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Archive for August, 2010

My mother in law gave us a bunch of peaches from the tree in their backyard over the weekend, so of course I had to go right to work on making something with them!  I had been thinking about peach ice cream, and now had all of the necessary ingredients to make some.  I used Dorie Greenspan‘s recipe out of her “Baking” cookbook because I have not had a recipe in there fail me yet.  It is definitely one of my constant go-to cookbooks.  The only changes I made were using skim milk and light whipping cream instead of whole and heavy.  This is a pretty normal substitution when I’m making ice cream, as I like to try to cut down on the calories wherever I can.  This recipe turned out great.  Not too sweet, and was the perfect way to use an abundance of fresh peaches!

Honey-Peach Ice Cream

4 large ripe peaches, peeled and pitted

¼ cup honey

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

3 large egg yolks

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Coarsely chop half the peaches into ½-inch chunks and toss them into a small saucepan.  Add the honey and bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peaches are soft but not mushy, about 10 minutes.  Scrape the mixture into a blender or food processor and whir to puree.  Set the peach puree aside while you make the custard.

Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together until very well blended and just slightly thickened.  Still whisking, drizzle in about one third of the hot liquid – this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they don’t curdle.  Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remaining liquid.  Pour the custard back into the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring without stopping, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon; if you run your finger down the bowl of the spoon, the custard should not run into the track.  The custard should reach at least 170 degrees F, but no more than 180 degrees F, on an instant-read thermometer.  Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the custard into a 2-quart glass measuring cup or clean heatproof bowl.  Stir in the vanilla and the peach puree.

Refrigerate the custard until chilled before churning it into ice cream.

Scrape the chilled custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  While the ice cream is churning, finely dice the remaining 2 peaches, then, just before the ice cream is thickened and ready, add the peaches and churn to blend.  Pack the ice cream into a container and freeze it for at least 2 hours, until it is firm enough to scoop.

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It always seems like every plant in my garden produces veggies at the same exact time…and naturally all of my friends and relatives have the same problem.  This means fewer people who want to take 10 tomatoes and more people who need ideas on how to use all of these fresh vegetables before they go bad.  Instead of making vats of tomato sauce (I’ve only made one batch so far actually), here are a few other ideas on how to use a little bit of everything from your garden. 

Vegetable Couscous Salad

1 cup pearl or Israeli couscous, 1 bell pepper, 1/2 zucchini, 1/2 yellow squash, 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, 2 ears sweet corn

Cook couscous according to instructions.  Brush pepper, squash and zucchini with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Lightly grill all vegetables.  When cooled, chop into small pieces and cut corn kernels off of the cob.  Cut tomatoes in half and toss with vegetables and couscous.  Drizzle mixture with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  You could also add chopped fresh herbs for extra flavor.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Chop one cucumber and one or two tomatoes (depending on the size).  Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Some people like to add sliced red onions to this salad as well.

Garden Veggie Pizza

1 prepared pizza crust (I like the whole wheat pizza crusts that come in a 2 pack at Whole Foods), assorted fresh vegetables from your garden or farmer’s market, 1/2 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella

Lightly grill both sides or crust and vegetables (if using harder vegetables like squash and zucchini. Brush one side of the pizza crust with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh chopped herbs.  Slice vegetables and top crust.  Finish by topping with shredded mozzarella.  Place on pizza stone or pan and place over grill for approximately 5 minutes, or until the cheese starts to melt.

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