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Food Matters Project #41: Kumquat & Orange Sorbet

As the temperatures are warming up, we are all wanting desserts that are cold and refreshing.  Thankfully, my new friend Meg, of Fledgling Foodie, reminded us of this with this weeks Food Matters Project!  From Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, Meg chose the Chocolate Tofu Ice Cream recipe.  Check out her post here.  Also, take a peek a what other Food Matters Project participants did here.

Kumquat & Orange Sorbet: Kumquat

I took the route of a frozen dessert…but I diverged a bit with a fruity one, rather than chocolate.  A couple of weeks ago I was reading a DC bloggers post about kumquat sorbet.  I’ve never had kumquats before, but the photo’s made it look so delicious.  So I blame Nik, of A Brown Table, for the fact that I didn’t follow Mark Bittman’s recipe.

I’ve been reading Nik’s blog for quite some time- he’s so inspiring by telling stories how he came to choose various recipes, reasons behind particular ingredients, and his amazing photos.  I think I pin most of his recipes on my Pinterest page since they all look so delicious.

Although I have never had a kumquat, I decided to try making this recipe.  I did buy extra kumquats to snack on, and figured it would be a great way to taste this new fruit.  They are sour (more than lemons), a little bitter, and somewhat sweet- definitely something I’ve never tasted before.  To add a little more sweetness, I did add freshly squeezed orange juice.

And now that the sorbet is almost gone, I’m trying to think of other frozen desserts for the summer months.  Any recommendations?  We’ve previously made a Pear Sorbet and Rum Raisin Ice Cream.

Kumquat & Orange Sorbet

Kumquat & Orange Sorbet
Adapted from: A Brown Table

Boiling the kumquats takes out the bitterness from the fruit, I highly recommend doing this. 

12 oz kumquats
6 cups water (to boil kumquats)
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 inch ginger, peeled
juice of 1 orange

Rinse the kumquats, cut the ends of each fruit- discarding the cut pieces.  Then cut each fruit in half, and pick out the seeds.  Add the kumquats to a medium saucepan, and cover with 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then discard the water and repeat this process 2 more times.  Once you’ve repeated this process, drain the kumquats and puree them in a food processor.

In a medium saucepan combine 2 cups of water with sugar and ginger.  Continue to stir until the sugar water is boiling.  Once it boils, take out the ginger and pour the sugar water mixture into a bowl, add in the kumquat puree and orange juice.  Place that bowl into a large one, which has ice and cold water in it.  Keep the liquid in the ice bath for at least 30 minutes, or until the mixture is cold.

Then pass the mixture through a sieve, making sure to squeeze out as much juice out of the pulp as you can.  Chill this mixture for about 20 minutes in the freezer.  Then once it’s cold, follow your ice cream maker instructions to prepare the sorbet.  The sorbet will be done once it’s frozen and has a milky orange-yellow color.  Scoop the sorbet into a freezer-proof container, and freeze for a couple of hours before serving.

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Happy St. Paddys’ Day 2013: Green Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I hope you all have had a great St. Patrick’s Day weekend this year!  If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I ran the Rock ‘n Roll USA Half Marathon (my 10th half!).  The next race I’ll be participating in is the Rock ‘n Roll Nashville Half Marathon in April.  I can’t wait to spend the weekend with some of my girlfriends (who live near and far), including these two awesome bloggers: Becky and Lianne.  If you have any Nashville suggestions for us, please send them my way!  Anyone running this race?

Earlier this week we had some friends over for dinner, and although we made Mexican for the main dish- I thought we needed a something green to brighten up the dessert.  Of course, Pinterest inspired me to try a new cupcake recipe, and fortunately it turned out delicious and green!

Today’s celebration included Corned Beef and Cabbage for dinner.  We topped it off with a small dessert- the last 2 green cupcakes to celebrate another great St. Paddy’s Day weekend.

Green Cupcake

Green Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Inspired & Adapted from: She Wears Many Hats & AllRecipes.com
Serving: 24 mini-cupcakes

For this recipe, I used the same frosting (just smaller amount) as I used on the Banana & Chocolate Chip Cake.

Cupcakes
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup 2% milk
1 package of Jell-o Pistachio Instant Pudding mix

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a stand mixer cream together sugar and butter.  Then stir in the eggs, one at a time; then add a vanilla and baking powder.  Stir in the flour and mix well.  Next, add in the milk, and mix until the batter is smooth.  Lastly, add in the Jell-o Pistachio Instant Pudding mix, combine well.

Spray the cupcake tin with cooking spray.  Then fill in each cupcake compartment halfway with batter.

I used the mini-cupcake tins, so I baked the cupcakes for 15 minutes.  If you’re using a different sized tin, add additional time.  The best way to check for doneness is to insert a toothpick into the center for the dough, if it comes out clean- it is done.  After they are done baking, take them out of the oven.  Allow them to cool before taking them out of the tin or decorating with frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla in a stand mixer.  Finally, add in the powdered sugar, a little at a time (otherwise it’ll make a mess).

June Review

It seemed like a lot of people liked the May review, so I think I might make this a regular post each month.  So what photos did I capture on my iPhone this month?

As I’m sure everyone has seen on Pinterest, drinks in jars are the cool new thing!  My friend Carrie loves this idea, and we cooled off with mimosas one night (grapefruit juice & prosecco)!

Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market finds!  My favorite from that week were the peas- could not stop eating them!

Blueberry picking at Butler’s Orchard with friends, what a great way to spend a Saturday!  Also, it’s a great excuse to make a blueberry-oat crumble!

Another week of deliciousness from the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market!  This weeks favorites were the squash blossoms for a frittata and more peas!

Sam and I were dog and cat sitting one weekend.  We tried out an new coffee place, Pound the Hill and made a blueberry-oat crumble!

An amazing dinner at Hank’s Oyster Bar!  They have 2 locations- Dupont & Alexandria!  We went sailing that afternoon, so the oysters were a perfect finish to a great Sunday!

We went to a fabulous dinner at Jose Andres Zaytinya with a friend who is spending 2 months in Turkey!  This is one of the top 10 restaurants in DC, should be on everyone’s list to try!

More goodies from the Penn Quarter Farmers Market!  The delicious tart cherries were made into a pie, just like last year!  We devoured the green beans dipped in hummus, a perfect snack!

We celebrated my friend Becky’s birthday with a Cherry-Chocolate Birthday Cake in Baltimore!

Jessica–  friend and fellow blogger– is fostering kittens!  At the time I was there, all 4 still needed a home- I almost wanted to bring one home with me!

Last weeks goodies from the Penn Quarter Farmers Market.  Check out what I made with the beets– a perfect mid-day snack!  Tomatoes, peaches and nectarines are finally here!

Finally, while visiting Williamsburg, VA for a weekend we spotted these lemon ball cucumbers at the Williamsburg Farmers Market!  They taste just like a cucumber, but in a fun shape and color!

Book Club: S’more Cookie

I hosted my Book Club at our house last week, there were 8 of us here to talk about The Corrections, and catch up on what’s going on in our lives.  Check out what else was on the Book Club menu!

I’ll skip around the book club menu a bit to tell you all about the dessert.  I do have a reason- today it’s my Dad’s birthday, and I think he’d love this dessert.  Happy Birthday Dad!  One of his favorite desserts are chocolate chip cookies, and this is equally good.

I found this recipe thanks to Pinterest, I kept seeing recipes for s’more bars or cupcakes, and since it is an American dessert, I thought this would be perfect.  Although s’mores tend to be eaten near a bonfire or while camping, this is the perfect indoor substitute.

Growing up I spent a couple of summers at Cedar Lodge Summer Camp, in a tiny town of Lawrence, Michigan.  It’s mainly a horseback riding camp, but there were some that attended and didn’t ride.  I have very fond memories of my summers there, especially at the campfire at the end of each week!

Every Saturday night, all the campers and staff would gather around the bonfire with their blankets, bug spray, flashlights and sticks to make s’mores.  First we would eat dinner (burgers, hot dogs, or sloppy joe’s) and then we would find a great place to sit to hear stories.  My first week there, I remember Eddy, the owner of the camp, told us a scary ghost story which kept me awake that night in the cabin.  After he passed away, Amy (his daughter and Camp Director) continued to keep us entertained.  With night settling in, all of us would make s’mores and huddle together.  It was the perfect way to close a week of camp, before the new set of campers arrived.

S’more Cookie
Adapted from: Wit & Whistle

I basically did the same recipe, although I made it in a bigger pan.  It’s possible to make it smaller as well.  Best served when it’s cooled off, maybe with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 6-8 blocks)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 King-sized Hershey’s chocolate bars
3 1/2 oz marshmallow puff*

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Using about a tablespoon of butter, grease a 9’x13′ baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar.  Add in the egg and vanilla, beat well.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.  Slowly incorporate it into the large bowl, mixing at a lower speed until it’s combined.

Divide the dough in two chunks.  Press the half into the baking pan, an even layer.  Then place the chocolate bars on top, try not to break the bars.  Spread the marshmallow puff onto the chocolate in an even layer.  Press the remaining dough onto the layer of marshmallows.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is lightly brown.  Cut into pieces after this has cooled off.

*Do not use melted marshmallows!

Food Matters Project #16: Chicken in Green Salsa

Another wonderful dinner idea from the Food Matters Project!  We had a busy weekend and didn’t get a chance to make this until tonight, so it was a little improvisation of what we had in the fridge.

This weeks recipe was chosen by Sarah of Food and Frederick.  We’ve been following each other on Twitter (@foodandfred), I think there is a bit of a bond since Frederick, MD is not too far from Washington D.C.  I enjoy seeing Sarah’s pictures, and stories about travel, food and running!  Sarah chose the Mexican-style fruit salad with grilled or broiled fish from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.  To check out what everyone else from The Food Matters Project did, look here and find the link that looks delicious!

How did the fruit salad with grilled fish turn into a chicken with green salsa?  We didn’t have fish, but I did buy chicken breasts from the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market this past week.  Evensong Farm has been selling eggs at the farmers market, and recently started having chicken- so I bought a couple of breasts to try.  We didn’t have any fruit to make a salsa, but we did have some green veggies that could make a salsa.  With a little inspiration from Pinterest (check out Fifth Floor Kitchen’s page), we figured out dinner!

Chicken in Green Salsa
Inspired by: Sunset

We ate this dish with roasted potatoes (with salt, pepper and olive oil), but you can also do this over rice.  This wasn’t very spicy, but you can always take out the seeds from the jalapeños, or just omit them (a green bell pepper would give it extra flavor). 

2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4 tomatillos, quartered (skins taken off)
2 poblano chiles, roughly chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves
2 jalapeños, halved (optional- or can take out seeds before adding)
1 tbsp cream cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 large chicken breasts

Melt butter in a saucepan.  Once it’s melted, add the onion.  Sauté on lower heat until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.  Then add the garlic and leave over the heat for another 3 minutes.

Add everything into a food processor (or blender): the onion-garlic mixture, tomatillos, poblano chiles, cilantro, jalapeños, cream cheese, chicken broth, salt and pepper.  Process all of the ingredients until they are pureed.

In a baking dish, place the chicken breasts, and then cover them with the pureed salsa.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.  When the oven is heated, bake the chicken for about 45 minutes.  Check to make sure to chicken has cooked through before serving.