Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Double Your Fun.....

We were invited to dinner at my brother's house this weekend and I was asked to bring a side dish to accompany fried chicken. I'd been baking for the past few days with no time to grocery shop, so needless to say there was no recipe involved, but rather a rooting through the fridge and pantry to see what we had on hand.

The result was a creamy, satisfying potato salad with a sophisticated flavor. Although I prefer it warm, it is spectacular served at room temp or cold from the fridge.

There is also a bonus recipe at the end of this post - not to be missed!

Creamy, Warm Potato Salad

28 oz. bag of Baby Red Potatoes
1/2 shallot, minced finely
1/3 Cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. mayo
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (I used chives, green onions and parsley)
Salt & Pepper

Quarter potatoes with skins on and add to pot of cold water.

Bring to a boil and add plenty of salt - lower heat to medium and let simmer until fork tender. Drain and return to dry, hot pot - cover with a kitchen towel and allow potatoes to dry out for a couple of minutes.

In the meantime, make the creamy vinaigrette.

To a large bowl, add the minced shallot, white wine, olive oil, mayo, both mustards, the chopped herbs and a few grinds each of salt and pepper. Whisk together and taste for seasoning - adjust if necessary.

Add hot potatoes to the bowl and combine with the vinaigrette. Serve warm.

Bonus Recipe

Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

After making this salad, I noticed that my jar of Dijon mustard was almost empty - you know, not quite enough to put back in the fridge, but too much to toss.

So it occurred to me that instead of rinsing it out and tossing it in the recycle bin, I could make a quick, easy and delicious salad dressing for later, with the leftover ingredients sitting in front of me - right in the jar!

I added a tsp or so of the grainy mustard, 1 glug of the white wine, 3 glugs of the olive oil, a tsp of the chopped shallot, a tsp of the chopped herbs, a squeeze of honey and salt & pepper into the Dijon mustard jar. I replaced the top and shook, shook, shook.

What resulted was a salad dressing more delicious, and much less expensive, than any of the store bought varieties resting in the door of my refrigerator!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I Scream, You Scream.....

Its the first full day of Spring in New York and its snowing.

I live for Spring - I wait patiently all winter long for that first mild morning when I open the front door and I'm greeted with the music of song birds and a warm breeze, the first signs of life sprouting up in tiny green shoots in my garden, the return of the robin red breast hunting for worms in my backyard.

This morning, however, I woke up, raced to the bedroom window and was assaulted by a swirling mass of snow and the sound of a snow plow making its way down my street.

I figured I could handle it in one of two ways. I could scream to the heavens, go back to bed and bury myself under the covers until noon - or I could make ice cream.

Until last year, my ice cream maker, along with the immersion blender, the juicer and the waffle iron, took up valuable cupboard space with the rest of the house gifts given to us over the past few years. You know those gifts - they're incredibly cool in theory, but you never really use them.

Since I started this blog, I've been breaking them out of exile, one by one and discovering the benefits of these gadgets - and the delicious dishes that can result from a little kitchen help. Make no mistake, any of the recipes I've posted can be accomplished without these electrical wonders. However, not only is it easier with their help, but I may never have attempted some of the recipes without them. Case in point, this scrumptious Coconut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

As evidenced by our cookie shop menu, my family loves coconut. This recipe was inspired by an ice cream I tasted in Florida years ago from a small, family-owned ice cream shop that no longer exists, but the memory of that first taste of hand-made sweet, creamy coconut ice cream will never be forgotten. I haven't found an ice cream yet that lived up to it until now.

This ice cream is a rich and luscious coconut bomb - made even better with dark, bittersweet chocolate shavings throughout. The bitterness of the chocolate cuts some of the sweetness of the coconut and adds a bit of texture.

If you love coconut as much as I do, try this recipe - you may never go back to store-bought. Since I'm suddenly enjoying my new found relationship with the ice cream maker, there will be more recipes to follow......

Coconut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

1 Cup Milk
1 (15 oz) Can Cream of Coconut*
1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 1/2 Cups Sweetened, Flaked Coconut
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 72% Bittersweet)
Pinch Salt

Combine milk, cream of coconut, flaked coconut and salt in food processor or blender. Mix thoroughly.

Stir in cream. Pour into container of ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. I let my ice cream maker run for 30 minutes for a perfect consistency.

Transfer ice cream to a large bowl and stir in chocolate.

Transfer ice cream to container and store in freezer. I use a plastic take-out container for this.


*Make sure to use Cream of Coconut and not coconut milk. You can find it in the mixers aisle of your supermarket with the brand name Goya or Coco Lopez.

For the chocolate, use what you like - milk or bittersweet, chips or chopped from a bar. My preference for this recipe is a 72% bittersweet bar, chopped up finely.

Don't forget to freeze the inner chamber of your ice cream maker overnight before making ice cream.

Don't forget the little pinch of salt - it sounds unusual, but it really brings out the flavor of the coconut and adds depth to the finished product.