Saturday, May 16, 2009


Unfortunately their season is short, but we have been enjoying the strawberries a whole lot lately!
We go pick them at the strawberry farm and that is as fresh and local as one can get. They are delicious, juicy, red, and soooo sweet!
I love them just as they are, have been enjoying bowlfuls of the berries for breakfast, but there are also a few recipes that both the husband and Matheus request and so they appear year after year in our kitchen during strawberry season!
Truly, this year the one new recipe I made was Strawberry Ice Cream, which turned out not only delicious but had the most gorgeous and natural color I have ever seen on a strawberry ice cream!
It was so good though that we ate it all in a couple of days and I even forgot to take pictures... so, this will be one of the few posts without a recipe photo, but you can imagine how strawberry ice cream looks like, right?!!
And, to make up for that here some of the other recipes I have already made this past few weeks with our juicy red gems:

Strawberry Muffins (Matheus and the Husband love these muffins!)

Strawberry Tart
(This is the Husband's favorite! And my sister's too!)

Strawberry Bavaroise
(This one is strawberry creaminess at it's best, it's my favorite!)

There are other recipes in the blog archive, such as strawberry bread and pancakes with strawberry sauce, which I have made too this year already, so take a peek there and see what other goodies you can find!
Here goes the ice cream recipe, it is so easy and so good! Gotta love ice cream season!

Strawberry Ice Cream
(adapted from the book From Your Ice Cream Maker)

3 cups fresh strawberries, clean and stemmed (or 16oz/500g frozen strawberries - unsweetened) I used three heaping cupfulls of strawberries and my ice cream had an intensely awesome fruity flavor!
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cups sugar (use more or less depending upon the sweetness of your strawberries)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Triple Sec, or your favorite orange liqueur (alcohol doesn't completely freezes, so this helps your ice cream not to turn rock hard on your freezer - plus it adds a depth of flavor to the ice cream, even though you don't taste it on the final product)
A tiny pinch of salt

Process all ingredients on a blender or food processor until all incorporated and the strawberries are pureed to the desired consistency (I left some ity bitty chunks on mine for texture and deliciousness!). Refrigerate the mixture for a few hours until it is thoroughly chilled. Give it a quick whiz and pour the mixture in the ice cream maker, following the instruction of your machine.
Makes about 1 quart.

My note: if you use chilled fruit and cream you can even pour the mixture directly into the ice cream maker right after you blend the ingredients. However, the colder the mixture the less time it takes for your ice cream to churn and the creamier it will be!
This is pure cold strawberry bliss and since it uses so little ingredients try to use the best fruits and cream you can find, it really does make a difference here!! This is worth the wait, time and money spent on it!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!

Friday right after school:
Matheus: Mom, I hid your mother's day presents, okay? So don't look under my bed because that is where I hid it!

How can you not LOVE being a mom????

Happy Mother's Day to my mom, to my girl friends, to my aunts and my cousins who are also a mom! Happy Mother's Day to all Moms out there, may your day be as happy as mine is today!!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A Cooking Poem

I just loved this one, had to share!

Recipe for Friendship

Fold two hands together,
And express a dash of sorrow,
Marinate it overnight,
And work on it tomorrow.
Chop one grudge in tiny pieces,
Add several cups of love,
Dredge with a large sized smile,
And mix the ingredients above.
Dissolve the hate within you,
By doing a very good deed,
Dash in some help for any friend,
If they should be in need.
Stir in laughter, love and kindness,
From the heart it has to come,
Mix with genuine forgiveness,
And give your neighbour some.
The amount of people you can serve,
From the recipe above,
Is in the quality of its ingredients,
And unlimited amounts of love.
This recipe's for the whole wide world,
For everyone to make,
Just get it all together,
And cook for God's own sake!

Ps: I could not find a mention of who the author is so if anyone knows please tell me so I can give credit to whom credit is due!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Applesauce Snack Cake

This cake was a total winner here at our house, it is by far the best apple cake. Or at least the best one I have made and/or eaten!
Matheus and even the husband loved the cake too. So much so that they asked me to make another one just as the last two pieces were being devoured - by them!
I made it twice already and as I was separating the pictures to post the recipe today, Matheus took a peek at the computer and said

Matheus: "Is that the apple cake mom?"

Me: "Yes, I am going to post the recipe on the blog"

Matheus: "Yummm, that cake is good... so, when are you making it again?"

Seem like we will be having applesauce cake pretty soon around here again!
The key to this apple cake is using the right kind of dried apples. You should use the ones that are soft and moist, not the crunchy, chip-like ones.
Here is how the ones I used look like:

The apples not only add lots of flavor to the cake but, together with the applesauce, contribute for a very moist cake. And such moisture content brings me to the adaptations I made to the recipe.
The original recipe, from American's Test Kitchen, was made with a full stick of melted butter and all white flour. A first glance through the recipe told me that all that butter, besides being a whole lot for a small 8-inch cake, was not at all necessary for a desirable outcome. I didn't use quite nearly that amount of fat and got an amazingly moist and delicious cake. In fact, I believe I could decrease the fat even a tad more, but didn't want to change too much too soon.
Also, due to the high moisture ingredients present here I did what I always do to most of my cakes and baked goods: used half all-purpose and half whole wheat flours. Again, perfect texture and still very moist, with a boost on nutritional contents!
The version I am posting here is the recipe with my adaptations to it. If you want to see the original one take a look at the American's Test Kitchen website - you need to register, but it's free.

Now truly, if you like apple cake as much as I do then you definitely should try this recipe. It is a very simple cake, easy to make and really, really good. It's totally worth searching for the dried apples. This cake is awesome, and for once everyone around here agrees with me!

A pic of the slice, see how moist it is?? I told you, go get some dried apples and make this cake. You are not going to regret it, I promise!

Applesauce Snack Cake
(Adapted from America's Test Kitchens)

3/4 cup dried apples (2 ounces) cut into pieces
1 cup apple cider or apple juice (I used apple juice)
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I omitted)
1/8 teaspoon cloves (I omitted)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare an 8-inch square baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray, then line it with a long rectangular strip of parchment paper and spray the parchment paper too. Set aside.

Put apples and apple juice in a small saucepan and cook, simmering, for about 15 minutes, or until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 325F.

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Measure 2 tablespoons sugar-spice mixture into small bowl and set aside to use for the topping.

In a food processor or blender, process the dried apple mixture until smooth. Pour mixture into a large bowl and to it add the sugar + spices mixture, egg, salt, vanilla, oil, and applesauce, mix well to combine. Add the flours and baking soda, mixing just until all is incorporated and moistened.

Put batter into prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula and then sprinkle it evenly with the 2 tablespoons of reserved sugar+spices. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and serve!