"It is always sad when someone leaves home, unless they are simply going around the corner and will return in a few minutes with ice-cream sandwiches. " Lemony Snicket
Ice cream sandwiches...I remember so fondly eating them up as a kid with the soft cakey-cookie outside and the meltingly delicious inside. The only problem is that they weren't actually all that good. Ah, nostalgia! Lol! The idea of them, however, is very good. And they are not so hard to improve upon. I start with a flourless (and therefore gluten free...bonus!) brownie cookie and sandwich premium ice cream in-between two cookies. Roll them in sprinkles and you are good to go. The brownie cookie is a good base for almost all of the flavors you could imagine- from plain vanilla to everything but the kitchen sink (maybe not so great with an apple pie flavored ice cream, but you get the idea- peanut butter, coffee, cookie dough, strawberry, butter pecan, mint chocolate chip....) The brownie cookie stays somewhat soft even when frozen so it makes eating pretty easy. These are pretty big so you might want to split yours with someone special. You can make them any size just watch the baking time in the cookies if you go smaller. As for the decorations, finely chopped nuts, sprinkles or non-pareils, finely crushed candies.... use your imagination for endless combinations. Great project to make with the kids, too, so why not get the whole family involved!
Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches-makes approx 14-16 3" cookies, enough for 7-8 sandwiches
12 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, choppped
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
3 extra large eggs
1/8 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
3 ounces almond flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
approx 1/2 gallon your favorite ice cream(s), slightly softened
sprinkles, nuts or other garnishes for the sides, optional
1. Combine the almond flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2.In the top of a double boiler or in the microwave gently melt the chocolate and butter together. Once melted, stir to combine and set aside for a few minutes to cool slightly.
3. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and espresso powder until increased in volume and lighter in color, about 2-3 minutes.
4. Reduce speed to low and drizzle in chocolate. Combine well.
5. On low speed stir in almond flour mixture, until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer and cover with plastic wrap. let set on counter for 45 minutes or refrigerate for up to 30 minutes to firm up a bit.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
7. When ready, using an ice cream scoop that holds approximately 1/4 cup, scoop dough onto parchment lined baking sheets about 3 inches apart. Pat dough down slightly using moistened fingertips.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just set and tops no longer appear wet. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet. Once cool transfer to freezer for 30 minutes (can be made up to a week in advance, store airtight in freezer for longer storage). Repeat with any remaining dough.
9. When ready to assemble sandwiches, place any sprinkles or other garnish in shallow bowls or pie plates. Remove ice cream from freezer to allow it to soften slightly. Place a parchment -lined baking tray in your freezer.
10. Working with a pair of cookies at a time, scoop a generous amount of ice cream onto the base (Flat side) of the cookie. Top with the second cookie, pressing down slightly to push ice cream to the edge of the cookie.
11. With a small off-set spatula, smooth edges of ice cream, sandwich (Working quickly). Roll edges in desired garnishes (sprinkles here) and immediately place on tray in freezer.
12. Repeat with remaining cookies, until all have been filled and garnished, if desired.
13. Serve immediately or wrap individually in wax paper or plastic wrap and store air-tight in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to a week or two.
14. Share! : )
"But, for my own part, it was Greek to me." - William Shakespeare
Greek salad , isn't something that has been too tinkered with that I can tell. It is pretty much universally the same tomato, cucumber, red onion, feta and olive mixture the world over, drowned in some kind of vinaigrette, some better than others. And I love it (minus the drowned part). It is like a summer garden in a bowl- colorful, fresh and delicious. However, when I make it at home,. I think, well, why not add.... and thus Greek Salad MY way! It's super easy to make, just dump, dress and mix, and you'll have a great summery salad to enjoy any day!
Greek Salad My Way
12 ounces Grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber (about 10" long) washed, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2" half moons
1 1/2 Yellow Bell Peppers, seeded and cut into 1 " chunks
1 c. red onions, peeled and sliced 1/4 " thick into half moons*
1/2 cup canned chick peas, rinsed and drained very well (pat dry if necessary)
4 ounces fresh green beans, stemmed, briefly blanched and cut in half or thirds cross-wise
1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and drained (so yummy!)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and drained
2 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves cut in a chiffonade**
3/4 cups cup Cubed feta cheese (or to taste) -omit of you want a vegan version
Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed with your fingertips
juice from 1/2 lemon
3/8 cup extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons avocado oil
1. For Vinaigrette: In a small bowl whisk together garlic, Dijon, vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano and lemon juice. This will help dissolve the salt.
2. Combine the olive and avocado oils in a measuring cup with a pour spout. Slowly whisk the oil into the vinegar mixture. Whisk well.
3. If not using right away (or for leftovers) store in a glass jar with a lid. Use within a week.
4. For Salad: Place all ingredients in a bowl, except the feta and vinaigrette. Toss gently to combine.
5. Top with feta, add vinaigrette (if it's been sitting mix well once again) judiciously, toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings and vinaigrette to your taste.
6. To serve, place a few romaine leaves on each plate and top with a generous portion of salad mixture.
* to take the bite out of red onions, soak the sliced onions in a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes, drain, pat dry and proceed with recipe.
** to chiffonade basil, roll whole basil leaves into a cigar shape and then cut across the roll cross-wise with a very sharp knife into thin strips.
"I was supposed to get a nice body for summer, but there's a small problem...I like food." -Unknown
Well, maybe just maybe, we can change that! I am sharing one of my all-time favorite burgers today made from lean ground turkey. They are moist and delicious (really) and full of portobello mushrooms. Don't tell anyone though, they'll be none the wiser (yes, even your biggest meat lovers). I have never had anyone not love them, they are that good.
Before I get to the meat of the matter (pun intended), I must give credit where credit is due. This recipe came to me via Food Network Magazine many years ago now. It quickly became a staple in our house. I make them year round, grilling them in the summer and cooking them in my cast iron skillet in the cooler months. Either way you can't go wrong. I suggest you make extra to have on hand in the freezer. You will be glad you did!
Portobello Turkey Burgers- makes 8 burgers
adapted from Food Network Magazine
2 large Portobello Mushroom caps, stemmed and gills removed, cut into chunks
2 Tablespoon coarsely chopped shallot
6 Tablespoons lightly packed Italian Parsley leaves
2 1/2 lbs. lean (93%) ground turkey
1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
8 slices of cheese (your favorite!)-optional
buns (Iused brioche buns here, griddled, before serving)-optional
Sliced avocado, mayonnaise, thinly sliced red onion and lettuce for serving -optional
1. Place ground turkey in a large bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, add the chunks of portobello, shallots and parsely and pulse until chopped. Add to the turkey.
2. Add in the worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well, using your impeccably clean fingertips, in a stirring motion so you don't compact the mix.
3. Gently shape mixture into 8 large patties, about 4" in diameter and approximately 3/4 inches thick . Poke your index finger through the middle to make a hole (helps prevent the burger from puffing up in the middle, promoting more even cooking).
4. Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat or your grill to medium high. Brush the burgers with olive oil and sprinkle with a touch more salt and pepper (just a pinch!). Cook your burgers about 5-7 minutes a side, or until done (165 F internal temperature), topping with cheese during the last minute or so.
5. Toast or grill buns if desired. Build your burger with your favorite toppings.
6. Dig in- so yummy! ♥
"I'm always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning... Every day I find something creative to do with my life. " - Miles Davis
If you have been following my blog for the past several months, you may know a little bit about my art journey. If not, and you want to know more, you can read about it here. Ifeel like my growth in art has taken a leap and that has me very excited. I am very much still in student mode and learning and trying all kinds of things. I find I am a lot less nervous to try new things than ever before. I think that helps.
I am especially intrigued by intuitive painting, especially in the style of Tracy Verdugo, Flora Bowley and others.I have been super scared to try it on my own. Then I found this YouTube video from Willowing (artist Tamara La Porte) that is leaning in that direction (Donna Downey also has a couple), and thought I could tackle that. If you want to watch it, you will find it here. So that's what I attempted to do and here is the result. I kind of love it.
If you are newish to art like I am , I want to encourage you to try things. In the end it is only paint and paper and can be covered up and re-tried. I know I have gone into creating something with the expectation that it comes out "good." It's ok if it isn't good. I know I learn so much just by trying (yes I'd still like all my art to be good, but I will get there eventually!). What do you say we give this a try together?
1. First I started by collaging a variety of papers (gelli prints, tissue paper, scrapbook paper, book text...) to a piece of Bristol Vellum paper using Liquitex Liquid Matte Medium (you can use a glue stick, mod podge, etc.) The order and choice is completely random, though I did try to repeat the type of paper in a few places around the paper as you will see.
2. Then with a palette knife, I spread some Liquitex gesso over most of the piece, letting it have some texture here and there. It helps push the patterns back into the paper and also provides some "tooth" for the upcoming paint layers to adhere to.
3. Then I added some scribble text here and there on any white space, alternating horizontal and vertical placement. It's completely optional, but I like the way it looks. I learned about this style of writing from Dina Wakely. Its scribble journaling. All my thoughts and feeling are there, but you can't really read it. most of it will be covered up anyhow.
4. Then with a palette knife and a brayer, I started adding some paint layers.I used Golden Artist acrylics and Martha Stewart Craft paint.
5. I also made some marks with the tip of a wooden skewer for added texture as I went along, completely random. Obviously you have to do that in wet paint..
6. Next I added white paint with a brayer to once again, punch back all this craziness and give the piece some cohesiveness. It makes a big difference, don't you think? Next I added some more paint, this time through a stencil, using a make-up sponge (I buy them at the dollar store).
7. Then I added some drips using a Golden Fluid acrylic in Green gold spritzed with water and added some more paint with my palette knife.
8. I patted back some of the drips with a baby wipe before proceeding with more stenciled paint. It's looking kind of crazy again (but so fun to do all this!).
9. Next I added some washi tape pieces then a layer of Liquitex clear gesso. It helps glue the tape down and adds a little grit to the surface for future layers, but dries absolutely clear and matte. You could use regular matte medium here, too.
10. Up next some more white paint applied with my brayer or maybe just my fingers (I love to use my fingers) to try and unify the piece once again.
11. Now for the scary part- doodling the design. I used a Stabilo marks all penicl in black which reacts with water. More on that later. I ended up also adding another funky flower half in the lower left hand corner of the piece before adding more paint.
12. Now I started adding paint in blocks, paying attention, to the best of my ability and untrained eye, to lights and darks and using Golden's Fluid titanium white paint for some blending, too.I used my fingers and brushes for this. I was careful to try and not get paint on the Stabilo lines as even the paint would activate the pigment in the pencil. I wasn't perfect. Later on I went in and activated the pencil lines to make them darker using a waterbrush.
13. i continued adding/blending paints and added some doodles (let your imagination fly) with my Sharpie White paint marker and my black Sharpie (posca pens would be another great choice). Here is the finished piece as seen earlier.
14. Here are som close ups of different sections so you can see how the layers still show through, giving visual interest to the piece (so says me!). Isn't that fun?!!