Buttermilk Blueberry Pie Ice Cream

Hi dear readers!

Hope everyone has been enjoying the summer and had an excellent 4th of July.

I went up to the cottage, per usual, and had an amazingly relaxing time with family and much good food (remember doughboys?) You can find more of my 4th of July cottage foods here and here and here.

This year I borrowed my Aunt’s ice cream maker to whip up a recipe I submitted to the Hudsonville ice cream company’s Pure Michigan flavor contest. Sadly, I didn’t win. BUT- my family thought the ice cream was delicious and totally should have won (ok, my emphasis added).

So, what is it? Creamy buttermilk ice cream with lots of lemon zest, swirled with Michigan blueberry pie filling and dotted with cinnamon-sugar pie crust pieces.

Yup, drool.

Buttermilk Blueberry Pie Ice Cream ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

Buttermilk Blueberry Pie Ice Cream ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

So, want to make it??

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Buttermilk Ice Cream~ Erin's DC Kitchen

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To swirl in pie crust and pie filling, transfer to a large bowl and fold gently with a spatula

Ta-Da!

Ta-Da!

(Special thanks to my photographer brother, Jeffrey Smith, for the awesome photos!)

Well, I kinda failed to write the recipe down 😦 and time has passed and most of it has left my mind. But I’ll sketch it out below, the parts I remember, and then you can fill in the blanks by comparing other recipes or using your best judgement.

Buttermilk Blueberry Pie Ice Cream

  • 6 to 8 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar (really don’t remember if this is right)
  • pinch of salt

For the blueberry pie filling

  • 1 heaping cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • dash of water
  • 1/4 tsp or so cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • single pie crust, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, baked and broken into pieces

For the pie filling: Lightly smash berries and combine with all over ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until boiling, stirring often, then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 5 minutes. Mixture will naturally thicken. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

For the ice cream: Combine the buttermilk, cream, salt, and lemon juice and zest in a large saucepan and heat until just bubbly but not scalded. Stir in sugar and continue stirring until heated through and sugar is dissolved. Temper the egg yolks with a bit of the warm cream mixture, then quickly whisk in the rest of the cream mixture. Add to a large ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacture instructions.

Once ice cream is frozen, but still a little soft and creamy, remove from maker into a large bowl. Gently fold the broken pie crust pieces into the ice cream. Next, dollop the pie filling across the top of the ice cream and gently fold that in, turning only 2 or 3 times max (you want swirls, not to fully mix the berries in, resist temptation to overstir!). Freeze for another 2 hours, of until fully set.

Enjoy!

-Erin

Snowquester, or, Experiments on a Rainy Day

Hi friends. How many of my dear readers live in the DC area and were bombarded with news reports about “Snowquester”, the biggest snowstorm of the year.

Well, then you already know Snowquester was more of a Snowtease. Despite being letdown by a dismal amount of snow accumulation, my husband and I were determined to do our Snowquester baking experiment.

Aunti Anne's Pretzels At Home

Last night, we went to the grocery store to stock up on the essentials, beer and snack food. Of course. We saw a box of Auntie Anne’s make-it-at-home pretzel mix and thought, yes, this we must try.

DIY Auntie Anne's Pretzels

So, since we are both at home today rather than work (snow is deadly, remember) we busted out the box and got to baking for an afternoon snack.

How to Roll A Pretzel

How to roll a pretzel

We topped them with salt, cinnamon sugar (included in the kit), and also tried Old Bay and Cajun seasoning on a couple others.

Auntie Anne's Pretzels at Home

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

My take on the do-it yourself version of Auntie Anne’s is this, 1) it’s not as easy as it looks at the mall, 2) it’s really messy and 3) there is no way two adults can consume the amount of pretzels this kit makes, so do this at home with kids or a group. Actually doing this with kids seems like a nightmare due to the mess factor and many steps. You should see our kitchen after two adults tried this.

Most importantly though, how do they taste? Although our pretzels were sometimes uniquely shaped, they more or less tasted like the real thing. The thinner ones were not as good.

This one tasted the best, notice it is proportionally shaped?

Homemade Pretzels

You were better because you were pretty. It’s true.

Classic, buttered with no salt- my favorite. 🙂

Did anyone else out there do some Snowquester baking? Let me know!

– Erin

Peanut Butter Thumbprints

Sigh. Is the busyness of the holidays catching up with anyone else? I’m feeling exhausted as I write this, and the mental list of things I need to do before heading to my parents is causing a bit-o-anxiety.

Peanut Butter Thumbprints

I had a thumbprint for dessert. It didn’t bring me inner peace…. but it was tasty.

Anyways, you aren’t here to listen to me complain- you are here for recipes!!!

Yesterday I posted a new cookie recipe I added to my arsenal; today, I’m going back to a traditional family one. These thumbprints have the right amount of peanut butter and a chewy, yet melt in your mouth texture. I find some p.b cookies to be dry and have a weird, crumbly mouth-feel that is off putting. Don’t worry about that here, just worry about how many ‘extra’ Hershey Kisses you’ll be popping while mixing up the dough.  I recommend not skipping the step of rolling the dough in sugar. This makes the cookies a little sparkly and contributes to the pleasant texture. Just some friendly advice 😉

Peanut Butter Thumbprints

Peanut Butter Thumbprints

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 18-24 unwrapped Hershey kisses
  • small bowl of white sugar for rolling dough

Preheat oven to 375°. In an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar for 3 minutes. Add in peanut butter, egg and vanilla and continue beating on medium speed for another 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  With the mixer running on low, gradually add in the dry ingredients to the wet.

Using a small spoon, scoop out dough and roll into 1 1/2 inch (or so) balls. Roll the balls in the white sugar, then place on a lined baking sheet.  Bake for 6-7 minutes, until the cookies are lightly cracked on top. 1 or 2 minutes into baking, quickly remove the cookies from the oven and gently press down a Hershey Kiss on each, put back in the oven and finish baking.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Question of the Day: How do you cope with holiday stress?

Christmas Holly

Oh, by gosh, by golly, it’s time for mistletoe and holly. Thanks for the intro Frank, these treats deserve it. 🙂

Christmas Holly

Sticky, gooey, marshmallowy Christmas holly. Nom nom nom.

Christmas Holly

This recipe is first up on my list of oldie-but-goodie family recipes that I break out every Christmas. These treats are really easy to make- one pot on the stovetop is all it takes!

Don’t these add a lovely pop of color to Santa’s Christmas Eve cookie plate? He’s coming soon, stop reading this and go get in the kitchen!! 😉

Cookies for Santa

Red decorators frosting made the ‘berries’ on this holly treat, but you can go with Red Hot cinnamon candies if you wish.

Christmas Holly

  • 1 stick (1/4 lb) butter
  • several tablespoons green food coloring*
  • 35 large marshmallows (standard package)
  • 4 cups cornflakes
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • red frosting or red cinnamon candies

In a large pot, melt butter and marshmallows together, stirring often. Once smooth, add in vanilla and food coloring, stir. Dump in the cornflakes 2 cups at a time and mix well to coat. Drop by the tablespoon full onto greased, wax paper. Dot the holly with red candies while hot, or, wait until cooled and dot with red frosting to make berries.

Enjoy!

– Erin

*Note: You will need to use A LOT of food coloring, it almost seems like an unholy amount. But if you want a nice, deep green, don’t hold back!

Split Pea Soup

My childhood memories of food are strong. Each season had a special dish my mom would make only at that time of year. If you really love something and it only comes around once a year, I guess it makes a big impression on you. 🙂

This soup is a signature from my mother’s kitchen every Fall. It gets a punch of flavor from smoked ham hocks. They are a must!  Don’t skip ’em, not even bacon is a suitable substitute.

It does take a while to simmer on the stove, but it is so worth it.  I remember walking by it several times over the course of what felt like an entire afternoon, checking to see what progress the peas has made. Time seems to crawl when you are young; it definitely doesn’t take a whole afternoon to make this hearty, stick-to-your-ribs soup!

Now in my kitchen, the turkey towels make an appearance between October and Thanksgiving.  I love them very much. It’s my way of welcoming Fall, alongside a bowl of this lovely soup.

Homemade Split Pea Soup

  • 1 lb green split peas
  • 2 large meaty ham hocks (1 1/2 lb)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots

Place the ham hocks in a large saucepan and cover with 2 quarts of water. Simmer very low for 1 hour, skimming fat off the water occasionally.  Remove the ham hocks and pull the meat from the bones, set aside. Keep the water, and add more to it if it cooked down to less than 2 quarts.

Rinse the peas and add to the water, along with the onions, carrots, celery and herbs. Bring to a low boil, then decrease heat and cook on low, slowly, for 1 to 2 hours- or until the peas, carrots and celery have all dissolved into the soup (minimal chunks left behind). Cook with the lid off because you want some of the water to evaporate, which helps the soup get really thick.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Stir the meat in 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with crackers, yum!

Enjoy!

– Erin

Apple Cider Cake

Fall and hot apple cider go together like chocolate and peanut butter, so how about hot apple cider cake! Yes please.

I went to go visit my sister in law this past weekend in Charlottesville and brought her and her husband some of this cake. My father in law snuck a piece before we got there and happily proclaimed “It’s so appley!”  I doctored a spice cake mix with my homemade chunky applesauce and cinnamon apple butter in place of oil.

My whole apartment  smelled heavenly while this baked :-). Right after you pull the cake out of the oven, you pour a glaze of apple cider and brown sugar on top. This makes it so moist, I almost want to call this a spoon cake!

Moist, delicious, and oh so appley.

What else is there to say? You’ve got to try it!

Apple Cider Cake

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup chunky applesauce
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 tbl brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9×13 pan and lightly flour the bottom.  In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, applesauce and apple butter and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Pour batter into the greased pan and bake for 32-35 minutes. Remove from oven and evenly pour the hot apple cider glaze over the cake.

For the glaze: While the cake bakes, mix the apple cider and brown sugar in a small saucepan and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Heat through and keep warm until ready to use.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Question of the Day: Do you have a favorite way to doctor cake mix?

A Pinch of Joy Pancakes

Last month was my birthday. My little sister sent me a very adorable set of heart-shaped measuring spoons. I love them; she knows me so well! I finally used them last Sunday to whip up some whole-wheat pancakes for the husband and I- big weekend breakfast yumminess :-).

I absolutely love the warm and nutty taste you get when baking with whole wheat flour. These pancakes are simple, but shine because of the whole wheat flour and buttermilk. Of course a helping of real maple syrup doesn’t hurt!

You could stir in some applesauce, cinnamon and clove to make apple pie pancakes, or fresh banana slices and chopped walnuts for banana bread pancakes.

A special weekend breakfast is just a whisk and a pour away with this recipe. Your loved ones will appreciate it.  Enjoy!

Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

  • 1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbl sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbl vegetable oil
  • Optional: cinnamon, ground cloves, applesauce; chopped nuts and fresh fruit slices; chocolate chips and Nutella

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and make a well in the center. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, vanilla, egg and vegetable oil. Add the wet mixture to the dry at once and stir gently with a fork, just until moistened. If the batter is too thick, add in a little more buttermilk.

Pre-heat a skilled over medium-high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray and a little vegetable oil. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot griddle and spread outward into a circle shape. Use more if you want really big pancakes. Cook until bubbles come up in the center of the pancake and the edges are browned. Flip. Cook the second side for less time. Makes around 6 regular sized pancakes.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Question of the Day: What is your favorite weekend breakfast item, french toast? pancakes?

Fresh Corn Bake

Hey ya’ll, it’s time for cottage food part II, or maybe it is part III at this point I don’t know.

I made this fresh corn bake as a side dish to go with some mouthwatering, fall-off-the-bone ribs.  Corn, ribs and watermelon. OH MY GOSH. Summer in three words. 😎 Yummy!

Silver Queen, Country Gentleman (hubba hubba) and Honey & Cream  are a few of the very cool names for sweet corn you’ll find at the farmers market this summer.  I used a bi-color for this recipe, but you can use whatever kind you like.

Sweet corn is allllll good as far as I’m concerned.

Start by cutting the corn off the cobs. My lil’ sister helped with this.

I heart my little sister 😀

Then combine in a baking dish with whole milk, butter, salt and a pinch of brown sugar. Drop some biscuit dough on top to really make this dish down-homey delicious.

Bake then devour.

For all you purists out there- I know sweet corn is really good boiled and eaten straight off the cob, but that can be a little boring if you’ve got a bumper crop of corn to eat your way through. I highly recommend trying this side dish as a way to mix it up!  Plus, it is super super easy and only calls for 3 main ingredients.

No excuses! Just try it 🙂

Fresh Corn Bake

  • 8 ears of sweet corn
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 3 tbl butter, cut up
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • large pinch of brown sugar
  • Bisquick for drop biscuit dough, if desired

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut the all the corn kernels off the cobs into a large bowl. With the flat of your knife, scrape along the cob to get the milky sweet goodness out of each kernel and into the bowl.

Add in the milk and butter, stir to coat. You don’t want the corn to be soupy, if it looks dry, remember the kernels will release some water while baking. Throw in the brown sugar and salt. Taste. If you think it needs more salt, add some. I probably used 3/4 tsp in the end.

If you want to top the corn bake with biscuit dough: Put some Bisquick in a bowl, probably 1 cup or more.  Slowly add in some milk and stir with a fork just until moistened. You don’t want it too sticky. This isn’t an exact science, just eyeball it. Drop the biscuit dough into 6 rounds across the top of the bake.

Bake in a 350° oven for 30 to 40 minutes (with or without the biscuit topping). The corn bake will set-up a bit, but not like a corn pudding.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Question of the Day: I’m thinking about going from a wordpress.com address to a .com address. This supposedly will make it easier for foodies to find my blog.  Any experts out there with thoughts on this?  I’m leaning towards doing it… Leave me a comment.

It’s been so long…

I’M BACK!

Yay!  I’ve missed posting so much- it has really become therapeutic for me-and I’ve really missed interacting with my readers too. 🙂

Well, let me catch you up on what’s been happening. I know I said I’d be gone for one week up in Michigan (which I was) but then I turned around and had to travel to North Carolina for work for another full week. Being on the road is always tiring and I barely had time to check my email let alone get in a blog post.

Besides, I was eating out every single day, 3 meals a day (ewww) and the food was nothing to write home about. Although I did have breakfast-for-dinner at a Waffle House. That was awesome. (Fried eggs, hashbrowns, biscuit and cheese grits to be exact)

Ok, so I’m back now and it’s time to share the deets on my super awesome-very relaxing vacation at the cottage up north.

The cottage is a tradition. More like an institution actually. My mom went when she was a kid. I went when I was a kid. I hope my future kids go too. The cottage is a noun, an adjective and a verb. As a noun: the cottage isn’t a singular place, its a collection of 4 family owned cottages all within walking distance of each other on the lake. As an adjective: the cottage is an attitude that means laid-back, no worries, no plans, just relaxing with a beer and chatting with aunts, uncles and cousins.  As a verb: “It’s time to get my cottage on!!”

For the last couple years my husband and I have rented a 5th cottage near the others.

Where the cooking magic happened…. 🙂

Lake in the front, woods in the back, it’s perfect

Our very own dock

Since he is still on his overseas assignment, I shared the cottage with my brother and his girlfriend. Both are amazing photographers by the way, check out these sunset shots:

The sunset side

The cottage is in a small town but they take July 4th seriously and go big with a parade every year. There are lots of floats and they also throw candy. I love a good fat slice of Americana.

Fish float!

Don’t see this everyday, also, slightly creepy

Cousins lined up, waiting to grab some candy

So after the parade there was beach time and then fireworks later that night.  The week was great. I got to cook for my family and they cooked for me too. Blonde brownies, banana cream pie, gingerbread muffins and sour cream coffee cake, oh ya, those were just the desserts 😉 Wait till you see what I made. Yum.

More to come tomorrow 🙂  Can’t wait? Check out the monkey bread I made for breakfast the first day up north, here.

– Erin

Cottage Update and Monkey Bread

Hi friends! Greetings from Pure Michigan 🙂

As I write this, I am sitting on the back porch looking out onto the Lake. I’m drinking tea my brother’s girlfriend brought me as a gift (awww) and eating a warm, gooey and cinnamony piece of Monkey Bread. This is making typing difficult…

I promised to provide some of our traditional up north recipes and Monkey Bread is the place to start. It is for breakfast after all!

I made this last night and despite the fact I was working in a rental cottage kitchen I had everything needed to make this amazing bread. Bundt pan- check, measuring cup-check, oven set to 350°- check.

Alright you need a few other ingredients too, the main one being refrigerated biscuit dough. Snip the dough into quarters, the quickest way to do this is with some kitchen shears.

Roll these lil’ dough nuggets in a cinnamon sugar mixture. Then layer over chopped pecans.

Drizzle a brown sugar and melted butter mix over the top- it will seep down and make every morsel gooey and yum- and then bake for 35-40 minutes.

If you make the night ahead, as I did, just reheat the pieces* in the microwave to give it the gooey just-baked taste again!

Grandma’s Monkey Bread

  • 3 10 oz tubes of buttermilk biscuit dough
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Grease a bundt or tube pan.  Put chopped pecans in the bottom. Snip the biscuit dough into quarters. Combine the cinnamon and sugar mixture, then roll the dough pieces in it; layer them into the pan. Melt the butter and brown sugar together over low heat in a saucepan. Stir until the sugar dissolves most of the way.  Drizzle of the dough in the pan.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350° for 35-40 minutes. The bread will really puff up and get golden brown on top. Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert on a serving plate. Eat warm, cold, or somewhere in between. It’s awesome either way!

*Note: Why say pieces and not slices? Monkey bread is bread only in the loosest sense. Really, it is many balls of biscuit dough that bake together but are easily pulled apart into pieces as you eat.

Enjoy!

– Erin