Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Key Lime Ice Cream Sandwiches

I meant to make this recipe LAST summer. Good thing recipes keep. 
This past weekend was another fun-filled summer weekend in NYC!
Fri I went to a club. (Yes. ME. At a club! It was actually more fun than I remembered from my early 20s...)
Sat morning I enjoyed sun bathing on the roof of my apt.
Then I made these messy ice cream sandwiches and brought them to Hoboken, NJ where my friends made a lovely dinner and we ended up competing in a potato sack race! (Pardon the blurry photo.)
Sunday morning I woke up early with my best running friend and we headed to Governors Island for a 10K. It was hot but we rocked it!
Then I went to South Street Seaport area for brunch and walked around an outdoor market with a friend from TX.
Then I went to Astoria and played basketball with my running group.
Afterwards some of the players had a nice dinner al fresco and we got to see the supermoon.
It was a lovely (albeit super busy) weekend with a lovely dessert - the way I like my weekends! 
Did I mention that these were quite messy?
Yeah, they started melting very quickly. Next time I will plan to freeze the ice cream in a glass pan so I can cut out the correct shape and easily lift it with a spatula onto the graham crackers. I highly suggest you do this if you make the recipe because then you won't be cursing yourself for having frozen too much in a big container (like I did.)
The ice cream was very creamy and tasted just like key lime pie. The zest from the limes mixed with the sugary tartness of the key lime juice mixed perfectly with the creaminess of the condensed milk and whipping cream.
Key Lime Ice Cream Sandwiches (from Cookies & Cups - check out this post for great step by step photos)
3 cups heavy whipping cream (Erika's Extras: I used organic)
1/2 cup sugar
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (Erika's Extras: I used organic)
3/4 cup Key Lime juice (Erika's Extras: I used organic)
1 Tbsp Lime zest (Erika's Extras: I used organic)
approx 12 full graham crackers, broken in half to create 12 sandwiches
In stand mixer with whisk attachment whip 2 cups heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form, approx 2 minutes.
Turn speed to low and pour in sweetened condensed milk. Turn speed up to medium high and beat 1 minute.
Finally add lime juice, remaining cup of cream and and zest and beat approx 1 more minute on medium-high.
Pour mixture into freezer-safe container and freeze for 5-6 hours until almost frozen. (Erika's Extras: I would pour into glass pans for easy slicing later.)
Once frozen, spread about 1/4 cup mixture on top of 1 graham cracker at a time, topping with the other half of the cracker. (Erika's Extras: This is where cutting them out of a glass pan would come in handy.) Wrap in cling wrap and put back in freezer. Repeat process until all sandwiches are made.
Freeze 2 hours more, or overnight.
Serve frozen
Bake well and prosper.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend Smoothie (Banana, Blueberries, Cherries, and Nut Milk)

The past two weekends I've been enjoying fruit smoothies for breakfast at my apartment. While enjoying them I kept thinking how it was like a healthy dessert in the morning and that I should blog about it.
So here I am blogging about it. THE END.
Just kidding.
I like to eat a pseudo-raw foods diet for most of the week and this smoothie fits in well!
One banana, 3/4 cup of blueberries, 4 cherries, 1/2 a cup+ of nut milk, a couple of ice cubes plus the whirring of a blender = magic! This smoothie is very thick due to the banana and the nut milk. Sometimes I make it so thick that it reminds me of yogurt. The flavor is always great seeing that fruit has a great variety of flavors for your tastebuds and fruits contains lots of natural SUGAR.
You know what else is rather magical? Construction in NYC. Well, at least how construction is covered up in NYC.
Can you tell what part of the Plaza Hotel is showing and what part is covered up?
Look at the top and see the gray panels against the green spires and then look all the way down tot he first floor where the scaffolding is. That's one huge covering!
Pretty cool, huh? Just like this refreshing smoothie!
Bake well and prosper!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Brandy Slush (a great summer cocktail)

I had a lovely weekend.! I was busy doing things I wanted to do. Isn't that always nice? Most of my weekend involved hanging out with friends.
Friday night involved a birthday party at a beer garden.
On Saturday I hosted a poster making party.
I have been waiting for a summer party to be able to make these brandy slushes. When I tried this recipe in April in Texas, I fell in love with the slight tangy flavor created from the lemonade, oj, and tea mixed with the kick of alcohol. I knew my running buddies would enjoy them while making great running posters. I threw in some fun colorful straws and let the good times roll.
The good times ended up involving glitter which is now all over my apt. But it was worth it. Plus, the glitter is a visual reminder of the fun weekend. :)
Saturday night I went to an engagement/album release/going away party (for which I made this cake.)
Sunday morning I brought all the posters to Central Park. The other poster makers were running in to the park and I handed out the posters to their owners when they arrived to cheer on the racers.
Why am I dressed at a flapper you ask? Well, it's because after the race I went to Governor's Island for the Jazz Age Lawn Party.
I love Governor's Island and so does my best friend from college who came with me. We had so much fun! Maybe too much fun...
After all that fun, we headed back to my place and quenched our thirst with a brandy slush, naturally!
Miraculously after such a busy weekend, my aptartment was still rather clean. Can you imagine?
Also, since the Brandy Slush recipe yields a large amount, I've still got a container left in my freezer and ready to go for THIS weekend.
Brandy Slush(recipe from a friend of my family)
Make at least 12 hours in advance.
2 cups sugar
7 cups water
3 family size ice tea bags (about 9 normal sized teabags)
1 12 oz. can frozen orange juice
1 12 oz. can frozen lemonade
2+ cups brandy 
Mix the sugar and 5cups of water over the stove until the sugar is dissolved. Then cool.
Bring 2 cups of water to boil and add teabags. Steep covered until cool. Then add sugar water to tea along with the frozen OJ, frozen lemonade, and the brandy.

Stir until dissolved. Pour into plastic freezer containers (any size or shape will do), cover and freeze for at least 12 hours. 
When ready to serve, fill glass 2/3 full of slush and add ginger ale (or 7-Up) to fill glass. Stir a little with a fork and add a stemmed cherry (optional) and serve. Can also be served as a punch in a punch bowl.
Bake well and prosper!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cherry Poppy Seed Cake

The second I saw this photo/recipe on foodgawker I knew I had to make it. I saw the post on Tuesday and then made the cake on Saturday. That's a very quick turn around for me.
It helped that I had an occasion to bake for: friends' engagement/album release/going away party. That's a lot going on at once, isn't it? All those things guaranteed a good party.
It was such a lovely night that I barely had time to snap an iPhone shot of the last piece of cake before handing it to my roomie.
This cake is so lovely, especially for summer seeing it's somewhat light in consistency and uses cherries. I added a nice whipped cream that helped bring out the flavors of the poppy seeds and the cherries.
I highly recommend making this cake. Or, if anything, if you see it at a party, make sure to get a slice!
Cherry Poppy Seed Cake (adapted from Eat Me!)
150 g butter (room temperature) (around 11 Tablespoons)
150 g brown sugar
250 g flour
10 g baking powder
4 eggs
100 g poppy seeds
1 t vanilla extract
50 ml milk
pinch of salt
1 kg cherries (pitted) (Erika's Extras: I used cherries from the produce aisle, not from a jar. Also, I found that I would have preferred more than the 3 cups worth of cherries.)

To serve: 
1. Preheat oven to 180C/260 F. Lightly butter a spring form pan.  

2. In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Separately sift flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt and gradually add to the batter. Add vanilla, poppy seeds and milk. Combine until completely mixed. 

3. Pour the batter into the pan. Cover with cherries. Firmly press the cherries into the top of the batter. 

4. Transfer to the oven for 30-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick (etc) comes out clean. Serve a cake with a dollop of whipped cream.

Vanilla  Whipped Cream (from Black Forest Trifle)
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and almond extract with an electric mixer. Beat until smooth. Add in heavy cream, incorporating a little at a time to prevent splattering. When all the cream has been added, turn the mixer to high, and beat until soft peaks form.
Bake well and prosper!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Watermelon & Blueberry Tequila Popsicles

Last week I was in Charleston, SC for the 5th time. I love it there (like I've said before) and love all the fun architecture.
This was the first time I planned to make a trip to Savannah, GA while in the south. I was excited to see a city that was like Charleston: a nice historic gem of a city in the south.
I got to walk around Savannah for about 3 hours in unrelenting humidity until the rain finally started to fall. While I was walking around I fell in love with all the Spanish moss hanging from trees.
I also liked taking photos of some of the iron work in the town.
And I went on a tour of the house where the murder in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil took place: The Mercer Williams House.
Right when my tour group walked into the back of the house, the thunderstorm hit. It made for a great soundtrack to the tour guide's stories.
After the rain let up I went to Bonaventure Cemetery to drive around for the last quarter of an hour that it was open for the day.
No wonder a Bonaventure Historical Society was created. This cemetery is lovely with a lot of history!
I headed back to Charleston where it rained all day. So, what does one do while on a rainy vacation? Make dessert of course!
I bought some cute popsicle molds and went to work.
And, of course, I made a mess in a kitchen that isn't mine. :) (Thanks, Ward!)
The flavor of the mixture was nice but when it froze the pulp moved up and the tequila moved down so the popsicles broke when removed from the mold.
Oh well! Easy to eat with a spoon!
Watermelon & Blueberry Tequila Popsicles (my own recipe!)
5 cups of chopped seedless watermelon
1 cup of washed blueberries
1/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of tequila
8 popsicle molds
Blend all ingredients together in a blender and then strain the blended mixture to make sure there aren't any seeds etc left over. Fill popsicle molds and after an hour in the freezer, insert popsicle sticks. Let freeze for at least 6 hours. Enjoy!
Bake well and prosper!