Thursday, May 31, 2007

We've got a hot one tonight!

Inspired by the weather, I decided to have a go at homemade frozen yogurt. So first I looked at the Cook's Illustrated recipe for strawberry yogurt, and also at David Lebovitz's vanilla yogurt recipe from The Perfect Scoop. Since all the food bloggers (including me) worship the ground he walks on, I decided to trust David Lebovitz more than Cook's Illustrated and adapted the recipe to make strawberry-banana. And David did not dissapoint. He never does.

This beautiful and thick frozen yogurt was sweet, tangy, and so rich even I could only handle a small bowl. That's saying something.

The banana really added to the creaminess, and balanced the tartness of the strawberries and yogurt. I only added one banana, and it was barely detectable. Next time I will add 2.

It is a really simple recipe, but you do have to think ahead because draining the yogurt takes 6 hours. Plus, if your ice cream maker is like mine then you need to freeze the canister for 24 hours. Then, once the yogurt is made, I like the texture best after it has solidified in the canister in the freezer for about 3 hours.

It sounds so complicated, but its really not so here is the recipe:

3 C drained plain yogurt (start out with 5 or 6 C of yogurt, it
drains down to 3. drain for about 6 hours in a mesh strainer, maybe lined with
cheesecloth. After draining, it will look thick, as in picture.)
C sugar
10 large Strawberries, cold & sliced
2 ripe bananas,
(I used 1, but I wish I had used 2)

Mix drained
yogurt with 1/2 cup of sugar and let sit for 1 hour.

Mix 1/4 C sugar
with sliced strawberries and mash a little with a potato masher. Let stand for a
few minutes and then stick the berries in the freezer for about 15 minutes or
until the juice is starting to freeze so they are nice and cold.

banana with a fork and place in the freezer until you use them, to make sure
they are cold.

Stir yogurt again and make sure sugar is dissolved, then
add it to your ice cream machine (If your machine is like mine, then you'll need
to add it after its already churning).

I added the fruit after the
yogurt churned for a few minutes, but the yogurt is so thick I think it would be
fine to add it from the beginning. Now freeze according to the ice cream machine

Serve it as soon as its done churning if you like it extra
soft, or freeze it for a few hours to let it firm a bit. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The New Old Standby

This is my new standard chicken salad recipe. It is available at , along with a plethora of other recipes. It's a handy resource, too, because the recipes come with the nutritional information (if you're into that. But for this recipe, don't be).

I am without words to describe the tastiness of this salad. The dressing is just right- tangy, with a hint of honey. The celery and pecans add crunch and the grapes (you MUST add the grapes or substitute apples) are essential to the fresh, sweet taste of the salad. Ryan was raving about it- and he's not usually one for chicken salad. I left the celery out of the pictured batch, and it was just as good (or better, in Ryan's opinion). Also, I used canned chicken, which made this salad a cinch to put together. Let the flavors mingle overnight before serving.

1 cup mayonnaise
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
5 tsp honey
2 tsp poppy seeds
sea salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste Salad
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted
2 cups red seedless grapes
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

Prepare the dressing by thoroughly mixing together all dressing ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad. (Can be prepared up to 2 days

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the chicken breasts in one layer in a
baking dish with 1/2 cup water. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes until
completely cooked through. Remove cooked chicken breasts from baking pan, cool at room temperature for 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate.

When the breasts are completely chilled (at least 2 hours refrigerated), dice into
bite-sized pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in pecans, grapes, celery
and dressing.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Wild Rice Chicken Salad

"Tuna salad, chicken salad, macaroni salad? Who the hell cares! It's all just another word for 'mayonnaise'!"

I love all kinds of salads. If I had to choose one food to eat for every meal, it would probably some sort of chicken salad. Mixtures and assortments of foods are delicious, especially when bound by some sort of deliciously high-calorie dressing, be it mayonnaise or not.

This is a new recipe for Chicken Rice Salad that I acquired from Sara at our enrichment recipe swap. Last month's topic was salad, and everybody raved about this one. I think it is pretty flexible, as you could add any leftover vegetable odds and ends or really anything else that strikes your fancy. You could substitute the regular peas for snow peas. Make it without the chicken if you want to. BUT I wouldn't swap out the avocados or the chopped pecans, as they balance a very acidic dressing. When I made it at home, I didn't really follow the measurements for the vegetables and I served it in a pita (though it was also delicious on its own).

* If I remember correctly, this show was forbidden in my house. Somehow I watched it anyway. Sorry Mom. I guess you found the Roseanne family trashy and offensive, but somehow I have remembered this quote for years because to me, it was offensive. How could she insult some of my favorite salads like that? And also, is she right? Because if she is, that means I like mayonnaise a whole lot more than I thought. I'm not a food snob or anything, but that is so trashy.

Chicken and Wild Rice Salad

2 Packets of wild rice mix, prepared according to directions
(the packets I used contained about 2 or 3 servings each)
juice of 1 small
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced

4 chopped green onions
3 oz snow peas
1 diced red pepper
2 avocados
1 C chopped pecans

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T dijon mustard
1/2 t
1/4 t black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 C rice wine vinegar

stir the rice, chicken, vegetables, and pecans together. Add some of the
lemon, but not all as you will add the rest to taste later on. Emulsify dressing
ingredients in a food processor or blender and stir about half of the dressing
into the salad and taste. Add more to taste and allow salad to sit overnight to
allow flavors to mellow and blend. Keep the dressing and lemon juice- you might
want to add more tomorrow.
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