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August 30, 2014

Recipe | Carrot Cake {Ice Cream}

A New Twist on a Yummy Dessert

Everyone loves carrot cake! Food Network listed carrot cake—with its cream-cheese frosting—among the top five fad foods of the 1970s. In 2011, carrot cake was voted as the favorite cake in the UK (wikipedia). Yes, I think carrot cake is here to stay...

Whoever invented carrot cake ice cream was a genius. Combine the yummiest cake with everyone's favorite frozen dessert and you have a major trend just waiting to happen.

This recipe from David Liebovitz of the L.A. Times was posted by a blogger who goes by the clever name, "The Cooking of Joy." She says,
"I substituted raisins and rum for the currants and whiskey for the simple reason that I didn't have the latter two." I've adapted and simplified Joy's version to make it a tad more readable.


For the rum-soaked raisins:

1/4 cup raisins
2 Tbsp rum

For the spiced pecans:

1 cup pecan halves
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt

For the candied carrots:

2 cups finely diced carrots
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
2 cups water

For the ice cream base:

1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese
1-1/2 cups sour cream
 2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon zest


1. Combine the raisins and rum in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Pre-heat oven to 350 °F. Coat the pecans with the melted butter. Whisk together the cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar and salt. Pour the mixture over the pecans coating completely.

3. To candy the nuts, arrange pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Stir halfway through. Remove the tray from the oven, and cool completely. Once cool, coarsely chop nuts and set aside. (To save time, substitute commercially prepared candied pecans if desired.)

4. In a medium pan, combine the carrots, sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the syrup is reduced to about 2 tablespoons; approximately 20 to 30 minutes. The candied carrots will be translucent. Be sure to watch the carrots while cooking to make sure they do not burn. Drain carrots and set aside to cool.

5. Using a hand or stand mixer, blend together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and lemon zest in until smooth. Chill the ice cream base completely.

6. Freeze the base in an ice cream maker. After churning, fold in the soaked raisins, spiced nuts, and candied carrots. Freeze again until firm before serving.

Yield: Approx. 1 quart

Photos: Joyosity, lili.chin, joyosity, joyosity (Flickr)  

August 28, 2014

Recipe | GRILLED Lamb Souvlaki (Marinated)

For End-of-Summer Barbecues

There's a cute neighborhood Greek restaurant about a 15-minute walk from our old house. An easy place to hang out on week-ends, it's always crowded with customers at dinnertime. Their gyros, souvlaki, moussaka, and Greek fries (with feta) are popular all year-round.

If you're planning a Labor Day barbecue, why not host a Greek-themed event? Considered the "hamburgers" of Greece, marinated lamb souvlaki is easy to grill. Serve your skewered meat with cucumber yogurt dip (tzatziki), a light salad, and pita bread, fries or rice. Oh, and maybe a little hummus on the side!


1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup grated onion


1. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic and grated onion in a glass or ceramic bowl.

2. Trim the fat off the meat, and cut into 1-inch cubes. Add meat to the bowl, stir and cover. Chill the meat in the marinade at least 2 hours, and longer if your time allows. Run bamboo or metal skewers through the lamb pieces, filling up each one from end-to-end.

3. Preheat the grill. Turning occasionally, grill the skewers until they are brown on all sides. Remove skewers from grill, and serve.

Source: Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Photos:  jlaceda, NathanaelB, joshbousel, KrisKrug (Flickr)

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August 25, 2014

Recipe | World's Best BBQ Baked Beans ~
with brown sugar

Beef skewers with red & orange bell peppers, pineapple, mushrooms, ham

Yummiest Side Dish Ever!

After our daughter got married, we held a big backyard barbeque for all her friends who couldn't make it to her "destination wedding" in Hawaii. One of our foodie relatives arrived with a pot of baked beans to share, and they were the yummiest ever.

Recently, I talked the chef out of his recipe, and I'm very pleased to pass it on to you. A hearty mixture of six kinds of beans, you can serve them alongside grilled chicken, ribs, or beef skewers (above). If you're looking for a way to fill a group of hungry stomachs over the Labor Day weekend, this side dish will satisfy your guests—and then some!


1 (28 oz.) can Bush’s Baked Beans (original)
1 (28 oz.) can Bush’s Baked Beans (flavor of choice)
1 (15 oz.) can red beans
1 (15 oz.) can black beans
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans
¼ cube of butter
1-½ onions, diced
1 (15 oz.) can whole baby stewed tomatoes
Fried bacon or cooked ham, enough for every third or fourth bite
½-3/4 cup brown sugar
Garlic powder to taste
Salt & Pepper to taste


In a medium pan, sauté onions one third of the way through. Remove from heat when still partially crisp. Combine all the beans in a large stew pot. Melt butter on top, and add all the remaining ingredients. Stir, and simmer for 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

Serves 18-20. Can be made ahead, and frozen in smaller portions if desired.

Photos:  jeffreyw, MatthewStones, lynn.gardner, VeganFeastCatering (Flickr)

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August 20, 2014

Recipe | Peach Shortcake with Gingercream

The Best Fruit of Summer!

OK, I admit it. This one's for me. When peaches are in season, I love to eat
a juicy, ripe one each and every day. My husband likes ice cream with his fresh fruit, but I prefer whipped cream. Either way, "peaches and cream" are
a winner in our house!

We're planning a mid-afternoon patio meal on Labor Day, and peach shortcake seems like the perfect dessert to cap off the outdoor dining season. This yummy Epicurious recipe landed in my inbox today, so I decided to share it with you.

By the way, a lovely variation is pictured in the top photo above. Arrange fresh peaches and gingercream between layers of your favorite white cake, slice, and serve. Bon Appetit! 


2 cups all-purpose flour
13 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup chilled salted butter, diced
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger, divided
1/2 cup ginger ale
3 tablespoons plus 1 1/4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
4 large peaches, halved, thinly sliced


Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, 6 tablespoons sugar, and baking powder in large bowl. Add butter; rub in with fingertips until very coarse meal forms (oatmeal-size flakes). Mix in 1/4 cup chopped ginger. Add ginger ale and 2 tablespoons cream. Toss until moist clumps form. Gather dough into 7-inch log. Cut crosswise into 6 equal rounds... Please click here for the remainder of this delicious recipe.

Photos: chanelcoco872, VeganFeastCatering, Isabelle@Crumb, Isabelle@Crumb (Flickr)

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