Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

I got an ice cream maker for my birthday.  Woohoo!!  Thanks sis!!

I've been trying to eliminate sugar from my diet so I'm finding regular ice cream much too sweet.  Now that I have my own ice cream maker, I can control all the ingredients from the type of milk, cream and cocoa, to the amount and type of sweetener.  So, I used local dairy and organic, fair trade ingredients.

Not sure this really qualifies as dark chocolate since there is milk and cream in it but it has very little sugar so it tastes like dark chocolate.  If you want to experiment, you can use other extracts besides vanilla.  For instance, orange would be nice.  This is on my list of experiments along with using stevia instead of sucanat (my son's girlfriend is diabetic and can't have sugar).  Other people use honey or maple syrup which are GAPS friendly.  These, however, will change the taste significantly.  I'm not a maple fan so that is off the menu for me.  I'll probably use honey at some point but not in my chocolate ice cream.

BTW, the coffee brings out the chocolate flavor.   You won't actually taste it in the ice cream.  Hubs says he can taste it but that was only after he saw me adding it.  When I used it before he never mentioned it.  Of course, you can always leave it out or add extra for mocha ice cream.

makes 5 cups

3/4c cocoa powder (I've been using Rapunzel)
4T sucanat (also known as rapadura)
1t instant coffee powder (don't use actual coffee because you don't want the water in the cream)
Generous pinch of Celtic sea salt
1 1/2t of vanilla extract (I actually use vanilla powder)
1c whole milk
2c heavy cream

  1. Sift dry ingredients, including the vanilla, into the cup of milk in a saucepan.
  2. Heat on stove while stirring to get ingredients to combine well.  Sugar and salt should dissolve into the liquid.  Do NOT let it boil.  You can taste test this and add more sugar, coffee or extract if desired.  Just remember you still have to add the cream which will sweeten it up some more and change the taste profile.
  3. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  4. Add cream and stir well
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  6. Follow your ice cream maker's directions.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Vivaldi Salad con Pollo e Bello

This is a my version of Bertucci's Vivaldi Salad.  I got tired of their portions shrinking to minuscule sizes plus I knew the version I could make at home was healthier since I use all organic ingredients.

If I am doing badly, their are some easy cheats for this one.  Instead of my dressing, use Newman's Own Parmesan and Garlic for the mushroom caps and asparagus, and Balsamic Vinaigrette for the chicken and salad.

You can also double the salad dressing ingredient amounts and save the extra for later.  I always have a jar of this on my dinner table waiting for spontaneous salads to appear.  I use an old Grey Poupon jar.

serves 2

salad dressing and marinade
4T extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
4T good balsamic vinegar
fresh ground pepper
1/2t dried thyme (1t if using fresh)
1/2t dried marjoram (1t if using fresh)

salad base
Organic Spring Mix salad mix (amount varies depending upon how hungry you are)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (preferably free range organic)
2 large portabello mushroom caps
2/3 bunch asparagus

salad options
cherry tomatoes
cucumber slices
sliced scallions
red onion slices
feta cheese crumbles
goat cheese crumbles
walnut pieces

  1. Place marinade ingredients in jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well.
  2. Put 1-2T of marinade in a large Ziploc bag along with chicken.  Add a pinch of celtic sea salt.  Seal and coat chicken well.  Let sit while BBQ heats up.
  3. Peel mushroom caps.  Pour some marinade on the caps and massage marinade into cap and gills.
  4. Snap off ends of asparagus.  Pour some marinade on the spears.
  5. Grill meat, mushrooms and asparagus.  Put asparagus on cool part of grill since the tips burn easily.
  6. While meat is grilling plate up salad greens and add all the options that you prefer.
  7. When meat and vegetables are done slice up and place on top of salad.  Pour remaining marinade on salad.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Creamy Celeriac Soup

Long time no see.  After some much needed sunshine  I seem to be on the upswing.  Gotta love vitamin D.  For me it seems to be my wonder drug.

Carrying on a tradition I started last year, I picked up one vegetable that I have never eaten while shopping at Whole Foods this week.  I seem to gravitate towards the weird looking ones.  I've been meaning to try celeriac (celery root) for a long time now.  I keep hearing about it on the Paleo blogs as it can be eaten pureed as a substitute for mashed potatoes.

I fell in love with it the moment I cut it open.  It smells like the garden just after a spring rain.  The inside is riddled with holes near the roots but the flesh becomes solid as it approaches the top.

This recipe is easy and the amounts are rough.  If you boil it too long (as I did) and it gets too thick just add some more liquid such as stock, milk and/or cream to thin it out to the desired consistency.

serves 2

1 small celeriac
2c Basic Chicken Stock
large pat pastured butter (Kerrigold is the most readily available)
1/4-1/2c heavy cream (pastured or raw)
Celtic sea salt
fresh ground pepper

  1. Use a paring knife to peel the celeriac.  Dice into 1/2" cubes.  Rinse with water and drain.
  2. Put in pot and cover with chicken stock.  Bring to boil.  Turn down and simmer for at least 20mins until the cubes are soft.
  3. Remove from heat.  Either add to blender in batches being very careful with the hot liquid or use an immersion blender and puree it right in the pan.
  4. Add pat of butter, pinch salt, pepper and cream.  Stir to mix thoroughly.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Add more cream and/or milk to thin to desired consistency. Serve.
I've seen nutmeg and/or cinnamon used in some recipes.  I left it out here but I might use some nutmeg in the future when I'm feeling adventurous.

BTW, it tastes like celery and parsley combined.  Very good and a big hit with everyone in my family.