Cracker Jack Ice Cream Cake

Cracker Jack Ice Cream CakeTake Me Out To The Ball Game
I recently came across a photo of a Cracker Jack Ice Cream Cake when I was looking through a magazine about great American cakes. And, it blew my mind. It combines a number of things that I love all in one: cake, ice cream, and baseball.

If you have been reading this blog with any regularity you will know of my love for baseball—and nothing says baseball more than Cracker Jacks…well, maybe hot dogs and beer. But, you get the idea.

Full disclosure, I am a fan of peanuts in my ice cream as well as caramel but I have never even considered putting cracker jacks on my ice cream. Mind blown.

This Cracker Jack Ice Cream Cake is fairly easy to make, especially if you use a springform pan, But, it does require freeze time. So, be sure to plan ahead if you are making this for a special occasion…but who really needs a special occasion?

Cracker Jack Ice Cream Cake
Yields 8-10 servings Read more…

Amy’s Fresh Corn Salad

Amy’s Fresh Corn SaladYellow Gold
The season of corn is upon us and that makes me very happy. We just got our local Brentwood corn in the store which means it is now officially summer.

I will admit that I am a corn snob. I only eat it during the “corn months” (June-August/September or so) which means for 8-9 months out of the year you will not see corn in my house. Sure, I will occasionally use frozen corn in recipes when it is called for. But, eating straight-up frozen or canned corn? Nope. Can’t do it. Please understand there is nothing wrong with frozen or canned corn. I’m just a corn snob.

With this in mind I have a tendency to go kinda corn crazy because the window of opportunity is short. Fresh steamed corn on the cob is by far and away my favorite way to consume this warm weather treat. You just can’t top the flavor of super-sweet fresh corn with melted butter. Doesn’t mean that’s the only way I will eat it, though. There are so many other ways to enjoy it.

This Ina recipe for Confetti Corn is great for a backyard BBQ or Potluck. And, for something totally different there’s this Corn Pie. Every summer, I try to find a new way to enjoy corn. So, I developed this recipe for Amy’s Fresh Corn Salad.

Bonus: It’s also a good way to eat your ripe garden tomatoes….

Amy’s Fresh Corn Salad
This salad is a perfect dinner side for a hot night and also good as lunch the next day.
Yields 4 to 6 servings Read more…

Berry Trifle Recipe and Memorial Day Menu Ideas

Berry TrifleRemembering
Memorial Day weekend is coming. We can slow down and remember those who paid the ultimate price in service to our country. It is a time to celebrate those brave men and women—but it is also a time to celebrate the freedom that their sacrifices ensured.

Chances are your Memorial Day celebration will include a BBQ, either at your place or with friends and family. It’s just how we do it in the good ‘ole U. S. of A. Of course, what constitutes a BBQ is different for everyone. For some, it’s burgers and dogs. For others is slow-cooked ribs or juicy chicken. Perhaps it’s your favorite sausage. And don’t forget the rib-eyes…

To help you choose your BBQ, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite BBQ recipes for you to look over while preparing for the big day. Remember there are no hard and fast rules as to what should and should not be at your Memorial Day BBQ. You want to throw some shrimp on the barbie? More power to you!

I have just one request. Don’t forget Dessert.

Dessert for a crowd can be difficult. I have always been a fan of the Berry Trifle at outdoor gatherings. It’s pretty. It’s tasty and you make it as big or little as you want. I like Tyler Florence’s recipe a lot. Feel free to substitute some good vanilla pudding for the lemon curd or, heck, use both!

Here’s our list of recipes
Mains
Cherry Cola Ribs
Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip Marinade
Spicy Beer Marinated Flank Steak
Grilled Chicken Thighs with Peaches, Mint & Almonds

Sides
Tri-Colored Orzo Salad
New Potato Salad
Gam’s Bacon Potato Salad
Green Chili Rice Casserole
Jumbo Pico Salad
Amy’s Spicy Slaw

Desserts
Peach Cobbler
Lemon Meringue Pie
Texas Sheet Cake
Overstuffed Nutters

Berry Trifle
Adapted from Tyler Florence
Yields 4 servings
You can adjust it up or down depending on how many you are feeding. It is also lovely when assembled in individual serving glasses. Read more…

Citrus Marinated Chicken Tacos

Citrus Marinated Chicken TacosFiesta De Mayo
May is a month of celebrations. There are five birthdays, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day. It’s a busy month and the official kick off is Cinco de Mayo.

For the record, I do not have one single drop of Mexican blood in me. Not even a little. (I’ve done the Ancestry DNA test. I’m pretty boring.) What I do have is an insane love for Mexican cuisine, which is why Cinco de Mayo is a big deal in my house. My husband went so far as to remind me last night that Cinco de Mayo was this Friday. As if I hadn’t already started planning? Dude, it’s like you don’t even know me…

Cinco de Mayo falling on a weekday can be somewhat problematic. Sure, the fact that it’s on Friday is a good thing since you can sleep in on Saturday. But, it makes menu planning a bit more limiting. For a lot of people, Mexican food means tacos and burritos. And, while this is a part of Mexican cuisine, there is so much more to it. Mexican cuisine has boundless diversity and flavor that varies from region to region. You could spend years trying to experience all of its nuances and hidden tastes. Which is exactly the problem. Some of the best food Mexico has to offer takes time and does not lend itself to a Friday night meal after work.

So, tacos it is with fresh tortillas, preferably homemade. (If you have never made your own tortillas, grab a bag of Maseca and give it a try. You’ll never go back to packaged.)

This Citrus Marinated Chicken Tacos recipe is one I made for my very first Cinco de Mayo celebration 20 years ago. It’s an oldie but a goodie. I have been known to add a little tequila to the marinade when I’m feeling sassy…

Citrus Marinated Chicken Tacos
Yields filling for about eight tacos

Read more…

Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado and Pistachios

Zucchini CarpaccioVeggie Supreme
Something major happened over the weekend that hasn’t happened in a couple of years—I managed to eek out a few hours over the weekend to plant some tomatoes. While that may not seem like a major event to some of you, for me it’s a big deal. For the last two years, the lack of water in California and the voracious appetites of my chickens have combined to leave me summer garden-less. And, that is unacceptable.

The lack of water was something I couldn’t control. Luckily, we got a decade’s worth of precipitation in the span of what seemed like a week so THAT is no longer an obstacle. (Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. Maybe.) All I know is it seemed like someone left the hose running this winter and I am more than ready for it to shut off.

The chicken thing was a different surprise altogether. Who knew that ravenous chickens were one of the seven plagues of the bible? Locusts yes. Chickens not so much. By the destruction left in their path, my walking squawking composters proved that they can more than hold their own against any end of days infestation. My girls were thorough. They ate every plant down to the ground. There was nothin’ left. I’m talking moonscape.  Since then they have been allowed to roam amongst my planter boxes scratching for bugs and taking dirt baths while at the same time turning over the soil and fertilizing. I figure it was the least they could do.

Now the girls are back on their side of the yard giving me the stink eye through the slats in the fence. I think they are plotting something. They have that look…

So far I have only been able to get the tomatoes in. I’m hoping to plant cucumbers, peppers, carrots, and maybe some melons. I’m going to try for peas too. But, it may just be too late. And, I’m tempted to grow zucchini. However, the last time, my husband threatened to have lawyers on the phone if I made him eat anymore. But, I love it, so he may just have to deal. Mainly because I can’t wait to eat recipes like this Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado and Pistachios on the back patio.

It will be many weeks before I can harvest squash from my garden. But, in the meantime, the zucchini on our produce shelves is looking pretty tasty. You can make this dish now, and dream of summertime.

Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado and Pistachios
Adapted from Patricia Wells and Food 52
Read more…