Georgia Peach Ice Cream with Tea Cake Cookies — Down-Home Comfort
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
There are times in the South, round about August, that are oppressively hot. Not just a little hot, but take-your-breath-away hot. So hot that walking down the sidewalk feels a bit like walking in a rotisserie oven, with waves of undulating heat cooking up through the soles of your feet. So hot that shade gives no relief and the whispers of wind that blow through might as well be hot gusts escaping from the devil’s furnace.
Folks talk about how Southerners ought to be used to the heat, but there’s no really getting used to that kind of oppression. Many, many people now have air conditioning, and, if anything, we’re more susceptible to the ravages of baking in the Southern summer heat. However, when I was a little girl, my grandparents didn’t have central air conditioning. We’d sit on the porch at dusk after supper, or the adults would sit and rock while my sister, my cousins and I would play in the yard.
Sometimes, when the heat was exceptionally miserable, my grandmother would tell my grandfather to pull out the old-fashioned electric ice cream churn. She’d return to the kitchen, where she would pull out from the refrigerator a bowl of custard that she’d made that morning, before the heat of the day. My grandfather would layer the outer cylinder with ice and rock salt, then pour the sweet, thick, creamy peach liquid into a stainless-steel central cylinder with a white paddle. He’d seal it tight and place it on a stack of newspapers to soak up the condensation. Whrr-whrr-whrr the machine would turn.
I remember sneaking a piece of salt and sucking on it as we impatiently ran about and played kick the can. Soon — but never soon enough — the whirring would slow and the machine would groan, the paper underneath soaked solid gray with water. My grandfather would patiently unharness the cylinder and take it to the kitchen, where my grandmother would carefully clean it so as not to sully the sweet peach ice cream with salty ice. She’d prudently clean the paddle and pass it to a nearby small child with open hands and open mouth to lick. She’d then scoop the pale coral-colored treat into bowls, and we’’d parade back out onto the porch to share sweet ice cream with cookies and make even sweeter memories.
I hope you try this recipe and create some of your own.
Bon Appétit, Y’all!
Get the Recipes: Peach Ice Cream and Tea Cake Cookies
Georgia-born, French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has cooked lapin Normandie with Julia Child in France, prepared lunch for President Clinton and harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. A Southern food authority, she is the author of Bon Appétit, Y’all and Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, among others. Follow her continuing exploits at VirginiaWillis.com.
Wine: How to Store It, Pour It — and Enjoy!
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Americans may be drinking more wine these days than we used to — especially in Washington, D.C., where, it may not surprise you to learn, more wine is consumed per capita than in any other state or district. But that doesn’t mean we know how to properly store and pour it. At what temperature should it be served? How full should our wine glasses be? And are we really supposed to decant?
Here are a few rules of thumb:
Be Chill (But Not Too Chill) About Storage: Ideally, bottles of wine should be stored (preferably, though not necessarily, on their sides) in a cool, dark place — like a basement or closet, if not in a dedicated wine cooler — at temperatures between 45 and 65 degrees F, with 55 degrees F being the sweet spot. Exposing wine to temperatures above 70 degrees F could speed aging or even flatten out the flavors and aromas, Wine Spectator warns. It’s cool to keep wine in your kitchen fridge short term, but don’t leave it there for months on end, as the low temp could damage the corks and, in turn, the wine. Aim to avoid extreme temperature fluctuations and long-term exposure to bright lighting when storing, but don’t freak out if they happen, especially if you’re planning to drink the wine sooner rather than later.
Serve It at the Proper Temperature: Most of us probably serve our red wine at room temperature and our white right straight from the fridge. While wine temperature is a matter of taste, neither of those methods is considered ideal. Light, dry white wines, rosés and sparkling wines should be served at 40 to 50 degrees F. The recommended serving temp for full-bodied whites and lighter reds is around 50 to 60 degrees F. Full-bodied red wines and ports are best enjoyed at around 60 to 65 degrees F. (For more specifics, here’s a handy chart.) Use a bucket of ice water, the fridge or even the freezer (provided you keep close tabs on it) to cool a bottle in a hurry, or use a bucket of warm (not hot) water to warm it up.
Remove the Cork (or the Cap) and, If Necessary, Decant: The necessity of decanting is a matter of ongoing debate. Those in the pro-decanting camp say it separates out any sediment and lets the wine “breathe,” enhancing its aroma and flavor. Those against decanting say it’s an unnecessary formality that can even flatten the flavor. You can experiment and decide for yourself, based on your own taste.
Choose the Right Glass: There’s no shame in using the same all-purpose wine glasses for both reds and whites, but if you have the cabinet space, it’s nice to have dedicated glasses for red wine (the kind with broader bowls and rims), white wine (somewhat taller and narrower) and sparkling wine (tall, thin flutes) — not to mention small dessert wine glasses, if you’re into that sort of thing. These shapes are not only a matter of aesthetics and tradition; they can actually influence taste and aroma.
Master Proper Pouring: Wine glasses should be about one-third to one-half full, allowing the drinker enough room to swirl (and sniff). If you want to get picky, you could measure out a standard 5-ounce pour, or you could just use your glass as a guide: “Many stemware makers today design glasses in such a way that the correct fill level corresponds with the bowl’s widest circumference,” the Globe and Mail notes. “This maximizes the liquid’s surface area, helping to aerate the wine and amplify the pleasurable aroma.”
Relax and Enjoy: Sure, good wines can cost serious money, but don’t get too caught up in the procedural particulars that you lose your sense of fun — or your equilibrium. You may want to try these perfect pairings. Cheers!
The Family Cooks — Off the Shelf
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
If you have a family to feed, I have the cookbook for you. Laurie David’s The Family Cooks was written with the goal of assembling delicious, nutritious meals that will keep everyone at your table full and happy, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I think it knocked it right out of the park.
Overall, the most-enjoyable thing about the book is its empowering message and tone. It encourages readers to take their family’s food choices into their own hands. It gives you all the information you need to make delicious snacks, meals and treats at home. The recipes are sympathetic to both the time and budget constraints many families face today without shortchanging flavor. It has a fail-safe guide to get you in and out of the grocery store in one piece, an ingredient rundown that’ll have you cooking with more flavors in no time, and a buy-and-store guide that’ll help you cut down the amount of food you purchase and then discard because it’s past its prime. The recipes in the book are broken down by course, starting with breakfast and working through lunch, soups and salads, dinner, snacks and drinks, sides, condiments, and sweets.
Perhaps the most-intriguing thing about The Family Cooks is that the recipes are so approachable for kids. I don’t just mean it’ll get them excited to eat the food (although, with recipes for dishes like Purple Power Smoothies, it’s easy to get excited about the food). The book is just teeming with tips and tricks to get the whole family participating in and enjoying the planning, making and eating process. And don’t let the kid-friendly demeanor of the title fool you: Grownups at your table are going to relish these dishes as well. In the spirit of having fun with food as a family, give Ravioli Cupcakes a try and get a taste of The Family Cooks. You can also order your own copy here.
If you think about it, a ravioli is already a mini-layered lasagna. All it needs is some vegetables, sauce, and cheese, and another layer of the same, then … ta-da! A ravioli cupcake lasagna.
Makes 12 “cupcakes”
Total Time: 50 minutes
Prep: 30 min
Baking: 20 min
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces frozen spinach or kale, thawed and squeezed dry
24 large vegetable ravioli (round ones fit best into muffin tins)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups grated melting cheese, such as mozzarella, Fontina, or Monterey jack
Line 12 cups of a muffin tin with foil liners. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and position the rack in the middle. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, heat up a skillet over medium heat. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and throw in the onion and garlic. Let them sizzle until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the spinach and cook the vegetables for another moment, then slip it all into a bowl and let cool.
Boil the ravioli for half the amount of time their directions call for. Drain them well and gently toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Fold the egg and Parmesan into the spinach.
Spoon 1 tablespoon tomato sauce into each of the 12 muffin cups. Drop a ravioli on top, top with 1 tablespoon each of spinach and melting cheese, then a dollop of tomato sauce. Tuck a ravioli on top, add another dollop of tomato sauce and sprinkle with melting cheese. (The rest of the tomato sauce gets heated up separately.) Slide the muffin tin into the oven and bake until hot and bubbling, about 20 minutes.
Heat up the remaining tomato sauce in a small saucepan and serve on the side.
Kids in Charge
Squeeeeeze the spinach with your hands ’til it’s dry.
Crack the egg into a small cup and whisk it with a fork.
Layer the lasagna and tuck the ravioli into bed.
Play with It
Use Bolognese sauce instead of the tomato sauce.
Replace the spinach with chopped, cooked broccoli.
Add a little fresh goat cheese or a spoonful of pesto to the spinach.
On lazy days, skip the muffin tins and just layer the ingredients in a baking dish.
Reprinted from The Family Cooks by Laurie David and Recipes by Kirstin Uhrenholdt. © 2014 by Hybrid Nation Inc. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.
9 Frozen Desserts with a Healthy Side
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Grab a spoon. With these guilt-free desserts, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is staving off brain freeze.
Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
Greek yogurt plus a boatload of fresh strawberries are the basis of this homemade fro-yo, which is perked up by lemon (both the zest and juice) and a splash of rum.
Mangoes and strawberries give these ice pops their stripey good looks and deliciously fruit-forward flavor.
Bringing back this childhood staple is a cinch. Start by pureeing seedless watermelon in a blender and then freeze overnight. Let it thaw a little the next day before mashing with a fork.
Mango Strawberry Snow Cones
A food processor and 10 minutes are all it takes to create this carnival-worthy concoction. Blend crushed ice with mangoes and strawberries and then add a squeeze of lime for a sweet-tart finish. (Bonus points for no added sugar!)
Chocolate Covered Banana Pops
Chocolate-covered anything is good. Just ask these bananas, which are dunked in melted dark chocolate and doused with protein-packed chopped peanuts.
You won’t find any artificial coloring here. Just freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice blended with sugar, vanilla, milk and a little bit of salt.
Almost-Famous Frozen Yogurt
Store-bought fro-yo is often loaded with sugar and what-does-that-even-mean? ingredients. Keep things simple (and tasty) with this homemade goodness.
Greek Yogurt Fudge Pops
Is there anything Greek yogurt can’t make tasty? In this recipe, the protein-packed superfood joins forces with chocolate chips, cocoa powder, milk, sugar and vanilla to create a homemade fudge pop.
Broiled Banana Splits
Here, this diner favorite gets a healthy makeover: The bananas are sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and then broiled in the oven before being topped with a scoop of frozen yogurt, toasted almond slivers, chocolate shavings and fruit.
Abigail Libers is a freelance writer and editor living in Brooklyn. She is also the creator and editor of notesonfatherhood.tumblr.com.
Caption It: Final Feedback
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
This Sunday marks the 10th week of competition on Food Network Star, and after nearly three months of tests involving timed cooking, camera engagement, live presentations and brand building, the final four rivals have one last opportunity to learn from their mentors. Alton, Bobby and Giada will be on hand as Lenny, Luca, Nicole and Sarah film promos for their would-be shows on Food Network, and it’s in these last snippets of the contest that the mentors can impart sage industry advice and good-to-know tips for the future.
Check out the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday’s brand-new penultimate episode. Bobby looks as if he’s in deep thought midconversation, relaying feedback to a rival during his or her promo taping. What do you think he could be conveying, this late in the competition, and do you think there’s still time for the contestants to heed his guidance?
Before you tune in on Sunday at 9|8c to find out what’s going on here, we’re challenging you, Star fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.
Tune in to a brand-new episode of Food Network Star on Sunday, Aug. 3 at 9|8c.