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Friday, July 31, 2009

Pure Honey Ice Cream

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honey ice cream

 

This ice cream is the ultimate proof that when it comes to good food, less is often more. With only 3 simple ingredients (plus a pinch of salt), you can make this delicious ice cream that tastes so homemade and pure. Because the recipe is so simple, it is important to use the best ingredients that you can find and afford. Local, organic eggs and dairy are wonderful and easy to find this time of year. The final product will taste exactly like the honey you use, so choose something that you really like. I used a raspberry honey that I picked up last week at my local farmer's market.

This ice cream can be a starting point for many other variations. I kept it simple, but you may want to add some chopped walnuts to it, or some chopped semi-sweet chocolate. You can also infuse the base of the ice cream with herbs or spices such as basil, mint, cinnamon, vanilla. On this case, just add the extra ingredient to the simmering dairy base, let it rest for at least 2 hours, strain it and proceed with the recipe.

Another great way of using this honey ice cream is to make smoothies and shakes. Try blending it with fruits like peaches, bananas and strawberries.

Pure Honey Ice Cream Recipe:

You will need:

4 egg yolks

2/3 cup of pure honey

1 1/2 cups of half-and-half

1 1/2 cup of whole milk

a pinch of salt

 

Bring the cream and the milk to a simmer, do not let it boil.  While the cream mixture warms up, whisk the yolks, honey and salt together until pale and fluffy.

Slowly incorporate the warm cream mixture into the eggs, one ladle full at the time, whisking vigorously. Return the egg and cream mix to the stove and cook over low heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Do not let it boil. The custard is ready when it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail if you pass your finger on it.

Cool custard completely in the fridge before putting in the ice cream maker. Follow instructions of your ice cream machine.

Enjoy it!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Milano Cookies - Daring Bakers

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The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

We were given a choice of making both cookies or only one of them. I chose to make the Milano cookies because I am not  a big marshmallow fan. The cookies were very easy to make and the dough reminded me of my first Daring Bakers challenge, the Tuiles. Remember them? This time the dough was piped and had a much thicker consistency. The filling of the cookies was as simple as a chocolate ganache can be, with the addition of some orange zest.

milano cookies 1

The recipe is pretty straight forward and I did not make much changes to it. I did, however, omit the lemon extract (didn't have any), and halved the entire recipe. I ended up with about 16 cookies. If you would like to see more  Milano cookies or the chocolate covered marshmallow cookies, head over to the Daring Bakers site and have fun!

milano cookies 4

This is the original recipe given to us. I halved all ingredients (using 3 egg whites) and omitted the lemon extract.

Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

 

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies

 

• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
• 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 orange, zested

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

milano cookies 2

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Banana and Chocolate Tart

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banana choc tart2

 

I know very little people (if any) that don't like chocolate or bananas. The combination of both is even better, so when I ended up with an extra tart shell from my last Daring Bakers challenge, I knew exactly what to do with it. It's hard to go wrong with chocolate and bananas.

If you have already a tart shell frozen or if you are using a store-bought one, this dessert comes together in no time at all and can easily be made on any busy week night. If you are going to make the dough from scratch, than you'll have to add some extra time, but this dough is really easy to work with. For this recipe, I used an already blind-baked tart shell,

The idea here is to make a layer of chocolate on the bottom of the tart shell and top it with fresh bananas. A no-brainier, really. I also added some possible variations and additions to make this tart even more delicious.

 

banana choc tart1

Banana-Chocolate Tart Recipe:

makes one 9 inch round tart

 

You will need:

1 tart shell, homemade or store-bought , par baked and cooled (recipe for sweet short crust pastry as well as how to blind bake a tart shell, here)

4 oz of semi-sweet chocolate

1/4 cup of cream or half and half

3-4 ripe bananas, depending on their size

1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons of  brown sugar

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the cream just until bellow boiling point. Pour it over the chocolate and stir until you get a smooth consistency. Let it cool.

Peel the bananas and half them lengthwise. Squeeze the lemon juice over the bananas and add the sugar. Mix well.

Spread the chocolate sauce on the bottom of the tart shell and top it with the bananas, cut side up, forming a circular pattern.

Bake it until tart is golden brown and bananas are soft, about 30 minutes.

Serve warm by itself or alongside some vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy it!

 

Possible variations:

Sprinkle the bananas with some chopped peanuts or walnuts half way trough baking.

Place a layer of shredded coconut between the chocolate and the bananas.

Use cinnamon-sugar instead of the brown sugar.

 

 

banana choc tart 3

Monday, July 20, 2009

Barley and Avocado Salad

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barleu avocado salad 1

 

This dish works well in a household where there are both vegetarians and meat eaters (like mine). That is because this filling salad can serve as the main dish for a vegetarian as well as a side for some grilled chicken for a meat eater. This dish is so healthy and tasty, you won't get tired of it. You can think of it as a kind of deconstructed guacamole with the addition of barley. Kind of.

I like to cook a big batch of barley every once in a while and keep it in the fridge for different uses during the week. It makes salads like this one a cinch to prepare.  To cook the barley, I simply add lots water to a pot, bring it to a boil, add the barley and cook it for about 45 minutes with a semi open lid.

 

barley avocad salad 2

Barley and Avocado Salad Recipe:

serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side

You will need:

 

1 hass avocado

1 cup of coked barley

1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon of chopped basil leaves

1 tablespoon of chopped red onion

1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice

1 1/2 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon of salt

fresh pepper to taste

 

Half the avocado and remove the pit. Cut the avocado flesh into bite size pieces.  Mix together the avocado, barley, tomatoes, herbs and red onion. Make a dressing for the salad by mixing the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and whisk it until it comes together. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir it to combine, being careful not to squeeze the pieces of avocados. Serve it immediately.

Enjoy it!

 

barley avocado salad

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Short Pasta with Zucchini, Peas and Mint

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zucchini pea pasta 1

This is a summer pasta dish, and the best part for me is that it comes together in less than 30 minutes. It's a "sauceless" kind of pasta, just tossed together with sauteed vegetables and fresh herbs. Delicious and healthy. Whenever I make this at home, I start by heating the water for the pasta, then move on to prep the veggies and cook them. By the time the pasta is cooked my vegetables are done and I just scoop them out of the water and drop them in the skillet with the vegetables. It's that easy. I like using  short pasta in this recipe because I cut the zucchini in batons so they all have a similar size. The pasta on the photo is a whole wheat rotini, but you can use any kind of pasta that you like. This recipe makes 2 servings and can be easily doubled.

Short Pasta with Zucchini, Peas and Mint Recipe:

serves 2

You will need:

2 cups of uncooked short pasta (rotini, penne)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 cup of chopped onion

1 teaspoon of salt

pepper to taste

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 small-medium zucchini, cut into batons

1/2 cup of peas, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint

 

Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente.

While the water heats and the pasta cooks, make the vegetables.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the onions until translucent. Add the garlic, cook for another 30 seconds. Add the zucchini and peas and cook until the zucchini is cooked but still somewhat firm. Season with salt and pepper.

Drain the pasta and save some of the water. Add the pasta to the vegetables in the skillet and some of the pasta water to make it a bit moist. Add the fresh mint and mix well.

Enjoy it!

 

 

 

zucchini pea pasta

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pink Bites Turns One!

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It's been a whole year since I started sharing my cooking adventures here. I wish I had a big birthday cake recipe to post and celebrate it, but I don't. It's been too hot to use the oven. But I couldn't go without acknowledging this date. Over 150 recipes in a year, I think that's something to celebrate. Most of all, I want to thank you for stopping by, I hope Pink Bites has inspired you to make some home cook meals and hopefully enjoy it with people you love.

I look forward to another year filled with good eats.

Cheers all!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Quick Caprese Tart

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caprese tart 1 

This is as easy as a meal can get. Store bought puff pastry, tomatoes and mozzarella. A few sprinkles of parmesan cheese on the bottom and a few more of basil on top. That's it, dinner is served. Most (or all) of these ingredients are staples in my house, and quite frankly, one cannot go wrong with this classic combination of flavours.  This tart can be made year around, but is specially good during the summer months when tomatoes are at their pick.

The recipe bellow is for one tart, using half a package of puff pastry. This is a super easy tart to make and it's best eaten straight after it's baked. It can be served as a side dish for a chicken dinner, or paired with some grilled vegetables for a vegetarian main meal.

 

 caprese tart 3

Quick Caprese Tart Recipe:

serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main dish

You will need:

1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed (half a package)

1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

1 large beefsteak tomato (If using smaller tomatoes such as on-the-vine or roma, you might need more than one)

8 oz of fresh mozzarella

a handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped

flour for dusting

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Dust a flat surface with flour and roll the puff pastry with a rolling pin until it is about 9x10 inches.

Using a knife, trace a line around the pastry making a board of about 1/2 inch. Place the puff pastry on a baking sheet and pierce the bottom several times with a fork. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until just lightly golden.

While the pastry is baking, slice the mozzarella and dry well with a paper towel. Slice the tomato in a way that will better fit the pastry. In the picture, I used one large beefsteak tomato cut in half and the sliced.

Sprinkle the partially baked pastry with the parmesan cheese and cover with alternating pieces of tomato and mozzarella. Return it to the oven for 10-15 more minutes, until the cheese starts to melt and the pastry is golden brown. Top tart with basil and serve immediately.

Enjoy it!

 

caprese tart 2

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Vietnamese Tofu Sandwich

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tofu asian sub 3

This sandwich is inspired on the Vietnamese summer rolls, that's why I call it a "Vietnamese Sub". I love the summer rolls but they can be quite time consuming to make, so I decided to put some of the flavours that I like from the rolls in a sandwich. One of the things I love about the fresh salad rolls is the peanut dipping sauce that comes with them, so I made my own Asian-peanut spread for the sandwich by combining peanut butter, hoisin sauce and mayonnaise. I added carrots, jicama and daikon as well as baked tofu. For extra crunchiness, I put some chopped peanuts inside the sandwich. Fresh cilantro adds to the theme, making this a one of a kind sandwich.

Vietnamese Tofu Sandwich Recipe:

makes 1 sandwich

You will need:

1 tablespoon of peanut butter (room temperature is best)

1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons of vegenaise (or regular mayonnaise)

1 baguette about 8 inches long

1/2 block of (1 piece) of baked tofu of your choice

1/2 carrot, peel and cut into thin strips

1/4 jicama, peeled and cut into this strips

1 small piece of daikon, cut into strips

a handful of fresh cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon of peanuts, roughly chopped

Mix the peanut butter with the hoisin sauce. Add the vegenaise until you get a creamy consistency. You might use more or less mayo depending on how you like the spread to taste.

Slice the bread lengthwise and spread the peanut-mayo on both sides.

Layer all the other ingredients to make your sandwich.

Enjoy it!

tofu asian sub 1

This month's Weekend Wokking (not so) secret ingredient is cilantro, so I am submitting this recipe for it. This edition of Weekend Wokking is hosted this month by Blazing Hot Wok.

tofu subIf cutting vegetables is not your thing, use the large holes of a box grater to shred the carrots and jicama.