Monday, May 20, 2013

Ice Cream Bombe -- Summer's Easiest Dessert?

I like show-stopping, elaborate desserts as much as the next person, but when a dessert this easy gets the rave reviews this one does, it's hard to ignore! Right now sorbet and ice cream is BOGO at Publix, so if you live locally, you should try it now. It tastes like summer.

I used the flavors Ina Garten suggested in the original recipe (store-bought mango and raspberry sorbet and strawberry ice cream). The combination of tart, sweet, icy, and creamy was fantastic, but I'm sure other combinations would be great. Orange/pineapple/vanilla? Raspberry/chocolate/Cherry Garcia? Pineapple/mango/coconut ice cream? Banana split, with strawberry/pineapple/Chunky Monkey?

All you need is a few hours, a freezer, and an 8-inch metal bowl. I was a little worried about removing the bombe from the bowl, but it was pretty easy. Some ice cream bombe recipes advise beating the ice cream/sorbet with a mixer to make it easier to spread, but I just stirred it a little to make sure I could work with it.

Ice Cream Bombe

2 pts. mango sorbet
1 1/2 pts. raspberry sorbet
1 pt. strawberry ice cream

Put bowl in freezer until cold. Soften mango sorbet for 10-15 seconds in the microwave.  Spread it in an even layer around the bowl. I used Saran-wrapped hands, a rubber spatula, and an off-set metal spatula to do this. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Soften raspberry sorbet and repeat. Freeze for 30 more minutes and fill bowl with strawberry ice cream. Freeze until hard.

Dip bowl up to rim in a sink filled with hot water. Once the outer edge starts to loosen from the bowl, invert into a plate. Freeze until hard.

Cut into wedges and serve.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We have 18 people coming for Thanksgiving, and I'm thrilled! I love the kind of Thanksgiving where you have to move furniture and borrow tables and chairs.

With so many good cooks in the family, I'm only making about half the dishes below--everyone is bringing something. My mom is even roasting a second turkey.

I'm also starting a new tradition: Pie-apalooza. I read on Slate about a woman who makes approximately one pie per guest, and I couldn't get it out of my mind. My side of the family loves pie, but we don't have it as often as other desserts. I'm not planning a 1:1 ratio of pies, but we'll have more than usual and maybe add a pie each year from now on.

Chex Mix (Chris)

Main Course
Turkey #2 (Mom)
Make-Ahead Gravy                                      
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes                  
Green Bean Casserole (Mom)                      
Savory Sweet Potatoes (Kristen)                
Sweet Potato Souffle with Homemade Marshmallow Topping                                         
Cranberry Apple Salad (Beth)                    
Macaroni and Cheese                                 
Corn Pudding/Casserole (Beth)                 
Glazed carrots                                             
Jello salad (Grandma)                                  
Rolls (Chris)                                                   

Pumpkin Pie (Jack)
Apple Pie (Mom)
Cherry Pie (Chris)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Whoopie Pies

The whoopie pie - a regional treat beloved of northern New Englanders and the Amish. It's two pieces of soft chocolate cake with marshmallow filling in between. And no, it's not a Moon Pie.

It's disloyal to say so, but I actually prefer Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with cream cheese frosting. But these are very, very good - made better (I think) when I bump up the salt in the filling. Salt cuts the sweetness and makes them irresistible.

Whoopie Pies

1/2 c. shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 c. plus 2 T. Hershey's Special Dark cocoa
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 cup milk

Filling (note: I make 1.5 recipes of filling)

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/3 cups (4 oz.) Marshmallow Fluff or marshmallow creme
1/4 t. salt (I round the measurement and add more salt as needed after tasting)
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/3 - 1/2 c. milk

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease or line with parchment 2 cookie sheets.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening, brown sugar, and egg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, stir the vanilla into the milk.

3. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk mixture to the shortening mixture, beating until smooth. Drop the stiff batter by tablespoons on the baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. They'll spread a lot while they bake!

4. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until they are firm to the touch. Check them at 6-7 minutes to be sure. Remove from the oven and cool on cooling racks.

5. Mix all filling ingredients together except milk until smooth. Add enough milk to make a smooth frosting consistency. Spread half the cookies with the filling and top with remaining cookies. These are messy, so it's good to wrap them in parchment or Saran wrap individually.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I am not one of those people who says, "You find the best recipes in church cookbooks!". But this is a good one: I don't know anyone who doesn't like it. I've changed and adapted it a bit over the years, but the basic idea is the same. If you like your sweet and sour chicken more saucy, just double the sauce ingredients.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into one-inch chunks
1 cup cornstarch
1 t. garlic salt
1 t. seasoned salt
1 20-oz. can pineapple chunks, 1/4 c. juice reserved for sauce
Vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten


3 T. ketchup
2 1/2 t. soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Pour enough vegetable oil into a frying pan to coat the bottom and heat to medium. Combine cornstarch, garlic salt, and seasoned salt on a plate. Dip chicken pieces into beaten egg and then into cornstarch mixture. In single layers, pan fry until golden brown in oil.  Place chicken and pineapple in a rectangular baking dish.

In a saucepan, combine sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil, and turn heat to low. Stir until sugar dissolves. Pour sauce over chicken and pineapple.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Stir and continue baking for 15 minutes. Serve over rice.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pinterest project

I love Pinterest - it's a great source of ideas. I don't want it to simply be aspirational, so I try to actually complete projects from things I've pinned.

Here's a slight variation on an idea a friend found on Pinterest. Instead of shades of green, we used blues. We also added a charm to the ribbon and the star in the upper right.

We found all the supplies at Michael's - the craft wood was $1.99 for two pieces. The paint was craft acrylic, and we just eyeballed them to choose the colors. We used wood glue to hold everything together.

I cut out the letters with my Cricut; you can make decent stencils with contact paper. Just attach the white side up. The only tricky part is when you have letters with interior pieces, like the "b," "e," and "o." We added those pieces in the middle of the letters before painting.

I think this would be a nice wedding gift, using the date on the bottom three boards.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Caprese Kabobs

Serve salad caprese on toothpicks for a fun, light appetizer. I liked these a lot, but would serve them with extra dressing  next time.

Caprese Kabobs

1 pt. grape tomatoes
1 8-oz. package small mozzarella balls (or cut fresh mozzarella into small cubes)
1 bunch basil
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Prepare kabobs with a grape tomato, a piece of mozzarella, and a piece of basil on each one. Place them on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil and splash with balsamic. Add plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper.

If you like, offer extra oil/vinegar on the side, since the dressing tends to slide to the bottom of the platter.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Smoked Salmon Spread

I love smoked salmon for an appetizer, but I decided to try salmon spread for a change. This is Ina Garten's recipe, and it's great, as usual! Even people who don't love smoked salmon like this savory, creamy spread. It's also a good way to stretch pricey smoked salmon.

I served the spread with Town House Pretzel Crackers, which were really good. Bagel chips or rye cocktail bread would also be nice.

Smoked Salmon Spread 


8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill (I used one teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced


Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudites or crackers.