July 28, 2009

TWD- Cinnamon Ice Cream and a Giveaway

It's Tuesday again so that means another delicious treat tempting me in my kitchen! Dorie's vanilla ice cream was chosen by Lynn. Fortunately for everyone involved, all this takes is a minute on the stove and a quick spin in the ice cream maker to yield a delicious and adaptable treat.

I made this recipe last summer and over cooked the custard. This time, in fact, it only took about thirty seconds on the stove after tempering the eggs to get the mixture hot enough. I guess I'm learning after all. When I made this before I thought it needed to thicken up almost like pastry cream does, but mine was at the right temperature just after putting it back onto the stove- it was thick like egg nog (but much tastier!) I skipped past vanilla to the playing around options- choosing cinnamon because I tried it in Paris long ago and it was the best I've ever had. Honestly, I really didn't eat any bad food in Paris. The French are just good like that. But that cinnamon ice cream was exceptional.

Grab the recipe here or at Lynn's blog. And go make it. I'm hoping to try the mint chocolate chip recipe next and will post it when I do. Then I'm thinking of adding in my banana to a batch of vanilla. And maybe I'll make a peach variety, they are coming soon after all. I don't think you can go wrong with this great vanilla ice cream.

Now for the giveaway. MyBlogSpark has given me one gift pack for a reader. It features new Pillsbury Simply Cookies, a nice reusable shopping back, and a cute cookie jar (that I filled with "potty treats" for my little man who is almost all trained- yeah!). I bought the peanut butter cookies to try and made regular cookies (my husband's favorite) and some little cookie cups to eat the ice cream from. To make those, I just flattened out one cookie and placed it inside a greased muffin tin. I baked them at 350 (same as the cookies) for about 9 minutes and they popped right out. They are cute and would make a fun dessert, especially topped with some chocolate syrup and your favorite ice cream.

I love making cookies from scratch but I'll admit these are pretty fast and perfect for a quick dessert like this. With summer craziness it's nice to have quick desserts up your sleeve. I'm going to have a series of recipes up for quick dinners to go along with this theme because I know we aren't the only ones running around and thinking of dinner only when our stomachs start to rumble.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment with your favorite quick summer meal or tip (or your favorite ice cream, since it is ice cream week around here!) One entry per person- contest ends Sunday night at midnight Arizona time. I'll announce the winner next Tuesday. U.S. addresses only please. :) And please leave a way to contact you (if you don't have a blogger profile that links back to you- I'd hate not being able to get a hold of the winner!)

July 25, 2009

Williams-Sonoma is torturing me again...

I've had my KitchenAid, Ms. Empire Red, for 4 1/2 years. I've never seen another color that I liked more or another mixer as pretty. Sure, there are some amazing colors and I think they'd be perfect for other people (like the green apple- I wish I was that girl), but the Empire Red is the one for me. And like a lot of people, I'm madly in love with my mixer. I almost named this blog "KitchenAiding and Abetting". If it ever dies I'll buy a new one THAT day. I'd probably wake my son up from his nap to go get a new one, and there aren't many things I'd do that for.

Walking through the mall Tuesday, I peeked longingly into the Williams-Sonoma window, thinking about the little tiny cookies scoop I'm dying to buy (but not to pay $25 for) and I stopped dead in my tracks. No kidding, it was the most beautiful KitchenAid I've ever seen- the exclusive 90th anniversary edition. It's a shimmery, shiny rich red- my favorite color. It's the color of my favorite shoes (the high heels I've somehow stopped wearing almost every week to Church while I'm so pregnant), my favorite lip gloss ("Siren"), my favorite toe nail polish ("I'm not really a waitress"), my favorite German cars. It has a shiny glass bowl that I didn't realize I needed. It's gorgeous, it's useful, it's easy to clean, it's hard working, it's durable.

I don't know why Williams-Sonoma is always doing this to me, making me lust after things I don't even need. But if you need a KitchenAid (and unless there's one sitting on your counter, trust me, you do)- go get this one. I'd say I'll get it when mine dies, but Dorie says in her book that the one she got for her wedding is still going strong. I'm thinking if Dorie's never dies, mine never will. That's a good thing, but it does make it hard to justify this purchase! Now go to the mall and look at this beauty. It's much prettier in real life, if you can believe that. I'm going to go try to convince my mom she needs this, because she probably won't mind if I sit around and stare at it all day as much as the people at Williams-Sonoma would. But I'm thinking they'll get used to that if they keep this in the front window for too long...

July 23, 2009

Ina's Peach, Blueberry, Cherry Crumble

It's Thursday again, and that means another lovely Ina recipe for the Barefoot Bloggers, chosen by the fabulous Aggie. I'm starting to feel bad, that maybe people are sick of hearing how much I love Ina, but it's for real. This isn't a teenage, summer romance. I've honestly made over 50 of her recipes and can't really recall any problems or disappointments, if you ignore the pile of dishes and excessive butter purchases. Honestly though, I don't think Ina is as bad about butter as she's made out to be- and even when she is, it's easy enough to modify the recipe to be a little better. For this crumble/crisp/almost cobbler, I'll be sure to use a bit of whole wheat flour next time, since I'm sure not even my brother would notice (and he kind of has radar for that stuff). I also lowered the amount of butter in the recipe below (actually doubling the topping but not the butter, since I baked this for a crowd in a big casserole pan) to make a less greasy crust. I threw in some chopped pecans last minute and they were perfect.

I love fruit desserts. I love Ina. I can't wait for peach season to come and when it does you can bet I'll be pining for the days when I lived in Utah and could walk one block to Allred Orchards stand and pick one of 10 gorgeous varieties. For now, the "fruit lady" hooks up all my Mesa, AZ peeps with delicious Utah fruit all summer and fall long. Email me (top right) for her info if you're looking for some exceptional peaches, starting in mid August, for Crumbles, Crisps, Cobblers, Waffles, Ice Cream, Smoothies... I don't know, just about everything. And make this Ina recipe (it's another good one, surprise!)

Peach, Cherry, and Blueberry Crumble
loosely adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa at Home

For the fruit
2 lbs firm, ripe peaches (6-8 peaches)
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 pint fresh blueberries
3/4 cup pitted cherries

For the Crumble
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (sub some whole wheat- I bet no one will notice)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 lb (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
2/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until their skins peel off easily. Place them immediately in cold water. Peel the peaches, slice them into thick wedges, and place them in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour. Toss well. Gently mix in the blueberries and cherries. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into large baking dish (I used my standard 9 x 13).

For the topping, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Dump in the pecans. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it’s in big crumbles, then sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan lined with a silicone mat and back for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature. If you want to make these early, store the unbaked crumble in the refrigerator and bake before dinner. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (highly recommended!)

July 21, 2009

Dorie's Amazing Apple Pie

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe didn't quite make it to the table. You see, my mom, the worlds biggest advocate of whipped cream and other delicious dairy products (i.e. the Raspberry Blanc Manger selected this week) has been a pillar of dietary discipline lately, forgoing everything delicious and remotely sinful for salads and celery, carrots and the like. I'm trying to run from the desserts myself lately, as I'm bound and determined to keep the weight off this pregnancy. I'm finding that 115 degree weather doesn't lead to many desirable outdoor/calorie burning activities besides running from the car to the grocery store and back to the house. So, I decided not to tempt my mom (or myself) too much.

However, this apple pie is more than temptation enough- and I've been saving this photos for a while, waiting for the right time to share. Apples are everywhere at my grocery store and so today is the day. With Dorie's ridiculously delicious pie crust I've loved over and over, more apples than you'd believe would fit in the pie pan, and a round scoop of ice cream on top, I think this will satisfy anyone's dessert craving and cool you down in the process. I'll say, this pie was so good it made a fruit dessert non-believer go back for seconds. So check out the other beautiful Tuesdays with Dorie concoctions and then go get some apples. I'm thinking it's high time I make this again (I'll just leave it at my place to save my dedicated mom from the temptation... and I'll count all those apples and a hearty portion of cinnamon as healthy enough!).

All-American All-Delicious Apple Pie
adapted from Dorie Greenspan (and casually typed- buy the book already to enjoy her beautiful writing, photographs, and recipes of course!)

Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough for a double crust, chilled (see instructions below)
4 pounds (about 6 very large) apples - I used a mix of Pink Ladies, Fujis, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious - whatever looks good and a nice mix of textures and sweetness
3/4 cup sugar
Grated zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca or 1 tablespoon Ultra Gel
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs (or dried bread crumbs, unseasoned)
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
milk and sugar for the optional glaze

Assembly Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425. Peel, core and slice the apples. Put the apples into a large bowl and add the sugar, lemon zest, tapioca (I used Ultra gel), cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss together and let sit for five minutes.

Remove the pie crust from the fridge and sprinkle the crumbs over the bottom of the crust (to help prevent sogginess) and then turn the apples and the juices into the crust. The apples will heap over the top of the crust. Pat them into an even mound. Dot the apples with the bits of cold butter.

Lightly moisten the rim of the bottom crust with water, place the top crust over the pie, and crimp together after cutting overhang.

Use a sharp knife to cut slits into the top crust. Brush the top crust with a little milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes (at 425). Reduce the heat to 375 and bake for another 50 to 60 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the juices are bubbling. Check on the pie after a half an hour or so to make sure it’s not browning too quickly (use a foil tent in that case).
Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and let it rest until just warm. Serve with ice cream.

Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough
adapted from Dorie Greenspan

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
3/8 cup very cold (frozen is even better) Crisco (plain, not butter flavored), cut into 4 pieces
About 1/2 cup ice water

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don't overdo the mixing—what you're aiming for is to have pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley.

Pulsing the machine on and off, add 3 tablespoons of the water—add a little water and pulse once; add some more water and pulse again; and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn't look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. If you've got big pieces of butter, that's fine. The dough is ready and should be scraped out of the work bowl and on to a smooth work surface. (be careful not too add too much water- if the dough looks dry after adding most of the water, pinch it with your hands to check if it's coming together, and finish combining it by hand)

Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it. Refrigerate the dough at least 1 hour before rolling. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

July 14, 2009

TWD- Brioche Plum Tart

When I studied in Paris, we went to Versailles and spent a whole day looking at all the beautiful grounds and buildings. We had a little tour of the chateau and learned a lot about Marie Antoinette from a very sympathetic source. My professor insisted that her oft quoted saying, "Let them eat cake" was really misinterpreted and that she actually said, "Let them eat brioche." Now is there a difference? He says that she was told the peasants didn't have any bread, and she replied, "Well them let them eat brioche", since she didn't understand that they didn't have any bread at all, much less eggy buttery deliciousness (i.e. brioche). Maybe she was rude, maybe she was just really ignorant, but definitely, she lived in style. And now whenever I eat brioche I think of her and her gorgeous bedroom. By the way, happy Bastille Day! I'm sure it wasn't a great day for Marie Antoinette, but we're having a big French dinner tonight with photos and recipes to come soon.

This brioche tart is unlike any other brioche I've ever eaten. It came together quickly in my beloved KitchenAid and the recipe was simple enough my little guy could help without causing too much trouble. After an overnight stint in the fridge, the dough was pliable, fragrant, and cooperative. I used my deep tart pan and covered the dough with strawberry jam, plums, and sugar tossed walnuts. It browned a little more than I liked in the oven but smelled so good that were I French royalty, I'd encourage all of my constituents to eat this instead of any old baguette.

However, when I sliced it up (after the obligatory rest, brioche might be delicious but it's certainly a little high maintenance) it was too juicy. Next time I'll use less jam (just enough for the tiniest layer) and make sure that the dough is thinner on the sides and thicker on the bottom, since my Tall Man shies away from anything that even looks like it might be soggy. Even so, the flavors were amazing and he said, "Wow, that tastes like spring! Let's do it with peaches next time!" With a few modifications, there certainly will be a next time- because even in the heat of summer, my kitchen is happy with the scent of brioche and the memories of Versailles. Don't miss the other Tuesdays with Dorie creations and make some brioche of your own.

July 7, 2009

TWD- Katharine Hepburn Brownies and a name debate

Another week, another brownie. I've made several lately, it seems- Ina's Outrageous Brownies and Dorie's Chipster Topped Brownies, not to mention some that didn't get photographed. I've decided that while an over baked brownie is hardly worth eating, an under baked brownie is practically impossible to eat. I've had a few rivers of chocolate instead of sliceable brownies and so I'm recommitting to cooking my brownies a little bit longer.

As for flavoring, I love the chocolate chips and the pecans. I don't do coffee, so I just omitted that and and added a little extra vanilla. I also skipped the cinnamon (though I loved it in the French Brownies) for the sake of my guests.

These brownies are quick and easy to throw together and if you are a slacker and avoid sifting, you will only need to dirty one little pan. I like that. I put off making these for a while before I read the whole recipe and realized these would come together in 10 or 15 minutes. I'll be making these again, and even baking them all the way. :)

Thanks Lisa for the fun choice and for the beautiful new TWD Logo. Grab the recipe at her blog or here.

For my favorite brownies yet, check out these links:
Oreo Cheesecake Brownies with Mint Ganache
French Chocolate Brownies

Don't miss next week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe... Brioche Plum Tart. I haven't even looked at it yet but I'm sure I won't miss anything with the word "brioche" in it!

Now for the name debate... since these are Katharine Hepburn brownies, I'd love some opinions on the name. This name is topping the list right now for our little girl but we can't decide what to do. Do you think she should be named Katherine if the intent is to always call her Kate? Or should Kate just be Kate and be spared the need to correct it all the time? Spill people. With a name like Anne (pretty much free of options) I need some good opinions.

July 6, 2009

Summer Key Lime Pie

I've spent every summer of my life (except one in Utah and half of one in Paris) in Arizona. Let me tell you, summer here isn't about running around enjoying the weather and all the beautiful outdoor furniture Pottery Barn keeps emailing me. It's about surviving. And swimming. This is the first Arizona summer I've enjoyed "pregnant" (29 weeks today!) so I've really been trying to avoid the heat as much as possible.

This month's Pies with That challenge is to create a pie that means summer to you. While it is blistering hot and I'm aching for a nice February day, I've always loved living here and I'm more than willing to put up with the heat. I've been thinking a lot lately, too, that since I love my September birthday, I have to pay for it for my own daughter. So there you have it. I'm resorting to turning on every fan in the house, drinking tons of ice cold water, and eating lots of frozen dessert to get through these last seventy something days. I thought Dorie's Florida Pie was the perfect rendition of summer for me because it's refreshingly light and cool, only takes a couple of minutes in the oven (10 for the crust, which you could buy theoretically but I wouldn't recommend, especially since you can pile the crumbs high for a beautiful crust no problem, and 12 for the filling), and it includes coconut, which has always reminded me of sunblock. I know it's supposed to be the other way around, but I can't hardly smell coconut flavoring without picturing a public pool. Between that and the texture issue, I left it out. I needed this cooling, summer refreshment sans banana boat. Top it with shredded coconut if you're feeling daring. Keep this pie in the freezer for an extra refreshing treat, or let it soften for a few minutes if you're enjoying one of those Pottery Barn type summers I've read about.

In my anticipation of this pie, I couldn't wait to eat it. I took two quick pictures and served up a piece for my son and I to share. We were almost done when he said, "Wait Mommy!" He ran to the other room and found his toy camera and when he returned he said, "Take a picture Mommy!" After he did his thing, he figured we could finish off our slice. Wow, my poor kid. He is only two...

Summer Key Lime Pie
Adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan

For the crust:
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about one sleeve)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
4 large egg yolks
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C. Fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes)
1 teaspoon Lime Zest

To make the crust:

Butter a 9-inch springform pan (or pie plate or tart pan). Stir the crumbs and sugar together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don't worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach above or below the midway mark on the sides—this doesn't have to be a precision job. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.

Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the filling.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment of a silicone mat.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl beat the egg yolks and lime zest at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the remaining juice, again mixing until it is blended. Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour. Serve with whipped cream and garnish with lime zest or lime wedges.