Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday dessert: Gingerbread with cream cheese icing and spiced vanilla ice cream

I am very excited to try this dessert tonight, we are having Ryan's parents over for an early Christmas get-together.

Spiced Vanilla Ice Cream

2 large eggs
3/4 c sugar
2 c heavy cream
1 c milk
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 tbsp freshly grated cinnamon
1 tsp dark rum

With your stand mixer on high, whisk the eggs for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Slowly incorporate the sugar, a little at a time, and mix for 1 minute more. Turn the mixer to low and add the cream and milk, mix for 1 minute. Add the vanilla bean scrapings, extract, spices and rum, and mix for 2 minutes. Transfer to the ice cream maker of your choice and freeze for at least 1 hour to set the ice cream.

GASP! I made the gingerbread from a box. The horror! I just don't have time to make it from scratch today.

The cream cheese icing is here, just cut the recipe in half if you are using an 8x8 pan for the gingerbread.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mulled wine

Careful, this concoction will sneak up on you and can lead to headaches the next day!

-2 bottles of inexpensive red wine (we used merlot and tempernillo)
-1 c raw sugar
-1 large orange, cut into sixths
-12 whole cloves, stuck into the peels of the above orange
-5-6 cinnamon sticks, bundled together
-4-6 tbsp of whole mulling spices (star anise, mace, nutmeg, etc), tied in cheesecloth or some other sort of infusing device

Combine all ingredients together and bring to a simmer in a crock pot. Reduce heat to low and serve with cinnamon sticks.

Coconut-rum poached pears

This isn't a make-ahead dessert, but it really is a crowd pleaser! I actually made this for a small dinner party last weekend, and sort of hung out with my friends while I stirred the sauce. Serve warm over vanilla ice cream for a "fancy" dessert!

Note: we make our own coconut rum "for funsies", and it's super easy. Buy a coconut a drill a small hole in the top. Pour out the milk and fill the coconut with about a cup of dark rum. Plug up the top and refridgerate for a week. Strain out the rum through a coffee filter and revel in the yummy!

-1/3 c coconut rum
-1/2 c pear juice (I used "pear nectar" from the Latin foods aisle)
-2 tbsp sugar
-3 large pears, cored and cut into wedges
-1 tbsp butter

In a large sautee pan, combine the rum, pear juice and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the pears, cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the butter to the pan and boil the sauce for at least 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced to a syrup. Kill the heat, toss the pears back into the pan to warm them up, then serve!

Thanksgiving leftovers: Shepherd's pie

This is a tomato-based recipe, instead of a typical beef-broth one.

-4 tbsp olive oil
-1 c onions, finely chopped
-1 c carrots, diced
-1/4 tsp creole seasoning
-1/4 tsp garlic salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1/4 tsp thyme
-1 tbsp flour
-1 small can of tomato paste
-2 1/2 c leftover turkey, shredded into small pieces
-1 1/2 c chicken stock
-1 small pkg peas (frozen or fresh)
-4 c mashed potatoes
-3/4 c shredded cheese

In a large Dutch oven, sautee the olive oil, onions, carrots, seasoning, salt, pepper and thyme over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until onions are very soft. Add the flour, cook 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, cook 1 minute. Stir in the turkey, then add the stock and bring the pan to a boil. Stir in the peas and simmer for about 6-10 minutes, until the mixture is thickened.

Cover evenly with the mashed potatoes, then sprinkle on the cheese. Baked uncovered in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. If the top isn't brown and bubbly at the end of the 25 minutes, broil for about 2-3 minutes. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.