Archive for July, 2012

Blueberry Fool

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Last weekend I went blueberry picking at a farm up north of Seattle, in the area where I went to high school.

It was really refreshing to breathe a little country air, and pick our fruit straight from the source!

I had never tasted blueberries like this before. They were AMAZING. So plump and roly poly, and absolutely bursting with flavor.

I knew I wanted to make some sort of dessert with them. After searching the internet a bit, I came across “Blueberry Fool” a couple times. I’d never even heard of this before, but it looked simple and sweet…everything a dessert should be.

Blueberries are cooked down with sugar, and lemon juice/zest is added. This sauce is seriously so scrumptious.

The sauce is then folded into whipped cream, topped with more sauce, and garnished with a lemon shortbread cookie. I just picked up some packaged cookies at Target:

This dessert was light and yet fulfilling – perfect for summer. You can’t go wrong with lemon and blueberries, especially when the blueberries are fresh and flavorful. I hope you give it a try!

Blueberry Fool

Makes 4-6 desserts

Adapted from Food Network and Martha Stewart

Ingredients
2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lemon shortbread or wafer cookies, for serving

Directions
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar and salt over medium heat. When mixture begins to bubble, turn heat to medium-low and cook until blueberries are soft (about five minutes), stirring occasionally. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest and remove from heat. Stir in the extra berries.

Let cool to room temperature. Or to speed up the process, you can transfer mixture to a bowl and set in a bigger bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally until cooled.

Beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add in the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract and beat until combined.

Gently fold in the cooled blueberry sauce, setting aside 1/2 cup of sauce for later. Fill dessert dishes with whipped cream mixture. Top with remaining sauce, as well as lemon shortbread cookies. Enjoy!

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Peanut Butter Fudge

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

I have to say I’m a pretty big Alton Brown fan. Besides the fact that he just seems to get increasingly cool as the years go by (what with his weight loss and totally awesome Bing Crosby-style fashion sense), I appreciate that he just is who he is. He is totally unique and does things his own way.

I had the pleasure of meeting him last fall when he came on a book tour to promote his cookbook Good Eats 3. He was exactly the same as he is on TV. During the Q&A he was quick-witted and funny in a fierce kind of way. I was a little nervous to meet him but in person he was so kind and friendly.

The reason I’ve brought this up is because one of my favorite shows, Food Network Star, is about to wrap up its 8th season. I’ve been watching this show for years and I love it. Essentially, it’s a competition where the winner gets their own cooking show on the Food Network.

I really enjoy hearing from Bob and Susie, who are judges and actual Food Network executives. They are so articulate and it’s always interesting to hear them talk about what the network is looking for, and to see them draw out personalities and a specific point of view from the contestants.

This season was different, as Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis and Alton were each mentors for a team of contestants. I was rooting for Alton’s team from the beginning, and specifically for Justin! I think there’s an excellent chance Justin will win, and even if he doesn’t I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of him.

Does anyone out there watch this show? Last week was kind of epic as Alton was tearing up, wobbly chin and all, and when both of his remaining team members were allowed to stay, his joyful shock was so genuine. This season has felt a little too scripted and tightly controlled but that was just a really good moment.

All that to say, I’m excited for the finale and I thought this would be a great time to make one of Alton’s recipes in honor of the event. After scrolling through the pages and pages of his 5-star rated recipes on foodnetwork.com, I decided to go with this Peanut Butter Fudge because of its incredibly simple ingredient list – only four ingredients!

This was one of the quickest and simplest recipes I’ve ever made. It is absolutely delicious too – creamy and rich and peanut-buttery – one commenter described it as a bit like the inside of a Reese’s peanut butter cup.

I didn’t change the recipe at all, so I’ll just send you straight to the source, which includes a helpful video. The recipe can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/peanut-butter-fudge-recipe/index.html.

Happy watching/cooking!

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Giant Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

I have an excellent (and growing) collection of cookbooks. Sometimes they are just as much fun to read as they are to cook from – they often tell vivid stories about the unique lifestyles of those who have written them. And of course, some are worn and dogeared simply because they are totally reliable in the recipe department.

One example of the latter is an old book, Hershey’s Best-Loved Recipes. I’ve made several desserts from that book for this blog already, and it never fails me. I believe there are many cookbooks put out by Hershey’s over the years, and I’m definitely going to purchase a couple more next time I’m at the used bookstore.

But in the meantime, here is yet another winner from this particular cookbook – Giant Peanut Butter Cup Cookies.

This recipe is quick and easy – you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. These cookies are, as advertised, enormous. They’re crispy and not overly sweet – perfect for dunking in milk. Sometimes you just need a ginormous cookie in your life, and this recipe is perfect for that kind of day.

Giant Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Makes 9 cookies

Slightly adapted from Hershey’s Best-Loved Recipes

Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures, cut into fourths

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add the butter, sugar and peanut butter to a medium bowl and mix until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix until combined.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat until combined.

Scoop 1/4 cup of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Add two more scoops so that there are three cookies per sheet. Press peanut butter cup pieces into the cookies, about 7 pieces per cookie. (This will flatten the cookies slightly, but ultimately they will spread while they bake).

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the outer edge of the cookie is a light golden brown (the center may still be pale). Cool for 1 minute on the sheet, then remove to a wire cooling rack. Enjoy!

 

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Karen’s Green Smoothie

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

 Hi everyone! I hope you had a relaxing and fun 4th of July. I had a great day off. In the morning on the 4th my aunt Karen came over to hang out and show us her favorite smoothie!

Karen is one of the funnest people I know, and it made the day feel even more like a holiday with her over.

 Karen owns a Vitamix, and has perfected a smoothie that is packed with vegetables. This recipe is a combination of one of the recipes that came in the booklet with the Vitamix, along with elements from her friend’s smoothie recipe as well as additions of her own.

I personally have a hard time eating vegetables, but I’m trying to eat more because I know there’s just so many benefits. Part of the fun of this drink is looking at all the ingredients going into it, and knowing they will be inside of you soon!

This smoothie was so good. It tasted fresh and healthy, and the texture was creamy and frothy. The surprise element is a bit of kick from the jalapenos – so good! If you don’t like heat you can leave that out, but we all loved it.

We also noticed that none of us particularly like vegetables, but we all loved this drink! If I had everything handy I would drink this every day to get my daily veggies.

Note: You can make this with a Vitamix, or a powerful blender. If you’re using a blender, just be sure to chop the ingredients into smaller chunks. Enjoy!

Karen’s Green Smoothie

Serves 2

Very loosely adapted from Vitamix

Ingredients
2 heaping spoonfuls of honey-flavored Greek yogurt
1 heaping spoonful of flaxseed meal
5 florets of broccoli
1 small/medium carrot
1 stalk of celery
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 large cucumber, peeled
1/8 of an onion (to taste)
4 leaves of kale
juice of 1/4 of a lime
jalapeno to taste (start small)
2 heaping spoonfuls of vanilla whey protein powder
4 large ice cubes
1/4 cup of water

Directions
Break apart or chop ingredients into medium chunks. Add ice cubes and water. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. Enjoy!

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