Experimenting with flavors – Blueberry, corn and cinnamon candied pecan Gelato

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In my never-ending quest to challenge my taste buds, I am trying new combinations for gelato’s. As blueberries and corn are in season, I thought, well, why not? Pecans work well with blueberries, let’s add some! Low and behold, it was delicious! I also tried something new, adding 1/4 cup alcohol to have a softer serve on the ice cream and it really works! The only mistake I made was using rum, too pungent for delicate berries and sweet corn. I’m thinking something like a dessert wine might work really well. You don’t have to add the alcohol, you will then need to remove ice cream from freezer 10 minutes before serving. Happy experimenting!

Recipe

2 cups blueberries, well rinsed

2 ears corn, steamed and grains cut from stalk

1/2 cup pecans

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon maple syrup

3/4 cups cream

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Dash salt

Instructions

Make simple syrup: bring to a boil sugar & water and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Place in the fridge to chill. Cook ears of corn in boiling water for 10-15 minutes, allow to cool before cutting corn off the cob. Place corn nibblets in fridge to cool completely. Heat a small cast iron pan on medium heat, add butter and when sizzling, add pecans and cinnamon, stir to combine and allow pecans to caramelize. Add maple syrup, stirring occasionally until sticky. Remove from heat and scoop onto parchment paper and allow to cool completely before roughly chopping, set aside. Place blueberries and corn in blender with simple syrup, pulse to combine but not too much, you want small bits of fruit throughout. Add cream and blend to combine. If mixture is cold, continue to freezing in ice cream machine or place in fridge to chill thoroughly before adding to ice cream machine. When ice cream is almost completely solid, add candied pecans and alcohol if using. Remove ice cream and store in container in the freezer. Makes 6-8 portions. Keeps in the freezer up to a month. Enjoy!

 

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When all else fails, the market stalls keep my spirits up & Italian plum Clafoutis

 

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We all have something that drives us, that we love doing no matter what, that we never get tired of and are always interested in learning more about. For me, food is definitely it. I love reading about it, I love shopping for it, I love cooking it, I absolutely love offering it and I really love eating it! If my spirits are down, I can go to the kitchen and start baking, it’s my meditation. What could possibly elevate that experience? Growing my food. Actually having a small orchard and vegetable patch. I have this fantasy of owning a small farm, maybe having a small bed and breakfast, selling my canned jewels, a totally self-sufficient operation! I guess you put that in the eco-tourism category, who knows, maybe one day 🙂 Living in an appartment in a big city and working in an office in a tall downtown building has probably lost it’s charm for me. I am craving a lifestyle that is diametrically opposed to the one I’m living now, maybe age is working it’s magic on me!!! In the meantime, I’ll be dreaming away whilst walking through the market, for the short month we have left! Happy September 🙂

Recipe

1 lb prunes, cut in two, keeping pits for flavour

250ml milk

3 eggs

Grated nutmeg

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup slivered almonds

2 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoon buckwheat flour

2 tablespoons almond flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

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Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a baking dish and place plums in a decorative pattern, halves with pits down. Put aside. Warm milk. Cream butter and sugar and add vanilla and flours. Beat in warmed milk until smooth. Pour over plums, sprinkle almond slivers on top and place in middle of oven, bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden. Makes 6 servings. Keeps well in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!

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Peaches & Cream Gelato with toasted almonds

FullSizeRender 3August is the beginning of the bountiful harvest at the market. The stalls are packed with fresh fruits and veggies, in every colour of the rainbow. I’m like a kid in a candy store, wanting to buy everything in sight. Those are the moments I wish I had a large brood of children to feed, giving me an excuse to cook up a storm! Every summer I give myself a challenge. A few years ago, I realised I only ate raspberry jam, not really enjoying any other fruit jams, so I made myself cook up fruits as they came in season. Strawberry vanilla, sugar and spice plum, cinnamon peaches, concord grape jelly, crabapple jelly, apple butter… The pantry was stocked and I very proudly offered my jewels to friends and family. I have to say, I really did like other fruit jams, I just didn’t like the commercial variety! This year’s challenge is fruit ice cream. I am not a huge fan… But then a few weeks ago, I made that awesome strawberry gelato and this week, peaches with toasted almonds. YUM! Super simple, wash, cut, place in blender, then into ice cream machine and presto, superb summer treat! I didn’t even bother removing the skins, so bonus, extra vitamins and beautiful specs of colour. Wait till you see what I’ve though up for this weekend. Hint? It’s yellow and it’s sweet….. Ha! 🙂 So enjoy these precious moments while we’ve got them, gorge yourself with all those beautiful fruits and veggies, it’s the one time of year simplicity is where perfection lies…. Happy end of summer!

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Recipe

4 cups ripe peaches, rinsed and cubed

2/3 cups simple syrup (1/3 cup sugar + 1/3 cup water, bring to a simmer for 5 minutes then cool)

2/3 cups cream

1/2 cup toasted almonds

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

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Instructions

Place peaches and syrup in blender. Add cream and nutmeg and stir to blend. Place in the fridge until thoroughly cold. Place in the ice cream maker as per manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is almost completely frozen, add toasted almonds. Store in an airtight container in the freezer. Ice cream keeps for roughly one month, if you can resist the urge to eat it all up before! Enjoy 🙂

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I scream, you scream, we all scream for Strawberry-Vanilla Gelato!

SCN_0001We are close to the end of strawberry season, and I’m eating them every chance I get! A true Montreal summer has hit us, heat and humidity and best of all sunshine 🙂 And who doesn’t associate ice cream as of th best hot summer enjoyments? Maybe because we all  associate this cold desert with our childhood memories of excitement and anticipation. My favourite ice cream flavours generally tend toward chocolate and nut flavours, but as everything food related, I like to challenge myself and make things I wouldn’t necessarily order at a restaurant or café. At first I wasn’t thinking of making ice cream, as I bought this big basket of strawberries , I was going over the dessert options using strawberries in my mind, eliminating all those that would be too heavy. I also am not very enthusiastic about turning the oven on in the summer heat. And being in surgery recovery, I don’t want to deal with weight issues because I’m eating all these rich foods and not really moving about much. Then, looking over different recipe books, i started to compare classic ice cream recipes versus gelato. The gelato is kind of a cross between a sorbet and ice cream, that kind of sold it! If you have an ice cream maker, it makes it very simple, it’s a matter of making a light syrup, blending ingredients, cooling them and then putting them in the machine. I must say, I am very pleased with the results. Now I’m imagining all the different gelato flavours I can make with the fruit coming into season soon… Stay tuned!!!!IMG_0885IMG_0887IMG_0888

INGREDIENTS

4 cups strawberries, rinsed and hulled

3/4 cup sugar

2/3 cup water

3/4 cup cream

1 vanilla bean, scraped

Juice of 1 lemon

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INSTRUCTIONS

Place sugar and water in small saucepan over medium high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. When syrup comes to a boil, remove from heat, add vanilla pod and let cool to room temperature. Place strawberries with lemon juice and vanilla seeds in bowl of a food processor, pulse to blend then add syrup (careful to remove vanilla pod) and pulse until blended with small pieces of fruit remaining. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours. Place in ice cream maker as per manufacturers instructions. Makes 1 quart. Enjoy without reserve!

 

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