This is a Thing? Why Did No One Tell Me?

This is a thing? Espresso Martini? Why did no one ever tell me? This sounds awesome. I have a birthday coming up if anyone needs an idea.

Espresso Martini



Frozen Treats: Vanilla and Strawberry Ice Creams

strawberry-ice-cream1 After friends  let me test drive their Cuisinart Ice Cream maker, I bought my own, so I thought it would be a good time to revisit a whole week of frozen treats, which will conclude with the Friday Recipe Exchange. I thought it would be good to start with the basics. The first recipe is for a cream only ice cream and I’ll link to a JeffreyW post that has an egg custard ice cream. Then I’ll add strawberries to it.  These recipes all make 1 to 1-1/2 quarts.

Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 2 cups half-and-halfP12738915
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 3 tsp high quality vanilla extract)

Combine all ingredients (including the bean and its pulp – if you’re using extract, DO NOT add yet) in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to barely simmering, about 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly – remove the hull of the vanilla bean or add extract at this point, stirring in completely. Pour mixture into lidded container and refrigerate mixture overnight to mellow flavors and texture. Freeze mixture in ice cream freezer according to unit’s instructions. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. It will reach a soft serve consistency. Then spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer at least 1 hour before serving.

Strawberry Ice Cream (or really Any Berry Ice Cream)

  • Make the vanilla base (above), cooled overnight
  • 2 cups of chopped frozen strawberries (or any quality frozen berry of your choice)
  • 1 tbsp vodka

ice cream maker Toss strawberries with vodka, stir into the cold vanilla cream mixture. Add to your ice cream maker and freeze according to unit’s instructions. Again it will be a soft serve consistency when done, remove to an airtight container and freeze for 1 hour before serving.

As promised: For an egg custard ice cream, go to JeffreyW’s post here.

JeffreyW makes strawberry ice cream, too

JeffreyW makes strawberry ice cream, too


Originally posted May 2013

Mmm…Cherry Pie

We’ve been watching all the celebrity chefs show off their mad apple pie skilz.  Mrs J was talking about how her Momma could crank pies out like a Mrs Smith’s pie factory, and how she helped as a young lass but for whatever reason she now struggled to make a decent crust.  Last night we watched Alton Brown make an apple pie that looked very good and we paid close attention to the crust recipe he used.

Mrs J noted, when my prodding became more intense, that we didn’t have any apple jack like Alton used.  I remembered reading in a comment thread somewhere that vodka would work as a moistening agent-it had no real taste and did the moistening of the flour just fine without forming any nasty gluten that was the enemy of flaky pie crusts everywhere.  She allowed that vodka would be worth a try but that we had no apples.  I reminded her that this was an exercise in building a crust, and that we did have some canned cherry pie filling.  She finally broke down and tried her hand at a cherry pie.

She used lard for the shortening, along with the butter.  Things proceeded pretty much according to plan, the flour came together in the food processor just as it did for Mr Brown.  She used 6 tablespoons of 80 proof vodka-the only change from the recipe.  The dough was chilled for an hour before she rolled it out.  The first piece went just fine, but the top proved fragile-she had to roll it out again.  It was finally ready to bake.

It spent 30 minutes in a 350 oven covered with foil, then the foil was removed and an egg wash applied to the top.  Back into the oven it went, she boosted the temp a bit, 375 I think at the end.  It spent an additional 45 minutes or more in the oven before we finally took it out.

Mrs J judges it the best crust she has ever made.  I am loathe to argue the point.


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Watermelon Coolers

I was searching for something new and different to do with watermelon.  Found two drinks that sounded refreshing.  I may be trying them this weekend.  Give you an update then.

The first one is from the FoodNetwork:


Watermelon Cooler

  • 1 1/2 pounds (4 cups) sliced seedless watermelon, rind removed
  • 1 cup lemon sorbet
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • Watermelon wedges and mint, for garnish

2 large glasses

In a food processor, blend watermelon, sorbet, and lemon zest until very smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cold water; cover and refrigerate until very cold. Serve over ice and garnish with watermelon wedges and mint.

The next one is a melon cooler with a kick.  Definitely an adult beverage.  I combined several options for this one:

Kicked Up Watermelon-Strawberry Cooler

  • 4+ pounds watermelon
  • 2 lb strawberries, washed and hull all but 6
  • 1/2 cup vodka (more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup Triple Sec (more to taste)
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 wooden skewers

Fine strainer or cheesecloth

    6 glasses and 1 pitcher

    Cut the watermelon in half and make 6 melon balls.   Place one melon ball and one unhulled strawberry onto skewer.  Set aside.

    Remove rind and seeds from the remainder of the watermelon, cut into large chunks.  Puree watermelon and strawberries.  Strain out pulp, add alcohol, 3 tbsp limejuice and fruit juice to pitcher filled with ice, stir.   Mix sugar and 3 tbsp of limejuice on flat plate and dip glass rims in the mixture.  Pour into glasses, garnish with fruit skewers.

    Vanilla Extract

    We’re having fun now.  Don’t remember who got me going on this-IndyLib maybe?  No matter.  Thanks a bunch whoever.  Recipe is simple, three beans per cup of vodka.  Split the beans lengthwise, leave one end intact.  Or not.  Don’t scrape the seeds, scrape the seeds.  It’s all your call.  Vodka seems to be the preferred choice of solvent but a good case can be made for Jamaican rum or brandy.  Grand Marnier has some fans-it seems just a splash will do it plus whatever else you use.  Everclear has gotten the nod before.  Whatever you use it seems that 35-40% alcohol is the target for the liquid so the straight grain alcohol may need to be cut. or not.  LOL


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