I’ve barely even started this post and it already feels great to be back. Sorry for the silence over here. You know how the end of year goes with deadlines, holidays, traveling…etc. etc. etc (awesome, but busy). I also have to admit that I was feeling a little discouraged about my posts lately – my iPhone photos were pathetic compared to those in the 103 other food blogs that I subscribe to on Google Reader (why is every great cook also a great photographer? I must be missing a gene). But thanks to my wonderful parents who gifted me an uber fancy new camera for the holidays (thanks mom and dad!) I have no more excuses. The only problem: I still know very little about photography. Fortunately, the new camera plus my love of all things food gives me a great excuse to learn more and continuously improve my skills both in the kitchen and when it comes to photography. So please stick with me as I play with my cool new toy and hopefully get better with every meal that I make.
If you’re looking for some foodie inspiration, here are some links to delicious dishes I’ve cooked in the past month:
The Barefoot Contessa’s Perfect Roast Chicken
The Barefoot Contessa’s Lentil Vegetable Soup
Annie’s Eats Classic Mac and Cheese
Annie’s Eats Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls
Martha Stewart’s Pork and Green Bean Stir-Fry (I also added red bell pepper and cremini mushroom and made it in my brand-new wok from Robert!)
One of the gifts I gave Robert for Christmas was a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. But really, the gift was for both of us—it lives at my place and will give me the opportunity to make lots of great ice cream and frozen yogurt recipes with high-quality ingredients. And, well, Robert loves cold white stuff (just never served a la mode on a warm dessert…don’t even get me started on that one!)
For our very first homemade ice cream experiment we decided to play it safe with vanilla bean ice cream. However, since we both love a rich vanilla flavor with plenty of vanilla bean specks, we decided to double the number of vanilla beans in the recipe. It was a great choice! If you’ve never made homemade ice cream before, I highly recommend getting yourself an ice cream maker – it’s not too expensive, comes in cool colors (ours is red!) and it’s so quick and easy to make. Plus, you can’t beat the flavor—you can literally taste every single ingredient (there are only a handful) in every bite that you take.
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (use the best kind you can–it’s pricey, but it makes a difference)
2 vanilla beans
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the cream with the sugar and salt. Scrape the seeds from both vanilla beans and add one of the beans to the pot (discard the other one). Heat over medium-heat and stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream, milk, and the vanilla. Place a cover on the pan and refrigerate until chilled (about 30 minutes). Discard the vanilla bean from the mixture and proceed to make the ice cream following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Adapted from Annie’s Eats