Saturday, August 13, 2005

The arrival of the Deni Scoop Factory Compact

My lovely little Deni frozen dessert maker arrived last week and I have put the thing to work with the two recipes below. Both were taken from the Deni instruction booklet that came in the box, but I altered both considerably to fit my dietary restrictions. The first is a recipe for frozen yogurt and the second is for ice cream. I really liked the frozen yogurt and would definitely do another version, but the ice cream was pretty icky--and I trashed it. The machine itself worked really quickly on the chilled frozen yogurt mixture, and was done in minutes. It churned the losing apricot ice cream for a long time to no avail. I will try again, but for now, enjoy the recipes and photos below.

The frozen yogurt recipe from the booklet that came with the machine was for Peanut Butter Chip. I altered it significantly by adding sugar-free white chocolate chips (something I will not repeat), sugar-free caramel (also something not so be repeated), and chunks of carob cashew coconut bars (would use these all the time--hard not to just eat the three pack while I'm making the frozen dessert). Here's the recipe:
2 cups plain or vanilla flavored yogurt (I used fat/sugar-free Dannon plain)
1 cup sour cream (again, I opted for fat-free because fat makes you fat)
1/4 cup light corn syrup (I omitted this)
1/4 cup sugar (I used NutraSweet's equivalent)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup mini peanut butter chips (as I mentioned above, I used my own substitutions)
The additional items were added as the machine was mixing the wet ingredients and NutraSweet.

I can't eat chocolate due to extreme allergies, so I chopped up some carob bars that had cashews and coconut in them. If you're ever in New Brunswick, NJ, you can pick them up a the George Street Coop.

Love that hand blender! It's just the best. I may never use the food processor again for liquid stuff.

I really mucked up the recipe for French Vanilla Ice Cream in the Deni book. It called for:
3 egg yolks (I used three whole eggs)
3/4 cup sugar (I used the equivalent of NutraSweet)
2 cups milk (did that)
3 cups heavy cream (only 2 cups in the little container)
2 tsp vanilla (I used the powdered vanilla that has a little sugar)
Then, I added three pulverized, rather large apricots.

My favorite new kitchen tool makes quick work of three reasonably ripe and unnaturally large apricots.

Looks pretty all swirly and apricot-y.

Inside the wee contraption is churning away the apricot ice cream. It turned out pretty icky, frozen to a rock later, and ceremoniously dumped in the sink for a watery burial. I won't mess with that recipe again.

This is how the yummy frozen yogurt ended up. Unfortunately, when I stuck it in the freezer, it was so hard, I had to set it out to thaw a bit (30 minutes) before snacking on it.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

We have a new tenant. This friendly praying mantis has been cleaning up a bit of the garden lately and we caught the bug on the siding one night after watering. Too bad these don't eat the wretched Japanese beetles that have been going to town on my roses and primulae!

Here's where our friend was in relation to the garden. He or she likes the bed by the door. Previously I spotted the praying mantis on my pink carnation plant to the left of where the gladiola is in this photo.

Pizza Night!

On Friday, John and I made our own pizza again, using a Basic Dough recipe from Emeril (BAM!) We kicked it up a notch by adding some vital wheat gluten. It greatly improved on our efforts of the past. So did the fast rising yeast. However, I forgot to add the salt, and the crust ended up tasting a little yeasty. Didn't stop me from eating it, though. We doubled the recipe and used almost 2 cups less flour than what was asked from the recipe, but the dough was really easy to work with and gave us light and airy crust. Next time, we're going to add some romano and parmigiano cheese to the mix and see how it comes out. Below are a few photos John took during our Pizza Night.

John prefers a lighter dusting of chese and less sauce.

Here's a bird's eye view of my finished creation with the vegetarian sausage and several kinds of shredded cheese on top of my red sauce.

Popping them into a 375 degree oven for approx. 20 minutes. Because I have an old, rickety oven that heats inconsistently, after 10 minutes, we switch the positions of the pies. John added some more oregano on top of his and made the kitchen smell fantastic. I'm a copycat, so I added some yummy oregano too. It really made a difference.

Here's John's finished pie. He is so good at making round pizzas with perfectly cut slices.

Here's my finished pie, fake sausage and all.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

I finally started making earrings again. It's very rewarding, and sometimes a source of gas money. The detail in the glass bead reminds me of the Murano glass from Italy. Years ago, I was fortunate to travel to Murano to see the glass blowers and all the milleflora beads fresh from the factories. Ah Venice...

I've had these beads for a good long while, so it's time to sell them for a reasonable price. Someone with a long neck and short hair would find these very flattering.

Slightly out of focus. I think the camera was going for the blanket in the background. Interestingly, the blanket is in the mint green family. Here it shows up as khaki. Go figure. I intend to sell these if I can part with them. They're just my style.

They're out of focus, but you get the idea. I made these for Mom. Hope she likes them.

The latest candy job I've had is for Mom's colleague, Ronit. Her son's bar mitzvah is coming up and she wanted some simple Jewish symbols for favors in dark and milk chocolate. Mostly dark chocolate. Here you can see how I would display them on the fancy 3 tiered trays. The photo was taken in my dining room, where I do most of the fancy work. However, I did the detail on these in the kitchen, mostly on my feet for time it took me to make the 150 candies in the order.

In a pretty large error of judgement, I underestimated how much space the candies would take up. Consequently, I had to drive to Somerville to Candyland Crafts to pick up the largest tray bottoms they had. You can see the peppermint ones wrapped in green.

At Ronit's request, I made four different types of candies for the bar mitzvah: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, dark chocolate filled with dulce de leche, and dark chocolate flavored with peppermint. Here are some of the dulce de leche filled ones.

This is a sampling of the milk chocolates without the fancy decorations.