Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vanilla Ice Cream and a Little Hokey Pokey

With only a few days to go before the start of our holiday, there sat a full liter of whipping cream in my fridge.  I had promised to make Ike some ice cream over the weekend and things just got a little too hectic.  So rather than have to throw it out, I stayed up one night making the custard base.  Deciding on a flavour of ice cream to make is always very difficult for me.  Do you try something new and take a chance that you won't like it??  Or do you go with what you know??  Having an over abundance of vanilla beans in my cupboard prompted me to make vanilla.  It sort of goes with everything.....and I really wanted to try some Hokey Pokey ice cream.  I grew up eating Hokey Pokey by another name.  We called it Sponge Toffee and I've also heard it called Sea Foam.  What ever you call is yummy and it is a candy that I make every now and again......and especially around Christmas when I need something quick to bring along as an unexpected gift.  It is a candy that not a lot of people make any least not in North America......but it's dead easy, so if you want to give it a try you can find the recipe right here.  I've always read that the crumbs could be saved to put on ice cream....but I've never tried it.  I figured it was about time I did.  Because.......Did you know that it ranks as New Zealand's second most popular flavour of ice cream???  How is that I've never tried it then???  Well now I have.....and the's pretty yummy!  I've you'd like to try it too........and they don't sell that flavour in your part of the world......the you might just have to make it yourself.  Make your favourite vanilla ice cream and stir in Hokey Pokey crumbs at the end of the ice cream making process....before you stick it in the freezer to firm up.
Vanilla Ice Cream with Hokey Pokey (makes 2 quarts or 2 liters)

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 cups half and half cream
1 vanilla bean
1 cup  crushed hokey pokey (see recipe here)

Put first 6 ingredients into a heavy bottomed pot and heat on medium heat whisking constantly until mixture begins to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove vanilla bean, slit it open, and scrape out seeds to add back to the custard.  Put custard in fridge to chill completely.  Once chilled add to your ice cream maker and follow its directions.  Add 1 cup crushed hokey pokey to ice cream (it will be the consistency of soft ice cream at this point)   and stir in before setting churned ice cream into the freezer to firm up.

Monday, June 27, 2011

As Canadian as Puffed Wheat Squares

Summer holidays are almost here.  There has been lots of focus on cleaning and tidying  up before we start our summer vacation.  Now that we have the Volkswagen Westfalia, it has become  a bit of a tradition to take a 2 week driving holiday, and this year we will be no different.  While our original intent would have taken us in a different direction, the two week vacation time steered us to an alternate path.  We will be exploring Vancouver Island while meeting up, here and there, with friends and relatives.  As usual.....I have lots to do and very little time to do it.....
With not a lot of time to waste, it seemed like a good choice to make some puffed wheat squares to have for a lunch box snack this week.  I had not realized, but chocolate puffed wheat squares, it seems, while common in Canada are relatively unknown in other parts of the world.  They are similar to rice crispy squares in their preparation, but the gooey candy that holds them all together is chocolate flavoured, and the cereal is puffed wheat rather than crisp rice.  To me, they are so much obviously better than rice crispy DH......he prefers rice crispy squares.  His choice still perplexes me, but to each his own.  This is a lunch box snack that is quick and easy and quite common place.  You can often find them individually wrapped for sale in gas station convenience stores around here.  Here they are common....but you never know....they might seem a little different to you.....and they are very easy too:)

Puffed Wheat Squares
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
7 cups puffed wheat cereal
 Heat first 5 ingredients over medium heat unit bubbling.  Let bubble 2 minutes and remove from heat.  Immediately stir in vanilla, then cereal.  Stir well until all cereal is coated.  Press into a buttered 9 inch square baking pan with buttered fingers and set aside to cool.  Once cool slice into serving sized pieces.
Note: Make sure cook at a boil for 2 minutes.  If you simply melt all together and do not boil for 2 minutes......the candy will not set up.  If this happens, keeping the pan in the fridge will help, but you'll need to leave them in there.  Conversely, overcooking the candy can make it too hard.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rhubarb Recipe #2- Rhubarb Crunch Cake

Rhubarb continues to be prolific, so I have continued on with another rhubarb recipe to try.  My mom acquired this recipe several years ago........and it remains one of her favourites.  This time I used up some frozen rhubarb since I didn't think it would hurt the recipe to use it.  It makes a nice, not too sweet, moist little snack cake.  I used a full 4 cups of rhubarb and did not find any juice left behind after letting the rhubarb stand with the jello powder on it.  Probably because the rhubarb did not get to completely defrost.  No matter though, as it turned out to be perfectly yummy:)
Rhubarb Crunch Cake
3 cups rhubarb, small dice
1 small  pack raspberry jello
1 cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream or (half sour cream/half kefir)
(I used 3/4 cup thickened kefir as I was nearly out of sour cream and it turned out great)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt.

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts fine chop
1 tablespoon butter (blend together with spoon for crumb mixture)

Cut rhubarb into small dice, pour jello pouch over fruit, stir to combine, set aside.

Mix butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream together. Combine remaining dry ingredients and blend with butter mixture. Batter must have spreading consistency. If needed add a little more sour cream or kefir so it will spread easily with spatula. (this is not a poury thin batter)

Spread half batter in a pam sprayed 9 x 13 bake pan. Spoon out the rhubarb that has been set aside, spooning three teaspoons of juice over the rhubarb and leaving the rest of the juice behind.  Drop remaining batter randomly using a tablespoon and carefully draw batter together with spatula.

Sprinkle topping over batter.
Bake 375 degrees 45 - 50 minutes till inserted toothpick remains dry.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What to do with all that Rhubarb??

I still have rhubarb frozen from last year........And now there is more coming.  The cheapness in me simply cannot leave it in the garden.  It must be picked......It must be used.  In order to rotate my rhubarb inventory, I've been looking for rhubarb recipes to try.  So far.....I've made two and I have 3 more that I would like to try.  So here is the result of recipe number 1.  For this recipe I've used fresh rhubarb as that is what it called for.  The filling had a mild taste of sour cream to it and the 'sour cream custard' filling toned down the tart rhubarb.  It made a nice change of pace, and is much milder than a regular rhubarb pie.
 Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
1    9 inch unbaked pie shell
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
Preheat oven to 375F.  Pour 4 cups chopped rhubarb into unbaked 9 inch pie shell.  In a large bowl, beat sugar, sour cream, eggs, and flour until smooth.  Stir in vanilla and salt. Pour this mixture over the rhubarb in the pie shell making sure to coat the rhubarb.  Bake for 30 minutes. 
While baking, prepare the topping by cutting the butter with the remaining topping ingredients until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Set aside.
Remove pie from oven, reduce heat to 350F.  Sprinkle topping all over pie and return to oven to bake until filling is set...about 30 minutes.  Crust and topping should be golden brown.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Momma Makes.....Wontons

I grew up in a house with very little prepackaged food.  I suppose, at the time, there were not the options available that there are today.  Kraft Dinner (packaged macaroni and cheese) was a treat now and again for us kids, and a grilled cheese sandwich was made with real cheddar........not with processed cheese slices.  My mom has always liked to cook and to experiment with recipes from friends who also enjoy cooking.  Over the years mom has received and traded many wonderful recipes, many of which  have become regulars in her cooking repertoire.  This one is at the ready in her deep freeze for whenever she wants them.  They are quick and fun to make and very delicious.
Oriental Wontons

1 package wonton pasta - approx 75 wrappers (defrosted) or fresh package if avail.
Egg wash - lightly whisk one egg with a teaspoon of water

1 cup lean raw ground pork
8 whole water chestnuts chopped fine (canned in fine)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
4 cloves garlic minced
4 dashes sesame oil.
Combine meat with chestnuts, garlic and spices and set aside for immediate use or store in freezer in zip lock  ( date it as a make a head ) up to two weeks

Lay a sheet of wax paper or a linen cloth over a tea tray. Place one wonton wrapper on work surface, straight side facing you. Brush perimeter of wrapper with egg wash. Place 1/2 teaspoon  filling in centre. Fold straight edge away from you to opposite side. Press firmly with both hands all around the filled centre to remove air pockets and seal. Leaving the wonton on the work surface in the same position, brush a dab of eggwash on the underside of the left folded corner and bring both corners together, toward you, to form the traditional nurses cap. (see photo)  Fill the tray in a single layer and transfer to freezer over night. When frozen next day, store wontons in a large zip lock bag to remain in freezer for use as needed. Stores well (two months) in freezer. 
To cook them, add frozen wontons to gently boiling broth with stirring so they don't fall to the bottom and stick to the pot.  Allow broth to return to a boil.  Once the wontons float to the top, allow to gently boil for one minute....then they are done.

Thanks for sharing mom:)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Small Projects and Spice Cake

I've been keeping busy with yard work, work work, house work.....there just seems to be so much darned work to do!  Maybe that's why I like small projects to work on.......I've caught up on all of my swaps and got them in the post just in time (I think) before Canada Post began rotating strikes.  I think I will have a little break in swapping until the postal situation is sorted out.  Above is the little project I last sent out.  Go here for instructions to make your own.  It's very simple, quick, and I think pretty cute too. 
Right now, this is what's growing in my garden, and I'm looking for a good recipe to use it up in.  Let me know if you have a favourite rhubarb recipe that you think I should try.  In the mean time, I did try a nice recipe from a Hutterite Cook Book for Spice Cake which I was pretty happy with.  I think it would do very well with the addition of walnuts......but was perfectly delicious without them as well.  It was nicely spiced and got two thumbs up from my son Ike as well!
Sour Cream Spice Cake
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or shortening
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp rum flavouring
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup raisins
Beat together the sugar, shortening, egg and sour cream.  Add in vanilla.  Sift dry ingredients and add gradually to creamed mixture.  Beat well.  Toss raisins with a little flour to coat them and fold them into the batter.  Spread batter (which is fairly thick) into a 9 inch square cake pan.  Bake in preheated 350F oven for 35-45 minutes until cake tester comes out clean when inserted in center of cake.  Remove cake from oven to cooling rack and frost once cool with desired icing.  I used 1/2 of the recipe below to frost this cake, but a cream cheese icing might also be nice.......I just felt like something a little sweeter this time.

Rum Butter Cream Icing
1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
4 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup cream
2 tsp rum flavouring
Cream shortening and butter until fluffy.  Add remaining ingredients and blend on low speed.  Beat on high speed until fluffy.