Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fresh Summer Salsa

We visited relatives that have a pool AND their own Wheaten terrier, so we had a pretty nice summer afternoon hanging out in the pool and watching the crazy dog cousins run a million laps around the water. Twilly is totally wiped out now and will probably nap for the rest of the day.

I decided to make my favorite summer recipe (or maybe #2 fav behind tomato pie?) for a post-pool snack. I usually make this all the time when I have a successful tomato growing summer, but my tomatoes were only in pots this year and got all dried out before producing many tomatoes. Good thing there are plenty of farmer's markets around with beautiful heirloom tomatoes.

1-2 nice tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 mild or hot peppers, finely chopped (I used 1 banana pepper and 1 jalapeno from the farmer's market)
kernels from 1 or 2 ears of corn (uncooked)
1 handful cilantro, chopped
salt & pepper

Once everything is chopped up, combine it all in a bowl and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and add more lime as needed. Sometimes I add garlic if I feel like it needs something else. And you can always add chopped fruit (peach, mango, watermelon, blueberries, grapes...) or avocado. It will keep for a few days in the fridge.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Peanut Butter Cookies

A couple years ago I posted some flourless peanut butter and chocolate/M&M cookies, and they've been at the top of my cookie baking rotation since then. I love how few ingredients the batter has, and they come out well every time. A couple months ago I started making another very similar peanut butter cookie from the same site, which has a ton of great peanut butter cookie recipes. I don't know if one is necessarily better than the other but it's definitely another good one! I don't normally make these ones with chocolate chips, but they're always an option.

Peanut Butter Cookies
From Averie Cooks

Note: Remember to allow for 2+ hours of chill time before baking.

1 large egg
1 cup creamy classic-style peanut butter or honey-roasted peanut butter 
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional: chocolate chunks

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or up to a couple days.  When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. Use a tablespoon measuring spoon to make balls and arrange them on a baking sheet covered with a silicon baking mat, parchment paper or foil. If you want, place some chocolate chips or chunks on top. Bake for 8 minutes. They'll still be soft and should sit for at least 10 minutes.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake

This cake was inspired by the ice cream cakes at Dave and Andy's- my favorite ice cream place in Pittsburgh. The pumpkin, cinnamon, and birthday cake flavors are all amazing. The waffle cones are made at the shop so it smells amazing as soon as you walk in and then they put an m&m in the bottom of your cone and basically it is heaven. Their ice cream is so good, I'm forming run-on sentences describing the shop! 
Ice cream cake from Dave and Andy's has an actual cake layer. I love that. Cake + ice cream. 
Brittany and Laura came to Philly to celebrate Brit's birthday! I asked Brit what kind of cake she wanted (while secretly thinking mint chocolate either way) and she said what I was thinking. We had cake, went to the beach, went to America's best bar. Didn't get America's best pizza. Wah. But we did see the Impressionist exhibit at the art museum. And got federal donuts. And Mad Mex. And la Colombe coffee. Phew.
The ice cream is from Minimalist Baker. The cookie crumble is from here via Google. The cake is from Molly Yeh who inspired this entire venture. By the way, this recipe makes enough for 2 cakes or for an epic 4 layer ice cream cake.

First the cake:

1 small bunch fresh mint (bonus points if you have chocolate mint)
1 1/4 cup coconut milk 
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil 
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2 large eggs
3/4 c boiling water
Cake directions:
In a small saucepan bring the coconut milk to a boil. Rip up the mint leaves into the milk. Cover saucepan with lid and turn down heat to low for 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Strain out leaves and measure only 1 cup of the milk to use. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line 2 round 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper. Springform pans would be ideal but not necessary.
Mix together the dry ingredients in a small bowl. In a larger bowl whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs, and coconut milk. Add the extracts. Fold in the dry ingredients. Whisk in the boiling water. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 28 minutes. Let cool completely. Then wrap and freeze.
Then the cookie crumble (aka magic shell plus oreos)
2 1/2 cups Newman's Mint Oreo Cookies (almost whole package)
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp coconut oil
In a food processor, blend the Oreos in 3 separate batches to form cookie crumbs. You want them to look like crumbs! Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Then melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Add to cookie crumbs once finished. 
Spread a thick layer of the crumble over both cakes. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze again. 
For the ice cream
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, divided
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight and rinsed)
1 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk or coconut cream 
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract 
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup 
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Pour coconut milk into small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add half the mint leaves. Turn down heat to low and middle the leaves with a wooden spoon. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool. 
Add coconut milk plus cooked mint and fresh mint to blender and blend until mint is completely immersed. Add the rest of the ingredients minus the peppermint extract and blend again until really smooth. Add the mint extract 1/2 tsp at a time until you get an acceptable level of mintyness. Process in ice cream maker. 
Get cakes out. Spread the finished ice cream onto the cakes just up to the edges. Sprinkle with crushed mint Oreos. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm.
Let cakes thaw 15 minutes before singing happy birthday and serving!

Tahini Ice Cream with Berry Crumble

The berry crumble is from 101 Cookbooks. Her recipe has a doubled crumb topping. Hell yes. Also berry season. I just used sesame seeds instead of poppy seeds. The tahini ice cream uses an ice cream base from Minimalist Baker. It has been my preferred vegan ice cream since the cashews mellow out the coconut flavor. Basically the coconut is not as prevalent. The tahini ice cream is everything. 
Also since we were at family dinner, I didn't get a great shot of the ice cream.

Tahini Ice Cream 

1 can full fat coconut milk
1 cup cashews, soaked overnight 
2 tbsp coconut oil 
1/2 cup tahini 
1/2 cup maple syrup 
2 tbsp brown sugar (optional)
1 tbsp vanilla extract 
1 pinch sea salt 

Blend everything until smooth. Chill for 4 hours. Churn in ice cream maker. Pour ice cream into frozen glass container and chill. Let thaw for 15 minutes before serving over berry crumble! 


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