Ice Cream Pie

It’s summer and nothing says summer like ice cream. I don’t think I’ve ever had a summer where I didn’t have an icy treat to cool me down. Well a few months ago, I came across this amazing website called Handle the Heat. It’s about a college student turned culinary student, Tessa, and let me tell you she has AMAZING recipes. This was only one of them. You can find her recipe for Frozen Mocha Pie (which is what I used) here.

So ever since I stumbled upon this recipe, I book-marked it and was anxiously waiting for the perfect chance to make it. I’ve made it three times so far (once in the fall, once for dinner with friends and now today, cheat day. I mean why wouldn’t I want to try a recipe that combines chocolate, coffee ice cream and cookies into an pie? That seems like a recipe made in heaven. Today seemed like a good day to make the frozen pie, I mean it was hot and sunny, the perfect day for some ice cream. I had made it with coffee ice cream before, so to change it up I decided to use Vanilla Swiss Almond (vanilla with chocolate covered almonds mixed in).

Taste-wise this pie was amazing (Although I do admit it was a bit on the heavy side)! The chocolate chip cookies made an amazing buttery crust that complimented the ice cream perfectly with it’s slightly crunchy texture. The chocolate ganache on top gave it a nice chocolate-y kick without stealing the show from the ice cream. Overall it was a huge success and I think my suite mates, friends and boyfriend enjoyed it immensely. Will I make it again? I will definitely make it again. I mean it’s simple to make, didn’t take much time, and I already have a few new combinations that I want to try.

So let’s get started!

Ingredients:

Crust:
-30 chocolate chip cookies
-4 tablespoons of butter
Filling:
-A pint of you favorite ice cream (I used haagen daz Swiss Vanilla Almond. You may not use all of it depending on the size of your pan. I recommend a 9 inch spring form pan.)
Ganache:
-Chocolate chips (I would go for bittersweet, but then again, it’s totally up to you)
-Heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I don’t have a food processor, so I put the cookies in an airtight ziploc bag and crushed them by hand (with a rolling pin). Place in a large bowl and add in the melted butter. It should have the consistency of wet sand.
  2. Pour crumb mixture into a 9-inch spring-form pan and, using a cup or your hands, press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake 10 minutes then set on a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
  3. Once crust is cool, place in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill. Take ice cream out of the freezer and place in fridge for 30 minutes to soften.
  4.  remove coffee ice cream from the fridge and transfer to a large mixing bowl. With a wooden spoon or a spatula, stir the ice cream so that it is spreadable (but not liquid-y). Quickly spread the ice cream into the chilled crust in an even layer. Place the pan back into the freezer until the ice cream is solid.
  5. Meanwhile make the ganache: place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and add in the heavy cream. Either melt it in the microwave or place it over a pot of simmering water (double boiler style). If you are using a microwave, make sure you stir every 15 to 20 seconds and don’t let your chocolate burn.
  6. Pour the warm ganache over the ice cream and tilt pan to cover evenly. Transfer pie to a flat surface in the freezer and chill for at least 3 hours.

In my opinion, this is by far the best dessert for summer and it’s really simple to make! It’s also really easy to cater it to your own tastes. You could use any sort of cookie for the crust (sugar cookies, chocolate wafers, chocolate chip, peanut butter) and you can use any type of ice cream (vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, coffee). If you aren’t a fan of chocolate, like my room mate, you can use sugar cookies and coffee ice cream. So don’t let the recipe limit you, feel free to experiment (I have and it was fun!).

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

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Lemon Bars

I feel like summer is the perfect time to use lemons. I mean, nothing says summer quite like a nice cool glass of lemonade. But what happens if you’re hungry? I’ve made lemon bars multiple times (and it’s usually in the warmer months). They make an excellent dessert or snack, especially when you’re having a party. I think it’s the way the powdered sugar garnishes the lemon and makes it so tempting. I made these today because one of my best friends is in the city and over breakfast we were discussing what our last meal would be (somewhat morbid, but we were just trying to figure out what our favorite foods were) and she said for dessert she would either have my lemon bars or my pumpkin bites. Well I already had pumpkin bites in my fridge, so why not make some lemon bars? That way she could eat both. So after a long day of wandering through Times Square, we came home and made some lemon bars. I used the recipe from the Williams Sonoma book and I thought, since I had a 9-inch square cake pan and not a 8-inch, I would double the recipe. Anyway, they came out really nicely and both my friend and boyfriend enjoyed them. Pat took some to work and I’ll probably end up eating some for breakfast.

So let’s get started!

Ingredients (makes 16 bars):

Crust:
-1 cup AP flour
-7 tbspn unsalted butter
-1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Lemon filling:
-1 small lemon
-2 tbspn flour
-2 eggs
-1 cup granulated sugar (I used brown sugar)
-1/2 tspn baking powder
-big pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the butter in the square cake pan and place the pan in the oven until the butter melts (about 5 minutes) or you can melt the butter in a separate bowl (microwave safe) for 45 seconds in the microwave. Let the butter cool and then combine it with the flour and the confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar). In the book, it says to mix it with a fork until a dough forms. I suggest you use your hands because you will use your hands to press the dough into the bottom of the cake pan. Once the dough is lined evenly across the bottom of the pan, return the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and the sugar until it is well blended. Zest the lemon (wash it with a little bit of salt to rub off any layers of wax first) and squeeze enough juice to measure 2 tablespoons. Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, baking powder, flour and salt until well combined.
  3. When the crust is done, remove the pan from the oven and spread the filling over the hot crust. Return the pan into the oven and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes (or until the lemon filling is a pale brown). If you used brown sugar instead of granulated sugar, the filling will be browner, but it should form a nice crust on top. Insert a toothpick into the center and if it comes out clean it will be done. If you are going to double your recipe, don’t forget to double the baking time, so it will go from 20 to 25 minutes to 40 to 50 minutes.
  4. Transfer the pan to the rack and let it cool. Once cool, remove it from the pan and cut into squares (the book says to garnish it with powdered sugar before you cut it, but I think it looks better to cut the lemon bars first). Place some powdered sugar in a small sieve and tap the edge so that the powdered sugar falls through onto the lemon bars.

Personally, I find that it’s easier to line the cake pan with parchment paper because it lets you lift out the lemon bars without having to worry about the crust sticking to the bottom. Also I have found that if you cut the lemon bars in the pan (and it hasn’t been lined with parchment paper) when the lemon bars are lifted out the crust tends to break off.

This is a photo of a lemon bar I made last summer. I used a larger pan, so the crust is a little thinner and I made it sort of like a tart shell because I pressed some of the dough up the sides. These lemon bars are really versatile, so you don’t have to cut them up into squares or bars. You could probably use a tart pan and make it a lemon tart as well. I wonder what could happen if I used oranges as well. Maybe it would be too citrus-y, but I feel like you could add in other flavors and take this lemon bar up a notch. I’ll keep you posted! But in the meantime, grab some cool lemonade, lemon bar (if it’s too overpowering, maybe change the lemon to ice water with a lemon wedge), and enjoy!

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Garlic Shrimp

It’s the final day of the slow carb diet! Granted I may have cheated a day or two, but my mom’s in town and I can’t really say “I’m sorry mommy I can’t go to Eataly with you because I can’t eat carbs.” I haven’t seen her since Spring Break and even then I was sick with strep throat so technically I haven’t spent any time with her since Winter break (which was January). Okay, now that I’ve confessed I will say that despite it all I have been a very good girl and I have survived the two weeks. Granted I didn’t write too many posts (sometimes Pat and I went out to eat and other times I went out with my mom to eat and some other times I just skipped meals, by simply forgetting to eat). Anyway, I’m sure I told you this but I’ll say it again: this diet is pretty hard to accomplish unless you plan and make all your meals (or if you don’t mind eating mexican sans tortillas and rice for 5 days straight). Anyway, for our last dinner I made some pretty good stuff: Garlic Shrimp and sun-dried tomato and garlic infused veggies. I didn’t have a recipe for these, but I’m pretty sure that my mom made a similar dish to the veggies and I was trying to recreate that. She didn’t have a recipe though and I’m sure hers was a lot more garlicky.

Doesn’t that look good? I took the photo today (usually Pat takes all the photos) because today was also my last day for my food photography class! I made blueberry muffins (you can find the recipe here) and we took a photo of those too! It was actually really fun and I learned quite a lot. I’ll probably attempt to take more photos in the future, but Pat will still be the better photographer 🙂

Well let’s get started!

Ingredients:

Shrimp:
-1 lb of shrimp (peeled and deveined)
-paprika
-salt and pepper
-4 tbspn butter (unsalted)
-1 or 2 cloves of garlic
Veggies:
-1 or 2 clove garlic
-5 to 6 slices of bacon
-10 stalks of asparagus
-1 bag of broccoli
-5 sun dried tomatoes
-salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. If you have shrimp that hasn’t been peeled and deveined, peel and devein your shrimp. Rinse them with cold water and pat dry. In a large bowl, toss together the shrimp with the paprika, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli in the steamer until it is tender but still firm. Cut or break off the woody sections of the asparagus stalk and cut the asparagus into small bite sized pieces. I just cut the stalks in to  three sections. Take the broccoli out of the steamer and set aside. Steam the asparagus until it is still firm, but slightly cooked.
  3. Mince the garlic (I used three cloves) and set aside. Slice the sun dried tomatoes in small slivers and set aside. Cut up the bacon into small pieces and cook in a large pan. Once the bacon is browned and slightly crispy, add half of the garlic and the sun dried tomatoes. Once the garlic starts to perfume the pan, add in the broccoli and the asparagus. Cook until the veggies are fork tender (about 5 minutes or less).
  4. Melt the butter in another large pan. Once the butter is all melted, add the rest of the minced garlic. Since you have a pound of shrimp and you don’t want to overcrowd the pan, I suggest you cook the shrimp in batches. My pan was pretty big, so I could cook the shrimp in 2 batches. Cook the shrimp until they become pink (about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, you don’t want to overcook them). Remove the shrimp from the pan and add the next batch. Repeat until all the shrimp are cooked.

Once again, this was a pretty easy dish. Now if I weren’t on the slow carb diet, I would have had some bread on the side. It might also be fun to, instead of pan fry the shrimp, to skewer them and cook them on a grill. You could have some melted butter on the side for dipping. If you are going to skewer them, don’t forget to soak the skewers (if they’re wooden) for at least 10 minutes so that they don’t catch on fire. You could also substitute the shrimp with scallops or fish if you aren’t a huge fan of shrimp or with chicken if you are allergic to shellfish.

Pat took this photo 🙂

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Pumpkin Bites

Okay so technically these baked goods are probably better suited for the fall months like October or November, but my mom is in the city for a musical workshop thing (she flew in on saturday) and she really loves my pumpkin bites. Well I got the recipe from a cookbook so they aren’t my pumpkin bites, but they’re still very delicious. I’m super excited because well she lives in Tokyo and I haven’t seen her since Spring Break. She’s here until the 22nd and I’m so excited to spend time with her. I decided that since today was her last day at the Broadway workshop I would surprise her with a batch of pumpkin bites. I’ve made this recipe a lot of times, especially for Quidditch events (yes I’m a Potter head and I play Quidditch). The Quidditch players really love them and I find that the pumpkin bites really fit in (seeing as there is a lot of pumpkin dishes in Harry Potter like the pumpkin juice, pumpkin pasties, etc.). I also made these in cupcake form for our NYU Relay for Life event and they sold out pretty well. In other words, if you like pumpkin this recipe is perfect. So enough of me babbling about the pumpkin bites of the past, let’s get started!

Ingredients:

-1 cup all-purpose flour
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon allspice
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 cup pumpkin puree
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
– a dash nutmeg and cloves
Cream Cheese Frosting:
– 3 ounces cream cheese
-2 cups powdered sugar
– vanilla extract (about 1 teaspoon)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease your baking pan (it calls for a 9-inch square pan but I used a round pan and it worked fine)
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Add the pumpkin, oil and eggs. Mix until well combined. Give it a taste and see if you want to add more spices.
  3. Pour the mixture into the oiled pan. Make sure to use a rubber spatula to scrape the mixture in and to spread it evenly inside the pan.
  4. Place the pan in the oven and bake the bars for about 18 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
  5. While it cools, make the icing by combining the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Mix until it is smooth and creamy. If necessary, add milk or cream to make the icing spreadable (I just added a few more drops of vanilla extract)
  6. Spread the icing over the pumpkin and cut them into squares or triangles. I just cut them into tiny bite sized squares.

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Naked Burgers

So for dinner (Slow Carb Diet day 8, yeah it’s skipped a few because saturday was cheat day and I was working late on tuesday night), we had naked burgers or rather burgers without their buns. I had my first food photography class (Pat was so excited it was very cute) and afterwards we stopped by Trader Joe’s for dinner ingredients. I was really craving a burger and well because we couldn’t have the buns our regular burgers (bareburger, shake shack, lyric) were out of the question. So I decided to make my own burgers, minus the buns. Okay so I may have been able to plate it better, but we were really hungry…I’ve made burgers before and it was pretty simple. It’s basically ground meat seasoned with salt and pepper and then shaped into patties and cooked. Well today I wanted to make them differently and I added some onions, kind of like the burgers they have back in Japan. In Japan, we have two kinds of meat patties, hamburgers and hamburge, the hamburgers are your classic american hamburgers. The hamburge on the other hand is missing the bread.

If you google it, the hamburge will look like this:

See? It has no bun, but a pretty great tasting sauce. Well anyway aside from the little cultural experience you may or may not have had, I basically tried to recreate it. I just made the burger patties like I usually do and used the toppings as a side dish. We had bacon (real bacon!), avocado, grape tomatoes, and some sautéed mushrooms and spinach.

So let’s get started!

Ingredients:

Burgers:
– 1 lb ground beef (I used 96% lean, but I recommend at least 80%. The burger patties were a bit dry because there was no fat to keep it nice and moist)
-1 onion
-1 garlic clove
-salt and pepper to taste
Toppings (basically anything you want on your burger):
-Bacon
-Avocado
-Tomatoes
Mushroom and Spinach Sauté:
-mushrooms (1 carton)
-spinach (half a bag)
-salt and pepper to taste
-4 tbspn unsalted butter
-soy sauce (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mince the garlic and the onion. In a large mixing bowl, combine the minced onion, garlic, ground beef, salt and pepper. Divide the ground beef mixture into four equal parts and shape them into patties. Don’t forget to make a shallow dent in the center of the patty (it will swell up while it’s cooking and allow the patties to maintain their shape).
  2. Heat some olive oil in a large pan at medium heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully slide in two patties (you don’t want to overcrowd the pan). Cover with a lid and let the patties cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and flip the patties. Cook until it’s well browned. Repeat with the other two patties. If you are using cheese, place the cheese on top of the burgers after they’re flipped so that the cheese is nice and melted by the time your burger is ready.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a small pan and slice the avocado. Prepare your other toppings and if you want to use hamburger buns, lightly butter them and toast them in the broiler (but keep an eye on them or they will burn).
  4. For the spinach and mushroom sauté. Melt the butter into a medium sized sauté pan. Once the butter is all melted, add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cover with a lid. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir the mushrooms. Add in the soy sauce and stir until well combined. Add in the spinach and cook until it just begins to wilt (no more than 2 minutes).
  5. Plate everything and you’re finished!

2 more days until I’m officially done with this diet. Pat and I came to the conclusion that unless you made ALL your meals, this diet isn’t too bad. However if you do have to eat out, it’s really difficult (I think we may have had chipotle almost everyday for lunch). I know my lunches always ended up being a salad of some sort and while it was delicious, it wasn’t very filling.

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Sweet Italian Sausage and Peppers

So today was one of those days where nothing really goes quite right. Work was fine though, I built a wheel barrow and everything. I left my keys at home and so I had to go home before babysitting. While babysitting, Z made me read until my voice was hoarse and then she kept accidentally bumping my finger (the one with the large cut and big bandaid). And then I left the darn keys at their house and didn’t realize until I was almost at the  train stop. I went back to her house and no one answered the door despite the fact that I had only left 10 minutes earlier, so I left and then I found out no one answered because they were playing hide and seek. Then I had to make dinner with my left hand (let me tell you, cutting things was a tad hard, so I used my right hand and it was still pretty hard because I wasn’t allowed to use my forefinger), but it was still pretty therapeutic. I just like how nothing can go wrong with cooking as long as you put it together right (I feel like that’s a Julie and Julia quote, it probably is). Nothing really went wrong except for the forgetting keys, but it just felt that way. Perhaps it’s the hormones? That was probably a bit of an over share. All in all it was just one of those horrible, awful, no-good, rotten days. It was basically one of those days where you just need a big bowl of ice cream or a piece of chocolate or a cookie to make everything seem alright. So please forgive me, I broke a rule for the Slow Carb Diet and ate some cookies and watched Charmed. But I stuck to it for dinner! See:

Yes the photo kind of sucks, but what could I do? Pat was out with his friend and I couldn’t ask him to come home just so he could take a photo. Basically what you’re looking at is some sautéed green peppers and onions and some panfried sausages cut into pieces. The sausages are sweet Italian and I got them at Whole Foods (did I mention my love for that grocery store? Yes I’ve heard it’s overpriced, but I still like it). It’s a pretty simple dish and it only took 10 to 15 minutes to assemble. I’m sure it can work as a side dish as well as a main dish. So let’s get started!

Ingredients:

-4 sweet italian sausages (or you favorite sausage)
-1 yellow onion
-1 green bell pepper
-1 clove garlic
-olive oil
-salt, pepper and a dash of soy sauce to taste

Directions:

  1. Slice the bell pepper and the onion. Coat the pan with olive oil and add in the garlic. Once the garlic starts to cook, add in the onions. Salt and pepper the onions and sauté them until they’re translucent. Cut the sausage into pieces and add to the pan. You can cook them in a separate pan (pan fry? pan grill?), I just thought the onions would get more flavor that way.
  2. Once the sausages start to brown, add in the bell pepper. Once everything is cooked, add a dash of soy sauce and mix.
And you’re done. I told you this was a quick dinner. Now if you wanted, you could definitely add more vegetables and spices. I figure maybe celery and carrots would be good, or asparagus. As for spices you could use paprika or chili flakes to add a little heat. You could also substitute the olive oil with butter if you wanted, to get a sense of richness. I thought maybe this dish would be great with rice (I know this combo is really great with pasta) or some bread with cheese and perhaps some french onion soup? Ahaha I’ll have to keep you posted if I try and make a full meal out of this.
Hugs and puppies!
Mimi

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

I took this photo in my food photography class today and I’m actually really proud of it. True the muffins aren’t really the main subject in this photo, but it’s still pretty cool. I made these muffins a few weeks ago in my Food Studies class (not these exact ones, but I got the recipe for them) and it was this recipe that I was attempting recreate when I lacerated my poor finger (as you can see from the crumble on top, I managed to execute this recipe without a hitch during class). I was attempting to make the crumble with an emulsifier because I didn’t have a food processor. Despite the hidden dangers of making these muffins (I’m kidding, as long as you unplug any and all nearby whirling blades you will be 100% safe), they are absolutely delicious. I made them in class and I made them again to take as a gift when I stayed with some family friends in Connecticut during the Fourth of July. I used both blueberries and raspberries for that batch in attempts of being patriotic (the raspberries= red, blueberries=blue and the muffin part =white). It would have been amazing if I managed to complete the crumble for them, but sometimes fate likes to intervene.

Well don’t let the fact that I hurt myself while making these muffins deter you from making them yourself!

Ingredients:

Muffin:
-1 1/2 cups AP flour
-3/4 cups white sugar (granulated)
-1/2 tspn salt
-2 tspn baking powder
-1/3 cup vegetable oil
-1 egg
-1/3 cup milk
-1 cup blueberries (fresh)
Streusel:
-1/3 cup AP flour
-1/2 cup white sugar (granulated)
-1/4 cup cold butter (cubed)
-1 1/2 tspn ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, mix the vegetable oil, egg and milk. Mix until well combined.
  2. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, scraping out the bowl with a rubber spatula. Mix until no dry pockets remain. However don’t over mix! Over mixing will cause your muffins to come out dry and tough. You should have small lumps in your batter.
  3. Toss the blueberries in a little bit of flour (to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the batter) and fold them gently in the batter. Ladle the batter into the muffin cups until they are about 3/4 full. You want to leave some room for the crumble.
  4. In a small food processor (or use a fork or a pastry cutter if you don’t have one, not an emulsifier!) pulse together flour, sugar, butter and cinnamon until it forms a lumpy mass. It should have the consistency of wet sand.
  5. Sprinkle the streusel over the muffins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. To check if your muffins are done, insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean your muffins are ready. If not, give it another five minutes or so.

Both types of muffins (with or without crumble) are delicious and it’s super easy to substitute other berries for the blueberries. I imagine you could also use cherries, blackberries, or maybe even small pieces of peaches or apricots (hmm note to self: make fruity muffins).

Hugs and puppies!