Thursday, July 30, 2009

gingersnap ice cream

Well that took a little longer than expected. I know that I promised you something decadent to follow the green monster that I subjected you to earlier this month, but in all honesty, my pre-bar exam diet was hardly the stuff great blog posts are made of. It consisted mostly of a constant stream of coffee, takeout sushi, and anything I could sneak past the security guard stationed at the front desk of the library.

With one major exception. When most people get stressed out, they call a friend, or go for walk, or get a massage. Me? I bought an ice cream maker and a copy of David Lebovitz's book The Perfect Scoop. And then I made a batch of his Gingersnap Ice Cream. I'm still a bit dazed from the whole bar taking experience, so I will keep it simple: this ice cream (and the entire book) is amazing. I'm talking drool inducing, diet blowing, make you forget about the stack of flashcards threatening to swallow your apartment whole amazing. In other words, it's a dangerous, dangerous recipe and I need to get rid of all of the leftovers immediately. Just as soon as I finish this bowl.

Gingersnap Ice Cream
From The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

For the Ice Cream:
3 ounces unpeeled fresh ginger
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1 batch speculoos (recipe follows)

Cut the ginger into thin slices, and place the slices in a saucepan. Cover the ginger slices with water, and bring to a boil. After boiling for two minutes, drain the ginger (discarding the water) and return the ginger to the saucepan. Add the milk, 1 cup of the cream, the sugar, and the salt, and heat until the mixture is warm. Cover the saucepan, remove it from the heat, and let the ginger steep for about an hour.

Remove the ginger from the cream-mixture and discard it. Rewarm the cream. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl. Slowly pour a little bit of the warm cream into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. This helps warm the egg yolks up and will keep them from cooking when they are added into the hot cream. Then pour the yolks into the saucepan with the cream. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of your spoon or spatula. Add the last cup of cream, and refrigerate the mixture until it's fully chilled. (Note: David Lebovitz suggests straining the custard before adding the final cup of cream, and chilling the mixture over an ice bath before putting it in the refrigerator. I skipped both of these steps). Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions. During the last couple of minutes of churning, mix in the Speculoos.

For the Cookies:
2 tablespoons salted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1 tablespoon molasses
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice

Preheat oven to 350. Beat the butter and sugar until smooth, and then add the molasses and the egg yolk. In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated. Roll the dough into balls, place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment, and flatten each ball with a drinking glass that has been pressed in granulated sugar. Bake for 7-8 minutes, remove from the oven, and let cool. Break into small pieces before mixing into the ice cream.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

green monster

I need you to go out on a limb with me here.

I want to tell you about a smoothie I've been making lately, but I'm afraid that once I disclose the secret ingredient, you are all going to organize a mob, rush my house, and take away my mixing bowls. Because this smoothie, while sweet and delicious, isn't chocolate covered or caramel coated or topped with whipped cream. It's not decadent, or rich, or creamy. It's not even sugar laden. It's...healthy.

Don't go! Are you still with me? Most of you? I'm sorry but a girl can't live on chocolate chip cookies alone (believe me, I've tried). I have to throw in a little something healthy every once and a while, right? Okay then. Here it goes. Around 5pm everyday, as a break from the endless stream of bar exam flashcards that have become my life, I've been whipping up a little mock-tail made from pineapple, pear and...kale.

Wait! Before you kick me out of your blogging clubs and confiscate my bundt pans, just hear me out. This smoothie is sweet and fruity, and while the kale adds color (and oh does it add color!) it doesn't alter the flavor at all. The nutritional profile? Well that's another story altogether. As it turns out, kale packs quite the nutritional punch. Just one cup of raw kale has over 100% of the daily recommend intake of Vitamin C and over 200% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin A. It's also rich in Vitamin K and Calcium, and it's loaded with antioxidants.

Hello? Is anyone still out there? Did I mention that it's also sweet and delicious? It's sweet and delicious! Sigh. Okay, well, to the two of you left, thanks for listening. I promise to post something sugar laden and creamy in the near future.

Green Monster Smoothie
The inspiration for this smoothie comes from Angela of
Oh She Glows and her green monster movement, and from my favorite drink at Juice Generation here in New York.

1 cup kale leaves, chopped (Note: I discard ribs)
1 heaping cup pineapple, cut into cubes
1/2 pear, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
3 torn mint leaves

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add a few ice cubes, if desired, and continue blending for a full minute. (Even if smoothie looks like it's fully blended before one minute has passed, keep going to make sure the kale is fully

Thursday, July 9, 2009

grilled pizza

Last week when I was in Minneapolis for the 4th of July, Mom and I were in the car on the way home from a shopping excursion when she posed the eternal question: What are we going to make for dinner? "Flank steak salads?" asked mom. I made a face. "Grilled pork chops?" I stared at her quizzically. Had the Starbucks barista spiked the iced coffee she was sipping? Had she gotten into a scuffle over the last pair of gold sandals at the Saks outlet and bumped her head while my back was turned? Because she really should have known better than to think that I would take her up on any of those suggestions. Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not a vegetarian, and I enjoy the occasional cheeseburger just as much as the next girl. But a big slab of unadorned meat is never going to be my first choice for a meal, a fact that is well known to my (formerly vegetarian!) mother.

Since I am a backyard-less and grill-starved Manhatanite, I was more than happy to jump on their barbecue bandwagon. I just wanted to shake things up a bit from the usual meat and vegetables routine, and I wasn't going down without a fight. It was time to play dirty. "We could make grilled pizzas," I suggested casually. Now you have to know one thing about my mother in order to see where I was going with this. She is usually a salad eating, veggie loving, dessert shunning health nut. But if there is one thing that can get her to turn on a dime and drop her culinary plans faster than you can say pepperoni, it's the mere suggestion of pizza. She looked at me, wide eyed. "Grilled pizza? Lets stop at the store."

An hour later, operation pizza was in full effect. "So how do you make grilled pizza anyways?" asked mom as we unpacked our groceries. "You've got me," I replied, "I don't even have a grill." A few Google searches later, and we were in business. We started by rolling out balls of pizza dough into individually sized rounds. You can certainly make your own dough, but Mom and I stopped at an Italian restaurant near our house that sells fresh pizza dough for $2 (gotta love those Midwestern prices!) instead. We were running late as it was, and didn't have time for any culinary disasters. Besides, we had more important things to do, like drink a bottle of Shiraz, watch the sunset over the lake and gossip. After the dough was ready, we brushed one side with olive oil, and placed it oiled side down over the grill, which was set to medium.

Right after the dough hit the grill, it puffed up like this:

Don't worry, Mom whacked it down with her tongs. After about three minutes, we flipped the dough and grilled the other side for about a minute and a half.

Then it was time for the toppings. Each pizza got a healthy portion of diced Italian tomatoes, several slices of fresh mozzarella, and a sprinkling of basil, along with some more olive oil, salt and pepper.
They went into the oven for about five minutes, until the cheese was melted and bubbly, and they came out looking like this:

Now doesn't that look better than a plain old slab of meat? Thought so.

Grilled Pizzas
3 portions pizza dough
1.5 cups diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
1 ball of fresh mozzarella
several basil leaves, chopped
olive oil and salt and pepper to taste

Roll out dough to about an eight inch circle. Brush one side with olive oil. Place oiled side down on a hot grill and grill for approximately three minutes. Brush other side with olive oil, flip, and grill for about 1.5 minutes. Remove pizza from grill, and top with tomatoes, cheese and basil. Drizzle with extra olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for about five minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

{twd} happy 4th of july

Happy 4th of July from the Sweet Tarte Kitchen!
Hope you're celebrating with friends, family, and of course good food!

Pictured above is Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake, last week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection and my family's new favorite dessert. Thanks to Carol of Mix Mix Stir Stir for this week's amazingly delicious (and festive!) pick.

Perfect Party Cake
Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Recipe Available