COCONUT ICE CREAM



Our beloved Blue Bell Ice Cream is off the freezer shelves with no promise of a return any time soon.  It’s summer, and we want ice cream dammit!!  We tried tons of brands and nothing really came close to making us happy.  Growing up in the country (before Blue Bell) my mama made homemade ice cream probably once a week so I decided to make my own.  Mom did at least have the electric freezer, but it was still a hassle keeping ice and rock salt in it and cleaning up the mess afterward.  So I bought one of the “new-fangled” kind that you freeze the bowl and then set it on the countertop and plug it in.  I am still experimenting with it to get it frozen properly, but most of the recipes I have used recommend freezing it in a container for a few hours after making it anyway, so basically I have been looking for a recipe that tastes good and has a good consistency after it has been frozen.  Everyone in my family is crazy about coconut so I tried this recipe, and it did make me happy!  Scott thinks it would be even better with some slice almonds in it to give it crunch so I will try that next time.  I am also considering adding fresh toasted coconut flakes in just before freezing.  (The ones used in the recipe get soggy and lose their crispness so it's best to strain them out.)  It does have a very intense coconut flavor, so if you are a coconut lover like we are you will be happy too!!

2 c. whole milk
2 c. heavy cream
2 c. coconut milk
1 c. toasted coconut flakes
8 egg yolks
1-1/2 c. sugar
Pinch salt

Bring milk, cream, coconut milk and coconut flakes to simmer in a heavy saucepan for a few minutes.  Turn off flame, cover it with a lid and allow it to steep for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile whisk the rest of the ingredients together long enough  to dissolve the sugar.

Temper the hot liquid into the egg mixture.  Return all back into the saucepan over low heat, constantly stirring, just until the mixture starts to thicken.   Don’t let it bubble or it will curdle.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.  Chill immediately over an ice bath.  Refrigerate several hours or overnight so that it is extremely cold before putting it in the ice cream maker.

Put the ice cream in a plastic container and freeze several hours before serving.

WATERMELON MARGARITA SLUSHIES



It’s summertime, and a cool slushie makes the hot, humid days we’re having much easier to tolerate!  I got this recipe out of a Food Network Magazine, and it is truly delicious.   Just get the watermelon in the freezer a few hours before you are ready for the cocktail.  Enjoy!

4 c. chopped watermelon, frozen at least 2 hours or overnight
½ c. frozen limeade concentrate
3 oz. silver tequila
3 oz. orange liqueur, like Cointreau or Triple Sec
Juice of 1 lime

Blend all ingredients in a blender until slushy.  Top glass with margarita salt, if desired.

PECAN SHORTBREAD SQUARES


Eric made these while he was here last week, and Scott requested that I put them on the blog.  You have to love pecans to appreciate the use of 3 cups of good pecans, but if you do you will love these bars.  He used pecans I bought at a Farmer’s Market last Fall and put them in the freezer.   Hint – My mama always said it is best to freeze pecans in a glass jar instead of plastic bags, and it has always worked beautifully for me!

Crust:

¾ c. flour, spooned into a measuring cup and leveled off
¼ c. corn starch
½ c. powdered sugar
½ t. salt
1 stick cold, unsalted butter cut into 1” pieces

Filling:

1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter
¾ c. light brown sugar
3 TB honey
½ t. vanilla extract
Generous pinch salt
2 TB heavy whipping cream
3 c. coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cover a 9” square baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil.  Push foil neatly into corners and up sides of the pan, using two pieces if necessary to ensure it overlaps all edges.  (The overhang will help removal from the pan.)  Spray foiled pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar and salt in a bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.  Pulse a few times to mix.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-size clumps of butter within.  Dump mixture into prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer over the bottom.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then bake until crust is set but not browned, about 17 minutes.  Set on a rack to cool, but leave oven on.

In a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine butter, brown sugar, honey, vanilla and salt.  Stir with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves.  Turn up the heat and boil gently for 3 minutes.  Stir in heavy cream and chopped pecans.  Pour pecan mixture over crust (It doesn’t matter if the crust is still warm.)  Bake until filling is bubbling and caramel in color, about 20 minutes.  Cool completely on rack.  To cut, use the foil overhang to lift baked square out of pan and onto cutting board.  Loosen the foil from the edges, then cut with a sharp knife into 2” squares.  Store finished pecan squares in air-tight container and serve at room temperature. 

SESAME DIP


This is so easy you will find it hard to believe that it is so yummy.  I served this with crudite, and it completed my Asian appetizer evening just perfectly.  It also fits the South Beach diet which is a good thing – but you won’t realize it while you are eating it. The first time I made it I didn't have a lot of sesame seeds so I used all I had; the second time I used 1/4 c. and didn't enjoy the consistency as much.  SO, if you are a huge sesame seed person try it with 1/4 c. and if not, try it with about 2 TB.  The flavor of the dip is the same with either amount -- both times I have made it my guests loved it, but I prefer it with fewer sesame seeds.

1/3 c. plain yogurt (I used lowfat Greek)
1/3 c. mayonnaise (I used lowfat Hellmanns)
2 TB soy sauce
2 TB to ¼ c. toasted sesame seeds

Add everything into a small mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.  Serve with raw vegetables.

SPICY ASIAN SHRIMP COCKTAIL

I was looking for another Asian-flavored appetizer to go with the Turkey Lettuce Wraps and found this on theperfectpantry.com.  It was a nice change from the usual tomato sauce based cocktail, and it fits nicely with the South Beach diet!  Susie requested the recipe so here it is girlfriend!

1 lb. jumbo shrimp, precooked, defrosted, peeled and deveined
Juice of ½ lime
1-1/2 t. sambal oelek (chili garlic sauce)
1 t. reduced-sodium soy sauce
½ t. sesame oil
½ t. agave nectar
2 c. diced English (seedless) cucumber
1 large avocado, diced
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
2 t. roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves

In a mixing bowl combine and whisk the lime juice, sambal oelek, soy sauce, sesame oil and agave nectar.  To the sauce in the bowl, add the shrimp and remaining ingredients.  Stir gently to combine.  Chill the shrimp cocktail for 1 hour before serving. 

ASIAN GROUND TURKEY (FOR USE IN A SALAD OR LETTUCE CUPS)

Are you as tired of grilled chicken salad as I am?  This is my new favorite meat to add to my salad, and normally I am not a ground turkey fan at all.  I got the recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen since she blogs South Beach recipes.  However, I am putting it on the blog because I will make this whether I am dieting or not.  The first time I made it I ate it in a lettuce cup, and the next time I used it in a salad.  Either way it is larapin (my mother’s favorite word to describe something extra yummy!)  So Sunday afternoon make your ground turkey concoction and you will have enough for lunch for the whole week.  Trust me, if you like Asian food you will be thrilled with this salad!

1 TB peanut oil
3 TB minced red onion or shallots
2 TB minced garlic
2 TB grated ginger root
20 oz. pkg ground turkey
4 TB soy sauce (I used light soy)
1 TB chile garlic sauce (or more if you like spicy foods)
1 t. fish sauce
1 c. chopped cilantro

Prepare the onion, garlic, and ginger and set aside.  Wash and chop fresh cilantro and set it aside. 

Heat the oil in a large frying pan; add onion and sauté about 2 minutes then add garlic and ginger and sauté about one minute more.  Add ground turkey (with a bit more oil if needed) and break apart and spread out, then add soy, garlic sauce, and fish sauce.  Cook until the turkey is brown and crumbling apart, and the sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.  When the turkey is done add the chopped cilantro and cook 1-2 more minutes.

FOR LETTUCE CUPS:

Boston lettuce, butter lettuce, romaine or iceberg lettuce
Chopped peanuts
1 avocado, diced, optional

Spoon the turkey into a leaf of lettuce and sprinkle with peanuts and avocado if desired.  Fold lettuce leaf over like a taco.

FOR SALAD:

Mixed lettuce greens
Shredded cabbage
Chopped peanuts
½ of a small avocado, diced
Paul Newmans Lowfat Sesame Ginger Salad dressing

Combine the greens and cabbage (I prefer mostly cabbage).  Spoon about 1/5 of the ground turkey (about ½ c.) over it.  Sprinkle with the peanuts and avocado and drizzle the salad dressing over it all. 

KIM’S BAKED BEANS

Kim made these for last year’s Super Bowl party and brought them to the 4th of July party this year.  Scott joined us this year on the 4th and immediately said “that woman can cook!”  He requested that I blog her recipe, and I am finally getting around to it.  They are really scrumptious – thanks Kim for making them for us and then sharing the recipe.  She calls them "Land Your Man Baked Beans" so if you want to please a man, head to the store for the ingredients.   (BTW women like them too!)

1-1/2 lbs. ground chuck
1 pkg. Taco Bell taco seasoning
2 – 28 oz. cans Bush’s original baked beans
1 lg. onion, finely chopped
1 lg. green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/3 c. catsup (try hot catsup for a kick)
2 TB yellow mustard
4 TB light brown sugar
3 TB Cholula Hot Sauce (or any hot sauce such as Tabasco)
6 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 16X10 casserole dish with Pam.

Brown the ground chuck with the taco seasoning.  Combine beans, onion, pepper, catsup, mustard, brown sugar and hot sauce in the casserole dish.  Add the seasoned beef and stir well.  Place bacon on top and cover the dish with aluminum foil, leaving a corner folded back for venting.  Bake for approximately 1 hour. 

Remove foil and continue baking about 30 minutes or until bacon is brown and excess liquid has been cooked out.   Serve warm or at room temperature.

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

I am a little embarrassed to put this recipe on the blog, because it is barely homemade.  I have made it so often for sick friends, and it is always what friends request when I ask if I can bring them something.  Everyone thinks it is so yummy and comforting, and now you will all know how easy it is to make!  My mom always added the Cream of Chicken soup packets any time she made a chicken soup, and it really adds a nice yet subtle flavor.  They are sometimes hard to find so you can make it without them – I had to order some on the internet because I have had a hard time finding them in the stores here.  I had to order a case of it, so I am willing to share if anyone wants to make this and can’t find them!  Hot rolls or crackers are a must to dip in the broth – just sayin…

1 rotisserie chicken, skinned, deboned, and diced
48 oz. carton of chicken broth (or homemade if you have it) + 32 oz. carton for later use*
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and diced
8 oz. pkg. noodles (best are HEB Kluski noodles because they are similar to the
    homemade German-style noodles -- or use your favorite narrow egg noodle)
2-3 packets of dry Lipton Cup-a-Soup Cream of Chicken Soup mix
Black pepper, if desired

Get the chicken ready and set aside.

Bring the chicken broth to boil in a Dutch oven.  Add the celery and carrots and bring to boil again.  Once it is boiling add the noodles and cook the length of time recommended on the package, stirring occasionally so they won’t stick. 

Meanwhile make a slurry of water and the dry soup mix packets in a jar with a lid by shaking until all the lumps are out of the mixture.  (Add just enough water to make it runny.)  Stir this mixture into the soup.  Cook over medium-low heat until it is bubbly, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the diced chicken.  Season with black pepper, if desired.  Serve hot.

*Once the leftover soup has been chilled in the fridge the noodles absorb almost all of the liquid. It does make those noodles extra yummy though.    I always have extra chicken broth to stir into each bowl before heating it up in the microwave.  If I am taking it to someone, I always take them a carton of the broth so they will have it.   Remember they are sick and can’t get out to get some for themselves!