Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Today was a very special day! Since we had a little heat wave, I decided to put my brand new Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker Attachment to good use. I made a delicious chocolate ice cream with crumbled Oreo cookies sprinkled in the mix. As I was making it, Joe was right beside me, waiting in anticipation for his part - the part where the ice cream is done and the bowl needs to be cleaned! Joe always likes to "clean" to bowl when I am done making something yummy (let's all keep in mind that Joe is 33 years old. But that's just fine with me :) So, I am happy to report that after Joe "cleaned" the bowl, and I then cleaned the bowl to prepare it for refreezing - I placed my fresh, homemade ice cream in freezer containers and placed them in the freezer for their second freezing. I got a full 1/2 gallon from the recipe that follows. The ice cream took about 4 full hours to really harden, but it was well worth the wait. Smooth, creamy, and absolutely delicious, this ice cream is a winner all around. You will NOT be disappointed with this recipe. Part of the allure of the recipe is that there is no melting, then cooling, as the recipe does not use eggs, as some recipes do. Flavor was not sacrificed either, trust me! In addition to being a great all-around recipe, this recipe can be used interchangeably to create all sorts of unique flavors (see variations listed below). Get creative and make your own if you don't see your favorite here.

Chocolate Ice Cream:

2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients. Mix well with a spoon or wire whisk, but not too long. Place bowl in refrigerator and chill for 1 hour.

Using your Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker Bowl Attachment, place bowl on bowl lift of mixer, making sure that bowl is secured. Place plastic planetary adapter over the metal piece that normally fits your "in-bowl" attachments (ie, paddle, wire whisk, dough hook). Place dasher inside bowl. Lift bowl so that dasher meets with the plastic adapter and secure in place.

Remove your pre-mixed ingredients from refrigerator and place on counter. Turn your mixer on the 1st speed (slow stir) and pour entire contents into bowl. Mix 25-20 minutes.

After you have mixed your ice cream for at least 25 minutes, turn mixer off, remove bowl from lift, and scrape ice cream into 2 shallow, freezer safe containers. Make sure containers are secured and airtight and place in freezer for 4 hours. Enjoy!


Strawberry ice cream:

Add 1 cup crushed strawberries in place of cocoa powder. Add 1/2 cups of fresh, sliced strawberries after you have mixed the ice cream for at least 25 minutes and immediately before you remove the ice cream for it's final freezing.

Coffee Ice Cream:

Prepare coffee as usual. Set aside one cup of lightly sweetened coffee, refrigerate for at least one hour. Coffee MUST be COLD when adding to your cream and sugar mixture. Add coffee in place of cocoa powder. For a stronger coffee flavor, add 2-3 shots of cold espresso to cream and sugar mixture.

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream:

Add 3/4 cup of peanut butter to cream and sugar mixture, also in place of cocoa. Add broken peanut butter cups to mixture after you have mixed for at least 25 minutes and right before final freezing.

Fudge Ripple:

Prepare the cream and sugar mixture as listed above in the chocolate ice cream recipe but omit the cocoa powder. After scraping the semi-frozen mixture into freeze safe containers, pour a few long squirts of chocolate syrup on the top of the ice cream. Using a butter knife, poke and fold the syrup down and through into the ice cream to create a "swirl" affect. The ice cream will be a light, sweet cream with a ripple of fudge - so wonderful!

Cookie Dough Ice Cream:

Prepare the cream and sugar mixture as listed above. Add about 1.5 cups of small, balled cookie dough pieces immediately after you remove your bowl and dasher, and before your scrape ice cream into containers. Gently fold the bits of cookie dough into the mixture, being careful not to break up the bits of cookie dough. Transfer to containers and freeze for normal 4 hours.

I hope you have a chance to try some of these recipes. While these are not very health conscience recipes, you may substitute low-fat, or fat-free half and half for the heavy cream, and I would suggest Organic Valley Fat Free milk in place of the whole milk. I have tried ALL of the organic milks, and the Organic Valley is the creamiest by far - although Stonyfield Farm makes a very tasty alternative. The Organic Valley milk tastes very close to 1%, and my friend swears it tastes like 2%. It's delicious, try it! I would imagine you could also use a sugar substitute as well, although I have not tried. If someone does, please let me know, as I would be very interested in seeing how it turns out. In the interim, in a few days I will be making the strawberry variation using the Organic skim milk and the fat free half and half, so I will update and let you know how it turns out. I am going to "double churn" it, maybe let it churn for an extra 20 minutes, and hopefully that will keep the same creamy consistency as this recipe did. I'll let you all know how it turns out.

L&B Pizza

So, as many of you know, us Buffalonians are serious about our pizza. But, as I have learned, if anyone is as serious or maybe even more serious, it's a true New Yorker.

When I met Joe two years ago, he introduced me to L&B's pizza. A combination of sweet red sauce, fresh shredded mozzarella, and a golden crust make this Brooklyn original a winner. As some may know, we have decided to hold our rehearsal dinner here. As a non-native Brooklynite, I could only think, "what could be more NY than pizza!" So we decided that L&B's was the perfect spot to bring my closest family to share some wonderful food and great atmosphere with.

Much like our Anderson's back in Buffalo, L&B's is the place to come on a hot summer night (or any other time whenever you have the urge for good pizza). This Brooklyn hot spot has it all: Sicilian style "squares" fresh Italian ice in many different flavors, New York style pizza, and an indoor restaurant (in addition to their outdoor "garden" style dining). Their specialties include fresh, homemade spumoni - for Brooklyn newbies this is an Italian style ice cream treat made with ice cream, dried fruit and nuts and whipped cream, as well as the "squares" - thick crust, Sicilian style pizza with cheese on the crust and sauce on the top - delicious!

If you are in the neighborhood, skip the car ride and walk to L&B's - it's definitely worth finding the parking spot, but if you are close enough, save your gas and just walk - the atmosphere is excellent! L&B's can be found at 2725 86th Street. They have a full service restaurant, pizzeria, and catering available. Call ahead to order your pizza 718.449.1230. L&B's also maintains a website as well - check it out to learn more about this cornerstone Brooklyn establishment. Click here to go directly to L&B's page.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Independence Day Weekend in Brooklyn

4th of July Cupcakes

I realize it's been quite a while since I have posted, my apologies - life has just been very, very busy for all of us here in Brooklyn. Excuses aside, I've got two articles here; one rather personal, and another related to Brooklyn.

I should preface the first personal article a bit before I really hit the keys here. I have lived in Brooklyn for almost two years now and it's really been quite a journey for me; not to mention a period of growth for me. The transition from living in a small city to living in a big city has been an adjustment, to say the least. To begin, I've had a relatively diminished social life (until this past May) as I was focused on finishing school and working my full time job; but the patience has paid off, because the friends I have made over the past few months, and the friends whom stuck with me through the hardest of times have really made every moment of the studying, reading, and working worth every second.
This past weekend my friends, and lucky for me, neighbors, held a surprise bridal shower for me. I was delighted when my friends had invited me over to their home for a 4th of July BBQ this past Saturday, not knowing that upon arrival, I would walk into an outpouring of love and generosity! I think, to be honest, I am still in a bit of shock, as I really was not expecting to have a day dedicated to me and so it still has not quite sunk in yet. Therefore, I am still a bit strapped for words. However, with that said, I would like to thank all of my friends, family and soon-to-be new family for the beautiful shower. I could not have been more surprised and grateful for all of your love, support, friendship, and kind wishes.
I wanted to share with my online/blog friends some of the wonderful gifts I received at my shower. As some know, I have a slight obsession with my Kitchenaid K5-A mixer. Below I posted some pictures of just some of the goodies I received at my shower. You will notice 3 new pasta attachments - a pasta roller, a fettuccine roller, and a spaghetti roller. Additionally, on the mixer you will see a ice cream maker attachment (although I am storing the dasher and other piece) and a new juicer attachment. I also stopped off today at Williams-Sonoma at the Shops at Columbus Circle and purchased a new apron and rubber bowl scraper. Some other attachments I received include a meat grinder, and pasta plates - in addition to some other new kitchen tools. Finally, I received a beautiful marble pastry board from my friends next door (will post a picture when I make some pastry.)

So, the 4th of July (one of my favorite holidays) turned out to be quite eventful. While I would never say that my family here in Brooklyn is the same as my family back home in Buffalo (and England, and North Carolina, and Florida, and Maryland, and so many other places) I learned a valuable lesson over the holiday: no matter where you are, our who you are with - a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, etc. - as long as you are with people that care for you as much as your family does, you will always be in good company. I couldn't be a luckier girl and I am so very grateful for the friends and family I have found right here in Brooklyn.