Quick Strawberry Ice Cream

Quick Strawberry Ice Cream

this is a super easy way to make a cool and creamy dessert without all the bad stuff like preservatives and artificial flavors and colors. it’s also a good way to sneak nutritiously-dense strawberries into the little ones (or even adults) who might resist healthier foods. i bet other fruits, like peaches or blackberries, would work well with this technique too. actually, any frozen fruit would probably work. to really change things up, try using buttermilk instead of the half and half or milk. the possibilities are endless.

to make the ice cream, empty a 12 ounce bag of frozen unsweetened strawberries into a food processor. add 1/2 cup (or less) sugar and process, scraping bowl occasionally, until finely chopped. with processor running, add 2/3 cup half and half (i have used lowfat milk with good results) and process until mixture is smooth and creamy. serve immediately or freeze in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

Fresh Fruit Tart

i’ve made fresh fruit tarts several times and they are unbelievably easy. i’'ve enjoyed playing around with different fillings and fruits…there are endless combinations. this pastry dough recipe is wonderful and so easy, espcially if made with a food processor. i really like the lime custard filling. it is sweet and tart and goes very well with berries. i have also used purchased lemon or lime curd for a filling, as well as cream cheese mixed with vanilla and sweetened with sugar. strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, peaches, grapes, are all excellent fruits to top the tart with. you can use one fruit, or a combination. once my tart is topped with fruit, i brush it with a little apricot jam that i heated and strained…this glaze makes the fruit shiny and adds another touch of sweetness to the fruit.

Pastry Dough

1 stick cold unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes.

To blend by hand: Blend together flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender until most of mixture resembles
coarse meal (roughly pea-size lumps). Drizzle 2 tablespoons ice water evenly over and gently stir with a fork until incorporated.

To blend in a food processor: Pulse together flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a food processor until most of mixture resembles coarse meal (roughly pea-size lumps). Add 2 tablespoons ice water and pulse 2 or 3 times, or just until incorporated.

Test mixture: Gently squeeze a small handful: it should hold together without crumbling apart. If it doesn’t, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time,
stirring or pulsing 2 or 3 times after each addition until incorporated (keep testing). If you overwork mixture or add too much water, pastry will be tough.

Form dough: Turn out onto a work surface and divide into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together and form it, rotating it on work surface, into a disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie crust or a 10 to 11-inch tart crust

Dough can be chilled up to 1 day.

On a lightly floured surface roll out dough into a 13-inch round and fit it into a 10-inch tart tin with a removable fluted rim, trimming the excess. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until golden. let the tart shell cool before adding filling and toppings.

Lime Custard

¾ cup sugar

2 T. cornstarch

2 large eggs plus yolk from 1 large egg

1 cup mik

½ cup lime juice (grate peel before juicing limes)

1 T. grated lime peel

5 T. butter

In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk sugar and cornstarch to mix, then whisk in eggs and egg yoklk until thoroughly blended. Whisk in milk and lime juice.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often (don’t boil or custard may curdle). As custard thickens, about 10 minutes, stir constantly 3 to 5 minutes until thick enough to coat back of a spoon.

Remove from heat. Add peel and butter; stir until butter melts.

Spread custard evenly in crust; and top with fruit.

Spicy Posole Soup

this is one of my favorite soups and my absolute favorite way to eat kale (which is highly nutritious, if not the most nutritious veggie). below is the recipe i started with. i have tweaked it to suit my tastes by: using more vegetable broth, adding a whole bunch of kale instead of just 3 cups, adding 2 (15 oz.) cans of hominy instead for only 2 cups, and by adding fresh minced jalapenos or serranos instead of canned green chiles (yuck). i also add chopped zucchini towards the end of cooking. my version ends up being chocked full of veggies and makes quite a bit more than the original recipe. this soup freezes really well and i always try to have some in the freezer for quick a lunch or dinner. sometimes i like to crumble some tortilla chips into the soup while i’m eating it.

Spicy Posole Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
6 medium cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
2 TBS fresh lime juice
3 cups kale rinsed and chopped fine (remove stems)
2 cups canned hominy, drained
15oz can diced tomatoes
4oz can diced green chili
3 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 T. olive oil in medium sized soup pot. Sauté onion over medium heat for 5 minutes stirring frequently, until translucent. Add garlic and
continue to sauté for another minute. Add remaining ingredients except cilantro. Bring to a boil on high heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Add cilantro, salt and pepper.

Serves 4

Pickled Turnips

i used to buy pickled turnips at a middle eastern market and deli in town. unfortunately, the owners sold the market to some other people and it is now a latin market…no more pickled turnips. luckily, i found this simple recipe and now make pickled turnips at home. and honestly, i think these may taste better than the ones from the middle eastern market.

the only changes i made with the recipe was that i used kosher salt instead of pickling salt, i cut the turnips and beet into slices and then into wedges, and i added a dried thai dragon chile (or two) to each jar along with the turnips and beets. they turned out fantastic and their color is absolutely beautiful! the recipe makes about 3 full pint jars.

pickled turnips are tasty on their own (and part of a meze platter), but are also good in falafel and pad thai.

Pickled Turnips

2 cups water
1/4 cup pickling salt (i used kosher salt)
2 pounds white turnips
1 Beet
3 cloves garlic
1 cup white vinegar

Bring water and salt to a boil, stirring to make sure all the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool. Peel turnips. Cut small turnips into sixths; larger turnips can be cut thick strips (about the size of a large French fry). Peel beet and cut into thick strips. Peel garlic cloves and cut each one into
quarters. Layer turnips in a large sterilized glass jar, interspersing them with the beet strips and garlic. Combine the cooled salt solution with the
vinegar, and pour over the turnips. Make sure no large air bubbles remain. Put the lid on the jar. Store pickles in a cool place for at least three
weeks. The turnips will turn bright pink. Refrigerate after opening.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

i love broccoli cheese soup and have tried many recipes over the years. this one is by far the easiest and best tasting recipe i have tried. oh, and it’s done in less than 10 minutes. feel free to add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the soup to give it a little kick.

i’m thinking that this soup would work well with cauliflower too. i’m going to try it instead of broccoli next time i make it because i also love cauliflower cheese soup. brussel sprouts would also be good in this soup. i’ll have to try that too.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped broccoli
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk (or more)
salt to taste
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Cook broccoli according to package directions (I did it in the microwave). In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and then add the 2 tablespoons of flour, whisk 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and salt until smooth and bubbling. Whisk in grated cheese until melted and smooth. If the soup is too thick, whisk in a little more milk until you get the consistency you like. Add broccoli and bring back up to desired temperature.