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Blog

Filtering by Category: dairy

Maine Seafood Chowder

Patricia Reitz

You might be thinking, “what’s Maine chowder?” In short, it’s a brothier version of the more traditional New England-style chowder, which is often thickened with flour. This chowder starts with a flavorful shrimp stock, but it’s thickened with a flavorful heavy cream reduction. Chock full of tender shrimp and bay scallops, this luxurious soup is guaranteed to please the seafood lovers in your life.

Start by carefully cooking the shrimp until it’s just barely cooked through. Here I’m using shrimp that still have their shells, but you can use peeled shrimp if that’s what you have. I like to cook them in the oven, like this.

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When the shrimp are cool enough to handle, remove the shells/tails and cut the shrimp into bite-size pieces; set aside.

Freeze the shells/tails to make shrimp stock at a later time.

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In a large dutch oven or braiser (I use one like this), sauté the bacon until it starts to render some of its fat, then add the leeks and potatoes to the bacon and continue sautéing for about 5 minutes.

Add the shrimp stock and bring to a boil; cook until the potatoes are tender, then turn off the burner.

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In a large skillet, cook the bay scallops in butter just until they’re barely cooked through. Be careful not overcook the scallops or they’ll turn rubbery.

Add the cream, reserved shrimp, and any juices that may have collected on the roasting pan.

Add the parsley and cayenne; stir well and heat until the cream starts to bubble.

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Skim the shrimp and scallops from the cream and set aside while the cream reduces.

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Allow the cream to boil until it reduces in volume and thickens.

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Add the thickened cream to the shrimp stock.

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Stir in the reserved shrimp, scallops, and optional dry sherry. Stir well to combine.

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Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

Maine Seafood Chowder - ButterYum —

Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:


Maine Seafood Chowder

makes 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces bacon, cut into bite-size piece

  • 4 cups sliced leeks, rinsed well

  • 1.5 pounds red bliss potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • 8 cups shrimp stock (here’s my recipe)

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 2 pounds medium size shrimp (25-30 count), cooked and cut into thirds

  • 1 pound bay scallops, fresh or thawed

  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

  • 1-2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook shrimp until just barely done (directions here).

  2. When the shrimp are cool enough to handle, peel if necessary and cut into thirds; set aside. (freeze shrimp shells/tails to make shrimp stock at a later time)

  3. In a large dutch oven or braiser (I use one like this), sauté the bacon until it starts to render some of its fat, then add the leeks and potatoes to the bacon and continue sautéing for about 5 minutes.

  4. Add the shrimp stock and bring to a boil; cook until the potatoes are tender, then turn off the heat.

  5. In a large skillet, cook the bay scallops in butter just until they’re barely cooked through.

  6. Add the cream and reserved shrimp to the skillet, along with any juices that collected in the baking pan.

  7. Add the parsley and cayenne pepper and heat just until the cream starts to bubble around the edges of the pan.

  8. Skim the shrimp and bay scallops from the cream; set aside.

  9. Allow the cream to bubble away until it reduces a bit and thickens.

  10. Pour the reduced cream into the shrimp stock and add the reserved shrimp and scallops; stir well and serve.

Blackberry Fools

Patricia Reitz

I found the most amazing blackberries at the market the other day - they were super sweet and delicious and I couldn't wait to use them to make Blackberry Fool, an incredibly simple, yet elegant dessert. 

In case you're wondering, fruit fool recipes first started appearing in the year 1598 - the word fool is thought to be derived from the french word "fouler" which means to press or mash.

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When choosing blackberries, pick ones that are completely black, and taste them to make sure they're sweet because they won't ripen after being picked. 

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To make blackberry puree, place ripe blackberries and lemon zest in a personal blender or small food processor.

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Blitz the berries until completely pulverized.  

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Then pass the puree through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.  A silicone scraper is pretty helpful here.

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Blackberries contain a LOT of seeds so you definitely want to remove them (discard them or feed them to the chickens). 

Mmmm.... smooth, seedless blackberry puree.

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To make blackberry fool, fold together 1 part blackberry puree and 4 parts sweetened whipped cream (recipe below).

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You can leave the mixture a little streaky if you like - I think the streaks look kind of cool.

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Or if you're a bit compulsive and you can't help but continue to fold the two components together until they're completely mixed, go for it.  You do you.

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Spoon or pipe the mixture into dessert cups.  The dessert cups I chose (these) have very small openings so I filled them using a pastry bag to keep the cups neat and clean.  

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To complete the presentation, pipe some leftover whipped cream on top using a large closed star tip (like this one) and garnished with a mint leaf.  Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:


Blackberry Fool

Makes 6-8 mini desserts (3-ounce)

Ingredients

  • 6 ounce ripe blackberries (or other berries)

  • zest from 1/2 lemon

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Make berry puree by blitzing berries with lemon zest in a personal blender or small food processor; strain seeds and discard.

  2. In a small mixing bowl, whip heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla using a handheld mixer until stiff peaks form.

  3. In another small mixing bowl, fold together 6 tablespoons strained blackberry puree and 1 1/2 cups of sweetened whipped cream until combined (a few streaks remaining look lovely).

  4. To neatly fill dessert cups, transfer berry and cream mixture to a piping bag and carefully fill six 3-ounce mini dessert cups (eight dessert cups if you don't fill them as full).

  5. Place remaining whipped cream in another piping bag filled with a closed star tip and top each dessert.

  6. Garnish with a mint leaf and/or a drizzle of the remaining blackberry puree.

Note:  the blackberries can be substituted with other seasonal berries.

Keto Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Patricia Reitz

It seems like just about everyone is trying to reduce their carb intake these days, which can put a damper on eating some of your favorite foods, like ice cream.  But today you're in luck because I've come up with an awesome chocolate ice cream recipe that has only 5 net carbs per 1/2-cup serving (leading national brands have 17 to 25 grams).  When I served it to my oldest daughter, she said she would never have guessed it was low-carb.  That makes this recipe a winner in my book!  Plan ahead - the base should be made the day before you plan to serve and the mixture should be processed in your ice cream maker 30-90 minutes before serving (see below).

IMPORTANT:  Because this ice cream contains no sugar (which helps to keeps the texture soft and scoopable), it's best served either soft-serve style right out of the machine, or freeze for 1 hour for a slightly firmer texture.  If allowed to freeze longer than 1 hour, it will freeze solid like ice, which actually would be fine if you want to pour the mixture into freezer pop molds (just omit the dark chocolate baking chips from the recipe).

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Start by whisking together the milk, half and half, egg yolks, and sifted cocoa powder.  Those things that look like lumps of cocoa are actually cocoa powder covered bubbles - keep whisking.

Soon the mixture will look like this.  Heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until it boils.

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Boil mixture for 1 minute, being careful not to allow the mixture to overflow.

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Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and powdered erythritol (Swerve).

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Strain the mixture through sieve.

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Chill mixture overnight.

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Approximately 30-90 minutes before serving, pour mixture into ice cream machine and process according to manufacturer's instructions.  This recipe is best served "soft-serve style" right away or freeze for 1 hour for a slightly firmer texture.

For longer storage, freeze mixture in ice pop molds.

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Enjoy! 

Items used to make this recipe:


Keto Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

makes twelve 1/2-cup servings (5 net carbs per serving)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a 3-quart, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium high heat, combine milk, half and half, cocoa powder, and egg yolks, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil; continue stirring and cook for 1 minute, being careful not to let the mixture boil over.

  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the powdered erythritol and pure vanilla extract.

  3. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve; cover well and chill overnight.

  4. Process in your ice cream maker following the manufacturer's instructions.

  5. When ice cream is done churning, serve immediately or transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for 1 hour for a slightly firmer texture.

Nutritional stats per 1/2-cup serving: 120 calories, 10g fat, 5g net carbs, 4g protein.

Notes: 

  • You can make your own powdered erythritol (swerve confectioners) by grinding granulated erythritol in an electric coffee grinder, a small food processor, or a nutribullet.

  • Because this ice cream contains no sugar (which helps to keeps the texture scoopable), it's best served either soft-serve style right out of the machine, or freeze for 1 hour for a slightly firmer texture. For longer storage, omit dark chocolate baking chips and freeze in ice pop molds.

Sous Vide Cheesecake in a Jar

Patricia Reitz

I've been having a blast playing with my new sous vide circulator.  This week I have a great cheesecake recipe to share, but instead of being baked in a springform pan, it's cooked in tiny jam jars that are submerged in a hot water bath.  How cool is that?  I've omitted the graham cracker crust that usually lines the bottom of a cheesecake, but you could certainly add a thin layer to the bottom of your jars... or sprinkle crushed graham crackers on top just before serving.  

Eating Keto?  My recipe can easily be made keto-friendly by replacing the sugar with an equal amount of granulated splenda (I do not like the flavor erythritol imparts in this recipe).  The keto stats for one serving are as follows:  4g carbs, 6g protein, 27g fat, 245g sodium, 280g calories.

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For the cheesecake batter you'll need cream cheese, eggs, sugar (or splenda), and pure vanilla extract (use the good stuff!).  Make sure the cream cheese and eggs are room temperature so leave them out on the counter for several hours before using.

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The amount of batter this recipe makes is small so I like to mix it in my small food processor (I love this thing).  Process until completely smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

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Divvy the batter evenly among eight 4-ounce canning jars (these are the ones I used).  If you want to be super precise, you can weigh the amount of batter going into each jar (my favorite scale).  

It's not time to close the jars yet, we still have one more step to do...

Now for the best part, the super yummy topping!  To make the topping, whisk together sour cream, sugar (or granulated Splenda), and pure vanilla bean paste.  You can use vanilla extract if you don't have vanilla paste, but trust me, the paste is amazing and you'll love seeing all the vanilla specks when you open those jars (this is the vanilla paste I can't live without).

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Can you see all those tiny vanilla bean seeds?  Heaven!  

I guess I didn't get a photo of the topping all whisked together, but it only takes about 20 seconds to do.

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Evenly distribute the topping among the jars.

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Close the jars "fingertip tight" like you would if you were canning/preserving.  If the lids are too loose, water will get in the jars; and if the lids are too tight, the jars could explode so here's an easy way to know what "fingertip tight" is - place screw band on the jar and turn just until you feel resistance, then turn the band one-quarter turn more. 

Place the jars in a heat-safe container large enough to hold all the jars and a sous vide circulator, and yes it's okay to stack the jars (I used an 8-quart stockpot in the photo above).  Also, place the cooking vessel on a heat-proof surface away from children or pets.  Add water to cover the jars, making sure the water level falls between the minimum and maximum levels indicated on your sous vide circulator.

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Bathe the cheesecakes at 165F for 90 minutes.  I've seen a few recipes that call for cooking to 175F, but I think the finished texture is a bit softer and more pleasing if you cook them to 165F.  

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After 90 minutes, carefully remove the jars from the hot water.  As the jars cool, you may hear that familiar popping sound as a vacuum forms under each lid - such a satisfying noise!  Once the jar lids have popped (and don't worry if they don't), remove the screw bands and allow them to dry (if you leave the screw bands on the jars, they may rust).  Allow the jars to sit on the counter for about an hour, then chill for at least 3 or 4 hours before serving (or up to 5 days).

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Serve these little guys directly from the jar.  I use a JarKey to easily release the vacuum sealed lids - if you're gentle, I promise you'll be able to reuse the lids again and again.

I wrote a short post about the JarKey a number of years ago - here's a link if you're interested in seeing it.  

Note: reusing lids is not recommended when canning/preserving for long-term storage, but we're not doing that here so it's fine to reuse the lids. 

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Aren't they cute?  And they're easy to store (stack them in the fridge), easy to serve (no messy cutting), and easy to transport (tuck one into your lunch bag).  They're great as is, or you can add a little fruit topping - my favorite is blueberry - I make a quick sauce by thawing 1 tablespoon of frozen blueberries in the microwave for 10-20 seconds until soft and mushy, then I allow them to cool and thicken for a minute or two - no sugar or thickeners needed. 

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Delish!

Items used to make this recipe:


Sous Vide Cheesecakes in a Jar

makes 8 servings

Ingredients

Cheesecake Layer:

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Creamy Topping:

  • 8 ounces sour cream

  • 1/4 granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine cream cheese, eggs, 2/3 cup sugar, and pure vanilla extract until completely smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Alternatively, you can mix by hand, but be careful not to incoporate as little air as possible.

  2. Evenly distribute cheesecake batter among eight 4-ounce jam jars.

  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk sour cream, 1/4 sugar, and vanilla bean paste; pour evenly over cheesecake mixture.

  4. Top jars with canning lids, followed by screw bands that are tightened "fingertip tight" (see notes below).

  5. Place jars in a heat-safe container large enough to hold all the jars and a sous vide circulator (it's ok to stack the jars) and place the container on a heat-proof surface away from children or pets.

  6. Add water to cover the jars, making sure the water level falls between the minimum and maximum levels indicated on your sous vide circulator.

  7. Cook the cheesecakes for 90 minutes at 165F, then remove from water and cool for 1 hour (remove screw bands to prevent the lids from rusting).

  8. Chill cheesecakes for at 3 or 4 hours before serving (or up to 5 days).

Notes:

  • Recipe can be made Keto-friendly by replacing sugar with an equal amount of granulated splenda (may also substitute erythritol following manufacturer's suggested equivalent).

  • To tighten jars "fingertip tight" - place screw band on jar and turn just until you feel resistance, then turn band one-quarter turn more.

Frico Eggs (Keto)

Patricia Reitz

Frico (freek-o) - "what's frico" you might be asking?  Frico are thin, crispy, lacey discs of cooked cheese (in this case, parmesan).  Frico are often crumbled over a salad or served as an appetizer.  Today I'm bulking up these delicate disks by marrying them with hard-cooked eggs - the flavor marriage of the two are perfect together.  Super cool looking too, don't you think?

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Start by cutting hard-cooked eggs in half lengthwise.  A thin, sharp knife works best (like this one).

Oh hey, check out my absolute favorite method for cooking eggs with shells that release perfectly every single time, even when the eggs are freshly laid.  And here's my second favorite method that works almost as well.

In a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, place little mounds of grated or ground parmesan cheese.  Depending on the size of your eggs, use between 1 1/2 and 2 teaspoons for each egg half.  You can substitute other cheeses if you like, but you'll have to experiment to see which ones work well.  I've used pecorino romano - it works beautifully, but the flavor is stronger and the cheese is quite a bit saltier than parmesan.

Carefully center one egg half on each mound of cheese.  

Now we wait.  If any bits of cheese start jumping around in the pan, lower the heat.  You don't want to risk burning the cheese so take it slow and be patient - the whole process will only take a few minutes.

Remove from the heat when they look like this.  Allow to cool slightly before removing from the pan.  Use a very thin, flexible nylon spatula (like this one) to protect the finish of your nonstick pan.  

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That's all there is to it - super easy.  Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:


Frico Eggs

makes 4 appetizers

Ingredients

  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut in half

  • 2 tablespoons ground pecorino romano or parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, divide cheese into 4 equal mounds spaced evenly apart.

  2. Top each cheese mound with 1/2 hard-cooked egg, cut side down; allow cheese to slowly melt until golden brown (if the cheese starts to jump in the pan, lower the heat).

  3. Remove from skillet and enjoy.

Matcha Ice Cream

Patricia Reitz

The end of summer is near and I couldn't let the season end without sharing a recipe for Matcha Ice Cream.  Matcha is a finely milled Japanese green tea powder which is incredibly popular because it's high in antioxidants and has a sweet, intoxicating flavor and aroma.  Oh yeah, and it's a superfood so there you go.

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Dissolve the matcha powder in a little half and half until smooth.

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If you have trouble getting all the lumps out...

Add a spoonful of sugar to help break up the lumps.

 
how to make matcha ice cream. how do you make matcha green tea ice cream - ButterYum

Add the dissolved matcha mixture, remaining half and half, and heavy cream to a good quality heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high haet.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to give off wisps of steam.

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In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sugar and egg yolks well.

how to make matcha green tea ice cream - ButterYum

Vigorously whisk 1/2 cup of the hot matcha mixture into the egg yolk mixture.  Repeat with an additional 1/2 cup of hot matcha mixture.

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Return matcha and egg mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until it boils, begins to thicken, and coats the back of a spoon. 

matcha green tea powder ice cream recipe with how-to photos - ButterYum

Remove from the heat and stir in pure vanilla extract, then strain the mixture through a sieve.  For the best results, chill the mixture overnight before churning in an ice cream machine (follow manufacturer's instructions).


These items were used to make this recipe:


Matcha Ice Cream

makes about 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon high quality matcha green tea powder (or more to taste)

  • 2 cups half and half

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 3/4 cup white sugar

  • pinch fine salt

  • 4 egg yolks

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the matcha powder with 1/2 cup of half and half until smooth and no lumps remain (add a spoonful of the sugar to help break up the clumps if necessary).

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and egg yolks; set aside.

  3. In a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the matcha mixture, remaining half and half, and heavy cream; cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is heated to the point where it begins to steam.

  4. Quickly whisk 1/2 cup of the hot ice cream base into the egg yolk mixture until completely combined; repeat with another 1/2 cup of the hot ice cream base.

  5. Pour the now warmed matcha mixture into the saucepan that contains the hot ice cream base.

  6. Resume cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil.

  7. Remove from heat and stir in pure vanilla extract.

  8. Strain mixture through a sieve and chill thoroughly before churning.

  9. When mixture is completely chilled, churn in ice cream maker following manufacturer's instructions.

  10. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and store in freezer.

Easy Pasta Carbonara

Patricia Reitz

Pasta Carbonara is one of the most popular pasta dishes at Italian restaurants, and the thought of making it at home can be intimidating, but today I'm going to show you a very simple version that just about anyone can make.  Let me show you how easy it is to make.  

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute diced pancetta until brown.

how to make pasta carbonara - ButterYum

While the pancetta is browning, weigh out the cheese and add eggs and pepper.

how to make carbonara, recipe and how-to photos - ButterYum

Combine the cheese, eggs, and pepper - set aside until needed.

Back to the skillet.  When the pancetta is brown, add 1/2 cup chicken stock (try my recipe for delicious homemade stock).  

Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Heat until the chicken stock boils.

Add the precooked pasta and toss it around to heat it through.

GRADUALLY, add the cheese/egg mixture while stirring the pasta VIGOROUSLY. If you add the mixture to the hot pasta too fast, the eggs could curdle instead of turning into a creamy sauce. 

Easy Pasta Carbonara recipe with how-t0 photos - ButterYum

I like to finish it with a sprinkling of parsley, crushed red pepper flakes, and a little extra cracked black pepper just before serving.  Enjoy!  

Items used to make this recipe:


Easy Pasta Carbonara

makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced into small cubes

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) grated pecorino romano cheese

  • 1 pound slightly undercooked long pasta (like spaghetti, linguine, bucatini), rinsed with cold water

  • optional: crushed red pepper, chopped parsley

Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown pancetta in olive oil for several minutes; add chicken stock and simmer for 2 minutes.

  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, black pepper, and grated cheese.

  3. Add the pasta to the skillet and stir for 2 minutes to reheat.

  4. Slowly add the egg/cheese mixture to the skillet, stirring constantly until the cheese melts and forms a creamy sauce, coating all the pasta.

  5. Place pasta in a serving bowl and garnish with crushed red pepper flakes and chopped parsley.

Ginger Milk Pudding

Patricia Reitz

Here's a fun dessert for everyone to try.  It's a unique "pudding" made with 3 simple ingredients - milk, sugar, and freshly squeezed ginger juice.  Just combine them and wait about 15 minutes for the magic to happen.  You'll know it's ready when you can balance a small spoon on the surface.  Kind of a cool party trick to entertain your friends and family.  I hope you'll give it a try.

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In order to get the ginger juice out of the ginger, you have to grate it.  You can do this using a ginger grater (shown above), a microplane, or the sides of a box grater.  

It's not necessary to peel the ginger, but you can if you want to.  Try using the edge of a spoon to scrape the thin skin from the ginger root.  A vegetable peeler will work too, but it will remove more than just the skin. 

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If you use a ginger grater, you'll notice some of the juice collects in the dish.

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But I find you can get a lot more ginger juice if you place the pulp in a garlic press or squeeze it between layers of cheesecloth.

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Measure 2 teaspoons of the freshly squeezed ginger juice per dessert bowl and set aside for later.

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In the meantime, gently heat the milk and sugar together over medium heat until it reaches 165F.   Turn off the heat, but don't pour the milk into the dessert cups yet...

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Stir the ginger juice to redistribute the starch granules that have settled to the bottom of the bowls.

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Immediately pour half of the heated milk and sugar mixture into each bowl and DON'T STIR.  Just let the bowls sit, undisturbed, for about 15 minutes. 

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After 15 minutes have passed, the pudding should have set and you should be able to balance a small demitasse spoon on the surface.  Serve warm, at room temperature, or chill for several hours for a slightly firmer texture.

Items used to make this recipe:


Ginger Milk Pudding Curd

makes 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces whole milk (milk substitutes won't work)

  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 4 teaspoons fresh ginger juice (from a 6-inch piece of fresh, mature ginger)

Directions

  1. Peel and grate ginger on a ginger grater, microplane, or the small holes of a box grater.

  2. Squeeze juice from grated ginger by pressing in a garlic press or pinch it between layers of cheesecloth; measure 2 teaspoons of ginger juice into two 4 to 5-ounce dessert cups.

  3. Place milk and sugar in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan and stir to dissolve sugar; heat mixture to 165F.

  4. Immediately remove milk from heat.

  5. Wait - before adding hot milk to ginger juice, stir the ginger juice in each dessert cup to redistribute starch granules have settled to the bottom; immediately pour half the milk mixture into each cup. DO NOT STIR!!!

  6. Wait at least 15 minutes for pudding to set before trying to balance a demitasse spoon on the surface of the pudding.

Note

  • For a slightly firmer texture, chill the pudding for several hours after it sets.

Pastry Cream (Creme Patissiere)

Patricia Reitz

Vanilla Pastry Cream (Creme Patissiere) - ButterYum

Vanilla Pastry Cream (Creme Patissiere) - ButterYum

Vanilla Pastry Cream (aka creme patissiere, creme patisserie, or creme pat) is silky and delicious - no wonder it's a component of countless desserts. Fruit tarts (like this one), eclairs (I have a great step-by-step tutorial here), cream puffs, Portuguese custard tarts, trifle, profiteroles, mille-feuilles, Boston cream pie, and so many more.   

I've made a lot of pastry cream over the years and this recipe is definitely the easiest.  All the ingredients are placed in a saucepan and cooked together until they thicken.  Strain, chill, and use!  Here's how I make it.   

To begin, place sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan.

Whisk them together to break up any cornstarch clumps. 

Add milk.  I like to use whole milk.

Whisk to mix.

Add egg yolks.  Just check out the color of those yolks - it really pays to buy free-range eggs from a local farm.

Whisk to mix.

Add butter.  No need to soften, just throw it in cold. 

Next scrape the seeds from half of a vanilla bean pod.  Cut the pod lengthwise and scrape the seeds out.

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Add them to the saucepan.  Now it's time to start heating our mixture.

You can substitute pure vanilla extract if you don't have vanilla bean pods, but wait until the pastry cream is finished cooking before you add it (or it may taste bitter).

The easiest recipe for making pastry cream, creme patissiere, creme patisserie, crem pat - recipe and photos

Whisk constantly over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches the boiling point.

Continue to boil, whisking constantly, for a full minute.  

Mmm - see how the mixture has thickened?  Now turn off the heat. 

how to make pastry cream, creme patissiere, creme patisserie, crem pat - recipe and how to photos

Immediately pass the pastry cream through a sieve.  Actually, you don't have to do this step, but it'll remove any lumps.  

See?  There were some bits of cooked egg and some vanilla bean strands, but not anymore! 

How to make pastry cream - with photos - ButterYum

The last step is to cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap, directly on the surface of the cream, and chill completely before using. 

how to make vanilla sugar - ButterYum

Oh, and don't throw that vanilla bean pod away.  See all those old vanilla bean pods in the jar?  I've been saving them for years to make vanilla sugar.

How to make homemade vanilla sugar - ButterYum

Every time I use a pod, I put it in the jar...

Yes, you can make your own vanilla sugar at home - ButterYum

And whenever the level of sugar in the jar gets low, I top it off with more.  The sugar will absorb the flavor of the vanilla.  I use it for baking and sweetening beverages.

how to make vanilla sugar at home - with photos

Give it a try!

Here are links to some of the items used to make this recipe:

Vanilla Pastry Cream (Creme Patissiere or Creme Patisserie)

makes 2 cups

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • pinch table salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean pod (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)

Directions

  1. In a 2-quart heavy bottom saucepan over medium-high heat, cook all ingredients (except vanilla extract, if using), stirring constantly, until it begins to boil; continue whisking for a full minute.
  2. Remove from heat and strain through a sieve.
  3. Cover pastry cream with a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface; chill completely before using. 

adapted from Martha Stewart

Notes:

  • When using vanilla extract instead of vanilla beans, stir in to thickened pastry cream AFTER it is removed from the heat.
  • To make vanilla sugar, place used vanilla bean pod in jar and cover with sugar.  Use for baking or sweetening beverages.