Apple Coleslaw

To kick off summer, what better thing is there than some outside food opportunities and grilling out?  I’ve had this simple twist on coleslaw in my to-make list for months and finally had a chance to make it.  The coleslaw was slightly sweeter than most, but done so in this subtle way.  I used Granny Smith apples, which helped to add some tartness to the coleslaw as well.  I would make this again when wanting to make a little twist on a summer salad.

Apple Coleslaw

Apple Coleslaw
2 cups Cabbage (shredded)
2 Medium apples (cored, diced)
1 can (16 oz.) crushed pineapple, in its own juice,(drained)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Combine above ingredients, cover and refrigerate 1 hour or more before serving. 8 servings

Strawberry Ketchup

If you are experiencing the summer we’re having in Iowa, strawberries might be in season for you.  And, if you are like me, you might be looking for some new ways to cook with and/or serve them to others.  Well, I was looking through my copy of the Smoke and Pickles cookbook and came across this recipe for strawberry ketchup.  It was just intriguing enough that I knew I wanted to make it and try it out.  Thus far, I’ve tasted it on its own and with beef, and it hasn’t disappointed in either setting.  I think it could compete with a number of other spices going on in a meat, and so I would be hesitant to serve it alongside a heavily-seasoned meat item, but it’s definitely not sweet enough to be confused with a jam or jelly.

The ketchup has a nice sweetness, without being overpowering, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I imagine setting it on the table at a barbecue and having people put a little dab on their plate, but then enjoying it enough to go back for more.

I will say that I ended up cooking it for quite a bit longer after pureeing it and adding the other seasonings because I wanted to thicken it up more than it automatically did during the cooking process.  Take that into consideration, should you choose to make it as well.

Strawberry Ketchup

Strawberry Ketchup

1 lb fresh strawberries, washed and hulled, sliced or halved
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Combine the strawberries, onion, cider vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce in a small pot, bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for 14 minutes, until the strawberries are soft and broken down.

Transfer the berry mixture to a blender and puree on high.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.  Discard the solids.

Add the white vinegar, ginger, salt, white pepper, paprika, cumin, and cloves.  Whisk well.  Transfer to two small jars, cover, and refrigerate.  The ketchup will keep up to a month in the refrigerator.

Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I think Ohio must have been working on perfecting ice cream for the past several years.  Because every time I go to see my sister or friends in Ohio, I am eating it at Jeni’s or Graeter’s or one of the myriads of other delicious ice cream stores.  One of the favorites from Graeter’s is their black raspberry chocolate chip, so when I started to make ice cream this summer, I was searching for copycat recipes and found this one from the Last Ingredient website.  I also had not yet made a recipe using egg yolks and decided it was time to do that.  This one was okay, but not great.  The flavor tastes fine, but the consistency of it didn’t scoop as nicely as other recipes I had made.  I’m not convinced I want to stick with egg-based ice creams when the cream cheese base has worked so well for me.

Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Makes about 1-1/2 quarts

10 ounces raspberries, fresh or frozen (partially thawed)
10 ounces blackberries, fresh or frozen (partially thawed)
1 cup whole milk
6 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup roughly chopped bittersweet chocolate

Puree the raspberries and blackberries in a blender.

Pour the milk into a large bowl and set aside.

Whisk the yolks in a small bowl.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, simmer the heavy cream, sugar, and salt until the sugar dissolves. Slowly whisk half the cream mixture into the egg yolks and then pour it back into the saucepan. Stir continuously until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Pour the cream mixture followed by the berry puree through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl with the milk. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.

Cool the mixture over an ice bath and refrigerate until cooled completely.

Churn in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions. Stir in the chopped chocolate. Freeze the ice cream in an airtight container and allow it to harden before serving.

Double-Frosted Bourbon Brownies

My dog Meg has a best dog friend.  She gets along with all the dogs in the neighborhood (or at least those who tolerate her), but has a special adoration for her friend Daisy who lives down the street.

Meg and Daisy hanging out tonight. #thatsmymeg #dogbff #wheatensofinstagram #wheatensofig

A post shared by Gwen Schimek (@gwenschimek) on

Due to a number of different circumstances (mostly working on my doctoral degree), I have not branched out much to get to know the people in the neighborhood until Meg arrived in my life.  I have become 1,000 times more social with the folks around here since that occurred.  As a result, I’ve come to adore Daisy’s owners/parents/insert-preferred-dog-language-here.  As they are getting ready to move away from the neighborhood, each step of the journey has occurred, from selling the house, to one of them finishing up her work last week as the school year ended.  Meg and I wanted to acknowledge the day, but Meg ended up getting sick on the last day of school and so we were delayed by a day in helping her start her celebration of being done with work.  But I think these turned out pretty well.  The bourbon flavor is light, and not overly noticeable.  The recipe came from the Iowa State Fair cookbook.

Double Frosted Bourbon Brownies

Double-Frosted Bourbon Brownies

Brownies:

3/4 c flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c vegetable shortening
2 Tbsp water
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 c chopped walnuts (I omitted — because I forgot about them entirely)
4 Tbsp bourbon whiskey

White Icing

1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 c powdered sugar

Chocolate Glaze

1 Tbsp vegetable shortening
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Sift together flour, soda, and salt; set aside.  In a saucepan, combine sugar, shortening, and water.  Bring to a boil.  Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add flour and walnuts; mix well.  Spread in a greased 9-inch square pan.  Bake for 30 minutes in a 325-degree oven.  Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with bourbon; cool.

Icing: Combine butter and vanilla; beat until creamy.  Add powdered sugar; beat until smooth.  Spread over cooled brownies

Glaze: In a saucepan, melt shortening and chips.  Spread over iced brownies.  When glaze has set, cut into squares.

Oz Quilt Complete

I have this thing going on where I need to finish up projects/use up my stash/do the things that I aspire to do without letting other things get in the way.  Back in 2010, when KarrieLyne over at the Freckled Whimsy site started her Charm Pack Quilt Along, I started right along side her.  By 2010, I’d even finished up the top of it and had it sewn together.  I even blogged about it when I was first getting started here.

And now, in 2017, I assembled the quilt and have finished sewing on the binding.  This is using a great fabric line called Oz — I’m amazed I could find material for the backing these days.  I machine quilted it myself and tried a new technique — it turned out okay, but I am obviously still a beginner in this arena.

Take a look:

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I’m pretty happy with how it turned out — I don’t know that it’s gift-worthy, but it is definitely have-around-the-house worthy.  Better than one of my other quilts that should be a use-it-outdoors-only type quilt.  If you’re looking to get back into quilting, wondering how to use a charm pack, or otherwise exploring the wonderful world of quilting, I would recommend checking out KarrieLyne’s tutorial.

Asparagus, Cashews, and Mint with Quinoa and Lemon Vinaigrette

There’s something about the springtime and asparagus starting to grow that brings a smile to my face.  So, as I was reading through the Vegetable Butcher cookbook and came across this recipe for Asparagus, Hazelnuts, and Mint with Quinoa and Lemon Vinaigrette, I knew I wanted to put it together.  Even better: the recipe suggested I could substitute cashews for hazelnuts, which I had found an abundance of while cleaning out the pantry.  It was time to put this dish together.  When I brought leftovers for lunch, people commented how healthy the recipe looked, and it really was a full meal in one dish, but would also be a nice side dish.

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Asparagus, Cashews, and Mint with Quinoa and Lemon Vinaigrette

zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 c olive oil
1 lb asparagus
3 c cooked quinoa
1/3 c toasted cashews or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/3 c thinly sliced scallions
1/4 c packed fresh mint leaves, finely sliced

For vinaigrette, whisk together zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp maple syrup, ¼ tsp fine sea salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Slowly add ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, whisking constantly.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil; place a large bowl of ice water next to stovetop. Cook 1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed, tips intact and spears cut into 1-inch pieces, 2–4 minutes or just until crisp-tender. With a slotted spoon, transfer to the ice water. When cool to the touch, drain well and spread on a towel to absorb any remaining water.

Combine asparagus and 3 cups cooked white quinoa in a large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat all of the ingredients, about ¼ cup. Add ⅓ cup toasted cashews or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped, ⅓ cup thinly sliced scallions, ¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves, finely sliced, and ¼ tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper; toss again. Add more salt, pepper and/or vinaigrette to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Brambleberry Crisp Ice Cream

Our school mascot is the Rams.  And, we have a small, but important-to-us rivalry with a nearby college through athletics.  We have a trophy that passes back and forth between the two campuses (or at least is supposed to travel back and forth), and for the first time in its existence, we were able to secure the trophy on our campus.  In some kind of great ways, the Cup isn’t based on a single sporting event, but a series of competitions between the teams where points are earned.  This April, it came down to a single baseball game between the schools.  We played it at the local minor league team’s stadium and the students from my campus had a great showing.  So, on this chilly (people were in snowsuits) April evening, we played inning after inning, resulting in the trophy making its way to our campus at the end of the night.

Our student government president and others have been thinking about ways to celebrate this, and while we didn’t have a major celebration before the year ended, now that we have commenced school, I had a birthday, and other things came to a close, I wanted to celebrate with some staff members on-campus.  I decided that making this bRAMbleberry crisp ice cream might be the way to do it.  Even better, our school colors are purple and this turned out to have shades of purple throughout it.

I followed the instructions over on the Bite-Sized Baker website for this recipe.  I didn’t notice the recipe in the Jeni’s cookbook, but maybe it was there.  Either way, I’m appreciative of the recipe being on this website and being easy to follow.

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Brambleberry Crisp Ice Cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home:

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream:

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 ½ ounces cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out, seeds and bean reserved

“Brambleberry” Sauce:

2 cups blackberries and raspberries
1 cup sugar

Crisp Streusel:

½ pound unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats

To make the sauce, combine the berries and sugar in a 1-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 220 degrees F (5 to 8 minutes). Let cool slightly, then force through a sieve to remove seeds. (Or leave a few seeds in there just to prove you made it.) Refrigerate until cold before using.

To make the crisp streusel, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put all the ingredients except the oats in a bowl and blend by rubbing the dry ingredients into the butter with your fingertips. Work quickly so that the butter does not melt. When the mixture looks like coarse sand, add the oats and mix well. Spread out on an ungreased baking sheet. Break apart any large clumps into crumbs about ¼ to ½ inch in size. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until toasted and browned, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, especially in the corners, and to turn over the unbaked portions. Let cool completely, and then freeze until ready to use. The streusel can be frozen for up to 1 month.

To make the ice cream, mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla seeds and bean in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes precisely. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Remove the vanilla bean. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.

After churning, pack into a storage container alternating it with layers of bramblerry sauce and crisp streusel. Press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least four hours.