Thursday, September 29, 2011

Strawberry Ice Cream Cupcakes - by Lisa

Man am I lucky these were easy recipes this month! I was a damn fool for saving them all for the end of the month, especially after our summer break! Next month I will be doing a much better job of managing my time!

This one was so simple to put together, I decided in the middle of dinner that it would be dessert tonight. I even used it as leverage to get my 3 year old to eat all his dinner! :)

There isn't much to analyze in this recipe, except to point out that I still can't make a decent scoop of ice cream to save my life! LOL! And yes, even though I *did* spend a couple of years working at Swensen's Ice Cream parlor, I was never a conehead! LOL! Anywho, this treat was a big hit with with my husband and older son. They loved it, and I thought it was pretty tasty too!

Coconut Rice Pudding - by Lisa

So this was one of my "get it out of the way" picks as I am not a fan of rice pudding. I do however, like coconut, so I thought maybe this one would win me over in the taste department.

I bought all the ingredients a couple weeks ago, but didn't have the chance to actually make it until last night. As I was getting thru all the steps, I thought I ran into a snag. I noticed one of the cans of coconut milk wasn't shaking up too well. When I opened the can, I saw this:

I don't do to well when I expect food items to look one way and then they look like something else. I was a little panicked and also annoyed at the prospect of having to go back to the store on an emergency run. But Hubby came to the rescue when he discovered that all the liquid was trapped on the bottom. After stirring up the can a little, it looked totally fine. Whew!

The "hardest" part of this recipe was essentially babysitting the pudding as it cooked. Otherwise, it was a really easy one to put together. I also got to toast coconut for the very first time. Never knew it was so easy!

I honestly wasn't looking forward to tasting this one. I have a very strong reaction to certain textures in food. Unfortunately, this was one of them. I thought the flavor was awesome, but the rice in the pudding just did not sit well with me. Maybe I could try it again one day and strain out the rice at the end? :) Hubby however, really enjoyed it! So at least he and they boys can enjoy it this weekend while I'm visiting Summer! :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Strawberry Ice Cream Cupcakes - by Summer

I have to admit up front that I did no baking for this dessert.  I was running out of time this month and this recipe actually doesn't say that you have to bake the pound cake for these cupcakes, so I didn't.  In fact, I didn't even whip my own cream.

That said - I loved these!  I would totally make these for a birthday party or just when having a bunch of people over.  It's quick, fun and tasty!

Here are my ingredients assembled.  I actually decided since I had some homemade raspberry jam from my mother-in-law, I would make them with a raspberry flavor.  When I was at the store, I bought some raspberry gelato instead of ice cream.  I think the next time I would do the same thing but use chocolate cake - yum!  I loved these!  So easy and oh so good!!!

Cool Blueberry Soup - by Lisa

Lucky for me, the recipes this month are pretty straight forward. This one requires little more than placing all the ingredients in a sauce pan, cooking it down, pureeing, and then chilling. I did have to go on a hunt thru our wine collection for a dry white. I settled on one from the Whidbey Island Winery which is just north of Seattle; not far from where we used to live. :)

Since blueberry season is pretty well over, I opted to go with the frozen berries. I also included the cinnamon stick. The only thing I needed to pick up from the store were the blueberries themselves! This was really easy to make and simply required some time committed to stirring and watching the stove top. I opted to let it sit overnight and we enjoyed some today for an early afternoon treat.

I wasn't sure what to expect at all, but as I was stirring in the yogurt, I realized it looked an awful lot like a smoothie. And since I pureed it in the Vitamix, it turned out with a pretty smooth consistency. I decided to pour it into a glass and drink it thru a straw. :)

My husband tried it first, and found he really liked it! I tried mine next and found it to be delightfully tart yet sweet at the same time. This would be a neat appetizer to serve for a dinner party, tho I would probably opt to leave it a little chunkier to give it more of a "soupy" quality. It would also be fun to try it with different kinds of wine to see how the flavor changes.

Almond-Raspberry Cake - by Lisa

Uh, wow where did this month disappear to? Nothing like waiting until the end of the month to START baking the first of four recipes! I opted to start with this one since I bought the raspberries for it knowing we were quickly heading out of season.

I didn't think I'd like this one so much since I didn't think I was a big fan of almonds. But I decided to snack on a couple of leftover almond slices and found that I really liked them! Who knew? :) The only things I really needed for this recipe were the almond paste and raspberries. I lucked out and found the 7oz tube of almond paste (something I've never bought nor heard of before!) at my regular grocery store.

Everything came together pretty easily, although the butter/almond paste/sugar mixture didn't get quite as fluffy as I expected. I don't think it negatively affected anything tho. I also opted to go with the almond extract over the vanilla extract, altho I briefly considered doing half of each.

Since moving into our new place, I've been a little hesitant with the new oven. On one hand I am absolutely in LOVE with it. It is an AGA Legacy - a dream stove/oven! But on the other hand, it is a bit temperamental and I've had some challenges in learning how to bake with it. I've burned a few things already, so I was super extra cautious in watching this cake. I used the convection setting, set the temp about 20 degrees lower, set the timer for 10 min less than the minimum suggested bake time, and watched the cake like a hawk! I'm glad I set the bake time for what I did, because it was ready to come out at 25 min!

After letting it cool for about 20 min, my husband and I dug in. It definitely had a nice spongy texture and very pleasant taste. The raspberries give it a nice pop of flavor as well. I am quite happy with how it turned out and tasted and would certainly consider serving this at a brunch type event. (PS - Sorry about some of these photos. I'm also learning how to work with a new lens on my camera!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Coconut Rice Pudding - by Summer

I can't remember if I have ever had rice pudding before.  I have to say, I wasn't overly excited to make this recipe.  I do like coconut and I have liked the pudding recipes that we have made so far, so I figured I probably would like this one too.  I do like making pudding, because it's tasty and so easy to make.  And since it's easy, I was all about trying to make this one this week.  The little ones haven't been sleeping the greatest, so I am a little behind myself in that area. 

This dish has relatively few ingredients and the only thing that I had to purchase was the rice and coconut milk.  It took a total of about 30 minutes to make.  I think I could have let it cook for a couple of minutes longer.  Basically you put everything in the sauce pan and let it cook for 25 minutes.  While it was cooking, I toasted coconut in my toaster oven. 

After it cooled for 15 minutes, I spooned some into a bowl and topped with the toasted coconut.  I wanted to taste it warm.  I really liked the taste and the texture.  My son tried some, after a little convincing, and at first he said "mmmm . . ." and then he said "yummy!"  I tried it again tonight after dinner and it still tasted good chilled.  I honestly can't decide which way I like it better.  I am now really excited to try the regular rice pudding, perhaps next month :-)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Almond-Raspberry Cake - by Summer

We're back!  It was so nice to have the summer off, but I have been itching to get back to baking!  It was super hot here in MN, so I was glad that I didn't have to turn on the oven for a few weeks, but now it's September and that means fall, right?

To kick off Labor Day weekend, I decided to try the Almond-Raspberry Cake.  It's the end of berry season, but I thought we could sneak one recipe in!  This is a very easy little cake to make.  The only ingredients that I needed to pick up were the almond paste and raspberries.  The recipe calls for 7 oz tube of the almond paste, but my grocery store only had cans that were 8 oz.  No problem - I just used my kitchen scale and scooped out 1 oz and then used the rest of the can.

We also had a choice of vanilla or almond extract, and I opted to go with almond.  I have it on hand and vary rarely use it, so I thought this would be perfect.  The smell of the batter is unmistakeably almond, that's for sure.

It baked up in 35 minutes, although the edges looked a little dark.  I am worried it baked too long and I probably should have checked it about 2-3 minutes sooner.  The middle looked light, but it was most definitely done.

We all loved this cake.  It actually seemed to taste better after letting it sit wrapped in plastic overnight.  Even though I thought I might have over-baked it, wasn't dry at all.  My mom thought it tasted like a shortbread cake.  I would definitely make this again.  It was easy and very tasty.  Although next time I might try adding a glaze over the top (my dad's suggestion).