After being inspired by the ricotta ice cream at Junoon, the Accidental Locavore decided that the end of summer (sob, sob) deserved some homemade ice cream. Turns out that the ricotta version is much easier than making classic ice cream. You don’t need to make what is essentially a custard, let it chill and then freeze it, a two to three day process (if you have the patience and time) to do it right. With the ricotta, you just run it through a food processor and ice cream maker. This, I’m guessing, makes a little more than a quart
Ricotta Ice Cream
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 1 cup heavy cream (preferably not ultra-pasteurized)
|Place all the ingredients in the work bowl of the food processor and process until smooth. |
When it’s done, place in the ice cream maker and process until it’s frozen.
Put in a freezer container and freeze until firm. Serve and enjoy!
My verdict: Super easy and delicious! Unfrozen it tastes like cannoli filling (which it almost is). I used this as an excuse to finally make my own ricotta (easy and delicious, give it a try) and used the whole batch of ricotta for the ice cream. Since I forgot to zest my lemons (used for the ricotta) I used the zest of ½ lemon and most of a lime, which was fine. I think the finished product is a little sweet and next time will start with ½ cup of sugar and go from there. You can add liqueur, rum to the mix and pistachios or chocolate bits at the end if you want. Next time, I think I’ll add some chocolate bits just for fun. If you’re new to making ice cream or are looking for an excuse to get an ice cream machine, this is a great jumping off point.
Since the Accidental Locavore was on a bit of a peach binge lately, it seemed like the perfect time to make this great version of a peach crisp. The twist? Using gingersnaps for the crumble. It adds a nice bit of spice. This is really easy to do (once you’ve peeled the peaches) and will serve 4-6 depending on what’s gone before. This is from Food & Wine.
Peach Crisp With a Twist
|Prep time||10 minutes|
|Cook time||30 minutes|
|Total time||40 minutes|
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 large peaches, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch wedges (for peeling hints, see below)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
- pinch salt
- 1 cup gingersnaps, coarsly crushed (put in a Ziploc bag and smash against a counter, or hit with a rolling pin)
|Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over high heat. Add the peaches and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 8 minutes. Add ¼ cup of brown sugar and the lemon juice and cook until the peaches are lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a 1 ½ quart baking dish (shallow is better here). |
While the peaches are cooking, in a food processor, combine the flour and salt with the remaining butter and brown sugar. Pulse a few times until it looks like coarse cornmeal. Add the gingersnaps and pulse until just combined.
Press the topping into clumps and sprinkle over the peaches. Bake for about 15 minutes until the top is browned and the filling is bubbling. Let cool slightly. Serve with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!
My verdict: This is a great dessert that comes together easily. Feel free to add blueberries or substitute any sort of fruit that will take to baking. I’ve made it a few times, which is high praise from someone who doesn’t really bake…
*There are two ways to peel peaches, one is using a very sharp peeler. The other way is to cut an X in the bottoms of the peaches and drop them in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds to a minute. The skins should slip right off (this is the best way to peel tomatoes too).
The Accidental Locavore’s friend Leslie was the first to introduce me to these. Easy to make and everyone will love them! Be sure to take the eggs out ahead of time. Dipping them in chocolate is so unnecessary but so good! Takes about 45 minutes, mostly baking time and makes 20 to 22 cookies
- 14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut (one bag)
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk (one can)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature*
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Bittersweet chocolate (optional for dipping)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or 2 teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.
To coat them with chocolate: melt about 4 ounces of good quality bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler. When the chocolate is melted dip the macaroons in the chocolate, or paint the bottoms with chocolate, let the excess drip off into the pan. Place on a wire rack over a cookie sheet, or on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper to cool.
Our verdict? Can’t stop eating them! Amazing how something so simple can be so good! Lucky guests usually leave with a small goodie bag and a smile.
A friend of the Accidental Locavore saw this recipe in the New York Times and asked for someone to make it. I added a graham cracker crust, my favorite part of any cheesecake and used my own crème fraîche. I generally like my cheesecake plain, but if sour cherries are in season, they’re a great addition. This comes together easily and the sauce can be made a day ahead of time.
Adapted from the NY Times, it takes about an hour and a half plus cooling time.
For the crust (optional):
- 15 graham crackers
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
For the cheesecake:
- 1 1/2 cups cream cheese (in other words, 1 1/2 packages of cream cheese)
- 1/2 cup fresh goat cheese (something mild)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups crème fraîche
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 pints sour cherries, pitted (if you don’t have a cherry pitter, use the flat part of a big knife and pound them, just like pitting olives. It can get messy)
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter a 9″ springform pan and set aside. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor until they are fine crumbs. With the food processor running, add the melted butter and pulse until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides. Place on a baking sheet.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and goat cheese until very smooth. Add the sugar and continue beating until no lumps remain. Beat in the crème fraîche and vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between eggs and beat until combined.
Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 250 degrees and bake until the cake is just set (it will still wobble a little in the middle), 45 to 60 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. When cool, refrigerate until ready to serve.
While the cheesecake is cooling, or the day before, make the cherry topping. Pour the sugar and 2/3 cup water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the cherries and balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cherries soften and release their juices, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cherries to a bowl. Continue cooking the liquid in the pan until the sauce reduces by half, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and stir back in the cherries and any juice from the bowl.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the pan before unmolding and serve with the cherry topping.
I made this in a 9″ springform pan for the party and a small ramekin so my friend could taste it. Both came out fine, so feel free if you want to make mini cheesecakes.
Yield: One 9-inch cheesecake.
For the Fourth of July, the Accidental Locavore decided to make an edible flag. It’s pretty, easy, no cooking is involved and will take you less than an hour to cut and assemble. You can make your own angel food cake, or buy one at most supermarkets with a bakery department. To assemble this, the Locavore used a 12”x18” cake mat. Serves 4.
- ½ angel food cake cut into ¾” cubes (use a bread knife)
- ¼ of a medium sized watermelon, rind removed, and cut into ¾” cubes
- 1 pint of blueberries (find the biggest ones you can)
- Special equipment: small star shaped cookie cutter, platter or cake mat
Follow the photo and start at the bottom with 2 rows of watermelon cubes. To keep the blueberries from rolling around, use some of the angel food cake, cut into thin strips and make a frame for the berries. The stars are cut from angel food cake with a very small star shaped cookie cutter.
Serve with toothpicks and let your guests create their own mini fruit kebabs.
To keep with the patriotic theme, how about a white chocolate fondue? In a large saucepan over medium-high heat combine ½ stick of unsalted butter and a cup of heavy cream. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Stir in two 12-ounce packages of white chocolate bits until melted and smooth. Transfer to a fondue pot or ceramic bowl. Serve and enjoy.
The Accidental Locavore thinks Farmer Paul’s strawberries have been so good, they don’t need messing with. When I’m not just munching them out of the box, the locavore has been eating them sliced over yogurt in the morning and sliced over vanilla ice cream for dessert.
- Grill them. Either cut them in half and put in a lightly oiled grilling pan, or skewer them and brush with a light vegetable oil. Grill over medium heat until grill marks start to show and the berries are warm, about 5 minutes. Serve with ice cream or Greek style yogurt.
- Make your own crème fraiche, it’s super easy. In a glass container mix together: 1 cup of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Cover (a dishtowel is fine) and let stand on the counter overnight (or up to 24 hours). When it’s fairly thick, refrigerate until ready to serve. It will thicken up when chilled.
- Try strawberry shortcake with buttermilk biscuits and use vanilla ice cream instead of whipped cream. Slice the berries and toss with a tablespoon or two of sugar to release their juices.
- For a festive July 4th dessert, mix strawberries, blueberries and chunks of angel food cake. Serve with toothpicks and everyone can make their own mini-skewers. To keep with the patriotic theme, how about a white chocolate fondue? In a large saucepan over medium high heat combine ½ stick of unsalted butter and a cup of heavy cream. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Stir in two 12 ounce packages of white chocolate bits until melted and smooth. Transfer to a fondue pot or ceramic bowl. Serve and enjoy. Here’s a fun way of serving the berries and angel food cake (I used watermelon because I ate all the strawberries):
Recently the Accidental Locavore has had upside-down cake on her mind. At a new favorite lunch spot (only because we haven’t had dinner there yet), Another Fork in the Road, my friend Betty and I happily split an apricot blueberry upside-down cake over the weekend. That was the impetus the Locavore needed to make this rhubarb-blueberry upside-down cake. Blueberries optional. Serves 6 and loosely adapted from the James Beard Foundation.
For the rhubarb:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar (packed, I used dark brown which was ok here, but probably should have been light brown for the batter)
- 2 medium stalks rhubarb, washed and chopped into 1/4″ dice
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg (helps if it’s at room temperature)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 plus 1/3 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Greek style full fat yogurt or sour cream
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar, stirring until smooth. Pour the mixture evenly into a well-buttered 8″ square pan. Toss the rhubarb and blueberries with the white sugar. Sprinkle over brown sugar and butter mix in pan.
To make the cake batter, cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and ginger powder. Mix the dry ingredients and sour cream into the butter mixture in alternating additions until fully incorporated.
Pour the cake batter on top of the rhubarb in the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in a cake’s center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Carefully run a paring knife around the cake, then unmold onto cake plate. Serve (with vanilla ice cream) and enjoy.
Rating: 3.5 stars.
The Accidental Locavore is not a big baker, mostly because you can’t take as many liberties as you can when you’re cooking savory food. That being said, this is a pretty forgiving cake. I used yogurt as there was no sour cream and it came out fine, moist and flavorful. If you don’t bake much, check the expiration date on your baking powder (baking soda too), it matters! This would have rated higher with me if the cake had been a little thicker, possibly a smaller pan would have taken care of that. The next time I make this, I’m going to use light brown sugar at least for the batter as the dark brown sugar was a little intense. I’ll definitely make it again, experimenting with other seasonal fruit, and maybe even with that old stand-by, pineapple… although I might grill the pineapple before I use it in the cake. What do you think?
Blueberry caramel sauce recipe, easy and delicious, and in about five months local too! In the meantime, the Accidental Locavore had gotten a big container of blueberries, and decided to put them to use as a dessert for the corned beef and cabbage Charcutepalooza dinner. Come summer this recipe will be made with local blueberries and my own ice cream, but since it’s still March and the sugar for the caramel will never be local…
This recipe for blueberry caramel sauce is adapted from Gordon Hamersley’s Bistro Cooking at Home. It’s easy and quick and makes a lot (2 1/2 cups). He suggests serving it with a peach galette, but I went straight for vanilla ice cream. My friend took some home, and we were wondering how it would be over waffles or pancakes. What do you think?
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 cups blueberries, washed
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup or more to taste, fresh lime juice
- optional: 2 tablespoons butter (I was fooling around and added the butter, figuring it couldn’t hurt)
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the sugar to a light amber color. Cook it slowly and stir it to keep it from cooking too fast and getting a burnt taste. The sugar might harden, just keep cooking and stirring it until it smooths out. Add the blueberries and water to the cooked sugar. Be careful! The caramel will bubble and steam, so don’t stand right over the pot. The sauce will harden up because you’re adding cold berries, but will remelt as it heats up. Cover the pan and reduce to low. Simmer until most of the blueberries have popped, about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir to dissolve any lumps of caramel. Remove from the heat and strain the sauce to remove the blueberry skins and any hardened bits of caramel. Return to a saucepan, add the lime juice, and butter if you’re using it. You may also want to add a little salt to balance the flavor. Cook over medium-high heat until the sauce has reduced and isn’t too runny. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm. Enjoy!
If your pan has hardened sugar on it the best way to clean it is to fill it with enough water to cover the hardened sugar. Heat it, stirring occasionally until the sugar is melted, then it will clean up easily.
Since the Accidental Locavore has been on a chocolate theme lately, here’s a really easy, incredibly good, molten chocolate cake recipe. I originally saw it done on Martha Stewart years ago, and have been making it ever since to rave reviews. I usually make them before guests come, and keep them in a cool place until ready to bake. Make sure you use the best chocolate you can find. The other secret is to use small metal brioche tins, they cook much quicker than ceramic ramekins. Makes 4 individual cakes (but the recipe can easily be doubled). It’s great served with good vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberries. This is adapted from Martha Stewart, and John Georges Vongerichten.
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for molds
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting molds
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona
- 2 large whole eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together eggs, yolks, and sugar until light and thick. Add melted chocolate mixture, and beat to combine. Quickly beat in flour until just combined. Divide batter evenly among the molds. If you’re making these ahead of time, set aside in a cool place until ready to cook (usually right after you’ve cleared the table).
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place filled molds on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until the sides have set but the centers remain soft, 6 to 7 minutes.
Invert each mold onto a plate, and let rest 10 seconds. Unmold by lifting up one corner of the mold; the cake will fall out onto the plate. Serve immediately and enjoy.
My mother has always made great pies, a trait I’m afraid that has not been inherited by the Accidental Locavore. It’s not that I don’t make good pies, I just don’t make pies, or do much baking for that matter. My mother’s stellar pie, is her raspberry-blueberry pie, which she will only make when both raspberries and blueberries are in season. And to my mother, a blueberry only comes from Maine where they are wild and small. None of those big marble sized blueberries for her special pie (trust me, we’ve tried).
Use your favorite recipe for pie crust, you will only need a bottom crust.
- 1 pint fresh raspberries (you can also use a 12 oz package of frozen raspberries, thawed)
- 1 quart fresh Maine blueberries (you can use others, just don’t tell my mother)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 TBSP cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 1 baked and cooled pie crust
Make a puree of the raspberries by pressing them through a sieve with the back of a wooden spoon, you should have 1 cup. In a small saucepan add the raspberry puree with 1 cup of the blueberries, the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir it over low heat until it’s just boiling. It should be thick and transparent. Add 2 cups more blueberries, and cook until it bubbles again. Cool. This can be done in advance of serving the pie.
To assemble, pour the filling into the pie shell, and sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top.
We like it with good vanilla ice cream on the side (and the leftovers are great for breakfast the next morning).