Sunday, July 31, 2011

Double Chocolate S'Mores Bars

I brought these to a friend's party this weekend:
Lishie's Double Chocolate S’Mores Bars

  • 1 & 1/2 sticks Butter, @ room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups crushed honey graham crackers 
  • 1 cup crushed chocolate graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips*
  • 3 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
Pre-heat oven to 350°, grease or spray 13x9x2-inch baking pan (or two, 8x8 brownie pans). 

Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together both flavors of crushed graham crackers, flour, and salt. Stir the graham cracker mixture into the butter/sugar/egg/vanilla mixture. Should become one, big crumbly clump.

Press about 1/2 cup or more, if needed, of the graham cracker mix over the bottom of the greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Sprinkle half (1 cup) of the chocolate chips on top. Sprinkle 3 cups of the mini marshmallows on top. Crumble, by hand, the rest of the graham cracker mix on top. Sprinkle last 1/2 cup of the mini marshmallows on top and finally, sprinkle the rest (1 cup) of the chocolate chips on top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until brown.

<3 Lishie

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Violet, your turning... Violet!!!

Sometimes things simply work out in the strangest ways. For instance, let me tell you about my BLUE, blue day. I had been tossing this recipe around in my head for a week, excited to make it... but I needed the KEY ingredient... BLUEBERRIES.  Well, today I took my toddler to his first movie intending on seeing Winnie the Pooh on the big screen & lo & behold, the theatre had the times wrong on their web-site so we traded Pooh for the Smurfs. OK, first "blue" hint of the day... Can I tell you I laughed so hard because Smurfette exclaimed, "It's Smurf-Lish!" at one point in the movie?! HA! Anyway, I digress... After the movie we had to make a stop at a store. Coming out of this errand, parked in front of us, was a very gregarious man who as it turned out was a war Veteran. He was simply going into his truck to get something as I was buckling Gabriel into his carseat... Well, said man handed us FRESH BLUEBERRIES!!! <<How could he have KNOWN?!>>> He had just travelled up from a South NJ farm & had a case of the fruit. Said there was no way he could eat them all himself so this stranger, quite sweetly, gave us some!!! Ahhhh... What a nice thing! Well I am "paying it forward" with this delicious ice cream recipe! I've also entered it in a contest as a DeLish original creation!

Blueberry Buckle Ice Cream

Blueberry Juice:

  • 3/4 cup fresh Blueberries, washed
  • 1/4 cup Ocean Spray Blueberry Cocktail (or Apple Juice or Water)
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
In a medium sauce pan, on low, combine the blueberries, juice & sugar. Cook, mixing every couple of minutes, until the blueberry juices run. Strain the juice with a strain KEEPING the blueberries for the next step. Allow to cool, then refrigerate the juice.

Buckle Crumb:

  • 1/4 cup AP Flour
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 TBSp Butter, cold
  • *Leftover blueberries from above
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, mixed together the flour & sugar. Add/cut in the butter, using a pastry cutter or fork. Fold in the blueberries leftover from above. Place in an oven safe dish & bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then refrigerate.

Ice Cream:
Make sure refrigerated ingredients are very cold
  • 1 & 1/2 cups Milk
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Condensed Milk
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Blueberry Juice (*from above)
  • Buckle Crumb (*from above)

Ice Cream Foundation: In a large bowl, whisk together the milk & sugar until they are fully incorporated. Whisk in the condensed milk & cream, vanilla, cinnamon & salt. Once everything is combined, pour the batter into the prepped ice cream machine. Allow the ice cream to semi form, then add the cold blueberry juice. Allow it to incorporate, then add the buckle crumb & allow it to mix in. Follow manufacturer's directions to finish the formation of the ice cream, then freeze. 

This is a simply amazing ice cream. Do try it- it really highlights the blueberries & it is a gorgeous color violet!

<3 Lishie 

    Friday, July 29, 2011

    SUGAR Ice Cream CONES

    I have been working on this for a couple of weeks now & I really like the consistency, finally, & the taste of this recipe! Oh... & the amount this produces ~ 2 large cones OR 4 smaller ones. It's little effort to make these (trust me!) & the freshness of homemade cones along with the lessened amount of sugar than store-bought makes it surely worth it. The "cone" shape is not perfect BUT who cares?! It tastes delicious. And mine seem to remind me of connoli which, hey is not a bad thing...

    OR she them carefully into a small bowl 
    OR break it up into pieces onto the ice cream 
    OR fancy it up & simply Stick a much smaller disc-shaped Conecookie into the ice cream :) 

    Trust me- this makes for a yummy addition to your ice cream.

    Lishie's Homemade Sugar Cones
    1/4 cup + 2 TBSp Sugar
    1/2 cup AP Flour
    1/2 stick Butter, melted
    1 tsp Vanilla
    1/4 cup Water

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    Place a silicone mat (or parchment paper) onto a cookie sheet. Set aside.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar & the flour. Slowly drizzle the melted butter into the sugar/flour mix while whisking until incorporated (a little clumpy). Continue whisking while adding the vanilla, then slowly adding the water until incorporated. Should be slightly thickened & smooth.

    If making 4 small cones:
    Ladle four small circles of batter onto the prepped baking mat & smooth them out into larger circles with the back of the ladle, COMPLETELY apart from each other. 

    If making 2 large cones:
    Ladle two large circles of batter onto the prepped baking mat & smooth them out into larger circles with the back of the ladle, COMPLETELY apart from each other. 

    Bake at 350 degrees until the edges brown deep & the middle is no longer batter, about 10-15 minutes. 

    Allow to cool for 1 minute then slowly, using an offset spatula, "roll" the flat cookie into a cone shape. Insert into a glass to cool & form.

    If making bowls, slowly "form" a "bowl" over the lip of an inverted glass. Allow to dry. 

    Add your favorite ice cream (try my Earl Grey or Chai) & ENJOY!!!

    <3 Lishie

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Cantaloupe Spritzer

    Just in time I get a Cuisinart newsletter today. Why "just in time" you say? I had a very ripe, entire cantaloupe waiting for me on my kitchen counter & needed to eat it fast or, in this heat it would have spoiled. Well that email contained Cuisinart's recipe of the month: 

    Cantaloupe Cooler
    from Cuisinart
    For the cantaloupe syrup

    • 1 cup cantaloupe chunks (rinds removed)
    • 1/2 cup sugar

    For the cantaloupe cooler

    • 3 tablespoons cantaloupe syrup
    • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
    • 1 mint leaf, plus another for garnish
    • Freshly opened bottle of seltzer, to top off the glass

    To make the cantaloupe syrup, place the chunks of fruit into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to coarsely chop, then let machine process until it becomes a smooth puree, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into a saucepan and stir in the sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute more, until all the sugar has dissolved. Skim foam from top, set aside and let cool.

    Strain cooled cantaloupe syrup to remove foam and "sediment". You should be left with a 1/2 cup of syrup. Transfer to a covered container and chill it in the refrigerator (this step may be made up to one week in advance).
    Fill an 8-ounce glass with ice. Add all the drink ingredients, and stir until mixed well. Top off the glass with seltzer, about 2 ounces worth. Garnish with a mint leaf, if desired.

    This spritzer was oh so refreshing & delicious!!!! I can see myself freezing & making popsicles out of it too! It was the perfect thing in the middle of summer. YUM.

    <3 Lishie

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    Bubble Up Pizza

    Need something really quick, easy & fun? Well then, this is it! It's a Pull-apart pizza!!!  This idea, adapted from Pass the Sushi seemed perfectly yummy to try! My stars, it was tasty & oh so simple. We can add this one to my little list of "convenience" dinners. CHEEEEEZE

    Bubble Up Pizza

    • Store bought pizza dough- easiest is 1 can of Pillsbury
    • 1- 1 & 1/2 cups Marinara Sauce
    • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
    • 1 cup Topping (Optional ~ pepperoni, sausage, veg, etc.)
    • Basil, chiffonade

    Cheesie Goodness
    Preheat oven to dough package's instructions (350 degrees). Grease or Spray an oven~proof saute pan. Set aside.

    Pop the can of dough. Without rolling it out, cut the dough roughly into pieces. place the pieces in the pan. Pour the sauce into the pan, over the dough pieces.  sprinkle on the cheese & topping if using... Toss all of it around to mix, then add the basil.

    Place in the oven & bake according to the dough packages instructions + an extra 10 minutes. Take out & allow to cool... Pull it apart!!!

    <3 Lishie

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Key West Creamsicle

    The Florida Orange
    Do you do what I do when enveloped in a sweltering heat (or snowed in for that matter)? Daydream of good times, feeling cooler… escapes that made you happy? I have so many good trip memories.One is a trip with my siblings to Key West. It was humid & hot~ Florida weather~ meant to be that way. Instead of watching the sun set at the Mallory Square Dock, we sipped cocktails & watched it from the rooftop of the Crown Plaza Key West~La Concha. This is the wonderful frozen drink I lazily nursed that night. I brought home the memory & recreated the recipe. Not sure exactly what the bar used but I spied the Vanilla Stoli & it’s sacrilege to drink anything but fresh-squeezed Florida oranges ;) Minus the alcohol, this is also fantastic! So the children can love it too.

    Key West Creamsicle
    • 1 cup Orange Juice (freshly squeezed, of course!)
    • 1 cup Vanilla Ice Cream (or frozen Yogurt)
    • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
    • 2 oz. vanilla (or plain) Vodka
    • 1 cup Ice
    Blend everything together. Garnish with an Orange slice (& a Pink Flamingo drink mixer if you just happen to have one, ha!)

    <3 Lish

    Dark Chocolate dipped Pretzels

    Happy anniversary to me! & to my hubby :) (& to all the newly wedded couples in NYC! Woohoo!) It's still extremely hot in the Northeast & I have been taking it easy the last two days. Have some new things to try this week but tonight, I made a fun, yummy, extremely EASY snack for my hubby & I to munch on while watching tv... It's semi-healthy~ Dark Chocolate... pretzels... & it also makes for a fun gift! Make up little boxes on them, place a bow on & you'll have very happy recipients!!!

    Dark Chocolate dipped Pretzels

    • Pretzels
    • Dark Chocolate (I used a bag of Dark Chocolate chips)
    Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler until smooth & completely melted. Dip the pretzels into the chocolate halfway then lay them individually on parchment paper. Allow to dry fully. 

    *Lishie tips~ So, now that you have this idea, get creative!!! Dip marshmallows, chips, Dried fruit, nuts, etc! The possibilities are endless. YUMMMM

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Garden Tomato–Zucchini Tian

    We love fresh veggies & always have an abundance of them (never mind the fact that my father in law grows them too!!!) And herbs ~ a Summer Bounty! So I am always looking for ways to make them to showcase a variety at the same time outside of a salad... Tian's are perfect because they are so pure~ the cooking process simply brings out the intense, true flavors of the veg & allows a few different varieties to marry in the baking dish. I recently saw this recipe from Saveur which, along with my father-in-law's gorgeous tomatoes, plus,  reminded me to make one... It was delish! Use it to top some pasta & you have a delicious vegetarian meal or go ahead & have it as a side.

    Saveur promises: 
    "This beautiful dish "speaks" summer, using vegetables just plucked from the garden. Fresh herbs enhance its simplicity."
    & delivers!

    Tomato–Zucchini Tian

    Adapted from SAVEUR
    • 1 medium eggplant, peeled & sliced 
    • Salt
    • 1 large onions, peeled & sliced
    • 1 clove garlic, peeled & minced
    • 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally
    • medium yellow summer squash, sliced diagonally
    • 2 ripe large tomatoes, sliced
    • 4~6 fresh basil leaves 
    • 1⁄2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano (optional)

    1. Cut eggplant in 1" slices, sprinkle with salt, & place in a colander. Drain for 30 minutes, then pat dry.
    2. Cook onions and garlic in 3 tbsp. of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium baking dish. In the same skillet, cook eggplant in 2–3 tbsp. of the olive oil until tender and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, and stir into onion mixture.
    3. Preheat oven to 400°. Arrange zucchini, squash & tomatoes in layers with eggplant. Place in the basil, on the sides, drizzle with remaining oil, season with salt & pepper, and bake 30–40 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, if using, and serve.

    BTW~ Have I mentioned that if a recipe even mentions cheese as "optional", it's always a must for me? ;)
    <3 Lishie

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Spinach~Cheese Tortellini with Basil~Balsamic~Brown Butter

    The heat wave continues in the northeast. That, combined with an abundance of fresh, in~our~garden~grown basil & plans to see the free band at the local park tonight, all conspired to come up with this meal. It's quick, on the stove top, easy & delicious!

    I got home from work, cooked this up & we were out the door in no time. The night was beautiful- a cool breeze flowed from the water as we listened to the R&B band. My toddler had some playground time & dancing time. We had Mr. Softee for al fresco dessert. 

    Life can be simple. Simply beautiful.

    The pictures do not show the sauce very well but yummmmm... it's tasty. No matter how hot these summer days are, you will not hear me complaining. I love the summer. I especially love summer's bounty from the garden. It helps elevate the convenient, store-bought, refrigerator fresh pasta to something special.  

    <3 Lishie

    Spinach~Cheese Tortellini with Basil~Balsamic~Brown Butter 
    • 1 Package of fresh, refrigerated, store-bought Spinach Tortellini (I use Buitoni)
    • 6 TBSp unsalted Butter
    • 1/4 tsp Salt
    • 1/4 tsp Pepper
    • *small handful fresh Basil leaves
    • 1-2 TBSp Balsamic Vinegar
    • grated Parmesan Cheese to top

    Prepare the tortellini according to the package instructions.

    Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat until it begins to brown. Add in the basil leaves. Cook for a minute more. Turn off the heat & allow it to cool for a moment. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, s & p.

    Pour the buttery sauce over the tortellini & top with fresh, grated parmesan cheese. ENJOY!

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Too hot for Earl Grey? Nope!

    I love Earl Grey tea. Even in the summer, I love it but it has been extremely hot the last two days. So hot that even after a shower, 6 am is HOT. So hot that you can feel the heat underlying & undermining the air conditioner. So a cuppa tea has not been an option.

    Well on my walk yesterday, I passed one of the many gourmet food trucks that have appeared in NYC recently... this one, an organic ice cream truck. Lo & behold, one of the flavor options was EARL GREY!! Yay, music to my mouth... cold, refreshing, delicious. Hmmm, I thought, I can make it at home! And make it the way I love to have it... with "milk" & honey. I also brought out the citrusy bergamot always at the heart of the Earl Grey flavoring with a splash of fresh lemon juice. 

    This was the perfect cup of summer tea. And the perfect ice cream. The perfect ~ dessert. Perfection. Sigh.

    Earl Grey Ice Cream

    • 1 cup Earl Grey (*preparation below)
    • 1-2 TBSp Honey
    • 1 TBSp fresh Lemon Juice
    • 1 cup Heavy Cream
    • 1/3 cup Sugar

    *Earl Grey prep~ I made mine in the Keurig/K-cup on the most concentrated setting. Or you can use 2-3 tea bags steeped in 8 oz. hot water for 5 minutes.

    Prepare the Earl Grey tea. Mix in the honey & lemon juice. Allow tea to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, pour the cream into the ice cream maker. Slowly add the sugar. Allow to mix for 10 minutes, then add the cooled down tea. Keep ice cream maker on for another 20 minutes (or until softly frozen, then place in the freezer.

    Serve & ENJOY! Makes 2 large servings or 4 small servings.

    I always find a way to make what I love most!
    Inspiration's everywhere.
    <3 Lishie

    Also go ahead & try my Chai Ice Cream!

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Peanut Butter ~ Fluff Bars *Original Recipe

    This cookie bar was inspired by the "old school" sandwich ~ peanut butter & fluffernutter...  I had my first at a friend's house- Felecia's because her parents were cool. We were all of 7 & having "dessert" for lunch! It was awesome. I still love to get one once in a while at the Peanut Butter Co. in the Village (NYC) for lunch. Now it is definitely a treat because I still feel like it's more candy than "food". Ha ha... And still being on my cookie bar kick, I came up with this, wanting to use up the last of my marshmallows. Marshmallows are the equivalent of Fluff so... that is where I got the idea for these:

    Lishie's Peanut Butter ~ Fluff Bars

    • 1 & 1/2 sticks Butter, @ Room Temperature
    • 3/4 cup Sugar
    • 2 & 1/2 cups Nilla Wafers, processed into "flour"
    • 1 cup AP Flour
    • 1/4 tsp Salt
    • 3/4 cup Peanut Butter (I used creamy, natural)
    • 1/2 cup White Chocolate pieces
    • 1 cup + Mini Marshmallows, divided 
    • 1/4 cup  Milk Chocolate pieces*

    * I used Hershey's Kisses.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9'x9" pan with parchment & flour/grease it. Place it aside.

    Mix together the butter & sugar until combined. Add in the nilla wafer crumbs, flour, salt & peanut butter. Fold in the white chocolate & half the marshmallows. 

    Spread half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepped pan. Top with the chocolate pieces (sprinkle them on) & some marshmallows. Firmly push them into the bottom layer with an offset spatula (or butter knife)... Then layer the rest of the mixture on top, firmly patting it down to combine.

    Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Slice, serve & ENJOY!

    Yummy, chewy, sticky goodness in a cookie bar form! Go ahead, add more chocolate or marshmallows! Or spread a little jelly on top of one! ;) You know you want to! They are gooey & just may bring you back too!
    <3 Lish

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Homemade Strawberry Lemonade

    I had a hankering today for some lemonade & not the sugary yellow stuff in the canister. Real lemon juice was what I needed. Perfect for the Sunday family BBQ in this Northeastern heat. So I grabbed some lemons... & made my strawberry lemonade:
    Strawberry Lemonade

    • 1 cup freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
    • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar 
    • 4 cups cold water
    • 1/4 cup sliced Strawberries
    • Additions: Crushed ice, thinly sliced lemon & strawberry pieces
    • Optional: Fresh mint or Basil Leaves

    Combine the juice, sugar & water in a pitcher & stir very well. Add the strawberries & muddle them*. Stir again. Add ice, thin slices of lemon, strawberry & the mint or basil.
    Serve & Enjoy!

    *Muddling means to combine by crushing or mashing the ingredient into the drink. 
    *The Confectioner's sugar dissolves quickly into the acidic coolness of the lemon juice.

    There is nothing like the smell of lemon. It's clean & refreshing at the same time. I love the way my hands smell after juicing them!

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    "Take 5" Pretzel Bars

    Inspiration, for me, comes from everywhere. Which can be a problem when one has just spent a good amount of time in Hershey, Pennsylvania, "The Sweetest Place on Earth". Indeed it is. Chocolate scent wafts through the air. It's in the hotel shampoo... in the air system, the candles... Ahhh deliciousness. But, for me, it is also as if I am baking~ the sent fills me with, well, fullness. I love it. 

    If you get the chance, visit Hershey. It's not all about chocolate. It was built on chocolate & Milton S. Hershey was a wonderful man. I have a slight crush on him. He was a good man. No scandals. And he gave back, a lot. He & his wife couldn't have children so he provided for orphans. Schooling was extremely important to him. & to me. The Hotel is a dream. The Lodge has all of the amenities you could ask for~ Outdoor/indoor pool, restaurants, mini golf, tennis court, game room, gym room, Children's activities, meet & greet with the characters, shuttle buses to amusements. It's wonderful. And then there's the amusement park/water park, the zoo, the gardens, the museum, trolley tours... Go! Oh oh oh... yes, there's the food, the CHOCOLATE. It is everywhere. EVERYWHERE... 

    Hershey has a new candy item out~ the "Take 5 Bar". Five layers... Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Caramel, Pretzels, Peanuts. YUM. It was exactly what I needed the last day there... I wanted something salty, rather than all chocolaty. And it gave me an inspiration for a dessert to take to a BBQ this weekend~ My Take on the Take 5 Bar... Here it is...

    Lishie's "Take 5" Pretzel Bars

    • 1 & 1/2 Sticks Butter, Room Temperature
    • 2/3 cup Sugar
    • 1 Egg, Room Temperature
    • 2 & 1/2 cups Pretzels, food processed
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • Topping
    • 1/2 cup Chunky Peanut Butter (Or 1/2 cup Smooth Peanut Butter + 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped)
    • 1 cup Chocolate pieces*
    • 1/4 cup Caramel pieces (or Milk Duds, halved)
    • Caramel Chunks
    • 1/4 cup Pretzel pieces
    *I used fresh from the Hershey factory mini-mini chocolate bars & cut up Kisses! 

    Pre-heat oven to 350°, line a small, sided cookie sheet with parchment paper.

    Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until combined. In a separate bowl, mix together crushed pretzel flour & AP flour. Stir the pretzel mixture into the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Should become one, big crumbly clump. Press all of the lumpy batter into the bottom of the cookie pan evenly.
    Mad Baker @ work :) Earl Grey on hand.
    With an offset spatula (or butter knife) thinly spread the peanut butter over the pretzel batter base. Sprinkle the chocolate, caramel & pretzel pieces on top if the peanut butter & lightly pat them into the peanut butter.   

    Bake for 20-25 minutes or until caramel & chocolate is completely melted & gooey. Allow to cool completely. Cut into squares & ENJOY! 

    <3 Lishie

    Before entering the oven...
    Freshly out of the oven...
    Pretzel "Flour"