Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Here’s a delicious treat for your weekend! This is a recipe that I posted a long while back, but it is buried in a post with another recipe. And since it is quick and fairly healthy, I decided to re-post. Plus, it’s summer, so who doesn’t love some ice cream?!

I should note that the original recipe is  not mine; however, I do not remember where I found it. This time around I did add a 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, which was a nice twist.

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CHOCOLATE COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM
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2-14 oz cans full-fat coconut milk
2/3 c. sugar or agave nectar (I used coconut sugar)
1/4 c.  unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2  tsp vanilla extract (feel free to replace 1/2 tsp of vanilla with 1/2 tsp almond extract)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pour into the bowl of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serves 4.

Caprese Salad

One of my all time favorite summer flavor combinations is tomato & basil! There is nothing quite like a garden fresh, homegrown tomato and gorgeous, fresh basil leaves – add some fresh mozzarella and you have an amazing salad! We have had the nicest basil I have ever seen through our CSA and we have been thoroughly enjoying it.

I generally make my caprese salad fairly structured on a plate but you can make it however you like! The amount of ingredients are completely up to you – I used 4 small tomatoes and 3-4 ounces of cheese with about 12 large basil leaves on the salad below.

You can serve this with some sliced and toasted Italian bread rubbed with fresh garlic for a nod to bruschetta. Totally delicious!

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CAPRESE SALAD

Tomato
Basil
Fresh Mozzarella (usually available in the deli area)
Salt & Pepper
Balsamic Vinegar

Thinly slice the tomato(es) and fresh mozzarella. Chiffonade the basil (to do this: stack the leaves on top of each other and roll them together from the long side to the other long side and then thinly slice). Arrange the tomato and cheese in an alternating pattern on a plate. Sprinkle with the basil chiffonade. Freshly grind Salt & Pepper to taste. Drizzle with a good quality Balsamic Vinegar (I have some general use vinegar and then I have  some amazing vinegar that I reserve for uses such as this). Let stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to mingle. Enjoy!

Summer Recipes: Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

I love making ice cream with my counter-top Cuisinart ice cream maker. This weekend at the farmer’s market I bought lots of freshly picked local strawberries. Not only do we like to eat them, but I wanted to make fresh strawberry pie, strawberry shortcake, and strawberry ice cream while the berries are still in season. The two of us can’t possibly eat all that dessert, but it’s so rare that I get to enjoy fresh strawberry desserts!

Today I tackled the ice cream on my list. I used a recipe from the Williams-Sonoma ice cream book. It’s not super sweet, but it’s light, fresh and delicious.

STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM
(from Williams-Sonoma Collection: Ice Cream)
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2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups strawberries, stemmed and coarsely chopped

In a bowl, combine the cream and milk. Add the sugar and salt and whisk until the sugar begins to dissolve. Stir in the vanilla. Set aside, stirring occasionally, to allow the flavors to blend, about 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate the mixture until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 8 hours.

In another bowl, using a fork or potato masher, mash half of the chopped strawberries; they should break down into small chunks. Add the remaining coarsely chopped strawberries to the bowl. Cover and refrigerate the strawberries for about 1 hour.

Pour the milk mixture into an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When nearly frozen and the consistency of thick whipped cream, add the strawberries. Churn or stir until just blended. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days, before serving.

My Kitchen View: Freezing & Marinade

I recently spent a few hours putting some meals in the freezer. It’s not generally my style – you may have noticed that there really aren’t many casserole recipes here. However, I like the concept of easy, go-to meals and despite my general lack of excitement about casseroles, I decided I could make it work. So, many of the meals were meat in marinade which means all I need to do is thaw and grill. My kind of summer meal!

The meal round up (my sister helped and we made 26 meals in a matter of a few hours!) included burgers (ground turkey & beef combined), meatballs, taco meat, pizza kits (dough, sauce, browned meat & onions, and cheese frozen together), sweet and sour chicken, pork roasts in marinade, BBQ drumsticks, marinated chicken and pork. So far, we have really enjoyed everything. I plan to do this a few times a year to make life a little easier on the days I work or for when I just need a break from cooking. It’s really makes meals pretty easy – I just add a salad or steamed vegetables and fruit or bread to make a complete meal. 

First, you need to start with fresh meat. DO NOT thaw and re-freeze meat. Add the desired portion into a freezer bag or container and pour in marinade. Clearly label the package and include the date. Place in freezer until ready to use. I try to remember and stick the meat I want for a meal in the refrigerator the day before we are going to eat it.  

Here is a marinade recipe that made a lot – I was able to use it on about 5 or 6 packages of meat (good thing we liked it! :)). I used it on pork chops and chicken breasts. We’ve tried it on the pork and it was wonderful! We sauteed some baby bella mushrooms in butter and topped the pork chops with them for serving. Delicious!

MARINADE (adapted slightly from from allrecipes.com)
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1 1/2 c. canola oil
3/4 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/3 c. lemon juice
2 Tb. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 Tb. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. finely minced fresh parsley (or 1 tsp. dried parsley)

In a medium bowl, mix together oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Stir in mustard powder, salt, pepper, and parsley. Use to marinate meat before cooking as desired.

Weekend Fare: Tomato Basil Bean Salad

This is an orginal recipe I came up with for a picnic using ingredients I had on hand.  The tomato and basil came straight from the garden. This can be served at room temperature or for fuller more balanced flavors, chill for 1 hour before serving. It is a perfect picnic dish because nothing will spoil. Have a great weekend!

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TOMATO BASIL BEAN SALAD
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1 – 16 oz. can white beans, drained & rinsed
1 med. red onion, finely diced
1/4 c. fresh basil, finely chopped or chiffonade
3-4 c. fresh cherry tomatoes, halved*
1/2 c. mozerralla cheese, small diced or shredded**
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. olive oil
2-3 Tb. balsamic vinegar

Gently combine all ingredients. Chill, garnish with fresh basil (opt) & serve.  Makes 8-10 side dish servings.

* I used a combination of three types of small tomatoes including yellow pear which gave great color and flavor but is not necessary.
** Since I used everything that I already had on hand, I used shredded Italian Blend cheese.  I would have prefered to use a fresh mozzerella or a block of mozzerella cubed.