Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Homemade Ice Cream without an Ice Cream Maker

I CANNOT believe it!
This actually works very well!!!

I wanted to try this recipe as I am posting it for my friends who didn't have access to an ice cream maker. Used the recipe from Family Fun magazine, and it worked great.

2 tbs sugar
1 c half and half**
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c kosher salt
Ice cubes (enough to fill each gallon-size bag about half full)
1 pint-size ziploc bag
1 gallon-size ziploc bag

**According to Wikipedia, in the United States, half and half is a very light cream typically used in coffee. Its butterfat content is about 12.5%, which makes it lower-calorie and more stable in coffee, and also used in making ice cream.

1. Combine the sugar, half and half, and vanilla extract in the pint-size bag and seal it tightly.

2. Place the salt and ice in the gallon-size bag, then place the sealed smaller bag inside as well. Seal the larger bag. Now shake the bags until the mixture hardens (about 5 minutes). Feel the small bag to determine when it's done.

3. Take the smaller bag out of the larger one, dry the outside of the bag so that the salt doesn't get into your ice cream, add mix-ins(your preference for nuts or choc. chips) and eat the ice cream right out of the bag. Easy cleanup too! Serves 1, but I shared it with two little kids.

Recipe taken from Family Fun magazine.

Note: Have the ice cream ingredients ready in a small sandwich or pint size ziploc bag.Set aside. Use a freezer Ziploc bag (gallon size) and fill it 1/2 full of ice cubes.Add 1/2 cup kosher salt in with the ice. Why SALT? Here's the answer I found from pbskids.org Salt helps ice absorb more heat energy than it would without salt. And absorbing more heat energy means removing more heat from the surrounding environment. So, while cream that’s next to ice (without salt) gets cold, the cream that’s next to a mixture of ice and salt gets very cold. And, it has to be very cold to freeze cream. Another way of saying this is that the cream needs to lose a lot of heat energy to freeze. The added salt will make sure that the ice would draw enough heat energy out of the cream to freeze it.Place small sandwich or pint size ziploc bag into the large gallon size ziploc and seal. Set the timer for 5 mins. Since I don't like cold hands, I put on a pair of oven mits, and started shaking the ice cold bag. Shake, shake, shake. For 5 mins. (Feel the burn on your triceps and biceps) Work it, work it (2 mins more....) At this point, the kids are looking at me weird. Maybe it's because I'm walking around the house shaking my bag of ice cubes and cream mixture to their Backyardigans DVD! 5 mins later, and the timer beeps. Now it's done. I pull out the little sandwich size bag of cream which turned into ice cream. Wipe off the salty water from the little bag. Feels cold and hard like ice cream.Tried it.....

I am surprised with the result! Yummy!
I just did my arms exercises and rewarded myself with ice cream too! And did I share it with the kids? A little...

More Notes: You can make different flavors by adding cocoa, matcha, or pureed fruits to the ice cream. Mine was done in 5 mins., but I've read that it sometimes take between 5-10 mins. I tried it once with half and half, and the another time with cream. Both were good, but the cream one is richer (of course!). Also used 2 big gallon-sized ziplock bags (double-bagged) for the ice cubes and kosher salt. Another way of serving it is to cut a corner off the small ziploc bag, squeeze out the ice cream onto a dish and add your favorite toppings (mine was chopped up strawberries.) Enjoy!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

I have been seriously bitten!

By an ice cold dessert bug!

It's this hot summer weather that's driving me towards popsicles, iced barley drinks, milk shakes, ice creams and frozen yogurt. After I made the rambutan and coconut ice-cream and watched my friends and family ate it all up, I felt I should take the ice cream maker out again for a spin on a lighter, and healthier side. So off we go on a trip to frozen yogurt land. With some blueberries from the market, some low-fat vanilla flavored yogurt, sugar and spice, I have found a lighter version for my sweet tooth. Okay, so there's just a touch or two of delicious cream in it too. But not much...

Blueberry frozen yogurt
Makes about 14 - 1/2 c servings

1/4 c cream
1/2 c whole milk
1/3 c granulated sugar
4 c lowfat vanilla yogurt
8 oz fresh blueberries and
8 oz frozen blueberries, thawed and pureed.
1 tsp pure, organic almond extract

Place both fresh and thawed frozen blueberries in the food processor till mix them thoroughly. Add cream, milk and sugar and mix till sugar is dissolved (about 1-2 mins.) Stir in yogurt and extract. Turn on cusinart and pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl of ice-cream/yogurt maker. Mix until thickened, about q20-25 mins. for soft, creamy frozen yogurt.

Recipe adapted from cuisinart recipe book.

And for my friends who asked about making ice-cream without an ice cream maker, I have moved the recipe to my next post since I actually tested out that recipe.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Korean Food Party

Tried out some new korean recipes today, and had tested it on some tasters who don't usually seek out korean food. They tried a little of everything, and said it was interesting. And most of the ribs were gone. Which is a good sign.Clockwise from left: white rice, bulgogi, korean fish cake, korean squash, braised asian short ribs, sauteed green beans, bean sprouts, and grape tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Note: for the Bulgogi, I used the recipe from Jenny Kwak's cookbook Dok Suni: Recipes from my mother's kitchen. Marinated overnight. It was very tasty. Used the kiwi juice, and it gave a wonderful sweetness to the thinly sliced beef ribs.
Also, I bought these korean fish cake that were made fresh at the asian market. I've never tried them before. They were sweet-ish, and the peas and carrots in them gave it a nice texture. I steamed it, and cut it into slices and the kids seem to like them with their rice.

Kongnamooi moochim (Bean sprouts salad)

I usually have this at the Korean restaurants. They serve it as part of many little plates of condoments to go with a korean meal. Today, I made it to go with the korean food party, and it's a quick and easy recipe. Used 1 lb. bean sprouts, and put it in a pot with 2 cups water and 2 tsp salt. Cover with lid and cook for 15-20 mins, or until soften. I remembered my korean friend's adivce: DO NOT OPEN THE LID WHILE THIS IS COOKING OR IT WILL SMELL FISHY. Drain thoroughly and let cool to room temperature. Meantime, mix 2 tbs mushroom flavored soy sauce, 4 tbs sesame oil, 2 tbs Korean chili powder, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp finely minced garlic. Pour the mixture onto the cooked bean sprouts and mix well using your hands. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Korean Squash Salad (Hobak namui)

Picked these korean squash up at the asian market this weekend, and made a quick salad for my trial korean food party.
Quarter and slice squash into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Pour 2 cups water, 2 Tbs toasted sesame oil, 1 tbs finely minced garlic (or more to taste), 1 tbs sugar, 1/2 tbs salt, 1/2 tbs korean chili powder and 1 tbs soy sauce. Place 4 cups of squash into the the liquid mixture and bring to boil on medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for another 1-2 mins. Transfer to a dish, and garnish with toasted sesame seeds before serving.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dragons Everywhere!

I totally love that they have ladies beating the big, loud drums on the dragonboats! Yay!

Think she's saying "Hey! Nobody talks about going to the bathroom anymore!"

What a day! There was a breeze and lots of cloudy skies. Decided to go to the Colorado Dragonboat Festival today, and we had a fun time. Got there early to catch the morning boat race, saw an asian dance performance, sampled some asian food from the vendors there, and picked up some freebies all in 3 hours. Met Little Corner of Mine and her family there, if only for a short while. And also met Patricia and her family who were with C and family. The kids were worn out by the afternoon, and we left the lake just as the sun was burning through the clouds.
Land Dragon Dancing

Lady dragons on parade?

Some friendly dragons walking.

Little friends of dragons.

What's left after the dragons were gone.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Rambutans and Coconut Ice Cream

Since I made a spicy dish of chili fried rice for a friend, I also made an ice cream dessert too cool things down a little. This ice cream was filled with rumbutans, coconut milk and topped it with some toasted, shredded coconut.I added one can of drained rambutans into the food processor, then added it to a bowl with 1 cup coconut cream, 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar and some lime juice. Also added cinnamon, some chocolate chips, and organic almond essence that I had around. Pour everything except the chocolate chips into my 2 quart Cuisinat ice-cream maker, and add the chocolate chips after the mixture has thickened. 25 minutes later, the ice cream is done!Note: Not as hard and creamy as the retailed ice cream, but more like a soft-served ice cream. I like the flavors of the rich coconut with the lime and little bits of rambutans, chocolate chips, and a hint of cinnamon! Since I saw Steamy Kitchen's matcha ice cream post here, I had been wanting to take my ice cream maker out for another spin.

Some like it Hot!

Recently, Ros asked for a jalapeno chili with her dinner and ate it just like that, with seeds and all. When I related the story to Mel, she said she could do it too. So I made a fried rice with chilies plus some additional fresh chilies on the side that I found at the farmers market. She put me to shame as she managed to eat three and I was impressed. As for me, I only finished half of a red one with many helpings of ice cold milk! Guess it's time for a trip to Singapore(Luan's) and Penang(Jen's) for a refresher course on spicy food training.

Finally Flagstaff!

This is an update from my earlier post. I have received a disc of food pictures from Kat (forgot my camera!) on our last trip to The Flagstaff House. The ambience of this restaurant is as breathtaking as I remembered it, with sweeping views of the mountains, the city of Boulder and beyond. The food was delicious and the company terrific! It's a great place to go for a special occassion. Thanks Kat for lending this foodie your camera and waiting patiently while Suz (had her camera) and I snapped pictures of the food! And many thanks Kat for a wonderful treat! Okay, are you ready to feed your eyes?

This restaurant is classy. When we arrived, we were led to the outside patio where we sat and ordered our drinks while admiring the view and enjoying the fresh, early evening cool breeze from the mountains. Our waiter announced that he will seat us at our table whenever we are ready. 45 minutes later, after much chit-chat and laughter, we proceeded to our table.
After we placed our orders and were served more drinks, we received a complimentary corn, saffron and lobster soup from the chef. Such clever use of an egg cup, don't ya think?They had the best walnut bread and olive bread, and I was busy with that. It was a good thing when our appetizers arrived. I had the ASPARAGUS, MOREL MUSHROOMS with WHITE TRUFFLE INFUSED ITALIAN HEIRLOOM POLENTAI thought Kat had RAVIOLI OF BRAISED RABBIT LOIN served with PISTACHIO & RICOTTA SABAYON, AND PICKELED CIPOLLINIS.This was a medley of soups and I could only recall a consomme, a harvest medley or squash, and a lobster bisque.


In between, to cleanse our palate, we were offered a complimentary melon sorbet in a thin, buttery, pastry skin. It was good.

Kat had this lovely halibut dish and I could not remember the description. Help Kat!




We had the complimentary dessert served outdoors at dusk and as we were seated, three young bucks with glorious racks came running down the mountainside beside us. It was a spectacular show!
For more information about the Flagstaff house, please see here

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Perfect Peaches

Bought a case of peaches yesterday because they looked sooo good with their reddish, orangy velvet skin and I was in peach heaven when I sniffed a ripe one! I so love summer, with it's abundance of fruits and vegetables!!!

The first thing I did was ask Hubs to make his famous peaches and cream. Well, you probably think that there's not much to it, but he was the first person to introduce this dessert to me, and I fell in love with this simple way of enjoying peaches. Actually, I just like to watch him slicing up the peach ever so thinly, plating it, pouring rich, heavy whipping cream all over it, and finally sprinkling it with some organic cane sugar and cinnamon. OK. So he doesn't cook much, and it's not often that a girl/lady/person gets served around here. I am just enjoying my little break at the kitchen table watching him prepare dessert for a change.Today, there were cloudy skies and rain, so I decided to crank up my oven for a little piece of fresh peach pie.I had all the ingredients and 2 pie crust pastry in the fridge.Sliced the peaches, mixed with lemon juice, quick cooking tapioca, spices and sugar. Top with some butter and another rolled out pie pastry, cutting vents on the top before putting into a hot oven.Let it cool to room temperature. Wait, must be patient (as I kept going to touch the hot pie plate - ouch!)And a slice of pie awaits!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Did someone say terrible twos?

When a friend visited last weekend, she commented on how long the kids' hair was, and that I should take them to the hairdresser for a haircut. I was surprised as I just took them to the kiddie salon only four weeks ago. Sure enough, when I look at their angelic faces, I couldn't see their eyes beyond the bangs (for those friends in Singapore and Malaysia, it's called fringe, and I don't know why.) Their hair is growing like weeds! And they don't keep their hair barrettes on for long. In my mind, that also equates to two more chores for this week. One for calling for an appointment, and another for taking the kids. And since I had given up on cutting their hair awhile back, I called for an appointment. So I woke up early this morning, made some egg muffins, boiled some pasta, made pesto sauce, and got ready before waking the little ones. Since they wouldn't go to bed the night before, it was a strenuous task trying to get them up and moving. There were lots of screaming from the kids and crying from me. Or was it the other way around? After lots of bribing, I finally had them dressed and seated for breakfast when they proclaimed that they wanted marshmallows (?) for breakfast. I wasn't going to give in to that, or so I thought. My kids are going to have proper breakfast. Famous last words. They pushed away the eggs muffins and the toast with peanut butter and jelly, opened their mouths and shouted"Mommy, marshmallow paa-lease!!!" Then one threw her fork onto the floor and cried "Where's the MARSHMALLOW!" Where did these _____ come from, and what happened to my sweet kids??? I prayed for mercy and grace while trying hard not to pull whatever hair I have left out of my head, and served them mini-mashmallows on their Cheerios before I hurried them out of the door 30 minutes later. Haircut for two kids $39*. One less errand off this mom's list, even better!
*Additional hair accessories and tips included.

When we got home, both wanted blueberries for lunch. My mind went on auto-pilot, and I was immediately thinking of blueberry fried rice, blueberry soup or blueberry salad. But I managed to stop myself just in time, remembering the food in the fridge, and talked them into a blueberry dessert if they finished their pesto (one way to get more veggies in them) pasta and tiger prawns (leftover from dinner last night). Before they dug into the pasta, one of them asked innocently "Mommy! Are you going to take picture?" I truly feel that this concludes their training as blogger kids!After 40 mins, they finished the tiger prawns, ate half the pasta, and began chanting "Blueberry Mommy!" At this moment, I am trying hard not to run into the bathroom, shut the door and never come out again. I managed to make a quick blueberry turnover with the ready-made puff pastry and some fresh blueberries in the fridge and had their request/demand on the table in no time.

I remembered when they were two years old and perfect angels, eating almost everything that I cooked with loving care for them. Now that they are one year older, they are beginning to demand their preference in amazingly loud tones. Am I in for the terrible threes???