Sunday, July 28, 2013

Jeni's ice cream with peaches and blackberry jam recipe

More summer fun cooking out! This time I repeated a favorite recipe and tried new variations as well. We had: Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos, corn on the cob, watermelon, and peach ice cream. I made blackberry jam the next day. I love making jam and try to do it every summer in honor of my sweet Granny, Viola, who used to send my Dad jam many summers from blackberries and raspberries my Granddaddy picked from their yard.
See my previous blog about the fish tacos if you want instructions.

My favorite way to cook corn is still to boil it. I always avoid adding salt to the water because I have read and tasted that this can toughen the corn kernels. Cover corn with cold water, bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then let stand for 10 minutes. This is my favorite type of corn, thanks to my Papa's influence, Silver Queen.

A sweet black watermelon. I am a weirdo and actually think that seeded watermelons tasted better than seedless. But it seems to be more and more difficult to actually find them, even at the farmers market, which is where we got all of these delicious fruits and veggies. Needless to say this is what we went home with and it was very good.

Peach Ice Cream, with Jeni's base from Saveur Ingredients: 2 C milk, 4 tsp cornstarch, 1 1/4 heavy cream, 2/3 C sugar, 2 Tbsp light corn syrup, 1/4 C kosher salt, 3 Tbsp cream cheese, peaches and more sugar. Make a slurry with 1/4 C milk and the cornstarch. Whisk milk, cream, sugar, syrup, and salt in a saucepan over med-high heat til boiling. Cook for 4 mins; stir in slurry. Return to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Mix cream cheese and 1/4 hot milk mixture together until smooth, then blend together. Pour into plastic bag and cool down in ice water til room temperature.

Wash peaches, cut an x in the bottom, then blanch in boiling water for 15 seconds. Submerge in ice water to stop cooking process.

Peel skin off, separate from pit, and cut into small chunks. Mash with a potato masher then mix in 1/2 sugar and macerate peaches for a couple of hours. This will prevent peaches from hardening too much when frozen in the ice cream. This process can also be completed with alcohol such as vodka per my research. I really pieced together several recipes for this.

I mixed the peaches and milk mixture together then poured them into my ice cream maker. I followed the directions to make the ice cream by layering rock salt and ice  in the bucket. Once complete (about 40 mins) I hardened in the freezer. The cream cheese helped with the scoop-ability a lot as predicted by the recipe and Jeni's fanatics. Needless to say it was a big hit! I am not sure if I can go back to any of my sweetened condensed milk or egg recipes ever again.

 Blackberry Jam (Ball) Ingredients: 4 cups crushed berries, 6 cups sugar, 1 pkg fruit pectin, jars, unprocessed lids, and rims. Mash the berries with a potato masher. Bring berries and sugar to boil, until it can't be stirred down, stirring frequently. Add pectin and continue to hard boil for a minute, stirring. 
Meanwhile, process jars in boiling water to reduce risk of them bursting when the jam is ladled inside. Ladle jam inside and I prefer to use a funnel to reduce mess, making sure to leave a quarter inch head space. Place lids and rims on tightly and seal jars by processing again in boiling water 10 minutes, then standing in water for 5 minutes, and lastly allowing to sit on the counter for 24 hrs. Jars are sealed when the middle of the lid doesn't spring or pop back. Good for a year when stored in a cool, dry place unopened. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

3rd of July Cook Out Menu

So per my usual inability to capture pictures, while hosting a dinner party here is what I managed to capture from two different dinner parties. The first we hosted the 3rd of July complete with a walk to our local fireworks and some corn hole. Our menu for the 3rd of July: grilled turkey burgers, roasted sweet potatoes, a tangy coleslaw, and berry greek yogurt popsicles
 Blackberry-Strawberry Yogurt Pops (Real Simple July 2013): Using plain greek yogurt (1 3/4C) mix in 2 Tbsp sugar or agave. Next mash berries with a potato masher in a bowl with a flat base. The recipe actually only called for blackberries, but I added strawberries, once again because I was feeling patriotic. Add 2 Tbsp of sugar to the berries. Layer the berries and yogurt, starting and ending with yogurt in the container of your choice. I ended up using paper cups and plastic spoons, as I had some extra stuff lying around from my family's visit in June. Drag a toothpick through to swirl them together. Insert stick or spoon, then freeze until firm (at least 3 hrs - up to 4 days). Remove from the freezer 10 mins before serving, though ours seemed to take slightly longer than this. They were delicious! And I was honored that a friend made it her instagram of the day for 'something cold.'

Tangy Apple-Cabbage Coleslaw (America's Test Kitchen Healthy) Ingredients: 1 head cabbage I used purple but it called for green, salt, 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into matchsticks, 2 scallions I skipped this, 1/3 C cider vinegar, 1/4 C canola oil, 1/4 C honey, 2 tsp Dijon mustard
Toss the cabbage with 1 tsp salt and let it sit in a colander until wilted, about an hour. Rinse it under cold water, drain, and pat dry with paper towels. Toss cabbage, apples, and scallions together in a large bowl.
 Bring vinegar, oil, honey, and mustard in a pan over medium heat and bring to boil. Pour the warm dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat.
 Cover and refrigerate until the flavors have blended for about an hour. It can be made ahead of time up to a day in advance - I am glad that I read to the bottom of the recipe because I almost made it 2 days in advance and it probably would have been a soggy wilted mess. Salt and pepper to taste before serving. My guests seemed really pleased about this coleslaw and the roasted sweet potatoes, which were cut into 3/4" thick circles and tossed in chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, oregano, salt, pepper, and paprika. Sorry I don't have any pictures!

 Grilled Turkey Burger (America's Test Kitchen Healthy) Ingredients: 1.25 lbs ground turkey 93% lean, 1/2 C part skim ricotta cheese, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and all the fixins. Mix all the ingredients then I started to divide the meat up into evenly sized balls trying to handle the meat only briefly. I doubled the recipe and ended up making 11 patties by hand, though the single recipe is only supposed to make 4. Then my husband grilled them over charcoal for about 10-14 minutes. They also recommended that you tent them and let them rest for 5 minutes, but I am certain that didn't happen in our case!

excruciating details: attaching trim, cabinet handles, and transition pieces

and may I say a pair of homeowners who attempted to kill themselves in the event of an impending family visit!
So we went at all the small and large projects we had been putting off for a solid week including lame things like trim (sadly still not completed with that) baseboards+quarter round, attaching kitchen cabinet doors and handles, attaching transition pieces to most of the floor, painting trim where it was different colors, and painting louvered doors. We didn't paint the doors to the bedrooms, because lets face it louvered doors not really invented for bedrooms - having had a total of 9 people in our 3 bedroom house certainly highlighted that fact!

doors all laid out in pairs when necessary
my handy self made template via some online tutorial that I failed to document in the madness. It worked great! I would highly recommend it over spending $ on one at the store, and the tutorial  wasn't that necessary anyways, as my cabinet wasn't sized exactly like theirs.

attaching the cabinet doors
drilling for handles - which we used throughout - thank you southeastern salvage. btw I am not a huge fan of knobs, anyone else prejudiced against knobs?

looking so much more complete! Now if we just get brave enough to finish the backsplash,,,

putting down trim, baseboards+quarter round to match what was in the original parts of the house, then following up with a bit of polyseam

painting madness-I would paint a wall anyday before tedious trim and louvered doors
before and after color of louvered doors

stained hardwood reducer transition pieces cut to size and nailed in, only in a few places and we went sans glue
door framed up with a 90 degree piece, since we removed the door and facing to widen it to move in the fridge.

We finally cut the rest of the trim pieces but haven't polyseamed or finished touching up the paint - and that ugly dining room and kitchen window frames are closer to being trimmed out as well, no pictures yet but some to follow soon!

Monday, July 1, 2013

1 year and growing, diy growth chart tutorial, and an apron dress

Time to celebrate some sweet 1 year old birthdays! We have two very special friends whose babies I have posted about before.
For the little girl, Jilly, I ended up making a Crossover Pinafore and Diaper cover as seen in Smashed Peas and Carrots' blog. Unfortunately I didn't realize that it was double sided so, mine wasn't. I tried to compensate on the edging by using a decorative stitch. I had to change the pattern from a 12 month old size to an 18 month per parent request. Not my finest work, but I think my friend was touched.

plus this Bambi and Thumper Little People set, because every baby needs something fun to play with!
For baby Garrett, I made a Ruler Growth Chart, which seems to be all over the internet thanks to Pottery Barn inspired individuals everywhere. I didn't really follow any one blog but several including this one: 517 Creations. I purchased a 1x8x6 board and then used leftover stain in a Hickory color from where I made our coffee table. After it was dried I used the yard stick to measure it out first in pencil, then in black sharpie. I made my inch marks 3" long and all of the other ticks 1". I printed numbers in Garamond at 170 and letters in Gunsuhche at 200, then proceeded to trace through them in pencil to create an indentation, followed up by filling in and tracing in black sharpie. I didn't attach anything to hang it with yet so that they would have choices and I didn't compensate for baseboards so mine goes straight from 0-6ft.

And a Grover +Firetruck set to play with 

Kids are so darn cute and I definitely enjoyed having my niece and nephews visit for a couple weeks with my sister and her husband and my parents! It was some good, crazy family fun with cookouts, zoo and aquarium trips, roller coaster rides, water balloon fights, sidewalk chalk, a kiddie pool, and a couple of weeks of goodnight kisses. ps how ugly is the outside of our house! I can't wait to lime wash and paint when the humidity cools off a bit.