Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Peppermint Ice Cream

Mmh, I found this recipe today, and I was dying to try it! I LOVE peppermint. And if I make it at home, it's got to be healthier for me, right (please, just agree, and let me delude myself...) I understand this recipe comes from a man by the name of David Lebovitz, who is supposed to be divine with desserts.

2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/2 cup crushed candy canes or hard peppermint candy

1. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.
2 . Pour the cream into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and set a medium-mesh sieve on top.
3. In a separate 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.
4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden or heatproof rubber spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula, about 5-7 minutes.
5. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Then stir until cool over the ice bath. Chill mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
7. One the mixture is thoroughly chilled, add peppermint extract, a 1/4 teaspoon at a time, tasting the mixture after each addition, until you reach the desired level of peppermintiness. (Different peppermint extracts vary in strength. I like mine pretty pepperminty!)
8. Once chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
9. Once the ice cream has been formed in the ice cream maker, it will be fairly soft. Fold in the crushed peppermint candy. Put in an airtight plastic container and place in the freezer for at least an hour, preferably several hours. If it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften it before serving.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Hot Spiced Cranberry Cider

This is really yummy, and a nice twist on traditional hot cider.

2 quarts apple cider
6 cups cranberry juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 orange, thinly sliced

In a large pot, combine apple cider, cranberry juice, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and lemon slices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove cinnamon, cloves, and orange slices. Serve hot.

Bread Bowl Spinach Dip

I double this recipe to fit into two bread bowls. The recipe here is not doubled.

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1/2cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup chopped green onions
2 TSP dried parsley
1 TSP lemon juice
1/2 TSP seasoning salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 TSP onion powder
1 (1 pound) loaf round, crusty Italian bread
***I used a wonderful loaf of rosemary olive oil Italian bread from Stater Bros.
I think it added a lot of flavor to this already yummy dish!
In a large mixing bowl, combine spinach, sour cream, mayonnaise, green onions, parsley, lemon juice, and salt. Mix until well blended, then refrigerate.

Cut a circle out of the top of the bread and scoop out the inside. Tear the inside into pieces for dipping. Spoon the dip into the center of the bread bowl and serve accompanied by the pieces of bread for dipping.

Cocktail Meatballs

Not a bite was left of these sweet and tangy meatballs, so I call that a success!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 egg
2 TBS water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons minced onion
1 (8 oz.) can jellied cranberry sauce
3/4 cup chili sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 TSP lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, water, bread crumbs, and minced onion. Roll into small meatballs.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once.

In a slow cooker or large saucepan over low heat, blend the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Add meatballs, and simmer for 1 hour before serving.

****Please note - I got all my meatballs to come out evenly by using a dough scoop from Pampered Chef. Email me if you don't have one, and want another way to make all your meatballs the same size.

Herb & Garlic Cheese Spread

I served these with some nice whole wheat based crackers, but it could go on anything - vegetables, bread, etc. This was the most requested recipe at the party! Please note that margarine can not be substituted.

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon Dill Weed
1/2 teaspoon Thyme Leaves
1/4 teaspoon Oregano Leaves
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Seasoning Salt

Combine all ingredients in food processor or mixer. Mix until well blended. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to one week.

Amazing Egg Nog

For everyone who attended my Christmas Party & Ornament Exchange this year, I wanted to say "thank you"!! It was such a lovely turn out, and the food everyone brought was delicious.

Everyone at the party was amazed at this wonderful tasting eggnog. I have to admit, I have never had eggnog before (it's made from eggs, and you drink it....and that's supposed to be good?!) so I made this for my guests. Well, my DH talked me into a sip, as he said it was the best he'd ever had too (that is HIGH praise indeed) and I must admit, it was good! I can't speak for other eggnog's, lol, but this is delicious (with out without the brandy/rum).

4 cups milk
5 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups light rum or brandy, your preference
4 cups light cream (not whipping cream, just the regular cream)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.

In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour.

Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoon vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.