Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Low Fat Chocolate Sorbet!

For my next feat with the Cuisinart I wanted to try making sorbet.
For my first sorbet I decided to make a low fat chocolate sorbet I came across on this blog.

It is very similar in consistency and exact taste of one of my favorite eateries- Rita’s Italian Ice! (their chocolate flavor)
I didn’t melt the chips all the way…so it has some crunch to it too!
This will definitely be my go to guilt-free chocolate indulgence! (when I want something guilt-free that is!)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2-4 oz. chopped dark or semi-sweet chocolate, or chocolate chips

Combine the sugar and cocoa in a medium saucepan. Put it over med-high heat and stir in 2 cups water. (Make some of that water coffee if you want, or stir in a teaspoon of instant coffee or espresso – it will intensify the chocolate flavor without adding fat.) Bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes. Take it off the heat and stir in the chocolate. Stir until it melts, or better yet, until it kind of melts but leaves some chunks.
Let the mixture cool, then refrigerate until it’s cold. Pour into the ice cream maker for about 20-30 minutes.  If you want to firm it up, put it in the freezer for a few hours.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vanilla Ice Cream

The Thursday before carmaggedon I was sitting at my desk typing away…until the UPS man came to the door. Package for Margaret..."oh that’s me...whoa what is that, it’s huge?”
Yup it was a huge and unexpected gift from my mother: a Cuisinart ice cream maker!!!..(that is me after I just opened the box- see how happy I am!?---->)
I love ice cream and frozen yogurt! I really thought about jumping right into it and making cookies and cream or mint chocolate chip ice cream.. but I thought, " No Marge, keep it simple and basic for your first time using the machine."
So in sticking  with my stay in cook all weekend theme- the ice cream maker came at the perfect time. I figured after the monkey bread we could have our own little ice cream party. I bought candy, sprinkles, waffle bowls-the works.

There are only 4 ingredients...you stir them together,then pour the mixture into Cuisinart, and the machine does all the work for you.
There will be no flour or baking soda for me to clean up.
I thought "This will be a breeze…what could I possibly do to mess this up?"
Well instead it turned into an episode of I Love Lucy.

You see I was so consumed with how the aerator fit into the machine that I completely forgot about the freezer bowl. (this part fits in the machine but is kept in the freezer)
Mind you the directions for cleaning the Cuisinart specifically state... in bold letters: do not get water or wash the base of the machine, if necessary just gently clean the machine by wiping the outsides of it with a cloth…
Well so much for following directions.
As I said I placed the tricky looking aerator into the Cuisinart..it didn’t seem to stand still unless I placed the lid on right away.- so I did. I then turn the machine on, poured the mixture into the Cuisinart turned around to clean the bowl I made the milk mixture in…
ALL OF A SUDDEN I felt a wet cold substance on my toes…I look down...and it is the vanilla mixture...I look to my left...and see a waterfall of vanilla ice cream flooding my counters and kitchen floor.
After using a few inappropriate words… I suddenly realized what I forgot! I forgot to take the freezer bowl out of the freezer and place the freezer bowl into the machine!

I turned the machine off, grabbed about 5 beach towels, and didn’t know really where to begin..
I threw two on the ground, one on the opposite counter, transferred the leaking Cuisinart to drain out…siiiiiince I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO WASH IT aka not get it wet whatsoever!!!
As I was scrubbing the ground, the mixture poured from the counter onto my head….(I have a very tiny kitchen!)
It was literally everywhere!

After I cleaned everything and everywhere I possibly could, I was too scared to turn the machine on … I really didn’t think it would recover from all the internal mechanical damage.
Therefore I thought it best to take a break and go for a jog; and perhaps mentally prepare how I was going to tell my mother I just broke the generous gift she gave me.
Thankfully luck was on my side this day; the machine survived, and I successfully made my first batch of vanilla ice cream!

1-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/8 cups granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 tblspoons pure vanilla extract

In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Turn the machine on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.
Makes about fourteen 1/2-cup servings

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread!

Every weekend Ty and I have pizza. Whether we make it, go out for it, or order in..we share a pie religiously every single weekend!
This particular weekend was Carmageddon!- when we were required to stay put in our own neighborhoods for the weekend due to the 405 being shut down.

The city officials made it seem quite mandatory, and made a big hoopla about it. (click here for a bit more info if interested!)

Therefore I took it upon myself to make dinner that Saturday evening since I literally couldn’t do anything else… I had all day to stay inside get creative and cook.
I looked up fancy meat and salad recipes…but my gut kept telling me: “how dare you not eat pizza! Just think of another way or type to make!”

Luckily I stumbled upon this recipe, which immediately brought back soooo many childhood memories of slumber parties at my house …and waking up to the smell of butter, bread, and cinnamon!- Yup –Monkey Bread!
Ah the good old days, where your metabolism would allow you to eat this, with a side of pancakes and eggs! : )
When this recollection first popped into my mind, I thought about making it for breakfast Sunday morning…however it’s the only morning I sleep in….

But how could I not make it for dinner Saturday evening as well? It’s two of my favorite things rolled into one!- MONKEY BREAD ANNNND PIZZA!!

Although it may not look like the most sophisticated meal..it is severely delectable. We finished this dish in about a day… (I know I know..whaaaa? how?)
We had the majority for dinner; and then picked at the leftovers the next day as we lay by the pool. We wouldn’t tell each other. But every time we went upstairs to “check on the dog”, or “fill our drinks”..we grabbed a piece of monkey bread..and soon enough..it was allll gone.
<-----that is Roscoe..wanting some of the bread

I took the long route and made my own dough; but not my own sauce (shhh don’t tell my mother!)
I phoned my mother for her pizza dough recipe; she swears it takes about 2 to 2 1/2 hrs to rise.
But be warned…I made the dough, set it aside..went for a run..came back 50 mins later, and the dough had risen so high out of the bowl it was taking over my cabinets!
In a flurry I unfortunately didn’t take a pic (next time) but instead washed my hands and punched the dough, telling it to get back down into that bowl..because I was not ready to make him (the dough) yet! Gosh darnit!
I suggest, including a salad on the side…it will help alleviate the guilt!; )

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
4 Tbsp. butter
2lbs of pizza dough (enough for 2 pizza pies)
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes 
(you'll need 48 pieces)
48 slices of pepperoni
2-3cups marinara sauce, warmed for serving

1.  Heat garlic and butter over medium heat just until the garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat and let sit.
2.  Lightly brush the inside of a bundt pan (or other oven-safe dish) with garlic butter.
3.  Pull off large marble sized balls of dough and flattten. Top with a slice of pepperoni and a cube of mozzarella.
4.  Wrap the dough around the pepperoni and cheese, pinching well to seal.
5.  Very lightly brush the pizza ball with garlic butter and place into the bundt pan ( i brushed the pizza balls with the garlic butter!)
6.  Repeat until all of the dough is used.
7.  Cover and let sit for 30 minutes, while preheating the oven to 400.
8.  Bake for 35 minutes, until the top is very brown.
9.  Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes or so..
10.  Turn out onto a platter and serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping!