Friday, June 25, 2010

Oreo-Mint Ice Cream Pie -- No Bake Summer Company Treat

This pie is oh so easy, and if you are having a big crowd, just double the recipe and put it in an oblong rectangle pan to freeze.

For pie shell:

24 Oreo Sandwich Cookies
(I used Newman's Own Chocolate Mint Sandwich Creams tonight and they were great, too!)
1/4 stick butter, melted

In a food processor, process cookies until they are fine crumbs. Then pour melted butter over all, and pulse a few more times. (If you don't have a food processor you can also put the cookies in a big Ziplock bag and mash with a rolling pin until they are fine crumbs.) Press this buttery crumb mixture against the bottom and sides of your deepest pie pan.

Fill cookie pie shell half way full with mint chocolate chip ice cream (easier if ice cream has been allowed to sit at room temp for at least 5 minutes), spooning and packing as you go. (You can use your imagination on types of ice cream.... they all work beautifully!) Squiggle Hershey's chocolate syrup over this, top with more ice cream, packing as you work, then another squiggle of Hershey's chocolate syrup.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm. Let sit just a few minutes before serving and if desired, let guests top with whipped cream, chopped nuts or maraschino cherries or extra syrup.

We went simple tonight.. just an extra squiggle of syrup.

If you are feeling extra fancy, make your own chocolate sauce by heating the following ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly, until chips are melted.

Homemade Chocolate Sauce

• 1/2 cup half-and-half

• 1 tablespoon butter

• 1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips

• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vietnamese Spring Rolls: The Perfect Summer Snack!

Thanks to our friends, Matt and Gretchen Crocker, I learned how to make the spring rolls I love so much at Tokyo Joe's. Only, these are EVEN better. When putting spring rolls together, a picture says a thousand words and once you see how its done, I hope you'll give them a shot. Soo refreshing, crunchy, healthy and delish. Especially dipped in peanut sauce. (Recipe to follow!)

So here we go:
First slice up all manner of yummy vegies but I think the essential ones, if you like them, are cucumber, carrot (slice very thin -- even thinner than in this picture), avocado and cilantro. Other good vegies are thin slices of jicima, red pepper, scallions. I even used some cold leftover sweet potato sliced thin.

You can find these spring roll rice wrappers in almost any oriental section of a grocery store or at World Market. They come stiff and transparent. So your job is to dip them in a fairly deep bowl of hot water (from the faucet, no need to boil), and then rotate them around in the water until they are soaked and eventually become the texture of thick plastic wrap. (Only takes a few seconds.)Just when they are soft enough to drape (as shown on top of this glass) remove and lay on a plate or cutting board.

Next, lay a small bundle of vegies, along with cooked shrimp or chicken if you like, at one end of the rice paper circle. Then carefully and snugly, roll up burrito-like. The rice paper will stick to itself just like plastic wrap.

Dip in any sauce you like, but this is my favorite!

Peanut Sauce

1/3 c. peanut butter (I like chunky)
1/3 c. teriyaki sauce
1 T. fresh lime juice
1 t. grated fresh ginger if you have it
1 T. sweet Thai chili sauce

Mix together until nice and smooth, taste and adjust ingredients to your taste!
If you don't like peanut butter the sauce above is very good without it. You may want to add a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Triple Berry Crisp

This berry crisp is wonderfully easy and delicious served warm with ice cream any time of the year!

Lightly spray largest rectangle pan with baking spray (or rub lightly with a bit of oil)

Pour in 1 large frozen package triple berry mix (about 6 cups frozen fruit). You can make this dish with the fruit still frozen or slightly thawed. Just have to cook it a bit longer if the fruit is frozen.

Sprinkle fruit with about 2/3 c sugar and toss in pan until fruit is coated.

In a separate large bowl mix:

2 sticks butter (1 cup)
1 c. flour
3 c. old fashioned oats
(Can also add 1/2 c chopped pecans)
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. brown sugar

Cut with a pastry blender, two knives, or mix with hands until butter is broken up into dry ingredients, making a crumble.

Lightly pour crumb topping over berries.

Bake at 350 until topping is golden brown. (About 30 minutes)

Cool a few minutes, then serve with vanilla ice cream

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Seeded Parmesan Pull-Aparts

Thank you to Jennifer who shared these amazing tasty tender-on-the-inside, crunchy-flavorful-on-the-outside rolls (I dare you to eat just one) at a lunch following a dear friend's memorial service, then was kind enough to forward the recipe. I made them tonight and Greg and I both agree they are some of the tastiest little bread treats we've ever had. And so easy.... made with flaky canned biscuits. I will probably serve them for Thanksgiving this year! Enjoy!


2 T butter
1 T minced onion, dry (I used grated fresh onion, 2 Tablespoons)
2 t dill seed (I used 1 t. dried dill)
1 t poppy seed
¼ t celery seed
10-oz can refrigerated big flaky biscuits
¼ C grated parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350 F. In oven, melt butter in 8 or 9” round cake pan, tilting pan to cover bottom. Sprinkle onion, dill, poppy, & celery seeds evenly over melted butter. Separate dough into 10 biscuits, cut or tear each into 4 pieces. Place biscuit pieces and cheese in a bag, shake to coat. Arrange coated biscuit pieces evenly in prepared pan, turning to coat top and bottoms of biscuits. sprinkle with any remaining cheese from bag. Bake 400F for 15-18 mins or until golden brown; turn onto serving plate. Serve warm. 10 servings.

Spinach-Strawberry-Pine Nut Salad w/ Berry Balsamic Dressing

As soon as my husband took a bite of this salad tonight, he said,"Wow.That's a great salad!" I had to agree! Just in time for summer, this salad is both beautiful to look at and truly delicious. Sweet, savory, toasty... The dressing is based on a Dark Cherry Balsamic Dressing I love at Nordstroms, with a few "Becky" twists.

Salad for 2 - 3

3 cups fresh spinach
6 large strawberries, sliced
Asiago or Parmesan cheese - a few thin slices, peeled with a cheese slicer or potato peeler
(Also delicious with goat cheese, feta or blue cheese)

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds (or a combination) Walnuts or pecans would also work great!

Lightly toss above with a sprinkle of sea salt

Then top with a drizzle of the following dressing. Now this recipe makes a nice batch of dressing, you can put in a jar and use again. It's one of the most delicious I've ever had. The balsamic is not too strong or vinegary because you reduce it first with sugar. Oh my goodness. Yum.

Berry Balsamic Dressing

½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 cloves garlic roasted and minced or minced then quickly sauteed in a bit of oil
½ cup berry preserves (whatever you have on hand, whatever you like)
1/4 c dried berries (any kind, I used cranberries)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup canola oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the balsamic vinegar and sugar to a simmer, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Simmer the mixture, uncovered, until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. It should look like thick syrup, close to molasses. Add the roasted or sauteed garlic and berry preserves and cook until preserves melt. Remove from the heat and let cool. When room temperature, whisk in the red wine vinegar and then the canola oil (pour in a ribbon as you whisk like crazy.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.