Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

What you are looking at is a picture of some of the best ice cream ever. Ever. It has the perfect texture, the perfect creaminess, the perfect flavor and probably about 1000 calories per serving. I made it to celebrate the first day of summer. I messed around with my ingredients and came up with such a great combination of salty/sweet that the recipe lasted exactly 2 evenings... gone. I kind of love ice cream in a very addictive way but my husband is not so much a fan. He eats ice cream but would prefer a million other things to it. This ice cream made him drool. He loved it and asked for more and wants another batch as soon as possible. That says something. Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

1 1/4 Cup Sugar (divided)
1 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream (divided)
1 3/4 Cup half and half
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs

Heat one cup of the sugar until it begins to melt then stir until it is nearly liquid and add one cup of the heavy cream. Stir constantly until the mixture is a medium brown color then remove from heat and stir in the remaining half cup of heavy cream, the salt and the vanilla (taste this now... if you like more salt, like i do, add a little more). Cool to room temp.

In another pan, bring the half and half and the remaining sugar to a boil. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs together then pour half of the warmed milk into the eggs slowly. Whisk then pour the egg mixture back into the pan of milk and whisk constantly until the mixture is thick and custard-like. Cool 5 minutes then mix into the cooled caramel mixture. Chill completely (it should take about 2 hours) then freeze according to your ice cream makers directions.

Scoop the ice cream into a freezer container and freeze about one hour for the perfect consistency.

A few things to know:

*I am a terrible "candy maker". If the caramel hardens too quickly or darkens too quickly... please do not stress. Toss out the nasty bits and still use what's left. You should be looking for FLAVOR here... don't let the sticky candy stuff put you off. Mine did the same thing... each time. Oh well!

*Please use the different creams. They are the star of the texture.

*I use a fine sea salt from France... use whatever you wish but the finer, the better!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Salad

It kind-of-almost feels like summer *might* be around the corner. Not that I welcome it with open arms... I am not it's biggest fan BUT I am ready for a little less rain and a little more warm... if only for some pool time with my favorite little girls. This salad is one I made for a girlfriend lunchy-get-together some friends and I had. I was in charge of salad. I came up with this and feel like it needs to be shared with you, to make your summer brighter and tastier.

Fruit Salad

1 cantaloupe (peeled, seeded and cubed)
2 bananas (sliced)
1 lb. strawberries (sliced)
1/2 lb. blueberries
1/2 lb. grapes
2 mangoes (peeled and sliced julienne... for texture and look)
1 lemon (juiced)
1/3 C honey
2 T orange juice
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 C Blackberry Ginger Culinary Sauce*
1/2 C roasted pumpkin seeds*

Wash, peel, seed, slice and care for all fruit. Toss it all together in a serving bowl. For the dressing combine: lemon juice, honey, OJ, cinnamon and culinary sauce (or another fruit syrup or juice). Pour the dressing over the fruit and mix well. Just before serving, toss in pumpkin seeds (they will become soggy if you add them too early).

*Earth and Vine Provisions
This company has fantastic sauces, spreads, dips, jams, etc. They make lovely gifts and add delicious flavor to your cooking! I used to sell the line in my shop and highly recommend their products.

*Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Heat oven to 350 (If you have a "roast" or "convect roast" option... use it). Combine pumpkin seeds, 1/3 cup oil (I used almond but any other nut or even olive will do), 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 4 tablespoons sugar together then lay out, evenly on a baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes then cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to a month. Toss them in this salad or eat alone as a snack.