Coffee and Coconut Non-Dairy Ice Cream

Coffee and Coconut Non-Dairy Ice CreamGoing Through A Phase
For better or worse, I have been eating more than the normal amount of ice cream lately. It happens. I go through phases where I have to have some every night. I am currently smack dab in the middle of one of those phases. Even better, the phase has phases.

I start out with the family favorites like mocha almond fudge and pecan praline and let’s not forget the classic vanilla with chocolate sauce. After a week of that, I turn to the ice cream sandwich phase. It’s-its and drumsticks are a must-have. They are a reminder of summers dashing out of the house and racing down the street at the sound of the ice cream truck driving by.

The final phase, the phase I am in now, is the try something new phase. If you have been in the ice cream section lately I am sure you have noticed that your options for a frozen treat have become bountiful. From coconut, to soy, to cashew, or even oat milk there are so many possibilities to satisfy your cravings.

My most recent foray into the world of dairy-free desserts is this recipe for dairy-free ice cream which combines two of my favorite ice cream flavors, coffee, and coconut. The result is a treat so good you may never go back…well, until the next phase comes around!

Coffee and Coconut Non-Dairy Ice Cream
Adapted from Food 52
Read more…

Independence Flag Cake

Independence Flag CakeJust like everything else this year, the 4th of July is going to be weird. There will be no fireworks shows—though if your neighborhood is anything like mine has been lately, you’ve had your fill of the sound of fireworks. There will be no neighborhood parade with Dads pushing their prized, decorated grills while performing dance routines. (Yep. This is a thing where I live.) But, I know one thing that will not change. We will eat flag cake.

Every year my sister makes a flag cake for 4th of July. It’s kind of become a running joke for my family. Don’t get me wrong, the cake is great but not having the cake would be a catastrophe of epic proportions. Maybe. Probably not. I just know there have been more than a few years when we had to scramble to find decent berries to top the cake. I sense that this year it will be just that much more important if only to provide a bit of normalcy.

We always use Ina Garten’s recipe for flag cake. But, as long as you have white frosting and red and blue fruit for the decorations, you can use any cake recipe you want. You can use your favorite boxed cake mix and make your life that much easier.

I did do a quick search online for flag cakes just to switch things up this year. I was amazed by what I found. If you are not a big fan of sweet stuff, rest assured that there are plenty of savory versions including a flag Caprese salad and a deviled egg flag which sort of scares me, frankly. Take a few minutes to do a search if only for the entertainment value.

How ever you decide to celebrate the 4th this year, be it with or without a flag cake, I wish you a safe, healthy and very happy 4th of July!

Independence Flag Cake
Adapted from the Food Network and Ina Garten
Yields about 20 servings Read more…

Preserved Roasted Peppers

Preserved Roasted PeppersPick A Peck
Whenever I plant a veggie garden I always include peppers. Bell Peppers are a must-have as are any spicy peppers like jalapeños or Fresnos. Planting peppers presents a problem as they can be as prolific as zucchini under the right conditions. I am a big fan of Thai chilis but anyone who has ever grown them in their garden knows that one plant can produce hundreds of chilis. I mean, I like spicy but that’s a bit too much. So what to do with all those peppers?

Trading with friends, neighbors, and co-workers is always an option—even better if you trade for something they grew that you didn’t. But, sometimes there are still too many. So, I end up preserving them.

You have two options when it comes to preserving peppers. You can make pickled ones quickly in the fridge like these or you can roast and can them for use at a later date. Both have their merits, though if you want more versatility as to what you can do with the peppers, roasting is the way to go.

I love preserved roasted peppers. You can use them in sandwiches or in salads. You can chop them up with some tomato for a tasty bruschetta or add them to your favorite pasta dish.

Below is one of my favorite ways to preserve peppers. It comes to us courtesy of Hank Shaw of Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook and it is one of my favorite resources for pickle recipes as well as other off the beaten path ideas. I like to add a clove of garlic to each jar to add just a little bit more flavor. Definitely check his website out if you are so inclined. In the meantime, if your pepper plant cup runneth over, try this recipe to get things under control…

Preserved Roasted Peppers
Adapted from Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook

Our method of preserving peppers is to roast them over an open fire, then preserve them with a little salt, oil, and vinegar. Roasted peppers are delicious. They make great appetizers and go well in sauces, stews, sandwiches, and simply draped over roasted or grilled meat.

This recipe can be used with any variety of pepper, sweet or spicy. Read more…

Turmeric Pickles

Turmeric PicklesNothin’ But Time
So here we are at the end of May still with a lot of time on our hands. If you planted a veggie garden at the beginning of all this, time may not be all that you have on your hands. My tomatoes have been going crazy, and even more so with the recent heat. I don’t have any actual tomatoes yet but they are definitely coming. What I do have are cucumbers.

I love cucumbers. I use them in salads, obviously, but I really like to use them by slicing them up and putting them along with a fresh mint sprig in a pitcher of water to keep in the fridge. The cold cucumber water is especially refreshing on hot days.

The best use for an over-abundance of cucumbers is, of course, pickles. These Garlic Dill Pickles are my favorite but sometimes the same old thing gets, well, old. My sister is big into pickling and has a number of favorite recipes—but the one I think she uses the most is the turmeric pickle recipe from the Mustard’s Grill Napa Valley cookbook that we highlighted for one of our Cookbook club dinners. Mustard’s is a Napa Valley icon and, since things seem to be opening up in those parts, it might be worth a trip in the weeks to come…

In the meantime, try these pickles if you have the inclination. They are excellent when made with both cucumbers or zucchini which means you will always have a way to handle an over-producing garden. I like to add a dried chili in there for a little extra kick….

Turmeric Pickles
Yields about 4 Cups
Adapted from Mustard’s Napa Valley Grill Cookbook  Read more…