Thinking Outside the Jar: Tangy Plum Vanilla Ice Cream

Tangy-Yellow-Plum-Vanilla-B

Tangy Plum Vanilla Ice Cream

This ice cream was inspired from two sources. Firstly, mom friends were discussing their plans during the major winter storm that just passed (Juno, they call it. Not sure why we ended up naming winter storms?!) A friend was making homemade blizzards to celebrate the storm and I remembered our long forgotten ice cream machine that four small kid stuck inside might just find interesting and entertaining. The other inspiration and the base of this recipe came from The Preserved Life ‘s post about a roast chicken cooked in whey.

No Whey!

No Whey!

Whey is this incredible liquid that remains when you’ve strained fresh cheese (think paneer or ricotta) or yogurt. Since we make our own yogurt and strain it for Greek yogurt, I tend to have lots of whey on the go. In the past, I threw it out, not sure how to put it to good use, but lately, I’ve been adding it to shakes and pancake batter and there’s good reason to use it – it’s full of protein and has a great tang.

I make ice creams a couple different ways: a decadent egg/cream custard that makes a divine ice cream and is best for a special occasion or an ice cream that’s less indulgent, super delicious and a bit easier on the waistline. Since I’m still atoning for holiday overindulgence, this recipe is clearly the later.

 

Tangy Plum Ice Cream

Lightly Adapted from Cornstarch Ice Cream from the New York Times

Active Time: 20 minutes

Inactive Time: 90 minutes

Servings: 4

 

1 cups whey

1 cup 3% milk

.5 cup 10% cram

1/3 cup sugar

pinch of salt

3 tablespoons corn starch

Splash of vanilla (optional)

 

1. Combine whey and 3% milk, sugar, pinch of salt and combine in small pot. Bring to a light simmer over medium heat, about 5 minutes. While waiting for milk mixture to heat up, combine corn starch and cream in a small bowl and mix well. When milk mixture comes to a simmer, add in corn starch slurry. Stir frequently over medium heat for about 2 minutes until slightly thickened. Turn down heat to minimum and continue to stir until thick, about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Once off the heat, add in 1/2 cup of your favourite jam. I happened to use Yellow Plum with Rosemary and Vanilla Bean, with about 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract, but let taste be your guide according to the type of jam and complimentary seasoning used.

3. Let custard cool to room temperature or in the fridge for 90 minutes (or, make use of Mother Nature’s blast chiller and keep it outside with a lid on for about an hour). Add cooled custard to ice cream machine and follow your machine’s instructions. Be sure to have a very chilled machine that’s been frozen 8+ hours. It took my machine about 10 minutes to make perfectly soft and spoonable ice cream.

Enjoy!

 

Ice-Cream-Boy

Irresistible Ice Cream

 

Advertisements

Mother’s Day/Half-Birthday Boy Cake

Vanilla Grapefruit Curd Cake a.k.a. Half-Birthday Boy Cake

Vanilla Grapefruit Curd Cake a.k.a. Half-Birthday Boy Cake

It’s been a while; 10 months to be exact. 7 days after my last post, I welcomed (more like roared) our identical twin daughters A and M into the world to join their big sister and brother. Since then, it’s been almost 10 months of whirlwind with barely any time to catch our breath. For many months, we were in the trenches, never able to anticipate what the next day would bring, let alone look forward to another canning season.

Somewhat miraculously and seemingly overnight, things changed. Life has found a groove. Sympatico nap and bed times are finally happening, leaving me with time to dream about the upcoming season. The “bigs” are big enough to help me with the garden and we look forward to sharing our joy of gardening with the kids. I have visions for uncanny and I’m excited to see where it will go this season.

In celebration of life, of spring, of parenting and of our kids, I wanted to create something special for our son who turned 2.5. While we don’t normally celebrate half-birthdays, this guy has had to share his Mama, his time, his toys and endure constant hair-pulling from the twins and know-it-all-ness from his older sister and was in dire need of a celebration to honour the immense strides of the past six months. It just so happened to coincide with Mother’s Day and since I need no excuse for cake, I present you: The Half-Birthday Boy Cake (or Mother’s Day cake…or really any excuse cake). It’s not fancy and I fully disclose I used a gluten-free boxed cake mix given my son’s intolerances and my time constants, but I encourage you to go all-out and make the cakes from scratch.

Vanilla Grapefruit Curd Cake

Irresistible.

 

Half-Birthday Boy Cake

2×8″ yellow cakes (I used President’s Choice yellow cake mix and added some homemade bourbon vanilla, but homemade cakes are preferred.)

1/2 to 3/4 cup Grapefruit Curd between the layers. I used 1/2 cup of curd I made over the winter and froze. I wished I had about 1/4 more.

Cover with 7 Minute Frosting. It’s so old school and wonderful and if you’re like me and have run out of confectioners sugar and can’t slip away to the grocery store, it’s even more perfect for frosting a cake.

**

It’s easy and basic, but the grapefruit adds such a great tang and punch of flavour. Any curd would be marvelous and very soon you could keep it seasonal with a rhubarb curd. As usual, this recipe is wonderful to do this with kids and watching the frosting increase in volume is a tasty science lesson. Enjoy!

Sampling

You’ve got something on your nose!

 

 

 

Thinking Outside the Jar: Buttermilk Cake with Plum Port Preserves

Buttermilk Cake with Plum Port Preserves. Is is coffee time yet?

It’s hard not to be jealous when I see pictures of gardens coming alive, forsythia and apple trees blooming and ramps reading for harvesting. This Easter, we awoke to 8 inches of snow, which was disheartening and somehow not surprising, given that we had the exact same thing happen five years ago. On the upside, this “Poor Man’s Fertilizer” is great for the gardens and hopefully all our fruit bushes will reward us.

While the garden is slowly reawakening, our family continues to grow and thrive. I’ve had to dramatically alter my expectations of what I can accomplish in a day, never forgetting that my kids “won’t keep.” Thankfully, my daughter loves to help me in the kitchen and you can count on her to happily dump cupfuls of flour or help stir dry ingredients together. You can also expect that she’ll take the pepper mill and grind you some fresh pepper or sneak bites of raw-egg batter when your back is turned.

I made two versions of the following cake recipe and even baking with a toddler, I had both cakes ready for the oven and the kitchen cleaned within 45 minutes. Total and complete score! Since my stomach revolts when I eat gluten and baby Sam’s system seems to revolt when I eat dairy and soy, I absolutely love a recipe that’s open to dietary interpretations and this one fits the bill. The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking’s Buttermilk Cake is a gluten-free riff of What Julia Ate’s original recipe, so my adaptations are an ode to them both. I chose a rhubarb preserve to play up the tangy note of buttermilk, but a conserve with dried fruit and nuts would be really tasty. Lots of room for interpretation!

Gluten and Dairy Free “Buttermilk” Cake

1 cup gluten-free all purpose blend (I use Land O’ Lakes recipe)

1/2 tsp xantham gum

1/2 tsp baking powder and baking soda

1/2 cup sugar (I used palm sugar)

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 tsp ground vanilla powder or extract

1 egg

1/4 cup any flavour jam

1. Stir dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl.

2. Mix wet ingredients together.

3. Stir wet ingredients into the dry and spoon into a greased 8″ pan. Smooth and even out the batter. Spoon jam over batter and smooth.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

"Buttermilk" Cake with Rhubarb and Grand Marnier Jam

The second cake, I followed Hip Girl’s recipe exactly, substituting organic, unbleached flour for the gluten-free blend. It came out beautifully and had more of a lunar appearance. I topped this cake with a Plum Port Preserve and offered it as a get well gift for a friend. The richness of the plum and port should pair nicely with the cake and hopefully it tastes as good as it smells!

Lunar Goodness.

Thinking Outside the Jar: Gooseberry Jam Oat Bars

Life continues to buzz and flutter with lots of exciting activities. Our uncanny toddler is now 2.5 and our newcomer, Sam, is a big, bouncing 4 month old. While I still stare at my kitchen in sheer longing for just one afternoon to play, I recognize the importance of living in the moment with my kids. That’s why recipes that involve my kids are a big hit right now and ones that repurpose jam are even better.

This recipe comes from my dear friend and total kitchen renegade Alyson at Dates and Quinces. I love how her recipes are always full of story and flavour, rich with beautiful photography that inspire me with every post. She made Jam Oat Bars and I loved its simplicity and versatility and bonus for being accessible for kids. Expecting her own child, I’m sure there will be more child-friendly recipes in her future!

Child Labour

The Jam Oat Bars are similar to a date square: an oat and buttery flour base and topping with a sweet filling in the middle. The dough is basic and perfect, with no competing flavours so your jam can really shine through. I went for the gooseberry jam, since it’s often overlooked for its sexy sister, strawberry jam. It was perfect. The brightness added a great contrast to the hearty sweetness of the dough. While any jam works, I like something with a good acidic nip to make the bars really shine.

Voila!