Pink Nectarine Wine Pops

Pink Wine Pops

Will you look at that gorgeous shade of pink?!? I almost wish that one of my friends had a bridal shower coming up so that I could bring these. They are just right for a best girlfriends’ party. Or any party.

Speaking of weddings, the girl who caught the bouquet and the guy who caught the garter at our wedding are getting married at the end of the month. Isn’t that cute? They already had a kid together, so it wasn’t like our wedding actually had anything to do with their upcoming nuptials. But I’m going to pretend that it did anyways.

Too bad she’s already had her shower, or I would show up with a huge batch of these. Just because she’s a camo gal doesn’t mean she wouldn’t dig the pink.

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That candy-pink shade was achieved without a single drop of food coloring. Before I made them, I thought they were going to turn out sort of beige and clear. I was so surprised with the results. When you make these, be sure to leave the skin on the fruit, because this is where the rosy hue comes from.

Another reason to love these pops: They are so very simple to make. You just pit the nectarines, throw them in a blender with some wine and sugar. Strain the mix through a flour-sack cloth or a fine mesh sieve and then pour in to your popsicle molds. That’s it, kids. Since I don’t own any popsicle molds, I did have the one extra step of waiting until the firmed up a bit before I put the stick in. But if you have a mold, yeah, you’re done.

Of all the ice cream-popscile-frozen things that I’ve made on this blog, this is by far my favorite.  Sweet and fruity and just a little boozy and totally delicious.

Pink Vine Pops

Pink Nectarine Wine Pops

Ingredients

  • Six nectarines, pitted but not peeled
  • 1 cup pinot grigio
  • 1/4 cup of sugar (or to taste)
  • (optional -- extra nectarine chunks)

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and whirl.
  2. Strain through a flour sack cloth or fine mesh sieve.
  3. Pour into popscicle molds and freeze until solid. To unmold, run briefly under tepid water.
  4. Serve with love.
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Vegan Rainbow Icebox Cake (with a cat story)

Made with fresh fruit, coconut milk, and gluten-free grahams, this vegan ice box cake is simple and refreshing. 

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The day after Independence day, a little cat showed up at our door. She pawed and mewed cutely, determined to be let in. I’ve had cat allergies as long as I can recall, so I was determined not to let her in.  I gave her a bowl of cold water and some food, and went about my business.

When she showed up again the next day exhibiting the same behavior, my willpower dissolved and I allowed her to cross the threshold. “The moment I start to sniffle, you’re out,” I told her.

But the sniffles never started and she promptly developed a short-lived pattern of coming and going at leisure. I say short-lived because that Friday, I was out for my run when I spotted her sweet visage on a lost cat flyer. I dashed home to dial the number, and a grateful woman with pretty French braid came to pick her up immediately. With kitty safely on her way home, I refilled my water bottle and resumed my run.

In truth, I was slightly disheartened that she’d gone …

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… but the cat showed up again on Monday.

The woman with the pretty braid had been the house sitter, so I alerted her real owners to her location. An our-parents-age couple came to get her. We chatted briefly, and I learned that they had a few other animals, some of whom bullied the cat. They were also the full-time caretakers of beloved relative, and they hinted heavily that they might consider finding a new home for the cat. I hinted heavily back that my husband and I would love to have her.

When the cat visited again two more times, it appeared that a decision had been made by all parties involved.  The couple came by to drop off some litter and veterinary information, and Jason and I darted off to Target to get a litter box.

Clover and Pencil

I’m not totally sure why I’m not as allergic to her.  I sniffled a bit after the first full night she spent with us, but some cetirizine took care of that. Some quick research revealed  that light-coated female cats have fewer allergen-inducing proteins than other cats. I’ll probably have to start vacuuming more often, which I should be doing anyways.

Forgive me in advance if I begin including cat escapades on this blog.  I already feel a little dizzy and delirious when I spot her resting in the sun. She came with the name of Sammi, but we rechristened her Clover because she’s small and humble and sweet.  I don’t know why she picked our door to paw at. I just know that I’m the happiest that I’ve been since I left North Carolina.

Vegan Rainbow Icebox Cake

Like Clover, this cake is a true treasure. Sweet and tart fruit blend with coconut whipped cream to create a vegan version of a fruit fool. Because I was in an ambitious mood when I made this, I baked up my own grahams from this wonderful recipe (I had to sextuple the recipe….um…I don’t know if that’s a real word. I had to increase the amounts by six). But since that defeats the purpose of a no-bake cake, I suggest simply using your favorite graham brand.  I’ll definitely be making those grahams in the future, just to snack on.

I loved how the sweet grahams complimented the sugary-tart fruit cream. It was a delightful combination, and simple enough to make at a moment’s notice. If you don’t have kiwis or mangoes, simply double up on the raspberries and blueberries. No need to fuss over perfect ingredients here. Like new friends, this cake was made to bring joy.

vegan rainbow icebox cake

quick note-

If you’re not familiar with making coconut whipped cream, check out Angela Liddon’s flawless tutorial here

Vegan Rainbow Icebox Cake

Ingredients

  • Milkfat from 2 cans of coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup (plus more if needed)
  • 1 cup of blueberries, smashed with a fork
  • 2 cups of raspberries, smashed with a fork
  • 4 kiwis roughly blended
  • 2 mangoes, roughly blended
  • 4 sheets of gf graham crackers
  • a little coconut water from the can

Instructions

  1. Whip the milkfat until high and fluffy.
  2. Add the maple syrup to the whipped cream and blend again.
  3. Divide the coconut whipped cream among the prepared fruit, making sure to reserve some plain white whipped cream for the top. (so you're spliting the whipped cream by 5)
  4. Stir the whipped cream into the fruit. Taste it all and add a little more whipped cream to the individual bowls as needed. I only needed to add a bit to the kiwis. Keep in mind that the grahams are already sweet. The tartness of the fruit goes refreshingly well with the grahams.
  5. Pour a little coconut water into the bottom of a 7x7 or 8x8 pan. Layer the first sheet of graham crackers. Spread the blueberry cream over the crackers, but make sure to reserve some to make a design with on top.
  6. Repeat, layering on more grahams, and then the raspberry cream, grahams, kiwi cream, grahams,mango cream, grahams.
  7. Spread the plain whipped cream over the last layer of crackers, and then use your reserved fruit cream to add a bit of color to the top.
  8. Refrigerate sit at least 4 hours, or overnight. Garnish with additional fruit if desired.
  9. Serve with love.
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Sweet Corn and Green Bean Succotash

The very freshest, crispest seasonal produce comes together to make this classic summer dish — sweet corn succotash.

Sweet Corn Succotash

Yep, the theme this week is corn. Get out your moonshine, folks, it’s a party.

This recipe was inspired by J. Ryan Stradal’s Kitchens of the Great Midwest, which is my current favorite book. I’ve been really lucky this year with books, loving almost everything I’ve picked up. The author of Great Midwest is going have a reading and reception and a local library near the end of the month. I’d like to go, but what would I say? “Um…hi…I’m obsessed with your book…would you sign my Kindle?” Perhaps I’ll just go to listen.

The heroine in this book as an ethereal palate, her knives and skillets are almost magic. I feel like I’m giving you a poor description of a complex character, but I don’t want to spoil too much. Read it. You’ll love it.

Summer Produce

One of the reasons that her food radiates is that she reaches for the freshest possible ingredients. Of course I like things fresh, fresh tastes best (unless it’s apple pie….that’s always better the next day.) But this book forced me to think about how much effort I make to get the fresh-fresh-freshest produce. I’d like to think that I do make an effort, but apart from picking the days that I shop for certain items and pawing through the produce bins, I really don’t. Our summer farmer’s market affords me that luxury (and it truly is a luxury and a privilege. I won’t go on a social justice rant, but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.)

For this dish, I decided to make sure I did get the freshest available food. Everything was local, the corn was picked at 6:30 that morning. I dislike soggy vegetables, so I barely cooked them. They are crisp and al dente. Because everything was so new-from-the-earth, the flavors were prime. I seasoned them as lightly as I could, with just-plucked herbs. Before I took my first bite, I noted that I hadn’t added any salt. After I took that bite, I was surprised to realize that it didn’t need any. I’m a salt fanatic (I’m probably headed for high blood pressure when I’m older), so this is saying quite a bit. I have never eaten an unsalted vegetable.

Serve this the moment it leaves the stove burner. Or heck, right out of the pan. It’s summertime. You’re allowed to get messy.

Sweet Corn and Green Bean Succotash

 

Sweet Corn and Green Bean Succotash

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2-4

Ingredients

  • 6 ears of the freshest corn
  • 8 oz haricot verts
  • 8 oz mulitcolored cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup thinly slivered purple onion
  • 1/2 tsp microplane grated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 cup parsley, minced
  • 8-10 basil leaves, minced
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • salt, optional

Instructions

  1. Slice the kernels off the corn, french cut the haricot verts, and quarter the tomatoes.
  2. Fill a pot of water halfway and bring it to a high boil. Steam the beans over this for 1 1/2 minutes.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a large pan set over medium heat.
  4. Add the onions, garlic, and thyme to the pan. Stir and then cover the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the beans and the corn. Stir, cover again and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes, cover again, and cook for 2 more minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the parsley and basil. Add a pinch or two of salt if desired.
  8. Serve right away, warm, with lots of love.
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Sweet Corn Succotash

Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Topped with blueberry compote and cinnamon toasted oats, this sweet corn ice cream is overflowing with summer flavor. 

sweet corn ice cream

I broke out my ice cream maker over the fourth of July weekend. It was a bit dusty from a long season spent shoved at the back of the coat closet, but this easily remedied with a hot soapy rinse. Once clean, it was ready it churn out this creamiest of cold treats.

Sweet corn ice cream is one of those flavors that often gets cast aside in favor of … well, almost anything. I’ve had many opportunities to try corn ice cream, and yet I’ve always passed it over for chocolately things.

After tasting this, I know I’ll be picking sweet corn ice cream at every opportunity. I was pleased and surprised at how much corn flavor was bursting out of every lick. It was almost as I imagined, only better.

Sweet Corn Ice Cream

So much better.

I worked this recipe from of Jeni’s ice cream base, which is eggless. The sweet corn shines without any eggy flavor to obstruct it. I substituted Mexican crema for the heavy cream, because it’s sweeter and lighter. I substituted neufchatel cheese for cream cheese for the same reason.

Now, I know that there are tons of no-churn ice cream recipes floating around this summer, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I know that those recipes are just fantastic, but….well… two cups of heavy cream is a lot. This is incredibly creamy and custardy and smooth, but a lot lighter.
Sweet Corn Ice Cream

 

Sweet Corn Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups 2% milk
  • 1 cup of Mexican crema
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, well packed
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 2 oz neufchatel cheese
  • blueberry compote
  • 1 1/2 cups of blueberries
  • 2 dates
  • toasted oats
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt

Instructions

  1. Strip the kernels off the corn and break up the cobs (don't throw away the cobs).
  2. Pour the crema, milk, and sugar in a pot and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the kernels and broken-up cobs.
  3. Bring the mix to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let it sit for 1 hour, then discard the cobs.
  4. Puree the mix and then strain out the solids. I used flour sack cloth to do this, but you can also use a mesh sieve.
  5. Remove 1/4 cup of the corn cream and set aside. Return the rest of the corn cream to the pan and set on low heat.
  6. Combine the 1/4 cup of corn cream with the corn starch, corn syrup, and neufatchel. Beat until smooth, and then add it to the pan.
  7. Bring the mix to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove from heat and set in the fridge for about an hour.
  9. Pour the mix into your ice cream maker and churn per manufacturer's instructions.
  10. blueberry compote
  11. Place the blueberries and the dates in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, covered and then 5 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.
  12. Toasted Oats
  13. Place the oats, cinnamon, and salt in a small skillet.Toast over high heat, shaking the pan almost constantly, for about 3 minutes. They will be golden and fragrant. Remove from the pan immediately to avoid burning.
  14. To serve
  15. Allow ice cream to soften a moment, and then top with berries and oats. Serve with love.
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adapted from here and here.

 

Amazing Vegan Chickpea Fritters

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In the summer, I often find myself happily overwhelmed by all the fresh-from-the-dirt produce. Sometimes I eat so much green, juicy stuff that I fail to consume anything else.

Which at the end of the day, leaves me peckish and making bad choices. I spiral down into the chip bag, or the chocolate chip bag, or deep into the freezer for something frozen and fatty.

Clearly there needs to be a middle ground, and that’s where these come in. These have a lot of summer flavor, but are so very hearty. They were inspired by one of Jason’s favorite sandwiches, the pan bagnat. Of course, at the end of my experimenting, it only had a few of the elements of that sandwich left. But damn, these were so freaking tasty– listen to this.  Fresh basil. SUMMER TOMATOES. purple onions, creamy avocado. Just the best kinds stuff.

You start out with smashing up some chickpeas with a fork.

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Do not use a blender, okay? The coarse chickpeas give these so much texture.  Then add in some onions and avocado and bright basil.

And of course you need some summer tomatoes.

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You mix them up together with the basil and onions and avocado and some lemon zest. As a binder, you use aquafaba and oats…it works just like an egg would. It holds everything together and when it hits the pan it creates a golden crispy crust on each fritter. Perfect.

These taste awesome on their own with a little lemon juice and salt, or with (gasp) ketchup, or in a taco, or over a salad, or whatever the heck strikes your fancy.

 

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Amazing Vegan Chickpea Fritters

Yield: 18-22 fritters

i made a patty mold out of an pop can, to allow the patties to form nicer circles. I used tin snips to cut the can (a cross section of the can), but a careful hand can also manage with plain scissors.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of chickpeas (keep the aquafaba!)
  • 1 avocado, finely diced
  • 2 cups basil (not packed)
  • 3/4 cup grape tomatoes (about 20 grape tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced purple onion
  • 2/3 cup aquafaba
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats, ground to flour
  • 1 tsp micropane-grated garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • just a little lemon juice
  • about 3 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Drizzle the avocado with just a tad of lemon juice
  2. Smash up the chickpeas with a fork.
  3. Shred up the basil with scissors.
  4. Combine the chickpeas, the basil, the onion, the tomato, and the avocado. Be careful not to smash the avocado. This is important because they create wonderful creamy pockets.
  5. Combine the aquafaba, the oat flour, the garlic, the flax meal, the lemon zest, and the salt. Let it rest a bit to allow the oats to soak up the liquid some.
  6. Carefully stir the aquafaba mix into the chickpea mix. Make sure to distribute the aquabafa mix evenly, as this is what will bind the patties together.
  7. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 3/4 tbsp coconut oil. Allow oil to warm.
  8. Scoop 2 tbsp worth of mix into pan and smash lightly to form a patty. Repeat and repeat.
  9. Allow patties to cook for 4 minutes on each side, then remove to paper towel to drain.
  10. Continue until mix is gone, working in batches of about 5 -6 (5-6 patties at a time in the pan, replenishing oil as needed. I only used 3 tbsp of oil for the whole recipe)
  11. Serve hot with a little more lemon juice and salt. Also makes great tacos.
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Hand Squeezed Fruit and Veggie Juice

Hand squeezed juice is easy, refreshing, and delicious. 

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I was at the farmer’s market one Saturday when I spotted the happiest little orange beets. Smudged with dirt and dew, they had certainly been plucked from the earth only hours before.  I purchased them without a second thought.

The stall owner was watching me over a pile of cucumbers. “Those are fantastic,” he said.  And he was right.

beets

Of course, when I got them home, I couldn’t fathom just juicing the beets. It’s summertime. I have a bounty of produce to churn into something cool and refreshing.  So I reviewed my market tote, and then the fridge, and then the freezer.

From the tote, I plucked the beets, of course, and a cucumber.

From my fridge, some hard mangoes and a rotund watermelon.

And from the freezer,  some strawberries that my mother-in-law had collected a few weeks earlier from a local berry farm. I’d frozen them for Jason’s morning smoothies, but he’s been such a Pop-Tart mood lately that there were still a plethora of them left.

The combination was fantastic. The beets were carroty, and the mangoes and strawberries were quite tart. Mixed up with the sugary watermelon, they yielded a wonderful coolness, perfect for summer.

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Hand juicing is easy. One of my first posts ever was on hand juicing, back in my sweet apartment in Raleigh. All you need is a blender and some flour-sack cloth towels. You can find flour-sack cloth towels at Target or Walmart, and probably some grocery stores. They’re with the kitchen towels and such.

Just place one of the towels over a large bowl. You can see my set-up here (but really….it’s just a towel over a bowl. And the pictures are definitely first-blog-post type pictures. No shame. Not that my pictures have really gotten any better.) Blend your foodstuffs in your blender and then pour them over the towel. You might need to work in batches — I did. Then just gather up the ends of the towel with one hand and squeeze squeeze squeeze with the other hand.  And that’s it! You’ll end up with a bowlful of juice and a fistful of pulp. You can keep the pulp as fiber to add to baked goods, if you want to. I didn’t feel like it this time, but I have in the past.

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Hand Squeezed Juice

  • 5 cups of watermelon chunks
  • 6 small beets, peeled
  • 2 mangoes
  • 2 cups of strawberries
  • 1 cucumber

Blend everything together, working in batches if you must. Place a flour-sack cloth over a bowl and pour the puree over top. Gather the end of the cloth and squeeze until no more moisture can be extracted. Store in the fridge, yields 6 cups of juice.

 

 

 

 

 

Boozy Magic Cotton Candy Milkshakes

Cotton Candy. Ice Cream. Booze. Are you ready for the best 4th of July ever?

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I’m so in love with this milkshake that I don’t even care that it’s my third less-than-healthy post in a row.  My next few posts are a lot more wholesome, I promise.

I love it because it’s made of fair food, and because of the firework-themed colors, and because it’s fun to make, and OH, of course….because it tastes awesome.

I know that I’m supposed to be posting red-white-and-blue desserts. I wanted to. But then I thought of this and realized that it’s just as Fourth-of-July-y (that’s a real adjective, I just made it up) as any RWB food you got. Like I said, it’s made of fair food, and who doesn’t love a Fourth of July fair? And um, it totally looks like bombs bursting in air, doesn’t it?

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I decided to call this a magic milkshake because when I was a kid, I totally thought cotton candy was magic. I mean, I knew it wasn’t actually magic, but I was fascinated by the fact that you could take simple sugar crystals and spin them into something so pale and fluffy. And I loved how those wispy strands just dissolved the moment they came in contact with my tongue.

Those wispy strands also dissolve the moment they come in contact with vodka.

cottoncandy

You absolutely must use whipped cream vodka in this, and no other vodka. You wouldn’t use tequila in an old fashioned, would you? Then please please don’t use non-whipped cream vodka in this. Well, no, I take that back. If you can’t find whipped cream vodka, toasted marshmallow or vanilla would probably do.

If you want, you can make a big pitcher of this in advance, but that wouldn’t be as fun. Set up a little bar so your guests can make their own. And then garnish with more fluffy stuff, obs.

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Cheers, America!

Just a few notes:

  • if you’re not going to a fair, you can find big bags of colorful cotton candy at Party City. 
  • the recipe, as written, serves just one. I wrote it this way so it could be easily multiplied to the size of your party/gathering/whatever
  • the recipe calls for 3 oz of vodka, which is essentially two shots. Just if you like to keep track of how much you’ve consumed.

Boozy Magic Milkshakes

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Yield: 1

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup vanilla bean ice cream
  • softball-sized boll of cotton candy
  • 3 oz of whipped cream vodka

Instructions

  1. Scoop the ice cream into the serving glass and top with the cotton candy.
  2. Slowly pour the vodka over the cotton candy, until completely dissolved.
  3. Give it a quick stir and garnish with more cotton candy if desired.
  4. Serve with love.
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Almond Peach Cake

This cake is simple and rich and flour-free. Perfect for summer, or any season.

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A few years ago, I went to this barbecue and I brought a peach dump cake. It was sweet and gooey and went well with Jamison. We ate it by the a crackling bonfire with fireflies flitting  around us. The host’s daughter was playing Spice Girls, I think.  Or Britney. Or some 90’s pop, I forget.

This cake was inspired by that dump cake. While it’s different in many ways from a a cake mix + canned peach concoction, there are some similarities. It still goes well with Jamison (peaches go so well with whiskey, don’t y’all agree?) and friends and any kind of music. Hip check  hip check, everything from Motown to 90’s pop to a certain sombodies whose album drops on Friday. Rhymes with Pave-it. ✨ ❤️ (banjo emoji)

The center of cake is sweet and custardy, but also silky. The outside crusts are soft and chewy like a macaroon, and then a little inwards you get a texture more akin to a tres leches cake. So yeah, macaroon, tres leches, custard. Can you handle it? Can I handle it? Marbled throughout is a wonderful summer peach swirl, with adds a fruity tartness. Eating it is definitely an experience.

peaches

It’s a fork or spoon dessert. It’s rich and decadent. It’s a great way end a summer day, plate in your lap, drink on your armrest, legs swinging off a porch chair. This is something special to share with friends, or dear ones.

This a simple recipe with only seven ingredients. The peach swirl takes is just fresh chunked peaches and dates. Making the peach part takes a little babysitting, but honestly not much. The batter couldn’t be easier. After it’s done baking, you’ll need to wait to let it cool before cutting.  Your kitchen will be filled with a nutty fruity smell, the edges will be puffy and golden. I had to restrain myself from diving in headfirst.

On the other hand, some of the best parts of summer include diving in headfirst. Taking a roadtrip to a different city. Getting a new job. Visiting friends you haven’t seen in a while. Splashing in a (deep-enough, no traumatic brain injuries please) swimming hole. Wearing sundresses you feel beautiful in, whether society approves or not.

You know….just….living.

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Almond Peach Cake

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs peaches
  • 5 dates
  • 8 oz almond paste (I used Solo brand)
  • 7 oz white chocolate (I used Divine brand)
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop the peaches (no need to remove skin). Place chopped peaches and the dates in a pot over medium heat. Cover and cook for 22-25 minutes. Stir at the 10 minute mark, and then stir constantly for the last five minutes.
  2. Puree the peaches. You should have about a cup of puree. If you have more than a cup, set the rest aside because a cup is all you'll need. The puree should be thick and paste-like.
  3. Beat the eggs till fluffy and frothy.
  4. Add the almond paste, a little bit at a time, to the eggs, until fully Incorporated.
  5. Carefully melt the white chocolate. Microwave it, stirring every 30 seconds, until fully melted -- about 1 1/2 minutes.
  6. Stir the white chocolate into the almond mix.
  7. Add the salt and baking powder.
  8. Preheat the oven to 325. Line a 7x7 or 8x8 pan with parchment.
  9. Pour the almond batter into the pan.
  10. Swirl a cup of peach puree into the almond batter.
  11. Bake for 40 -42 minutes, until puffy and golden.
  12. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
  13. Serve with love.

Notes

Solo brand Almond Paste contains no wheat or gluten Certain bars of Divine White Chocolate are made with sunflower lecithin, and not soy lecithin. Perfect. Just read the back of the bar....

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Tiny Pies: Cherry Vanilla Pie Popsicles

Cherry-vanilla ice cream inside of a soft and sweet mochi “pie crust”. Stomp your feet for food on sticks!

Cherry Pie Popsicles

I simply adore mochi-wrapped ice cream. I used live across the street from an Asian grocery, where the sweet cold treats were easily accessible. But when we moved, missing mochi was the last thing on my mind.  I didn’t really think about it until early this spring, when one lazy google revealed that mochi ice cream wrappers were something I could totally whip up in my own kitchen. And there was no excuse not to. The ingredients could be found even in the small town grocery shop down the street.

I’m participating in popsicle week for the first time ever. I’m excited. And nervous. Hi guys, can I hang out? ☺️  I cannot wait to see what everyone made.

Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream Mochi Pops

So. Let’s get to talking about these treats. Mochi around a cherry vanilla filling, so good. I liked to let them sit out for just a second before biting it, because it makes the mochi a little softer and silkier.

For the “pie crust,”you will need mochiko flour, otherwise know as sweet rice flour. Don’t freak out, it’s also known as glutinous rice flour, even though it has no gluten. Promise. It’s not the same as regular rice flour, but it’s just as accessible. You can find it the Asian section of any grocery store. Look for the white box with the red letters and the blue star.

The filling is as easy as er…..well, you know. I condensed some cherries down to a red juicy paste and then stirred that into some vanilla ice cream. Done and done. I let that harden back up and then divided it up into little scoops.

I used a little mix of maple syrup and molasses as an “egg wash,” but you can skip that part if you wish.  It just adds a little bit of sweetness and shine, and who doesn’t need more of that, ya know?

Cherry Pie Popscicles

Be sure to check out all the awesome pops here!

Tiny Pies: Cherry Vanilla Pie Popsicles

These little pies look complicated, but they are totally doable. There are a handful of helpful tips at the bottom of the recipe. Yay timesavers! :D

Ingredients

    filling
  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream
  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen cherries
  • 4 dates
  • crust
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp mochiko flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • yellow food coloring, optional
  • plenty of corn starch or tapioca starch, for dusting
  • maple syrup and molasses, for the "egg wash",optional

Instructions

    for the filling
  1. Place the cherries and the dates in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cover and allow to cook for 10 minutes, stirring once.
  2. Remove the lid and allow to cook for 12-13 additional minutes. Stir occasionally at first. During the final 2-3 minutes, stir continually. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Puree the cherries. You should have about 1/2 cup of mix. It doesn't have to be totally smooth. In fact, a somewhat lumpy mix will allow for small bits of cherry in the pops.
  4. Stir the cherries into the ice cream.
  5. Allow to firm up in the freezer - several hours or overnight
  6. Using a 2 tbsp cookie scoop, divide up the ice cream into little mounds. This is your filling. I ended up with 10 mounds.
  7. Allow mounds to harden completely and then shove in the popscicle stick.
  8. for the mochi dough
  9. In a large glass bowl, stir up the mochiko flour, the sugar, and the cinnamon. Once combined, add the water. You can darken the batter a bit (to more closely resemble pie crust) by adding a bit of food coloring. Totally optional.
  10. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 1 minute. Stir with a wet spatula, then cover and return to the microwave for a another minute. Stir again. Return to the microwave for an additional 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. (4 minutes total. 1 min, stir/ 1 min, stir/ 30 seconds stir/ 30 seconds, stir/ 30 seconds, stir/ 30 seconds, stir).
  11. The dough will be more manageable if it's cool before you roll it.
  12. Once the batter is cool, dust dust dust your rolling surface with your starch. Roll out to 1/8th inch thickness. You will need two different size crusts, as the top crust needs to cover the top and sides of the ice cream, and the bottom crust only needs to cover...uh...the bottom. For reference, my ice cream mounds (the filling) were 1 1/2 inches in diameter and almost 1 inch high. My bottom crust was 2 1/4 inches in diameter, my top crust was 3 1/2 inches in diameter. I trimmed a bit off my top crust after I'd laid it down. Since I had 10 scoops of filling, I needed 10 bottom crusts and 10 top crusts.
  13. Now you can assemble the pops. Simply place a the filling over a bottom crust, drape the top crust over that, and pinch together with a fork. It helps if the fork is a bit wet. Place the pop back in the freezer right away so that the crust can harden up a bit.
  14. Optional -- you can cut little "steam vents" in the top.
  15. Also optional - stir up a little molasses with a little maple syrup. Use a brush to glaze the top of the crust, for a little extra darkness and shine.
  16. Enjoy!
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Don’t let the many steps deter you from doing this. This is a good recipe to do in little bursts, which means you’re never spending too long in the kitchen at any given time. A few helpful tips:

for the filling:

  • If using frozen pitted cherries, allow to defrost before beginning (that’s what I did).
  • Measure the vanilla ice cream when very cold, and hard pack it into the cup measurement.
  • The filling is approx 2 tbsp of ice cream. I do not have a 2 tbsp cookie scoop, but I did have a 1/8th cup measuring cup, which is the same thing. It made shaping the filling a little harder though. If you don’t have either one, cut 3/4 inch wide strips of food-grade cardboard (from an oatmeal container, cereal box, et al) and then then staple them to form circles that are approx 1.5 inches in diameter. Pack ice cream into these makeshift molds. 
  • Use cupcake liners to keep the filling separate while hardening

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for the dough

  • you can cool mochi dough to cool before you roll it. In fact, I recommend it. 
  • Before you roll your mochi dough, dust the rolling surface with a super thick layer of cornstarch or tapicoca starch or whatever starch. Dust, dust, dust. Any dough coming in contact with an undusted rolling surface will stick. Be a generous duster, and you will be repaid in time saved. 
  • After cutting the crusts, they will be dusty, obs. Brush them with a wet pastry brush (or a drug store crayola brush, whatever) to get rid of the excess starch. Stack the crusts between layers of parchment until you’re ready to use them.
  • Cut more crusts than you think you’ll need (there will be enough dough to do this). Even if you don’t end up using them, you can make other things. I stacked some ice cream and peanut butter and marshmallow fluff in between two leftover crusts. It was amazing. 

for assembly

  • While assembling, keep your work surface super cold. I filled an 8 x 8 pan with water and froze it. I placed a cold plate over that. 

pie pop assembly

  • Assemble the pops one by one (keeping the others in the freezer), and assemble on a small piece of parchment.
  • When pressing the crusts together with your fork, don’t lift your fork up from the crust. Instead, drag your fork out towards the edge of the plate.
  • As with any popsicle……..don’t lift it by the stick until completely frozen. After assembling, lift it by the parchment and place it in the freezer to harden again 

the mochi wrapper is adapted from just one cookbook, which you will find linked at the bottom of my mochi ice cream cake-pie-thing post.

pop130

Peach Rhubarb Milkshakes and other goodies

Peach Rhubarb Milkshake

Oh ice cream and rhubarb and peaches, it’s almost summertime!

I never realized how much I missed the hot sultry days until they arrived. And the really sticky days haven’t even hit yet. There’s so much I love about summer, but since this is a food blog, I guess I’ll stick to talking about food.

🌽 🍅SUMMER PRODUCE, Y’ALL!!!! and yes, that deserves all caps. I’m yellin’. 🍑🍒

A bit ago I posted some rhubarb-peach thing on instagram. I’m gonna call it a smash. Peach Rhubarb Smash!  The combination is sweet and tart, you taste the peaches at the beginning and the rhubarb at the end. Swirled into vanilla ice cream, it creates a velvety summery dessert. The vanilla is distinct from the fruit, creating a happy contrast reminiscent of an creamsicle. If creamsicles has peaches and rhubarb instead of orange.

rhubarb

The smash also pairs well with booze. Specifically, gin. I used to dislike gin, but a few summers ago, Jason started making me some gin and tonics and they were the perfect summer drink. They weren’t technically g+t, as neither of us like tonic, but they were g + fizzy water with a lot of lime. Even my mama, who doesn’t really drink, relished them when we got a cabin up in the mountains for my cousin’s wedding last summer.

For this frothy marvel, I simply subtracted the lime and added peach-rhubarb smash. I am not a cocktail mixer by any means. I really wish I was. Two of my favorite blogging ladies, Danguole and Meghan, are simply cocktail masters. Cocktail mixing is a delicate science, don’t y’all agree? But if you are an unlearned cocktail explorer such as myself, do not fear. This drink takes no skill. Just a long spoon and a slow hand — churn it too fast and it will fizz all over the place.

Peach Rhubarb Gin Fizz

 

 

It’s a marvelously refreshing drink, and it’s fun.  That fizz is just so happy. If you don’t like gin, just leave it out. This drink can be made completely non-alcoholic without making it non-fun. Um, I know that sounds like a poster you’d see in a freshman dorm, but it’s true. 💁 Enjoy!

P.S. This peach rhubarb smash comes out different colors each time I’ve made it.  The redder the rhubarb, the redder/pinker the smash. Obs. It’s also brighter and prettier with yellow flesh peaches. White peaches don’t yield the same sunset colors. However, if all you have is white peaches and you must have the bright colors, add a drop or two of food coloring. Ifin you’re not opposed to that sort of thing. This smash is also wonderful at breakfast time. Swirl it with yogurt and stud it with cherries and toasted oats. The possibilities! 

Peach Rhubarb Milkshake

Peach Rhubarb Smash

5 yellow flesh peaches
5 stalks of rhubarb (should yield 4 cups chopped)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar (if your peaches are extra sweet, reduce to 1/3 cup)

  1. Chop up the rhubarb and slice the peaches. Keep the skin on the peaches.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a large, deep, flat-bottomed skillet. (mine was 1.5 inches across and 3.25 inches deep).
  3. Cover and set over medium heat for 18-20 min, stirring once or twice.
  4. Remove lid, lower heat just a notch and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 10 more minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and puree till smooth.

Yields just over 4 cups. I called it a smash, but it’s very similar to a puree. It also tastes wonderful in smoothies, or with a bowl of granola. 

Peach Rhubarb Milkshake

1/2 cup of Peach Rhubarb Smash (recipe above)
1/2 cup of softened vanilla ice cream

Swirl together the softened ice cream and the cooled smash. If you want it a little thinner, throw in a tablespoon or two of milk. I like my milkshakes thick.

Peach Rhubarb Gin Fizz

10 oz club soda
1/3 cup peach-rhubarb smash (recipe above)
1.5 oz gin

  1. Place the smash in a large glass.
  2. Stir the gin into the smash.
  3. Gently pour the club soda in. Very slowly stir it with the gin+smash until you get an even color throughout. Enjoy!