Monday, March 31, 2014

Defiant Brewery

I had been feeling so blah at work lately, getting random headaches, looking a little sallow. I blame the lack of sunshine, a long winter, and the irregular temperatures in my office building. So, last Monday, I went back on my green smoothie regimen and in just a week I'm already feeling the difference. My skin's looking brighter, I'm feeling much more energetic, and I've already dropped a pound of what I call "winter insulation."

You'd think, with that introduction, that I'd be sharing some sort of health-related post but I'm totally not. Today, I'm talking about two horrible (in a good way) things: beer and barbecue. I just wanted to share a little update on what's going on in my life because this is my blog and sometimes it's nice to get a little personal, right?

Anyway, so a few weekends ago, my cousin and cousin-in-law were visiting from Houston. The four of us piled into one car and headed to Pearl River, NY to visit a local microbrewery, the Defiant Brewing Company. I wasn't sure what to expect, especially considering I'm not the biggest drinker (anymore - I was quite the party girl in college). I have to admit that I wasn't super excited to spend the afternoon just guzzling beer. Lucky for me, they're not only known for their delicious beers. They've also got some kickass barbecue that will put many Southern barbecue joints to shame.
The brewery is inside of a converted warehouse space adjacent to the Pearl River Train Station. When you walk in, you'll see string lights and giant kettles. It actually looks really quaint and hipster-cool. The best part is that there's tons of seating. If you're keen on taking tours, they offer them every so often but we didn't go on one so I can't speak to whether or not it's worthwhile but seeing as it's a microbrewery, I think any true beer lover would enjoy it.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Gochujang Bokkeum (고추장볶음)

I am the type of person to go out of my way to eat something amazing and I'd rather go hungry than settle for something mediocre. But let's be real; I'd never let myself go hungry. As soon as my stomach growls, I find or make something awesome to eat and chow down. If I'm at home on a lazy afternoon, instead of just munching on crackers, I'll dig through the pantry and make butternut squash soup. Even at work, I have a snack drawer with Nutella, granola, and honey wheat pretzels so I never have to resort to the sad pathetic bags of chips in the vending machine.

My papa, on the other hand, would probably pass out from malnutrition because when he's left to his own devices, he will eat just rice and gochujang for every meal. So, today's post is inspired by my pops. It's a way to binge on gochujang while still getting a bit of protein. There are plenty of gochujang bokkeum recipes out there but I like mine because it's easy and there are only 6 ingredients and there's no corn syrup in it. I don't have anything against corn syrup. In fact, I've shared recipes that call for corn syrup. But, I just hate squeezing it out of the stupid container. It leaves sticky strings all around the bottle cap, no matter how carefully I dispense it.
½ lb lean ground beef
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
½ cup hot pepper paste
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Crispy Chicken with Garlic Sauce

I'm always buying bulk packages of chicken thighs because they're economical, versatile, and tasty. For dinner a few weeks ago, I knew I had a some thighs waiting for me in the fridge but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them. Dahk kalbi? No, we had that last week. Dahk doritang? No, no potatoes at home. Dahk jook? Eh, not in the mood.

So, what ended up happening when I got home? I grabbed a bunch of peppers, did a little of this, sprinkled in a little of that, and this crispy chicken dish was born. It's similar to tangsuyuk or kkanpoongi because it's a crispy meat with a thick sauce. However, it's a little more savory and not as sweet, but it's just as yummy with a heaping bowl of rice.
2 lbs chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1 cup potato starch
¼ cup water
hot and mild peppers, chopped
1 onion, chopped
6 to 8 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup grated apple
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon corn syrup
½ cup chicken stock
½ teaspoon sesame oil
oil for frying
+ ½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru) - this is optional
chopped scallion

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What I Ate: Madeleines

My madeleines post from 2012 was the first one that featured a "recipe page." It was about a month or two after I'd gotten an iPad and I'd just bought a stylus and treated myself to the program 'Noteshelf' as it was on sale. I found that there was a recipe template in the types-of-paper section and in a flash, I knew I had to use them for my blog. My sister had been complaining that it was too difficult to scroll through the entire set of directions between the photos when she was actually trying to make something from the blog. But, I didn't want to use a conventional recipe card so this was a great solution. I thought that if they were written in my own handwriting, they'd look more personal and cute. And, I think they've been a successful addition. Even I find that they're super helpful and convenient.

Today's post is just a 'What I Ate' so if you want detailed instructions, you'll want to go back to my older post or just read the recipe page (scroll way down for that). I just wanted to share this post to remind everyone of how awesome madeleines are and also because my food photography skills have improved (as has my equipment) and madeleines are so adorable that they deserve a proper photoshoot.
Ingredients [yields 1 dozen]:
½ stick of butter (¼ cup) + more for greasing
2 eggs
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup flour
zest of 1 lemon
+ powdered sugar

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blackberry Cobbler

My food cravings can be crazy intense. I'll be watching television and a commercial for fried chicken comes on and that's all I can think about until I finally eat some fried chicken. It's like I'm pregnant but I'm not (thank goodness). Anyway, that's how this blackberry cobbler happened. I was watching television, there was a cobbler on the screen, and I decided I had to make some, right then and there. Am I a freak? Probably, and that's okay with me.
1 lb. blackberries, fresh or frozen (or another fruit of your choice)
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ stick of butter (¼ cup or 4 tablespoons)
½ cup cream (or milk)
1 egg
1 tablespoon raw sugar

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cilantro Kimchi

Today I'm sharing something a little different. Obviously, you can tell by the title that it's cilantro kimchi. I'm pretty sure that Koreans (specifically South Koreans) aren't keen on cilantro. It's certainly not because everyone in Korea hates cilantro but it's not a traditional ingredient; it's just not a part of (South) Korean cuisine. So, today's recipe is glaringly nontraditional, unauthentic, and completely made up by yours truly.

I read somewhere (on the interweb) that cilantro is a big part of North Korean cuisine, but as I know little about the culture (besides the scary stuff you read in the paper) and I don't personally know any N. Koreans, I don't want to speak out of turn and say anything that isn't true.

By the way, if you don't like cilantro, it could be genetic! My friend H - a cilantro hater - linked me to an article from the Huffington Post that talks all about the link between specific genes and disliking cilantro. The article also mentions that cilantro haters can become converts by starting with something like a cilantro pesto. I would also propose that you try chimichurri (cut with a little parsley to tone down the cilantro-ness). But, you could also try the following cilantro kimchi recipe, since it's got a ton of strong flavors (hello, fish sauce) which compete with the cilantro (in a good way).
2 cups cilantro leaves (torn off the stems)
½ cup carrot matchsticks
2 hot peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Korean fish sauce
1 tablespoon Korean hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Vanilla Custard & Chocolate Wafer Cookies

I feel like I should be posting healthier foods because the warm weather really is approaching and my body is no where near ready for skimpy skirts and bikinis.

Oh well! My bikini body will have to wait, as today's recipe is full of sugar and fat and chocolate wafers; basically all of the good things in life. And, I decided to share it in video form because I think that editing videos can be quite fun. That's not to say that I'm any good at it but I'm certainly improving with every go.

It takes a little while for me to decide what sort of recipe would be fun to make and to watch on video. It needs to be interesting and complicated enough to warrant a video, you know? Today's video shows the process (mostly in fast-forward) of making a vanilla custard and then how you might assemble it with some cookies into a delicious dessert. This pudding cup tastes like an Oreo but better, if you can believe it. Anyway, I figured it was high time that I should record my custard making process, as I've described it so many times (with words and photo diary) but sometimes, it's nice to watch it happen for real, ya know?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cilantro Rice

Cilantro is a polarizing ingredient; you either love it or you hate it. I have yet to find someone who is indifferent to it. Obviously, I'm a lover, as I've shared several recipes with cilantro here. It has such a distinct smell and flavor and I think it adds so much oomph to so many dishes (e.g. pho, salsa, seafood). Quite unfortunately I never had it growing up, probably because my dad hates it.

So, the first time I ever had cilantro was also the first time I went to Qdoba. This was back in high school. A new shopping plaza opened up near my house and my mom, sister, and I went to go check it out. We shopped at The Gap and Banana Republic and then grabbed a burrito lunch at Qdoba. The burrito was made with this cilantro-speckled rice and when I tasted it, I was intrigued. What was this new flavor?! It was cilantro and my life was changed forever.

The cilantro rice that I'm sharing today isn't that same burrito cilantro rice. It's more of a pilaf-y version that you'd eat as a side dish alongside something like steak, chicken, fish, porkchops, etc. It's just a jazzier pilaf for all of the cilantro lovers out there.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 cup long grain rice (you could use jasmine rice, basmati rice, even wild rice)
1 cup chicken stock
¼ diced onion
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 scallion, chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What I Ate: Omurice

Recently, a friend asked me if I would be interested in having a dinner swap. I'd make him dinner and he'd do the dishes; he'd make me dinner and I'd do the dishes. He'd been wanting to try my cooking for a while but wanted it to be a "fair trade." Let me explain something really important. I am a certified freak when it comes to my kitchen and cooking habits. I'm v. orderly, I multitask, and I'm super diligent about doing dishes as I cook. In fact, I'm so neurotic that I can't enjoy a meal properly knowing there's a sink full of dishes waiting to be tended to. My cooking and cleaning style makes it so the only dishes that need to be washed at the end of the meal are the ones we've just eaten off of; yes, I'm that awesome.

So, you can see that I didn't think that the arrangement was fair at all. If I made dinner, he'd have 2 or 3 dishes to sponge off at the end of the night. Whereas when he made dinner, I'd be scrubbing down the entire kitchen. What is the point of this stupid anecdote? It's to emphasize the greatness of one pot meals, which reduces the amount of kitchen mess that the OCD-free chefs might leave behind and omurice is a great example. You just make a mess of fried rice in one giant frying pan, spoon out the portions onto a bunch of plates, use the same pan to cook up some omelets, and you're good to go. Even me, with my incredible neuroses, would be fine with one frying pan waiting in the sink (maybe).

My previous omurice post is on the uglier side so I should have done a proper photo diary post but I didn't and I'm sorry. Luckily, it's not a difficult dish to make and even more luckily, I created a recipe page just for you. You can scroll way down for that little gift. If you're up for being creative and winging it (which is encouraged), I suggest you throw your favorite fried rice and/or omelet ingredients into a frying pan and let loose. Things like bacon, diced carrot, bits of ham, green beans, chunks of cheese, zucchini, you get the idea. Oh, but one thing I insist is that you must squirt a little ketchup and Sriracha on top (yes, both). A little sweet and spice makes everything nice.

Oh, by the way, have I mentioned yet that I'm going to France in May? Well, I am. I outlined my whole itinerary on my travel blog, if you're interested in reading about that.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Egg & Cheese McMuffins

As I promised yesterday, today I'm sharing how I put my homemade english muffins to use. It's my version of the egg McMuffin! Am I allowed to use that word or will McDonald's sue me? Maybe I should just call it an "egg and cheese on an english muffin" and avoid that heartache altogether. Whatever.

Anyway, egg and cheese sandwiches are one of my favorite breakfasts ever. I feel like I say that a lot. What can I say? I love breakfast and there are so many amazing breakfast foods. As a current New Jerseyan, I can say that breakfast sandwiches are extremely important to the us, the residents of NJ. Everyone has their preferences for their ideal breakfast sammie, whether the bread should be toasted and buttered, taylor ham or bacon or sausage (or all three?), ketchup or no ketchup, it's all important. For me, the egg yolk must be runny, there needs to be plenty of fresh cracked black pepper, and the cheese needs to be melted; these three components are key to a Rach-thinks-this-is-delicious breakfast sandwich.
Ingredients [for 1]:
1 english muffin
1 egg
2 tablespoons grated cheese (I like cheddar but American, provolone, swiss, jack, havarti, are all great; there's no wrong type of cheese)
salt & pepper to taste
butter / oil
+ whatever else you might like on your sandwich - ketchup maybe?

Monday, March 17, 2014

English Muffins

The following blog entry should be read with a British accent. Just kidding. Unless you think it would be fun and/or you're already British and you'd do it anyway.

I've been on an english muffin kick lately. On a recent grocery shopping trip, upon walking into the store I encountered an english muffin display with a huge sign that read, "Buy 1 Get 1 Free." I'm a sucker for a good sale so I popped two packages into my cart and I enjoyed a toasted english muffin for breakfast for a few weeks. There's just something about the texture, the double toasting, the endless topping possibilities, that set english muffins apart from other breakfast breads.

The store bought ones are so delicious, there's really no reason to make your own except that when you make them yourself, you know exactly what's going into the muffins. I've touted this reason quite a few times already because it's a great reason. Convenience is important but if you've got the time, try and make something on your own. Your health and body will thank you.
Ingredients [yields 4 muffins]:
1¼ cups bread flour
¼ cup warm water
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ cup half & half
1 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon butter
+ 1 tablespoon cornmeal (optional)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Slow Cooker Shredded Pork & Spinners

I miss college food. There, I said it. Seriously though, Cornell has some awesome dining halls and there are several awesome eateries in Ithaca. I'll gloss over the townie restaurants and focus on Cornell dining halls, for today at least. We had make-your-own nacho stations, dim sum dumplings for Sunday brunch, Belgian waffle stations, cereal bars, make-your-own "sushi" (just avocado and cucumber), omelette stations, soft serve ice cream, regular ice cream, even kimchi. Luckily, I can find most of these things around my neighborhood so I'm not constantly pining for Cornell dining (rhyme!). However, Ivy Room spinners are one thing I can't seem to find a good replacement for. Spinners were basically Cornell's version of a Crunchwrap Supreme (Taco Bell's invention) but they were different and better, mostly because they were made with actual meat and they were made to order so you could watch it being made right in front of your eyes. Plus, they were humongous and cheap; perfect for a poor college student like moi.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 8 depending on hunger levels]:
shredded slow cooker pork
2 bone-in pork chops (about 2 lbs.)
½ onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 habanero, halved
1 cubanelle pepper, cut into strips
½ to 1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 lbs shredded slow cooker pork
6 to 8 large wraps (12")
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, pepperjack, whatever you like)
2 cups tortilla chips, crushed
fresh cilantro
+ sour cream
+ guacamole
+ salsa
+ hot sauce
+ pickled jalapeños

Let's start with the pork first.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bánh Mì

Bánh Mì is a Vietnamese sandwich and it is a product of French colonialism. The sandwich filling ingredients are v. Vietnamese-y (I apologize for always making up words) but it's all set on delicious and crusty French bread. I love sandwiches, I love Asian flavors (since I grew up on them), and I especially love French bread, so bánh mì is a perfect fusion combination for me.

The first time I had bánh mì was in college. A little shop opened up right in front of our apartment senior year and my best friend/roommate and I went one day. It was quite good, albeit overpriced for a college student's wallet and I think that's probably why it closed down quickly after it opened. I've had bánh mì here and there since then but nothing mind blowing (or stomach blowing? No, that sounds gross) until I went to houston and had really amazing bánh mì that was less than $3. I knew as soon as I took my first bite that I had to try and recreate it at home.
marinade [enough for about 2 lbs. of protein]
¼ cup soy sauce (preferably low-sodium)
¼ cup water
¼ cup Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc cham)
¼ cup packed brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
+ 1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
2 lbs. of preferred protein - pork tenderloin, chicken thighs, beef, shrimp, turkey, tofu

1 loaf french bread
1 lb. meat marinaded in banh mi marinade
pickled carrot & daikon
2 baby cucumbers, cut into spears
fresh cilantro
2 jalapeños, cut into spears

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pickled Carrot and Daikon

I made these pickles because I wanted to make bánh mì (which I'll be sharing tomorrow). I love the pickled daikon and carrot that my favorite local Vietnamese restaurant makes so I had those flavors in mind when I was developing this recipe. I'm not Vietnamese so I don't know what's traditional but I like my carrot and daikon pickles to be really sweet. I read that in some parts of Vietnam, the pickles tend to be a bit saltier and in other parts, there's a balance. If you're camped out on the sweet pickle side, then this recipe is one you might be interested in. If you're a salty or a somewhere in the middle type, then I don't know. You might think this recipe sucks; sorry.

Well, sweet ones (and not sweet ones), let's get going, shall we? Just to warn you, I decided to go my own way and added in some heat. I like putting my own spin on things I already like and turn them into things I love. If you're not a fan of spice, you can omit the peppers and move on with your life.
3 cups carrots and daikon cut into matchsticks
½ cup water
½ cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon + ¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon sea salt
+ 1 jalapeño chopped (optional)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Brunch at Isola

Over the weekend, I met up with one of my favorite friends to spend a day in the city - brunch, shopping, art fairs, more food, you know the deal.

We met up at the Mondrian Soho to eat a delicious brunch in the sun-filled glass eatery and I took my camera so I'm going to share some snaps and do a quick little review.
I hopped off my NJ to NY train and hopped onto the subway. As always, the weekend train schedules were all really weird so I ended up at the 14th Street station (ACE line) and encountered these bronze little weirdos.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Crispy Hot Wings

Wings! I crave them all the time. I think they're one of the best junk food-y dishes ever because they combine two of my favorite things: meat and spicy sauce.

I don't think there's anything remarkably novel about my recipe but at the same time, I don't think there are any restaurants that serve a better wing than mine. I owe that mostly to the fact I don't have to change out of pajamas to enjoy wings at home. But it's also because my wings are super crispy, the sauce I make is buttery and garlicky, and best of all, they're super affordable. A package of a dozen wings at the supermarket is something like, $2.50 (at least in my neighborhood). Compare that to a plate of wings at Bananabee's which is probably on the order of $8, psh. I'll take my wings homemade, thanks.
1 dozen chicken wings (if you buy the wings whole with the wing tips still attached, they're even cheaper but it's annoying to cut them apart so I don't mind paying a little more for the convenience)
1 cup potato starch
¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
oil for frying
⅓ cup hot sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced

Friday, March 7, 2014

Frisée Salad (2)

I shared a frisée salad a little over a year ago. That post featured a salad which has a few more ingredients than today's but they're pretty similar. So why am I sharing this one? I just wanted to redo it with some newer, prettier photos. It seems like I've been doing quite a few "redo" posts lately. It's hard not to! I've only had this new camera for about a year now so there are only about 200-ish posts (out of 550+) that were uploaded using good quality photos which means there are 350+ posts that could use a little makeover (minus the ones that I've already made over).

Anyway, I love frisée. I think it looks beautiful, has a great texture, and it's super mild so it's great for using with bold dressings and strong flavors - like bacon. Bacon is a strong (and delicious) flavor and it goes so well with frisée, but let's face it, bacon goes well with most things, doesn't it?
1 head frisée
3 slices of bacon
1 tablespoon mustard
½ tablespoon pepper jelly
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper
+ olive oil, if necessary

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Crispy Turkey Scallopini

Sundays are my relax and chill out day. I sleep in, eat a big breakfast, watch some crappy television, read, blog, and hang out with George Michael (my dog). A few Sundays ago, I was watching The Barefoot Contessa and the episode was about Ina and Jeffrey Garten's 45th wedding anniversary. On the menu was a crispy chicken dish that came out looking incredibly delicious. Ina had gone to the butcher to get a whole chicken chopped into 8 pieces. She then dredged them in a dijon mustard and white wine mixture, rolled them around in breadcrumbs, and baked them. Watching that episode made me so hungry.

So, when dinnertime came around, inspired by Ina, I also made a crispy poultry dish. We had a package of turkey scallopini in the fridge that were begging to be breaded and that's what I did. I didn't follow Ina's instructions to a T though; I went my own way (as I tend to do).
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
1½ lbs turkey scallopini (4 to 6 pieces)
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 to 4 cups panko breadcrumbs
4 sprigs fresh thyme
6 to 8 cloves garlic
olive oil for pan frying
** you can use chicken tenders, chicken scallopini, turkey breast - almost any cut of poultry - you could even use pork or veal (though I'm not a fan of veal because I think it's mean to eat babies).

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Blue Cheese Gougeres

We bought a chunk of blue cheese to eat with our chicken wings for Super Bowl Sunday. And then we forgot about it (because we made so much stuff) and it sat in our fridge for almost a week before we realized it. My sister was fine with eating it on its own but we had a 1/2 lb chunk! Was she seriously going to eat the entire thing? Actually, knowing her, she could do it; she's a champion eater.

I'm much more practical so I started brainstorming recipe ideas and thought I could make some gougeres a.k.a. cheesy choux pastry (you know, like what profiteroles and cream puffs are made of except savory). Normally I'd use a "melty" cheese (probably gruyere) but this time I threw in a few blue cheese chunks and it was actually really delicious. The salty, intense flavor of the blue cheese gave a ton of flavor to the light puff. Blue cheese isn't for everyone so you could certainly substitute a cheese you prefer but if you're open to it, just give it a try. You never know if you (dis)like something until you actually give it a chance.
*Let me clarify that I schedule my posts way in advance. I cook like a fiend on weekends (and most weekdays) and edit photos and recipe pages at my leisure and line up the posts regularly. So, it's not like I made these gougere today, i.e. a full month after the Super Bowl. I made these a week after - when we discovered that we had leftover blue cheese. That being said, blue cheese is already moldy so even if I had made this a full month after it was purchased, I don't think it should be considered a big deal so everyone calm down!

¼ cup water
2 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup flour
1 egg
½ ounce blue cheese (I used Stilton) - you could use a different cheese of your choosing, such as cheddar, mozzarella, gruyere, jack, even goat cheese; it's really up to you

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ice Cream Pie

Who came up with ice cream pie? He or she is awesome.

I love having an ice cream maker because the ice cream straight out of the machine is so soft, it's perfectly spreadable and ideal for making ice cream pie. This is a great dish for serving to guests because you can buy all of the necessary ingredients and then just do the assembly bit and it'll look so impressive! You'll bring it to the table in your glass pie dish and everyone will be like, "Whoa! You made that?!" and you'll feel great. Psst, you could also totally lie and say that all of the components are homemade as well. Just make sure to bury the Haagen Dazs containers in the bottom of the trash so no one stumbles upon them by accident.
2 cups cookie crumbs (graham crackers, Nilla wafers, chocolate cookies, any of these would be awesome)
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 pints softened ice cream (4 cups) store bought or homemade
2 cups mini marshmallows OR homemade, if you're ambitious
*you could also use a store bought graham cracker pie crust but it's not going to be as thick and a thick crust is kind of an important factor in this dish (at least for me)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Chocolate Ice Cream

Welcome to March! Even though we had some snow flurries this morning, I'm still in a great mood because we're just a few weeks away from the start of spring and warmer weather and sunshine and all of that great, amazing, lovely stuff. I might be too excited but this winter has been tough! We were so spoiled last year because we had maybe two snow storms that required shoveling but this year I've had to shovel almost every week! I'm sure my health has benefited from that bit of exercise (basically, shoveling is the only exercise I get in winter) but that's neither here nor there because shoveling sucks.

I'm sharing a chocolate ice cream recipe today which reflects my good mood, which I owe to the fact that we're heading towards the light. The sun's been staying out a little longer each day and that makes me happy. This is the fifth ice cream recipe I'm sharing on my blog. I'm so glad I bit the bullet and invested in that ice cream maker. I'm not a huge ice cream fan (I'm like Ross and I think it's too cold and it hurts my teeth) but the homemade stuff is just so fun to make and so much fun to eat that I'm liking it more and more.
3 cups light cream
½ cup chocolate hazelnut spread or chocolate spread or 1/3 cup chopped chocolate
¼ cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon espresso
¼ cup + ½ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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