Monday, June 25, 2012

I may have outdone myself.*

Last we met, I mentioned I picked up some more Rainier cherries from a roadside stand near my office.  I expected that I would be making another batch of the refreshing sorbet with them, but got severely delayed and decided to get wild and try something new.

I guess I’d like to call this “Cherry Bomb,” because that's the earworm that I found popped into my head as I pitted more cherries, but that might be exaggerating the cherry flavor actually in this. But it’s good. Real good.

2 cups pitted Rainier cherries
2 Tbsp local raw honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 can coconut milk (the full fat variety)

Place all ingredients in a blender (or food processor). Blend.  Ready your ice cream maker.  Pour the mixture into your maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions for ice cream (at least that’s essentially what I did*).  Place in freezer to set up. 

Makes 1 quart plus a half pint.

Now, I’m a novice at the making of the homemade ice creams (this being only my second foray with my Kitchen Aid attachment), but I noticed that most ice cream recipes call for the ice cream base to be well chilled before processing. My mixture was basically room temperature when I churned it, so it could have taken longer for that fact alone. But I just kept an eye on it until it looked about right. Maybe it would work faster with a chilled mixture, but I can neither wait that long, nor plan that far ahead.

So I’m not really sure how to classify this. It’s not as creamy as ice cream, but it is creamier than sorbet (although I’ve never tried a commercial coconut sorbet in order to compare). But it’s relatively icy and delicious.  Fella far preferred this to the previous sorbet, although I like them equally.

No pretty pictures to share this time. We (and by that I mean mostly I) have been eating it straight from the container I froze it in. Keepin' it real, yo.

I’m looking forward to making this again with strawberries and now that the scent from my afternoon snack is wafting up at me from my desk, peaches!

*I thought about revising this statement after writing it, but when I sat down at the computer to eat and post this, I could not deny that I had.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cherry, Cherry

Two weeks ago I got adventurous at the Farmer’s Market: I bought fresh Rainier cherries. I’ve always been a fan of Bing cherries, and grew up with Montmorency cherries in the Midwest (these make THE best cherry pies).  And last winter, I started buying dried Rainiers.

Despite this, I was still a little leery of the fresh Rainier cherry. I just couldn’t fathom that these blushing yellow cherries could be anything but sour. Oh how I was wrong, and I’m not sure which is worse: that I finally discovered how amazing they are or, that I didn’t find out sooner!

So this week I bought twice as many cherries as last. And I had plans to use half of them to copy a friend's idea from last week and make cherry sorbet.  After perusing the interwebs a bit, I felt fairly confident that I could throw together something to do these beauties justice and here’s just that:

Rainier Cherry Vanilla Sorbet

2 cups pitted Rainier cherries
2 Tbsp local raw honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon, juiced (mine are Meyer, in case you were wondering)
¼ cup water

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Puree until liquefied. (Mine had small cherry bits still, so expect it to be pulpy). Prepare in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions for sorbet.

This was also the maiden voyage for the ice cream making attachment that I got as a birthday present last year for my stand mixer. Another thing I’m unsure of: the discovery that using it is so easy or, that I waited more than a year to find this out.

We couldn’t wait the 2 hours that my ice cream maker suggested for the sorbet to set up in the freezer, so it was a little melty when we dug in. 

It was gorgeous. Thank You, Mother Nature!

It makes 1 pint, which basically means I need more cherries!

I spent my lunch break securing more cherries. Which means there's more cherry sorbet in my future!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Few Thoughts On My Birthday

You know you’re thirtysomething when…

Your insurance agent calls to wish you a happy birthday.
You receive cards from your grad school and your bank.
There’s no pre-birthday hangover requiring the day off from work (and hair of the dog). 
There's no post-birthday hangover, either.
You have the worst hangover in the history of hangovers.
You’re secure enough to admit to an old crush that even after umpteen years, he still gives you a little bit of the butterflies.
Your celebration consists of toddler swim class followed by dinner at Chipotle. There were even margaritas. Fancy!
You ask for jewelry, but happily settle for a gas grill.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nutella Emm Effing Pie

I made this pie when I was on a Nutella kick maybe 8 months ago. It was all I had hoped it would be. Then I made it again for Easter. It almost overshadowed the resurrection. Almost. 

Today, a friend, who's in the family way, demanded requested the recipe. Understanding how powerless the expectant can be to the call from the womb, I've put pen to paper fingers to keyboard to oblige her unborn.

Without further ado, I give you:

Nutella Emm-Effing Pie 

Great with either a graham cracker or Oreo cookie crumb crust (I use store bought).

1 cup Nutella
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tub (8oz) Cool Whip, thawed

Beat the Nutella and cream cheese until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.  
Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth, and you may as well scrape the sides if you need to. 
Add the Cool Whip and beat until smooth. Wouldn't you know, it's not gonna hurt if you, ya know, take a spatula to the sides of your bowl and sorta make sure everything is combined.

Pour into pie crust. Chill at least an hour before serving (best if chilled overnight).

A little goes a long way here, so start small. Your fetus will thank you for this.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Just Did What!?

Today found myself at work eating a dark chocolate caramel pecan cluster and was reminded (yes, again!) that I have been eating candy with wild abandon since Halloween.  No, it doesn’t just seem like I have been eating it nonstop because of all the holidays. The holidays seem like one long lost weekend ago and I finally has a lucid moment here on Saint Valentine’s Day. Where I found myself still eating all the candy and sweets that crossed my path. Compulsively!

And let me tell you, it has not been without consequence.  While before Halloween I was on the down slope of the decade in which my weight was living, I am definitely on the upside of it now.  Who am I kidding? I am squarely in the next decade and headed for the future.

So here's the conversation that ensued in my head:

"I've got to make a change, but...???"

"I guess there's always Lent." 

"Holy shit, did I just give up sweets for Lent?!"

"Wait—when is Lent this year?" [Googles it] "Oh fuck, it starts next week!"

So, it would seem I have a week to mentally prepare for this.  It’s going to be U.G.L.Y., friends. And I will not be responsible for my actions for at least a week following Mardi Gras!  Consider yourselves warned.

God help us all.