ICM's Winter Wonderland

Ice cream in the snow? Yes, please. This past week was eggnog ice cream at Goldie's in Prairie City, Iowa. You can see my previous post about Goldie's here. The eggnog was phenomenal. The fuzzi-'rents and I stopped there last week on they way to pick up Lucky from doggy daycare in Runnells. It was so good I finished the whole thing (hence the less than gorgeous photo of the above ice cream phone).

In fact, it was sooooo good that we went back for a full 1/2 gallon of it the next day. I had gotten a holiday thank you from Goldie's for being on their mailing list and used it towards the half gallon. I was wondering if the soft serve would lose something in translation when frozen solid. But by dog! It was just as good. There's still most of it left...but not for long. Mwhahahaha!

Rockin' the Soups

This has been an awesome week for soup. I have been ON! and no clue why ;) The first one was the best batch of tortilla soup I've made to date. Recipe to come. The second was a Zesty Vegetarian Tomato Soup, served with a nice chicken caeser salad.

Disclaimer...I never really cared for tomato soup. My parents always used to have it when they made grilled cheese for the family. I seem to remember some friends in college dipping their sandwiches in ketchup. And it was good. So next time I was home I decided not to pass on the Campbell's tomato soup. And I enjoyed it. Then I discovered tomato basil bisque while in Switzerland. Swooon. And Amy's organic chunky tomato bisque when I returned home to the US.

I've tried a few attempts at tomato soup deliciousness and have been not so impressed. But the recipe I hacked this week was ALL THAT AND A BOWL OF SOUP! I'm even throwing in my bonus parmesan wafers. They look impressive, are super easy and really add some oomph to any tomato soup. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Zesty Vegetarian Tomato Soup
yield enough for 3 medium to good sized bowls

1 - 28oz. can whole tomatoes
~1 T. tomato paste
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 - 1 clove of a shallot, minced
1 T. butter + olive oil
1 - 14.5oz can veggie stock
red wine
basil leaf
cayenne pepper

Sweat onions, shallots and garlic in butter/oil mix til clear. Add tomato paste. Deglaze pan w/ vodka and reduce. Add can of tomatoes including the juice and veggie stock. Add a glug of red wine, basil and cayenne pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes. Cool, blend to desired consistency. Return to pot, heat and serve with parmesan wafers.

Parmesan Wafers
makes 8

1.5 c. coarsely grated parmesano reggiano (4 - 5 oz.)
1 T. flour

Put rack in middle of the oven preheat to 350F. Line baking sheet with non-stick paper. Make 4 mounds (about 3 T. each) and spread until they are 4-5" rounds. Bake until golden - about 10 minutes. Cool on the sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack using a wide spatula. Repeat. Can be made 2 days in advance and kept in airtight container at room temperature.

Cookie Cravings

Every once in awhile I get a craving for Subway's white chocolate chip chocolate cookie. Oh, heck. Who am I kidding? I often get cravings for many different types of cookies. But the Subway one is a killer.....I can't often find them at my local sandwich I decided to try and make my own.

After copious internet searching (2 minutes on google) I found out that most of Subway's (and many other restaurants) cookies are made by Otis Spunkmeyer. I found a 'copycat' recipe for my beloved cookies. I tried the recipe as is (except only made a half recipe just in case they turned out truly heinous...and added some regular chocolate chips as well. I just can't help tinkering!!!) and will try to tweak it a bit next time. It might also be helpful to have real deal cookie near by for a blind tasting. According to my tastebuds these cookies were a little overly sweet, maybe I'll use salted butter next time, less sugar or a bit more salt. The texture seemed ok. We'll see how they hold up over the next day or so.

Almost Subway's White Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cookie Recipe
yield 1 and 1/2 dozen cookies

1 c. butter, softened
2 c. white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. flour
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. white chocolate chips
2/3 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F (175C)

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then the vanilla extract.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a different bowl. Stir into the butter/sugar mixture.

Fold in chocolate chips and drop by rounded teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes (I left them in the full 10 minutes) until set. Allow to cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes then move cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.


Second Saturday Soup n Bowl

This 'Second Saturday' was spent reuniting with the CCFA crew in Corning, Iowa. The gallery has been hosting monthly show openings and this month they decided to try something a little different. The soup n' bowl event featured homemade soups in handmade bowls by Paul Koch of Prairie Fired Pottery.

There were 5 different soups to choose from - salmon chowder, seafood chowder, beef and noodle, chili, and beef stew. Beth's salmon chowder was a new recipe and had many separate elements come together in new ways. Rick's beef stew was a total hit and the first one to be polished off by the public. It was kind of zingy with giant chunks of potatoes and veggies...and paprika? In fact, they were all amazing (yes, I managed to sample almost all of them ;) and the bowls we took home are fantastic mementos of the event. Wish I had thought to bring my favorite onion soup, Jon's butternut squash soup, the hawayedge chicken soup or chile corn chowder. Next time....Actually, it may be time for a soup exchange...Iowans???

I was there not only as a spectator (and soup slurper) but in an officially official capacity as well. Studio fuzzishu offered blown glass ornament make and take sessions. It was fun to see the range of people who tried their hand at glass working and catch their enthusiasm and delight. I love offering people the experience of doing something they've never done and having them go home with an original piece of art and feeling of accomplishment.

It was a great time...until fuzzi-mom and I were packing up to leave. Winter decided to make itself known again with a major white-out blizzardy type thing. We (foolishly) decided to brave it, since I was scheduled to teach at the Des Moines Art Center today. There were times during the grueling, white-knuckle-inducing, normally 3o minute drive to Creston where the road was literally invisible. So? A hotel. And lots of kitschy tv movies (Sundays at Tiffany's with Alyssa Milano, anyone?) But alls well that ends well, we're back in Des Moines now and gearing up for a week of ornaments and probably more soup! ;)


Holy Overhaul, Batman!

Yes my friends, it was more than time. The old Ugly Fruit was getting kind of wrinkly and funky smelling. It was time to give the old girl a new coat of paint. White printing on black backgrounds was so 2005. Please feel free to leave feedback on the (hopefully!) new and improved Ugly Fruit aesthetic.

...Now I just have to figure out how to add the old header. I really liked it :(

Gobble Gobble Hey!*

Many families have passed down Thanksgiving traditions, my family's tradition is a recent one. I've started a new tradition, we use the holiday as a chance to try out new recipes on my captive audience...I mean, family. ;) Sometimes they're great, sometimes not so great. Then there are the few recipes great enough to hold on to year after year. Like Rachel-pi. Here's a list of the Thanksgiving 2010 recipes.

Rosa made a lovely Norwegian Mountain Bread. Oatmeal, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds? Yum. I simply had to try the recipe. You can find her recipe for this hearty loaf here. I also made a HUUUUGE pot of maple butternut squash soup with chef/friend John's recipe.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving recipe finds is this whole cranberry sauce (we also always make the Ocean Spray cranberry relish as well). This sauce is spiced, hearty and complex with bold fruit flavors. You can also make this recipe your own by varying the ingredients.

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 c. sugar
1 c. water
1 c. dried fruit chopped
1 c. pecans, chopped
1 cap rum
1 orange, peel - process
1 apple, peel - dice
1 pear, peel - dice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Boil sugar and water til sugar dissolves. Reduce to simmer, add all ingredients. Cover and simmer for approx. 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, let cool to room temp. and serve.

Here's a keeper! Super delicious and super easy. Two of our favorite 'supers'. ;) Everyone loved this recipe, I hope you do too.

Herb Bubble Bread (Taste of Home Mag. - Oct/Nov 2010)

1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
3/4 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. dill weed
1/8 tsp. each dried thyme, basil, and rosemary - crushed
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 loaf (1 lb.) frozen bread dough, thawed

In a small bowl, combine cheese and seasonings. In another bowl, combine butter and garlic, set aside.

Divide dough into 16 pieces. Roll into balls. Coat balls in butter mixture, then dip in cheese mixture. Place in a greased 9"x 5" loaf pan.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour. Bake at 350F for 22-26 min or until golden brown. (cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly). Cool for 10 min. before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.

Lucky waits for me to take my eye off of the turkey for just a quick minute.

This year we tried something new with the bird...baking it breast down. Juiciest white meat ever!
Read the complete how-to article here.

There was stuffing, two kinds of cranberry sauce, sauteed green beans with carrots, mashed potatoes with chives, cilantro lime rice (recipe to of these days), and turkey (of course!) with gravy. I'm saddened by my gravy attempts. I'd really love to find a great recipe. Any suggestions? Dinner was great....but let's not forget dessert!

We tried this cheesecake recipe a year or two ago and it was one of the ones good enough to hold on to. This holiday is not only about giving thanks but sharing. So, from my kitchen to yours...

Cheesecake Factory Style Cheesecake (this is two blended recipes...I can't recall which at this time)

1 1/2 c. gingersnap cookie crumbs
1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. pecans, processed
1/2 c. packed golden brown sugar
about 4 1/2 Tbsp salted melted butter (or more)

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 9 1/2" springform pan. Bake about 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely.

1 c. sugar
3 (8oz.) pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 can (15oz.) canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice

Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Mix until smooth with an electric mixer. Add pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Beat until smooth and creamy. Pour filling into pie crust and bake 60 minutes until top darkens but is still slightly jiggly. Remove from oven, allow to cool to room temp., then refrigerate. Serve w/ whipped cream.

*My apologies to the Ramones. ;)