Don’t forget! When you head to the new site http://www.thewaytohisheartblog.com you will need to “Follow Me” again! Don’t miss great new updates. There is a lot in store for 2013!
The Way to His Heart has moved to its own domain and has been redesigned to give you all something nicer to look and navigate recipes a lot easier! There are still some tweaks here and there, but for now I hope you enjoy the new look which also features a recipe index and a slideshow showing some great recipes of the past that would work for each season and holiday!
So, after this post the site will be redirected to the new domain but MAKE SURE to resubscribe through the RSS Feed Reader at the new site so you can continue to get emails from The Way to His Heart. There are a lot of great things coming in 2013 for me, The Way to His Heart and in turn You! So, you don’t want to miss out!
If you were busy being a princess, saving the world, or lost in coloring a picture what would make you stop and eat?
Now that I am a mom to my own daughter lots of things my own mother said or did comes back into focus. I start to hear my own mother’s words come out of my mouth and I find myself remembering great times we had and trying to recreate them for my own daughter. My mother and I always enjoyed cooking and dining out together and she taught me to have a healthy appreciation for food. Her food philosophy for adults and children alike was to make food pretty and exciting. It worked and now I am doing the same for my daughter.
Whenever my mom made an after school snack or packed my lunch she prepared it with care and really thought about what I would enjoy. Before the time of Bento boxes and individual packaged condiments my mom would get tiny plastic containers of salad dressing and slice up some colorful vegetables for me. We would have crudites platters that were gorgeous enough for a party, but were simply for my enjoyment.
As parents, we grasp the idea that children are visual learners but somehow we forget that this also includes food. As adults, we pay a lot of money to be served gorgeous looking dishes but we throw some meat and vegetables on a plate for our children and expect them to eat it. Why wait for a special occasion to bring out fun dishes or fanciful straws and napkins? Everyday is special. If you make it festive and fun, chances are they will get caught up in it and try new things. After a few tries they may even like it!
So, no more excuses that your children just don’t like vegetables! Keep serving them to them. Try different ways such as cooked or raw. Use dips such as ranch, nut butters, or hummus. Cut them into fun shapes and give them fun containers to store them in. Have them help you out in the grocery store selecting the best produce and help you prepare them at home. You’ll both have fun!
The Chef & Child Foundation (CCF) and the makers of Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® dressings & dips are partnering to host the second year of Lunch Break for Kids, a national fundraiser to highlight ways for parents and kids to come together with chefs and schools to learn more about how simple, good food can make healthier bodies and stronger family connections.
Visit the official Lunch Break for Kids site to see if there are any local fundraisers in your area.
The Hidden Valley® Original Ranch®, dressings & dips has provided me with free product to help with my review, but anything I receive from Hidden Valley does not affect my thoughts on its company or their product.
Yesterday I traveled down to York, ME and Stonewall Kitchen for Blog Better Boston’s Food Summit. This was a great event specifically for food bloggers. It was a small event, with only 24 blogger present. Everyone from food lifestyle blogs, cooking, and restaurant reviewers were present.
Typically, these conferences are usually far from home for me so I was very excited to have a chance to meet up with some local bloggers. Besides general networking, the food summit held conferences on food styling and photography, restaurant reviews, photo editing, and recipe development. These sessions were fabulous on their own, but add in a tour of Stonewall Kitchen’s factory and offices, photo studio, break sessions sponsored by Au Bon Pain, Wyman’s, and Stonewall Kitchen and a fabulous lunch prepared by Patty Roche and Scott Jones and you have a foodies dream!
Oh, did I mention the amazing swag bags that were given out and the chance to win a few prizes on top of that? It was a good day! If you have any interest in learning more about blogging, food photography, trying to get further in your blogging, etc. you really should check out some food conferences. While national ones are fun, local ones provide a great opportunity to learn so much and create some amazing opportunities for yourself and your blog.
I promised myself to enjoy the day so I only carried my camera phone, but you can still get an idea of the fun! Thanks so much to Blog Better Boston, Stonewall Kitchen, WayFair and the rest of the sponsors for a wonderful day! I look forward to working with you and the other bloggers I met in the future!
Stonewall Kitchen tour led by food stylist Cynthia
Inside the jam factory
Food photography props. I was in heaven 🙂
Entering the photo studio
Stonewall Kitchen’s photographer Michael Cabelin
Dessert being plated by Scott Jones
Dessert being made by Patty Roche
Can we say amazing swag bag??? I “may” have already eaten the absolutely delicious Rocky Road Cookie by Au bon pain on my way home 🙂
Even with only two plants, I have a lot of zucchini around. I’ve been busy baking and cooking, but I want to be able to enjoy some this winter, when good vegetables are hard to come by. So, I’m freezing it and you should too! It’s so easy.
When it comes to zucchini, the bigger they are the more seeds they will have and they wont be as good for side dishes. You can scoop the seeds out after slicing and that help. Or, if the zucchini is 6″ or larger, shred like below and use for baking. No worries about seeds!
First, I wash my zucchini and dry them off. Cut off each end of the zucchini, but leave the skin on. Then, I take out my trusty food processor and use the coarse grater plate. Shred all of your zucchini. Then, I take a bunch of freezer bags and place 2 cups of shredded zucchini into each bag. All of my recipes call for 2 cups so now I can simply remove a bag from the freezer and be ready to go. Lastly, label and date your bag.
When you are ready to use your frozen zucchini, simply thaw it out on a plate and use as directed. Make sure to use any liquid inside the bag as well.
If you want to freeze slices or spears, simply cut them and toss them in a bag. If you want to freeze an entire zucchini you can poke some holes in it with a fork and freeze.
Over the years I’ve seen many chefs use zucchini blossoms and it has sparked my interest. The problem is, they are somewhat difficult to find. You aren’t going to find any in most chain grocery stores and there is usually a limited window when you can find them in specialty stores and farmer’s markets. So this year, I finally planted some zucchini. I’ve never grown zucchini and I prayed they would take. I planted two plants and they are huge after only a month. There are so many blossoms every morning and the fruit that is being produced will keep me busy the next few weeks. After reading what I needed to do with the blossoms and making sure I didn’t hurt future production I went to town picking the flowers. I was so excited to finally get them stuffed with cheese and fried!
So, if you grow your own, what you need to do is pick the flowers from the very thin stalks, those are the males and wont produce fruit. Pick them early in the morning when they are fully opened. Rinse them off and blot with a paper towel and you are ready to get in the kitchen! Remove the stamen carefully, without tearing the flower.
These make delightful bites. There is just something that screams fresh when you have good cheese, a delicate and edible flower, and a light batter. It honestly took my husband a few bites to forget he was eating a flower. My two-year old daughter thought it was exciting to be cooking with flowers. We had them one afternoon sitting around our kitchen, but if the timing is right these will definitely impress your guests! I think next on the zucchini blossom agenda is to try baking them. I made a few blossoms filled with goat cheese, some with mozzarella, and then some with a mozzarella and basil blend and all were delicious!
Fried Zucchini Blossoms
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup club soda
- 1/2 cup goat cheese or mozzarella
- 4 zucchini blossoms
- oil for frying (Peanut is recommended, but we used Canola)
- 1/2 Tbsp basil or any fresh or dried herbs that you like
Heat the oil to 375 degrees F.
Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, pinch salt, and club soda.
Spoon the goat cheese, and any herbs you added, into a piping bag and cut a hole in the bag. Gently fill each zucchini blossom with goat cheese.
Dip each blossom into the batter and then carefully place into the hot oil. Cook until lightly puffed and golden. Remove the blossoms from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Season with salt immediately.
Source: adapted from Anne Burrell
Today is National Ice Cream day so show your pride and either whip up a batch from some of the recipes below or make sure you grab a cone somewhere. Enjoy the wonderful treat that is ice cream!
A classic Chocolate Ice Cream
A twist on a classic, Strawberry Ice Cream with Brown Sugar
An in season treat, Raspberry Chip Ice Cream
My go-to ice cream flavor, Mint Chocolate Chip
My new favorite home-made flavor, S’more Ice Cream
Or some of these other great frozen treats!
I’m on a S’mores kick, if you couldn’t tell. For me it just screams of summer. Ice cream screams summer too and since July is National Ice Cream month, I figured I’d share one of the most delicious ice cream recipes I’ve ever made. Sunday, July 15th, is National Ice Cream day so you have time to make this and give thanks on this special day that means so much to me 🙂
There are shortcuts you can make with this recipe, using lesser quality chocolates or not doing the mix of 60% and 70%, but I strongly suggest using the chocolates listed if you can. If you can’t find them, they are essentially bittersweet chocolate. It will yield a deeper, richer flavor. If you can’t, it will still taste good, I promise! Obviously, the more home-made ingredients you use the better it will taste as well, but if you aren’t up for it go ahead for the store-bought. Don’t deny yourself this decadent treat!
While I haven’t met an ice cream flavor I didn’t love and anytime I order out I always get Mint Chocolate Chip, this is my at-home favorite recipe. Even my husband, who loves ice cream but doesn’t like a lot of “stuff” in his ice cream loves this.
S’more Ice Cream
- 1 qt half and half (or 2 cups heavy cream and 2 cups whole milk)
- 4 oz unsweetened good cocoa powder, about 1 cup
- 1 vanilla bean ( or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 2 oz 70% chocolate, chopped finely
- 4 oz 60% chocolate, chopped finely
- 8 egg yolks
- 6 oz sugar, about 1 cup
To add into ice cream after churning:
Add the cocoa powder to a large, heavy sauce pot that is at least 3 quarts. Slowly add in enough half and half to make a paste. It will be clumpy and a bit difficult to mix altogether at first, but be patient, it will get there. Slowly, pour the rest of the half and half in and mix well with a whisk.
Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scraps the seeds out. Add the seeds and the bean to the chocolate mixture. Heat over medium-high heat until the mixture is scalding.
Take the pot off of the heat and remove the vanilla bean. Stir in the 60% and 70% chocolate. Stir until it is completely mixed. Make sure you mix well, otherwise your chocolate will be gritty. Set aside.
Whip the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. While whipping fast, or on high-speed, slowly pour in the chocolate mixture, tempering the eggs.
Return the mixture back to your pot and heat on low-medium heat, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken and should coat the back of a spoon. This takes about 5 minutes. Do not cook over 8 minutes and do not cook on a higher heat or you eggs will cook!
Pour the batter into a bowl and cover. Allow to cool in the refrigerator overnight.
The mixture should be very thick once cooled, almost like a custard. Process in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, melt the marshmallows in the microwave for about 15 seconds. This is the easiest and least messy way to melt them!
When the ice cream is finished churning, pour half of it into a large bowl that you plan on storing your ice cream. Add half of the graham crackers, milk chocolate, and marshmallow and fold into the ice cream. Pour the rest of the ice cream into the large container and pour the rest of the graham cracker, milk chocolate, and marshmallow in. Fold these extras in as before.
Let the ice cream freeze for a few hours before enjoying.
Source: adapted from Chasing Delicious
Rhubarb compote is more commonly thought of as a means to and end. Which in my case, it will be as you’ll see tomorrow what new goody I’ve made. Rhubarb compote is also great as is, served over ice cream, pavlova, cake, trifle, shortcake, pancakes or waffles, or even served in a Bellini or smoothies.
- 1 lb rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/4″ slices, about 2 cups
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp water
Place the water, rhubarb, and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes until the rhubarb releases its juice and the slices break apart. Stir from time to time to ensure even cooking. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature.
Refrigerate for up to one week. Makes 1 1/4 cup compote.
Source: Food and Style
My father-in-law and I were standing around the dock one day and we talked about how it would be great to make some S’mores. I told him I could make some fresh marshmallows to go along with them. When I said that, his eyes lit up! Why not make them from scratch? I do that with everything else. So, I hit the internet to find a tried and true recipe. Who can go wrong with Alton Brown?
I know I have said this before, but you MUST make these. Even if you only do it once, which I don’t think you’ll ever go back to the packaged after trying these, you must make them! The taste is so so so much better and there are some other added benefits. Obviously, no preservatives and health are always important, but you also get some great soft fluff to eat while you make the marshmallows, they melted wonderfully in hot cocoa, and they don’t seem to get lava hot when you toast them. I am guessing it’s because of the lack of preservatives, but you can toast them and toss them right into you mouth. Every year I always do this anyways and then scream as my mouth burns. With the homemade ones, I could hand one right over to my daughter and have no worries of burning.
Lastly, Snow White approves. Who can say,”No” to Snow White 🙂
- 3 packages unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup ice cold water, divided
- 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- Nonstick spray
Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.
For regular marshmallows:
Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel (or kitchen shears work just as well!) dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
For miniature marshmallows:
Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and dust with the confectioners’ sugar mixture.
Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip. Pipe the mixture onto the prepared sheet pans lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch between each strip. Sprinkle the tops with enough of the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture to lightly cover. Let the strips set for 4 hours or up to overnight.
Cut into 1/2 inch pieces using a pizza wheel or scissors dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Source: Alton Brown, Foodnetwork