Cashew Brittle – Vanilla ice cream

Cashew Caramel - Vanilla Ice cream

So lately I’ve had floating around my head gazillions of ideas for ice cream (probably because I stuck my ice cream maker in the freezer about 9 days ago and hadn’t yet brought myself to the actual task of putting something in it.) Amongst those ideas have been a mamey one, which is probably coming next, a strawberry crumble one, a nutella-banana one, and a rosemary one. But, even though I rarely repeat recipes, I thought I’d start this ice-cream frenzy my mind is on with something tried and true – and oh so very true! I made this recipe before for a friend who’s crazy about nuts (heh, crazy about nuts -insert childish giggle-) in any form, but particularly mixed with anything sweet, namely caramel. The cashews in this ice cream are slightly salted, roasted, and then turned into brittle, all by a very simple process. They are then incorporated into an adaptation of The perfect scoop’s vanilla ice cream recipe. I made extra brittle for serving, and also just because it’s delicious by itself, you can serve it with tea or just munch on it while you blog about it give it to said friend as an extra present. Keep reading for the recipe.

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Pine nut and dulce de leche cookies

Pine nut - dulce de leche cookies

“A poem begins with a lump in the throat” – so said Robert Frost. And while these cookies are far from being a poem, they also began with a similar lump in the throat. Things have not improved that much since my last rabbit post, hence the lack of recipes. But yesterday, after a day of doing pretty much nothing and pleading guilty to myself of intense wallowing, I decided, with the lump in my throat, that it was time to pay my kitchen a much needed visit. And as I could not muster enough energy to chop chocolate or did not feel adventurous enough to bake a cake, I made up a quick-cookie recipe. Now, these are made with pine nut dulce de leche, (or cajeta, as we call it in mexico) but you could use any dulce de leche you can find, and add the pine nuts, previously roasted. Pine nuts have always been, in my opinion, funny tasting. But these cookies, while different from  any others that I’ve tried, proved to be a success with both my mom and my friends.

Here follows the recipe:

Pine nut and dulce de leche cookies
(Own recipe)
Makes aprox. 24 cookies.

1 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 1/2 cups  flour
3 tbsp dulce de leche
2 tbsp roasted pine nuts

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly flour two baking sheets.

In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Separately, using the whisk attachment of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture. When fully mixed, using a spatula, mix in the dulce de leche and pine nuts, not mixing entirely but leaving it in swirls. Drop by spoonfuls on your cookie sheets and bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

These are really good served with vanilla ice cream.

Pine nut cookies before baking

 

Lentil and mushroom soup

So today started as pretty rough day, even though the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was raindrops, the wet bark on the trees outside my window, and a lot of birds. (My favorite sight to wake up to). I slept virtually nothing and had an appointment with my acupuncturist, aka my torturer. Anyhow,  after muscle therapy, a nerve block, needles and laser therapy, I left nauseous, dizzy and barely able to stand up, with an apple in my hand kindly provided by one of the assistants. Once back home, I crashed on the floor in my room and dozed for about two hours, and then came back to consciousness with one thought in my mind; I need a pick me up. And so, seeing the pouring rain outside my window, got a strike of inspiration, and a chance at feeling better.  This soup, due to the lack of vegetables in my fridge, has an onion base with a lot of broth, but its compensated by the delicious buttery and milky mushrooms  you’ll add at the end. The result is very light, creamy, delicious smelling lentil goodness.

Lentil and mushroom soup
(Own recipe)

4 tbsp. olive oil

3 scallions, chopped (save a few stems)

1 1/2 red onions, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 cups lentils

12 cups hot chicken broth (If you’ve got stock, go for it)

2 tbsp. butter

2 cups diced mushrooms

1/2 cup milk

Fresh thyme

Fresh oregano leaves

Heavy cream for serving

salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Heat the olive oil in a large and deep saucepan. Add the chopped scallions and red onions, along with the whole stems from the scallions (you’ll be taking these out later). Cook over med-low for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and see through. Add the shallot and cook for another three minutes, stirring to keep them from burning. Add the tomatoes, stir and add the broth. Bring to a full boil and then reduce the heat to med-low. Let cook for 10 minutes, remove the scallion stems, and using the blender, puree all the solids. Return to the saucepan and once its boiling again, add the lentils. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for about 35 minutes, until the lentils become soft.
Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan, heat the butter until it begins to bubble. Add the mushrooms (make sure they are dry if you washed them) and thyme. Cook until browned and the butter smells like heaven. Add the half cup of milk, and stir until you get a first boil. Remove from heat and set aside, or if your lentils are ready, incorporate. Turn off heat. Serve with a spoonful of heavy cream and a pair of oregano leaves.