Sunday, June 8, 2008

Decadency on a spoon - Chocolate Ice Cream Melts the Palette

Decadent. Sinful. And oh! so delicious. Chocolate ice cream remains a popular ice cream treat.

Forget the local dairy king imposters known as soft serve. Dish up the good stuff: the homemade indulgence that grandma and grandpa used to make.

Ice cream dates back to 4th century B.C., when Nero demanded snow and ice be brought down from the mountains. Then, the ice was mixed with fruit, creating the first-known example of ice cream.

The Tang Dynasty (AD 618 - 697) were the first to mix ice and milk products to form the creamy treat. Eventually, traders tales of the frozen cream weaved their way back to Europe, where experimentation led to the development of sherbets, ices, and milk ices.

Americans enjoyed the dessert, too. In 1782, the French envoy honored the new American republic and served the concoction to the assembly. Dolly Madison dished it in the White House.

The first mention of chocolate ice cream was in a cookbook by Jean-Pierre Buc'hoz from 1787, but it is possible that earlier experiments in the kitchen produced the chocolaty goodness first.

Try this recipe today, in honor of National Chocolate Ice Cream Day.

  • 4 oz. quality unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 1/4 C. milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 C. cream
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 C. cold milk

Melt chocolate over low heat. At the same time, heat milk over low heat in a small saucepan. Gradually stir milk into melted chocolate. It is important to slowly add the milk; otherwise, the chocolate will clump and become hard. Heat while stirring until mixture reaches a smooth consistency. The mixture will be thick.

Beat eggs with sugar. Stir in the hot chocolate and milk mixture, stirring constantly. Add cream, salt, vanilla, and 1/2 C. cold milk. Allow mix to cool. Freeze in an ice cream freezer.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Apples or Applesauce? Hand me a spoon!

Pureed and cooked apples first appeared in British cookbooks in the 18th century. Quite a few of those early recipes included pork or other meat in the sauce. Meat in applesauce?

It seems that how the applesauce is served varies from continent to continent. In the U.S., applesauce is usually served as a sidedish or dessert. Europeans prefer applesauce as a sauce on top of meats such as ham or pork chops. For Passover, applesauce is served as a side with potato pancakes.

Applesauce is a $100 million a year business for the main applesauce manufacturers: Motts, Seneca, and Musselmans.

The sauce is a fantastic substitute for oil when baking. When I made the cupcakes for my wedding, I substituted applesauce for the oil. You can't tell a difference when noshing on one. And, it seems like the consistency holds together better than if you use oil.

I also like applesauce cake. It's a good sweet treat and a good use for that jar of applesauce that is sitting in your pantry. And in honor of National Applesauce Cake Day, go ahead and whip up this delightful treat!

Caramel Applesauce Cake
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. cloves
  • 1/2 t. allspice
  • 1 1/2 t. baking soda

Sift the above ingredients together in a large bowl.

  • 1/2 c. shortening
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 c. raisins
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 c. applesauce

Beat for five minutes. Add 2 large eggs. Beat for two additional minutes. Pour into a 9x13 pan or two layer pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 55 minutes. Cool and then top with caramel frosting.


  • 2 b. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. whipping cream or light cream
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 t. vanilla

Combine sugar, cream and butter in saucepan. Cook slowly to the soft ball stage (234 degrees F). Add vanilla. Beat until it is at spreading consistency. If necessary, think with a few drops of cream.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Make Yourself a Dang Quesadilla for National Dairy Month

Maybe Napoleon Dynamite's grandma appreciated qualtiy dairy products.

Or maybe she just thought he could fend for himself.

June kicks of the annual Dairy Month celebration. And, as the wife of a dairy farmer, I can proudly say that we believe integrating dairy products into your diet does more than build strong bones. By incorporating the 3-a-day plan, you can meet calcium and vitamin D needs.

At our house, not only do we drink a lot of milk - sometimes using a gallon or more a day - but we eat our fair share of cheese.

One of our favorites, featuring cheese, is black bean and cheese quesadillas. Try it for a spicy snack or make several and serve as a main dish.

Black Bean and Cheese Quesadillas
  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup chunky salsa
  • 1 T. chopped green onion
  • 1 T. chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 tortillas
  • 1 T. butter OR butter-flavored cooking spray
  • 1 t. cumin

Mash beans. Combine with salsa, onion, cilantro, cheese, and cumin. Divide mixture on four tortillas, spreading close to the edge. Top with a tortilla.

Melt butter or spray cooking spray into skillet. Over medium low to medium heat, cook until lightly browned, approximately 2 - 3 minutes per side. Cut into wedges before serving.