I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blueberry Pancake Ice Cream

Despite the hot summer that we've been having, I had yet to pull out the old ice cream maker. I decided this week it was high time to take advantage of this handy little tool and whip up a batch. The blueberries at the greenmarket last weekend were so gorgeous I couldn't resist, so decided to try to come up with a way to utilize them in my recipe.

Obviously one of the main things we do with fresh blueberries around here is turn them into pancakes. I figured why not turn this breakfast favorite into a creamy dessert? Using maple syrup and turbinado sugar plus a little vanilla extract does just the trick! The bourbon adds just enough rich depth to finish it off. This ice cream actually tastes just like a big stack of syrup covered pancakes. I've had to resist the temptation to pull it out for my breakfast all this week...

Blueberry Pancake Ice Cream
makes about 1 quart

1 c. half and half
2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. turbinado sugar
1/2 c. maple syrup
1 t. vanilla extract
1 TB bourbon

2 c. blueberries
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 t. lemon juice

Mix together the half and half, heavy cream, turbinado sugar and maple syrup in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the mixture reaches 170 degrees. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and bourbon. Allow the mixture to cool for a bit and then cover and refrigerate for about 8 hours or so.

Mix together the blueberries and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly for about 6-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and use a fork to smash the blueberries to a chunky consistency. Stir in the lemon juice and refrigerate until ready to use (the mixture will probably turn into a solid, jelly-like consistency in the fridge, but just give it a good stir before stirring into the ice cream mixture).

Add the cream mixture to the ice cream maker and churn as the directions call for with your machine. With about 5-10 minutes left in the churning, mix in the blueberry sauce. Then freeze the ice cream for a few hours before serving.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fig and Prosciutto Panini

A couple of years ago my mom sent me a panini press for Christmas. It's one of those bulky kitchen items that takes up a lot of space and has a specialized use that means it's frustrating to find a home for in tiny NYC kitchens. I stowed it away in that little cupboard above the fridge, effectively forgetting about it since then.

Until I started trying to come up with dinner ideas in the past couple of weeks that would allow me to not turn on the oven at all. We're back around at the hot part of the summer where any oven time means the whole apartment turns miserable. Though usually a salad or cold dish can be refreshing, every once in a while you would still like something warm served up. The panini press came down.

I pulled together a bunch of ingredients on a catering shopping trip to Trader Joes: fresh figs (which I hardly ever see anywhere around here!), goat cheese, Italian bread. Then I made a trip over to Bklyn Larder and added some prosciutto and chestnut honey to the mix. Dinner was born.

With the combination of salty and sweet all pressed and melted together by the goat cheese in the panini maker, the meal was a success. Next time around I'll probably throw some arugula into the mix to add a hint of brightness. For a quick, delicious summer meal look no further.

Fig and Prosciutto Panini

fresh figs, sliced
goat cheese, crumbled
chestnut honey
prosciutto, thinly sliced
Italian bread, cut into slices about 3/4" thick

Heat the panini press as you prepare the sandwiches.
Spread a nice layer of goat cheese onto a slice of Italian bread. Top with a layer of sliced figs. Drizzle a light amount of chestnut honey on top. Then top with a good quantity of prosciutto. Place another slice of Italian bread on top. Repeat for as many sandwiches as you would like
Place the sandwich into the panini press when it is hot. Place a sturdy amount of pressure on the handle and cook until the bread is lightly toasted and the sandwich is nice and thin. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Birthday Party Catering

I've been fairly MIA lately, but with good reason. Last weekend I catered a birthday party for a friend of a friend. It was a gathering for 60 on a rooftop in downtown Manhattan with passed appetizers. I've been working my tail off with prep, shopping, cooking, worrying. Despite my nervousness at pulling off such a large event out of my tiny kitchen, things went really well and I think the food was a huge success. I want to send a special thank you out to the husband for being so supportive, as well as to Mary, Laura, Danny and Price for being amazing helpers the night of the event.

So you can get a taste of what was on offer, here is the menu for the night:

Parmesan and Rosemary Sables
Roasted Eggplant Crostini (topped with Greek yogurt and pomegranate seeds)
Pea and Mint Crostini
Mini Gazpacho Shots
Port Soaked Prunes (stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in prosciutto)
Shrimp "Cocktail" Skewers (cherry tomatoes soaked in a cocktail sauce broth and then skewered with shrimp)
Endive Boats (topped with a white bean and rosemary puree)
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas
Mini Fruit Pizzas (sugar cookie crusts topped with a cream cheese "sauce" and fruit)

Roasted Eggplant Crostini

Pea and Mint Crostini

Shrimp "Cocktail" Skewers
Endive Boats
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas
The one casualty of the night--a quart of gazpacho.