Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cherry Chip Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Coconut milk has become one of my favorite ingredients for making desserts. It froths well for coffee, makes a delicious whipped topping, and is perfect for making ice cream! I recently tried a cherry amaretto flavored ice cream at the new, all non-dairy ice cream shop, FoMu located in Allston, MA. I liked it so much that I decided to recreate the flavor at home so that I can eat it anytime. After a little tweaking, I think I have succeeded in making the flavor with the added addition of semi-sweet chocolate chips! The preparation is very easy. Have fun and create your own version or check out FoMu! I have now keep this ice cream in my freezer all the time lately since cherries are in season! I plan to make ice cream sandwiches using this ice cream with chocolate cookies.


2 14oz cans coconut milk (I used Trader Joe's Light Coconut Milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup blue agave sweetener 
1/2 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine coconut milk, agave, contents of vanilla bean, and extracts in a medium bowl. Cover and put in freezer for 1hr.  Add to ice cream maker. When mixture becomes thick, add cherries and chocolate chips. Remove and store in air-tight containers.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bouillabaise - JC100

This may be my favorite recipe of all time. That is saying a lot as a person who has a strong preference for the dessert course of any meal! Recipe number ten for the JC100 blogger event is another simple Julia dish packed with flavor. You will love it too if you love seafood! Even though there is an entire organization called Le Charte de la Bouillabaisse Marseillaise dedicated to preserving the traditional preparation of the dish, Bouillabaise, a mediterranean fish stew, can widely vary in preparation.  Living and growing up in New England, I have always enjoyed fish chowder, and the luxury of having fresh seafood anytime I want it.  Though we may not have every variety of fish required by the Bouillabaisse Marseillaise organization, you can easily find many delicious options specific to the region. Julia recommends; 

Ideally you should pick six or more varieties of fresh fish, which is why a bouillabaisse is at its best when made for at least six people. Some of the fish should be firm-fleshed and gelatinous like halibut, eel, and winter flounder and some tender and flaky like hake, baby cod, small pollock, and lemon sole. Shellfish are neither necessary nor particularly typical, but they always add glamor and colour if you wish to include them. Here are some suggestions:

  • Rock, Calico or Sea Bass
  • Cod or Lingcod
  • Flounder
  • Grouper
  • Grunt
  • Haddock
  • Hake or Whiting
  • Halibut
  • Lemon Sole
  • Perch
  • Pollock or Boston Bluefish
  • Porgy or Scup
  • Redfish or Red Drum
  • Scrod
  • Red or Gray Snapper
  • Spot
  • Fresh-water Trout; Sea Trout or Weakfish
  • Shellfish – Clams, Scallops, Mussels, Crab, Lobster
*Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

For my preparation, I decided to combine the Bouillabaise and Soupe de Poisson (strained fish soup) techniques. Traditionally, the poisson is made using leftover fish parts to flavor the soup along with herbs and tomatoes, then strained using the broth to cook pasta served with the soup. I followed the preparation for the Soupe de Poisson, cooking the pasta in the strained broth, and served the seafood with the pasta and broth. The end result was a truly magnificent stew! For the seafood, I chose Hake, shrimp, and Moosabec Maine clams (seafood was purchased from Whole Foods).   It is suggested to serve the Soupe de Poisson with a red pepper Rouille, but the stew already had a great deal of flavor with the saffron, fennel, thyme. I also chose to use chicken broth instead of water. I may try the Rouille when making this dish again in the future. 

1lb Hake
1lb clams
1lb shrimp
1 fennel, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 medium onion, diced
salt and pepper
2 qts chicken stock
1 26oz can or carton of Pomi, chopped tomatoes
1 package of spaghetti (I used vegetable spaghetti from Whole Foods)
olive oil

Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a medium pot. Cook onions, fennel, carrots, and garlic on low heat for about five minutes. Add tomatoes, two generous pinches of saffron, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix and cook for a couple of minutes for spices to blend. Add chicken stock and seafood to pot. Bring to a slow boil and cook for 20-25 minutes. 

Strain broth and reserve seafood in separate bowl. Taste and season broth with more saffron or salt and pepper if required (I added one more generous pinch of saffron). The broth will be a beautiful reddish orange color and the pasta will absorb all of the wonderful flavors!

Layer first with pasta followed by seafood and finally the broth. Garnish with Fennel leaves.

So delicious!!

Be sure to have a nice french baguette for soaking up all of the broth! For wine, Julia suggests a rose, or a light, strong young red such as Côtes de Provence or Beaujolais, or a strong, dry, white wine from Côtes de Provence, or a Riesling. I served with a dry Chardonnay.  

Bon Appétit!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Freshpet Ready to Bake Dog Cookies

I became familiar with Freshpet at the annual dog Halloween parade in New York City's Central Park last year. They were kind enough to send me some samples of their latest product, Ready to Bake dog cookies! It wasn't too long ago that I made some homemade treats for my dog, Pluto. I vowed to never make liver treats again after my experience with blending an entire lamb liver. So, I was curious about how these cookies would compare to my peanut butter dog treat recipe.  I received two flavors; Peanut butter oatmeal, and Cranberry Oatmeal. No meat flavors. Upon opening the box, I immediately loved the adorable packaging! Just like the human variety, you just preheat the oven, pop them in for about 15 minutes and voila! Instant happiness for your dog! Consisting of only 3-4 ingredients, they smell and taste (yes, I tried a few) delicious! Pluto really liked them, but he is part lab and will eat almost anything. In order to really put these cookies to the test, I brought some to my mother's dog, a discerning papillon. He was not immediately impressed, but enjoyed both flavors, with a stronger preference for the peanut butter. He would only eat them when broken into smaller pieces.  Unfortunately, all of the humans ended up eating most of them. I think the main difference between these cookies and the recipe I used is the texture, plus I did not add any sweeteners making them less palatable to humans! Freshpet uses cane juice. Making your own treats allows for more creativity and experimentation with using different ingredients, but in the end, the Ready to Bake treats will save you more time. Either way, you are providing your dog with delicious, healthier snacks, keeping your dog happy and healthy!

Creative and fun packaging!

Fancy lunch box for storing dog treats

Peanut ButterOatsEvaporated Cane JuicePalm OilEggsWaterBaking Soda.

Just the right size for noshing. May be a little large for smaller dogs.

Evenly cooked!

nom nom..

Friday, July 27, 2012

Julia's Roasted Chicken and Charlotte Chantilly, Aux Framboises JC100

Roasted chicken and Charlotte Chantilly, recipes eight and nine for the great JC100 Julia Child blogger event! This incredible cooking icon would have turned 100 in August. These two dishes were made during the fourth of July week. The roasted chicken followed by Charlotte Chantilly were both a hit on a relaxing summer day with friends and family.  

Julia's Roasted Chicken

Being a popular comfort food, there are many variations on seasoning, and cooking a whole chicken. Roasted with a little butter and light seasoning is delicious. This chicken was served with wine, brussels sprouts, roasted peaches and potatoes. Julia recommends seasoning the bird on the inside as well as the outside with lemon slices, salt and pepper, a small onion, and a handful of celery leaves. Rub the outside with soft butter. I kept it simple and just seasoned with salt, pepper, and butter. Tie the drumsticks together, and set the breast up in an oiled V-shaped rack. After 15minutes of browning in a 425 degree oven, reduce heat to 350, basting "rapidly" with pan juices. After 1/2hr, strew 1/2 cup each of carrots and onions into the pan, basting them. If you chose to make a gravy from the pan juices, there is an excellent master recipe in Julia's Cooking with Wisdom book. The chicken is done when thermometer inserted between the thigh and breast reads 165-170. The juices should run clear when pricked with a fork. 

*The brussels sprouts were sauteed in a little olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and just at the end of cooking, two tablespoons of apricot jam was added for a little extra sweetness.

Charlotte Chantilly, Aux Framboises 
Light, delicious and full of raspberry flavor, this dessert tops the charts for me this summer! Make your own lady fingers or buy them like I did. Traditionally, this dessert is molded as seen here. I layered with blueberries and whipped topping as a parfait which made for a beautiful presentation! 

The preparation is time consuming. Much like the Julia's chocolate mousse recipe, this requires a great deal of patience. The end result and enjoyment of watching this dessert come together makes it worth the time effort.

1 pint strawberries
1 pint raspberries
1 pint blueberries for garnish
2/3 cup granulated sugar
8 egg yolks
21/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream

Rinse and drain raspberries and strawberries. Force berries through a sieve and into a bowl (You can also blend the berries in a food processor like I did to keep the natural textures of the berries) Reserve 1/4 cup of purée and chill. 

Beat the sugar into the egg yolks until the mixture is pale yellow and ribbon-like. From here, the mixture is placed in a bowl over not-quite-simmering water and beaten with an electric mixer until thickened and hot to the touch. This will take at least 30-45min. Be patient! I enjoy patiently watching the transformation from yolk to custard, but this seemed to take a bit longer than usual. 

Next, set the bowl in ice water and beat until mixture is cold and forms a slowly dissolving ribbon when falling back on itself. When the egg yolk mixture is completely chilled, beat the cream until it has doubled and forms stiff peaks. Fold the berry purée into the chilled egg yolk mixture, followed by the whipped cream. Place in serving dishes and chill for at least 6hrs. 

Recipes adapted from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child. Copyright © 2000 by Julia Child.  Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
Bon Appétit!  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fillets of Halibut Meunière - JC100

Recipe number seven for the JC100 celebration is all about simplicity. In true Julia style, the fish fillet is cooked in butter, sprinkled with a little lemon and lightly seasoned. The flavor of a good fillet is not compromised by adding anything more. I used halibut, but other fillets such as sole, red snapper, or my all time favorite, flounder, would all be nice choices. lightly coating the fillets just before sauteing allows for a nice, crispy out layer. We paired the fish with asparagus.


Fish fillets
1/2 cup flour
lemon, cut into wedges
salt & pepper

vegetable of choice


Season fillets with salt and pepper. add a few tablespoons of butter into saucepan. Drop fillets into flour and shake off excess. Cook fillets in butter, a couple of minutes of both sides. Squeeze two wedges of lemon juice over the fillets. They will be golden brown,  and should flake easily when done. Season and sauté vegetable and serve warm.

*Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Bon Appétit

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