Friday, August 24, 2007

Happy birthday Roberta and Dad!

After they had dinner at Kitchen, around the corner from our house, Dad and Linda, Roberta and Eddy came over to our house for dessert. Today was Dad's birthday and Roberta's birthday was just a little over a week ago. I was very excited to make a birthday dessert for them.

Dad's tried just about all the ice creams I've made the past several months, and his favorite is one of the simplest to make: strawberry frozen yogurt. As I was dragging them away from dessert at a very nice restaurant, I decided to dress it up a bit with a tasty serving vessel: Lemon poppy-seed almond cookie cups. Plus I topped it all off with minced strawberries macerated with a little sugar and Grand Marnier. Most tasty!

One of the things we like so much about this strawberry frozen yogurt recipe is that it actually tastes more like a sorbet and less like a yogurt. It's got a lightness to it that you don't get with store-bought frozen yogurt, and we love it. It can be creamier, but still sorbet-like, if you use a Greek style yogurt. However, comparing the two, my dad and I prefer when I use a runnier-style yogurt (also known as "European Style," according to the labeling on some packages at the market). Today I used Pavel's Russian Yogurt in honor of one of the dessert guests, Eddy B. and his Russian heritage. Usually I use Strauss Family Creamery yogurt, but they don't carry it at Safeway and I didn't have time to shop elsewhere today.

The recipes are, of course, from my favorite food blogger and ice cream author, David Lebovitz and his book, The Perfect Scoop.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Both the cookie cups and the frozen yogurt are very easy to make and fast enough that I could make them while taking care of our baby. Not bad!

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
1 lb ripe fresh strawberries, hulled and rinsed
1 c full fat yogurt
2/3 c sugar
2 tsp kirsch (I use vanilla vodka or Grand Marnier)
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Slice the strawberries in to small pieces. Toss in a bowl with sugar and Grand Marnier, stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring every so often.

Puree the strawberries and their liquid with the yogurt and lemon juice in a blender or food processor (I use an immersion blender) until smooth. If you wish, press the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove the seeds (I never do this).

Refrigerate for at least an hour and then freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

Ice cream cups

Lemon-Poppy Seed Cookie Cups
3 TB unsalted or salted butter
2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
7 TB sugar
3 TB flour
1/2 c sliced almonds
2 TB poppy seeds

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, sugar and flour. Mix in the almonds and poppy seeds and let the mixture rest for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Have ready 4 overturned teacups or custard cups.

Put 4 level tablespoons of batter, evenly space, on the baking sheet and use the back of the spoon to spread them into circles 2 inches across. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, until they're deep golden brown. Let rest for 30 to 45 seconds, then lift each cookie off the baking sheet with a flexible metal spatula and flip it over onto an upended teacup.

Let the baking sheet cool, then repeat with the remaining batter.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

This is not a chew toy!

Davey got in to a closet and found this today. Somehow he thought he should take a bite out of it. Hello National Poison Control?

This is not a chew toy! Thank GOD, it hadn't been used in over a couple years and he didn't seem to have any ill effects.

Yes, I will make sure to ALWAYS close the hall closet door completely from now on.

This won't be good for our water bill... a drought year. Davey, this morning, figured out how to flush the toilet. Now the lid was down so he didn't see the nifty whirlpool consequences of his actions. It's just a matter of time, hm? Matthew Kell, you said it's the red Power Rangers we have to watch out for, right?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tomato and corn soup

Tomato and corn soup
Originally uploaded by jessicafm.
Aunt Susie came up with a recipe for this delicious Summer soup. Seriously, this is Summer in a bowl. Mmmm. I modified her recipe to add some fresh sweet corn kernels. Which works quite nicely.

Here's the modified recipe:
Grow tomatoes
Grow corn
Grow basil
Pick tomatoes
Pick corn
Pick basil
Either grow garlic or buy local garlic
Use very ripe tomatoes. This is a good way to use split ones.
Cut into big chunks into big pot. No need to peel them.
Cook on medium heat until starts to froth.
While waiting for the tomatoes to froth, cut the kernels off the corn cob(s).
Mash tomatoes with a masher.
Chop up lots of fresh basil.
Dump chopped basil into mashed frothy tomatoes.
Add lots of garlic-pressed garlic.
Add corn kernels.
Turn off burner.
Leave pot on cooling down burner.
Salt to taste.
Add a bit of honey (or sugar), but only enough to bring out flavor.
Serve. Top with grated parmesan and fresh coarse-ground black pepper. A drizzle of high quality olive oil is quite delicious, too.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A very coffee couple days

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum! This one started because I was talking with Melody, our wonderful nanny, while Davey was napping the other day. We were looking through The Perfect Scoop together and we both saw the recipe for Vietnamese coffee ice cream and both thought it'd taste great. Then I realized I had all the ingredients in the house. So... here we go! I made up the mixture in the late afternoon yesterday and put it in the fridge to chill, planning to churn it later in the evening.

Well, the churning didn't happen yesterday. Why, you ask? Well, I'll tell you!

Yesterday morning Mark had his laptop on the coffee table while Davey was crawling around and otherwise playing in the living room. Then Mark put his coffee cup on the table, next to his computer and left the room. Well, Davey being Davey and curious to touch whatever he can... well... of course he climbed up to the coffee table and turned over the coffee cup. On to the iBook. Um. Oops.

Mark cleaned up quickly, turned off the iBook and turned it upside down. Coffee dripping out of it. He left it all day to dry out.

Well... while I was making the coffee ice cream mixture we figured his computer had dried out so he turned it on. It worked for a couple minutes and then started freaking out. Non-stop Zzzzzzzzz appearing on the screen. Hippity-hoppity cursor. Eventually a series of 3 long beeps when trying to start it up. CRUD.

So off to the Apple store we went. Hippity hop, hippity hop. We got there, and boy are those stores bustling! Unfortunately, Mark hadn't made an appointment at the genius bar, so he had to be on "stand by." Three hours we were there. Thankfully I'd fed Davey dinner beforehand and dressed him in his jammies. We walked around the mall while Mark waited. We played in the playground (Davey really enjoyed that). I got a decaff coffee from Starbucks at some point. Eventually Mark got his turn at the Genius bar. "Oh, liquid damage? I'm sorry, but that's automatically a 'Tier 4' issue. That means it's going to cost you a minimum of $750." OUCH. Can we get a cup of coffee with that?

Mark and I discussed it and honestly, his iBook was 3 years old and just not worth investing a minimum of $750. SO... guess who bought a new computer? Well he didn't buy it last night because they didn't have the one he wanted in stock. But we found what he wanted at the Apple store in Emeryville, which he bought this afternoon. Which he then immediately took to the Apple store in Corte Madera so that the genius who'd worked with him last night could do a data transfer from the dead computer to the new computer. She felt bad for Mark, so she didn't charge him for that service.

By Sunday Mark should have his shiny, new 2.2GHz, 1GB RAM, 120GB Hard Drive, Dual Layer Super Drive, 15.4" matte screen MacBook Pro. Yay!

And maybe a cup of coffee?

MEANWHILE... Davey slept terribly last night, waking up at 3:30am and refusing to go back to sleep. From 3:30 to 5 I was nursing, cradling, rocking and stroking his back to no avail. Whilst doing this I started thinking about the ice cream I had planned on churning that evening and thought up what I thought would be brilliant additions: Toasted almonds and fudge ripple sauce. I had almonds on hand and I also had left over fudge ripple sauce from making the tin roof sundae ice cream for Mark earlier in the week.

So this evening I churned up the coffee ice cream, tossed in some toasted almonds in the last moments of churning and then layered in the fudge ripple sauce while putting the ice cream in the container.

You know how it tasted? Mmm. Coffee-licious. Jamoca Almond Fudge has nothing on this.

Who wants some?

Vietnamese Coffee Almond Fudge Ice Cream
Based on The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
1-1/2c sweetened condensed milk
1-1/2c fresh espresso
1/2c half and half
Big pinch of very finely ground coffee beans

Whisk together the ingredients until well incorporated. Chill for at least an hour. Churn in your ice cream maker according to its instructions.

At the last possible minute, add 1/2c toasted slivered or coarsely chopped almonds to the ice cream maker so that they get incorporated.

When putting the ice cream in its freezer container, layer it with fudge ripple sauce. If you ask nicely, I'll give you the recipe for that at a later date (when I don't mind finding the cook book and transcribing the recipe).

The coffee has worn off now and it's time to get some sleep. G'nite!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Happy birthday David!

No, not a whole year, but 10 months. Yes, today Davey is a whole 5/6ths of a year old. Yay Davey! He got lots of love and attention today from Daddy, Mommy and Melody. Heck, even Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run in honor of Davey's 10 month birthday. ;-)

Love that boy -- he's the best!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Boys in profile

Boys in profile
Originally uploaded by jessicafm.
Um... Davey doesn't look much like Mark, does he? Dude!

Tin Roof Sundae Ice Cream

Tin Roof Sundae Ice Cream
Originally uploaded by jessicafm.
Finally, Mark got to choose which ice cream I should make. He's just not in to all the fruity things I've been making with this Summer's bounty. What was his first choice? Tin Roof Sundae! Chocolate covered peanuts (made with Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate), fudge ripple sauce (made with Scharffenberger cocoa powder) and vanilla bean ice cream. Deeelicious! From The Perfect Scoop. Thanks David Lebovitz!

Have I mentioned he's cruising?

Davey's getting quite adept, and more so every day, at cruising. That is, he can pull himself to standing from just about any upright surface and then "walk" a ways, so long as there's something for him to hold. Back and forth along the coffee table, sofa, dining chairs, crib, lawn chair. You name it, he's trying to walk along it.

And he'll be 10 months old in two days.

Oh, and it seems he's finally reached the age where he won't let us go to restaurants. Three times this week we tried dining out and three times we had to either leave prematurely or rush out as quickly as we could finish. Even at El Encanto where he stuffed his face with beans and beef. Ah well, we knew this stage was coming, I guess we should count our blessings we were able to eat out this long!

Take out time for a while. :-)