Peach Rosemary Ice Pop

What to do with your peaches this season? Enjoy them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! Here’s a recipe for dessert (or a snack).

Peach Rosemary Ice Pop

Peach Rosemary Ice Pop

Yield: 6 ice pops

 

10-ounces of cut peaches or 1 10-ounce bag frozen peaches

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

¾ cup water

6 tablespoons granulated or cane sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

 

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 1 minute.

Pour into ice pop molds and freeze.

 

Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil Lemon Ricotta

Summer means sweet, ripe tomatoes in abundance and I just love when they start going off like wildfire in the garden and at farmers markets. This is usually the signal for me to start making big batches of  tomato sauce, freezing in abundance and roasting and snacking endlessly on cherry and grape tomatoes. And, of course, there’s one of my favorite tomato stand outs – the tomato sandwich. Bright, sweet, acidic, of the earth – it’s truly a summer delight – and here’s my take on it.

 

Heirloom Tomatoes Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil Lemon Ricotta

 

Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil Lemon Ricotta

Yield: 4 servings

 

For Basil Lemon Ricotta

1 cup whole milk ricotta, drained (I use Angelo and Franco brand ricotta)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Zest from one lemon

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil

2 small garlic cloves, minced

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Whisk all ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

For Sandwich

1 small ciabatta loaf or sourdough boule, cut in half widthwise and lengthwise, seasoned and toasted in the oven with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and rubbed with a peeled garlic clove

2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, different colors if possible, cut into ¼- and ½ -inch slices

16 medium basil leaves, hand torn

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

 

Season tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Spread basil lemon ricotta over toasted ciabatta and arrange 1 layer of heirloom tomatoes on top.

Put some of the hand torn basil on top of the first layer of tomatoes and then add another layer of tomatoes.

Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on top.

Roll up your sleeves and dive in.

 

 

Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. This ice cream is dangerously good. Equally refreshing (the fresh mint does the trick) and delicious at the same time. And when you put it between two of my chocolate chocolate chip cookies?! Game over, my friend. Yes, you’ve been warned.

Oh, and get the good chocolate for this recipe. It’s gonna make all the difference. 

Mint Choc TCHO

TCHO 70% Chocolate

Mint Choc Chip Mixing

Mixing in the chocolatey goodness

mint choc chip4

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. The real stuff.

Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Sammy

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich with Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. Oh. My. Latte.

 

Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Yield: Approximately 2 pints

 

¾ cup sugar, divided

1 tablespoon organic corn syrup

3 cups half-and-half

2 very packed cups fresh mint leaves

6 egg yolks

8-ounces good quality dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, chopped roughly

 

Place ½ cup sugar, corn syrup, half-and-half and mint leaves in a medium saucepan over medium heat and heat, stirring occasionally, until temperature reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and let mint continue to steep for 5 minutes. Pour contents of saucepan into a blender and blend on low for 10 to 15 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing the mint leaves with the back of a spatula to strain as much liquid as possible. Discard mint leaves.

Pour liquid back into the medium saucepan over medium heat. Using a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape the bottom of the saucepan, stir continuously until the liquid reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar on medium speed until the mixture is canary yellow in color, thick, and doubled in volume.

Reduce the speed to medium-low and very slowly stream in 1 cup of the hot, sweetened half-and-half mixture to the whisked egg yolks.

Pour the mixture into the original medium saucepan with the rest of the warm sweetened half-and-half. Pressing a spatula gently against the bottom of the pan, stir slowly and continuously and cook over medium-low heat until the custard thickens slightly and just reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Take your time.

Immediately remove from the heat and pour liquid into a wide medium bowl.

Place this bowl into a slightly larger bowl that is filled ⅓ of the way up with ice and water. Slowly stir until it is cool to the touch. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 8 hours. Cooling the mix before churning will give a smoother texture.

Pour the chilled mixture into the ice cream machine and churn until a soft-serve consistency is achieved.

Transfer to a large container and stir in the chopped chocolate.

Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap to the surface of the ice cream, and freeze until very firm, at least 5 hours.

Scoop and serve or sandwich between 2 chocolate chocolate chip cookies and savor each bite!

Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho

I love this recipe (from the Summer chapter in my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh) because it utilizes the best of summer: tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, bell peppers, mint and cilantro. Not only that, but with a little jalapeno in the mix, there’s a kick of heat. But it’s nicely balanced with the sweetness of the watermelon. Plus you can make it all in a blender – can’t beat that! Happy summer!

 

Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho

 

Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

 

2 cups chopped watermelon, seeds removed, rind discarded

3 small cucumbers (Persian or Japanese) peeled, seeded, chopped roughly (1½ cups)

1 small yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped roughly(1 cup)

1 medium tomato, seeded and quartered

½ small jalapeno, seeded, deveined, and chopped roughly (1 tablespoon, or more to taste)

15 medium-sized fresh mint leaves, chopped roughly

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish

½ small red onion, peeled and chopped roughly (⅓ cup)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

 

Add all the above ingredients to a blender or food processor (It’s gonna be full—work in two batches if necessary).

Beginning with the slowest speed, blend or pulse until the desired consistency is achieved. I find that it’s perfect after blending for approximately 30 seconds. Enjoy your gazpacho with more texture? Blend less.

Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and refrigerate until chilled. Serve topped with a cilantro leaf.

 

O Magazine and Superfoods

What’s that you say? Oh, it’s my recipe for Cinnamon Sweet Potato Purée from my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, in the latest issue of O Magazine! I teamed up with City of Hope Hospital to promote their research with superfoods and their role in fighting cancer. Grab the September issue of O and enjoy!

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Lamb Burger with Feta Cheese and Olive Tapenade

I love a good burger. Count me in whether  it’s beef, turkey, vegetarian or one of my favorites – lamb. So, for today’s recipe, I present to you my lamb burger. It’s moist, herbaceous and just plain delicious! I add my tapenade recipe and some feta and oh.my.latte. It’s soooo good.

 

Lamb Burger with Feta Cheese and Olive Tapenade

 

Lamb Burger with Feta Cheese and Olive Tapenade

Yields: 4 burgers

 

½ cup panko

½ cup whole milk

1 pound ground lamb

1 teaspoon ground fennel

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and minced (1/2 teaspoon)

¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons tahini

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 small shallot, diced small (2 tablespoons)

¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

 

In a small bowl, combine the panko and milk. Let sit for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, squeeze out excess milk from panko (using your hands) and place panko in a medium bowl. Discard excess milk. To the medium bowl, add remaining ingredients, except extra-virgin olive oil, and gently fold together until just combined.

Form 4 equal sized patties, approximately 1-inch thick and place on a parchment-lined tray or plate.

Place an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake burgers, flipping the burgers once halfway through cooking, until the internal temperature of the burger reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit (use a digital thermometer!) approximately 25 minutes.

Place a large nonstick sauté pan over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Let sit over medium-high heat for 1 minute, until the oil shimmers. Add the burgers and flip after 30 seconds, just enough to sear the bottom side. Sear the opposite side for 30 seconds and remove from heat.

 

Burger Fixings:

Olive Tapenade

1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1 cup baby arugula

4 pieces of Naan or Pita Bread

Slather tapenade on naan and add arugula, burger and feta. Fold bread over burger to enjoy.

Homemade Vegetable Stock

I always try to have a few quarts of homemade vegetable stock in my refrigerator or freezer. A good stock can make a good soup great and a sauce even better. In fact, I believe the quality of the stock can make or break your dish. I believe this because I once made a dish with canned stock and it was so salty and “off” tasting that it ruined the dish! So, whenever possible, I try to make my own stock. Another benefit is that you can use all of your aging, limp celery, onions and carrots that have been sitting for days on end in your refrigerator – the stock doesn’t mind! It all equals less food waste, getting more for your money and a delicious outcome – voila – enjoy!

 

Homemade Vegetable Stock

 

Homemade Vegetable Stock

5 large yellow onions, peeled and chopped roughly (2 pounds)

5 stalks celery, chopped roughly

5 large carrots, peeled and chopped roughly

1 cup roughly chopped mushrooms (preferably button, cremini, or shiitake)

5 sprigs fresh thyme

7 sprigs fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

5 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 dried bay leaves

 

1. Combine the ingredients in a large pot.

2. Cover with 1 gallon (4 quarts, or 16 cups) of cold water. Place over high heat until just boiling. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours.

3. Strain the vegetable stock into another pot and enjoy right away, or let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, store any remaining stock in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Note: Mushrooms add a wonderful savory, meaty flavor to the vegetable stock, but be aware of any potential allergies to mushrooms your guests may have. This recipe is delicious without the mushrooms, too. Either way, you’re good to go.