Winter Blues & Spirited No Churn Ice Cream

IMG_9386Winter Blues. You got em? Let’s chase them away with homemade ice cream. Yup, you heard me! We’re making ice cream in the dead of winter. Seriously, it’s a mood changer because not only is it darn delicious, rich and creamy, but also done in 10 minutes (plus freezing time) and requires NO ice cream machine. I bet you’re smiling now. Remember my posts about cleaning stuff out? You just might want to pitch your old-dust-collecting- taking-up-way too-much-space ice cream machine after trying this recipe.

ice cream

All the flavors of one of my favorite candy bars this ice cream is rich with chocolate condensed milk and coconut creamy from the liqueur. It gets some toasty goodness from more coconut and almonds which you can fold in or just sprinkle on top like I did. Scoop it or slice it, it’s guaranteed to take those winter blues away.

IMG_9338

Almond Joy No-Churn Ice Cream

1 (14 oz) can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk, chocolate flavor

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons coconut cake liqueur

1 teaspoon coconut flavoring

1/8-teaspoon fine sea salt

2 cups heavy cream

¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted, cooled

2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted, cooled

Line a 9-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap leaving a 4-inch over hang on short ends. Pour sweetened condensed milk into a large bowl. (Scrape it all out of that can with a rubber spatula.) Sift cocoa powdered over the top. Add liqueur, flavoring and salt. Using the spatula blend mixture until it is well mixed and smooth. In large mixer bowl, beat cream to just stiff peaks (do not over-mix or you will end up with butter). Stir about a cup of cream into chocolate mixture to lighten it up. Fold in remaining cream until fully incorporated. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle top evenly with almonds and then coconut. Bring up the extended edges of plastic wrap and press gently over the surface. Freeze for 6 hours or as long as overnight. When ready to serve let ice cream stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to make scooping easier or remove from loaf pan, peel away plastic and cut into slices. Garnish as desired. Store leftovers tightly wrapped in plastic and an air-tight container.

IMG_9363

Love, Mom

Remind Me & Red Miso Marinated Steak

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day

Losing you

Reminds me

Don’t wait

For a holiday

To tell someone

You love them

I love you always and forever

I love you always and forever

I will also remind you that you don’t need one more chocolate recipe this week. The truth is what your Valentine really wants is a delicious “sizzling hot” steak. Nothing says, “I love you” like a juicy piece of beef with beautiful grill marks. A porterhouse is the perfect steak for sharing with your sweetheart. It includes both a large t-bone (for him) and a smaller tenderloin filet(for her)…at least that’s how we do it.

miso marinated porterhouse steak

miso marinated porterhouse steak

You will find red miso paste in the refrigerated section of your local Asian market or Whole Foods store. The miso penetrates the meat and gives it that luxurious “aged” quality usually found in high end steak houses. Hope you love it! It sure beats chocolate.

you know you want it

you know you want it

Red Miso Marinated Steak

¼ cup red miso paste

¼ cup mirin

3 tablespoons sake or dry sherry

2 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Porterhouse steak is my favorite but any steak will work

Place steaks in a zippered plastic bag. In bowl, whisk miso, mirin, sugar, sake, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and pepper; pour the marinade over steaks. Seal bag and marinate steak at room temperature for 30 minutes or as long as 2 days in the refrigerator. Remove steaks from marinade; blot dry with paper towels. Grill or broil, turning, to desired doneness.

Valentine Hearts & Bougatsa

Ricotta Bougatsa (Greek Breakfast Pastry)

Ricotta Bougatsa (Greek Breakfast Pastry)

Could be my imagination, could be my inability to let my son go, or maybe-just maybe, there is a loving energy between my son and me. You know those “whoosh” moments I have mentioned before. Never a believer in ESP, the paranormal or ghosts, it is getting harder to deny that such things do indeed exist as those moments keep on coming.

heart rock

heart rock

I believe it all started on February 14, 2011. I had not seen William in a few months. Very early that morning the phone wakes me from a sound sleep and it is him. “I just wanted to be the first to ask if you would be my Valentine. I hope I did not wake you.” It was such a loving, sweet gesture on his part that I responded, “Oh, no you did not wake me. Your father and I are having coffee”. Then the doorbell rings, “hang on William someone is at the door–who the hell is here so early in the morning?” Jump out of bed, throw on the bathrobe….and it’s HIM!!! He drove all night from NC to CT to surprise me for Valentine’s Day. What a gift from his heart to mine.

my heart pendant

my heart pendant

Then he died, but his loving, sweet heart keeps surprising me. It started with this heart pendant (see photo). It came from his ashes. Really, it came from his ashes. It takes my breath away every time I put it on. Second, is the heart rock (see photo above). In my deepest, darkest hour of grief it appeared as I stepped onto a path into the woods. It saved me from myself.

Sweet William's Fancy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Sweet William’s Fancy Chocolate Chip Cookie

IMG_2109

my logo

Then came the cookie which even convinced my husband that some energy is out there. I was finally coming out of my funk with the idea that I could create recipes inspired by William. The first would be a Jack Daniel’s laced cookie. The very first cookie baked in the shape of a heart. It was as if he was happy and approved of my progress. I used a cookie scoop so it should have come out round. P.S. every other cookie I baked came out perfectly round.

There are more heart signs to tell about, but I need to save them for a future life-changing story. In the mean time, I want to share this delicious breakfast-brunch pastry that I created for my Valentines–Bill, Caitlin and Sam. I got up early this past weekend and surprised them with this special treat created from my heart. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ricotta Bougatsa with berries and bacon

Ricotta Bougatsa with berries and bacon

Ricotta Bougatsa (Greek Breakfast Pastry)

1 cup (8 oz) whole milk ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 egg, separated

1/8 teaspoon salt

12 sheets phyllo dough, covered with damp paper towel

¼ cup melted butter

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup honey

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 container plain Greek yogurt

Heat oven 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. In small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, lemon zest vanilla and egg yolk; blend well. In another small bowl, whisk or beat egg white and salt to stiff peaks; fold into ricotta mixture and set aside.

IMG_0988                   IMG_0989

Lay 1 phyllo sheet on work surface with short end toward you; brush with butter. Top with a second phyllo sheet; brush with butter. Fold in half with two short ends meeting each other; brush with butter. Spoon ¼ cup of ricotta mixture over center of dough. Fold longer sides over filling, brushing with butter.

IMG_0990                       IMG_0991

Fold in sides to meet in the middle forming a parcel. Brush with butter and place on baking sheet. Brush top with butter. Repeat with remaining phyllo, butter and filling to make 5 more parcels. Mix remaining teaspoon of sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over parcels. Bake 30 minutes or until golden and crispy. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, combine honey and lemon juice in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring just until warm. Arrange bougatsa on individual serving plates. Top with syrup, blueberries and dollop of Greek yogurt.

Note: unbaked parcels may be made night before, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated. Bake as directed above in the morning.