Monday, May 25, 2015

Home-Made Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream -with- Toasted Graham Cracker Crumbs

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream
Toasted Graham Cracker Crumbs

Lemon Filling:
1  Cup  Sugar
1/4  Cup  Cornstarch
1/2  teaspoon Salt
1  Cup  Lemon Juice
1-1/2  Cups  Cold Water
4  Eggs, beaten
2  teaspoons very fine Lemon Zest, optional

Cheesecake Base:
3  8-oz.  Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
4  Cups  Sugar
2  teaspoons  Vanilla
1 recipe Lemon Filling

4  Cups  Half-and-Half
Whole Milk to fill Ice Cream Freezer
Toasted Graham Cracker Crumbs: 
2  Tablespoons  Butter
2  Tablespoons  Sugar
1  Cup  Graham Cracker Crumbs

Ice for Freezing, a minimum of 20 pounds
1 box Ice Cream Salt

For the Lemon Filling:
In a 3-quart saucepan, stir together the Sugar, Cornstarch, and Salt.  Stir in Lemon Juice, Cold Water, and beaten Eggs.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Stir in Lemon Zest (make sure it is finely chopped or it will get caught in your ice cream dasher and clump up).  Refrigerate until completely cold.

For the Cheesecake Base:
In a large mixer bowl, beat the room temperature Cream Cheese and Sugar on medium speed until smooth.  Beat in the Vanilla and Lemon Filling until smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to use, or a minimum of 30 minutes.  Transfer Base to Ice Cream canister; stir in Half-and-Half and Whole Milk to manufacturer's fill line (or 4-5 inches from top, if not marked).  Freeze according to Ice Cream Freezer's instructions, using 4 layers of Ice and Salt.  When the freezing is complete, drain off any icy water from the freezer bucket, repack with more ice and salt and allow to cure for 2 hours (I actually transfer the canister to a 5-gallon drink igloo and allow the Ice Cream to cure in this.  The curing process helps this soft Ice Cream to firm up and flavors to blend.    Top each serving with Toasted Graham Cracker Crumbs.

For the Toasted Graham Cracker Crumbs:
In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the Butter.  Stir in the Sugar and Graham Cracker Crumbs, stirring until a light golden brown and crunchy.  

Because of the high level of Fat in this Ice Cream, it will take an entire box of Ice Cream Salt and at least 20 pounds of Ice to get this to freeze firm.  It will take about 45-75 minutes to freeze, so don't give up and think "this will NEVER be done!".  One good thing about having a lot of fat in it (besides the fact that it tastes good) is that the leftovers don't get grainy in the freezer.

If your family likes things very tart, or if you're using a sweet Lemon (like a Meyer Lemon), bump up the amount of Lemon Juice in the Filling to 1-1/2 Cups.  Just remember to decrease the Water to 1 Cup!

"...therefore, let us offer
the sacrifice of praise to God continually,
that is,
the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.
But to do good and to share forget not;
for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."
Hebrews 13:15 & 16 

 Adapted from Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream by Suzie Grover

Friday, May 22, 2015

Lemon Raspberry Streusel Muffins

Lemon Raspberry Streusel Muffins
with Lemon Curd
 --- Kids In The Kitchen ---

Streusel Topping:
1/3  Cup  Sugar
1/4  Cup  Flour
2  Tablespoons  Cold Butter

2  Cups  Flour
1/2  Cup  Sugar
2  teaspoons  Baking Powder
1/2  teaspoon  Baking Soda
1/2  teaspoon  Salt

8 oz.  Lemon Yogurt  -or-  3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice and Plain Yogurt to fill a 1-Cup measure
1/2  Cup  Oil
1  teaspoon Lemon Peel, finely zested (optional)
2  Eggs
1  Cup  Fresh Raspberries -or- frozen, unthawed Raspberries
Butter or Lemon Curd for serving

1.  Wash your hands thoroughly with Soap and Water.  Read this recipe through completely and gather your ingredients.
2.  Ask an Adult to help preheat oven to 400*.
3.  Line a Muffin Tin with baking cups.
4.  In a small bowl, mix together the Streusel Ingredients with a pastry cutter until the Butter is the size of small peas.  Set aside.
5.  In a medium bowl, mix together the five Dry Ingredients; set aside.
6.  In another medium bowl, mix together the four Wet Ingredients, then stir the Wet Ingredients into the Dry Ingredients just until blended.  Then gently stir in the Raspberries.
7.  Using a cookie scoop or soup spoon, fill the Muffin cups 3/4 full.  (This will make about 14 muffins.)
8.   Using a teaspoon, carefully sprinkle the Streusel onto the Muffin tops.
9.  Ask an Adult to help you put the Muffins into the 400* oven; bake for 11-13 minutes.
10.  Ask an Adult to help you remove from Muffins from the oven.
11.  Cool in the Muffin Tin for 5 minutes; carefully remove from the Tin.
12.  Serve Warm, with Butter or Lemon Curd.
13.  Don't forget to clean up your dirty cooking bowls!

"Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old,
he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6 

Teaching children to cook.  This takes fortitude to endure!  I am of the mind that children should must be taught to cook.  I cannot think of anything more disheartening than going off to college or getting married and only knowing how to make toast or top ramen.  

But oh my.
The mess time and patience it takes to teach a child this skill!

I personally believe that the best time to being teaching cooking is when the child can both fluently read AND understand simple fractions.  In other words, she should be able to read the recipe and not get 1/3 and 2/3 mixed up.  Most children have mastered these two skills by the end of Third or Fourth Grade.  Yes, there are kitchen terms like 'dice' and 'cube' which you'll need to teach, but the most important things, in my opinion, are the basic skills of reading and math.  A close second to this come safety.  Never forget safety.

When teaching safety skills, begin with Heat and Sharpness.  Most kiddos have the heat down; that is, they know that the stove and oven are hot.  If you are allowing your child to cook at the stove, my first bit of advice is to never leave the room.  My second piece of advice is to make sure you use an appropriately-sized step stool.  A nine-year-old isn't quite tall enough to safely stir a hot pan, but is much too big to stand on a chair.  Accidents can happen if she isn't the right height.  If you have a double wall oven, use the lower oven.  Teach your child how to properly use hot pads.  I, personally, don't let my kids use oven mitts because I feel the mitts make hands too clumsy to safely grip hot pans.  Also, I like to keep the stove turned down slightly lower than what the recipe calls for; this might make it take a bit longer but it does help reduce the risk of bad burns.

Knives and graters and vegetable peelers and mandolines.
All can be so very sharp.  Unfortunately, the easiest way to demonstrate how sharp a knife is, is to accidentally cut yourself.  Not the best object lesson, but unfortunately it happens.  Please, as a parent, you know your child's hand/eye coordination best of anyone.  Use proper judgement.  Use a knife  properly sized for smaller hands--I like to begin my children with a paring knife.  And always, always, always use a cutting board.

What kind of recipes are the best to start kids out on?  My children seem to have a short-frame attention span: they don't want to wait for bread to rise,  a cake to cool before frosting, or beef to marinate and then roast.  I like to start them out on a one-pan-in/one-pan-out recipe: a recipe that has a single pan and a short bake time, like Muffins or Bar Cookies.  Easy to mix, quick to bake, fast to cool, and even faster to eat!  Yum, Yum, Yum!

Happy Cooking,
and even Happier Eating! 

  Far Above Rubies, page 51.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Slow Cooker Cajun Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Cajun Pulled Pork
Southwestern Corn Slaw

1  Cup  Apple Cider Vinegar
2/3  Cup  Ketchup
1/3 - 1/2  Cup  Spicy Brown Mustard
2  Tablespoons  Molasses
4  Tablespoons  Brown Sugar, divided
1  Tablespoon  Paprika
1  teaspoon  Kosher Salt
1/2  teaspoon  Black Pepper
1/8 - 1/4  teaspoon  Chipotle Chili Powder -or- Cayenne Pepper 
3 to 4  pounds  Boneless Pork Shoulder
2  links (about 3/4-lb, total)  Andouille Sausage

For Serving:
2  Tablespoons  Spicy Brown Mustard
1/3  Cup  Mayonnaise
Soft Deli Rolls or Sesame Buns
Southwestern Corn Slaw
Dill Pickles and Potato Chips

In the bottom of a greased 7- to 8-quart slow cooker, whisk together the Apple Cider Vinegar, Ketchup, Mustard, Molasses, and 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar.

Combine the remaining 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar, Paprika, Salt, and Black Pepper and thoroughly rub over the Pork; place in slow cooker.  Top the Pork with Andouille Sausage links; cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Remove Pork and Sausage; set aside to cool slightly.  Skim off any excess fat from the cooking liquid, then strain into a large skillet.  Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 20-30 minutes (you'll want to use a skillet or wide-mouth pan to do this, as it helps to speed up the reduction process).  While the Cajun BBQ Sauce is reducing, shred the Pork and coarsely chop the Sausage.  Toss the Meats with enough of the BBQ Sauce to moisten (I like to reduce mine until it's syrupy and use all of it.  Mmmmm...)

To Serve:
Whisk together the 2 Tablespoons Mustard and the 1/3 Cup Mayonnaise; spread on Rolls and top with Cajun Pulled Pork and Southwestern Corn Slaw.  Serve with Pickles and Potato Chips.

Serves 8-10.

"Give instruction to a wise man,
and he will be yet wiser;
teach a just man,
and he will increase in learning.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
Proverbs 9: 9 & 10

Saturday was our school's End-of-the-Year Picnic.  Yesterday was Mother's Day.  And today begins the last week of school.  Today is the 7th-11th Softball Championship, Tuesday is the 7th-8th Bike Ride Privilege Trip, Wednesday is the K-2 Field Trip to a Teacher's home, Thursday is Advancement Ceremony and Graduation, and Friday brings the Last Day of School and a Classroom Party for 3rd-4th.  I think I'm going to take my sleeping bag and just live on campus this week.  Maybe I'll take my slow cooker along with me.

Just look at that yummy stuff!

Even better when it has the 
Cajun BBQ Sauce reduction....

Adapted from Food Network magazine, June 2013

Southwestern Corn Slaw

Southwestern Corn Slaw

3  Cups  Shredded Red Cabbage
3  Cups  Shredded Green Cabbage
1  Tablespoon  Kosher Salt
1  Cup  Roasted Corn
1  seeded and thinly sliced  Poblano Pepper
3  Green Onions, thinly sliced
1/4  Cup  chopped Cilantro

1  Avocado
1/3  Cup  Lemon Juice
1/3  Cup  Olive Oil
1/3  Cup  Water

In a large colander, toss together the Cabbages and the Kosher Salt.  Let sit for 1 hour (over the sink or a large bowl), then rinse and dry well.  (Here's a tip:  if you have a mandoline, use it to make quick work of shredding the Cabbages--goes so much faster, and you won't end up with chunky Slaw.  Here's another tip:  don't be like me and forget to buy the Red Cabbage.)

In a blender, puree the Dressing ingredients.  Toss over the Cabbages and add remaining Slaw ingredients, tossing to blend.  Serves 8-10.  Serve with Slow Cooker Cajun Pulled Pork.

We all aren't super big fans of Coleslaw, but we really enjoy this one.  I think it's because it's actually pretty mild (unless you get a spicy Poblano!) and the Avocado gives it a creamy flavor without any Mayo at all!  Pretty dandy, I think!

"A good name is rather to be chosen
than great riches,
and loving favor rather than
silver and gold."
Proverbs 22:1

Adapted from Food Network: 50 Slaws, June 2013

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mile-High Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

Mile- High Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

For the Glaze:
2  Tablespoons  Cornstarch
3  Tablespoons  Cold Water
1  Cup  Sugar
1  Cup  Water
1  Tablespoon  light Karo Syrup
1/2  teaspoon  Red Food Coloring (I use a tiny dab of gel food coloring--it goes further with less flavor)
3  Tablespoons  Strawberry Jello

For the Filling:
1  8-oz  Cream Cheese, softened
1  Cup  Powdered Sugar
1  teaspoon  Vanilla
1  8-oz  Whipped Topping

1  baked  Pie Crust (try Double-Crust Pie Shells or Big Batch Pie Crust)
2-3  pounds  Fresh Strawberries, gently washed and completely dried

In a small bowl, combine the Cornstarch and Cold Water, stirring to dissolve any lumps.  In a large saucepan, combine the Sugar, Water, Karo Syrup, and Food Coloring; bring to a rapid boil.  Re-stir the Cornstarch mixture; add to the boiling mixture and return to a hard boil.  Remove from heat and stir in Jello.  Cool to room temperature--don't rush it!  This is important!

Combine all Filling ingredients; spoon into baked Pie Crust.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.

To Assemble:
Slice Strawberries into the Glaze, stirring well to completely coat the Strawberries with Glaze.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer Strawberries to prepared Pie Crust, heaping as high as possible.  Spoon remaining Glaze over berries as needed, but use caution not to overflow the edge of the pie plate.  You should have some Glaze left over.  Refrigerate until Glaze is set.  Serves 6-8.  Best used within six hours of making, as this can get runny.

"For, lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds has come,
and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land."
Song of Solomon 2: 11 & 12

Spring is here!  That means it's time for yummy Strawberry Pie!  My husband always requests Strawberry Pizza at least once every springtime; this is my adaption of Strawberry Pizza to a Mile-High Strawberry Pie.  Please ignore the fact that my Pie isn't quite mile-high status--my children ate more berries than I realized before I made this, so it's just a Half-Mile-High Pie.

We've had a Dove nest in both our Lemon Tree and our Flowering Pomegranate Tree.  The children have had a lot of fun watching the Mama nest and the Eggs hatch into Babies.  It was especially exciting just before the Chicks hatched--the children loved to see the baby birds faintly through the shells.  And now the babies are learning to fly around the yard.  The boys have had fun practicing their photography skills on the Doves; I'm not certain what has happened to my photography 'skills,' though!  For the life of me I could not get the finished Pie to photograph right!  I'll just blame it on the cloudy day...

Adapted from Strawberry Pizza in Seasoned With Love, page 285.