Strawberry Ice Cream

June is strawberry picking season in Virginia which means tons of amazing fresh and juicy strawberries. It would be wrong not to take advantage of this abundance of fruit and make an endless amount of strawberry ice cream, right?

Strawberry picking has always been one of those activities I want to enjoy but never actually do. The combination of the hot sun beating down on my ginger skin, the effort involved in actually carrying around the strawberries I’ve picked and one too many encounters with creepy crawlies tends to make for a miserable outing. Needless to say, I’ve learned to settle for buying my berries rather than selecting them myself.

If you are looking for a crowd-pleasing dessert for summer cookouts look no further than this strawberry ice cream. The simplicity of the recipe lets the fruity strawberry flavor shine through while using my favorite sweet cream base means that the ice cream itself is super creamy. Not a bad combination.

Not a big strawberry ice cream fan? You will probably want to give this recipe a chance anyways. I won’t name names but I definitely converted a few chocolate ice cream lovers to the strawberry side when I served this up at a cookout last weekend.

Ingredients

  • 5 Large egg yolks
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 2 Cups heavy cream
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Cups strawberries, stem removed
  • Juice from 1 lemon

Recipe

  • Whisk egg yolks and sugar vigorously until light
  • Heat milk and heavy cream over medium heat until simmering (about 180F)
  • Temper milk and cream into egg mixture
  • Mix in vanilla
  • Add strawberries and lemon juice to blender and pulse a few times to break them up before pouring the mixture into the ice cream batter
  • Mix well before covering and refrigerating until completely cool (about 8 hours or overnight)
  • Once cool, churn according to manufacturer’s instructions

*Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a week

image.jpg

Needlepoint Wishlist: Footstools

I won’t claim to be an expert on home decor but I like to think that I have good instincts that guide my impulsive nature. Truth be told, my apartment is a rather eclectic collection of items that have caught my eye over the years.

My parents are doing some redecorating this summer so I’m making more of an effort to understand why I like certain things in order to contribute to the process. As I began to sift through home decorating sites to better understand my style this week, a pattern emerged and what I will refer to rather broadly as ‘footstools’ kept catching my eye.

Throughout history, footstools, ottomans and benches have always had a place in people’s homes. I imagine this is because people like to quite literally ‘put their feet up’ at the end of the day. Or perhaps it is because I’m not the only one who likes to have somewhere to dump piles of my clothes at the foot of my bed. Regardless of the ‘why’, footstools are not going anywhere.

Needlepoint furniture has been around for centuries, dating back to 13th century Europe. Over the years, the craft has been honed and pieces like footstools now reflects how versatile needlepoint in general can be. From Jonathan Adler’s playful and modern designs to Elizabeth Bradley’s more traditional floral patterns, there is a needlepoint footstool for everyone’s taste and style.

Footstools

Footstools in clockwise order starting from the top left corner:

  1. Needlepoint Turtle Footstool, Jonathan Adler
  2. Dahlia Needlepoint Ottoman, Anthropologie
  3. Needlepoint Footstool, Elizabeth Bradley Home
  4. Pineapple Needlepoint Stool, 123 Creations
  5. Greek Key Needlepoint Stool, Jonathan Adler
  6. Modern Coral Bench, 123 Creations
  7. French Country Rooster Stool, 123 Creations
  8. Magnolia Entryway Bench, 123 Creations

Everybody's Favorite Zucchini Bread Muffins

Growing up, my mother used to send me to school with a lunchbox full of healthy snacks to sustain me throughout the day. Not much has changed when it comes to my eating habits except now, I’m packing my own snacks to get me through the work day.

My favorite afternoon pick-me-up has always been my mother’s zucchini bread recipe. With a crunchy exterior, and moist inside full of deep flavors from the cinnamon and zucchini, this bread is a crowd-pleaser. When I moved away for college and started making my own meals, I quickly realized that I would need to figure out how to make zucchini bread. I just couldn’t wait five months for my next bite.

These muffins are an adaptation from my mother’s zucchini bread recipe which can be found in her cookbook, EATS: Enjoy All The Seconds. If you’ve read the book, you’ve probably seen the shoutout I get alongside the recipe on page 49. Let’s be real, if I was going to get a shoutout in print it was inevitably going to be food related.

One thing to remember when cooking with zucchini is to remove all of the water before throwing it into the batter. I really can’t stress that enough. Grating zucchini produces a ton of water and if you don’t remove it, the batter will be too soggy and the recipe will not turn out right.

Ingredients

  • 3 Medium zucchinis
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 1 Cup (230g) sugar
  • 1 Cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups (290g) flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons baking soda
  • ¼ Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
     

Recipe

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Grate zucchinis and remove all of the moisture from the grated vegetable and set aside
  • Beat eggs until frothy in a large bowl
  • Mix in sugar, oil and vanilla extract until thick and lemon-colored
  • Stir in grated zucchini
  • In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients
  • Fold dry ingredients into wet ones
  • Divide batter into greased muffin tins (should make about 24)
  • Bake for 20 min and let cool for 5 min in pan before moving muffins to cooling rack

 

Delicious Sunday Failures

Sometimes recipes don’t work out. Sometimes, three recipes in a row don’t work out. It happens.

Perhaps the most disappointing of my failed endeavors from last weekend was my attempt at a vanilla Nutella ice cream swirl. Sounds amazing right? It actually wound up tasting amazing which is why I’m sharing it, despite its consistency being subpar.  

In an earlier post, I addressed the egg-in-ice cream debate. Despite my definitive preference for custard ice cream bases, I still like to explore other options to understand what makes one better. Last week, I stumbled upon a recipe on Southern Living that called for cornstarch in the place of some eggs yolks. Cornstarch gives homemade ice cream that smooth creamy consistency that we all love without having to add fats to the recipe.

I’d been having a Nutella-heavy week so I thought what better way to top it off than with some Nutella ice cream.

While quite delicious, this ice cream’s biggest issue was that the base was very soft and the chunks of frozen Nutella never fully incorporated. They were too big to enjoy bites of and stayed very hard while the rest of the ice cream melted. If I did this over, I would definitely keep the Nutella pieces much smaller or mix the Nutella into the batter before it all went into the ice cream machine.

Ingredients

  • ½ Cup sugar
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 2 Cups cream
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 Large egg yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
  • 1 Jar Nutella

Recipe

  • Whisk together sugar, milk, and cornstarch and add to a medium saucepan
  • Warm over medium heat until the temperature reaches 160F
  • In a separate medium bowl, beat egg yolks until light (about 2 minutes)
  • Once milk mixture has reached desired temperature, temper mixture into eggs and add in vanilla
  • Cover and refrigerate mixture until it has completely cooled (8 hours or overnight)
  • Once the mixture has completely cooled, remove from fridge and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • During the last minutes of the churning process, slowly add in small spoonfuls of Nutella. At this point you can add as little or much Nutella as you want.

*Store ice cream in an airtight container for up to a week in the freezer

In other non ice cream news, my fish died on Sunday. I can only imagine that he was so disappointed in my failed kitchen endeavors that he couldn’t bear to live another day. Or he was old.

image.jpg