Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ricotta Nutella Ice Cream


I wanted to make a ricotta ice cream and it was a success!  I love nutella and just added that in at the last minute.  This ice cream is to die for - the ricotta is rich and creamy.   The nutella adds that hint of chocolate and hazelnut flavor.  I am really enjoying experimenting with ice cream recipes.  I still haven't tried any custard based ice cream recipes with eggs but I might do that sometime soon.   Seriously, homemade ice cream tastes far better than anything you buy in a carton at the grocery store.  My next ice cream flavor I want to make is earl grey because I had an earl grey gelato recently and it was amazing and is my new favorite flavor.   Enjoy!




Ricotta Nutella Ice Cream

Ingredients
½ cup whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
15 ounces whole milk ricotta (about 2 cups)
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup nutella


Directions

In a large bowl, whisk to combine milk, heavy cream, sugar, and salt.  Continue to whisk until sugar is dissolved.

Slowly whisk in vanilla and ricotta until completely combined.

Pour the mixture into the freezer bowl of an ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.


About 5 minutes before the mixing is completed, add in the nutella.

*Took about 15 minutes.

Store in an airtight container and place in the freezer.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Italian Breaded Pork Chops


These Italian breaded pork chops were easy to make and delicious for a quick weeknight dinner.  The pork was moist and the breading was nice and crispy.  By dredging the pork chops in flour first, it helps bind the egg wash along with the bread crumbs better.  The flavor in these Italian breaded pork chops is great but I pretty much love anything Italian.  I served the pork chops with my cheesey mashed potatoes.  Add in a side of veggies and you have a complete meal.  Enjoy!
 

Italian Breaded Pork Chops

Ingredients
4 center cut pork chops
1 egg
½ to 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
½  to 1 cup flour
¼  teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic, granulated (or powder)
2 tablespoons olive oil


Directions

In a small bowl, beat egg.

In another small bowl, mix flour, salt, pepper and garlic.

In a third small bowl, add bread crumbs.



Dip each pork chop in seasoned flour mixture.   Shake lightly to remove any excess flour.


Next, dip floured pork chop in beaten egg.


Lastly, dip pork chop in bread crumbs to coat evenly on both sides.



Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Place coated pork chops in skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.  


Serves 4.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cheesey Mashed Potatoes


Who wouldn't love cheesey mashed potatoes?  These cheesey mashed potatoes were sooooo good and definitely cheesey.  I added both cream cheese and cheddar cheese.  I will definitely be making these cheesey mashed potatoes again.   I love how creamy these mashed potatoes were and the flavor of the all the cheeses really stands out.  Based on taste, I discovered that shredding the block of cheese yourself is so much better than the bagged pre-shredded cheese.  It really does make a difference and it was really quick with my box grater (or food processer with shredding blade if you need a lot of cheese).  Overall this is a great simple side dish and it went well with my Italian breaded pork chops.  Enjoy!


Cheesey Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients
2 large russet potatoes
½ cup milk (I used whole milk.)
2 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon garlic, granulated or powder
salt and pepper to taste


Directions

Wash, peel and cube potatoes.

Place cubed potatoes in large pot and fill with cold water.


Cover and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cook potatoes for about 30 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork.

Drain potatoes and place them back into the pot. 

Mash potatoes with a fork (or if you have a potato masher) while mixing in milk, cream cheese, and butter.   Add in garlic, salt, and pepper.


Serves 4.




Monday, May 27, 2013

Strawberry Ice Cream


I wish I had bought my ice cream maker sooner!  My first try at making this strawberry ice cream was a success.  Homemade ice cream tastes so much better and it will be hard for me to buy grocery store ice cream again.  It is so delicious, especially with fresh strawberries.  I brought this straweberry ice cream for dessert when I had dinner with a friend recently and she called me a week later to tell me she's still thinking about how good the strawberry ice cream was!  That must tell you how good this strawberry ice cream really tastes.  It is creamy and delicious and every bite tastes like fresh strawberries.  I suggest you go out and get an ice cream maker ASAP and make this strawberry ice cream!  Enjoy!




Strawberry Ice Cream

Ingredients
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups strawberries, hulled
1/8 teaspoon salt


Directions

Put hulled strawberries in food processor and pulse until finely or roughly chopped.  

In a large bowl, whisk to combine milk, heavy cream, sugar, and salt.  Continue to whisk until sugar is dissolved.
Stir in strawberries (including juices).

Pour the mixture into the freezer bowl of an ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

*Took about 20 minutes.


Store in an airtight container and place in the freezer.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chinese White Sugar Cake I


First, I want to say how heart wrenching it is to watch the news on the tornado's devastation in Moore, Oklahoma.  I can't imagine what it must be like there and I am so sorry for those who have to endure it.  I know the need to help is great right now so here are a few ways you can easily help:

American Red Cross DisasterRelief  - text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation
RegionalFood Bank of Oklahoma - text FOOD to 32333 to make a $10 donation
Central OKHumane Society - need financial donations to help treat and house lost and injured pets.  I can't help but think of my own pups, Buddy and Ellie (they both came from non-profit rescues).


Keep reading for my first attempt at making one of my favorite Chinese dim sum desserts, "bak tong gou" which literally translates to white sugar cake.  I had to do some online research for the perfect recipe and I have yet to figure it out.  Did you know you have to steam not bake this cake?  The texture of this cake is moist, spongy and soft due to the steaming. What I love is that this cake is sweet but not overly sweet since the recipe requires fermentation with yeast. 


This is my first try of a recipe and I haven't stopped yet.  I have tried to make this white sugar cake 2 more times and it is still not perfect.  It is really hard to figure out but it is one of my goals to get the perfect recipe.  I need to get the right consistency since this first recipe wasn't as soft and spongy.  Check out the picture below for the differences from the store bought cake and the homemade cake.  I think I need to make the cake thinner to get closer to the store bought version...I'll keep trying!  If you have any suggestions, please let me know.




Chinese White Sugar Cake I

Ingredients
1 ¼ cup rice flour
1 ½ cup water (divided)
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon yeast


Directions

In a small microwavable bowl, add in ½ cup water and microwave for about 30 seconds so the water is lukewarm.   Stir in yeast and sugar.   Set aside while making dough.


In a large bowl, combine rice flour and ½ to ¾ cup water.  Add in just enough water to form into dough.  Knead to form soft dough. (Note:  if you add too much water, add in additional rice flour a tablespoon at a time.)


Pour yeast mixture into larger bowl with dough.  Stir with a fork until everything looks dissolved; it will look watery.


Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for about 6 to 8 hours.



Prepare steamer (water should be simmering) and line the steamer basket with foil or parchment paper.  Spray lightly with non-stick spray.


Pour batter into steamer basket.  Cover and steam for about 20 minutes.  (It is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry.)


Allow to cool before cutting.  Lightly grease a knife before cutting because it is sticky.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Baked Sweet Potato Wedges


I'm back and still just trying to catch up on everything.  My laptop is fixed so thank you to the tech at Apple's Genius Bar.  I made baked potato wedges before and they were great.  But these baked sweet potato wedges are completely different in how they turn out.  They are slightly sweet with a bit of a caramelization crust.  These baked sweet potato wedges don't get as crispy as the regular russet potatoes but are deliciously addictive.  Feel free to try different seasonings in addition to the salt and pepper, such as cinnamon, garam masala, etc.  Enjoy this great side dish!


Baked Sweet Potato Wedges

Ingredients
3 sweet potatoes
olive oil
salt
pepper


Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Scrub sweet potatoes clean, no need to peel them!  Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, and then cut each half into thirds.  If the wedges are long, you can cut them in half too.


Place sweet potato wedges onto a baking pan.  Drizzle sweet potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat the wedges.


Arrange potatoes in a single layer, cut side down.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes and flip potatoes to the other cut side.  Bake additional 15 to 20 minutes.  The sweet potato wedges will be browned on the outside and tender inside.


Season with additional salt if desired.


Serves 4.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Blog Break

Hey everyone! I need to take a temporary break from blogging since I am without a computer. My MacBook Pro decided to die on me yesterday!  I need to get it fixed hopefully soon because I don't want to have to buy a replacement yet.  Be back soon but if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram then you will see any foodie (or doggie) updates in the meantime. Thanks to all my followers!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Vanilla Panna Cotta


I love panna cotta, it is an Italian dessert and means "cooked cream."  I am shocked at how easy it was to make panna cotta myself.  You basically simmer cream and sugar and mix in gelatin.  I made a basic Vanilla Panna Cotta and it was absolutely delicious.  I adapted David Lebovitz's Perfect Panna Cotta recipe.  My cousin Cathy (from Petite Therapy) is going to expect me to make this at the next family event when she's in town!  I served the vanilla panna cotta with some sliced peaches and I cheated by using frozen peaches from Whole Foods.  I would ideally have added berries if I had any but I didn't.  The next day, I did try the vanilla panna cotta with a spoonful of nutella on top and it was so good! Enjoy!


Vanilla Panna Cotta

Ingredients
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 packet gelatin (about 2 ¼ teaspoons)
3 tablespoons cold water


Directions

In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream and sugar.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.
 
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.


Lightly grease 4 custard cups or 2 larger ramekins.


In a bowl, add cold water and sprinkle the gelatin on top.  Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.


Pour the warm panna cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is dissolved.


Divide the panna cotta mixture into the prepared cups or ramekins.


Chill in refrigerator for 4 hours or until panna cotta is firmly set.  Feel free to chill overnight.


To unmold, run a knife around the edge of the panna cotta and flip onto a plate.


Garnish with fresh fruit if desired.


Serves 2 to 4.