage Ripes, a proven customer favorite."
What are your favorite dishes to make with tomatoes? What are your favorite types of tomatoes?

Disclosure: Lipman Produce sent me four varieties of tomatoes to play with in my kitchen and gave me a stipend to develop a recipe for them.