Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ice Cream, The Gateway Dessert

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ASKING ME TO imagine happiness before ice cream is like asking me to imagine consciousness before coffee. Put the two together and you'll have created a taste of heaven. When Nick was gifted an ice cream machine and I a stand mixer last Christmas, I knew the kitchen gods were smiling down upon us. 

The combination of desserts dancing in my head have been astronomicalcreamy scoops of gelato tucked into fluffy brioche buns, chocolate pound cake ice cream sandwiches, and cool watermelon bombes for summer.

Nevertheless, we thought it best to stick to perfecting one flavor at a time, at least initially. I must say that Nick did an amazing job with this recipe! The secret to the coffee ice cream is the Kahlúa and coconut milk. Kahlúa is a coffee-flavored liqueur but does not end up being very strong when used to flavor ice cream. You can also use Bailey's Irish Cream, which tastes lighter than Kahlua, but is not vegan because it contains dairy (if you're not opposed to dairy, go for it, because it is the bomb dot com.)

I used coconut milk in lieu of heavy cream for vegan ice cream aficionados (dieters be warned: the saturated fat content is alarmingly high even though it's vegan), but the difference in taste is unnoticeable, even to the sophisticated palate. Coconut milk is my preferred alternative for use with very strong flavors that will mask the flavor of coconut; milder flavors like vanilla and pistachio don't work so well.

 photo by Nick Holley


KAHLUA ICE CREAM INGREDIENTS
  • 13.5 oz full fat coconut milk 
  • 1 1/4 cup plain soy milk 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 3 heaping tablespoons instant coffee 
  • 1/4 cup Kahlúa or Bailey's Irish Cream

I wish I could jokingly say "please eat responsibly," but the taste of alcohol is virtually unnoticeable in this sweet treat. Regardless, it's probably not something you'd want to give your young ones, especially since it contains caffeine as well.

Happy Summer,
MARGARET

Monday, June 27, 2011

Perfect Panzanella

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YOU CAN NEVER go wrong with Italian food: red vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a loaf of piping hot bread are tried and true Italian classics. To celebrate the start of summer, I made a refreshing yet hearty Panzanella that is unlike most other salads without meat in how filling it is.



SALAD INGREDIENTS
  • 4 cups of French bread cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 hothouse cucumber cut into 3/4" slices
  • 2 large tomatoes cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 seeded red bell pepper, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 seeded yellow bell pepper, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • 15 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • grapeseed or olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

VINAIGRETTE INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp. spicy Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

DIRECTIONS
  1. Heat grapeseed oil in pan, adding cubes of bread and salt and tossing often, for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, onion, basil, and capers in a large bowl. Whisk ingredients of vinaigrette, then add it to salad ingredients, and lastly, add toasted bread cubes.



On a tangent, there are some realizations that I've made in the last few months. As much as I love the fashion industry, I think I owe it to myself to seriously explore the world of culinary art, or more broadly-speaking, design. I often find myself wishing I could offer an unparalleled level of content for food/design-hungry readers but simply not having time to put the energy into such a lofty goal! Transitioning into this may not be financially feasible for the next couple of years, especially since my goals run the gamut from visiting gastronomically celebrated cities to taking culinary classes... but mark my words, I'm not going to let these aspirations die.

Until next time, enjoy!
MARGARET

P.S. I've been dying to use this bowl that I got from Anthropologie for Christmas, and now that I have, I can say that it is nothing short of awesome... so if you're on the fence, you should get it! It's the perfect size for salads, soups, or cereal.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Your Birthday Sucks!

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My coworker constantly laments her age. As a result I wanted to highlight it on her birthday. Be glad if you're not friends with me. ;-) To do this project, all you'll need is a colorful little box (I used a Kate Spade bracelet box), a piece of Styrofoam, some scissors to cut the foam to fit your box, lollipops,  a card, a Sharpie, and a good sense of humor.

Enjoy!

Monday, June 20, 2011

To Papa

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FOR FATHER'S DAY this year, I decided to bring some cheer to an ordinary office window by creating 3-dimensional cut-outs of hot air balloons and clouds. They're so easy to make (which I'm all about) and melt even the iciest of hearts... so basically anyone will enjoy this unless they lack a heart. ;-)

Though we've had lots of misunderstandings and disagreements in our history and most definitely will in our future, my dad is one of the few people who always does what he thinks is best for me, answers my phone calls eagerly and tries his hardest to be my guiding light through difficult times. Love you forever and a day, Papa!