Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reece Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Ice Cream

What's a girl to do while cooped up in the house during an ice storm? Make ice cream, of course! :) For Christmas, I received David Lebovitz's book, "The Perfect Scoop". It's the most amazing collection of ice cream and sorbet recipes I've read. I chose the Chocolate recipe to be my first because I had an entire bag of Reece Cup minis lying around and knew if I mixed those into the ice cream, my family would elevate me to "Diva" least while they savored their bowls of deliciousness! Plus, I couldn't wait to have the opportunity to take a picture using these gorgeous dessert dishes that I inherited from my Granny and knew the chocolate would photograph beautifully in the clear glass.

This ice cream was beyond delicious! Every spoonful was incredibly creamy and chocolaty! I couldn't believe that any homemade ice cream could develop the richness of flavor that this recipe does. I can't imagine purchasing another quart of chocolate ice cream, especially with grocery prices escalating, when I can create an all natural, delicious recipe at home for half the cost! Oh-did I forget to mention that the Reece Cups were DIVINE mixed in with the chocolate! Best idea EVER!

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful! Enjoy!

Chocolate Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used bittersweet)
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
15 miniature Reece Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (my addition)

1. Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

2. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.) 

**After the mixture was finished in my ice cream maker, I stirred in the Reece Cups, poured it into a freezer proof container and froze it for 5 hours. Delish!

Source: David Lebovitz-The Perfect Scoop

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Santa Fe Beef Stew

I LOVE my slow cookers! Do you? My slow cooker has been a huge helpmate in saving family dinner times lately. No matter how many directions we are committed to running in the evening with the kids, I can feel confident that there is a hot meal waiting for all at home.

As our kids have gotten older, their taste palates have grown and they are more apt to try new dishes...thank goodness! This meal is one that I don't think they would have eaten not long ago. But when I served this a few months ago, they devoured every bite and went back for more. We all couldn't believe how moist and tender the stew meat was, it just melted in our mouths! I think one of the things they liked most about it was the "kick" the stew has from the green chili's and taco seasoning. It takes the every day beef stew and brings it up a notch. 

I actually took bits and pieces from two separate recipes from the same cookbook to prepare this the way I thought my family would like it. If you decide to try this for your loved ones, I hope they enjoy it as much as we did!

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful! Enjoy!

Santa Fe Beef Stew

2 lbs. stewing meat, cubed
2 Tbsp. oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
2 beef bouillon cubes (I used beef base)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
3 carrots, sliced
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
14 1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes
14 1/2-oz. can green beans, drained, or 1 lb. frozen green beans (I used 1 quart home canned bean)
14 1/2-oz. can corn, drained, or 1 lb. frozen corn
4-oz. can diced green chilies
1 pkg. dry taco seasoning mix

1. Brown meat, onion, and garlic in oil in saucepan until meat is no longer pink. Place in slow cooker.

2.Stir in remaining ingredients.

3. Cover. Cook on High 30 minutes. Reduce heat to Low and cook 4-6 hours.

Source: Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook