Lemon Thyme Risotto

Yesterday I was eager to make a mess in the kitchen after being away for the last week or so. After a trip to the Ferry Building Farmers’ Market in the morning, I got busy making fresh strawberry ice cream and the Lemon Thyme Risotto that recently appeared on the Leite’s website. Served with grilled salmon and asparagus, we had a very tasty dinner for ourselves. The risotto was delicious and reminded me that I should make Risotto Verde again now that spring vegetables are popping up in the markets. (Apparently, I have a thing for risotto in April – I just searched for risotto on my blog and realized that every April for the last three years I have tried a new recipe!)

Dessert was tasty (and pretty) too!

Coconut Mango Pops

This was almost too easy and too good to be true. I had a mango that was looking a little sad so I pureed it in the food processor, adding enough coconut milk to thin it out into a liquid. Result? Divine. It almost feels healthy.

  • 1 mango
  • 1 can coconut milk (I used regular but you can use light if you prefer)
Peel and puree the mango in a food processor or blender. Add about 1/3 cup of coconut milk to the mixture and blend completely. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 3-4 hours. Serves 4.

 

Blueberry Yogurt Pops

Update: These just posted on the LC website! Recipe and reviews are here.
Last week I tested out my new popsicle molds by making blueberry yogurt pops from the Paletas cookbook (another library find!) I halved the recipe since I can only make four popsicles at a time but I still had enough yogurt left over to make three additional pops after we polished off the first ones. Instead of layering the yogurt with the berries in the second batch, I smashed the blueberries into the yogurt mixture and then poured them into the molds. I definitely preferred the berry flavored yogurt more than the plain yogurt with ice cube-like berries in the middle. YUM!
  • Peel from 1 lemon
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups plain unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries, or the berry of your choice

Rinse the lemon, then peel it. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon peel, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve, then refrigerate until chilled.Put the yogurt and honey in a bowl, add the chilled syrup and stir well. Pour a bit of the yogurt mixture into each of the molds, to a height of about ¾ inch.  Freeze until the mixture begins to set, about 40 minutes. Next divide the blackberries among the popsicle molds, then pour in the remaining yogurt mixture, dividing it evenly among the molds. OR, just smash the berries into the mixture and pour directly into molds. Freeze for 3-4 hours. Makes 8-10 popsicles.

Peach Ice Cream

Every time I drive through the Central Valley, I make sure to visit at least one produce stand along the way. On my drive to Truckee yesterday, I stopped in Dixon to grab a couple pounds of peaches for eating and ice cream making. The stand did not disappoint. I had what was probably the most juicy and flavorful canteloupe I’ve ever eaten, and I’m already looking forward to stopping again tomorrow on my way back home.

I’ve borrowed David Lebovitz’s Perfect Scoop book at the library numerous times but have never tried his peach ice cream until tonight. It was every bit as delicious as everyone says it is. Ripe peaches are key (and I love the addition of sour cream) but I’m guessing it gets even better the longer it sits in the freezer. We could only hold out for 25 minutes of churning so our “ice cream” was more like soft serve – which was totally satisfying. The rest of the batch is sitting in the freezer and will be hardened up for breakfast tomorrow morning. Yum!

Peach Ice Cream (from David Lebovitz’s Perfect Scoop)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe peaches [about 4 large peaches]
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A  few drops freshly squeezed lemon juice

Peel the peaches, slice them in half, and remove the pits. Cut the peaches into chunks and cook them with water in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, covered, stirring once or twice, until soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the sugar, then cool to room temperature. Purée the cooked peaches and any liquid in a blender or food processor with the sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla, and lemon juice until almost smooth but slightly chunky. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (overnight is best but we didn’t have the patience) and freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Honey Lavender Ice Cream

A friend of mine gave me a tin of cooking lavender this week so I decided to take another stab at making honey lavender ice cream. I made it years ago but always remembered it being too sweet, unlike my all time favorite at Bi-Rite. I looked online for a few different recipes and compared them to my last attempt before deciding on the recipe below.

What resulted was definitely my best ice cream effort to date! Alex commented how the air bubbles were really small- ha! We were literally licking the bowl and mixing paddle so as not to waste any during the transfer from the ice cream maker to the freezer. YUM!

Adapted from Gourmet, 2003

  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • 1.5 cups half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1.5 tablespoons dried edible lavender flowers
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Bring cream, half-and-half, honey, and lavender just to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, then remove pan from heat. Let steep for 15-20 minutes (start tasting it around 10 minutes).

Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and heat over moderate heat for a few minutes until hot.

Whisk together eggs and salt in a large bowl, then add 1 cup hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Pour into remaining hot cream mixture in saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 170 to 175°F on thermometer, about 5 minutes (do not let boil).

Pour custard through sieve into cleaned bowl and cool completely, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, for several hours or overnight.

Churn custard in an ice cream maker according to directions (mine churned for about 25 minutes). Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden for at least two hours before serving. Eat within a week though that shouldn’t be a problem.

Next up… lemon almond ice cream!

Asparagus Pizza and Strawberry Gelato

More spring treats! For tonight’s pizza, I planned the toppings and Alex shaped the dough. We had friends over for dinner so I didn’t take any photos. It’s so much more fun to chat and eat than it is to spend five minutes taking a photo that isn’t all that great anyway. Instead, I’m including the photos from the websites where I found the original recipes. However, if I may say so myself, my own versions weren’t so ugly. Though my photography would have been!

Asparagus Pizza from Smitten Kitchen (Photo by Smitten Kitchen)

Strawberry Gelato from Martha Rose Shulman’s Recipes for Health section in the NYT (Photo by Andrew Scrivani for NYT)

The only changes we made were to use our own pizza dough recipe and to use fresh berries for the gelato. I served two scoops (hey, it did say recipes for “health”) over fresh berries. YUM.