Is it a dessert you drink? Or is it a drink you eat? Affogato, just another wonderful bit of magic from Italy, is traditionally vanilla ice cream “drowned” in a shot of hot espresso. This version uses a scoop of chocolate-peanut butter gelato which is a bit like gilding the lily, but fabulous.Two ingredients! It is “facile come questo” or as “easy as this”.
Gelato or ice cream of your choice….espresso hot..maybe a sprinkling of cocoa or instant espresso powder? The hot espresso flows over the gelato starting the melt…divine. An easy dessert for dinner parties…no cooking in this summer heat…immensely satisfying.
At first you eat it, then you drink it and then you’ll want more…buon appetito.
I am not a fussy cook. I find cooking, especially baking, very soothing. Keeping it simple and easy is my approach…some of it is intuitive but mostly not being afraid of the possibilities of missteps. It helps to be intrepid but it is not necessary. A good sense of humor helps as well! Many holiday days you can find me in my kitchen trying out new recipes and just playing around and this July 4th is no exception.
This recipe for my “Blueberry-Apricot Slab Tart” is very easy. Don’t you think the “slab” part is appropriate? The directions are easy, not many ingredients are needed and you can substitute the fruit as you like…peaches, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, plums are good substitutes.
A homemade or store-bought pie crust works equally well depending on how much time you have. I make my own crusts and when I do, I make extras and freeze to use later. This crust is one of my freezer crusts thawed, rolled out and topped with Creme Fraiche mixed with raw sugar and lemon juice then scattered with zest.
Apricots sliced, no peeling necessary. Blueberries nestled all around…..
….star shapes cut out of the pastry scraps and a dusting of decorating sugar this tart is ready for the oven! Easy-as-This!
The 4th of July Holiday weekend is right around the corner and nothing says summer holidays like a bowl of homemade potato salad. This is one of the summer recipes I developed for “The Peace, Love and Potato Salad” Cookbook and is one of my favorites.
This recipe (without the balsamic vinegar and radishes) is pretty much the version I grew up with. Pickles, pickle juice, cooked eggs, and potatoes were the basic ingredients. Potato Salad has grown up and stepped into the modern, international world of cuisine with style!
You can serve in a bowl of course, but individual servings in little resealable jars kept chilled until ready to eat creates a homey-modern touch.
Get ready, get set for your summer holidays with potato salad, peace and love!
A quick visit over to Spring House Press’s website http://springhousepress.com/new-products/peace-love-potato-salad is one way to reserve your copy of “The Peace, Love and Potato Salad” cookbook to be released on July 15th. If you enter the promo code – FOF35 – you’ll also receive a 35% discount at check-out and the code is good until September 1st! That’s a pretty yummy savings isn’t it?
2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, peeled & cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped dill pickles
1/4 cup pickle juice
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
additional salt & black pepper to taste if needed
Cover potatoes with cold, salted water & bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender. Drain and cool.
In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, sugar and pepper until well mixed.
Add potatoes, onion, pickles, pickle juice and eggs, gently tossing together. Sprinkle radishes over mixture, then cover and chill. Right before serving, taste, and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper if desired.
Recipe by Teresa Blackburn, reprinted with permission from Spring House Press from “The Peace, Love and Potato Salad” Cookbook. Release date: July 15th, 2016
I know, I know…to complain about the heat is the least interesting thing one can do…actually to complain about the weather at all is rather dull. The weather here in Middle Tennessee is “normal” and truthfully, better than normal. But after a few days of temps in the 90’s and 90 percent humidity one just succumbs!
I had this container of Tazo Chai Latte, I was hot and sweaty, I wanted something cold…very cold. Time to experiment. Popping the Chai Latte along with some milk, thick chocolate syrup, a bit of brown sugar, a splash of vanilla extract and a pinch of cayenne into my always ready ice cream maker…20 minutes later along with a dusting of cocoa…with one bite I was cooler! I had, surprisingly, one of the most intriguing frozen ice cream-like desserts I have ever made, “Spicy Chocolate Chai Frozen Latte”.
I always get my ingredients measured out and ready before starting one of my kitchen experiments. The “mise en place”.
The churning begins…..
…halfway through the chocolate syrup is added.
The magic of modern machinery happens right before my eyes!
It’s creamy with no cream, sweet with just a bit of sugar, cold when it’s hot!
2 cups Tazo Chai Latte (or any other brand), chilled
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup good thick chocolate syrup
splash of vanilla extract
pinch of cayenne pepper
In a sauce pan set over medium heat mix together the whole milk and brown sugar. Stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely, chill.
Add the chai latte, chilled milk-sugar mixture, vanilla extract & cayenne pepper to the ice cream freezer. Turn on freezer.
Halfway through the freezing process, about 12 minutes, add the chocolate syrup. Continue freezing. When mixture is frozen turn off machine. Serve frozen latte scoops with a dusting of cocoa powder. You can also serve later, just cover the ice cream and keep in freezer until ready to enjoy. I prefer eating immediately as it is creamier at this point. When it is frozen it become more icy. Either way it is very good and refreshing and lower fat than traditional recipes.
I have been traveling (check out my Instagram for photos on where) for a couple of weeks and away from my kitchen…lots of eating, but no cooking. Many recipe ideas are crammed into my brain from the trip and after some experimentation I hope to share some of those with you in later posts…a similar but not-creamed spinach dish topped with goat cheese that was sublime….a light-as-air three-layered dessert using sponge cake, whipped cream and phyllo dough…gnocchi-like noodles with a simple beef stew…chard chopped and sautéed in olive oil & garlic….oh my!
But for today…..peas and pasta.
A few weeks ago I picked my solo crop of green peas from my little garden and this is the easy dish I made, “Garden-Grown Green Peas, Crisp Bacon & Parmesan Tossed with Pasta”, a Carbonara riff.
A cool, sunny spring with just the right amount of rain gave my pea plants an extra boost and within a month or so I had vines laden with plump green peas! I was pretty thrilled as fresh peas have always been a favorite of mine.
The hot pasta was tossed in a quick sauce of chicken stock with a splash of cream, sea salt & black pepper for a leaner version of a classic Carbonara-style dish. I quickly added the steamed green peas, crispy lean bacon & a generous amount of shredded parmesan cheese. Bon Apetit!
Garden-Grown Green Peas, Crisp Bacon & Parmesan Cheese Pasta
I am always amazed why it takes me so long to get around to trying something that I have known about for so long. I have read about “shrub”drinks over the years, but had no idea how easy they are to make and how zesty & wonderful they taste, especially if you are a fan of vinegar drinks.
Before bottled colas & other sugary drinks became a ubiquitous part of our cultural landscape people made vinegar based fruit drinks commonly called “shrubs”. Mixed with carbonated water, Prosecco or even a Belgium Lambic beer results in one perfect warm weather cooler. I tried all three and found each deliciously appealing.
A few simple ingredients are all you need to make your own bottle(s) of shrub to keep in the refrigerator chilled and ready to enjoy. Fresh berries or other fruit, sugar, white wine, red wine & balsamic vinegars….simple and inexpensive.
If you are a fan of kombucha, then I think you will find this recipe for strawberry shrub a new and interesting way to get your vinegar based drink fix. It truly is as “easy as this”! Give it a try, let me know what you think.
Mix fruit and sugar in a bowl. Crush berries with a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon. Cover for 1 hour or chilled overnight allowing fruit and sugar to meld and juices to be released from the fruit.
Strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth, pressing the fruit to get out all the flavorful juice.
Add balsamic, white wine and red wine vinegars to the strained juice. Store “shrub” in a lidded glass jar chilled until ready to use.
For Mocktails put some of the shrub in a glass with ice and top with fizzy water. For Cocktails mix with Prosecco or a Peach Lambic Beer. Add a squeeze of lime or orange if desired. Adjust the amount of the shrub depending on your particular taste. I enjoy a very zesty drink with lots of that full-bodied fruit vinegar flavor. Experiment to come up with you own combinations.
Can one be an “accidental cookbook author”? Is such a thing possible? Yes…I am living proof that by just being in the right place at the right time some amazing things can happen totally by accident! I so enjoy working and styling food for cookbooks and have worked on many over the years. I, on the other hand, have never been particularly interested in doing one of my own. So it was even sweeter and more fun when I got this pre-release cookbook cover image from Spring House Press and there was my name right under Zack Browns! Me, the accidental cookbook author!
As a “tease” I am going to share with you one of the 24 recipes I conjured up and developed, tested and styled for this book with Zack who was a joy to work with. If you have not already heard about his potato salad Kickstarter project then a quick look here will tell you more. All the gorgeous images are the work photographer Danielle Atkins. The person who brought us all together…who was the glue…is J Spinks…art director extraordinaire.
How I got involved with Zack’s Kickstarter is another story, but that is all in the cookbook. This was a labor of love that I worked on just for the absolute fun of it as well as my interest in pursuing projects that are works of good.
Later on there will be some cookbook giveaways and other fun stuff. Today I share with you a yummy spring potato salad recipe, “Egg, Apple & Smoked Trout Potato Salad with Cider Dressing”, to tease your potato salad palate, . Enjoy!
Egg, Apple & Smoked Trout Potato Salad with Cider Dressing
Tossed with pepper arugula and watercress and smoky trout, this entree potato salad is exquisite. The apple slices and cider vinegar add a fresh dimension. Served with good crusty bread and a chilled white wine, it’s just what spring calls for.
1 lb baby Yukon gold or honey gold potatoes
2 tart apples, thinly sliced
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 handful watercress
1 handful baby arugula
8-10 ounces smoked trout, separated into chunks
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
Bring potatoes to a boil in salted water. Reduce heat and simmer, about 20 minutes, until potatoes are knife tender. Drain and set aside. Once cool, cut each potato in half.
Toss apples with the juice of 1/2 lemon and set aside.
Make the dressing: Put the egg yolks, additional lemon juice, and a dash of salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix. With processor running, drizzle in olive oil until mixture has thickened. Add the mustard and vinegar. Pulse to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning.
To serve: gently toss the potatoes, apples, watercress, arugula and trout with the dressing. Place mixture on a serving platter or individual plates. Scatter sea salt and pepper over salad. Top with egg pieces and drizzle with additional olive oil if desired.