Category Archives: Gluten Free
Today’s treat is one of my favorite things. From Heath bars to Almond Roca to English Toffee, anything that combines crunchy caramelized sugar with nuts and chocolate is a favorite treat of mine. There are quite a few recipes out there and I considered many of them, but I went back to a tried and true favorite: the Chocolate-Almond Buttercrunch Toffee by David Lebovitz.
It’s easy and pretty quick. You throw everything in a pot and boil until it is 300 degrees. Watch carefully! I looked away for literally one second when the thermometer registered about 290 and when I looked back, it was almost 310! (p.s. read about my favorite candy thermometer here)
From there, you do a quick pour over some chopped almonds (wear really good mitts to hold the pot; it’s really hot!) and then toss on a bunch of chocolate chips.
After the chocolate melts and gets spread around, the rest of the chopped nuts and a sprinkling of salt is added.
It yields a recipe that is one sided in terms of chocolate, but that’s ok by me. I consider the toffee to be the star and the chocolate plays a supporting role. I made a double batch so that we could give some away as gifts and still feel like we had enough to keep for ourselves.
Don’t forget to leave a comment today to be entered into the giveaway! Do you have a favorite DIY gift idea? Share it in the comments so we can all benefit!
This has been a great year for strawberries. Since they have come onto the scene in late spring, we have bought strawberries every chance we could. Maybe it is because we have been buying organic strawberries almost exclusively, but they have been really flavorful and sweet. The four of us can easily eat a pound in a sitting and it would probably be more, but that’s all I make available at a time. Last week, when there was a sale on organic strawberries at the store, we sorta went crazy and bought 11 quarts.
We ate a lot of them and I froze a lot of them. I also made some Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream.
It was delicious. The balsamic is very subtle, but adds a little savoriness that compliments the strawberries perfectly.
This is the first strawberry ice cream recipe I have tried that cooks the strawberries a bit up front. It releases the juices from the strawberries. I took it a step further by scooping out the strawberries and boiling down the juice a little to concentrate the flavors even more.
This recipe only uses up 1 quart of strawberries. I was contemplating making another gallon of it to store up in the freezer, but jam called to me instead. I’ll show you the jam another. Today, I think you should try making this ice cream. It might change your idea of what strawberry ice cream should be.
Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream
adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones
1 pound (quart) fresh, preferably organic strawberries, stemmed and cut up into 1 inch chunks
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
In a medium sized frying pan, warm the strawberries, sugar, and vinegar over medium heat until the sugar melts. Stir often and simmer for about 5 minutes until the strawberries are very small and there is a lot of juice in the pan. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the berries into a blender. Return the pan with its juices to the stove. Over medium low heat, simmer the juices until syrupy and reduced to 2-3tablespoons. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Then, add the strawberry juice to the blender with the strawberries and pulse a few times to blend and puree.
Transfer to a container and put in the fridge until you are ready to put the ice cream into the machine.
5 large egg yolks
2 cups (16 ounces) heavy cream
1/2 cup (4 ounces) whole milk
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Have ready: a large bowl of ice water with another, smaller bowl inside it that will hold at least a quart and a strainer.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 1/4 sugar until blended.
Heat the cream, milk, salt, and remaining sugar in a medium saucepan until it is quite steamy and the sugar is all dissolved.
Whisking all the while, add the hot milk to the egg yolks one ladleful at a time until all the milk is combined with the yolks. Return the milk mixture to the saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula until slightly thickened. You should be able to draw a path through the mixture on the back of a spoon. This will take just a few minutes, so stir and check often.
Pour the cream through the strainer into the bowl inside the ice-water bath. Using a clean spatula, stir the cream every once in awhile until it is cool. Remove the bowl from the water bath, cover, and place in the fridge until thoroughly cold, at least 6 hours and up to 24.
When you are ready to make the ice cream, pour the cream mixture and the strawberry puree into the bowl of your ice cream maker. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to its directions. Transfer to a container and freeze for an hour or so to let the ice cream firm up further. Enjoy!
Every summer in recent memory, we have been making pulled pork. It’s a relatively simple thing to do and it makes enough to feed at least 30 people for one meal or a family of four for 6-8 meals or a vacation house full of framily for 2-3 meals.
It can be cooked the day before a party, or weeks before a vacation and frozen. This week, we made it, even though we had no party or framily vacation coming up because it just didn’t seem like summer without pulled pork.
We froze some, ate some right away, and gave some away.
The recipe is so simple, it’s hardly wirth writing it out, so how about I just give it to you in pictures?
First, get a large piece of bone-in pork butt or shoulder. Ours was the biggest one at the store at 10 pounds. Rub it all over with your favorite meat rub. We use a recipe by Emeril Lagasse called Rustic Rub, recipe can be found here. The amount is up to you. For our hunk-o-pork, we probably used a generous half cup.
Second, get your grill ready. Light up your coals in a chimney starter and let them get all grey and ashy. Then, dump them all on one side of your grill. If you have a gas grill, I don’t know how to advise you. Maybe light one set of burners and not the other? Place your hunk-o-pork on the side with no coals. Put the lid on with the vents over the meat.
Roast for about an hour. Then turn the hunk.
Roast for another hour. At this point, you can either keep turning the meat every hour until the coals burn out or, if, like us, you waited until after sunset when it was cooler to light up the grill, it will probably be dark now, and you’ll want to finish the pork in the oven. If you keep grilling, just do it for one or two more hours or you might dry it out too much. Take your hunk off the grill and put it in the largest pot you have that will fit in the oven, preferably a dutch oven.
Cover the pot with foil and a lid. Then, put it into a 200 degree oven for 6-8 hours, or overnight, if you’ve started late.
In the morning, turn the oven off, remove the pot and let it cool for awhile until you can handle it comfortably. This will be at least an hour or two. I waited several hours until it was room temperature, but only because I had to go off to VBS for the morning. Take out all of the meat and pile it into a big bowl, leaving the bones and juice behind.
With your hands, shred the meat and mix it up well with at least a cup of juice/drippings from the pot until your are satisfied with the texture. It should not be wet, but should be moist. At this point, we divided out our portions to freeze and eat.
When you are ready to eat, toast some buns, heat up the meat (we just use the microwave, nothing fancy here), pile it on a bun, add your favorite bbq sauce or not, and top with coleslaw or, new for us this time, a yummy shredded veggie pickle. Eat over a disposable plate if your dishwasher is broken or if you just want to. It’s summer on a plate.