If you are starting to panic because Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) is closing in and you don't have a dinner plan yet, fear not - I have you covered! I have a round-up of all of my holiday recipes, from protein to sides to dessert, and even breakfast! So please enjoy and Happy Holidays!
You guys, I have been in such a writing funk since I have gotten back from vacation. I don't know what is going on! But I do want to tell you about the restaurants we visited while we were in San Francisco, and I will try to post more frequently from now on. Kailey, my sister-in-law (who we were visiting), is a chef in SF (here; that's her at 0:35 and 1:35), so we let her take us on a culinary tour of her favorite spots. But I determined on our first day that I was just going to enjoy the vacation and not worry about taking photos. So I don't have any food photos to show you, sorry!
Before we get to food, I should mention that we stayed at the Hotel Drisco and really enjoyed it. We had a corner room on the top floor and the views were amazing - we could see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and most of the city. All the windows really helped because, like many older buildings in the city, Drisco has no air conditioning. Opening all the windows made for a lovely cross-breeze, though it was too noisy to leave them open at night. The hotel includes a continental breakfast, and I am not talking about just cereal and muffins. They have all kinds of pastries with homemade jams, spreads, and toppings. Also fresh juices, cereal, yogurt, bagels, fruit salad, hot oatmeal, smoothies, salami and cheese, hard boiled eggs, and antipasto style veggies. In addition to various coffee blends, they will also make espresso drinks to order. It is a very nice perk. They also have a wine tasting every evening with cheese and salami, coffee all day, free wifi, free bikes, and the staff are very friendly and helpful.
Eggnog ice cream - why have I never thought of that before?! With the eggs, cream, and sugar - it's the perfect base! Creamy, spicy, and delicious - this is the perfect winter ice cream. And it's even better topped with fresh espresso as an affogato!
Eggnog, cream, orange extract, nutmeg, cinnamon, and rum come together to form the base; which freezes up soft and creamy.
To take it to the next level, pour a espresso over the ice cream to make an affogato.
Two scoops and a lungo or double-shot is the perfect amount for breakfast or a snack. It look's like we might be getting another snow storm out here in the NE, and I know what will be keeping me warm!
Eggnog Ice Cream
from Scoop Adventures
Buy the fattiest, full-of-sugar eggnog that you can find because it will make the best ice cream.
2 cups eggnog (no rum added)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp orange extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tbsp dark rum
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. If eggnog and cream were refrigerated, you may pour the mixture directly into an ice cream maker. If eggnog and cream were not fully chilled, place in a refrigerator until mixture is chilled (1 to 2 hours).
Once mixture is chilled and in the ice cream maker, freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Scoop into a freezer safe container and place plastic or parchment over ice cream (to prevent ice crystals) and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
We had two different events planned in two different states in the weeks before Christmas: a weekend-long birthday party in the Outer Banks and a family get-together in Nashville, TN. We decided it would be fun to connect the events via a long roadtrip, stopping at the Biltmore Estate in NC before continuing on to TN. Biltmore is HUGE. The house is the largest privately owned house in the US, and the grounds cover 8000 acres. It takes 30 minutes to get from the Inn on the property to the house.
We stayed for two nights at the Inn, which is a really nice hotel and spa. They were all decked out for Christmas, and had a gingerbread house replica of the Inn. There are multiple restaurants on the Estate - we ate at the Inn Dining Room the first night, and like it so much we decided to eat there the second night too!
The Dining Room is seasonal, farm-sourced fine dining. I really liked their small plates and respectful treatment of produce. The amuse bouche was a different cream based vegetable veluote both nights and they were both outstanding. I could have eaten a bowl of that for dinner and been happy.
My favorite dish was the fried brussels sprouts with a farm egg, frisee, and bacon. This is seriously the BEST brussels sprouts dish I have ever had. It was eye-rolling good. I ordered it both nights and asked for the recipe, which they gave me! I'll post it at the bottom.
Another standout was the roasted corn and lobster soup with piquillo peppers. This has been added to my list of favorite lobster dishes, and is in the top 3 lobster bisques for sure.
The pork belly with apple tart and goat cheese ravioli appetizers were also very good and I would highly recommend them. The gnocchi with brie, figs, and bacon was not enjoyable, though. The brie overpowered everything else and the bacon was way too salty. It sounded great on paper, but didn't work.
The artisan meat and cheese platter was very satisfying, with lots of variety and good portions. I didn't order any entrees, and Jasper ordered specials both nights. He really enjoyed the seafood special the first night, but did not like the steak special the second night.
Overall, the good outweighs the bad here and I would recommend trying it out if you are ever in the area.
Everybody knows that peaches and cream go well together, so it makes sense to think that peaches would also pair perfectly with creme fraiche. I recently discovered that you can make creme friache at home with just heavy cream and buttermilk - which is way cheaper than buying it! I used the thick, creamy, and tart product in not one, not two, not three, but FOUR peach recipes. So let's dig in!
First up is a pie that I have blogged about before, but am bringing up again because it is just so freaking good. Peaches, creme fraiche, and streusel - layered into tender, flaky pie crust. Definitely one of my favorite pies ever.
Next up we have muffins made moist with the help of creme fraiche, packed with chunks of juicy peach, and with a little kick from both fresh and candied ginger. My husband LOVED these - we went through all 24 muffins in 2 weeks!
What is better in the summer than a lovely bowl of ice cream? This peach sherbet gets it's tart creaminess from (you guessed it!) homemade creme fraiche.
It's pretty easy to make, too, as far as ice cream goes. You do have to cook the peaches first, and then chill them. But after that it is just blend and freeze!
Last, but not least, is a white peach and lemon thyme galette served with sweetened creme fraiche. I, foolishly, did not notice that my peaches weren't ripe before I peeled them and had to get a bit creative, poaching them in honey, lemon thyme, and white wine in order to soften them before baking.
There are many recipes to choose from here, all of them delicious. Enjoy those peaches while they last!
Goat. Cheese. Ice cream. You heard me. When I saw this recipe, I just HAD to try it. And cherries were all over the place at the farmers market, so the timing was perfect.
I used one pint of cherries, but I would have liked a higher ratio in the final product so I would recommend using 2 pints. Either way, pit, combine with sugar and cornstarch, and roast until the juices form a syrup.
The ice cream base is made with goat cheese, cream cheese, cornstarch, milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Once you have processed it with your ice cream maker - layer the ice cream and the cherries into a container, do not mix! Allow to set up in the freezer and enjoy this sophisticated ice cream.
Curry. Banana. Ice Cream. When I found this recipe, I flipped. It sounded AMAZING. One of the best truffles I've ever had was a curry banana flavor.
And there aren't just plain old bananas in here, either. No - they are roasted bananas. And not only that, but roasted with brown sugar and butter. Is anyone else drooling right now?
These smell incredible when they come out of the oven, covered in sticky brown sugar goodness. You scrape all that sweet stuff into a blender with whole milk and your favorite sweet curry powder, then into the ice cream maker - simple as that. I am seriously in love with this ice cream.
I am also in love with this milkshake that I made with it, chocolate syrup, and Bailey's. Boozy milkshake for the win!
Curry Banana Ice Cream
adapted from Scoop Adventures
3 medium-sized ripe bananas, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp sweet curry powder (I used this one)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Prepare bananas and toss them with the brown sugar and butter in a small (2-quart) baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring once during baking, until the bananas are browned and cooked through.
Scrape contents of the dish (bananas and the thick sugar syrup) into a blender or food processor. Add the milk, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, salt, and curry powder, and puree until smooth.
Chill mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (4 hours). Pour into your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a plastic container, press wax paper onto surface, and freeze until firm (about 4 hours).
I always crave ice cream during the summer - who doesn't? But now that I am trying to be more healthy, I am looking for alternatives. I found this recipe for Creamy Blackberry Frozen Yogurt that only used 3 ingredients and had to try it! Super creamy, sweet, and delicious - this was more than I was hoping for. Plus this recipe will probably work with any fresh fruit.
Does anyone have any recommendations on what I can replace the sweetened condensed milk with to make it even more healthy? Honey, maybe?
From Kitchen Corners:
3 cups fresh blackberries
3 cups Greek yogurt
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
In a blender, puree the blackberries with the sweetened condensed milk. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove most of the seeds (optional).
In a medium bowl mix the puree with the Greek yogurt. Pour the mixture in to your ice-cream maker and follow the manufacturer's directions.
The end of strawberry season was drawing near and I wanted to relish those last moments. So I decided to make a juicy and complex sorbet with strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and basil.
Fresh ripe strawberries, sugar, cream, and a little lemon juice - that is all you need to make this creamy summer treat. And in this recipe there is no cooking involved, so the flavor of the fresh strawberries comes through really well.
No-Cook Strawberry Ice Cream
adapted from Gourmet
1 lb strawberries, trimmed, halved if large
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups heavy cream
Coarsely mash strawberries with sugar, lemon juice, and salt using a potato masher in a large bowl. Let stand, stirring and mashing occasionally, 10 minutes.
Transfer half of strawberry mixture to a blender and purée with cream until smooth. Return strawberry cream to bowl with remaining strawberries and chill, stirring occasionally, until very cold, 3 to 6 hours.
Freeze mixture in ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to firm up.
Ice cream keeps 1 week.