Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bailey's Irish Cream Ice Cream with Chocolate Shavings

Baileys Irish Cream Chocolate Chip

Yeah, you heard me. Home made Bailey's Irish Cream Ice Cream with Chocolate Shavings. This is more like a gelato -with the six egg yolks and all. Rich, creamy, with not just the hint of Bailey's but with a mouth smack full of it, because its added after the eggs are tempered, so the alcohol doesn't get cooked out, its right there. 

[This would have been perfect for St. Patrick's Day, but I was busy making my first ever roasted duck that day (to be blogged later) so I didn't have time to make ice cream that day.] 

For the past week I have been trying a "cleanse" of sorts. I'm trying to eliminate all of the artificial sweeteners and flavorings from my diet - meaning no diet soda, flavored water, splenda in my coffee, low fat desserts, etc. Its been tough, but I feel better, my headaches have subsided a bit - I don't find myself reaching for all the low calorie cookies when I get hungry - instead I reach for a glass of water, and if I'm still hungry after that I get a piece of fruit. This way, when I have something as decadent and rich as this, a little goes a long way and it tastes so much better. 

Have any of you ever gone through a cleanse - or done something similar, did you stick to it? I hope I can stick to this. I'd like to eliminate all of the artificial shit in my diet - its just hard because all that stuff is so prevalent in all our foods now. Let's see how long this lasts. ;)

For this recipe I scoured the internet a bit and finally decided on a recipe from a blog called Cooking On The Side, this recipe seemed to outshine the others. For best results I suggest that you have a glass of room temperature Bailey's in hand as you make this.

Here is the recipe - LINK

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vegetarian Times: Split Pean and Fennel Soup

Its the time of year where it is still cold enough where you want soup, but the spring vegetables make you yearn for fresh and fast. I love this time of year if for no other reason than asparagus is CHEAP, and I'm cheap, so its a good time of year for my torrid love affair with the vegetable that makes your pee go pe-ew.

I'm batting 1,000 with the magazines lately, first it was the soup in Bon Apetite, and now its this little number in the latest issue of Vegetarian times. And this recipe is great for when you have all those fennel stalks and fronds left over and you're like, "what the fuck do I do with all these fennel stalks? This ladies and gentleman is what the fuck you do with them.

  • 2 cups chopped fennel (1 bulb or 5 fennel stalks, fronds removed)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup dry white wine, divided
  • 15 oz. dried green split peas (picked over, rinsed, and drained)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 oz. baby spinach leaves
And away we go:
  1. Heat saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add fennel and onion, and sauté 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup wine, and simmer 2 minutes. Add split peas, 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, thyme, bay leaf, and 7 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add remaining 1/2 cup wine, and cook, uncovered 10 minutes, or until split peas are tender. Stir in spinach, and cook 2 minutes, or until spinach is wilted.
  3. Remove bay leaf, and puree soup with immersion blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Toast remaining 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds in small skillet 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Serve soup garnished with toasted fennel seeds.

Per 1 1/4-cup serving: 227 cal., 13 g protein, 2 g total fat (<1 g sat fat), 42 g carb, 0 mg chol, 481 mg sod, 21 g fiber, 3 g sugars.

Okay, this recipe - Chris totally loved it. I thought it needed more umph so I just made sure that I added sea salt, pepper and fresh herbs when I ate it. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Vegetables a la Barigoule with Vanilla

Sometimes it all comes together, you get a new issue of Bon Apetit magazine, and inside the pages is a recipe you just MUST make, and you look in the fridge and you have all the ingredients, and if not all, then enough of them to make a pretty close copy of the recipe. That is what happened with this recipe. I read it. I had to make it. Why, I don't know perhaps it was the idea of a vanilla scented broth, or the tagline of the article Why French Chefs Don't Get Fat, either way I was sold. I did indeed make minor changes to the recipe. Here is a link to the original recipe HERE

And here is how I made it without any oil, and with a few other substitutions simply to use up what I had in the fridge.


  • 1 lemon
  • 2 small heads of broccoli, cut into 2-inch florets - I used about 1 pound of brussel sprouts trimmed and halved
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise
  • 2 medium white onions, each cut into 6 wedges with some root attached I used a large shallot
  • 1 12-ounce bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cut into 8 wedges with some core attached
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth I used vegetable broth
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided omitted and used pan spray
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 10 coriander seeds
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs thyme I used dried, cuz that's what I had
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) Sherry vinegar I used orange champagne vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh cilantro leaves (and I added parsley as well) 
Using a small sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from lemon; discard. Cut flesh crosswise into 1/4"-thick slices; set aside.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a kitchen towel. Cook broccoli brussel sprouts in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to prepared sheet. Repeat in same pot with carrots, onions shallot, asparagus, and fennel, returning water to a boil between batches.

Place chicken vegetable broth in a small saucepan over low heat and scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat; let infuse for 10 minutes.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, fennel, and garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add coriander, next 3 ingredients, and infused broth with bean. Cover with lid slightly ajar; simmer until vegetables are crisp-tender, 12–15 minutes. Stir in broccoli brussel sprouts and asparagus.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to a warm serving dish. Bring broth to a boil and cook until reduced to 1 cup. Remove broth from heat; whisk in remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and 1 tsp. vinegar. Season with salt, pepper, and additional vinegar, if desired. Pour sauce over vegetables. Garnish with lemon slices and cilantro.

Chris said this dish was "impressive" and you know what, it really was a snap to put together once all the vegetables were cooked in the water. Try it, see if you like it. If you care about Weight Watchers Points Plus, my version comes to 3 points.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Vegan Skillet Shepherds Pie

Vegan Shepard's Pie

This past Christmas was the 10th Christmas that Chris and I spent together. For our first Christmas together he got me the Tiffany Heart Bracelet, this Christmas he got me a caste iron skillet. I'm not sure what it says about our relationship, but I was as psyched about that skillet this year as I was about that bracelet our first Christmas. I can see it now, our 40th Christmas together we give each other adult diapers and bag balm and are ecstatic. 

I know what your thinking about this meal, vegan shepherds pie, its an oxymoron, a phase that seems to fight with itself, a shepherds pie should contain meat, and mashed potatoes laden with butter and cream. You're probably thinking this tasted about as good as a swift kick in the balls feels, but you would be wrong, it was awesome and filling and tasted smokey and meaty and the best part is, it's kinda light, as in not fattening. 

I got the recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen - here is a link to the recipe. HERE
I have two changes to the recipe, I added liquid smoke to the skillet as the vegetables were cooking, and if I were to make this again I would omit the spinach, you just don't need it, and I would add corn. This is a vegan recipe that I would not hesitate to make for friends, I just wouldn't tell them its vegan until after they ate it and commented on how good it is. 


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chunky Garden Guacamole

Garden Guacamole

Chris and I spent last week in Aruba, a week that can be summed up in a few short words. Get up, go to gym, go to breakfast, go to beach, go to lunch, start drinking, go back to beach, continue drinking, go to happy hour....more drinking, go to dinner, sleep, wake, repeat. 

It was awesome. If you followed the previous blog you may remember that all of our vacations were vacations in the sense that we were not at work, but not vacations in the sense that we were relaxing, we always seemed to be "on the go". This vacation was meant to stop that, to just slow down, relax, not make plans. And that is exactly what we did. See below.

Bucuti Beach

It was 90 degrees with a breeze, and the beach at our feet everyday. It's a mere 4 hours from Boston, I'm not sure why it took us 7 years to go back after our honeymoon, we were probably busy not relaxing on another vacation.

Being there in the warmth made me miss summer so much, spending hours in the garden, bent over with the sun on my back, tending to my herbs and vegetables. In the summer one of my favorite things to make is guacamole, I knew I had to make it as soon as I got back - it's not the same without picking the red onion, jalapeno, tomato and cilantro from your own garden, but this is a good standby until I can do so. 

I don't use a recipe when I make guacamole, so this one I added a few different things to mix it up. Here is how it went down.

Chunky Garden Guacamole
2 ripe avocados - pitted and scored to release from skin
1/2 medium red onion minced
1/2 jalapeno minced
1/2 carrot minced
1/2 green pepper minced
10 grape tomatoes, quartered and seeded
1 lime (juice and zest)
1/2 bunch cilantro chopped
coarse sea salt/ground pepper

I combined all the ingredients except for the lime, cilantro and avocado and set aside. In a large glass bowl I put the zest and juice of the lime and the cilantro, to that I added the avocado. I coated the avocado in the lime juice well to stave off the oxidation process so the guacamole wouldn't turn brown so fast. When this was all combined I added all of the other ingredients and mixed well. 

I know this isn't a true guacamole, but honestly it was awesome. We had it as an appetizer and then had vegetarian chili paired with a Malbec from Argentina - it was the perfect night in with friends, friends jealous of our tans - which will most likely be gone in no time.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wine Snitch: Ravenswood Petite Sirah

Ravenswood Petite Syrah

When thinking of what you will drink during the football game most people chose beer. I still think that beer smells like feet. Believe me, I wish I liked beer, it would make tailgates, baseball games and Irish pubs a lot easier to navigate. I like Belgian beer, but just a little of it. So when faced with what to chose to drink during the Patriots/Ravens game that will decide who goes to the superbowl, I chose Ravenswood Petite Sirah - simply so I could look at the bottle and drink it and yell "I own you" every time I see the Raven on the label. 

Now for the review!

The result of a cross between the noble Syrah and a relatively minor Rhône variety, Peloursin, Petite Sirah is by far one of my most favorite single varietals to drink. The Petite in Petite Sirah is in regard to the size of the grape, not the size of the juice, Petite Sirah is generally, meaty with big blackberry and blueberry flavors and generally makes a wine with a high alcohol content. 

The label for this wine states that it is big and delicious and unapologetic filled with black fruit and chocolate flavors. Me thinks its okay, its great for a wine that cost less than $9 but it definitely does not live up to what Petite Sirah can be. Like Chris said - its a good Wednesday night wine. So, for the relatively low price, its a good wine for the money.

The Particulars
Winery: Ravenswood
Varietal:Petite Sirah
AVA: Napa Valley, Petite Sirah
Vintage: 2009
Alcohol: 13.5
Price:  between $8-12
Rating = BUY IT

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vegetable Chili/Soup

The other morning in Vermont we woke up to a real temperature of -12 degrees at the base of the mountain. That is just beyond ass biting cold. The kind of cold that makes your body shivvvver and curl in on itself just thinking about it, where your eyes squint and your shoulders hunch over in an attempt to push all of your body's warmth into your core so you can hold onto it.

The kind of day where you either make chili, or soup, but definitely not ice cream. Its also the kind of day that you put a little of grandpa's cough syrup in your coffee. Just for good measure.

I wanted to make both - soup and chili, but I didn't want to take the time to make both, so I winged this sort of mish mash of the two. I'm sure Rachel Ray has some annoying name for the combination of a Chili and a Soup similar to her famous "Stoup" which is stew and chili, but I'm not Rachel Ray so I didn't think of one.

Here goes - trying to remember what I did from memory.
1 onion diced
4-5 carrots cut on bias
4-5 celery stalks cut on bais
16 oz sliced mushrooms
 - throw those in the pan with some olive oil and let them get happy together

Cumin, chili powder, salt pepper
 - let that get hot for a minute or two

28 oz tomato sauce
15 oz diced tomatoes
2-3 cups veggie stalk
1/2 can chipotle chilis in adobo diced (and the sauce)
1/2 bag fire roasted frozen corn

Let that simmer on the stove for about 30 minutes. Serve with sour cream, cornbread, single malt scotch, whatever.  

Enjoy! It was awesome - don't skip the adobo - it makes it.