Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

We got a bunch of mint growing wild by our local creek so I made some Fresh Mint ice cream, another great recipe from David Lebovitz's book The Perfect Scoop. I was never really a fan of mint chocolate chip ice cream although it's one of Sage's favorite. So I wasn't quite sure how this would turn out, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Wow, it tasted REALLY, REALLY GOOD! Very mild, yet creamy and just MMMMM. ^_^ The recipe calls for two cups of lightly packed mint, which is a whole lotta mint. If I didn't have access to a lot of mint, I don't think I'd buy that much mint to make this. It'd be some really expensive ice cream!

Fresh Mint Ice Cream- makes about 1 quart (1 liter) -


1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
Pinch of salt
2 cups (80 g) lightly packed fresh mint leaves
5 large egg yolks


1. Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup (250 ml) of the cream, and salt in a small saucepan. Add the mint leaves and stir until they're immersed in the liquid. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

2. Strain the mint-infused mixture through a mesh strainer into a medium saucepan (the milk will be a lovely shade of emerald). Press on the mint leaves to extract as much of the flavor as possible, then discard the mint leaves. Pour the remaining 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream into a large bowl and set the strainer on top.

3. Rewarm the mint-infused mixture. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mint liquid into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

5. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. Then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Beef Stroganoff

I don't know why but I've been craving beef stroganoff. It's been at least five years since I've had this dish but somehow it's been in my head lately. My kids also claim they've never had it before (although I know I've made this before long, long time ago) so it was a new dish for them to try. Found a recipe from Allrecipes that I used as a base. Tweaked it a little as the reviews suggested and it came out really good and the kids liked it too. I'm good for another five years. ^_^

Monday, July 27, 2009

Daring Bakers - July 09 - Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies & Milano Cookies

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.
When I read that this month's challenge was cookies, I was pretty happy. New cookies are always fun to try and Milano cookies have been something I've always wanted to try, as well as homemade marshmallows so I was pretty stoked.

The chocolate covered marshmallow cookie... the chocolate was a little soft and didn't set. So they ended up sticking to the paper. But they look great.
I wasn't quite sure how the marshmallow part would turn out. I forgot to add the gelatin to the syrup so I ended up microwaving the gelatin with a little of the syrup/egg white mixture and then blended it back in. Luckily they turned out alright. Piping all those marshmallows sure made me feel like a pastry chef. ^_^

This recipe made A LOT of cookies. I didn't even get to use 1/3 of the cookies. I noticed I was starting to run low in the chocolate for dipping so I drizzled them onto the remaining third. These ended up better (not to mention a whole lot easier) cuz they didn't stick.

The milano cookies...looks great but they didn't come out as I had hoped. The cookie part was nice and crunchy but after a few hours they turned chewy.

This recipe also made a whole lot of batter so I turned some of them into regular cookies.

And then drizzled some of that leftover chocolate from the filling.
This challenge wasn't hard but with all those little steps and wait time it turned into an all day ordeal. Started around 10 am, and finished dipping around 8pm. And now we have a lot of cookies, but with three kids I'm sure they won't be around long!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

David made these on our last camping trip, bacon wrapped hot dogs. They were pretty good. Funny that I've lived here in the states for about 32 years and never had one of these before.


I tried growing radishes from seed this summer. It has a short growing season so it meant that chances of it not turning out was slimmer. At first the growth looked promising, a lot of them sprouted and started growing. But before they started getting big it started to flower. All the energy was going into the flower so I decided to pull some of them out. So here's three radishes, my first and probably last harvest. But it was exciting to see them grow.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Abby's Culinary Creation

We went to the creek the other day and found some mint growing abundantly. So we picked some and Abby wanted to make something with them. So she made what she called a "salsa" but it's more like a salad/side dish. I let her pretty much put in whatever she wanted. So in went some mint, green onion, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, salt & pepper, lemon juice, and feta cheese. It was actually pretty good.

She cut everything herself (with a steak knife.) Future chef? She did say she wanted to be a pastry chef when she grows up. She's going to be like me, she'll cook/bake cuz she wants to eat it! ^_^

The Sprouts (Results)

So here's what the sprouts looked after 4 days. They got pretty long but they've started leafing (is that a word?) and the thin part of the roots were kinda long. I wonder if it's because I didn't grow these in the dark. Hmmm...I'll have to try that next time. The directions said to not water the last 24-hrs so they can dry out. Apparently moisture's their biggest enemy after they've grown. However during that drying period something went wrong and they turned brown and I've afraid to eat them. Oh well, I'll just have to try again.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bean Sprouts

I've tried growing sprouts before with a colander and a bowl but I didn't have much luck. So when I found this sprouter at a yard sale for only a buck I had to get it. I'm trying mung beans which'll grow into bean sprouts. Just gotta remember to water it every 12 hrs. ^_^

Here it is after Day 1. It's already starting to grow, I'm so excited!

Friday, July 10, 2009

3rd Annual Sanrio Charaben (Character Bento) Contest

Japanese bentos (box lunches) are amazing on their own, there's so much that goes into bentos but some people just take it to an art form. This one is the winner for this year's Sanrio Charaben contest. It just seems like a waste to eat it! Just Bento has an English post about this, and although it's in Japanese here are the finalists. Take a look, it'll blow you away.

Maze Zushi (mixed sushi)

One of my summer foods is food made with sushi rice. Apparently the vinegar is good to lift you up from the grogginess of the summer heat. One of the easiest way for me is to make mixed sushi, the mix-ins vary to what I have on hand (and what needs to be eaten ^_^). This time I used some Japanese pickles chopped up, the green cucumber pickles and shiba-zuke (cucumber/eggplant pickled with red shiso) and some shredded shiso (perilla leaves, kinda like japanese mint). I served them with some pickled red ginger and also wrapped up in nori.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Watermelon Juice

Sometimes the simplest things taste the best. I had a watermelon that was overripe and soft so I put threw it in my blender. The result: a very refreshing drink. The four of us drank about half of a pretty large watermelon, although we'd have trouble eating that much. ^_^

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cherry Sorbet

Having so many cherries inspired me to make cherry sorbet, a very, very good sorbet from the book "The Perfect Scoop" by David Lebovitz.
Cherry Sorbet
(makes 1 quart)
2 lbs cherries
1 c. water
3/4 c + 2T sugar
1 t. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 t. almond extract or 1 t. kirsch
Stem the cherries and remove the pits. In a medium, nonreactive saucepan, warm the cherries over moderate heat with the water, sugar, and lemon juice until they start becoming juicy. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are very soft and cooked through. Remove from the heat and let stand until they reach room temperature.
Puree the cherries and their liquid with the almond extract or kirsch in a blender until smooth.
Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.