Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Counter Culture

My counters have been busy this week: from the stacks of china and glass to be put away after my daughter's baptism dinner to the mountain of baking on my to-do list, and then the testing of our new ice-cream machine! Yes, we are now the proud owners of a Cuisinart Automatic Ice-Cream Maker!!! This was our first attempt:

The kids decided on mint chocolate chip and we happened to have the chocolate and green chocolate chips to add. We all loved the results and the next night we tried raspberry frozen yogurt -- also very delicious. Making one's own ice-cream means you can control the ingredients, especially the sugar. So far we've been using about 1/3 of the amount called for in ice-cream recipes. No doubt ice-cream recipes will begin to appear on The Cooks Next Door.

Getting my CSA each week is something I really look forward to. I love the challenge of using the vegetables we get.

Here's some of what we've eaten recently:

Swiss Chard -- I made this Swiss Chard Lasagna and it was so good I hope to make it again soon
Kohlrabi -- a relative of the cabbage, I added mine to coleslaw
Peas -- we ate the sugar snaps raw and the boys shelled the shell peas to be steamed for dinner
Cabbage -- we all love coleslaw and that's what we did with our beautiful cabbage
Kale -- I made an amazing Italian sausage, white bean and kale soup which I plan to make again this week
Mustard Greens -- I used these greens in place of spinach in a Greek rice salad
Herbs -- we've been given a lot of "cutting celery" which I've never heard of before. It has the appearance of overgrown parsley but tastes more like celery. I've been using it in salads and as a substitute for parsley.
Basil -- I came home with a shopping bag full of basil and decided pesto was in order. The recipe I found gave options for freezing, which was perfect for me. Seven little jars found their way into the freezer.

(Food Network)
Print this recipe

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts (I left these out)
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in the cheese.

Makes 1 cup.

Last, but not least, the children and I went black raspberry picking in the nearby woods last week. When we got home we made handpies with the berries we found. It made me think of my childhood and the memories I have of berry picking. Hopefully my children will someday look back and remember the fun we had (even though we all ended up being eaten up by bugs!!).


  1. Wow you get SO much in your CSA weekly baggie!! Mine is probably 1/3 of what you get which is good since there's just one of me : P

  2. I have the same ice cream maker, Heather--I got it for Christmas--and I love it! It's really fun to be able to just put fruit juice in and make quick and (fairly) healthy slushies, too. Our favorite ice cream so far is blueberry, made with an egg custard. Not so healthy, but it's a wonderful treat. I used Pioneer Woman's blackberry ice cream recipe, halved, and it worked really well (on her web site, if you want to try it).

    D really enjoyed an unexpected plane ride with M last week. :)

  3. This will probably make me sound inexperienced, but I didn't know you could freeze items in canning jars. What a great idea for pesto! Could you freeze fresh berries in these jars as well?

  4. The Cooks Next DoorJune 29, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    i freeze jam in glass jars...can't think of anything else I've frozen. The important thing is to leave enough headspace for expanding as the contents freeze. and don't put something that is hot in the freezer...cool it in the fridge first. Heather

  5. I was just now looking ofr a pesto recipe. Made it last night for some friends and they loved it!

  6. I really love homemade ice-cream!! I've made a couple recipes with our ice-cream maker like chocolate which was unbelievably rich (made with a custard) but really really easy and also a caramel ice cream with custard, cream and a syrup. all the recipes i've tried so far have been heavenly!! my only problem is i'm too impatient to wait until the ice-cream is properly frozen to eat it!! haha i just love tasting :-D
    I'd really love to see some ice-cream recipes on this blog!! that would be fabulous!! thanks again for all your hard work to make this blog possible :-)
    han xoxo

  7. Here's a great recipe for your new ice cream maker--strawberry buttermilk sherbet from Southern Living. I cut the sugar to 3/4 c. and it was plenty sweet. http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1731461