Tofurkey Day

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week at home where it was 85 degrees and sunny. Perfect.

thanksgivingI didn’t actually eat any Tofurkey though. Just pigged out on sides – stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes…. Mmmmmm. Getting hungry just thinking about it. For dinner I was in charge of the green beans and (of course) the dessert.

pie ice creamI made an easy pumpkin pie, recipe straight off the side of the Libby’s can with a frozen crust. It was delicious, but what really made it special was what we put on top!

Cinnamon Maple Ice Cream

3/4 C milk
1 1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 C maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
dash salt
1/2 C sugar

In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except sugar. Gradually add sugar, whisking until dissolved.
2. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn until frozen.
3. Move ice cream to another container and freeze at least 2 hours.
4. Serve alone or on top of your favorite pie – pumpkin, apple, etc.

I did a bit of shopping while I was home and picked up a new donut pan for only $6.50! So exciting. I already had a mini donut pan, which I love, but sometimes you just need some regular sized donuts too. Priorities, right?

baked donuts

It’s still pumpkin season, and will be until I get tired of baking with pumpkin (which will never happen). They still have giant displays of canned pumpkin at the grocery store, which I take as an invitation to post more pumpkin recipes than anyone actually wants or needs to read. Hence this recipe.

pumpkin donuts 2

Pumpkin Donuts
Makes about 1 dozen regular donuts (or 6 regular and 1 dozen mini). Can also be made as muffins.

1 C sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 C vegetable oil
1/3 C applesauce
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
dash salt
1 1/2 C pumpkin puree
1 1/2 C flour
cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease donut pans.
2. In a large bowl, combine sugars, vanilla, oil, applesauce, and eggs. Mix until smooth.
3. Stir in powder, spices, and pumpkin.
4. Gradually add flour, mixing until a thick batter forms.
5. Fill pans almost completely full and bake until a tester comes out clean. Approximately 15 minutes for mini donuts and 25 for regular donuts.
6. Once donuts are almost cool, remove from pans. Fill a bowl with cinnamon sugar and coat donuts one at a time. Serve immediately.

pumpkin donuts

I woke up unreasonably early before class on Monday to make these. Needless to say my roommates were appreciative.

Hostess with the Mostest

Double recipe post!! So last Saturday, I decided to invite some other interns over for dinner since my roommate was out of town and I was bored. Surprise, surprise, it ended up just me and the boys. Occupational hazard, I guess.

Anyway, my roommate’s fish was sick, and she said that if I put a couple of peas in the tank they would get better. I have NEVER heard of this before. Have any of you? It seemed so silly, but it works – her fish is swimming fine now! I healed the fish with two peas and had a huge bag left over. That was the motivation behind this recipe.

Spinach and Pea Pesto
Vegan. (adapted from Sunny Vegan)

1 C peas (thawed if frozen – I microwaved mine)
1 C spinach
1/2 C chopped walnuts (raw)
1/4 C fresh basil
1/3 C olive oil
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Special Tools:
Food processor (or a good blender)

 Pulse walnuts in food processor until they form a fine meal.
2. Slowly add in the peas and spinach, pouring in olive oil as needed so it will process. I ended up using a bit more than 1/3 C because my blender was being mean, but the end product was slightly more oily than I wanted. I was just impatient.
3. Add basil, lemon, and garlic.

4. Mix with 1lb of your favorite pasta and serve.

So then, for dessert, I really wanted to make ice cream. I felt guilty making ice cream after a vegan entree, but I really wanted it. That makes it okay, right?

The only good fruit on sale at the market was strawberries, but I’ve already done strawberry ice cream, and I wanted to experiment! I remembered I had about a third of a bag of frozen blueberries laying around, so I thought, why not? Let me just tell you, it turned out great. If I didn’t have company, I probably would have pigged out way more than I did on this stuff.

Blueberry Ice Cream
(adapted from Cuisinart)

~1 1/2 C frozen blueberries
3/4 C low fat milk
1 1/2 C heavy cream
2/3 C sugar
Pinch salt
1 1/2 – 2 tsp almond extract (or vanilla if you don’t have almond, but in my opinion the almond is what really made this amazing)

Special Tools:
Ice cream maker

 In a small saucepan, bring blueberries to a boil over medium heat.

 2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together milk, sugar, salt, and almond extract until the sugar is dissolved.
3. Once the blueberries are boiling, squish any berries that havent popped yet. If you really care, you can puree the whole thing and remove skin/seeds using a mesh sieve. I didn’t care and it came out fine. Up to you.
4. Mix the blueberry mush into the milk.
5. Whisk in the heavy cream.

Look at that amazing color.

6.  Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Normally I skip this step out of laziness, but you do NOT want to do that with this since the blueberries were just on the stove!
7. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to its directions.
8. Serve immediately, or transfer to a container and save it in the freezer for later.

Oh, and PS: I ordered a Canon Rebel T3. You know what that means? No more blurry pictures!! I should get it in a week and a half or so.

Maple Ice Cream

This isn’t really a recipe, but it is a good story.

I started my internship at Google this week, and it’s awesome. Unfortunately, I’m cooking a lot less because I eat at work everyday, but I will keep cooking on the weekends. However, today we had an Iron Chef competitions for the interns!

My team was the best, obviously. We made sliders with mustard grilled into the meat like you can get at In N Out (and grilled portobellos for us veggies), plus potato salad. The other team was making a dessert, so I got to thinking… The only recipe I really know by heart is ice cream. So I asked the chef who was supervising (we were cooking in one of the cafes on campus) if I could use the froyo machine. He said yes.

Unfortunately, the froyo machine had already been taken apart for cleaning, and the chef had no idea how to put it back together. While he tinkered with it, I made my super huge batch of ice cream.

1 gallon heavy cream
1/2 gallon soy milk (I didn’t immediately find the milk, and this was a competition with a time limit!)
1 quart granulated sugar
1/2 quart maple syrup (the vanilla extract was hiding somewhere in the kitchen)

In the end, the chef never did get the machine to work. But, of course, this is Google, and nothing can be wasted. Therefore, my ice cream will be made and served tomorrow at lunch!! I’m so excited to see how it turns out!

Toffee Fudge Swirl Ice Cream

I think I might be a genius. I had bought a carton of heavy cream, but after making two batches of (delicious) ice cream, there wasn’t quite enough for a third. But I really wanted some, so I dug around the fridge. We also had an almost-empty carton of milk, and an almost-empty tub of nonfat Greek yogurt. So what did I do? I mixed them together.

I was afraid this would fail miserably. What makes ice cream creamy is all the fat. A lot of recipes call for heavy cream and whole milk, but I’ve been getting by with 2% just fine. But add nonfat yogurt into the mix? I was afraid it wouldn’t freeze right or taste as good. I was wrong.

I decided to go with just plain old vanilla, that way I wouldn’t be too bummed if it didn’t work out. This WAS an experiment, after all. But once I realized it was fine, I did some improvising. It’s amazing what some toffee chips and “fudge topping” can do.

I adapted this from the little recipe booklet that came with my Cuisinart ice cream maker.

3 cups  milk/yogurt/heavy cream (I had about 1 C cream and 1/2 C yogurt)
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Pinch salt
Toffee chips
Fudge topping

Special Tools:
Ice cream maker

The ice cream base.

The mix-ins. Keep in mind, you can always use other things like chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or nothing at all!

 Put everything except toffee and fudge into a large bowl. Use a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk to combine, making sure the yogurt is completely incorporated and the sugar is dissolved.

Look at that chunky yogurt!

2. At this point, Cuisinart says you should chill the mixture in the fridge for 1-2 hours. You can if you want, but I didn’t. I mean, almost everything in there came from the fridge – what’s putting it back gonna do?
3. Freeze in your ice cream maker.

It frothed up a bit at first… Never seen that before.

4.  When it looks almost done, throw in the toffee. I don’t know how much, just do it until it looks like enough. You can never have too much toffee.

5. Beginning with ice cream, alternate layers of ice cream and fudge in whatever bowl you’ll be storing this in, kind of like marbling a cake. If that makes no sense to you, basically just throw in a little bit of fudge on top of every scoop of ice cream. Make sure the fudge isn’t too thick; you can spread it out with a spoon if you need to. This will give you some nice fudge swirls when you scoop it out later to serve.

6. Throw this baby into the freezer for a couple hours so it will get a better consistency. Or eat it now, if you’re impatient. I won’t judge.

Pomegranate Blueberry Sorbet

I recently got an ice cream maker and I am LOVING it. I’ve made two batches of ice cream so far, both of which were amazing. My mom requested that next I try something a little lighter, so I decided to go for this recipe for sorbet. The ice cream maker I use is the Cuisinart ICE-21. It’s SO easy to use – just keep the bowl in the freezer all the time, and you can make ice cream in twenty minutes! I got mine on Amazon, but they’re actually on sale at Sur la Table right now. They also have them at Crate & Barrel. (My mom and I went shopping on Tuesday… hah.)

Original recipe can be found here.

3/4 C sugar
1 C water
1 bottle (16 oz) POM Wonderful Pomegranate Blueberry juice
2 teaspoons vodka (AWW YEAH) – optional***
Mint leaves, fresh blueberries, etc. for garnish – optional

Special Tools:
Ice cream maker

 Dissolve sugar in water in a small saucepan over medium to high heat until the sugar is dissolved. It will start thick, cloudy, and white – you’ll know it’s done when it’s clear and/or you can see the gross bottom of your saucepan, like me.

2. Add pomegranate juice, stir to combine, and remove from heat. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, and make room in your fridge while waiting.

3.  Put the saucepan into the fridge to cool even more.
4. Pour pomegranate mixture into your ice cream maker and mix. Be mesmerized by the turning – I know I always am.

5. Once the sorbet looks pretty frozen, add the vodka, if using. Don’t add it before, as it may impede the freezing process.
6. EAT TO YOUR HEART’S CONTENT. Freeze the leftovers.

It didn’t freeze that well. What started happening was that all the sorbet was sticking to the mixer and not rotating/mixing. That’s sort of the sign that it’s done, but this didn’t really look done. You can see in the picture, it’s pretty liquidy. I ate a little bit, and it was REALLY good (okay maybe I could reduce the sugar a little bit, maybe even add some frozen blueberry puree for good measure), and froze the rest. Hopefully it will be like when I make ice cream: a little too runny straight from the ice cream maker, but perfect after it’s been in the freezer for a couple hours. I’ll keep you updated.

***The vodka is used to prevent the sorbet from over-freezing, especially if you have leftovers. See, when you have leftover sorbet, your options are either leave it out until it melts into really really sweet juice or throw it in the freezer, where it may or may not turn into a big pomegranate-flavored ice cube. The vodka can help prevent the ice cube situation.

Freezing it definitely did the trick! I just had a scoop and it was absolutely delicious with the perfect texture.