27 May 2011

Butter Pecan Ice Cream


Yes, another ice cream recipe! As I said, I missed the boat last year but finally bought myself the Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream-Sorbet Maker. Now I'm making up for lost time! I normally wouldn't post two in a row, but my husband was clamoring for more homemade ice cream! For information about using the machine, see last week's Strawberry Ice Cream post.

This recipe was inspired by one in the instruction booklet that came with the machine. It's an easy, no-egg, uncooked ice cream. I made a simple flavor improvement. And it is fabulous! In the coming months I'll be developing my own recipes for more uncooked ice creams like these as well as custard-style ice creams, frozen yogurts and sorbets. I'm so excited!

It's wonderful on its own, but if you want a summer dessert that'll make people stand up and holler, put a scoop of this on the plate next to a wedge of Peach Pie with Lattice Crust! Can't wait for peach season!


Simple Butter Pecan Ice Cream

(Makes about 5 cups)

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 packed cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup (4 ounces) pecans, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt

1 In medium bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure to make pouring into the machine easier), whisk together sugars, vanilla, salt and milk until the sugars are dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. I always do overnight because I'm a do-as-much-as-possible-ahead-of-time type! (I use Organic Valley dairy products.)

2 At least an hour before making ice cream, melt the butter in a small skillet (I use the All-Clad Stainless 8-Inch Fry Pan) over medium-low heat. Add pecans and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until pecans are toasted, about 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

3 Assemble the Cuisinart ICE-21 ice cream maker; turn it on. While it is running, pour the chilled mixture through the spout. Let mix until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. With it still running, pour the toasted pecans through the spout and let mix in completely, up to 5 minutes.

4 Transfer the soft ice cream to a freezer-safe airtight container and place in freezer for at least 2 hours. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving.

20 May 2011

Strawberry Ice Cream and Equipment Review - Cuisinart ICE-21 Ice Cream Maker


Strawberry ice cream says "Summer" like no other dessert. After missing the boat last year, I was determined to make this The Summer of Homemade Ice Cream here at Delightful Repast. So I finally bought myself the Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream-Sorbet Maker. Now I'm kicking myself for waiting so long!

No rock salt. No ice. It's so easy! First off, wash the lid, freezer bowl and mixing arm. Place the thoroughly dry freezer bowl upright on flat surface at the back of your freezer (where it's coldest) and freeze for 16 to 24 hours, depending on your freezer (which should be set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit). To see if it's frozen, give it a shake. If you don't hear the liquid moving around, it's frozen. I plan to just leave it in the freezer so it's ready to go at all times!

This recipe was adapted from one in the instruction booklet that came with the machine. It's a simple, no-egg, uncooked ice cream. And it is fabulous! Next time I'll try a custard-style ice cream. Or a frozen yogurt. Or a sorbet. I don't know what to do next. I think I need to order at least one more freezer bowl. Can you tell I'm excited?!

I use all organic ingredients. If you can't get organic milk and cream, at least get a brand that doesn't have hormones. And, please, insist on organic strawberries. Conventionally grown strawberries are number three on the current list of the "Dirty Dozen" most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables you can buy. Only conventionally grown celery and peaches are more contaminated!



Simple Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

(Makes about 5 cups)

1 1/2 cups hulled and sliced strawberries (1-pound clamshell more than enough)
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream


1 By hand or in food processor, chop strawberries as finely or as coarsely as you like. Place in a small bowl; stir in half of the sugar. Let macerate for an hour.

2 In medium bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure to make pouring easier), whisk together milk, remaining sugar, vanilla and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream, then stir in the strawberries with their juice. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

3 Assemble the Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream-Sorbet Maker; turn it on. While it is running, pour the chilled mixture through the spout. Let mix until thickened, about 15 minutes.

4 Transfer the soft ice cream to a freezer-safe airtight container and place in freezer for at least 2 hours. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving.


13 May 2011

Review - Outstanding in the Field - A Restaurant Without Walls


Outstanding in the Field is "a restaurant without walls, a roving culinary adventure." They've been setting up the long table since 1999, showcasing local food and wine. I've wanted for the longest time to attend one of these events and was delighted to accept their kind invitation. The 2011 tour (May to the end of the year) includes several events in Canada and Europe as well as dozens across the US. This month suited my schedule best, and I saw one of my favorite destinations on the list for May.

The venue for the May 11 event was Earthtrine Farm in Ojai, a short drive inland on California's Central Coast. This was the second time host farmers BD and Liz Dautch have welcomed OITF to their well-tended fields in the picturesque Ojai Valley. Guests gathered in the orchard at 4 o'clock for wine and passed hors d'oeuvres, followed by a tour of the small certified organic farm where the Dautches grow oranges and other fruits, vegetables and herbs, harvesting over a hundred varieties of produce throughout the year.

After the tour, we all–-farmers, producers, winemakers, food artisans, diners-– settled in at the long table to share a delightful repast served family-style. Throughout the meal, local suppliers went around the table telling diners the story of their ingredients that went into the meal.

Guest chef Rachel Main of Main Course California in neighboring Ventura prepared a delectable meal with ingredients from Earthtrine Farm, Santa Paula grower Dave Pommer, Ventura farmer Mary McGrath, Ojai's Watkins Cattle Company, Ventura's Ocean Pride Seafood and Santa Barbara Pistachios.

Guest winemakers Mike and Chris Brown of Cantara Cellars in nearby Camarillo provided wines to complement each course: Lodi Albarino 2010 and Amador County Tempranillo 2008 with the hors d'oeuvres, Lodi Chardonnay 2009 with the chilled lettuce soup, Lodi Syrah Rose 2009 with the vegetable kimchi, Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2009 with the Baja yellowtail, carrot puree, tempura Japanese turnips and grilled sprouted broccoli.

Part of the mission of Outstanding in the Field is to reconnect diners to the land and the origins of their food. Believe me, when diners are seated at the long table right there in the field eating foods just picked from that field, they definitely feel connected to the land! The other part of the mission of OITF is to honor the local farmers and food artisans. Mission accomplished!

Check the Outstanding in the Field schedule for an event in your area or somewhere you'd like to visit.

06 May 2011

Strawberry Freezer Jam with Less Sugar - Even Better My Way


Strawberry freezer jam is something I don't usually get around to making until June, but I got my hands on some perfect organic local berries the other day and decided to get a jump on summer. I posted Strawberry Freezer Jam with Less Sugar last June, but I've changed my technique a bit since then. While making Peach Freezer Jam with Less Sugar last August, I got a great idea (if I do say so myself)!

If you've made freezer jam, you know it has a softer set than regular jam. I'm okay with that, but still I just couldn't help thinking I could make it better. And I DID! I made my first batch according to directions and found that after 24 hours it was much softer than I would like, so I decided to experiment on the second batch. I heated the peaches a bit before adding them to the pectin mixture. When I tried the jam after 24 hours, I was amazed! The consistency was perfect, and it still tasted like fresh peaches!

So, of course, I had to try my new technique on these strawberries. Wow! (Sure-Jell, if you're reading this and want to send me piles of cash for my idea, that can be arranged!)


Strawberry Freezer Jam

(Makes 7 half-pint jars)

I used the same ingredients as the Sure-Jell recipe but made a crucial change to the method, so this is my jam.

4 cups prepared fruit (buy about 4 or 5 pints fully ripe strawberries)
3 cups sugar
1 box
Sure-Jell Premium Fruit Pectin for Less or No Sugar Needed Recipes

1 cup water


1 Rinse clean half-pint glass jars and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly. Straight-sided jars are best.

2 Slice and, with a pastry blender (works better than a potato masher), thoroughly crush strawberries, one layer at a time. Or use a food processor*: With metal blade in place, add halved strawberries to work bowl and chop using several 1-second pulses. Or, as my dear friend and honorary grandmother Elsie does, use a blender. But don't puree; leave some little chunks. Measure exactly 4 cups crushed strawberries in 1-quart glass measure.

3 Pour fruit into 2-quart saucepan. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat just to the boil (bubbling in the middle as well as around the edges). Remove from heat.

4 In 3-quart saucepan, stir together sugar and pectin. Stir in water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Immediately add strawberries; stir 1 minute or until well blended. Pour into 2-quart glass measure; spout and handle make it easy to fill jars neatly.

5 Fill all jars immediately, leaving 1/2 inch space at top for expansion. Wipe any drips off top edges of jars; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator before using.


* I have the Cuisinart DLC-10E, which (understandably after all this time--I've had it since I was very young) is no longer available. See Cuisinart DLC-2009CHB Prep 9 9-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless and other available models.


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