Friday, July 27, 2007

Very Berry Vanilla Frozen Yogurt Sorbet

Okay, so the Ice Cream maker has been working overtime lately! :D I've been trying a new recipe. I'm not usually one for fruit ice creams, but I love smoothies. Long ago, I thought you could just freeze a smoothie and it would be like ice cream. No. Sure does make good popsicles, though. I've always been a fan of Italian Ices (can you say Rita's anyone??), and definitely a sorbet fan. Sorbet, though, is about $4 a pint if you get a good kind. And sherbet, well, that's just sugar and water with food coloring. No thank you!

Well, I did a little reading about fruit ice creams, fruit ices and frozen yogurts and have come up with the following for your review and approval (LOL Do I sound official???). There are a few steps, but do not fear, hard work and patience are rewarded with a delicious, creamy, fruity frozen yogurt sorbet.

Very Berry Vanilla Frozen Yogurt Sorbet

1 16 oz bag frozen mixed berries (make sure they are not sweetened JUST the fruit)
1/4 Cup Sugar (feel free to use less if you like, but you'll need sweetness to counterbalance the tart fruits)
2 tbs water
2 cups Stoneyfield Farms No Fat Vanilla Yogurt

In a medium sauce pan, place berries, sugar and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and stir often. Cook for about 10 minutes - until juice is thickened.

Allow fruit to cool to "warm" and pour into a blender. Thoroughly blend the berries until smooth. Strain seeds and reserve the sauce. Place in refridgerator 2 hours (or more) until completely chilled.

In a blender mix the 2 cups Yogurt and the fruit puree in a blender until smooth and well mixed. Refridgerate again, for about an hour. Pour this mixture into the ice cream makers bowl and process for 20-25 minutes according to directions from the manufacturer.

From this point, you have two choices. Serve as "soft serve" and enjoy thoroughly. Or if you have a strong will, you can freeze 2 hours until firm and THEN serve. :D I'm even considering scooping out with my mini cookie scooper and covering in a chocolate shell type stuff to make frozen bon-bon type stuff.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chinese Peppers and Meat

Having an exchange student in the house has been much more fun and rewarding than I ever imagined. We have had such a fun time getting to know Julia, and more about her home in China. Julia and I are baking together almost nightly. We made Banana Walnut Muffins one night, then we made Chocolate Chip Cookies and last night we made my Marbled Cinnamon Swirl bread into muffins.

On Saturday, we took Julia to a local Asian grocery store where she was excited to see items from her hometown of Cheng-du. She bought a jar of peppers that are so hot, the tiniest drop of oil burnt my nostrils just breathing it in. She eats it like it's candy! I have a new treat I'll be buying my Dad...I know it's right up his alley!

Well, Saturday night, she made Peppers and Meat for us. We would normally see it in a Chinese Restaurant as Pepper Steak. She used pork instead of steak, and I'm finding that pork is the meat most often chosen in her province. Below is the authentic Chinese dish she made for us. And it was better than any chinese food I've ever gotten from a restaurant.

NOTE: The key to the success of this recipe seems to be how you slice the pork. Julia cut it into thin strips THEN cut the thin strips into even thinner strips! For a 15 year old, she had amazing knife skills. The other key is to place the wok/large saute pan on the highest heat possible, and heating the oil to almost smoking before adding the meat.

Chinese Peppers and Meat

1 lb. Pork Loin Chops (deboned), julienned very thinly
1 large green pepper, julienned
2 tbs tapioca flour (you can use cornstarch or white rice flour also)
2 tbs soy sauce (San-J wheat free tamari)
3 tbs oil (we used canola)

In a large bowl, mix the thinly slice pork strips, tapioca flour and soy sauce together. Mix well to coat ALL of the pork. Set aside for 5 or so minutes.

Using a LARGE wok or LARGE skillet, heat the 3 tbs. of oil on HIGH heat. When the oil is hot, add the pork, reduce heat to medium high. Stir fry meat in the oil. When the meat is ALMOST done, add the peppers. Stir around in the pan just to quickly cook the peppers. They need to be tender crisp.

Serve over rice.

***I know we Americans would very easily lose the oil in the hopes of good health, BUT don't miss the awesome opportunity to taste the food the way it was meant to be.***

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chinese Sweet Tomatoes

This last week has been very busy in our house. For the first time, ever, we are hosting an exchange student from China. Our student's american name is Julia. She is 15 and is just a wonderful girl. We are enjoying ourselves. My friend was in charge of picking the students to go with each family, and since she knew me well, hand picked this girl for me because her English was fluent and because she loved to cook. My friend thought, if nothing else, we could help each other in the culinary world. Julia is very kind, patient and sweet. She is not only blending into our family well, she is helping in the kitchen trying to soak up as much American cooking she can. I am working on a bunch of recipes for her to take home with her...I'm hoping to put them in a nice recipe book and giving them as a gift before she goes.

Yesterday, when I picked Julia up from her class, she asked if she could make us a traditional Chinese dessert for after dinner. Of course, I jumped at the chance to do so. Then she said "We need to go to the supermarket and get tomatoes". Did I hear her right??? Did she say "tomatoes" and "dessert" in the same sentence? No...she must have meant apples, I thought I would help her when we got to the store.

Well, I had heard her right, she said "Tomatoes". She proceded to buy 2 lbs of nice vine ripe tomatoes. Inside, I was thinking " will need to be polite and eat this dessert and smile". I also was worried how the children would react to tomatoes as a dessert.

She cut the tomatoes in wedges. She put sugar over top, mixed well and refridgerated.

Meanwhile, I showed her how to make Spaghetti with Meat sauce. We ate our dinner and out came dessert afterwards.

I was surprised just how great this tasted. It had the consistency and sweetness of watermelon with just enough of the tang left from the tomato. Julia told us that it is a popular dessert in the summer because it is cool and refreshing. I whole-heartedly agree and quickly wrote down the recipe so that I never forget.

I would have liked to post a picture as well, but, we ate almost all of them! :D Even my kids loved it. My son asked me to make sure to make them again soon!


Chinese Sweet Tomatoes

2 lbs Vine Ripe Tomatoes, cut into wedges
3 Heaping Tbs white sugar

Mix tomatoes and sugar together well in a bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours prior to serving.

ENJOY and pretend you are in Cheng-du! :D

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Summer Cool Down Treats...

Theres another beautiful appliance in my kitchen. My Ice Cream Maker. After getting glutened by a bowl of ice cream a few months ago, I realized that I would just need to get an ice cream maker and make my own. I had owned one when we had lived in Phoenix, but sold it before moving because I had used it only twice. It was easy, and it was fun, but who has time with three kids to make homemade ice cream???

So...I posted my wish on . I was absolutely shocked when someone had one and offered it to me! I picked it up only to discover it was missing a crucial piece, the stirring paddle insert. Undaunted, I went online to Cuisinart's site and found the part, ordered it. Once my unit was complete, I had gotten a $50 Ice Cream and Sorbet maker for $13.00 (part and shipping). I can get into a good deal.

I have used it several times since getting that part.

First was:

Chocolate Almond

3 cups whole milk
1 package Chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup slivered almonds*
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, chopped*

*added during last few minutes of freezing. I ran it thru the ice cream machine for about 25 minutes (adding the almonds and chips at 20 minutes), then I froze it for about 2 hours after pulling it out of the machine. The pudding made it very rich and sweet but not overpowering. A nice evening treat. It was okay for about 2 days more, but haver that it was very hard to scoop, so eat quickly :D.

A Mock Frosty (tasted even better than a Wendy's Frosty)

1 qt. Half & Half
1 Cup Chocolate Syrup (I used U-bet, kosher/parve)

Mixed it up and poured in the machine. I froze it for about a half hour and served right away. The leftovers don't freeze too well - becomes very I would cut the recipe if your making smaller servings - I was serving 4 people and still had leftovers.

Last night's was a true gem, I added a bit much sugar so the next time I try it I'm going to pull back a little on the sweetness, but it was OH SO GOOD.

Hazelnut Ice Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1 pint light cream
1 cup hazelnut flavored coffee syrup (I used Aldi, but Tiranni is a good one too)

I mixed the creams and syrup (I also added sugar, but won't next time). I let it chill 2 hours before pouring in the ice cream freezer. After it froze for about 1/2 hour, I poured into a quart container and froze it for about 2 hours. It was a serious treat! I would say this would keep for about a week. I don't plan it lasting THAT long, however! :D

My next summer treat feat will be to make ice cream cones so that I can enjoy a hazelnut ice cream CONE.

If you'll note, none of mine are cooked. I know there are recipes for custards that need to be cooked and are super creamy. I have neither the time, nor patience. Some day, maybe. I might even try Gluten Free Mommy's Gelato.

Keep cool!

Monday, July 2, 2007

White Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut Pan Cookies

SAY THAT 10 Times FAST! I'd apologize for the long title, but there is just NO other way to describe them sufficiently...unless, of course, you call them "YUMMY" and be done with that.

Both Sandra Lee and Rachel Ray have a version of this cookie on Food Network. Rachel Ray's are more brownie like, where you mix it all up and bake in a pan. Sandra Lee mixes the coconut and nuts in the cookies, then drizzles the white chocolate on top. This is a combo of the two recipes - adapted to be gluten free of course!!!

Start off with a half batch of the Land O Lakes Gluten Free Star Cutout Cookies, add a 1/2 cup each of flaked coconut, macadamias and white chocolate chips.

I mushed (yes, that is the technical term!) them into my 9" springform pan. Baked them at 350 degrees for a little over 20 minutes.

I let them cool before cutting, but it was HARD to wait, they smelled soooooo goooooooooood...I with internet had scratch and sniff so you could smell for yourself. Guarantee if you were to smell them, you would bake them!

(Now, before you go to get the ingredients, please remember to wipe the drool off your screen and keyboard!)