Friday, June 15, 2012

Creamy Blackberry Frozen (Greek) Yogurt

So my poor baby girl has had an ear infection for months now. She's currently on her third round of antibiotics.
As most everyone knows, after a few rounds of antibiotics there's not enough of the good, healthy bacteria to do much fighting on its own, and you end up with a seriously lowered immune system. Then of course the next virus or whatever that walks by you get and so severely you feel like you're on your death bed.
And that all could have been prevented had you eaten yogurt from the beginning... or at least started in the middle.

Now I know that I've stated before that my kids are lactose intolerant.
So here's a little lesson on lactose intolerance and yogurt, the live bacteria in yogurt actually eat the lactose turning it into lactic acid, which is what not only gives yogurt its traditional tangy taste, but also helps reduce (if not eliminate) the reaction people get who are lactose intolerant. This is because they don't have enough lactase enzymes to properly digest the lactose in the milk product.
Though do to the severe lactose intolerant reaction that my kids get to even small amounts of milk, they will also be given a lactase enzyme supplement.

Creamy Blackberry Frozen (Greek) Yogurt
Recipe from Kitchen Corners, halved to fit into my ice cream maker

1 1/2 c blackberries
1 1/2 c "yogurt cheese" (Greek yogurt)
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk

In a blender, puree the blackberries with the sweetened condensed milk.
In a medium bowl mix the puree with the yogurt cheese.
Pour the mixture in to your ice-cream maker and follow the manufacturer's directions

Fresh Dungeness Crab (steamed) and Garlic Butter

If you are lucky enough to live in, or visit an area where you can go crabbing for Dungeness crab. Do it.  Plain and simple.
Fresh dungeness crab is some of the sweetest most tender crab you will probably ever eat.

Growing up my family went crabbing at the beach every weekend in the summer, it was something that I loved, and holds a lot of good memories for me.  My dad used to let me "help" him prepare his pots, he used the big "ring" pots that you toss into the ocean and then hand pull back out.  Since this was in the days before the big fancy metal ones it made it easy and fun for me to help him tie the bait on and get his boat ready.
Yes, that is a pic of 3 yr old me in and my dad getting ready to go crabbing.

 This year my husband and I decided it was time to start taking the kids crabbing, and clamming.  So I took them back to the very beach that I grew up doing the very same thing.... except we used the much smaller traps that snap shut and don't require a boat or arm muscles as big as hard as a rock (though I'm sure if you crab that way long enough they just might become that hard).  I am sure that my kids didn't mind we used different traps, and the memories will be just as sweet.
Sunrise shows the "wave" patterns on the sand from the night before....
 As the sun rose my son and I checked out the beach for a nice place to "set up camp" and I took some pictures along the way...

  My son learning to clam
My daughter not amused that she found a snail in the sand
Sandcastles were more the girls style... 
Now I have to tell you a little story about this crab... 
This crab went for a little walk on the beach early yesterday morning... just so happens my husband and son were also going on a walk on that same beach on their way to find some good clamming spots.  Unlucky for this crab it didn't feel like scuttling back into the water very fast and my husband was able to stop his path with the clamming shovel and just pick him up.  Score crab-0 guys-1

By the end of the day my husband caught another keeper, and I actually caught the largest crab of the day on my first trap.  Go me! The kids loved it and want to go again soon... which we probably will... once we are no longer lobsters ourselves...

Now growing up we usually put the crabs in a pot of sea water and then boiled them like that.  In more recent years we've had a hard time keeping a flame that can keep a flame hot enough long enough without smoking us out.  So we've opted to take them home and steam them there.  But if you get the chance, its always best cooked in the sea water, something about it gives them a better flavor than any recipe I've ever tried since. 
To make things easier for travel home, DONT put them in water unless you plan on airating the water with a pump or changing their water ever 20-30 minutes with sea water, fresh water will kill them (and not in humane way either).  Crabs breathe air. Out of water they can stay alive for 12-18 hours. They will calm down if you place them on their back.

Fresh Steamed Dungeness Crab

1 cup vinegar
2 cups beer (or water)
2 tablespoons sea salt
seasonings (onion, garlic, etc)

1. Pour vinegar, beer and salt into bottom of a very large pot add steamer tray (the lowest point of the tray should not touch the water) and heat til boiling.
2. While the steamer is heating up put the crabs either in the fridge for 10 minutes or so, this will put them into a "hibernative state" so that they fall asleep and are no longer "pinchy."  It will also make it so that they pull their legs in, making it easier to place in your pot.
3. Once the beer/vinegar mixture is boiling, add crabs on your steamer tray, pour seasonings on top of crabs and steam.

2 lb crabs should cook around 15 minutes.
lower weight crabs cook for less (somewhere between 7-9 minutes)

Cooked crabs should be a bright orangey-red

4. Place crabs into ice bath to stop cooking (preferred). This will make your crab cold.  If you dont want cold crab, prepare to burn your hands cleaning them, or kill them before you cook them by placing into boiling water for 30 seconds, then clean them as instructed and then steam.  Whatever makes you happiest.
5. Clean your crab.  Every part of the crab is edible except for two parts, the shell, and the lungs (which are toxic).  Most people prefer to eat just the legs and the meat just inside the body because that's what is served at restaurants. If you want to broaden your pallet, try some of the other pieces, me I stick to the regular crab meat.
Picture from - they are using a female crab which is ILLEGAL to keep in most states.
 The lungs are feathery cones that line the side of the body. It is important to remove them all and throw them away.

Below is a video on how to clean a crab.

Once you have a clean crab serve with garlic butter and enjoy!

Garlic Butter

1 stick butter
4-8 cloves of garlic, (whole, sliced or diced)

Place butter and garlic in a small sauce pan. Heat on medium heat until melted, pour into containers for service.

Hobo Stew - Camping (Tinfoil Meal)

When I was in sixth grade I had a teacher take our class on an overnight "field trip" to Silver Creek Falls, supposedly it was "educational," I honestly don't remember learning much of anything, other than there were some amazing meals that could be cooked in the coals of a campfire other than s'mores and of course that fish will spit out my bait to bite the bait of the person next to me. 

One such meal was what they called "Hobo Stew" where you place your meat, potatoes and veggies all into a tinfoil pouch and shove them into the fire and in roughly 20 minutes they're done! Could anything be so easy? I really didn't think so.

My family are going on a trip to the coast, and will hopefully arrive home with our bellies full of freshly caught clams and crab that we not only procured ourselves but also cooked by ourselves. Just in case our trip isn't as successful as I hope, I'm preparing these in advance so they can be an easy back up plan.  And if we do happen to have a successful fishing trip, we can always save them for dinner the next night on the grill!

Hobo Stew - Camping (Tinfoil Meal)

1 Potato, cut up into 1/8" thick slices - per person
1/4 to 1/2 lb of ground beef - per person
1 to 2 carrots, cut up into 1/8" thick slices - per person
2 Tbsp butter or margarine - per person
Onions 1/4" slices (optional)
Bell Peppers 1/4" slices (optional)
1 Tbsp water - per person
cooking spray (optional)
1-2 pieces of 18" x 12" foil - per person
permanent marker


Build a fire that can produce enough coals to cook the stew.  Open flames are not recommended.
Cut your veggies before you leave if you can, if not cut them as the fire crackles away.
Spray the foil with cooking spray.
In the center of the foil add meat first, then vegetables. Top with seasonings and then butter and about one tablespoon of water.
Fold foil, first starting by lifting the foil from each long side and bring the long sides together. Fold these sides together over a few times, sealing the edges tightly. Continue to fold down tightly until it almost reaches the food layers leaving some room for steam to build. Pinch shut and fold over the width-wise edges to seal them, if you feel that there's a chance it might leak, use an extra piece of tinfoil to lock in the moisture and contents.
Be sure to mark your packet so it doesn't get mixed up with someone else's.
Put packet into the coals. Cooking time depends on how hot your fire is. Average cooking time is 10-20 minutes.
Generally, if you can smell the food, it's close to being finished. Check after 10-15 minutes to see if the ground beef is completely cooked, and if the carrots and potatoes are tender. If the meal is not fully cooked, wrap it back up and put it on the coals for a few more minutes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fresh Mango Sorbet

In my house "dessert" can vary from some decedent cake or custard, to something as simple at a piece of fruit.  It really is all in the presentation.  Tonight I gave my kids "porcupine" mangoes, which for my 7, 5, and 4 year old kiddos is almost the coolest dessert ever.  My husband of course looks at them and goes, "can you make mine into sorbet?" Why yes darling, I can.
So I looked for some recipes for mango sorbet, and found a nice little site from Egypt.  Since mangoes are one of their native fruits in the summer, it just seemed right.

For decoration I sprinkled a bit of chile powder on them, not a lot, just enough for it to warm your tongue that first lick.

Fresh Mango Sorbet
Recipe slightly adapted from Egypt Independent

4 large mangoes
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
½ cup lime juice

1. In advance, boil sugar in water till it dissolves completely. Then place in the fridge to chill - this is called simple syrup and is necessary to sweeten the sorbet if you are using ripe mangoes. If you are using canned mangoes in syrup, you do not need this syrup.
2. Remove mango flesh from the four mangoes and blend in a blender.
3. Add syrup and lime juice to blender and blend till totally mixed.
4. Pour mixture into your bowl and leave to chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
5. Mix according to your ice cream makers instructions. Place into an air tight container with plastic wrap touching the sorbet (this inhibits ice crystals). Chill for 2-4 hours.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Blueberry-Vanilla Ice Cream

After looking in my freezer I noticed that I had two "milk" ice creams and a chocolate ice cream, but not one berry or fruit flavor.  So I brought out some blueberries from my freezer and threw them into a sauce pan with some sugar and a touch of whole milk.  Once my berries were thawed I liquified them and then ran 3/4 of them through a sieve to remove some of the seeds. Threw that back into my sauce pan with my cream/cornstarch mixture and 1/3 cup chopped berries, then brought that mixture to a boil.. cooled it off and then poured it into my ice cream freezer.  A few minutes before the ice cream was finished I added in the last 1/3 cup of berries into the mix so that there could be some whole berries in the bunch.

Blueberry-Vanilla Ice Cream 

2 cups blueberries
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon real vanilla extract
pinch salt

Combine cornstarch and heavy cream in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Combine the blueberries, milk and sugar together in a saucepan and warm over medium heat.  Remove from heat and slowly pour cornstarch slurry into the milk mixture, whisking to combine.

Return pan to medium heat and warm until the mixture begins to boil.  Remove from heat and continue to stir for a few minutes. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to release the steam. Refrigerate for several hours, until well chilled.

Once chilled, pour ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. About 5 minutes before ice cream is done, add in vanilla extract and any reserved whole blueberries. Place into freezer until firm (around 2-4 hours).


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Milk and Cookies (Ice Cream Sandwich)

Everyone loves milk and cookies or is that just me? No, I'm sure it's everyone.
Last week when I was making the milk and honey ice cream a local store had fresh baked chocolate chip cookies on sale for $5 for like 4 dozen cookies.  Giving in I bought them and kept telling myself that I was going to make ice cream sandwiches out of them with some milk ice cream.  Yeah, that didn't happen, I ended up eating the whole thing. Bad Marvel! I know. o.o; My self-regulation goes out the window when I'm stressed, and I was really stressing that report last week.  Rightfully so as it turns out, when I asked my teacher for help, she re-arranged the whole thing, and I only had hours before I had to turn it in!  Luckily I only need the next 2-3 pages of the report by Wednesday... and the remaining 2-3 pages are due the following Wednesday in lieu of a final.
Anyways, since I still want milk and cookies ice cream in sandwich form I made cookies and ice cream today and decided to try it. YUM!!
The milk ice cream complements the cookies, sort of like a cold glass of milk does when you're eating cookies. mmmm... I think I may just go have another... I have no shame..

I popped my cookies in the freezer for about 3 minutes after they were fully cooled so that they wouldn't melt my ice cream, but would still be soft enough to bite into.

Milk and Cookies (Ice Cream Sandwich)

3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt

Combine cornstarch and heavy cream in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Combine the milk and sugar together in a saucepan and warm over medium heat.  Remove from heat and slowly pour cornstarch slurry into the milk mixture, whisking to combine.

Return pan to medium heat and warm until the mixture begins to boil.  Remove from heat and continue to stir for a few minutes. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to release the steam. Refrigerate for several hours, until well chilled.

Once chilled, pour ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Freeze until mostly firm, at least 2 hours.  Sandwich milk ice cream between two cookies.