caprese turkey sliders

 

caprese burger

Hello, friends.

It’s August, and it’s still hot, but I’ve decided that it’s OK to do things like turn on the stove and the grill.  So, I’m happy to bring you actual food.  Like real, not made of whipped cream food.

caprese burger top

See that?  Not even a dot of whipped cream on there.

There is, however, fresh mozzarella cheese, a ripe roma tomato, basil, and drizzle of basalmic.

All of these are good things.  VERY good things.

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I cooked these turkey sliders on the stovetop, because it’s hot outside, and then topped them with a thick slice of tomato and hunk of mozzarella cheese.  Then, I popped them under the broiler for just a minute or two to blister the cheese.  Don’t buy the mozzarella that comes soaking in brine for these, I find it doesn’t do as well in this sort of application.  My grocery store usually sells theirs in the specialty cheese section, I think it comes in an 8-ounce ball.

This really is the perfect summer dinner.  I made them slider-sized because that vicious summer heat seems to decrease my appetite for some reason.  Also, more importantly, I wanted the size of the sliders to match the size of the tomato and mozzarella slices.  It’s just prettier that way.

I mixed a couple teaspoons of tomato paste into the turkey meat, but I think that some sun-dried tomatoes would be great too.  Roasting the garlic before adding it to the basil mayo would be a wonderful touch as well.

Caprese Turkey Sliders

Printable Recipe

For the burgers:

  • 2 ripe roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil mayo (recipe follows)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste, or 2 Tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Dash of salt and pepper

For the mayo:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

For assembly:

  • 8 slider buns (I use these when I’m feeling lazy)
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese (1 8-ounce ball), sliced into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 bunch basil
  • Arugula (if desired)
  • Balsamic glaze, for drizzling

1.  Make the mayo:  In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients and process until combined.  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use, can be made up to three days in advance.

2.  Make the burgers:  Gently combine all ingredients in a bowl and form into small 3-inch patties, pressing a small divot into the center of each patty.  Refrigerate until ready to cook, can be made up to one day in advance.

3.  Cook the burgers:  Heat an oven-safe pan over medium-high heat; preheat oven broiler to high.  Salt and pepper the surface of the turkey patties and drizzle pan with oil.  Cook burgers about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, flipping once.  Flip the burgers once more and quickly top with tomato and mozzarella cheese.  Place pan under broiler and broil for 1 to 2 minutes until cheese is blistered.

4.  Assemble burgers:  Spread buns with basil mayo and top with basil, arugula, and turkey patties, drizzle with balsamic glaze or a dash of good balsamic vinegar.

caprese turkey pin

strawberry shortcake ice cream


strawberry shortcake ice cream 9834

Summer is upon us!  Yes, I realize that summer doesn’t officially arrive until June, but our high today is 100.  And tomorrow?  103.

So yeah, it’s hot and I’m sad and I probably won’t go outside again until October.  Not if I can help it, at least.

strawberry shortcake ice cream 9769

Needless to say I found the perfect way to cool down – vanilla ice cream swirled with strawberries and angel food cake.

It’s best to make the strawberry swirl first, that way it has time to adequately chill before you add it to the ice cream.

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

Makes 1 quart

Printable Recipe

  • 1 recipe vanilla ice cream (below)
  • 1 recipe strawberry sauce (below) or good quality strawberry jam
  • 1 cup angel food cake or pound cake, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 gallon-sized storage bag
  • 1 32-ounce freezer-safe storage container

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 ½ ounces (3 Tablespoons) cream cheese, softened)
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch into 2 tablespoons of the milk.  In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese, salt, and vanilla bean paste until smooth.  Fill another large bowl with ice water.

In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup.  Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over medium heat until the sugar, about 4 minutes.  Remove the pan from the burner and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  Return the milk mixture to a boil and cook over medium-high heat for exactly 1 minute. The mixture will be slightly thickened.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.  Let cool slightly and transfer to a gallon-sized ziploc bag.  Submerge the bag in the ice water and let stand until cold, about 20 minutes.  Once chilled you can dry the bag and put it in the refrigerator until ready to mix, or up to one day.

When ready to churn your ice cream, snip the corner off of the bag and empty into an ice cream maker; freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Pack the ice cream into your storage container (a 32-ounce ziploc storage container is the perfect size), layering with the strawberry swirl and the cake cubes. (ice cream, then strawberry, then cake, repeat).

Press a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper directly onto the surface of the ice cream and close with an airtight lid. Freeze the vanilla ice cream until firm, about 4 hour

For the Strawberry Swirl

  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled (I actually used frozen because my fresh strawberries weren’t as ripe as I’d have liked)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Bring berries and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium high heat.

Continue boiling until berries break down and a thick sauce forms (5 to 8 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use.

 

[ ice cream recipe adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home ]

 

 

 

strawberry-shortcake-ice-cream- pin

 

summery chicken pasta

summer chk pasta

I AM BACK! Well, I’ve been back, but have still been recovering from vacation. You know how vacation just makes you more tired than you were before you went on vacation? Not only that, but it also sucked all the joy out of my regular life, as I don’t want to do anything except keep being on vacation.

Where you get to hang out on boats…

enjoy scenic views…

and hike through colorful canyons…

Anyway, since it is summer, and I had to be in a bikini, I decided to take a break from the sweeter things in life for a day and post this [ relative-to-what-i-usually-post ] healthful pasta recipe instead. Just a simple pasta filled with fresh veggies, lean chicken, and garlic. Lots and lots of garlic.  😉

I do variations of this pasta all the time with different veggies … no real measurements. But this should serve as a good “jumping off point” for you. It’s actually one of BF’s favorite dinners, depending on what I throw in, of course. A splash of cream and a bit of butter never hurt anyone, though you may want to skip those depending on how far away your bikini date is.

Summery Chicken Pasta

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 (1-lb) box pasta, whole wheat if you want to feel a little better about it
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (thin cut will cook faster)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup white wine (optional)
  • ½ cup (1 cup if you skip the wine), low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bag baby spinach (~ 6 oz)
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, I like to halve some and leave some whole
  • ½ cup loosely-packed basil, torn, plus more for garnish (if desired)
  • Splash of heavy cream (optional, but recommended)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Italian cheese – Parmesan, Pecorino, Asiago, whatever you’ve got.

Cook pasta in salted water per package directions. Drain and set aside.

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Bash your garlic cloves with your hand or a knife, you want them to be “broken” but not chopped or separated.

Preheat pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle oil to coat the bottom and add chicken, cooking in batches if necessary. Cook until done and transfer to a plate; tent with foil while you cook the veggies.

Add another drizzle of oil if necessary. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned. DO NOT let the garlic burn. Once the garlic is lightly browned remove the cloves of garlic and add your onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Sauté until translucent, then add your wine and cook until almost evaporated, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add your broth and bring to a boil. (Sometimes I throw my garlic cloves back in, just remember to fish them out again before you serve it).

Chop chicken to desired size pieces and return chicken, with any accumulated juices, to the pan.

Reduce heat to low and add spinach, basil, tomatoes, and cooked pasta to the skillet. Add a healthy dose of grated parmesan to the pasta. Throw in a tablespoon of butter and a dash of cream if you’re feeling saucy, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss until the spinach is wilted to your liking.

Serve sprinkled with extra parmesan and basil.

TIPS

  • You can also sauté bell peppers with your onion for an extra ‘punch’ of flavor
  • I like to drop a few strands of saffron into the broth while it boils as well
  • I also like to add half of my tomatoes while the broth is boiling so they burst and flavor the sauce, then the other half at the end so they are more “fresh”.

matcha ice cream

matcha ice ream main

For Christmas I got my bestie a cuisinart ice cream maker. After spending almost six months paralyzed with fear, and trying to decide which ice cream would be “the” ice cream worthy of christening the ice cream maker. After months of reassurance and debate, I am happy to announce that she has finally taken it out of the package.

The winner? Green tea ice cream, using the vanilla bean ice cream recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams as a base. She was kind enough to snap a few pictures with her iphone when she finished (hence the pics for this wonderful post). I’ve made a couple of recipes from this book myself, all with great success.

Jeni’s has long been our favorite ice cream in Columbus, and has recently gone viral nationwide. Check your local grocer to see if they sell it near you. You absolutely MUST try it. MUST. If you have the pleasure of dining at an actual Jeni’s, it may look something like this:

This weekend, after spending the week in triple digits, I plan to cool off with some ice cream sandwiches (filled with Jeni’s ice cream, of course). Those classic cookies plus Jeni’s ice cream are sure to take the edge off of the heat this weekend.

“Matcha-Made In Heaven”  Ice Cream (c/o “BFF” aka: The Great Sarah Chang)

*Sarah Chang is a very motivated individual who wanted to use the same non-homogenized milk that Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams uses. I have always made mine with homogenized milk, but have included the directions on how to make the ice cream with non-homogenized milk as well

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 2 cups whole milk* (500 ml)
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (11 g) cornstarch
  • 1 ½ ounces (3 Tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (313 ml) heavy cream
  • 2/3 cups (133 g) sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup (30 ml)
  • 4 packets rishi matcha
  • ⅛ tsp kosher salt

1. Fill a large bowl with ice water.  In a small bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch.

2. In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth.

3. Combine the remaining milk with heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan.  Bring milk mixture to a boil.  Cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, 4 minutes (must be exact for correct consistency). Remove from heat, add green tea packets  and let steep for 5  minutes.

4. Return milk mixture to sauce and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.  Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened (you should be able to draw a line in the mixture on a spoon), about 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

5. Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth.  *If you are using nonhomogenized milk and cream pour the heated mixture into a food processor and process for 2 minutes. Pour mixture into a gallon bag and seal tightly.  Set baggie in the ice water bath (I added a few spoonfuls of salt to the water bath to lower the temperature…SCIENCE!), cover with some ice, and let stand, until cold, about 20 minutes or longer.

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

Pack the ice cream into a plastic container.  Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream (to prevent ice crystals) and close with an airtight lid.  Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

*If you are using nonhomogenized milk you will need to pour into a food processor twice:

1. After mixing the heated milk mixture with the cream cheese, CAREFULLY pour the heated mixture into a food processor and process for 2 minutes.

2. After chilling the mixture in the ice bath, CAREFULLY pour the chilled mixture (you can do this easily by cutting off one corner) into a food processor and process again for 2 minutes.

[ Adapted from: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home ]

If you like this, or ice cream in general, you may also like:

    

pacman cake and summer weather

pineapple cake main

With record-breaking highs in the triple digits, this year already feels like summer. Let me be the first to say…. I HATE SUMMER! Especially in the desert! It’s too hot, too sunny, too sweaty. I just can’t take it. On Saturday, I actually went into our pool. OUR POOL! ON APRIL 21ST! That’s so unnecessary. I even have a tan line…

Sad.

Well, regardless of my deep hatred of summer (spring and fall, you’re the only ones for me!), with it being so summery outside I just had to bake something to fit this crazy weather.  I thought about this summery peach tart, but on my morning trip to the supermarket saw this lovely little pineapple on sale. And after over 3 years of the wonderful BF asking me to pretty please make his favorite dessert, I finally caved.

Ain’t she cute? This picture was taken right after she saw the knife and realized she was going to meet her maker…  Don’t look so surprised, Ms. Pineapple, we both knew this day was coming… don’t worry, you are dying for a noble cause: Thomas Keller’s pineapple upside down cake recipe. BF walked into the kitchen and saw my Ad Hoc book out, “Ooh, Thomas Keller? Didn’t realize you were going gourmet for me.” Of course, dear. For you, I pull out all the stops. :)

No, those aren’t specks of dirt in there, Thomas Keller’s recipe calls for vanilla bean paste, which contains little flecks of vanilla bean seeds. You can substitute 1:1 for vanilla extract though, no big deal. Even if you don’t use it for this recipe, though, I highly recommend you find yourself some vanilla bean paste… I could eat that stuff straight out of the jar. It’s simply delightful.

Pictures in this post are courtesy of BF’s fancy pants new iPad. He was my honorary photographer, as he was explaining to me how his iPad camera actually has a higher resolution than our DSLR… ha!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

[ Printable Recipe ]

Pan Schmear
·         8 tablespoons (1 stick; 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
·         1 1/2 tablespoons honey
·         1/2 teaspoon dark rum (I used bourbon, it’s all I had)
·         1 cup packed dark brown sugar
·         1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
·         Kosher salt
·         1 Gold (extra sweet) pineapple
Cake
·         1 1/2 cups cake flour
·         2 teaspoons baking powder
·         8 tablespoons (1 stick; 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
·         1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
·         1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
·         2 large eggs
·         1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the butter, honey, rum, brown sugar, and vanilla and beat until smooth and well blended. Spread 1/3 cup of the schmear over the bottom of a 9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt. (The remaining schmear can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 1 month; bring to room temperature before using.)

2. Cut the top and bottom from the pineapple and cut away the peel. Cut the pineapple lengthwise into quarters, and cut off the core from each section. Cut each piece into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Beginning at the perimeter of the pan, make an overlapping ring of pineapple slices with the curved side facing out. Make a second ring inside the first one, overlapping the slices in the opposite direction, working toward the center of the pan. Reserve any extra pineapple for another use.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder together; set aside.

4. Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and mix on low speed to combine, then beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Mix in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until the first one is incorporated before adding the second and scraping down the sides as necessary. Beat in the milk. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating until just combined.
Pour the batter into the pan and spread over the pineapple.

5. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan for even browning and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 20 to 30 minutes.

6. Run a knife around the edges of the cake, invert onto a serving platter, and serve warm. (Leftover cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

[ Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home, by Thomas Keller ]