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Honey

Ice Cream

Honey Ice Cream

May 16, 2012

If you live in the Vancouver area, you can’t help but notice the gorgeous summer weather we have been experiencing this week. The rainy spring weather had had the past month has lifted, and the sun is shining. I actually got a sunburn on mother’s day, as we were enjoying our brunch on the backyard patio. I blame my mother, as she is a red head with light freckled skin, which I unfortunately inherited. You wouldn’t guess I was also European, as my skin doesn’t quite soak up the sun in the same way my Nonna and brother can turn a deep olive brown in the summer.

Speaking of Europe, I am very excited to have booked my trip. I have been planning this trip for as long as I can remember. I even had a conversation saved in my Facebook messages planning this trip with a friend in 2008. I think four years later, I should probably make it happen. I complained for a while that I was the only one in our family who had not been to Europe, or more precisely, Italy. The reason being is that my father’s family is from Italy, and it was where he was born. As you know from previous posts, my father is no longer with us, but I still desperately wanted to make the trip to Europe and visit out heritage, along with stops to the gorgeous hospital, that looks like a cathedral, that my father was born in, the town he was raised in, the tiny, I mean TINY, town my Nonna grew up in, with likely <100 people living there I’m sure, and of course the other historical monuments in Italy. My brother was lucky enough to go twice, although he was 18 months old the first time. He went again when he was 15, for 6 weeks, my Nonna took him with her. I’m doing a tour for 16 days around Europe, and then my Nonna is actually going to fly and meet me in Rome and then show me the ‘true’ Italy, the small tiny towns and areas off the beaten path from the tourist attractions. My Nonna has lived in Canada now for longer than she has lived in Italy, and lives only minutes from our house, but still visits Italy every year. She actually told me she wasn’t going back this year, but after I informed her of my travel plans, she decided she would fly and meet me so she can show me where our family is from. It’s been a trip I’ve wanted to take for a long time, and this year after Graduation I planned to go, as a Grad present from my mom, and now I am just counting down the days. My Nonna keeps informing me how crazy I am to want to go in July, as it is so hot. She usually likes to go in August/September.

Speaking of heat, when the temperature rises the best way to cool down is usually with a cool treat. I saw this unique ice cream recipe online, from a new-to-me food blog, Girl Cooks World, which I’ve been perusing daily.

It is my new favourite, instead of vanilla. It is so subtly sweet, and the taste is just heavenly. I added a half cup of cream instead of the 1/2 cup of milk, cause I had one cup of milk left, and I think it made it even better. It is so good, it is like whipped ice cream. A definite favourite for cooling down in the hot weather. It keeps well in the freezer, and still comes out like soft serve once frozen. It’s really delicious and light tasting. Adam ate most of it, as I try and stay away from dairy with my allergy, but I didn’t want to try and substitute Almond milk this time, so I went with the original version.

It tastes even better with frozen raspberries.

Honey Ice Cream, From Girl Cooks World, Adapted from The Soul of a New Cuisine
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 & 1/2 cups heavy cream
* 1 cup milk
* 4 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
* 1/3 cup honey

Combine the sugar, heavy cream and milk in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

When the mixture is smooth and the sugar is dissolved, temper the eggs yolks by whisking in about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the eggs.  Pour the tempered yolks into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove from heat and place the entire saucepan into a shallow ice bath, and mix in the honey.  Stir frequently until the custard has cooled. Pour the custard mixture into a container, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Are you planning on going anywhere this summer?

What do you do to cool down in the heat?

Cookies

Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies

March 14, 2011

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The Monday after a relaxing weekend is always a bummer. Especially when you lose an hour. Thanks daylight savings. This past weekend Adam and I went up to Whistler to celebrate his birthday. I made reservations at La Rua Restaurante in the Upper Village on Blackcomb Mountain. It was delicious to say the least. We ordered mussels for an appy. I’ve converted Adam from a non-seafood lover to one who will try just about anything. I had the Short Rib Fazzeoletti which was like a giant lasagna noodle/savory crepe, filled with heritage beef, peas, carrots, mushrooms and bechamel with herbed beef jus and crispy onions. It was mouthwatering good. And huge! The portions at the restaurant were well worth the price. I had to give Adam two big portions of mine, and I was still stuffed! Adam ordered one of the evenings specials, the Veal Porterhouse, that came with garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus and sweet potato like thin chips. It was perfectly cooked, the meat was so delicate you could cut it with a butter knife. We also got a complimentary amuse bouche, and ice wine. By the end of the night we were both too full for dessert. Plus, we had gone to the grocery store beforehand and bought some food for the suite. Which also consisted of a tub of mint ice cream.

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It was quite snowy Friday night, and Saturday we walked around the village but it was rather rainy. We came back home Sunday afternoon, in the rain. Overall it was a relaxing weekend. Even with the loss of an hour. For Lent this year, Adam and I agreed to give up something. I gave up chocolate! I dunno why, or how I will withstand it but we’ll see. And Adam said he would avoid fast food! haha. Meaning his sometimes-weekly lunch of A&W is on hold for a little while.

So last night after we unpacked and ate dinner I was feeling like a little snack. As my dad would say ‘something sweet.’ I just wanted something simple to curb my sweet craving, and it had to be non-chocolate. Now, Adam isn’t the biggest fan of peanut butter, but I however love it. I actually gave it up for quite a while after I realized I had a slight allergy to it. But I found that if I eat a small amount of it I’m fine. And, I really can’t help it. I just love peanut butter. Definitely the combination of PB&J and PB&Chocolate. But I couldn’t have the latter.

So I decided to make simple peanut butter cookies. I promised Adam he’d change his mind (much like the seafood.) After his first bite he said “oooohhhhh,” I’ll take that as a compliment. There’s just something so good about a warm peanut butter cookies fresh off of the cooling rack. There are some cookies I like when their cool, such as chewy chocolate chip cookies, but a semi-warm peanut butter cookie just melts on your tongue. I have had a strange obsession with honey the past little while, ever since I made those Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream. I’ve been using it in everything. My favorite is honey and mustard marinated chicken on a salad. Mmmmmm. The addition of the honey helps to sweeten the cookies. I used natural smooth peanut butter, but you can use regular if you like.

I also experiment with rolling them in sugar, and leaving some plain. Personally I actually like the plain version. I halved the recipe for Adam and I, and it made about 20 larger cookies. I posted an Iphone picture on Facebook and my aunt commented about how the ‘crossed fork’ design has endured over the years. It’s that simple imprint that marks peanut butter cookies.

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Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups natural smooth peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • optional – extra sugar for rolling
  1. Preheat oven to 350. In stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat together butter, sugars and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add in honey and mix until incorporated.
  2. Beat in eggs & vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add to the stand mixer and mix together, scraping sides with a spatula.
  4. Form dough into small balls using the palm of your hands.
  5. If you like, roll in a small bowl of sugar and place on un-greased baking sheet. Using the prongs of a fork make a criss-cross across the top of the ball flatening it slightly.
  6. Bake at 350 for 11 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit for a couple minutes until you can transfer to a cooling rack.

Store in container for a few days {if they last} I like to warm them up in a microwave for about 15 seconds to soften the up a little if their too hard.

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Also try: Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies, and Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Cupcakes, Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, Honey!

February 4, 2011

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There’s something new around here. Can you tell? I’ll give you a hint. I got a new camera! Well, Adam and I got a new camera together =) I have been longing for two things, 1. A new camera and 2. A new website layout. I’ve been pining for both for quite a while and now I can cross one off the list. If you’re a blogger, you know that a key ingredient in a food website is clear, crisp pictures. My old camera was fine for a while, but I could not help but want a sharper image to take better quality pictures. Adam and I had set out last weekend to browse cameras. We had gone to Best Buy and Future shop, and were not too happy with their service. First of all, both of them had only a handful of cameras that actually had battery packs on them, so you could turn them on. And all of the ones that did have batteries in them, had no memory card. Therefore, you could not see the picture quality of a picture once you took it. Both of these were the deciding factor that we needed to look elsewhere.

We went to London Drugs, as my mom works there (in the pharmacy) to look at their selection. They were much more helpful and knew a lot about all the cameras. We told them what we wanted it for, and they pointed us in the right direction. While I would love a Digital SLR my skills, and my wallet, aren’t quite at that level yet. But this camera is perfect for what I want. It’s a Panasonic Lumix ZS7. It’s a great point-and-shoot camera, with a really big lens and great quality. It’s only a step or two down from a Digital SLR. So far I really love it. We are also going to Mexico next weekend and I cannot wait to take some lovely pictures!

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Alright, on to the cupcakes. I had signed up for Ever So Lovely’s Valentine’s Exchange and was so excited to make and send out some handmade Valentine’s around the world! I received my first card today from Jessica, a blogger in Australia! I had an idea in mind for Adam’s valentine’s day card and needed to make one for my honey too (of course.)

valentine

And then I started thinking about Valentine’s day baked goods. Since we’ll be on a warm sunny beach in Cabo, I wanted to blog about something before we left. Tonight happens to be our friends birthday and we’re going over for some drinks and games. I thought it would be a great night to avoid the huge list of homework bake some cupcakes to share with them as well. Adam and I have a joke about calling each other Honey, so I thought why not make honey cupcakes for Valentine’s day? I searched the net and found this chocolate cupcake recipe by Love & Olive Oil and slightly adapted it and created my own honey frosting. These are decadent, rich and so moist. The honey adds a subtle but sweet taste to them. It makes a small batch of 12 cupcakes, which is perfect when you want to share them with a few friends.

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Share some love with your Honey! and make these Cupcakes. Or, you can make this no-bake Valentine’s classic of chocolate dipped strawberries I made last year, or these other Devil’s Food Cupcakes I made a couple years ago with fondant hearts.

Chocolate Honey Cupcakes

Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Honey Butter-cream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tbs. Shortening
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tbs. milk
  • 3-4 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

In a stand mixer, whisk together milk, oil, sugar, honey, and vanilla extract until combined.  In large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and continue mixing until just combined.

Pour into liners, about 1/4 cup in each liner until 2/3 full. Bake 18 minutes or until a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Allow them to cool completely to room temperature.

To make buttercream, in a stand mixer with whisk attached whip butter and shortening until smooth. Slowly add the icing sugar one cup at a time. Adding vanilla, milk and honey as you go to thin it out. Add as much icing sugar until the desired consistency. It should be soft and not too stiff. To pipe onto the cupcakes, use a round tip and fill icing bag. Alternatively, you can use an offset spatula to ice the tops of the cupcakes.

*optional* you can add shaved chocolate to the top like I did. Using a good quality chocolate, break off a chunk about the size of your palm, or smaller. Microwave it about 10-15 seconds to soften the outsides. Using a regular carrot peeler, peel the top layer of chocolate to create curls. Place onto paper towel or dish until ready to use. Sprinkle the tops of the cupcakes with the shavings.

Cupcakes can be stored in container for 1-2 days.

Hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s!