Sunday, July 25, 2010

Old Ideas, New Theories

Ah, another hectic few weeks in the can. I wish I could update more - honest! But there doesn't seem to be enough time in the week to actually think about what to write about. And that I don't have time to conjure something up on the weekends. Last weekend I took the ferry over to the 'local' island to visit a friend with another friend (confusing enough for you?) and took in some local sights and eats. Had my first ever neapolitan pizza! Yes, you read that right. I have never had neapolitan pizza. Doesn't mean that I am clueless to the mystery of that hallowed tradition - I'm totally down for the 00 grade flour and everything that is involved in a certified neapolitan pizza, and I have to say, it was great! However, I still have weakness for the less-than-traditional pizza pies, namely - Domino's thin crust Hawaiian. Or sausage and mushroom. Mmmmm.

Anyway - moving on - to today's post! As it is the summer time, it means that it is ice cream season! Admittedly, it is always ice cream season - but the summer, of course, is a perfect opportunity to whip out some frozen treats. I came across this recipe for EGGLESS ice cream that was supposedly as creamy and rich as their traditional French counterpart! "Impossible!" I thought to myself, "egg yolks give ice cream their silky richness, no egg yolks and you'd be left with a soft serve-worthy mess!" But I was intrigued, and inspired to give it a go. I followed the recipe for the basic vanilla - but amped it up with a ton of vanilla beans (gratefully given to me by a coworker), frozen blueberries and "pie". I had a few ideas last year about ice cream concoctions and one that always hung over me was "blueberry pie" ice cream - not just straight blueberry ice cream, but a flavour that would encapsulate the entire 'bite'. I tried to replicate this with a rich vanilla ice cream with a frozen blueberry coulis swirl and crust-like cookies mixed in.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Celebrating Summer's Bounty

One of the many things I love about the summer is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables at the local markets - and for cheap! I love checking out the local farmers markets - whether it is the one 10 minutes away or an hour - each one offers something special and unique. This weekend I went to one fairy off-the-beaten path for me. Usually the one I go to is about a 25 min run away (hey, gotta get your exercise!) but this one is about...a 35 min transit ride away - and on an express bus at that! But it was worth it!

I had indulged a bit too much at the end of the week - with too many meals out and felt like something fresh and whole and loaded with some seasonal goodies!

My buys:
-two bunches of locally grown 'baby' carrots
-one bag of yellow and orange peppers ("all you can pick" for $4/bag)
-three bags of assorted spices

Not a ton of stuff, but definitely enough to kick off my dinner of "Summer Panzanella." This summer salad is a great way to use an abundance of leftover or plentiful veggies - namely, tomatoes! This Italian salad is also more commonly referred to as a 'bread salad' - with stale chunks of bread tossed with veggies and a vinegar-based dressing. What is really terrific about this salad is that it is so..."what you make it". I went more traditional and used tomatoes, bread, and fresh herbs - but why not add some fruit to the mix? Peaches, strawberries, and oranges would complement the salad well, as well as some grilled asparagus, grilled  peppers, or cucumbers. I actually wanted to do a side raw carrot salad, but ran out of time (shaved carrot strips tossed with lemon juice & olive oil, with lots of salt & pepper!). I came up with a basic panzanella on top off romaine lettuce and avocado.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy 30th Anniversary Spoon Parents!

It was the 'Pearl' Anniversary of this Spoon's parents! Yes, yes, I know. Spoons can't exactly have 'parents' now, can they? But let's just play along.

It was also their combined birthday parties - with the event being fairly spaced between their respective birthdates. The Mothership took it upon herself to cook for the entire crowd - something that even I would not undertake!

An occasion like this of course, calls for a special dessert; a special challenge fit for 30 years of marriage. A coworker suggested, "why don't you make them a 3-tiered cake? One for each celebration!" Yes! Genius! Why hadn't I thought of that?