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Rye Thyme Cocktail ~*Recipe ReDux*~

22 Jul

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This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is: “Fresh from the Garden: The season of bountiful produce has arrived. Whether your produce comes from the farmers’ market, a CSA share, or a plot of dirt out back, show how you are using fresh July fruits or veggies. And if you have gardening successes – or failures – please share!” 

It seems that every year I try to produce a mini urban windowsill “garden.” In years past, I’ve tried my hand at growing dill (didn’t make it past adolescence) and nasturtium (got one or two flowers), and replanting a basil plant from the grocery store (the leaves grew back teeny tiny and few and far between).

This year, my snap pea plant grew about 4 snap peas before the plant decided it had enough of this New York City heat and died on me last week. My peppermint is barely hanging on right now, and the tarragon is looking a tad limp.

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But, somehow the thyme is looking good. So, I will count my blessings and use it while it’s hot! Continue reading

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Slow Food NYC Benefit Dinner at Kings County Distillery

22 Sep

On Wednesday, September 10, I attended Parker Red’s Farm to Fork Dinner benefiting Slow Food NYC at Kings County Distillery in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The dinner was supporting Slow Food NYC’s Producer Summit, an event bringing together local farmers, chefs, and distributors to discuss challenges and celebrate successes of the current local food system. The Producer Summit will be held at Hawthorne Valley Farm in early November, and the hope is to create “an actionable strategy to strengthen and expand the supply chain of organic and sustainably-grown food to New York City restaurants.”

FTF Whiskey Dinner Invite - Final

The evening began with live music, radishes with butter and salt, boiled peanuts, charcuterie, and a tasting—moonshine, bourbon, and chocolate whiskey—made from corn and barley grown onsite at the distillery in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Continue reading

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

19 Jan

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My gnarly sick-brain is telling me that cake for breakfast is okay, especially if I throw in some orange segments and raw almonds.

The cake has white flour and sugar, it has chocolate chips, it has butter (a pretty small amount of butter, actually, compared to other cake recipes). But there are oats for good measure, and I mashed up a random half banana that was sitting on my counter and added it into the batter. Note the almonds and orange segments, please!

Oranges add so much color to the plate! These were navel oranges, but I have been plowing through the beautiful pink cara caras and the deep purple blood oranges, too. It’s so unfair that I’ve been eating orange segments up the wazoo all week and I’m still a snotty congested mess! For some reason, though, I can still smell and taste things, so I am spending my quarantined time at home playing in the kitchen.

My favorite step of this cake recipe, as Tracy Shutterbean also notes in her blog post, is pouring boiling water over the oats and butter (I added in a little mashed banana, too) to melt the better and partially cook the oats. So clever! I like the idea of cooking the oats slightly so that they are not totally dormant. I also like that the chocolate chips get splashed with a teeny tiny bit of bourbon (you could always use water or juice) and coated in a little flour to keep them from settling to the bottom of the pan during baking.

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As I was gathering my ingredients for the recipe, I realized that I should probably go through my pantry staples for baking. I couldn’t remember how old my baking soda was, probably at least two or three years old. My brown sugar was hard as a rock, and I had to sprinkle some water over it and whack it to un-clump. I should probably store my baking soda in the fridge, and empty brown sugar into an air-tight container instead of it’s original bag. This was all a big reminder to clean out and re-stock the pantry.

Even though I may have used some old ingredients, the cake still came out tasting great! Phew.

I almost omitted the frosting because I rarely have cream cheese laying around and I thought I could be “healthy” by just slathering it in nut butter. But who am I kidding?! Cream cheese frosting is delicious; it’s just a thin layer, and it really finishes the cake nicely. Do it.

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The measurements for some of the ingredients may seem nit-picky because I halved the original recipe. The original recipe calls for a 9″x13″ baking pan, and I just wanted to make enough cake for an 8″x8″ pan. Mostly because I only had one egg left and was too lazy to run to the store to buy another carton.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

adapted from Shutterbean; originally from Baked

serves 6-8

  • 4 oz. or 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon bourbon
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 oz. or 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cubed-at room temperature
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

for the frosting:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375°. Butter the sides and bottom of an 8″x 8″ baking pan.

Toss chocolate chips with bourbon in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over the chips and toss until coated. Set aside.

Heat 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water to boiling. Place the oats, mashed 1/2 banana, and butter in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over oat mixture. Wait 30 seconds, then stir to moisten oats and and banana, and to melt the butter. Set aside for 25-30 minutes.

Whisk egg, sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Fold in oatmeal, stirring until well combined. Fold in remaining flour, and then stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes.

To make the frosting:

Beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until combined. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract until smooth (about 1 minute). If the frosting gets too soft, you may need to cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Spread a thin layer of frosting over cake. Chill for 15 minutes before serving.

Store covered cake in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream (Vegan)

6 Nov

Leave it to me to make ice cream in this nose-drippingly cold weather (my computer is telling me that it is 1 degree Celsius outside right now) .

This ice cream is crazy easy to prepare. You can make it for your Thanksgiving guests. You could be like me and eat it on a random Monday night. There are only 3 main ingredients–coconut milk, pumpkin, brown sugar–and a few spices. The best part is that almost everyone can enjoy it! Vegans, lactose and gluten intolerant folks, Kosher keepers…

There is a buzz about coconut milk used in vegan ice cream bases–and for a good reason. Coconut milk provides fat that helps maintain the creamy texture of the ice cream. You cannot taste the coconut unless you really look for it. If anything, the coconut brings out the flavor of the pumpkin and spices.

Let’s talk toppings…

To really spice things up, why not make  ice cream sandwiches? Molasses cookies, gingersnaps, graham crackers, shortbread…Or have everything in one! Break apart some cookies and mix them into the already churned ice cream a la Shutterbean. Toasted chopped nuts and crystallized ginger could also make for a crunchy topping. Or maybe a warm chocolate fudge or salty caramel sauce. Slurp.

Put on a warm coat. Eat ice cream. Repeat.

Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream (Vegan)

recipe adapted from The Year In Food

makes about 3/4 of a quart of ice cream

**Optional: To help keep the ice cream from being rock hard after sitting in the freezer, you may want to add a tablespoon or two of alcohol to the base. This keeps the texture nice and smooth. I would recommend a bourbon.

1 15-oz can coconut milk

1 level cup of pumpkin puree

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

First, make sure to freeze your ice cream bowl for at least 24 hours.

In a medium pot over the low heat, combine the coconut milk and pumpkin puree with the brown sugar and spices. Stir just until the sugar has dissolved and the spices are thoroughly incorporated.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for about 2.5 hours. Stir once an hour if you can.

Remove the custard from the fridge.

Have your ice cream machine ready. Take the freezer bowl out last. Pour the custard into the ice cream bowl, and churn until the consistency of a soft serve ice cream, about ten minutes. It doesn’t need very much time at all!

You can serve it this way, or let it firm up a little more in the freezer. It will get rock hard if left in for too long, probably because of the water content in the pumpkin puree. Just let it sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes or so before eating so it softens.

Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream

27 Dec

I’ll have a bourbon on the rocks, please.

Wait, I mean a bourbon ice cream on the rocks.

I’m on a bourbon kick. Remember a few weeks ago when I made Tracy’s Maple Bourbon Cider? And just last week I was raving about Steve’s Ice Cream in Bourbon Vanilla flavor? I decided to re-create the bourbon vanilla ice cream at home.

Take 1 cup of bourbon and reduce it with some sugar by about one fourth. Then just make vanilla ice cream base as usual. Most of the alcohol gets cooked out, leaving a nice bourbon flavor and a smooth creamy texture when frozen. Talk about a winter-wake-me-up.

Dreamy.

Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream

adapted from EzraPoundCake

makes slightly more than 1 quart of ice cream

1 cup bourbon

1/2 cup (100g) sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream, divided

1 cup milk (I used 1%)

4 yolks

Before starting, have your 4 yolks ready in a bowl. Also have a large bowl sitting in an ice water bath with a fine mesh strainer over the top. Pour 1 cup of your cream into that large bowl. It is important to have everything ready to go and measured out.

Heat the bourbon in a smallish pot or saucepan over medium high heat until it boils. Add the sugar and salt and stir until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the bourbon reduces by about a quarter, about 6 minutes.

Add the vanilla bean and extract (or if you do not have a bean, use 1 tablespoon of extract), 1 cup of the heavy cream, and the milk and heat over medium heat until steaming aka scalded.

Once steaming, whisk your egg yolks while pouring about 1/3 to 2/3 of your cream mix into the yolks. Keep stirring. Keep the remaining 1/3 of the cream in the pot over the heat. Then pour your yolk mix into the hot cream and heat everything together until slightly thickened. Stir constantly and switch to a rubber spatula. Once thickened and the foam disappears slightly, turn the heat off and pour the mix through the strainer into your bowl of cold cream.

Keep on an ice bath until chilled, then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight and churn in you ice cream maker.