Friday, July 31, 2015


The Hawthornes have been enjoying Klondike bars lately.
I started thinking, "I can make these."
"I can make these even better."
And I did!

I'm going with homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
and a homemade Magic Shell coating.

Be advised:  this is a two-day process. 
And it's worth every minute.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
For the chocolate:
4 ounces Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate
2 TB water
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate with the water, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and pour mixture onto a piece of parchment paper.  Spread into a thin layer with an offset spatula.  Freeze until firm, then chop the chocolate into bits or shards and return to freezer until needed.

For the mint chocolate ice cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh spearmint leaves

1 1/4 cups skim milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
pinch kosher salt
4 egg yolks
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
chocolate, from above

Mix the cup of cream with the mint leaves.  Cover and cold-steep/infuse in the fridge overnight.
The next day, strain the cream into a medium saucepan, pressing against the mint leaves to extract as much mint flavor as you can.  Discard the mint.

Add the skim milk, heavy cream and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

In another bowl, whup up the yolks.
Gradually add the hot cream mixture in a small stream to the yolks, whisking constantly. You don't want scrambled eggs.
Return the mixture to the pan, over medium-low heat, whisking the bottom and sides of pan, until the mixture is thickened and registers between 175° and 180°.  Go low and slow.

Refrigerate the mixture until cool. Stir in the vanilla.

Process according to ice cream maker's instructions.

At the last few minutes of processing, add in the frozen chocolate.

Pour mixture into an 8-inch square pan, spread evenly with an offset spatula, cover with plastic, and freeze.

Slice into 16 squares.  Dip the bottom half of each in the Magic Shell Coating.  Let it set and freeze.  Then dip the other half into the chocolate coating.  Freeze.

Magic Shell Coating
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
Nuke the chocolate. Stir until smooth.  Whisk in coconut oil until incorporated.

Yes.  I said cold-steep.  Usually I heat up whatever liquid to a boil, then add in the seasonings, simmer it, then turn it off and let it steep for 30 minutes.  Strain it and use.

Then, I received a most controversial issue of Bon Appétit magazine - the one only the subscribers got.  The cover was a huge Samsung refrigerator ad.  Yes.  You heard me.  Samsung ad.  But, after examination, I realized there was an actual Bon Appétit cover inside if you unplucked the pages.  In so doing, I tore the crap out of the original Bon Appétit cover, which would be on the mags at the supermarkets for impulse buying.  Like someone in the check out lane would look at a cover of a refrigerator handle and say, "Oh, that looks delicious!  I want to make that!"  But I digest.  Sorry.

Back to Bon Appétit magazine.
They just happened to have an article about ice creams - about how it's not just vanilla and chocolate these days, but it's about amped-up, grown-up flavor combinations and custom-designed flavors.

All ice creams start off with a base as a blank canvas.  Typically, it's a sweet custard mixture - milk, cream, sugar, and eggs.  This is the dominant taste in your ice cream but then you can transform the base by adding bitter, salty, or herbal flavors along with other flavors - coffee beans, alcohol, black pepper, toasted nuts, coconut, or cherries soaked in shine, for examples.

All of which brings me back to the cold-steep...  Whatever aromatics you choose to use, you want to infuse.  Cold-steeping takes longer (I steeped my mint overnight.), but it results in a smoother, fresher taste.  Heating can alter the ingredients' flavors, particularly in the case of fresh herbs.

I gave my mint leaves a coarse chop.

Give it a muddle, cover, refrigerate, and steep overnight.

Press on the mint to get all the flavor out.

This custard smells and tastes amazingly minty.

For the chocolate shards,
thinly spread the chocolate mixture, freeze,
then slice into pieces.
Freeze until ready to add to the ice cream mixture.

Can't go back to store-bought.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Hawthornes Create Their World-Famous Caesar Salad.

You haven't had a Caesar Salad 
until you've had the Hawthornes' Caesar Salad.
Yes, people come from miles away for a seat at the Hawthorne table
 whenever we serve our Caesar Salads with homemade croutons.
Caesar Salad Dressing

3 anchovy filets
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 TB Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
1 TB Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 coddled egg
3/4 cup Bertolli Extra light olive oil
1/3 - 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

You can do this with a mortar and pestle or a blender.
I prefer a mortar and pestle.
Pestle the anchovies and garlic in a mortar.
Whisk in mustard, lemon juice, and Lea & Perrins.
To coddle an egg, nuke a cup of water until boiling.
Drop in the egg (the whole egg) and leave it for 1 minute.
Crack the egg into the anchovy mixture and whisk it in.
Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly to get a nice emulsion.

I prefer using Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil 
for my Caesar Salads because it doesn't overpower the dressing,
like some stronger olive oils would do.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Homemade Croutons
1 French or Italian loaf, torn into small pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs

(parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano)
6 TB unsalted butter
2 TB Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
Add in oil and butter.
When the butter melts, stir in the chopped herbs.
Add in the bread pieces and garlic.
Toss to coat and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes.
Turn bread pieces onto a sheet pan in a single layer.
Cook in a 250° oven, tossing occasionally, for an hour.
Turn off oven and leave in the croutons for another hour.

To serve, toss torn Romaine lettuce with the dressing.
Add croutons and additional Parmesan if desired.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Hawthornes Collaborate.

 We're having a lazy Sunday.
Mr. Hawthorne is stove-top smoking baby back ribs.
 Take a sharp knife and remove the silver skin.
The silver skin is exactly what it sounds like.
Rub a mixture of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper,
 and smoked paprika into the meat.
Place in stove top smoker with applewood chips.
Cover and heat to 205°.
Check it at 2 hours.
Should be tender to the bone.

 I made Purple Cole Slaw:
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1/2 peeled carrot, julienned
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp sugar
freshly ground pepper
pinch kosher salt
Mix all together and pour over cabbage and carrot.
Toss to coat.
Let sit in fridge for at least 30 minutes for flavors to meld.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Rosie Makes Berry Good Fruitsicles.

 I'm standing in front of the opened refrigerator,
wanting some food,
and all I see is ingredients.

I see blueberries, blackberries,
strawberries,  raspberries, and a big carton of plain Greek yogurt.
I believe I have the pickin's for a perfect Dessert Storm.
I'm making fruitsicles.

 Rosie's Fruitsicles
 3 cups fresh berries
I used strawberries and raspberries in one set of 'sicles
and blackberries and blueberries in the other.
juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 TB honey or sugar (or combination thereof)
1 32-oz. carton plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
Simple syrup:
1 1/4 cups water
 1 1/4 cups sugar

Make the simple syrup:
Combine water, sugar, and lemon peel
in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil,
 stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Reduce to a simmer and cook 4-5 minutes.
Remove peel and reserve.
Set pan in freezer to cool simple syrup.

Combine berries with lemon juice and sugar and/or honey.
Mince candied lemon peel and add to berry mixture.
Let sit at least 30 minutes to develop the juices.

When the simple syrup is cool,
whisk it and the vanilla into the yogurt.

Place berries and juice in a processor and pulse a few times.

Assemble fruitsicles:
Alternately pour yogurt mixture and berry mixture 
into popsicle molds.
Leave a little room at the top to allow for expansion.
 Be careful peeling the lemon.
You don't want any of the bitter pith (white part).

 After making the simple syrup,
pull out the candied lemon and mince.

Add candied minced peel to the fruit.
  So pretty!

 I wanted just a hint of vanilla flavor.

 Whisk in the simple syrup.

 Fill popsicle molds. 

 And freeze.
This recipe makes enough
for twelve popsicles and ... 
 ... and four popsicle condoms.

 Each popsicle is unique.
You can swirl the fruit into the yogurt.

Or you can just shove it in there.

These were berry, berry good.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Rosie's Late Lunch - Roasted Chicken And Hushpuppies.

 Rosie is forever trying to clean out her freezers.
As in four.
Yes.  You heard me.
Four (4) freezers.

And don't get me started on the refrigerator.
Trying to get anything out of the fridge
is like playing a game of Jenga.

As I've said before, Mr. Hawthorne has issues.
One would think he grew up the youngest of 15 children
and always had to scrape and scrap for himself to find any morsel;
however, that was not the case.
So the constant stocking of the freezers
is just another endearing enduring trait of Mr. Hawthorne.

We have a side-by-side fridge freezer in the kitchen.
In the utility room, ground-level,
We have a refrigerator-freezer -
the style with the freezer on the top. 
And we have two full stand-up freezers.
All three are perched on stacks of concrete blocks,
because, occasionally, we flood down here.

The freezers are all packed.

We buy in bulk, on sale.
The chicken I cooked tonight was 25¢ a pound. 

I have chickens, a turkey, briskets,
pork tenderloins, baby back ribs, country ribs, 
shrimp, scallops, hamburger meat,
chicken carcasses, waiting to be turned into stock,
quarts of beef, chicken, and turkey consommés,  
veal bones and veal stock.
And more shrimp.
Lots of soups, stocks, and bisques.
Mr. Hawthorne even freezes soft shell crabs,
which I will not eat.
"When I want a soft shell,
I want a soft shell," he says.
To me, everything has a "season,"
and frozen is not a season.

Oh, but I do babble on, don't I?
Let's get to the food.
 Ever since NOT watching 50 Shades of Gray,
I've liked to put my chickens in bondage.
I always truss my birds.
There's a reason:
When you close up the open cavity/convection oven,
the breast meat doesn't get dry and overcooked
by the hot air swirling around inside the bird.
And the dark meat is perfectly cooked.

Before cooking the chicken,
I slathered butter between the skin and breast meat
and buttered up the skin.

 Oh yes.
My hens have breasts.

Yesterday, I had fried up some coconut shrimp.
 Doesn't that look good?
I served the shrimp with an avocado cream sauce,
a lemon sriracha aioli, 
and a roasted habanero/pineapple/mango salsa.
It was heaven.

So...  to make a short story long...
I had used oil leftover and I wanted something FRIED.
I started thinking about what fried object I wanted.
I settled on hush puppies, which is really odd,
since I've never cared for hush puppies at restaurants,
So I made the bestest hush puppies ever today.
Rosie's Hush Puppies
 1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup + 2 TB buttermilk 
2 TB minced scallions
Mix all dry ingredients together.
Combine egg and buttermilk
and pour into the dry mixture.
Mix until well-blended.
Drop the batter about two teaspoons at a time,
into 350° peanut oil.
Fry, turning, until golden brown.
About 2-3 minutes.
Drain on paper towels.
Serve with Avocado Cream Sauce,
Lemon Sriracha Aioli,
and Roasted Habanero Pineapple Mango Salsa.

Avocado Cream Sauce
1 avocado
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup sour cream
pinch kosher salt
3 TB milk (Enough to thin out the sauce so it's squirtable.)
Mix well in processor.
Store in squirt bottle.

Lemon Sriracha Aioli 
juice of 2 lemons
4 TB sriracha sauce 2 TB sugar
1 cup mayonnaise
Mix well.  Store in squirt bottle.

Roasted Habanero Pineapple Mango Salsa
6 ounces peppers (I used 1 red bell, 2 Cubanelles, and 3 habaneros.)
6 ounces fresh pineapple
1 mango
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Blacken the skin of the peppers,
then immediately plunge them into ice water.
Rub off the blackened skin. 
 Combine roasted peppers with rest of ingredients in a processor
and pulse until you get the consistency you want.

Little fleck of green scallion in there.
Next time, I'll use 1/4 cup of sliced scallions.
I had some of these the next morning for breakfast,
sliced, buttered, and toasted.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Rosie Makes The Quintessential Summer Dessert.

 For the Fourth of July,
I made the quintessential summer dessert -
homemade peach ice cream and blackberry cobbler.
 Truly, it doesn't get much better than this.

Mr. Hawthorne and I had stopped at Foodlion
and blackberries were on sale.
$1.99 a pint or 2 pints for $5.00!
With a deal like that, I proudly came home with 4 pints.

 Rosie's Peach Ice Cream
5 peaches, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
random Tupperware container of leftover pineapple chunks (optional)
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, with seeds scraped out
2 1/2  cups heavy cream
1/2 cup skim milk

Combine peaches, pineapple, 1/2 cup sugar, and lemon juice 
in a sieve set in a bowl to collect the juices.
Stir and press fruit occasionally, for about 2 hours,
to extract the juice.

In a stand mixer, beat the eggs until light and fluffy,
about 3 minutes.
Gradually beat in 3/4 cup sugar, a little bit at a time.
Beat on high for about 2 minutes.
Pour in cream, milk, and vanilla seeds, whisking to blend.
Add extracted peach/pineapple juice and blend.
Transfer mixture to ice cream maker 
and process according to manufacturer's directions.
When the cream stiffens, add in the peaches and pineapple.
Continue processing until the ice cream is ready.
I ended up with 2 quarts and 1 pint of peach ice cream.

Scrape seeds out of vanilla bean.

Serve with delicious blackberry cobbler.
Blackberry Cobbler

1 1/2 cups flour
6 TB sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 TB chilled Crisco, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 TB ice water, or more if needed

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well-combined.
Cut in Crisco and butter with pastry blender
until a coarse meal forms.
Add in water until you can form the dough into a ball.
Flatten into a disk, cover with plastic wrap,
and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
pinch salt
3/4 cup sour cream 
3 eggs
3 cups blackberries

Whisk sugar, flour, and salt in medium bowl.
Beat eggs and sour cream in large bowl.
Stir dry ingredients into sour cream mixture.
Fold in blackberries.

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/t ts cinnamon
pinch salt
1/2 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes. 

Blend flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in processor.
Add butter cubes, pulsing until crumbly.
Do not over-process.
Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350°.
Press crust dough over bottom and up sides of
a 6-inch diameter skillet.
Pour in filling and sprinkle streusel over top.
Bake until top is golden and center is cooked through,
about 30-40 minutes.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Welcome To Rosie's July Garden.

I'm glad for my glads.

Dainty little columbine (aquilegia).

Stargazer is my favorite lily.
The fragrance overwhelms me.

Oh Sweet Passion Flower with Orange Railroad Lily behind!


Blowing in the wind Black and Blue Salvia.

Laceleaf hydrangea.

Rose o' Sharon.
Althea later!

Gaillardia or blanket flower.



Hibiscus with Black and Blue Salvia.

Tropicanna lily with purple setcreasia.

I like this new color.


Tropicana rose.