What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Front-Runner Favs: Flaming Cherries Jubilee! Here’s a dessert that always leaves a nice impression. And why wouldn’t it? After all, it was specially prepared for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebration in the late 1800’s. Hence the name. Begin with the season’s plump and juicy cherries found at the local Farmer’s Market or neighborhood grocery. Gently warm them in a sweet simple syrup. Add brandy and ignite for an amazing presentation. Then serve over bowls of ice cream. Super-simple yet super-delish!
FLAMING CHERRIES JUBILEE
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup cherries, stems and stones removed; halved
2 tablespoons brandy
Vanilla Ice Cream
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and lemon rind. Stir to dissolve sugar. Boil for 3-5 minutes until mixture thickens. Reduce heat to simmer, add cherries. Cook over low heat until fruit is softened. The syrup will turn color to match the cherries. Remove the lemon rind; discard. Add the brandy, but do not boil. Turn off stove. Flame the cherries with a kitchen torch. Using a spoon, baste cherries with liqueur and juices until the flames extinguish. Spoon over bowls of vanilla ice cream. Serve warm.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Front-Runner Favs: Earl Grey Tea Ice Cream! Before I begin, let me assure you this recipe does not require any special equipment other than a stand mixer. Truth. No ice cream maker is needed. It’s also done in stages. That means you can steep the tea and refrigerate it overnight before combining all the ingredients to store in the freezer. And the taste, you wonder? Bold, creamy, sweet, and melt-in-your-mouth smooth. Now let’s get started. You’re going to love this.
EARL GREY TEA ICE CREAM
2 cups heavy cream
2 Earl Grey Tea bags
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk*
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons natural honey
Be sure the mixing bowl, whisk, and loaf pan are chilled before using. (I placed mine in the freezer overnight.) Measure heavy cream into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes on HIGH; just until little bubbles form around the edge of the bowl. Watch carefully. Do not allow the cream to boil or froth up. Remove from microwave. Immediately add tea bags to cream and cover. Steep the tea bags for 30 minutes. Remove tea bags and discard. Place the covered bowl in the refrigerator until chilled or overnight. In the chilled bowl of the stand mixer, combine heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and natural honey. Whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to the chilled loaf pan. Freeze 6 hours or overnight before serving.
*If the ingredients are warm, the mixture won’t thicken to desired texture. I put the can of sweetened condensed milk in the refrigerator beforehand.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Quasi Cherry Almond Macaroon Slab Pie! Now that’s a mouthful. But truth-be-told when you’re talking about a dessert with mounds of plump cherry clusters, flaked coconut, and sliced nuts…well, nothing else will do. By transforming it all into a slab pie, portions become more manageable over traditional sliced servings. The crust is still flaky, even if there is less of it. Focus instead on a sweet treat with a single shot of Italian espresso or scoop of ice cream. It’s a perfect balance for the taste buds.
QUASI CHERRY ALMOND MACAROON SLAB PIE
1 prepared pie crust
Ingredients for filling:
21-ounce can cherry pie filling
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Ingredients for topping:
1 cup coconut, shredded
1/2 cup almonds, sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Roll the prepared pie crust to fit the baking sheet. Trim the dough to only fit the bottom of the pan. If necessary, use the extra dough pieces to fill in the corners. Pinch to seal. In a large bowl, combine the cherry pie filling, cinnamon, sea salt, and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. Spoon the filling onto the pie crust. Spread in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, for the topping, fill a mixing bowl with the shredded coconut, sliced almonds, sugar, sea salt, milk, melted butter, almond extract, coconut extract, and beaten egg. Remove the slab pie from the oven. Spread macaroon topping over all. Return slab pie to oven, bake 25 minutes longer, or until bubbly and golden brown. Cut into slices. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Splurge-Worthy Goodness: Vanilla Bee Pollen Ice Cream! What’s all the “buzz” about? The jury is still out on the benefits of bee pollen. Some claim amazing health results while others blame it for side effects. Bee pollen is actually intensified plant pollen picked up by honeybees and brought back to the hive as a source of food for the colony. So obviously, its characteristics depend solely on the geographic location of where it is collected. Just like honey, some say if you struggle with seasonal allergies, the best way to combat that is to take a teaspoon of raw honey every day from the area where you live. Bee pollen is made up of carbs, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You can certainly see why naturalists call it a superfood. As with any herbal supplement, contact your health care provider before beginning something new. Many foodies like to add a teaspoon of bee pollen to their morning smoothie. Here it is sprinkled over no-churn ice cream.
VANILLA BEE POLLEN ICE CREAM
2 cups heavy cream
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 vanilla bean pod, sliced horizontally, seeds extracted
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon bee pollen
Agave nectar, for drizzling
Lemon thyme, for garnish
Be sure the mixing bowl, whisk, and loaf pan are chilled before using. (I placed mine in the freezer overnight. If the ingredients are warm, the mixture won’t thicken to desired texture. I also put the can of sweetened condensed milk in the refrigerator the night before.) In the chilled bowl of the stand mixer, combine heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla bean seeds, and raw honey. Whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to the chilled loaf pan. Freeze 6 hours or overnight. To serve, place three rounded ice cream scoops in a dish. Sprinkle bee pollen over top. Drizzle with agave nectar ribbons. Garnish with a sprig of lemon thyme.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Clean Eating: X-otic Black Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream! Creamy concoctions are so decadent with swirls of tangy sweetness mixed in. You control the tart flavor among the smooth texture by making this version of gourmet ice cream at home. No special gadgets required, except that counter workhorse stand mixer. But how hard can it be to flip a switch and scrape down the sides of the bowl? This “tried and true” no-churn ice cream recipe has been reliable on more than one occasion. The secret to my success is chilling the utensils overnight in the freezer. Also, begin with ingredients that are refrigerator cold. The greatest hardship is waiting 24 hours for the ice cream to chill. Don’t believe me? Guess you need to see for yourself.
X-OTIC BLACK RASPBERRY SWIRL ICE CREAM
2 cups heavy cream
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon Mexican vanilla extract
1/2 cup black raspberry sauce*
Using a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes. Transfer half to the chilled loaf pan. Smooth with a spatula. Add dollops of black raspberry sauce on top. Swirl the sauce with a knife to create a design. Pour the remaining ice cream mixture over top. Smooth. Repeat swirling process. Cover tightly. Place loaf pan in the freezer overnight. To serve, scoop ice cream into bowls and garnish with fresh mint leaves.
*To make the black raspberry sauce, click on the link below.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Clean Eating: Ice Cream Grilled Pineapple! If you’ve decided it’s better to unplug with a “staycation” this year, there’s no need to give up guilty pleasures. Minimizing expenses with less stress is smart living. Take advantage of the leisure activities and points of interest in your own community. When was the last time you popped in to the local Welcome Center or Chamber of Commerce? You may see things through a fresh pair of eyes. Others do. Make a tropical dessert that will transport you to your very own private island. Dress it up with colorful parasol party picks.
ICE CREAM GRILLED PINEAPPLE
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4-6 fresh pineapple rings
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Maraschino Cherry, for garnish
Preheat a gas grill to medium-high temperature. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Mix well. Rub both sides of pineapple rings with brown sugar mixture. Transfer to a large baking dish for 10 minutes. Using a heat-proof brush, lightly grease the grill with vegetable oil. Place pineapple slices directly on grill, leaving space between fruit slices. Cook 1-2 minutes per side to sear the pineapple rings. You should see grill marks. The pineapple will turn a golden yellow. Remove from grill. Allow pineapple rings to cool before adding a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Garnish with maraschino cherry. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Icy Limoncello Slushie! Talk about refreshing. Imagine yourself strolling along the Amalfi Coast of southern Italy. Pause a moment near the rugged shoreline to allow the cool breezes to caress your skin. Admire the sheer cliffs where coastal roads hug towering rock formations. Pay attention to the landscaped vineyards and lemon groves winding down the slope that practically appear to plunge into the sea. This is home to Limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur produced in the region. It is enjoyed as an aperitif or a digestive around evening mealtime, due to its pleasing effect on the palate. What better time to gratify your taste buds.
ICY LIMONCELLO SLUSHIE
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 cups ice cubes
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup Limoncello liqueur
Lemon and Limes, for garnish
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and water. Heat 3 minutes, or until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat. Add lemon zest. Allow mixture to cool for 30 minutes. Strain sugar mixture, using a sieve to remove solids. Pour simple syrup into a blender. Add ice cubes, lemon juice, and Limoncello liqueur. Process until smooth and ice chunks no longer remain. Pour slushie into glasses. Garnish with fresh lemon slices.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Be Our Guest: Iced Coconut Milk Banana Smoothie! Try something new today. Rev up your morning routine with a nutritious alternative to steel-cut oats. Delight your senses with a sweet-tasting banana infused smoothie. The hint of dark chocolate bathed in tropical coconut creaminess makes it go down with a smile. What better way to include a serving of fresh fruit on a daily basis.
ICED COCONUT MILK BANANA SMOOTHIE
1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon dark chocolate syrup
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon natural honey
4-5 ice cubes
Nutmeg for garnish
Mini chocolate chips for garnish
In a blender, combine banana slices, chocolate syrup, coconut milk, vanilla extract, Greek yogurt, and honey. Pulse to chop bananas. Add ice cubes. Increase speed to liquefy smoothie. Pour into a glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg and mini chocolate chips. Serve immediately.
“Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.” ~ Robert Frost