I’m so excited to share this recipe! I recently bought an ice cream maker and really got into ice cream making and tasting, which can truly be one’s entire hobby. It’s so addictive and even therapeutic. There is something meditative about watching custard swirl and slowly change its texture – it’s just so mesmerizing. What’s even better is being able to taste it throughout the process. Making your own ice cream is surprisingly effortless. I love customizing ingredients and flavors to my own taste. For example, I used to make dairy-free ice cream with coconut milk and cream when I couldn’t eat dairy for a couple of months due to my daughter’s allergy. I also love being able to control the amount of sugar as I don’t like my ice cream too sweet. This is by far my very favorite ice cream recipe. So rich and decadent, yet not at all heavy. The recipe is adapted from Melissa Clark’s master ice cream recipe, featured here.
Ingredients (makes about 2 pints)
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
6 large egg yolks
2 vanilla beans
- In a pot, simmer cream, milk, sugar and sea salt, for a few minutes until sugar completely dissolves (do not boil).
- Whisk egg yolks for a few minutes. Add some of the milk and cream mixture to egg yolks and whisk thoroughly. Add the yolk mixture to the pot with the rest of the hot milk and cream, return to heat and cook for a couple of minutes until the mixture thickens enough to cover a spoon inserted into the pot.
- Cut vanilla beans, scrape their sides thoroughly and add seeds and pods into the cream mixture. Refrigerate for at least a few hours, overnight is best.
- Remove vanilla pods from custard and transfer to an ice cream machine. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions, typically for 20 minutes or so. Keep frozen and remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
I love breakfast food and am always looking for new breakfast and brunch recipe ideas. Of course, I stick to my favorite oatmeal with fresh fruit and Greek yogurt during the week, but there is nothing better on a weekend than a hearty brunch! When I tried this dish at one of my favorite local tapas places, I knew that it’d make a perfect breakfast! It’s basically a giant potato latke garnished with smoked salmon and capers. What’s not to love, right?! Serve it with some mint yogurt sauce. Delicious!
Ingredients (for 2 servings)
For the rosti
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
Smoked salmon to taste (about 4 oz.)
1 tablespoon capers
About 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
For the mint yogurt sauce
1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
Handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Make the mint yogurt sauce – mix yogurt with olive oil, lemon juice and fresh mint, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Julienne potatoes on a mandoline; if you don’t have a mandoline, you could grate potatoes on a cheese grater. I prefer the texture of the julienned potatoes though for this dish!
- Heat a non-stick skillet on medium, add some canola oil and about half of the butter. Transfer the potato pieces into the skillet and press into the bottom to distribute evenly. Cook for about 8 minutes, lowering the heat if needed to make sure it’s not burning. To turn the rosti to another side, cover it with a plate and turn the skillet upside down. Add more canola oil and butter to the skillet and gently transfer the rosti uncooked side down back to the skillet.
- Cook for another 8 minutes or so until the potato is cooked through. Transfer to a plate, season with salt and pepper and arrange smoked salmon pieces on top. Garnish with capers and fresh herbs and serve immediately with the mint yogurt sauce (optional).
Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating today and happy holiday season to all of you! I brought this cheesecake to the Christmas Eve dinner at my friends’ house last night. My friend and a fellow food blogger made an incredible meal and the cheesecake was a perfect way to finish off our feast.
Cheesecake is my very favorite dessert. My mom tells me that when I was little, I had my particular way of eating a cake. I’d just pick on cream filling, icing or custard, without touching the actual cake. When I came to the US and tried cheesecake for the first time, it was love at first bite. Cheesecake embodies all that I love in a cake – no cake, just the luscious, creamy filling.
I’ve always thought of cheesecake as a very difficult dessert to make and was surprised how simple it actually is! I’ve tried a few recipes throughout the years, and this one by far is the best. It’s a modified recipe based on this one from Tyler Florence with some tips from Jamie Oliver and Martha Stewart. Don’t be afraid of orange and lemon zest, it adds so much flavor without overpowering this delicate dessert. Baking the cheesecake in boiling water is key. In the past, I’ve tried a recipe that didn’t call for that and while the end result was pretty decent, the cheesecake baked in water is definitely creamier and has that melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Ingredients (for a 10-inch springform pan)
1 1/2 cup honey graham crackers, ground
1 stick butter, softened
2 lbs. full fat cream cheese (I had 1 lbs. of regular Philadelphia cream cheese spread and 2 8 oz. blocks)
1 cup sugar
Zest of one lemon
Zest of one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Boiling water (for the baking)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Make the crust – combine ground graham crackers with the butter and mix well with a fork. Arrange baking paper in a springform pan and spray it with a non-stick cooking spray. Transfer the graham crackers mixture into the pan and press the crumbs down into the base. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.
- Make the filling. Beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer for a couple of minutes until smooth. Add eggs one by one and continue beating on slow until smooth. Gradually add sugar, lemon and orange zest, and vanilla extract. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Refrigerate for 5 minutes. Pour over the crust and smooth with a spatula.
- Set the cheesecake pan on a few pieces of aluminum foil and fold the foil around the sides of the pan. This will prevent the water from getting into the pan. Place the cake pan into a larger roasting dish or pan and fill it with boiling water. Transfer the pans into the oven and bake at 350F for about one hour (depending on your oven) until the cake starts browning a bit on the top. It should still jiggle – don’t overcook it as it will firm up after refrigeration.
- Cool for half and hour and place in the fridge. Refrigerate for at least five hours until completely firm. To cut, dip a knife in hot water after you cut each piece. Serve with your favorite fruit spread or fresh berries, it’s also quite perfect on its own!
Weekend breakfasts are the best. You don’t have to rush anywhere and can really enjoy making a special, indulgent breakfast. I love hearty, savory breakfasts, but often get tired of same old eggs. I saw a brilliant idea of roasting mushrooms and tomatoes on the vine a while ago on one of Gordon Ramsey’s cooking shows. Adding these to a breakfast plate really brightens it up and makes it look restaurant-quality. Pour some truffle oil over eggs to make this meal completely indulgent.
By the way, you can get cheap and decent truffle oil at Trader Joe’s. Love, love, love Trader Joe’s for amazing finds like this one!
Ingredients (for 2 servings)
1/2 bell pepper, cored and sliced
2 vines with 2-3 baby tomatoes
6 baby mushrooms
1 shallot, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
About 2 tablespoons truffle oil
Handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- Heat some olive oil in a small pan on medium. Add garlic, shallot and pepper slices. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pepper slices are slightly golden and soft. Add mustard, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat some olive oil in another small pan on high, add mushrooms and tomatoes. Cover the pan and cook on high for about 3-5 minutes.Turn the heat off and let them rest covered, for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat vegetable oil in a small non-stick pan. Add eggs and cook for about 5 minutes until whites are completely set while yolks are soft and runny. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with chopped parsley.
- Transfer roasted peppers onto plates and arrange eggs on top. Pour some truffle oil over eggs. Arrange the remaining vegetables on the plates and enjoy with toasted bread.
I have to confess that I’ve never in my life made cookies. Yes, I love cooking and although I rarely bake, I’m a pretty good baker, but for some reason I’ve been intimidated by cookies. No joke! This week, my company is having a cookie (of course) bake off contest and I decided to face my fear and try this cookie thing out. After all, I really want that Target gift card!
I wanted to make something easy and different, so this recipe by Giada De Laurentiis has caught my eye. I loved that I didn’t have to refrigerate the dough for hours or even roll it out! I’m also a huge fan of lemon desserts (like this yummy lemon apple cake) so this recipe seemed right up my alley. These cookies turned out delicious! Now, all I have to hope for is to win the contest! Ah well, even if I don’t win it, I’ll have leftovers to enjoy and a great go-to cookie recipe.
I did make some adjustments to Giada’s original recipe – I had to bake my cookies longer and added more lemon juice to the glaze because 3 tablespoons weren’t enough for 1 1/2 cup of powdered sugar to absorb. Also, these cookies definitely look and taste better when smaller, so I suggest scooping no more that 3/4 , even 1/2 tablespoons of the cookie dough for each individual cookie.
Ingredients (for about 40 small cookies)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 15 oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a hand mixer until until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add ricotta cheese, lemon juice and zest. Beat to combine, stir in the dry ingredients and beat until the dough is smooth. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon the dough (about 1/2 tablespoon) onto the baking sheets making sure the cookies are spaced out. Bake for about 20 minutes, until slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet until cool.
- Make the glaze. Combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest in a small bowl and stir with spatula until smooth (add more lemon juice if needed). Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of glaze on each cookie and let them rest until the glaze completely hardens for a couple of hours.
I love summer and typically dread fall because of a long and cold New England winter which comes after it. This year, I feel surprisingly different about Autumn. I’ve truly been enjoying its gorgeous colors, cool weather, soft sun and the smell of fallen leaves in the air. I think my recent trip to a beautiful and romantic Quebec city made me fall into the fall. Was it a long spectacular drive through Vermont and New Hampshire with breathtaking mountain views and foliage colors? Maybe, postcard-like views of Quebec city’s streets – so picturesque during this time of year – did it. But I’m a foodie. So, it must have been those pumpkin spice lattes, French onion soups and traditional gross Poutine (which was just what doctor ordered after long walks in brisk air).
Although I haven’t always felt this passionate about fall, I’ve always loved its seasonal fruits and veggies. I get butternut squash pretty much every time I go grocery shopping now, sometimes forgetting that I still have some left at home. That said, I was getting pretty sick of one of my favorite soups, and wanted to try something new. The butternut squash omelette turned out perfect! I highly recommend trying it out for a lazy weekend breakfast or brunch, even a light dinner.
Ingredients (for 2 servings)
5 large eggs
2-3 tablespoons milk
About 1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into medium pieces
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced thinly
About 2 oz. goat cheese (I had goat brie)
2-3 springs fresh thyme
Chives for garnish
1-2 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
Pre-heat the oven on broil setting. Heat a small skillet with some vegetable oil. Saute onion until translucent, add garlic, thyme leaves and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add butternut squash and saute on medium to low heat for about 10-15 minutes, season with salt and pepper. You may have to add some water to the skillet and cover it – make sure the squash is completely soft and cooked through.
Make an omelette: whisk eggs with milk, salt and pepper. Heat a large oven-proof skillet with some vegetable oil and the remaining butter, and pour the egg mixture into it. Let the omelette set for about 5 minutes on low-medium heat. Arrange the vegetable mixture on top, sprinkle with you favorite cheese. I had goat brie and the flavor combination was absolutely fantastic, but feel free to use something else if you don’t like goat cheese. Transfer the skillet into the pre-heated oven and broil for about 5 minutes until the omelette is completely set. Garnish with herbs and enjoy immediately!